Review: Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley

01 ride I swear to God, Kristen Ashley can do NO WRONG. This book had all the feels. Oh my word, did it ever. One moment I’m giggling and the next I’m tearing up, and five minutes later I’m swooning. She writes the perfect story.

Right off the bat, my heart was breaking for Carson”Joker”Steele. His home life was made from nightmares. Pure nightmares. But some how he finds a way to break free and move on from the damage his father has done to him, and make a name for himself with the Chaos MC. He found a place to belong. A place of safety. A place where he’s not alone. But he was just treading, not really putting forth an effort to create livelong bonds. That is until he ran into Carissa and realizes that just skimming the surface isn’t a way to live. He needs to dive in deep.

Carissa had the perfect life, until it wasn’t. She married her high school sweetheart and gave him a child, but then he threw her away. She was forced to scrounge up and try and make a life for her and her son, with no help from her jerk off ex. Then one day she gets a flat tire and is rescued by the one boy she always felt something for. The one boy who was hurting but tried to hide it. The one boy that’s going give her the ride of her life.

Chaos is family. No matter what. They care for each other and will stand by you, until you get the through your thick skull. So when Joker is suddenly in the position to finally have something real in his life, his brothers will do anything to help him achieve that. Because everyone deserves to be happy.

I loved watching Joker transform into the man he was meant to be. He went from a non smiling, no emotion showing guy, to a smirking, full out rolling laughter in a matter of weeks. His feelings made me tear up half the time. He was straightforward and calm, and majorly swoony.

I swear, watching the big tough “manly man biker” with an eight month old, was enough to make me melt right to the floor. And then to watch him defend that boy’s mama, really made me melt. He was fierce and super loyal and he is the standard by which all men should be ranked against.

This is, by far, my most favorite MC series EVER. I hope there will be many books to come. I love the fact that some of the past characters, from the Rock Chicks to the Dream Men, make an appearance. I love seeing all their worlds collide and work together to keep everyone safe. Well done, Kristen!!

~Melpomene

Buy Ride Steady (Chaos)

Ride steady can be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend you read the rest of the Chaos books. Trust me, you will love this series.

Own the Wind is only 99 cents!! That’s a great incentive to get started with these guys!!

Then grab Fire Inside to continue the series.

Review: Priest by Sierra Simone

01 pre WOW. This book was….wow. All I can think is, Holy Hannah, this was HOT.

If you like saucy books, this book is for you.

If you like forbidden or controversial romance, this book is for you.

If you like HEA, after hearts are broken and shredded, and lives are changed, this book is for you.

SYNOPSIS
There are many rules a priest can’t break.
A priest cannot marry. A priest cannot abandon his flock. A priest cannot forsake his God.

I’ve always been good at following rules.
Until she came.
My name is Tyler Anselm Bell. I’m twenty-nine years old. Six months ago, I broke my vow of celibacy on the altar of my own church, and God help me, I would do it again.
I am a priest and this is my confession.

Not to get in a debate, but I’ve never understood the reason behind priests having to be celibate. But those are their rules, and they know them going in. This book shows what happens when one man gives in to his human nature and how he must make difficult choices in order to be the man he’s supposed to be.

Father Bell is supposed to lead, teach and be a listening ear, but when she walks into the church, his calling doesn’t seem so black and white any more. The more time he spends with Poppy, the more he realizes that holding fast to his vows shouldn’t be like this.

Why would God bring Poppy here if I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with her?

Poppy is a woman who was loved and hurt. She left to go and find a life for herself. She never imagined finding and falling for a priest. That doesn’t happen. That shouldn’t happen. But it did happen. Now they must face a difficult choice. There is no right answer. No matter what they pick, heartache will happen.

God wanted me in the real world and in the midst of the ordinary lives of his people. Maybe the plans He had for Tyler Bell were so much more exciting and wonderful than I’d ever counted on.

Some of the scenes in this book were so hot, I was squirming as I was reading. And then to have all the emotions to go along with them, I was a wreck. They knew they shouldn’t give in to the flesh, but the passion overtook them and it couldn’t be stopped. It wouldn’t be stopped.

To watch his struggle with the rules and his flesh, made my heart hurt. I don’t understand why it has to be one or the other. But Father Bell makes his choice. There are consequences and heartache, but in the end it all comes down to love. Love of God, love of the church and love of a woman.

~Melpomene

Buy Priest: A Love Story

Review: Behind the Falls by Brenda Zalegowski

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Disclaimer #1: This book was reviewed several weeks earlier by our very own Urania. This is my perspective on it.

Disclaimer #2: The author is a friend of mine, and I’m sure she’s a friend to many of you as well. That’s both good and bad. Good because it’s an honor to share someone’s creative work. And bad because, well, if it’s really no good how do you address that? It’s like seeing someone’s really ugly baby. What do you say? But there are no such book-related worries in this case because the book truly is exceptional on so many levels.

Noah is barely sixteen but yet has faced so many issues in his young life. Burdened with panic and anxiety disorders from a very young age, he struggles with how exactly to be normal. And then his somewhat predictable world is shaken up as his family decides move to a new town. Not only that, but Noah will be going to public school for the first time. Enough to send even the most well-adjusted (if there is such a thing) teen over the edge.

Thankfully there’s a friendly face in the crowd. A hand reaches out to him on his very first day, and Noah doesn’t feel so lost anymore. When Max welcomes Noah into his world, it’s more than he could have ever hoped for. He begins to feel “normal” for the very first time in his life, whatever that word truly means.

Noah’s inner demons aren’t so easily silenced, though. His struggles continue as does his battle to hide it from his new friends. If he could only find the strength to be honest with them as well as with himself, and about so many different things.

And this is where my summary ends. Because to give anything else away would spoil it. And this is a book that you just have to read and feel for the very first time without any preconceived notions or ideas about what you’re supposed to think. I’m glad I didn’t when I read it, and I’m doing the same for you.

So the obvious…
This is a very long book, clocking in at just under 700 pages. And I admit, as have several other reviewers, that the length was a bit daunting at first. I found myself getting bogged down in the beginning, wondering if the lengthy narrative and internal dialogue were really necessary. But I felt a pull, something compelling me to keep going. And yes, part of the reason was because, well, friends.

Still, at about the halfway point I realized that it worked for this book. Noah’s story really couldn’t be told in a lesser manner. The sometimes rambling dialogue is surely reminiscent of what must be going on inside the head of somebody with a panic/anxiety disorder. And more importantly, such detailed descriptions of the characters as well as background info made me feel for them, connect with them on a level not achieved by all authors. In fact, I’m so invested with Noah and Max, even Tabitha, that several days later I still can’t get them out of my head. I want more!

And another caveat. It’s a very heavy book. Heavy on the emotions, heavy on the subject matter. But so is life. Not a reason to avoid it. Still, it’s probably a book that’s best suited for older teens and adults. Now crossing my fingers and hoping there’s a sequel in the works…

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Behind the Falls

Review: Kiss Me by Susan Mallery

  

Zane is a rancher with a closed heart. He protects his family and property with stern love, but leaves no room for any other relationships. 

Phoebe is a softie on the outside but protects her heart fiercely. When she heads to Zane’s ranch on the recommendation of her best friend (and Zane’s sister) Maya, she doesn’t expect to fall into lust. Or love. 

This installment of Fool’s Gold romance included the requisite – and hilarious – antics of Gladys and Eddie. Mallery has a few other Fool’s Gold regulars make an appearance as well. But for the most part, you could read Kiss Me as a stand alone. 

You’ve got a cattle drive, campfires, sleeping under the stars, a drowned-out tent, a couple of rescues, and Pheobe talking to Zane’s steer-in-charge to get him to cross a raging river. 

That makes for many damsel-in-distress scenarios, and a few damsel-saves-the-day ones, too! 

I enjoyed Kiss Me like I enjoy all the Fool’s Gold novels. I liked reading a strong, silent hero, and I REALLY appreciated the sibling and friend relationships. I sort of rushed reading this one because I wanted to hurry and get to the HEA (I must have needed one!) … and now I’m eagerly anticipating Thrill Me!

-calliope

Buy KISS ME

Review: Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis

 
Aidan and Lily are risk-takers – with anything except their hearts. So when Lily returns to Cedar Ridge for a job and heart-healing, she finds herself more likely to climb rock faces than to kiss Aiden. In the spirit of sexy, contemporary romance, Aiden gives Lily her space while he falls in love with her. And of course she can read it all over his face … and starts to fall hard. 

I love these Kincaid brothers! They pull some pretty dumb moves, but they work hard and love hard. Watching brothers and friends look out for each other in matters of life, death, and love really touched me. Shalvis writes a realistic but exciting adventure that left me breathless. Or maybe I was left breathless from the sizzle between Aiden and Lily… 

Check it out! Release date: June 30. 

-calliope

Buy SECOND CHANCE SUMMER

Review and Giveaway: The Forgotten Mountain by Heather Lyons

01for Oh my word….

This book takes place immediately after the previous one, The Hidden Library, and we all know how THAT one ended. Yelling, screaming, and a whole lot of “Oh No!!!” So be sure to read the first two books, The Collectors’ Society and The Hidden Library, before you venture into this one. You can thank me later.

SYNOPSIS
After years spent in Wonderland, Alice Reeve learned the impossible was quite possible after all. She thought she left such fantastical realities behind when she finally returned to England.

Now Alice has become a member of the clandestine Collectors’ Society, and the impossible has found her again in the form of an elusive villain set on erasing entire worlds. As she and the rest of the Society race to bring this mysterious murderer to justice, the fight becomes painfully personal.

Lives are being lost. Loved ones are shattered or irrevocably altered. Each step closer Alice gets to the shadowy man she hunts, the more secrets she unravels, only to reveal chilling truths. If she wants to win this war and save millions of lives, Alice must once more embrace the impossible and make the unimaginable, imaginable.

Sometimes, the rabbit hole leads to terrifying places.

Emotions runs high as Alice and her friends try to a way to heal their loved one all the while still searching for the evil mastermind who is determined to destroy their worlds, one at a time. Alice will be forced to trust her instincts and do whatever it takes to make this happen. A lot is riding on her shoulders, this time, but she is up for the task.

They’ll meet all sorts of new characters, some which turn out to be allies, while some enemies. Alice has to take so many risks, but she’s the only one who can do this. I love seeing the traditional characters in a new light. You may think you know them, but you really don’t. I love seeing which fairy tale characters pop up in each book. It brings back so many childhood memories seeing them here. The craziest thing about this book is that one of the characters is actually named after me. She is CRAZY. And I love her.

Heather has a way of spinning the “normal” fairy tale world into something way more complex and exciting. These are most definitely not your children’s stories. And this next addition is no exception. The Forgotten Mountain was filled with loads of excitement and adventure, a nice dose of romance and friendship, and of course, a nice sprinkling of “Oh no!!” Now I must sit here and wait patiently for the next book. I wonder if Mary has something to help me…..

~Melpomene

Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway
for a signed copy of the first book, The Collectors’ Society, and a book inspired bangle!!

Don’t forget to grab your copies of
The Collectors’ Society
The Hidden Library (The Collectors’ Society Book 2)
The Forgotten Mountain (The Collectors’ Society Book 3)
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Review: Cocktails at Le Carmen by Isabelle Andover

 
Chloe’s transferred from London to Paris for a one- year work contract. And while she’s there she misses her mediocre boyfriend Scott, crushes on handsome boss Jean-Luc, and meets new confidante Rosie. All’s well that ends well, but a lot goes on in the meantime! 

This is a very light, fun story about shopping and girlfriends, cocktails and hangovers, and finding a good man while finding oneself. I enjoyed it but found some things a little disconcerting. Andover wrote in a few pages here and there that I thought were to move the plot in a certain direction, but then didn’t.  They weren’t quite plot twists, and they weren’t quite plot inconsistencies. They were just odd hints or teases that I expected to be fulfilled in some later chapter, but weren’t.  Some extra editing would have helped avoid these pointless insertions. 

Besides that, I loved the love story, the friendships and the sibling rivalry. Andover wrote a terrific male lead… who wouldn’t adore a Jean-Luc with a French accent?! 

Cocktails at Le Carmen is solid three star chick lit, and I’ll definitely pick up another Isabelle Andover… tout de suite! 

-calliope

Buy (for only $3.99!) COCKTAILS AT LE CARMEN