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

Review: The Promise by Robert Crais

22169495I loved this series when it first came out. However, I soon found I didn’t much care for Elvis Cole…Joe Pike? Now that’s a different story! So I was very excited to see this one listed as a Joe Pike book. If you’re the same, don’t be. This isn’t a Pike novel. He’s only mentioned a few times and really plays no vital parts…if those scenes were erased the book would have read the exact shame. It’s pretty shameful really for the publishers to present it as a Pike novel as well as a Cole novel….

The story was good. We also come in contact with another interesting character, Joe Stone. Will be very interesting to see him in follow-up books. My feelings of Cole remain the same though. He just doesn’t inspire much in me. It’s only because I’m above downgrading a book simply because I hate a character (EASE UP, PEOPLE….that was a joke!!!!!) that I enjoyed this book as much as I did. I was hoping that after a long break from this series (I do still try to pick up the Pike novels) that I would fall in love all over again with Crais…sadly that didn’t happen. This is an enjoyable read, but to be fair, it won’t be one I give another thought to now that I have finished the last page, ask me in two weeks what the finer points are and I won’t be able to say…Maybe it’s just because I’m older now, but I try to look for more in a book these days…

Until next time…

Urania

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now The Promise by Robert Crais

Review: The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

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This book is so very much.  It’s a love story, a tale of tragedy, a story of folktales, and a story of the Otherworlds in one ambitious undertaking.

Natalie has always felt different.  No surprise, considering that she’s adopted.  But there’s also the matter of seeing things that others can’t even imagine.  It’s just part of who she is.  And she’s especially comforted by late night visits from “Grandmother”, a kindly elderly apparition.  Grandmother has always been a soothing force in her life, a source of comfort and stability.  Until the night that Grandmother comes with an eerie warning:  “You have three months to save him.”  No other hints or clues as to who this “him” might be.

It’s around this time that she also begins seeing glimpses of another world, with other people.  Sometimes what she sees is familiar but not really.  Like peering through a looking glass into the past.  And she’s not the only one with this ability.  There’s Beau, who of course is handsome and kind and confident and all those wonderful things that teenagers love.  But can he help figure out just who it is that’s in need of saving?

This debut novel by Emily Henry is beautiful.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going in, so it took me a bit longer to digest it all.  It’s a somewhat lengthy book at almost 400 pages, but it’s necessary to fully tell the story.  And don’t rush the ending like I did.  As such, I found myself going back to reread on more than one occasion.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Love That Split the World

Review: The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman

22430677Hip Hip Hooray!!! I am soooooooooooooo glad I picked this book to read out of the thousands I have on my TBR list….I’m not at all sure that I could have found any other book like it….what a delightful change!

I don’t even know where to begin….I mean, I’m very sure that many people would find a book that starts with a 10-year-old girl, born and raised in a whorehouse fighting her way into a boxing ring, against both men and women, completely horrible….I admit to finding myself cringe at bits of this tale! Especially once the reader finds out that the boxing is some of the more pleasant bits of the story!

No, the novel isn’t all about boxing. Yes, it’s a huge part….HOWEVER, the actually boxing takes up only a small portion of the novel…..

Not only do you have the one young girl who grows up right before your eyes, you have several other key characters…and Freeman ties them all together with ambition, lies, deceit, obsession, love, and hate. You have key players that would do anything for one another….and those that are nothing short of unfeeling opportunists..you see what lengths some will go to for loyalty and how others feel not an ounce of it and look out only for themselves….

Finally we find out that the old adage is true….beauty comes from within and has nothing really to do with how a person looks….

What I especially loved about this book is that we see the flaws in the characters we love…and at times, as much as it pains me to say, for the characters we absolutely hate, Freeman made us feel pity for them…

I should also point out that for a very long time now, I start out all excited about a book but my enthusiasm often wains after a short while….I can still enjoy the novel and the story and the characters, but I lose my feelings of excitement over the whole experience…..with this novel….I have to say…..it only built and built….that hardly EVER happens…..sometimes my enthusiasm doesn’t leave me….but I can’t ever recall a book that had me liking it from the very start and my love growing with each new chapter….near the end of the book I had to walk away for a bit because I was NOT willing to say goodbye to some of the characters that I was so enjoying….I was also fearful that it would not have a happy ending….I’m not a reader that has to have a happy ending for a book…but I really wanted it for some of these people….

I know this book isn’t for everyone….however, I don’t really care….I absolutely loved it and I encourage everyone to step outside their comfort zone and give it a try….I won’t hesitate to recommend this to any and everyone…and that isn’t something you’ll see me doing often…

Until next time….

Urania xx

Buy it now The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman

Review: A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

23160039What can I say? I absolutely loved this book I adored it! Enjoyed every word of it. I hated for it to end. I hope this is a long series. Please! Pretty please. Let this be a long series!

Okay, the dirty bits out of the way first….I imagine there will be more than a few people who claim the heroine, Veronica Stillwater is annoying. That she’s too arrogant, or silly, or doesn’t know half of what she *thinks* she does. All of that is true. But dangnabbit, I loved her anyway! Besides, if everyone has different personalities, why can’t someone have one exactly like Miss Stillwater? Independent, promiscuous, and outspoken…all of that in a time where ladies were better known to be quiet and subservient. I find it refreshing for an author to show us a heroine that is strong and independent. At no time does Miss Stillwater give up her independence. At no time does she succumb to being a victim. At no time does she play coy. At no time is she anything other than what she proclaims to be…. #yougogirl

The other bit that readers might object to….the mystery bit solved. I realise that many people will say it’s unbelievable. That it just wasn’t feasible. All I can say is, HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!? Have you actually read any history books? Have you not seen what depths that people will go to for power? What lengths they will go to in order to obtain power? Sometimes the truth really is stranger than fiction…and although this is indeed fiction, the outrageousness of the entire scenario makes it very believable for me.

Now let’s get to the good bits….oh wait….those WERE good bits! hahahahaha…..seriously, those bits DID in fact bother me at the start….but then I realised that they were only bothering me because I KNEW people would find fault with them….then towards the end, I decided to say screw it…I LOVE THIS BOOK….if you don’t….well you’re the nutter…not me!

And finally…let’s discuss Stoker….OH MY GOSH….I think I’m in love. Thank you thank you thank you, Deanna Raybourn for not making Stoker into someone who just gives into his desires. Thank you for not making he take over and save the day. Thank you for building up such a strong attraction and tension between the two wonderful lead characters and for not spoiling it by having one or the other *change* who they are in an instant just to satisfy some lusty readers (no offense to any lusty readers out there).

I seriously wish I could pick up the next book right this second and start it. I already miss Veronica and Stoker. I am already suffering from withdraw.

Yep, you can bet your bottom dollar I shall be waiting for the next installment of this series….

PS Would you just look at this lush cover? Oh my my my….It’s stunning, innit?

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley and Edelweiss for an honest review (and I HONESTLY LOVED this book)

Buy it now A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Review: Gathering Prey by John Sandford

23281640If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times…Sandford is the absolute master of dialogue. This latest edition to the long running Davenport series is no disappointment in terms of dialogue. The banter between the characters leaves me chucking at times and feeling like I am right there as part of the group. I’ve never experienced any other writer than can nail it so completely. Maybe it’s the sarcasm that pops up from time to time that I relate to so well….

First all, I’ve been an avid and yea….perhaps a rabid fan of John Sandford since the 80’s. I’ve been with Lucas from the very start and I have read them all. I marvel at how Sandford continues to keep this series exciting and fresh after all these years. I have watched Lucas grow up and mature. I don’t even mind anymore that he’s with Weather (I never felt she was a strong enough character for Lucas from the start). I don’t even mind that his hair has grey in it…or that he’s now in the over 50 club. He’s still relevant!

If I am to be honest, I love this series even more now then I did when it first began. It’s just gotten better in more ways than one…

Just as we start to feel that Lucas is getting bogged down in his job…well, Sandford fixes that. We see some hints of conflict between long time characters that spell lots of changes in not just Davenport’s professional life, but perhaps his personal life as well.

Sandford has also been prepping us for more of Lucas’ daughter…really, since she was first introduced in Naked Prey….but in this installment, Letty really comes to shine and we continue getting glimpses of the young adult she is becoming.

The ending of the book didn’t disappoint. I won’t bore you with the plot summery….If you’ve read Sandford, you already know there’s going to be some very bad people who Davenport is going to be tracking…This novel had more than it’s fair share….but from the very start you can sense that the feelings of dissatisfaction, boredom, and aggravation that Davenport has been feeling for his job has got to come to some sort of head. Lucas once again sets off in what can only be called “Davenport style” and off on his own to do what needs to be done. It’s who he is. It’s what I often miss from the older books. So often (as in real life) politics and endless bureaucratic barriers are there to tie Davenport’s hands and prevent him from doing his job in a timely fashion. Not this time….

The ending….well it doesn’t leave me feeling worried….or fearing for the next book. I am excited. I can’t wait to see what happens. It not only opens up this series to endless new possibilities, it also does the same for Sandford’s other series that centers around Virgil “F” Flowers….

Bring, it Sandford….I’m ready!!!!

Until next time….

Urania xx

Buy it now Gathering Prey by John Sandford

Review: The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q #1) by Jussi Adler-Olsen

keeperHow many times to you keep seeing a title of a book and remind yourself weekly that you *really* should get around to reading it? Well, “The Keeper of Lost Causes” is a book I’ve been meaning to read for years. For one reason or another it just kept getting pushed to the back burner.

Now that I’ve finally finished it I feel that I need to give myself a swift kick up the arse for being a total idget and not reading it sooner! This is a detective novel for sure…there’s plenty of mystery and suspense to go around. The storyline and the suspense is truly enough to satisfy anyone that loves Thrillers. However, what is even more remarkable with this novel are the characters. Not the main character. Granted, once again, the head of Department Q is plenty enough to satisfy anyone…there is so much to his inner workings that you can’t wait to spend more time with him….however, the secondary characters are truly outstanding. There isn’t a single one that you don’t long to know more of. There are many that you can easily hate (but in an, “I LOVE to hate you” kind of way) but there are also a few that you will absolutely fall in love with. You will want to rush out and finish the rest of the series just so you can see where Adler-Olsen takes them. You will long to hear their background history…You will thirst to know what happens next. I simply can’t wait to revisit them all soon and to see what is happening with them.

Adler-Olsen has done a brilliant job in laying the foundation in a series that will have you wishing the characters were not only real people….but also part of your intimate circle of friends.

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q #1) by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Joint Review: The Stranger by Harlan Coben

strangerPegasus: Here’s the predicament: How far would you go for love? How far are you capable of going? I bet if you asked 1000 people, you’d get 1000 unique responses. Love is one of those emotions that has no universal meaning, and yet everyone knows it when they are hit with it. We all have different ways of expressing it, and we all have different depths to which we’ll go in order to keep it, or at least a resemblance of it. This is the central theme that Harlan Coben explores in his new thriller, The Stranger.

Urania: Seriously, Pegasus? That’s what you got from this thriller? Here I thought it was about “How long does it take you to realise you’re completely selfish and surrounded by the same type of selfishness of all those around you”….oh wait…no…….maybe it’s, “You never really appreciate something until it’s gone”? Yep…that sums it up for me….I just can’t decide which one is the best summary of this novel….

Pegasus: I see what you mean in regards to Adam and Corrine, but my point really applies to the secondary characters that got blackmailed.  Love, naivete and stupidity, all mean the same thing when it comes to those two;  they have this fucked up relationship in which none of them know how to express what they feel, and indeed realise what they are feeling.

Pegasus: I read this in 24 hours – it is a very quick and easy read, which is more or less what you tend to expect from a thriller, and in that respect, I enjoyed this book. However, I had issues with some of the characters. First off, the main character that the plot focuses on is Corrine. What happened to her, did she do what she is being accused of, and why did she do certain things. The answers to these questions were the epicenter of the plot, and yet Coben did a poor job in really fleshing out Corrine’s character. There was no emotion there, no real understanding, just a basic outline of a mum obsessed with her son’s school sports. I think this book would have really benefited from some flashback scenes. Enough to show us possible motive and the chance for the reader to actually give a shit about what happens to her. The same can be said for Adam. Coben portrays him as this alpha male type character that won’t let anything or anyone harm his family, but that is all we get. Again, this is where some flashbacks would have really helped in order to show his vulnerability and indeed a 3D portrait of his character.

Urania: Well at least on this we agree. However (don’t you just love it when I say, “however”….can you just see me rolling me eyes as I say it?) I think the way Coben portrayed the characters just validates exactly how I felt about this novel. The only question I have it was it intentional? We get to see both the husband and the wife take each other for granted. We get to see them both act in ways that does not make their partners feel valid or cherished. Corrine is portrayed as a somewhat controlling, unfeeling person by her husband from the start. However, as the novel goes on, her husband starts to appreciate her more. We see glimpses then, and only then, of how he has taken her for granted and suddenly he is missing her and appreciating all she means to him and his children. We see how she has tried to be fair to many of those around her…when at first, we were led to believe that she was totally self-centered and ignored anyone’s else’s needs or wants.

Pegasus:  I think Coben was playing on the whole unreliable narrator made most famous in Gone Girl.  However, (see, I can use that word too!) he failed.  He failed big time.  To have a successful unreliable narrator, you need decent characters. and these ones were simply not given the consideration they needed.

Urania:  This outlying theme of selfishness and lack of appreciation can be said of every single character in this novel if you look at them all as a whole. Every single problem/crime/relationship conflict can all be tied to these two things…0000000

But hey ho….isn’t that the way it is in the real world as well?

Pegasus: I will give credit where credit is due though: The plot outline was good and had it had the benefit of another 100 pages or so, I believe it could have been a very juicy and emotional story. Also, Coben did pose some questions for us to ponder: What does love mean? How do we define it? What lengths will we go to protect it? What does it mean to be “living the dream”? What is perfection? As he made me think, I will give Coben credit, as many thriller writers don’t achieve that.

Urania: I never realised you were such a romantic, Pegasus….Credit is giving by me to Coben for just enforcing my belief that most people are only looking out for #1….just saying….

Pegasus:  But doesn’t that go hand in hand?  We think we love someone, but really, are just looking out for numero uno. What one may see as love, another may see as pure selfishness.

Urania: Oh dear…oh dear me…I can’t believe I’m going to say this…but here goes…I’m getting up there in age…and a few years ago I would have 100% agreed with your statement, Pegasus…but now? Not at all…call me foolish, but there isn’t any of that looking out for myself any longer…I come second….of course it’s a joint second and I’m tied with him…but numero uno? That’s *us*….100%….

Pegasus: I’ve said this in a previous review of Missing You, also by Harlen Coben, that the author has picked apart at this massive theme, and yet only scratched the service. It left me, in my opinion, feeling like I’ve just eaten a good meal, but the final taste just didn’t come together as I’d hope it would do.

Urania: yea yea yea…whatever….you didn’t really think I was going to give you the last word did you?

Pegasus: (-:

Until next time…

Pegasus and Urania

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now The Stranger by Harlan Coben

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

mebeforeThis is another prime example of why I don’t read book descriptions. If I had read this book’s description I doubt if I would have given it a chance…If I had done that I would have missed out on this fantastic novel.

Yes, I won’t lie…it is sad….I would even say it is somewhat predictable. I knew long before the reader was *told* what was going on. I also knew how it would end. However, I will say that unlike a “Nicolas Spark” (yes, I am about to be negative about NS, get over it) I did not feel like the ending was done just to jerk on the readers emotional chain. I don’t feel like it was done for shock value. I feel it was done to keep the book honest.

It doesn’t really matter if you agree with the choices the characters made for their future (without giving massive spoilers here it is very difficult to discuss this novel)…the point of the novel is that it is ultimately the character’s own choice. No matter how much we love someone. No matter how much we want to do the right thing….at the end of the day we have to love those in our lives enough to let them make their own choices, even if we disagree with them with every fiber of our being.

Moyes does a fabulous job of pointing this out. Of, hopefully, making the reader aware that we shouldn’t be so quick to judge the actions of others. That we should never ever say what is right for another person.

I think much of the public think that the choices discussed in this novel are *easy* choices…or an *easy* way out of a terrible situation. After reading this novel I’m pretty sure it’s obvious that this just isn’t the case. Bravery and selflessness is shown by all the characters in this novel. Yes, it is something they are all struggling with….but at the end of the day they all put away their own desires to support an unbearable end…

I had my own personal beliefs about issues discussed in this book before I read it. I still have the same outlook after reading it. Bottom line….you have no idea of the struggles people go though, even those that are closet to you and ones that you love. You have no right to press your viewpoints on to someone else. You have no right to tell someone what they must do, even if you do so with the very best intentions….As humans we have a basic obligation to respect each other’s wishes and to not pass judgement on something we don’t have a clue about. No one knows how they would act in a situation until they are actually in THAT situation. You can tell yourself a million times that “I would never make that choice”, but until you’re forced to do so you really can’t be sure….

Yea…yea….yea….I know this is a rubbish review and you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about….so stop reading it already and go out and read the damn book whydon’tcha?

Until next time….
Urania xx

Buy it now Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Review: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

oneplusMy first Jojo Moyes novel and I have to say that I can now add a new author to my favourites list. Moyes is one of those authors that you now hear so much about in the literary world that you might find yourself hesitant to actually read one of her novels! You might feel that she couldn’t possible live up to all the hype. You might put off reading one of her novels because, well….she’s talked about so often you just take for granted that they novels will always be there for you to finally pick one up at some point, but you see no need to drop all and read her now…..

I haven’t read any of her work probably because of a combination of those two different reasons….

It’s no secret that I’ve been a total slacker for the last year when it comes to reading. I’ve lost my reading mojo….I’m trying very hard to not pressure myself or to try to force reading back into my life. I still attempt to read most days….and I ALWAYS think about what I would like to be reading every single day….it’s just actually sitting down and doing it….and then trying to stay focused….or lost inside a book that I find difficult….

Having said all of that, this book grabbed me from about 30 pages in and it didn’t let me go….I read it in two days…..now back in the day I would have read it in a few hours….but two days for me at this point is saying that I absolutely loved this book. I could relate to all of the characters even though I can’t say I had much in common with them…I loved them all…

This book is about a family that is struggling….life just keeps throwing one thing after another at them…each member is facing their own battles….those battles are not only felt by one, but by all of them as they watch each other’s struggles. Finally, when they feel that they are moving forward and making progress, life yet again yanks the carpet out from under them. At times it is almost painful to watch.

However as this happens…and you think they just can’t take another bad thing, Moyes does the most amazing thing….She uses these events to bring the family together. See, it’s easy enough (or not) to just keep taking the knock downs and brushing yourself off….trying once again to go forward….but it’s an entirely different thing to see those around you go outside of their comfort zone to help one another. To feel as if they don’t want to go on, but they do…not for themselves….but for each other….these characters take steps, emotional steps, toward one another if for no other reason then to offer each other comfort and support. They might not be able to tell you where their next meal is coming from, but damnit, they are sure and certain that they will figure that out *together*….

Moyes proves here once again that the best things in life can’t be bought….and this family….despite having no physical wealth…well they are beyond rich in their treasure chest of love and a willingness to sacrifice for one another….

Until next time….
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now One Plus One by Jojo Moyes