Review: Wonderland by Jennifer Hillier

wonderland-9781501115189_hrJennifer Hillier is one messed up writer. And I mean that in the best possible way. I mean, how else can you explain the brilliance of Creep, Freak, and then the Butcher? And then along comes this one. And there are clowns. And scary dolls. All of the most important elements of one heck of a scary story.

Vanessa is forced to return to her hometown after a scandal nearly cost her a career. With the help of some much needed connections, she’s able to secure a job as Seaside’s chief of police. There’s some comfort in bringing her children home to the place where she grew up, a small touristy town that owes its existence to the omnipresent Wonderland. Everyone wants to be there, and everyone has been at one time or another.

But her less than happy homecoming is thwarted when she’s immediately thrown into the thick of things. A dead man has been found inside the amusement park, after hours no less. And he’s been dead for a very long time. Is this connected to the spate of missing teens that nobody wants to talk about? And what kind of secrets are lurking behind the gates of Wonderland, just under the smells of cotton candy and the cheerful sound of carnival music?

At the very surface, this is your basic scary-mystery-serial killer-slasher story. All the elements of the genre are there. But it goes much deeper than that, thanks to the brilliance of the author. She knows how to set the stage and how to build suspense from page one. This story is scary, and the fears are real. Grab it and settle in for a good read. With the lights turned down low. And then be prepared to sleep with the lights turned back on.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Wonderland

Review: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker

burying-water-9781476774183_hrDisclaimer: An earlier review of this book was previously posted to the blog. However, in light of the second part of the story being released tomorrow, I felt that another look at this wonderful story was needed!

Almost 2 am. That’s what time I stayed awake until in order to finish this book. And at my age, that doesn’t happen very often.

When “Jane” wakes up in a hospital, she has absolutely no memory of how she got there or even of who she is. With the help of the sheriff who found her on the side of the road and his surgeon wife who saved her life, Jane begins to build a new life. But there’s something about the sheriff’ son, Jesse, that niggles at her lost memory. There’s definitely an attraction but something tells her it goes deeper than that. Told from alternating perspectives, the story also switches from past to present. We hear Jane’s present-day story as she struggles to find herself. And then there’s Jesse’s story leading us up to Jane’s brutal attack.

Although I’ve seen this book described as a romance, I’d say it falls more into the suspense/thriller genre. The romance is there, most definitely. But that’s not what kept me awake reading to find out what was going to happen next! It’s also been mentioned as the first in a new series which interests me immensely as I’d love to see where the author goes next with these intriguing characters. This is the first book that I’ve read by KA Tucker, but it definitely won’t be the last!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Burying Water: A Novel (The Burying Water Series)

Review: The Wolf in Winter by John Connolly

thewolfinwinterOkay….so I should probably start this review by confessing that although this is the twelfth book in the Charlie Parker series, it is actually my very first time reading John Connolly.

However, that doesn’t mean I felt lost….it doesn’t mean that I believe I could have liked this book any more…it was simply put…brilliant. I was torn between wanting to rush on and finish this one or slinging it aside and starting at book one….It’s a new series that I am EXCITED to read more of. This is at a time where I have been in a major book slump and nothing could hold my attention.

Here we have infamous Charlie Parker….a former NYC police officer turned private investigator. As with all great protagonist, Parker has personal tragedies that have shaped him into the man he is today. There are many people that love him….and many that would like to see him dead….but few are brave enough to try it themselves…He has a reputation that proceeds him and many that have battled against him do much to stay clear of him today….

This is borderline paranormal. No….maybe I shouldn’t say borderline. It is paranormal. But it doesn’t read like it. It seems very real. This book isn’t written to provide escapism into another universe….It’s made to have you question those things around you….to look closer at things around you….

What I especial liked about this book is that there is little doubt that there are many ongoing story-lines involved. Yes, I read this as a stand alone. No, I did not feel lost. Yes, the focus was on THIS storyline….however, you were surrounded by several other ongoing story-lines as well…there were hints and glimpses galore..and I am excited to go back and get started on this series and find out what they are all about!

I also loved what Connolly has done with the many characters. Again, it’s obvious that they have played major parts in previous novels. In this novel they might not be very dominant, but they are there to remind you that they exist. There are there to remind you that they will become more involved one day in a future story. They are much like an old friend (or disliked co-worker) that you meet on a crowded street….you’re in a hurry…you only have a moment to say hi….but you promise to meet up soon and really discuss life…..and you mean it!

So often, authors of longer series feel the need to start and end a storyline in every book….maybe dragging it out for a second book to wrap up…..so often they think that each character must play a dominate, visible part in each novel….or somehow just mysteriously be vacant in the novel…..Connolly didn’t do this….and it makes me excited to read the rest of these novels….

He is an author I have always wanted to read….I pictured for some reason a John Saul type of author….I’m not sure who to compare John Connolly to now….no….I take that back….there is no comparison. He is original. He is worthy of all the praise I’ve heard about him. He deserves to be a household name. You deserve to treat yourself to this series….

I’m feeling some serious author love right now….just saying….

Until next time….

Urania xx

ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now The Wolf in Winter by John Connolly

Review: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

18920446Okay, so this is soooo not a typical Stephen King book. Reading this novel I suddenly understand why authors use pseudonyms. I mean, I loved this story from page one….but the entire time I was reading it, I kept thinking, “this isn’t like any Stephen King book I’ve ever read”….

This actually distracted me a great deal…I mean, I would have entire conversations inside my head…..

“Why does it matter if this is different, you like it, right?”

“How can it not be a SK book when SK wrote it, Idget!”

“Who are you to say what A SK book should be written like?”

“Of course he didn’t use a pseudonym AGAIN….been there….done that….got the grief for it tee-shirt”

I mean, it would go on for 20 minutes at a time…..

Yes….my life is indeed this sad….

This is a novel WRITTEN BY STEPHEN KING about a retired detective…..The detective is contacted after his retirement by a killer he was never able to capture whilst on the job…..The contact wakes up the detective from his numb numbing simply existence….Suddenly the retired detective has a reason to live again……along the way he recruits a few unlikely heroes to help him….

Stephen King has said that this will be a trilogy and I have to say that although I’m not 100% keen on the detective, that I absolutely love his recruits! I can’t wait to see them in the future books.

The one complaint I have over this novel is I can’t believe how far the retired detective pushed the limits. I found it hard to believe that he went so far out on his own without involving the current *real* police. I found it hard to believe that he didn’t turn over information when so many lives were at stake. Especially since the Detective was so highly decorated whilst he was on the force. He wasn’t known as someone who worked outside the law. He didn’t seem like the type of officer that had such little confidence in fellow officers or the system. He worked 40 years at a job and yet, didn’t involve them or seek their help. He even outright lied and withheld information AFTER an innocent victim was killed…..It didn’t make sense to me….

Having said all of that, even with those bits gnawing at me, making me almost feel like I needed to suspend reality for a bit….well, I still loved the secondary characters enough to forgive SK this….ESPECIALLY since this isn’t his normal type of novel…..bwhahahhaahahahahaha

Highly recommend…and I’m not even really bothered about having to wait for the other books…..these characters were worthy of remembering well past the closing of the last page…..

Until next time….

Urania xx

Buy it now Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Review: Seducing Lauren, by Kristen Proby

01sed After Lauren divorced her hubby, she thought her troubles were over, but she was so wrong. Now her ex is trying to get half of an inheritance that he thinks he deserves. He’s willing to cause her all kinds of trouble, physical and psychological.

Ty has had feelings for Lauren for a while now, but wanted to give her time to get her life back together after leaving her scum husband. So now that she appears to be moving on, he is making his move. But he has no idea that keeping her safe was on the docket. But he has no problem doing that. In fact, without him there, I’m pretty sure she would’ve backed down from her ex.

Lauren wasn’t used to being cherished by a man. So being with Ty was very new to her. They was he loved on her and took care of her, was so refreshing. He brought her into his life and his circle of friends. She has been alone for so long, she needed that.

Every time we saw her ex, I wanted to reach inside and beat him with a bat. He caused so much trouble for her and gave her so much heartache. At one scene, my stomach dropped and I had to step away. I wasn’t prepared for that.

But I did enjoy the romance. They were very sweet together. They were also very hot. The perfect combination, in my eyes.

I’m also glad we got to see Josh and Cara again. I like when characters intermingle within series. And I know that Ty’s sister will be in the next book, so I can’t wait to read it. I’m sure it’s going to be another winner.

~Melpomene

I received this ARC for an honest review.
Buy Seducing Lauren (Love Under the Big Sky Book 2)

Catch up with Loving Cara (Love Under the Big Sky Book 1)

Pre-order Falling for Jillian

Review: Ugly Love, by Colleen Hoover

01uglyI am a puddle on the floor. My pillow is soaked. My side table is filled with tissues. I.AM.WRECKED.

There are books that you’re so afraid of reading, not because they’re bad, but because you know that they’re going to be so good, you’re afraid you won’t be able to adequately find words that will depict how this book made you feel. This is what Ugly Love did to me. I had to pull out my trusty thesaurus and here are a few words. Paralyzed, distressed, ruined, helpless, speechless, awestruck, undone….You get the picture.

Tate Collins has recently moved in with her brother, while she works on her master’s degree, in nursing. She has no time for friends, let alone finding love. But sometimes love doesn’t always listen to us, nor does it go by our timelines.

Miles has a past, that he keeps close to his heart. He is content with being a pilot and hanging with his few buddies. He’s been alone for years and wants nothing to do with women or with finding love. His past has shaped him and he refuses to change.

When Tate and Miles meet, the attraction is almost instant. But neither one of them wants to do the relationship thing, so they just decide to have sex, with no expectations. Since they weren’t even friends, this should be an easy thing to do, right? After all, Miles has only two rules that need to be followed.

“Don’t ask about my past. And never expect a future.”

Sounds simple enough. But soon feelings start to get in the way. Hearts get shattered. Tate starts to have feelings but she knows that Miles doesn’t want this. But how can you stop loving someone, if they want you too? Is it even possible?

“If I were capable of loving someone…it would be you.”

Watching Tate put her feelings out there, and having Miles throw them aside, made me mad. He slowly chipped at her. He started to bring her down, without even trying. I wanted to believe he was good. I wanted to see him come to grips with his past. I needed him to. I knew he wasn’t the jerk he came off like. But his actions were proving me wrong.

But when his past is revealed, it broke me. I could never have imagined this. Many tears were shed. I was a mess. But Miles made more sense now. His actions were based on a past that was riddled with heartbreak.

“And I realized…just now…the God gives us the ugliness so we don’t take the beautiful things for granted.”

By the end of this book, you will truly know how ugly love can be. But even if it’s ugly, it’s beautiful.

“It’s not that I don’t like you, Tate… I just don’t want to like you. I don’t want to like anyone. I don’t want to date anyone. I don’t want to love anyone.”

Colleen Hoover is truly the master of creating heart healing, soul crushing, tear jerking, emotionally draining, redemption earning books. This book was no exception. I have no idea how she does it, but every book has the ability to bring me to my knees. But I gotta say, if Colleen didn’t love Happily Ever Afters, I doubt I would’ve recovered from this book.

Honestly, my simple words still didn’t do this book justice, when all I really wanted to write was:

Buy it. Read it. Love it.

ULTeaser4

~Melpomene

Release date: August 5, 2014
Buy Ugly Love: A Novel

Review: Our Happy Time by Gong Ji-young

ourhappytime***This book will be released in the USA on July 1, 2014***

Wow. This was a gem of a read for me. I am so glad I stumbled across this novel. If I were the type to read book descriptions I would have more than likely passed. This is a novel that has strong religious tones. The exact type of novel I avoid. However, this was so much more. This is a novel about acceptance. Acceptance not only of others, but also yourself. It’s a story about finding oneself. It’s a story about looking beyond your past and trying to imagine a future. A future where you find the strength to want to go on. It’s also about forgiveness. Of asking for it, and of accepting it as well. There is just so much contained within these covers of this book.

I really admire Gong Ji-young for not taking this book and trying to turn it into a prettily wrapped happily ever after book, although the reader will surely wish for this to book to end happily. I’m not saying there isn’t a HEA, I’m just saying that sometimes just getting though another day must be enough. As Ji-young points out more than once, “instead of saying you want to die, you should instead be saying you want to live better”.

Here you have a young, beautiful, affluential woman. She’s a professor, a world traveler and a past singing sensation. She comes from a *perfect* family. However, we find out throughout the story that she has not really bothered to enjoy life or to even live for the last 15 years. The woman the world sees couldn’t be further from whom the woman actually is.

As this point the young woman joins her Aunt, a nun, to weekly prison visits of a man on death row. This man makes no excuses for what he has done. He does not deny anything.

All of a sudden both the woman and the man are forced to see the world though someone else’s eyes. Once this occurs, there is no turning back. Suddenly, one must realise that no matter how alone you have felt your entire life, there are others out there in the world as well. Suddenly you must realise that if continue to focus on only yourself and your experiences…well, you are missing out on everyone else’s experiences.

Ji-young has some real zingers of some quotes in this book. Some of what she wrote had a profound effect on me.

This is one book that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I won’t forget the characters. I won’t forget the quotes. And I certainly won’t be forgetting the the feelings she evoked or the message that I received. I hope you give this book a chance and feel the same….I so loved it…

Until next time….

Urania xx

ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review.

Buy it now Our Happy Time by Gong Ji-young