Review: When I Am Through with You

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This one didn’t go anything like I was expecting.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  However, it does make for a difficult task writing a review without giving too much away.

Teenagers, weekend hike in the mountains, somebody dies.  That’s the story in a nutshell.  There’s a bit more to it, of course.  Ben starts off the story by telling you that he killed someone.  Not just any someone, but his girlfriend while at the same time claiming to love her very much.  Just how and why he killed her remains a mystery for much of the story.  Along the way we’re introduced to a host of other characters with their own bits of intrigue.

While this was a good enough story, I feel like it could have been more.  I somehow felt cheated by the ending as I was expecting something a bit juicier.  Still, it’s suspenseful enough to keep you interested as you wonder just what’s going to happen with this ragtag group of teenagers out in the middle of nowhere.

Read it and let me know what you think!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  When I Am Through with You

Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

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What a thrill it must be, as an author, to have your debut novel reach the top of the best seller list.  To have everyone talking about it, recommending it.  To have it made into a movie, even.  But as wonderful as this all must be, there’s a downside.  Everyone expects your next novel to be just as good if not better.  Unfair, probably.  Still, the bar has been set.

There’s a river that runs through town.  It’s a river filled with mystery and intrigue.  It’s where many a woman has met her fate over the years.  The latest death isn’t like the others, though.  Nel’s death seems different, both to her daughter Lena and to her sister Jules.  Did she really kill herself?  Or was she digging too deep, uncovering the town’s hidden secrets?  If that’s the case, then everyone connected to her is in danger as well.

Did I enjoy this one as much as The Girl on the Train?  Not really.  There’s a lot going on, and there are a lot of characters to keep up with.  It seems like the story is trying to be too much at once.  It’s a mystery/thriller, of course.  But there’s also a supernatural-paranormal element at work although that aspect is never fully developed.  That doesn’t stop me from recommending it, though.  It’s a good story, well worth your time.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Into the Water

Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

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A missing baby.  A maybe slightly psychotic mother.  A lying father.  Kinky next door neighbors.  They’re all there, a cast of characters to set you up for one heck of a story.

When their babysitter cancels at the last minute,  Anne’s first instinct is to skip the dinner party next door.  But somehow, her husband Marco convinces her that it’ll be okay to leave the sleeping baby home alone.  Their houses share a wall, after all.  And they’ll be checking up on Cora every thirty minutes.  What could possibly go wrong?

Of course it does go wrong.  Baby Cora goes missing.  And there are very few clues left behind.  It’s natural that suspicion would fall upon her parents.  Anne has been slightly depressed, after all. And Marco’s business isn’t doing so well. Was he so desperate for money that he’d stage a kidnapping and ransom demand?

But wait.  There’s more. There are also the shady dinner party neighbors, especially the wife Cynthia who has eyes for Marco.  And Anne’s dad? He’s got a ton of money, thanks to her mom.  Along with that, he has some questionable business dealings.  Or was it really just a random event, a crime of opportunity?  Somehow the detectives in charge don’t think so.  But the deeper they dig, the more twists and turns they find.

This was quite an enjoyable book.  There are so many characters who could be guilty that even when I found how who dunnit, I was still suspicious of the others.  And it’s very twisty and turny, right up until the very end.  Also to note, I listened to the audio version which had an excellent narrator.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Couple Next Door

 

Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

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There are those books that, while good enough to keep you reading, aren’t necessarily in the “can’t put it down until I finish it” category.  And as voracious readers, we understand that.  Not every story can be a page turner of epic proportions.  That’s what I was thinking as I worked my way through the first half of this one.  But then, oh boy.

The loss of a child is unimaginable for most of us, thankfully.  So it’s impossible to truly understand how we might react.  Would you find the strength to go on?  Or would you curl up in a ball and simply wither away?  Jacob’s mother is faced with just this dilemma when his young life is tragically ended on a rainy street.  To make matters worse, the driver just keeps on going.  Justice is not served, she’s left without a child and a purpose, and a killer runs free.  So she leaves town, presumably hoping for a fresh start elsewhere.

The detectives on the case, however, can’t let it go.  Lead after lead is exhausted, and still they plow on, hoping for that big break.  And finally it comes.  But it’s not what they expected.  Actually, it’s not what anyone expected.  And this is where I’ll stop.

Told in differing viewpoints alternating between past and present, this story is unforgettable.  Seems like a simple detective novel at first, but ends up being so much more.  So much more that I did not move from my couch as I raced through the last half.  Get it, read it, and enjoy!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  I Let You Go

Review: The Stolen Mackenzie Bride by Jennifer Ashley

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Since I never read the synopsis, I didn’t know who this book was about. But when I realized who the story was about and my heart started to race. From reading the previous books, I knew who Malcolm was and how he became Duke. I didn’t read a sad story, a story I already knew the outcome. But I kept going and realized this was so much more.

This love story was so epic and emotional, filled with heartache and honor. Mal loved his family so much he was willing to do just about anything to keep them safe and together. Oh my gosh. And he loved Mary something fierce. His love for her was his driving force for all of his actions. He was never going to leave her unless he had no other choice.

This story had me smiling and crying. And I mean CRYING. So embarrassing. These battles happened. These man lost their lives. This was real. And through it all, Malcolm never stopped fighting for his love. Ugh. So many tears…

You can read this book first, as a standalone, or read the series in order. I personally liked reading in order. As you read, you’re able to see glimpses of future Mackenzies in the past ones. I could totally pick out all the brothers’ personalities. It was fun to see which brother was matched up with what nephew. I loved it! I can’t wait for the next book. My historical romance heart is verra happy with this series.

~Melpomene

Buy The Stolen Mackenzie Bride HERE.

Review: X by Sue Grafton

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It was many years ago, in the basement of my local library during a used book sale, that I discovered the magic of Sue Grafton’s alphabet series.  Grabbing volumes A, B, and C for a measly .50 each, I soon fell in love with Kinsey Milhone.  I quickly grabbed all available titles and anxiously awaited each new release.  Sadly, I’ve slacked off a bit over the last several years.  Too many books, too little time. But still, I keep coming back to this series like a comfy pair of flannel jammies.

Once again, Kinsey finds herself unwittingly caught up in a mystery.  It starts off simple enough with a seemingly harmless meeting and an easy little job locating a missing person.  Soon, though, Kinsey finds out that she’s been had.  And the mystery goes much deeper than she ever suspected.  Stolen art, murder, robbery, it’s all there.  Of course, along the way, we are treated to generous helpings of the characters we’ve grown to love.  There’s Henry, Kinsey’s lovable landlord/surrogate father.  And Ed the cat, Rosie, William, they’re all there.

Is this the best book of the series?  Not by a long shot.  I found it a bit draggy at times and too drawn out at others.  With a character like Kinsey, however, those are just small bumps in the road.  You read these books for the storyline, sure.  But just as much, you read them because you’ve grown to know and love the characters.  It’ll be a very sad day when I read the very last page of volume Z.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  X

Review: The Sixth Idea (Monkeewrench, #7) by PJ Tracy

2777462129966598(Titled Cold Hit in the UK) I really love this series so I was well chuffed when I received an ARC to read and review. I’ve been a huge fan of the mother/daughter team of PJ Tracy. I was totally blown away when Monkeewrench was published in 2003 and I am always excited when a new installment comes out.

If I wasn’t already familiar with the Monkeewrench team I might have been a bit disappointed in this novel…or perhaps I wouldn’t have been disappointed in it, but I wouldn’t have understood the relationship that the 5 team members (yes, Charlie IS a team member) share.

I really enjoyed this novel. I just wish there had been more of the interaction between the team. I really missed that. No, we didn’t have to revisit and rehash all of the past, but there just didn’t seem to be the same chemistry between them as there has been in other novels.

Don’t let my disappointment stop you from reading a very good novel! Please! If I’m to be honest, maybe I can admit that the lack of chemistry between the team might mean that they are all in better places and much more able to support themselves emotionally.

Yes, you can read this novel and follow along just fine. You won’t be lost. It’s a good solid standalone crime novel…however, don’t cut yourself short. This is a series that deserves to be read from the first book. If only you can see how wonderful this series is.

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now The Sixth Idea by PJ Tracy

Review: Reaper’s Fire by Joanna Wylde

01 ar My feelings are bit all over the place for this book. I’m not sure what to think here. I was expecting one story and I got another. We met Gage in Reaper’s Fall. We saw a glimpse of Tinker too, but not too much. I was anxious to see what their story entailed, but it just didn’t turn out like I thought.

Let start out by saying that I liked Tinker. She was fantastic. She was way to good for Gage, but she still wanted him. Bad thing was he was undercover for the Reapers and had a girl/lover with this new club. He was with her practically the entire time. So this book had a slow burn in the romance department. Gage wanted Tinker, but he needed to finish this job, or his and her life would be on the line.

There was quite a bit of tension throughout this story. This club wasn’t doing things the right way and sometimes Tinker was mixed up in the middle of the mess and that stressed me out. I understand where Gage was coming from, but I wish he just dropped the undercover stuff and ran with Tinker.

While I am happy we get to see Gage’s story, there was so much I felt that should’ve been resolved. I felt that the ending was rushed and it left me wanting more. The timelines between this and Reaper’s Fall were a bit off, so I was getting mixed up. I know I’ll continue with the series, but I hope each book stays separate from now on.

~Melpomene

Buy Reaper’s Fire HERE.

Review: Only Beloved by Mary Balogh

01 aonly It’s done. It’s over. I’m sad. This was such a beautiful and emotional series. It’s only fitting that we close it out with George’s book. I mean, he is the reason The Survivors’ Club was here in the first place.

After the death of his son and wife, George, the Duke of Stanbrook, took it upon himself to open his house to many men and women who suffered after the Napoleonic Wars. He grew close to six of them and watched them get healthy and find their happily ever afters. But after seeing them happy, he felt lonely. He was always content with just his friends, but now he feels that it’s time to see if he can fins happiness for himself.

Dora was content in her life. It didn’t turn out the way she was hoping, but she has no regrets. She has a job and a few close friends. What more does she need? Turns out, she needed George.

When she met George a year ago, she was dazzled, but didn’t think anything would come of it. He’s a friend of her sister and brother-in-law, and that’s it. But when he shows up unannounced, she must make a decision that will change the course of her life.

Now, of course, like all the survivors, George isn’t without a backstory. And his story is one of heartbreak and deception. But he hid it well, under the guise of friendship and mentor. He was the listener of the group, not the sharer.

So bittersweet to see this series end. But I am quite happy with how well everyone turned out. The epilogue is exactly what I needed to move on. Knowing these survivors are well loved and taken of, makes me very content.

I can’t wait to see what new series Mary has up her sleeves.

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

01 wra “She was a dangerous, dangerous girl. A plague. A Mountain of Adamant who tore the iron from ships, sinking them to their watery graves without a second thought. With a mere smile and a wrinkle of her nose.”

This is one of the most epic and beautiful stories I have ever read. The backdrop was so rich in details I felt like I was there. The romance was a slow burn that had my heart twisting. The story itself had me neglecting my family, just so I could read faster. I was completely drawn into the story so much, that I never wanted to put it down. The words…oh, sweet heaven, the words…so romantic.

SYNOPSIS
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

I’ll admit, at first, I never saw this turning into a romance, even though everyone said it was. I just couldn’t see how anyone could love a boy who had his wives murdered each night. I thought that there was no way he could ever be loved. I was so very wrong!

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”

Shazi is a good wife. She will do her duties to the king, even though she is terrified. She has more determination to stay alive and find out why all of the wives are found dead each morning, and to not become one of them. She is different than Khalid’s past wives and he finds himself intrigued with her.

The more I read, I knew there was more going on with Khalid!! I just knew it! Heck, I even fell in love with him. This murdering boy-king stole my heart.

“This dangerous girl. This captivating beauty.
This destroyer of worlds and creator of wonder.”

I read this book back in December but I could never review it fully, due to the fact that my simple words could never convey exactly how much I love this story. Now as I prepare for my reread, in anticipation for The Rose and the Dagger, I felt I needed to try. I highly recommend this story to those who are in the mood for a rich romance set in the beautiful Arabian nights backdrop. Your heart will thank you. If you are unsure as to how much I loved this book, look at this picture and notice the amount of tabs I used. So many beautiful words. I wish I could use them all in my review.
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~Melpomene

Buy The Wrath and the Dawn

Be sure and check out the short story,The Moth and the Flame: A Wrath & the Dawn Short Story, which, even though it’s only a few pages, will make you fall in love with Khalid all over again and have you wanting more from his point of view.

Preorder The Rose and the Dagger before it release April 26th.