Review: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

wildI really enjoyed this book, but it was a bit depressing. It really gives me pause and makes me think about how many people are out there like Chris McCandless. If he had chosen any other place he might still be alive today….but what would he be like? How many people do you know that march to a beat of a different drum? So many of those people who do so are geniuses in disguise. If we don’t find an outlet for the thoughts that go though our minds, what happens? Obviously, Chris wasn’t stupid. He obviously had a lot going on inside his head. It also appears that he kept a lot of that to himself. What if he had found someone to share those thoughts with? What if he had some type of outlet to deal with those thoughts? What is “wanderlust”? Was Chris rebelling? Was he protesting? Was he trying to find himself? Was he trying to reconcile his past relationships in his head? Or was it nothing so complex as that? Was he simply just “being” and going where that led him?

I’ve known people who I’ve thought could seriously live anywhere and with nothing and they would be happy…..material items mean nothing to them. They don’t worry about tomorrow….they know it will come regardless of how you prepare for it…and they know that it usually takes care of itself. I’ve often admired their courage to set forth and not know where they shall end at the end of the day. Staying in hostels or sleeping under the stars…..I’ve also though that there was a bit of madness there as well ūüôā I’ve wondered if they are running from something. Or just simply living life as they *want* to live it….

I’ve often wondered about really successful artists. Authors. Musicians. Painters. Really anyone that is successful doing things in a different way. I’ve often wondered what would happen if they hadn’t found their chosen fields. Or if they hadn’t been successful in those outlets. IOW if Stephen King couldn’t make a living from writing, what would he do? If Prince couldn’t do the same with music, where would he be? If Steve Jobs has never found tech…..The list goes on and on. Of course there are plenty out there that couldn’t…and they died penniless…only to be discovered long after their deaths…

But take it a step further….what if those people had never found that outlet in the first place? Would their search for it be termed “wanderlust”?

Face it, you see someone a bit unkept standing on a street corner and *if* you see them, you might make an automatic assumption…..if you see a young guy standing on the beach going, “Whoa, Dude”, again an assumption is made….

I’m pretty f**king sure the co-workers of Chris McCandless’ at McDonalds who jokingly offered him a bar of soap to get rid of the smell were making assumptions as well. However, they were wrong. Turns out that he was probably the most educated person there. He wasn’t stupid and unable to get work somewhere else. He wasn’t unmotivated. His family was probably more “well-to-do” than any one else’s. Chris didn’t have to be alone. Chris didn’t have to be flipping burgers at McDonalds. He *chose* to…..

I’m not saying that Chris was a closet genius and he would have changed the world. I’m only saying that these are the thoughts that ran though my head as I read this book.

It just all reinforced what I already know….We ALL have these *things* going on inside our head. Some of us just mask them better…..or find a way to deal with them…..no one ever knows everything that goes on with someone….even our loved ones…..we all have our secret thoughts and feelings….and sometimes motivations aren’t clear….even to ourselves…..

a little bit of kindness can go a very long way…..but so can a little bit of judgement…so be generous with your kindness and stingy with your judgement….

and finally…..

“we are all stories in the end”……

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) by Alan Bradley

bottom-pieI just love little Flavia…so wish I could go back in time and read these as a 10 year old! I would have been mad for her then! Such a cheeky little bugger! But whom I kidding? I love her now as a 46 year old!

If you think this is a short review, well you’re wrong…You don’t need me to tell you what the book is about, you just need me to tell you to go out and read it…so I am telling you now…it doesn’t matter how young or old you are…go out and buy this book…we all need a little Flavia in our lives!

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Review: Garden Spells (Waverley Family #1) by Sarah Addison Allen

garden-spellsWhat in the world did I do before I found Sarah Addison Allen when i needed a touch of magic in my life? Oh my….I just love her books more and more….I think I’ve appreciated and loved each book I’ve read more than the previous ones….I really enjoyed this one from SAA…..I’m sad that I only have one more to go….what will I do now? Where will I find the magic in everyday life? Yep…she needs to write faster!!!

If you haven’t ever tried SAA, please do. I never expected to love her so much. Don’t go thinking it’s all unreal and not believable because I mentioned magic. There’s just a tad…and only enough to assure you that, yes, magic really does exist in the world…and who doesn’t believe that, or at least wish they could believe in magic?

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Review: Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

remember-meThis was a book I really needed to read. I picked this one up from the charity table at my local co-op. I used to love Sophie Kinsella. It’s been a few year since I’ve read her so I thought I might revisit her writing again. Yesterday I decided to take this book with me in the car. Since moving to England I get car sick whilst reading my kindle. I wondered if it would happen with a dtb. To my delight it didn’t! I zoomed through a couple hundred pages. Then finished it today.

Here we have Lexi trying to regain the memories of the past 3 years. She lost the memories after a slight car accident.

I wonder how all of us would act and how lost we would be of we suddenly woke up one day and three years had passed. As You can imagine Lexi has a lot to come to terms with. She tries to reconcile this new, unknown Lexi with the Lexi she knew from before. Many of the pieces don’t fit and she struggles to make them all fit.

This has been a very tough week for me. My father’s birthday would have been this past week. A time I could always rely on knowing I would talk to him. His death hits me at times like waves. I felt greatly pulled under and lost the last few weeks. I lost a spider. Not a huge thing to many people I suppose, but gutting to me. And I’ve had the worst case of PMS I can remember. I’ve cried endless tears for no reason. I’ve been sad. I’ve been total drama queen. Like I said, it’s been a horrible week. Why say all of this in a review?

Because, books like this are seriously what has helped me get through the tough patches in my life. I loved this book because I could laugh a bit…because I could worry about someone else’s problems for a change…because I could sympathize with someone else and stop feeling sorry for myself…because for just a few hours I was able to forget…

I was lucky to find such a book as this for me just when I needed it. Thanks Ms Kinsella for making my week a little bit better. I truly needed it…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

Review: The Brothers K by David James Duncan

19534Let me just start by saying I don’t agree with all the reviews that say you don’t need to enjoy baseball to enjoy this book. I suppose you don’t need to love baseball to enjoy the book, but I think you need to at least like baseball a bit to LOVE the book. At least I felt so.

I’m not a huge baseball fan. Now I live in England so there is NO baseball here…The book lost something in the translation for me…simply because I couldn’t really relate. I also felt this book was way too long. It wasn’t an epic read for me that deserved so many pages. Yes it was interesting, it just wasn’t that interesting to me. I’m sorry. I know it’s a highly rated book. I know it’s about family. However, I think there are many other books out there that do such a better job at it than this one does.

“The Prince of Tides”. “To Kill a Mockingbird”. “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”. The list is endless. This book didn’t make the list for me.

Yes, there were some great moments in this novel. I loved some of the things the father did and said. He did shine at moments. However, there just wasn’t enough of them to make me glad I had invested so much of my time reading this novel. Sadly, none of the many characters will stay with me.

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now The Brothers K by David James Duncan

Review: First Comes Love by Emily Griffin

first-comes-loveI’ve read many Emily Giffin books in my time…This was nothing like any of the previous books that I’ve read by her. If you’re looking for some silly lighthearted reading, this isn’t the book I would recommend to you.

I have to admit, I was looking for silly and lighthearted when I picked up this novel…so was a bit disappointed.

This is a hard book to review. Not just because it was different from I expected. I just found it extremely hard to get into. At about 20% I was wishing I hadn’t even started it. I can’t say there was much of anything I was enjoying. I didn’t like the characters. More so, I hated the way they treated one another.

At about 40% – 50% things turned around and I didn’t want to put the book down. However, I can’t stress this enough, I absolutely HATED one of the characters, and as much as I tried to make allowances for her behaviour, I simply could not set my dislike aside. Even as I finished the last page, I still was flabbergasted at an adult acting like she did.

I’m not sure if Griffin meant for me to feel that the character that was presented as the most unsettled and immature, in my opinion, turned out to be more mature than the majority of the others, including the one that was settled, smart, and level-headed. Perhaps it should be noted at this point that everyone that leads a *perfect* life might, in fact, be hiding just how messed up their life really is…and those that seem scattered, and unsettled, might in fact be solid, steady, and perfectly okay.

Yes, the second half of the book is really engaging and you’re invested in the characters, and was well worth the time of the reader…however, I don’t think it should take half a book for things to start being interesting.

The book is really full of some adults that over the process of 15 years seem to revert to selfish children. I don’t feel any of those things ultimately changed at the end of the novel…I wouldn’t want those type of people surrounding me in real life…and sadly, at the end of the day, I didn’t want them surrounding me in my literary life either…

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now First Comes Love by Emily Griffin

Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

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In spite of the wide range of tastes we Muses have in books, there have been several times two of us have read & reviewed the same book. But I do believe this may be the first threepeat. ¬†And it’s one that’s well worthy of that distinction.

A nurse. ¬†A new father. An up and coming attorney. ¬†After the unexpected death of a newborn, their paths cross in a most unfortunate way. ¬†Ruth has worked hard to get where she is, and as a much respected nurse she never expected to be on trial for murder. ¬†But that’s just what happens when the white supremacist parents decide that she alone is responsible for the death of their baby. ¬†Her only hope is Kennedy, a still wet-behind-the-ears public defender who has never defended a murder case.

If you’re interested in a story that just sticks to the plot outlined above, this is not the book for you. ¬†But if you’re interested in something that goes deeper, to the very core of what we believe, then you’ll be pulled in from the very first page. ¬†Whether you agree with the ideas presented by the author or not, it will no doubt make you question everything you believe.

Jodi Picoult never ceases to amaze me. ¬†And she never shies away from controversial issues, taking them and weaving a story so compelling that you can’t put it down. ¬†This one is no exception. ¬†And as an aside, the Audible version of this one was outstanding with different narrators bringing the main characters to life for better or for worse. ¬†A timely story from one of the best!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Small Great Things