Review (Revisited): The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert

So glad I gave Richert another try after the disaster of her last book (sorry, but I hated it!). After falling in her love with her first book, I really wanted her to redeem herself with this one…and boy did she ever! If I had any complaints I just wish it was a bit longer and had some more details with a few minor characters. I am really hoping one comes back and has her own book soon.

Sometimes reading a book is just what you need to reset your spirit and get your head in the right place. This is that book. Having attempted and abandoned 2 books previous to this one…and having read several in a row that were just so-so…well this is exactly what I needed to clear out all the clutter in my head.

As in her first book, I couldn’t wait to finish this one and had problems putting it down once I started…Another book I finished in less than 24 hours…that hardly EVER happens in my life anymore and now I have found an author that has inspired me to do it TWICE!

Can’t wait to read what she comes up with next…

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert

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Review: What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross

25111142This is a book that is hard to review, because it simply isn’t black and white. This novel is about a lady who finds a baby left unattended in an IKEA store and walks away with her. Twenty one years later she is caught. This book attempts to tell her story and show us the aftermath.

I’m so conflicted. Yes, what she did was 100% wrong. She never claims it wasn’t. However, the fact of the matter is, it was a “one-off” that would have never happened if the birth mother hadn’t answered a phone call, walked off, and left her baby unattended for several (never really told how long, but I am guessing it was well over 10 minutes, possibly more than 20) minutes.

Facts are, no one is perfect. Especially parents. Even though Lucy (the lady who abducted the child) seemed to want to be a parent above all else, it’s pretty evident to me that she wasn’t the best mother. Yes, she needed to support herself and her *daughter*, but it seemed pretty obvious to me that she was a very career oriented person. Much of the raising was left to the nanny. Having said that, she provided a good life and did, in fact, love the child. I do believe she didn’t attend to take the child and as the minutes ticked by one by one, she found herself unable (and unwilling) to correct the situation…

I would also like to point out that the birth mother….well, there’s no two ways about it. I didn’t like her character. As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t find her believable. She was just too over the top and wholesome for me to deal with. Going on and on about placing soothing drops on pillows to help her reunited daughter sleep easier through the night, sessions of throwing rocks and yelling into the wind to cleanse out bad feelings, taking her (now adult) daughter to sessions to have her charted and palms read. Yes, I’m sure these people exist in life…but if I was that daughter, I would have been very weirded out by her.

Finally, why the book was full of so much grey matter for me was the daughter. She made the book worth reading. Once she started reflecting on her life and the guilt she felt for loving a woman who provided so much for her….when she started wondering how different her life would have been….well, you can imagine…having to feel guilty about loving someone…well it must be a terrible feeling to have. Then trying to come to terms with that love, with the guilt, and being glad she had the life she had and not the one she was taken from….well, again, her story and her hurt is what made the entire book a worthwhile read for me….

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross

Review: Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

24431358I loved this book from the very first page until about 60%….then it seemed that the main characters completely did an about-face and traded places. It also seemed to me that the intimacy of the characters with the reader (myself) went away. I no longer felt that I knew anyone. I felt like a complete outsider. Up until that point I felt that I knew the characters and understood their motives. I was able to see them and understand what they were doing. Then suddenly, it was if Kleypas decided to just speed things up and took the shortest route to get to the end. We stopped seeing characters motives and instead were just forced to follow along not really understanding what was going on. I felt like a total outsider. I also thought the way the characters acted in the last part of the novel were totally out of sync with whom they were at the start. The young unsure virgin suddenly became manipulative and a somewhat tease who totally acted the opposite of everything she claimed and said. The male lead, who had speed full fledge ahead suddenly became indecisive and submissive one moment and then forceful the next. Neither one felt true to where they started.

For a book that started out as a really enjoyable read, it ended up finishing as a book I was glad to be done with. Very disappointed. I feel somewhat cheated to be honest…

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review

Buy it now Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

Review: Slade House by David Mitchell

24499258Anyone that knows me already knows I am not a huge fan of short stories…However, there have been a few stories in anthologies that I have read that have helped me find some new (to me) authors that I want to read more of. This novel isn’t part of an anthology, however, it was interesting enough and entertaining enough to make me add Mitchell to a list of authors that I want to read more of. I did love the different characters that each told a new chapter in this book. I loved the concept of Slade House. The only real complaint I can make is that I wanted more. I wanted the full meal deal and not just the fast food shortened version I received. It was also more than a little bit creepy. A perfect late autumn read. Even better if it’s on a cold night whilst a storm is brewing outside…that way you have a valid excuse to hide under some warm covers…

I can’t wait to read another (longer) work of David Mitchell so I can read it, review it and share my thoughts of with fellow readers….

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgallery for an honest review

Buy it now Slade House by David Mitchell

Review: The Samaritan by Mason Cross

21566238oh dear….I’m not sure what happened here…I LOVED the first book in this series. This one? Meh…not so much….

We still are dealing with Carter Blake….We are still wanting to find out more about Blake and his past….we are allowed once again to see bits and pieces….He’s still in the same line of work….finding people that don’t want to be found….so why didn’t I like this one as much as the first?

A couple of things….First we know Blake was part of some top-secret government black ops that very few people played a part in and even fewer knew about…however, once again, Blake stumbles across someone from this operation. It was too much like the first book.

Another thing…..we are left, yet again, with secondary characters that are playing a major part in the story and yet we aren’t given much insight into them. I hardly think one paragraph explaining the controversy around the main detective qualifies…especially since it her were her POV we saw the most of during the novel…

The way the story jumped around from one POV to another for the first 80% was also distracting….and it might be poor editing that will hopefully be fixed once released, but the flashbacks that the Samaritan had…well….they didn’t flow right….there was no stopping point where the present met the past…it made for a very awkward reading experience..at least a space between paragraphs was needed….

Finally….we didn’t even get much of Blake until the end of the book….just a little bit here and there….Carter Blake is the one who makes this series!!!! Yes he is a mystery….but FFS, he should be playing a major role throughout the entire novel…not just at the end…..and it’s been proven in the past that he is known by the FBI and certain elements just didn’t add up at the end with the bit FBI players involved….

Am I let down by this novel? Yes….it felt choppy and unedited….it wasn’t smooth at all….do I still look forward to the next in the series? Hell yes….Carter Blake is a great character. I still think Mason Cross has a great opportunity to make him a household name. I just hope in the next novel that he expands and doesn’t expect the reader to believe that such a small secret operation has team members that are always running into one another…it’s a very large world out there…I think Cross is safe to look outside this small circle for someone who Blake can hunt….it might even make it more interesting and show his skills if it a complete unknown….

Just my thoughts…

Until next time….

Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now The Samaritan by Mason Cross

Review: The Killing Season (Carter Blake #1) by Mason Cross

killing seasonReading the bio of Mason Cross I take it that “The Killing Season” is his first full length novel. Wowzers…what a way to start off! I will definitely be looking forward to many more books in this series. Cross has presented us with a multi-layered character in “Carter Blake”.

This was a fast paced novel that had me hooked from start to finish. Here we meet Carter Blake. There are tons of hints to let us know that there is much to be uncovered in Blake’s history. Blake is someone who finds people who do not wish to be found. How he got his start in this profession hasn’t been reveled, but it is soon obvious that he is very good at his job. What is not so obvious is how he has many contacts on both sides of the law and even a few in-between. In this novel he is hired by the FBI to track down an escaped serial killer.

Thrillers used to be my favourite genre. After many years of reading them they all started to become repetitive. I had to read a dozen predictable books to find just one that stood out for me. If all thrillers were like this one I wouldn’t have had any problems sticking to thrillers only. Cross isn’t a writer that thinks he has to whitewash everything to keep it pristine and clean for the Pollyannas of the world. He also isn’t a writer that relies on shock factor to engage a reader. He’s a writer that isn’t afraid to dip his toes in politics (but doesn’t get bogged down in it).

If I had to point out any fault in this novel it’s that it left me wanting a little more depth to the main characters. Of course, I have no doubt that we will learn more about Blake in subsequent novels. However, the main FBI character felt flat. By flat I mean that there was plenty of background to this character and why she acted like she did, however it seemed like we were only giving the top layers of her and, although it was easy enough to do, left to draw our own conclusions. I guess after reading what I just wrote, I have to admit that Cross gave us enough to know, but I just wanted more to satisfy my curiosity about her. I really enjoyed her and could have spent many more pages getting to know her…

Bottom line, this is a book I highly recommend if you’re looking for a fresh new voice in the thriller/mystery genre….I look forward to reading and reviewing the second book in the series….and I hope the author continues to give up Blake’s history one puzzle piece at a time….

Until next time…
Urania xx

Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review…

Buy it now The Killing Season by Mason Cross

Musing: Keeping Up with NetGalley Approvals

20140504-141055.jpg Do you use NetGalley? It’s a repository full of advance copies of books that haven’t been published yet. You fill out a profile page, peruse the available books, and request the ones you want. Publishers approve or decline the requests, and if they approve one, you can download an electronic copy for free. Yes, free! FREE BOOKS! Then you read, write a review, post it, and boom, you’re done.

Well, actually, if you’re like me, you end up selling your soul for these “free” books. The books have publish dates and archive dates associated with them, both of which create pressure to read fast, review fast, and move on to the next one.

I’m actually a little bit proud of my NetGalley achievements. I’ve been approved for 117 books since last July, and I’ve read 101 of them. I have a handful to read in May and June.

Then I have THE EIGHT. The eight NetGalley books that were published in 2013 that I just haven’t gotten to. That’s what the picture is up there. The eight unread, need-to-be-read NetGalley books.

They’ve been on my kindle for so long that I’ve lost all excitement for them. But there are only eight. I should get going and get them over with.

Any ideas which one I should start with?

–calliope