Review: East of Eden by John Steinbeck

east-of-edenI realise I’m going to take a lot of smack from many friends for my low rating of this novel….but it really just isn’t the book for me. I just didn’t much care about any of it….I couldn’t get into it….and by the time I gave up hope of getting involved with the characters, I just wanted it to end….it took FOREVER for that to actually happen….but I did stick it though until the end…..now all I can think of is all those books I could have been reading…

I often avoided “classic novels” in the past, just because I was afraid I would hate them. However, I no longer worry about hating them. So if I think they might interest me, I read them. If a new thriller comes out I think I might like, I will read it too. Or a *fluff* book. I read for me. Me alone.

There are many classics I love, despite them being hundreds of years old and labeled as classic. I no longer feel inferior if I hate them. I’ve never been the type to feel superior if I love them either. Reading has never been about impressing others. It’s always been about trying to impress myself with the wonderment of words set to a page…to have those words move me…to entertain me…to show me the world in a different light…to take me to a different world…or maybe even to inspire me to change something in my life…be it my views or my actions…but it’s never been about lying to impress someone else…so there you have it…

I hated this book…

Until next time…
Urania

Buy it now East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Blog Tour & Review: Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen

I finished this book in less than 24 hours. 5 years ago this might not have seemed like a big deal…these days it’s a huge deal! I didn’t want to put it down. It hooked me from the first chapter and continued to do so right up to the very end.

Hannah Monroe comes home from an all day business meeting to find her that her house she shared with her boyfriend, Matt Stone is empty. Not only has he moved out, but he has seemingly disappeared into thin air, leaving no trace of the life they shared behind. It’s as if the past 4 years never took place.

For three months Hannah becomes more and more obsessed on trying to find Matt and to figure out what went wrong. Where is he? Is he safe? Why did he leave?

At first I was saddened for Hannah. I couldn’t imagine what she must have been feeling. That sadness soon turned to shock and dismay as I watched her continue to spiral out of control with her obsession on trying to sort out what had happened. Watching her try to come to terms with this all, without any answers was painful. Then, I admit it, I started to become annoyed with her. However it didn’t change the fact that I had started to become obsessed with finding Matt as well! I needed to know what was happening. I had a dozen different scenarios. I suspected a half a dozen people.

When the big reveal happened, I honestly didn’t have a clue. Even as it happened, I was still trying to figure out what was behind all of this, because I didn’t comprehend the truth.

I soon realized it was staring me in the face the entire time! All of the unbelievable suddenly became very clear and very much believable. The farfetched wasn’t so farfetched after all…

Read this book as soon as it comes out. Not only is it full of suspense and a sense of you NEEDING to know what happens, it’s also a very important book. About a subject matter that isn’t discussed nearly enough…I sincerely hope this book is roaring success…not only because Ms Torjussen has written such a thriller of a book, but also because she has written about a subject matter that seems almost taboo.

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by the publisher and Netgalley for an honest review

BUY THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW http://amzn.to/2gZekso

 

How far would you go to find the one that got away?

 

From the imprint that published Fiona Barton’s instant New York Times bestseller The Widow and Clare Mackintosh’s global phenomenon I Let You Go, comes Mary Torjussen’s GONE WITHOUT A TRACE (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; 978-0-399-58501-2; April 11, 2017; $16.00)—an electric, compulsive thriller about a boyfriend’s unexplained disappearance, and its corrosive effects on the woman he left behind.

 

In GONE WITHOUT A TRACE, young professional Hannah returns from work to find her live-in boyfriend, Matt, is gone. His belongings have disappeared from their house. Every call she ever made, every text she ever sent, every photo of him and any sign of him on social media have vanished. It’s as though their last four years together never happened. As she struggles to get through the next few days, with humiliation and recriminations whirring through her head, she knows she’ll do anything to get answers. Where has he gone? Why has he left?

 

Then the messages start—cryptic and creepy texts and videos—and Hannah realizes that someone is watching her every move. And there are signs that someone has been in her house.

As her search for Matt progresses, Hannah treads further into madness and obsession—and the only way out is to come to terms with the one shocking truth she just can’t accept. . .

 

For anyone who has ever asked “Was it something I did?” GONE WITHOUT A TRACE brings to chilling light the doubt, fear, and obsession that can lie dormant in our most intimate relationships.

 

Shari Lapena, New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door, says: “Gone Without a Trace has one of the most interesting narrators I’ve ever come across.”

Review: The Yard by Alex Grecian

13056152I’m not sure I enjoyed the mystery part of this novel. Parts of it were just too far-fetched. However, I loved the characters. I loved the going back in time to see an earlier time in the policeman’s lives. To see how they came to be members of the “Murder Squad”. The policemen themselves were interesting enough, but when you added the background stories they became larger than life. I really loved to see the bits of their past that motivates them in the pursuit of justice. I am a bit sad **SPOILER – KIND OF – NOT REALLY** that they won’t all be involved in the second book. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of all of them.

As always, these Victorian era novels fascinate me and I always find myself running to google to look up different things…this novel was no different! I’m really looking forward to reading more of this series and from the look of things, they only get better as the series continues!

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now The Yard by Alex Grecian

Review: A Perilous Undertaking (Veronica Speedwell, #2) by Deanna Raybourn

30008834I didn’t just fall in love with this novel like I did the first in the series. However, after finishing it, I think I do appreciate this one much more.

In Veronica we now see someone that has grown a bit since we last saw her. She isn’t nearly as annoying as she was in the first book. She seems to no longer feel the need to let everyone else she knows everything…yes, she still believes she’s more clever than most, but she isn’t determined to prove it in this novel.

Stoker…damn, he was so attractive to me in the first novel…he was no less in this one.

This mystery wasn’t as engaging as the last one was (for me). There also is much less *tension* between Veronica and Stoker. However, what Raybourn has managed to do is simply amazing.

What do I mean by this? Veronica and Stoker are both very independent people. Often authors present us with what they believe independent people, but at the same time, they are actually very dependent. They go out of their way to prove to their independence when all they really want to do is be dependent. It’s what I find most annoying about romantic novels. Women or men that are suppose to be so strong and then overnight become weak and hopeless waiting on someone to rescue them. I’m not trying to be mean here…I’m just giving my viewpoint…

But this? Veronica and Stoker are fast friends and best mates, but they are still independent thinkers. I don’t see that changing. Somehow Raybourn has managed to keep the characters true to themselves. Veronica and Stoker are a united front against the world. We all know that eventually they will be together (YES YES YES) however, I don’t believe they will ever fit in with society’s norm to do so. I don’t believe they will ever find it necessary to become dependent on each other…yes, of course they will depend on each other…they do that now…but you’ll never find one sniveling and hiding in the corner and acting the fool to win the other’s love…they won’t need to…they truly are secure in their own identity…

I know this is probably my worst review EVER!!! But I place all the blame on just how much I love what Raybourn has created in these two characters. Two people that have very checkered pasts, two people that aren’t holding themselves pure and chaste for the perfect love, two people that are self confident enough to not try to manipulate (although they both have no problem doing so to get to the truth of the matter in their investigations) each other…and yet they trust each other 100% and don’t feel a need to give one iota of a care to what anyone else thinks about their relationship. This novel might not be the best…this mystery might not be the best…but this relationship is so refreshing to me that I am just at a loss of words…

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

Review: Escape Clause (Virgil Flowers, #9) by John Sandford

28815364Okay, so maybe chasing tigers doesn’t make this a great read…maybe some of it was a bit far-fetched as well…however, I don’t give a rat’s arse…this is the Sandford I love…characters going back and forth with sarcasm and wit that makes you feel like you’re right there in the same room with them.

I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to Flowers now that Davenport has moved on and isn’t his boss any longer…reading this novel made me realise that it doesn’t even matter any longer…

Flowers is no longer a spin-off from The Prey Series…Virgil isn’t simply a protégé of Lucas Davenport’s. He’s all grown up now and is his own self.

I’ve often marveled at how Sandford has taken Davenport and shaped him into someone who is still relevant despite his aging years and his greying temples…

But now I am seeing the exact same with Flowers. I used to be amused by Flowers, but didn’t really have any real respect for him. I found him a bit too free-spirited to take seriously….but he’s really grown on me…I like the serious Flowers I see now…yes, he still maintains that free spirit bobble headed boy, but there’s no doubt that his spirit is laced with steel. His experiences have hardened him and we see more and more of that…but that hardening hasn’t changed who he is…only how he handles the situations he’s found himself in….

I think there is a lot more to Flowers that we’ll see in the future and that’s why this is still a series that I am still excited about!

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now Escape Clause (Virgil Flowers, #9) by John Sandford

Review: Escape From Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden

11797365This is a hard one to review. Here we have the story of Shin Dong-hyuk. Born and raised in a North Korea political prison camp Shin eventually escapes. Very few are so fortunate…..I was torn for my feelings for Shin. Even Harden did not seem to like him very much. So many of the things Shin does are hard to accept….However, he was a product of his environment. I can’t imagine what myself or any other would do in his situation. It’s hard to believe that in this day and age that some people never have an opportunity to know what being treated as a human is like. We can’t possibly understand that to turn in someone else, knowing that it will most likely cause their death, means that we get to live another day. Yes, it is easy to *say* that we would rather die then turn in another just so we could continue on for a few more hours, days, or months….however, we have been treated with kindness at some point in time. We have laid down on a blanket of fresh grass and truly tasted freedom. But what if we have only known the inside of a prison camp such as those in North Korea.

It’s hard to stop trying to figure out the why and to not pass judgement of Shin. If he were perhaps a better man would it have made any difference in the death of others? Would he be alive today to try to better his life? What lengths would you go to for a grain of rice?

What makes us the person we are today? It’s hard to read this book and flat-out deny that environment does not play a major role in that. However, not everyone in the camps do what Shin did to survive. So where does that come from?

What strikes me most is that it’s only when Shin decides to change how he deals with another human that he finally finds his freedom. I just wonder if Shin would change anything if he could go back in time….

This is a depressing eye-opening read if you really want to know what goes on outside of your borders….Perhaps one that Dennis Rodman should read…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now Escape From Camp 14 by Blaine Harden

Review: Extreme Prey (Lucas Davenport #26) by John Sandford

26025992This one took me a bit longer to finish…I did enjoy it…I did! However, if not for the ending I might very well have rated it a teeny tiny bit lower.

The thing is, I love Sandford so much because of his incredible gift of writing dialogue. When Davenport is with his comrades, well it just doesn’t get any better. The banter between him and his friends/colleagues…well it just doesn’t get any better….Stanford really shines and it’s probably the main reason he’s been a favourite author for decades.

With this novel I just felt Davenport was adrift. Yes, he did his “job non-job”…but he was out on his own. Yes, we met some really interesting characters that I hope to run into again in the future….yes, we saw some old characters that we haven’t seen in a while. All of that was great…but that closeness, dialogue, and teamwork that we’ve always seen in the past was just missing for me.

Lucas hasn’t been happy professionally for a while now. That has left him adrift professionally, and now that seemed to leak into his personal life as well. I mean, really, he didn’t even seemed to connect with his family like he used to…

Hopefully the ending of this book will clear all of this out and Lucas will be part of a team again…in his personal life as well as his professional one…yes, he’ll always be the top dog, even when he isn’t…but at least he’ll be a member of the pack instead of just a lone wolf…

However…this does bring up new developments for that F’ing Flowers now doesn’t it…

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now Extreme Prey by John Sandford