Review: Stella Mia by Rosanna Chiofalo

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Stella Mia is a novel about love, gypsies and looking for a home, and the beautiful beaches of Italy. But mostly it’s a hauntingly beautiful tale about mothers and daughters.

Julia finds her mother’s diary, and because her mother left when she was young, it’s a treasure to Julia. The book opens with Julia’s story, but really pulls you in during the flashback to Julia’s mother’s life. The flashback is the bulk of the story.

We find out how Julia’s mother Sarina grew up, how she made her own way, how she fell in love, and how she sacrificed her own happiness for someone else.

The end poignantly brings the story back to Julia. I didn’t know how invested I was until I felt tears running down my face, in sorrow and joy at Julia and Sarina’s love for each other.

Stella Mia is sad, I’ll be honest. It’s harsh at times, disturbing, and heartbreaking. But it’s all worth it when you get to the parts about holding hands on the beach, singing Stella Mia, and feeling the love when someone says Ti voglio bene. Kinda just like life.

-calliope

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Review: Enforce by Rachel Van Dyken

01enforce Another winner, from the Mafia Queen herself. This book had plenty of love, desperation, heartache and a fair amount of violence. Perfection.

Synopsis
There’s two sides to every story…
And ours? Isn’t pretty…
Then again, what’s pretty about the mafia?
Trace Rooks, that’s what.
But she only wants one of us, and I’ll kill him before I let him have her.
The only problem?
We’re cousins.
And she may just be our long lost enemy.
Whoever said college was hard, clearly didn’t attend Eagle Elite University.
Welcome to hell also known as the Mafia where blood is thicker than life, and to keep yours? Well, keep your friends close, and your enemies?
Even closer…

Remember how I was saying I loved the guy’s point of view?? Well, I swear Rachel read my mind and wrote this for me. Not really, but a girl can dream, right? This is considered book 1.5, so you’ll get to revisit many scenes from Elite, but from the male point of view instead. It’s not a retelling, but a reliving.

Trace Rooks has no idea who she really is. She’s sent to a school, far from home, and forced to deal with the Elite and all their rules. She never had any idea how much her life was going to change. No clue the feelings that were flying around her.

Nixon was in control of every aspect of his life, or so he thought. When he sets eyes on Trace, part of him fell. He was in no way able to control what those feelings would make him do. He’s the boss and he can’t fall for her. Doing that, would be the worst mistake he could make. But sometimes you can’t help who steals your heart.

She was my Juliet, the girl I wasn’t allowed to have.

And the one I wanted most.

Chase Winter, is the the cousin. The nobody. Low man on the totem pole. But when he sees Trace, he’s never been so happy to not be in control. He is perfect for her. He knows it and Nixon knows it. But finding a way to make Trace realize it, is a task that he is ready to do.

“When the time’s right, assign me to Trace-duty. I’ll do what you can’t…”

“And what’s that?”

“Protect you first…love her second.”

This book was written from all the Elite guy’s points of views. There was so much more to the story, that we had no idea. The background stories were something, I longed for, but my heart wasn’t. These boys had so much to deal with, that had nothing to do with school. I was shocked at saddened by quite a bit of it. But now I see and understand them a bit more.

I am totally excited for the next book, Ember. Who knew Mafia books would be this awesome. Well done, Rachel!!

~Melpomene

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Get caught up first

Elite (Eagle Elite Book 1)
Elect (Eagle Elite Book 2)
Entice (Eagle Elite Book 3)
Elicit (Eagle Elite Book 4)
Bang Bang

Review – 11/22/63 by Stephen King

10644930For those that don’t know, I’ve just returned from 12 days in the Caribbean – don’t give me that look! Anyway, it gave me plenty of long lazy days to catch up on reading! One of those books that I read was 11/23/63 by Stephen King. I’ve had this book on my TBR pile for a very long time, and finally decided to read it. I’m so glad that I took that plunge!
Now, this isn’t the stereotypical horror writing that King is famous for. This story is more along the lines of his, what I call, “random novels”. What do I mean by this? Well, his novels that don’t necessarily fit into one specific genre, such as ‘The Body’, ‘Dolores Claiborne’ or ‘Shawshank Redemption’. I knew the basic premise and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to read a book that involved time travel. This typical SciFi trope is a very small part of the story – actually, it isn’t. What I’m trying to say is that it isn’t presented in a normal time travel kind of way. It’s integral to the story, and yet it isn’t a big in-your-face event.
Now we all know that King is a brilliant and seasoned writer, so I’m not going to go into how good that part is. I’m going to talk about the characters. King is known for his characters; Annie Wilkes, Carrie White, Andy Dufresne, are all classic characters that have stood the test of time (yes, I know that was a god awful cliche to use, but when the cap fits…). I have a feeling that the protagonist of 11/23/63, Jake Epping, will be bestowed the same fate. King has the skill for creating characters that you can instantly relate to in some way, even if they are the most evil and deplorable people. They are real people. Jake Epping is a real person who is suddenly thrown into this surreal situation with very real consequences.
Let’s discuss for a minute the moral of the plot: If you had the ability to travel back into the past and change an awful event from happening, would you jump at the chance? Would you perhaps assassinate Adolf Hitler? Warn the captain of the Titanic of ice bergs? Prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Sounds pretty amazing, huh? Well, on the other hand, there is also the theory of the Butterfly Effect – change a single thing a million miles away and catastrophic events will occur elsewhere at a different time. This is the dilemma faced by Jake. The idea of saving the president sounds great, but he also has to wrestle with potential consequences.

If you’re not really a fan of King’s horror writing, then go ahead and give this one a go – for only $2.99, you will not be disappointed!

’till next time,

Pegasus

11/22/63: A Novel

Review: How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake by Gina Henning

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Cute romance about Lauren, a smart professional who just got a promotion, and Jack, the seemingly-perfect guy who runs hot then cold.

I liked Henning’s vivid descriptions of Jack – I could certainly picture him, which I believe is VERY important with a good-looking romance novel hero. :)
And I liked how clever and sarcastic Lauren could be. The two of them together cracked me up.

I thought the inclusion of so many song references was a little corny, but maybe I’d feel different if I were more of a music fan.

The big issue I had with this novel is that there was no conflict, no roller coaster. Henning wrote the plot on a slow but steady incline – their love for each other grew until it was time to make a big decision. The whole time I was waiting for something big to happen! Were Jack’s phone calls a cover for something bigger? Was Aunt Minnie who she said she was? Would Lauren have a nervous breakdown? But … nothing. Just the steady plodding on, listening to Jack’s silly phone calls.

Know what I loved, though? Lauren’s Christmas present for Jack. Actually I thought they both did a wonderful job finding the perfect gifts for each other. And preparing for Christmas with the family rocked. As did the cake, because who doesn’t love cake?!

-calliope

buy HOW TO BAKE THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS CAKE

Cover reveal: Asa by Jay Crownover

I’m so excited to show you this cover!! I have loved Asa for a while now and I can’t wait to read his story!!!

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About ASA:

Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one stunning arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best.

Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.

A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.

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Be sure to get caught up on all the other Marked Men. You’ll thank me for it.
Rule: A Marked Men Novel
Jet: A Marked Men Novel
Rome: A Marked Men Novel
Nash: A Marked Men Novel
Rowdy: A Marked Men Novel

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About Jay Crownover
Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She also introduced the dark and sexy world of The Point that started with BETTER WHEN HE’s BAD and is currently working on her newest series The Saint of Denver. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

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Review: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

*1Pride and Prejudice is one of my daughter’s favourite books. She has multiple copies and has read it more than a few times….I confess I did not read this book until I was an adult…shocking I know! However, to make up for lost time, I have now read it twice and I reckon I need to read it at least one more time! Since her birthday is coming up next week I wanted to post a review just for her…so here goes….

Ok, so I didn’t know anything about this book (yes, I know I know…sometime I feel as if I must live under a rock). I saw a great local play of it that really helped me out in following the book (This play was also the start of my daughter’s love affair with the novel). That’s it though. I haven’t read the book before now and I haven’t watched the movies, so I went into this blind. This review will be based on that fact! I haven’t read all the blogs and I am not an Austen fan that knows all the background history…Please keep that in mind if my review is way off base and ya wanna kill me :-)

The first thing that comes to mind is what did Austen really think about “the dating scene” back then? The people who really stood out to me are the parents. Even the difference between the sisters themselves. You have one side that sees it all as a joke really and the other side that takes it to the extreme. I just had to wonder, was Austen making fun of society at large throughout the entire book? Pointing out how shallow people were (still are) and how easy it is just to make a quick judgement against people based on what “society” expects?

I *really* want to know what Mr Darcy was feeling during all of this. Yes, we know what he tells his beloved Elizabeth, but I want to feel his emotions as he getting to that far away point of blurting out his feelings…both in the middle and the end of the book.

That is what did it for me. Austen really just gave me enough details for me to gobble up the whole story line, but left enough out to drive me crazy with my imagination working overtime! It’s not that she didn’t tie up loose ends. Or she left something undone. She gave us *just enough* to be satisfied yet yearn for more. I so totally understand why people read this book multiple times. I think to truly appreciate it, you need at least one re-read….but alas…not today…..

I hope you have a wonderful and happy birthday, Amanda…I love you…

Until next time….

Urania aka mom xx

Buy it now (FREE!!!) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Review: Change of Hart by M.E.Carter

01changeHave I said how much I LOVE reading from the the guy’s POV??? Well, I totally do. I mean, I’m a girl, so I already know how a girl’s mind works. But when I get to step inside of a guy’s head, I’m almost giddy with anticipation. And add in the fact that he’s an athlete, and I’m a happy girl.

SYNOPSIS
My name is Jason Hart.

As the best defensive lineman in the country, I eat, sleep and breathe football. And I like it that way. I’ve only got a few more years before I’ll have to retire, so expending energy on anything other than football seems like a waste of time.

That is, until I have a random meeting with a little boy who just lost his father. We have more in common than you might think and it creates an unlikely bond. As our friendship grows, so do my feelings for his mother.

I know Addison, as a recent widow, isn’t ready to date again. But I want to get to know her better, in spite of all her rejections.

Is it possible that I, a self-proclaimed bachelor, could be having a Change of Hart?

I loved reading about Jason Hart. He is what I picture, when I think of single athletes. Which is basically a different girl on his arm, every time you see him. But there is so much more to him. After a chance encounter with a little boy, his life makes a complete 180.

Addison has been raising her son, alone, for the past three years, and was not prepared for Jason whatsoever. She is trying to protect her and her son’s heart, but it’s no match for this lineman.

This book was a nice little slice of perfection. This story brought the romance, the funny and a whole lot of heart. One minute I was snorting as I tried to control my laughter and the next, I was sure I was going to hear the “awwww” soundtrack. The sweetness was overflowing.

I’m so glad I was able to read this sweet story. As a romance book lover, my heart was very happy, and I know yours will be also.

~Melpomene

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