The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

So, this was supposed to be the month I did only middle grade book reviews but the book I was reading has disappeared on me. This book will have to fill in but it's not even close to middle grade. While I love fantasy, I studied science fiction lit and this was one of my favorites. I recommend the audio version, which is what I have, because the voicing is great and makes the story really stand out.

About the Book: A set if people (humans and some others) on the moon in 2076, and they are kept poor and oppressed by an Earth-based Authority that turns huge profits at their expense. A small band of dissidents, including a one-armed computer jock, a radical young woman, a past-his-prime academic and a nearly omnipotent computer named Mike, meet under odd circumstances. Revolution inspirations spiral into actions despite the near certainty of failure and death.

This is a great book and while I haven't read a paperback (so unlike me I know) the audio version was just mind blowing amazing. I can see why Heinlein is such a prominent name in Science Fiction.

I am always interested in stories where unlikely characters come together for a rebellion. And to have characters that are fun to listen(read) about is a key element. While I wasn't sure at first about the main character, he grew on me and his interactions with Mike was intriguing. Heinlein is not just a fine author but he created a believable world where people live on the moon.

Reason for going with audio: The accent. I never would have read the accent at all because I wouldn't know what the exact sound would be so I'm glad I went with audio because now all I can here is the readers voice whenever I think about the novel and it was so fitting. It even worked with the other characters, including the sassy and slightly outrageous in a good way female side kick. Well, she wasn't a side kick per say but it's kind of the role her character took. She was vital in the revolution and with the odd mismatch group, the story of the adventure stood out. Listening to it was great. 

If you're interested in trying out a classic Sci-Fi novel, I'd recommend this book. Even if the genre is not your usual, it's always good to give other genres a try and there is much any writer could learn from an awesome author.

Dawn's Verdict: 10/10

Watching Willow Watts, by Talli Roland.

Watching Willow Watts
For Willow Watts, life has settled into a predictably dull routine: days behind the counter at her father's antique shop and nights watching telly, as the pension-aged residents of Britain's Ugliest Village bed down for yet another early night. But everything changes when a YouTube video of Willow's epically embarrassing Marilyn Monroe impersonation gets millions of hits after a viewer spots Marilyn's ghostly image in a frame. 

Instantly, Willow's town is overrun with fans flocking to see the 'new Marilyn'. Egged on by the villagers -- whose shops and businesses are cashing in -- Willow embraces her new identity, dying her hair platinum and ramming herself full of cakes to achieve Marilyn's legendary curves.

But when a former flame returns seeking the old Willow, Willow must decide: can she risk her stardom and her village's newfound fortune on love, or is being Marilyn her ticket to happiness?

I adored this fun read by Talli Roland. It is both zany and poignant. I love the bizarre descriptions of English village life as Willow leaves her London career as a florist to return to Belcherton, England’s ugliest village, to care for her recently-widowed father.
The story gets underway with the ghostly image of Marilyn Monroe hovering over a YouTube video of Willow doing a dreadful impersonation of the icon. She is an overnight sensation and on her way to stardom, complete with sleazy agent.
Sleazy agent Jay is just one of a cast of characters beautifully fleshed out by Talli, from her bestie, Paula, her father, her ex-boyfriend, and a loving Texan who arrives on the scene and of course, the eccentric band of locals.
The novel moves along at a frolicking pace, as Willow is both adored and exploited, much as was Marilyn Monroe herself. Amidst all the Marilyn mania, Willow’s goal is always to secretly save her father from bankruptcy in his dusty old antique shop. He confounds her by filling it with tacky Marilyn memorabilia, and confounds her further by actually selling it to the fans who’ve arrived to see the reincarnation of Marilyn. Talli brings the sense of the ridiculous to the story, revealing her ‘inner comedian’.
All jokes aside, what I got from Watching Willow Watts is that individuality is to be treasured. Self acceptance is to be celebrated and happiness lies in being true to oneself.
This is chick lit at its best. Talli Roland has written more than just pure entertainment; she has connected with our hearts, a rare talent. Looking forward to her next novel.

L'Aussie's Verdict: 9/10

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

Another advanced reader copy I was lucky to get from the book bloggers conference. The publish date was back in June, the 21st, so it's available and I say, Go Buy It.

About the book from Goodreads: Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?

Oh My Gosh. This was an amazing book. I don't know if it's my reading preference or such, but I seem to like the books that have a historical feel to the fictional story. Even the ones set in the "future" but seem to go back to old feeling setting become ones I love, depending on the story of course. This book had everything that kept me wanting to read. The main character was interesting and evolved because of the story. There was something close to a love triangle but not the usual kind and it was part of the plot I actually enjoyed along with how the different characters interacted with Violet. Everyone really added to the story and I couldn't predict what was going to happen in a good way.

The story starts with a great first chapter and the momentum builds from there. The reader gets an idea of the story, about the seances and such, then we get a surprise as Violet finds out she can actually see spirits, unlike her mom who just pretends to do such. And the ghost that Violet sees is a very persistent girl who needs Violet for something, if only she could figure out what. While I usually don't care for ghost stories, this one was amazing. Or at least, I've never cared for those kinds of movies but if there are more books like this I want to read them now. And one good part about this story is just when I thought I knew what was going to happen, boom, there is a new twist. It has a few "holy ...." moments. And it's very well written, which is always good.

It really was an amazing story and I recommend it to anyone. Read this book.

Dawn's Verdict: 9/10

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