Review: The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel

I love, love, love historical fiction. And I love Kristin Harmel. So what could be better than this one?

When Ruby moves to Paris with her new husband, she has no idea what’s in store for the both of them. Sure, war is knocking on the door. But things can’t get that bad, can they? After all, she’s an American so she’ll undoubtedly be safe. As she soon finds out, however, nobody is truly safe in these uncertain times.

She naturally assumes the worst when her husband begins to sneak around, to disappear for days at a time. She could never imagine, though, what he’s actually involved in. And soon she finds herself involved as well.

This was a very enjoyable story. It’s beautiful and epic and emotional and so many other things along with quite an ending!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Room on Rue Amélie

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Review: Time and Time Again by Ben Elton

time and timeOkay, I have to say that this book isn’t perfect. Heck I guess no book is. However, I feel like I must give this one 5 stars….even though any book with time travel makes for a book that might have a few logical issues. I mean the whole butterfly effect thing can drive you mental if you dwell on it too long….If you dare to add historical factors in it…well, I’m sure there will be people who nitpick all the way through it and tell you why x, y and z just isn’t possible…..

But I say screw all that….This book was a fantastic read for me because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I continue to think about it now that I have finished the last sentence. I looked for ways to mention this book and the concept in my everyday conversation.

Finally….well….truth be told…it boggles my mind. I don’t mean that it’s hard to follow. I simply mean that the more I think about this book and the possibilities…well, the more I get drawn deep into my imagination. I can’t stop thinking of the ramifications of the concepts this book brings forth.

I’ve read a few time travel books and have always enjoyed them. *Most* of the ones I have read are people trying to change to revisit history for their own gains….In this, Elton has giving us a story of a hero that is trying to revisit history for the greater good of the entire planet.

Let’s face it…this is hard book to review….why? Because my mind won’t shut down. Even now I am still scrolling through the endless possibilities that lie within this novel. Imagining past worlds and future worlds and all of the players that are on the stage of making history….both minor and major players all have their parts….

So really, are people made by history? Or do people make history? Is history just a matter of being in the right place at the right time? If something happens and a key player is no longer there….well, does history still right itself and just call in another key player to take the place of the one who doesn’t show?

I won’t say more than that….you don’t need to know all the details….but you do need to read this book. There are some really interesting stuff that’s going on. I will say that the entire book grabs you from the start and it’s a steady stream of happy reading….but at the last 20% there are lots of twists and turns that I did not see coming and if the book can be called “fast paced”…well the last 20% was turbo speed paced!

Finally this book has loads of great quotes so I wish to leave you with a few…

What fun those long, semi-drunken Sunday afternoons had been. The debates always degenerated into loud, name-calling battles between the Marxists, who contended that much of history was inevitable, the result of preordained economic and material forces, and the romantics, who believed that history was made by individuals and that a single stomach ache or an undelivered love letter could have changed everything

‘Proof? What proof can I give beyond the fact that logic requires it?’ he said, his voice rising. ‘Time is time. It ticks aways from the beginning until the end.’

‘but it doesn’t, you damned fool!’ Newton exclaimed ‘Am I really the only person on earth to have grasped this fact? Time is not linear. It does not go along on a steady course like a road from London to York. It does not have a beginning and it does not have an end, nor is it the same to one person as it is to another, nor to two planets or a million starts. It is different in all circumstances. Because it is relative.’

Such is the terrible irony of bereavement, turning every familiar joy to misery. Each smile a twisting knife. Each thing of beauty an added burden of pain.

‘I really hope you didn’t get me here to suggest I take comfort in religion,’ he growled.
‘Not in the slightest,’ McCluskey replied. ‘I don’t think religion should be comfortable. That’s where it all went wrong for the Anglicans, trying to be comfortable. Deep down people want fire and brimstone. They want a violent vengeful God who tells them what to do and smites them if they don’t do it. That’s why the Prophet Mohammed’s doing so well these days. I’ve occasionally thought about switching myself. At least Allah’s got a bit of fire in his belly. But you see I could never give up the turps.’

Until next time…

Urania xx

Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now Time and Time Again by Ben Elton

Review: The Recruit (Cherub #1) by Robert Muchamore

*1This was a new type for me. Yes, I’ve read plenty of YA novels. I’ve even read them like this so far as that it involves young people in some sort of war/espionage type thing. However, all of these involved post-apocalyptic world or includes some sort of magical realism. This one, however, included none of that. It was simply a story about a young boy orphaned at the age of 11. He is then contacted by an governmental agency and offered a new home. Once he completes training he will be placed in various missions in order to obtain information that will be useful to his government. The organization was formed in WWII and has grown and evolved since then.

In this first installment of the series, James looses his mother, is placed in foster care, has contact with the law, is contacted by the secret agency, finishes his basic training and completes his first mission. It’s a fast read but only because it’s so entertaining. The author has set up a great start to what promises to be a fantastic series. We have many characters to not only follow, but to also fall in love with. If that wasn’t enough, the spy element also ensures us lots of suspense and mystery as well. There are countless story-lines that can follow.

I especially enjoyed that James did not just complete his mission blindly. He is young, but not so young that he doesn’t realise that his actions have consequences. At the start of the story, James doesn’t seem to let these bother him….yes, he thinks about them, but only as they effect him. At the end, James questions the effect that his actions has on others. At what costs does one pay for the benefit of the overall good? When does the price paid negate the good?

I realise this series has been out for a while now, but I hope as I read the later books that James continues to question and to learn from what he sees and does. I hope he does not just blindly follow.

Until next time….

Urania xx

Review copy provided from NetGalley for an honest review

Buy it now The Recruit by Robert Muchamore

Review – The Expats by Chris Pavone.

12617758Can you hear that? Well, that’s a sigh of relief that I am able to write a positive review this week, considering that last week’s book left a lot be desired!
This week we have a book called The Expats by Chris Pavone. Set predominantly in Luxembourg and Paris, The Expats follows a family that move to Luxembourg for a career opportunity, and the trouble that soon begins. Kate and Dexter Moore seem to be your average couple caught up in DC’s rat-race, however, Kate is ex CIA with a lot of history. When they get to Luxembourg and begin to mingle with the expat community, Kate soon becomes suspicious of another American couple, and begins to investigate. What follows, will take Kate and Dexter on an exciting, and at times perilous, journey throughout Europe. Is this new couple dangerous? Are things all that they seem?
Ok, granted, the premise may sound a little familiar within the countless other novels in the espionage thriller genre, but what gives this the edge is the real experience behind the writing. Chris Pavone has himself been an expat in Europe, and this really shows in the writing. Being an expat myself, I could definitely relate to these characters, their sense of apprehension and that feeling of not being grounded.
The pace and tone of this novel was perfect for the genre – not too slow, and not too fast – an intelligent thriller. Thrillers are my go-to for an easy fluff read and this hit the mark. Saying that however, this novel also crossed genre boundaries by examining how people cope in a relationship where secrets rife. In an unknown country, with friends who you can’t necessarily trust, or even a spouse, how do you cope? What runs through your mind? What influences your actions? Well, Pavone attempts to give these questions some answers in the midst of creating an exciting espionage thriller.
If you are looking for a fairly quick, but thrill seeking read, then definitely give this one a go, especially with it being only $1.99 at the moment!

‘Till next time my lovely readers,

Pegasus

The Expats: A Novel