Quick review: Love Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington

I haven’t read a single contemporary YA in over four months. So this story was like a breath a fresh air. A nice change a pace. A second chance romance with music intertwined throughout it. In fact my heart was all a flutter.

After breaking her heart two years ago, Virginia(Vee) and Cam will be spending the summer, along with their friends, in a bus touring for a band contest/reality show. What could go wrong?

After having her heart broken two years ago, Virginia(Vee), will be spending the summer touring the country, for a rock band/reality show, in a bus filled with her friends, and Cam. Cam, the one who did the breaking of her heart. Cam, the reason she moved away, is now going to be a bed away from her for three months. What’s a girl to do?

This book alternates between the past and current while showing you what went wrong in the past and how it affected the future. Lots of secrets and heartaches. But with love at the center of it.

Since I’m an adult, most of the time, I could see what was happening before they did. I wanted to reach in and bonk their heads together. They needed to share their pain, not hold it inside. If you can’t be truthful to the one you love, you must not love them completely. Cam lived through something horrific and held on to it, not sharing, until it was too much for Vee. And without sharing that, he kept a piece of him from her and it festered.

But when these two finally were forced to confront their demons, the light shined down upon them. The heavens opened up. The angels sang the Hallelujah chorus. OK, I’m being dramatic. Channeling my inner dramatic 20-something self. All in all, when these two finally opened up, all was well in their world. They could move forward together.

~Melpomene

Grab Love Songs & Other Lies https://amzn.to/2F7CPMI

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Quick review: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Not enough stars!! When I first saw this cover, I knew I had to read it. I didn’t even care what it was about. I just knew that I needed it. And let me tell you, I am so glad I did. I just finished this and now I’m sitting here with a big dorky smile on my face. Such a good book. Exciting and adventurous. Romantic and sweet. It’s just like Amazon said, Wonder Woman meets Vikings. I am dying to listen to the audible. I bet it’s gonna be just as amazing.

Eelyn is a warrior. Raised to believe the Riki are enemies. But when she’s captured and enslaved by them, she comes to the realization that they aren’t much different than her own clan. In fact, she learns that if they’re being honest, they have a common goal, and sets out to show them that. There are a few surprises for her and us, but it makes the story that much more exciting.

I loved the romance weaved throughout this. It’s very subtle. I wondered if there was even going to be a romance, and amazingly I was okay if there wasn’t. I was that hooked. But when it showed up, I was super happy. All stories need a little love.

There’s so much I wanna say, but I’ll let you read it and enjoy it for yourself. But the best part is that it’s a standalone! This wonderful story is all wrapped up in one spectacular package. It’s also going on my YA list. The teens in my life will love this. I can’t wait till my daughter reads this book. She’s gonna love it. LOVE IT. Ax and knife throwing is a hobby of hers.

This is Adrienne Young’s debut and I’m telling you, I found a new author to obsess over. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.

Melpomene

Buy Sky in the Deep https://amzn.to/2Hm7rvZ

Review: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

I’m not sure how to review this novel. Seeing so many of my friends have given this book high ratings but no reviews makes me think that perhaps it’s not just me‽

I had a really hard time getting past the grandparents. It kinda challenged my commitment to not judge other’s personal choices. The same with the parents I guess, not to the same degree, but there was still a bit of taking myself to task for some of my thoughts.

Also, I realised at some point that I might expect too much of fictional characters. I mean, I found the grandfather really weak and unlikable at times…especially at the start. However, maybe I was expecting Lefty to be this perfect literary character and not an actual person. At some point, Lefty did become real to me…and all those things that really irritated me and made me really dislike him at the start turned things around and made him real to me.

That’s what Eugenides did for me in this novel. He made all of these characters seem like every day people. He made them into my neighbours. Liking them, even though I didn’t really know what was going on behind closed doors (of course, being the reader we actually DID know what was going on).

Since I can’t really think of how to review this novel, I’ll tell you that the blurb on the cover does a nice job explaining what the plot of the novel is about. But to understand this novel…well no review can do that…no summery can do that. You really have to meet Callie/Cal to understand why this novel is so amazing.

I’m not sure the moment when Callie realised that she was different. Or when Cal realised that he was real. But he does a wonderful job at the end summing it up. Gender does not define us. We are who we are…and Cal, along with all of his family are just wonderful…faults, and non-faults alike…simply wonderful…again, gender doesn’t define us….try to remember that next time if you’re the type to judge…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Review: The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

Really hard to get my thoughts around this novel. Yes it’s a novel about war. Yes it’s a novel with a love triangle. Most of all it’s a novel about the human condition.

Why do people do the things they do? I’m still not sure what motivated these combat photojournalists. Why they continued to push the boundaries. I’ve read other novels (both non fiction and fiction) about journalists and war…but none have touched me this way. Often after reading these novels I am left angry. Angry at politics, angry at impossible circumstances people find themselves in. I’ve even been angry at journalists that seem to place themselves in danger and danger to others with nothing but fame and glory on their minds. However, I felt none of that with this novel. I felt incredible sadness, and an inability to understand the motives of these journalists. I guess that’s not exactly true. I did understand, but it was all so complex. Almost as if everything was right there…I could see it, but it just remained a sliver of air out of my grasp.

That’s why I really loved this novel. I’m not so sure I can explain, but Helen, Sam and Linh had so many parts that made the whole. The depth of what drove them forward day after day and shot after shot…well…it left one breathless. It shows us just how complex the human psyche can be. There might be one thing that started them each on their journey, but there were so many facets that all combined to build them into the people that they were. So many parts that pushed them through day after day. Yes, glory was part of it, but only a small part. They were all products of their history…they were all products of their present. They were all products of their future. Products of their jobs. Of their countries. Of their families. And finally, products of each other. You take away one single element and the whole thing collapses.

How they started their journeys, how they took those journeys and how they ended those journeys were all part and parcel of who they were. But who they where could not have existed without the journeys that shaped them. One would be hard pressed to decide where one started and the other one ended.

Again, all of this continued to go around my head as I listened and really felt for these characters. It’s a novel that contained, for me, far more ideas than could be contained within the pages. For me, this is the best kind of novel. One that makes you exam more than just the words you are reading…

Extraordinary characters…well done, Tatjana Soli!

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

Review: Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

firefly-laneThis is the story of two best friends and follows their 30 year friendship. This was an alright read..it’s not the best I’ve read but certainly it isn’t the worst either….it’s just that it seemed like it went on and on for 30 years as I was trying to read it! Yammer Yammer Yammer…that’s all I heard in my head…the longer it went on the more I was annoyed. Honestly, no matter how good a book is (or isn’t) you don’t want it to feel as if you are actually experiencing every single one of the 30 years…

Have you guessed yet? I didn’t much like this book. It was a miss for me…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Review: The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

8686068Errrrr….I’m speechless. Mr Higashino can certainly teach the world about devotion. And of tragedy as well. The last 5% of this book about ruined me. It was a perfect ending for me. Not because it was happy, but because it was so true to the book.

I won’t say more, except that this is one of the better mystery books I’ve read in a very long time. It is also one of the most aptly titled books I’ve ever encountered. You think the name is fitting, but just as the entire novel is full of misdirection, the brilliance of the title doesn’t truly show itself until the very end.

Well done, Mr Higashino…you now have a new devoted fan…

What a fantastic book…

*walks away slowly shaking her head in wonderment…wow…just wow…*

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

Review and a Revisit: This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

how-it-alwaysOur very own Thalia reviewed this novel a few weeks ago, but it’s so important I wanted to do another review in hopes that you will pick up this fantastic novel…Plus, I REALLY wanted to review it too! I loved it so much!

I loved this novel. I couldn’t stop thinking about this novel for days on end. I wish so much that every family in the world was as amazing as this family. I wish that every child that felt different had a Nan that went out of their way to make them feel normal. I wish all schools were led with forward thinking leaders that had the best interest of the children in mind.

The truth is, I personally feel, that it’s a vast minority that are like this.

I think I’m pretty open-minded. Or at least I try to be. I feel as if I understand what some people must feel. Reading this novel…well, how naive was I? This book made me see some things from a totally different angle. Yes, it’s one thing to hear an adult say that they always felt different…it’s another thing to actually see a young child going through something so difficult.

This book is so important.

Again, the parents of this novel did an amazing job! I loved them so very much. The siblings, again, A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!! I know parents and families like this DO exist.

However, if I had one complaint about this novel, it’s that the parents did too great of a job. That the siblings were too amazing. That the school leaders were too brilliant. That the fellow students were too perfect.

I don’t know. That sounds horrible. I so loved Claude and Poppy. THEY WERE VERY REAL TO ME…they broke my heart over and over again, and they gave me such joy as well. I want the happiness. I don’t want them to be hurt. I understand they were hurt. However, as in real life, much of the hurt we feel as preteens/teens is in our mind. No, that doesn’t make it less real. It’s still a valid hurt. It’s still a real hurt. I’m just saying that it wasn’t as bad in the school for Claude and Poppy as they imagined it to be. The peer group in the school DID accept them.

I don’t think the real world is like that. I think it’s just as bad as Claude/Poppy imagined it to be…no…I think it’s much worse. I don’t want that to be true…but I am afraid it might be.

That saddens me to say that maybe, for me…and families that are going through this…well…maybe the book was a small disappointment in that regards. It might be hard for the Poppy’s in the real world to relate to such perfect families and friends, when their own family and friends are very different.

I don’t want that to be true…I want the Poppy’s of the world to be free to be themselves. I want them all to be happy at the end.

I don’t know how to reconcile this desire with the reality of so much of the world…

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel