Review: The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

25663807There surely are fewer things scarier to an aging person than the loss of themselves, the essence of who they are.  Whether that means physically or mentally, even the thought of such is devastating.  So who can imagine what it would be like to experience this scary yet fairly common milestone at an unnaturally early age?  Such is the premise of this intriguing book by Sally Hepworth.

Anna is a young 38 years old when her life as she knows it comes to an end.  Early stage Alzheimer’s has caused her world to change in ways she could never imagine.  Resigned to living out her days at an assisted living center, she retreats into a shell as she waits for the complete loss of her memory and, eventually, her life.

What she doesn’t count on, however, is falling in love.  You see, she’s not the only “youngster” at Rosalind House.  Luke’s experiences are much like Anna’s.  And fate would have it that they find each other.  But can someone fall in love without remembering it?  Is love in your mind or in your heart?

This is a beautiful, heartbreaking story.  The author does an outstanding job of taking us into Anna’s mind and allowing us to imagine what she might be thinking and feeling. And at the same time, she weaves into the story a mystery waiting to be unraveled.  I wanted to know what the secret was, what happened in Anna’s past that even she didn’t remember. Each chapter left me wanting more.An outstanding story!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Things We Keep

 

Review: Sebring by Kristen Ashley

01 a Boy, does Kristen Ashley know how to end a series. Goodness.

Fantastic. Emotional. Sweet. Sexy. Basically, it’s what you expect from a KA book. And you will never be disappointed. EVER.

Nick Sebring has a score to settle and he takes it upon himself to get close to Olivia in order to do that. But in doing so, he sees something in her that makes this more than a job. She is not living. She is surviving. Nick He decides to take it upon himself to give her a life of her choosing. A free one, if she’ll only let go and let him take care.

“And I’m the man who knew you meant a fuckuva lot to me yesterday, so you meaning more today means everything. And I’m the man who’s got two priority missions. To get you free of a life you hate and to get you to a place that you smile, frequently and easily.”

My heart was breaking for Olivia. Her life is full of secrets and lies and lots of destruction. She is a pawn in the game her sister and father are playing. She is merely a shell until she meets Nick Sebring. She wants to believe that he’s in this game for her and not any other reason. She wants the peace that he promises. She wants the safety. But living the life she does, she’s used to people playing her. So she’s wary of him at first, but then he gets her to believe that he can give her the peace she seeks.

“I breathe. I’m here. I take up space. I eat. I drive. But I have no brain. No will. No strength. No opinions. I do not matter to the point I do not exist.”

“You exist for me.”

So many secrets. So many lies. At numerous points my stomach dropped. I had faith that Kristen would work this out for me, but not without some stress. So you gotta get through it and it will be worth it.

Let me add a little more to this. My feelings about Knight just went up a little after reading this. He loved his brother, even if he caused him a ton a grief. Families forgive and move on and Knight did that and he helped Nick when he needed him.

That epilogue….aw man…again, she’s the queen of the epilogue.

“It’s your purpose this life to take care of me. And it’s my purpose to give that back.”

He tried to read her, thought he got a bead, and said, “You don’t gotta make grand gestures.”

But he’d read her wrong.

“You’re right, I don’t. You love me and I have one simple task. To make it worth it.”

That’s not gonna be hard, baby, you do that by breathing.”

Someone hand me a tissue, please.

~Melpomene

Buy Sebring (The Unfinished Heroes Series Book 5)

Get caught up with the series.
Knight (The Unfinished Heroes Series Book 1)
Creed (The Unfinished Heroes Series Book 2)
Raid (The Unfinished Heroes Series Book 3)
Deacon (The Unfinished Heroes Series Book 4)

Review: What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross

25111142This is a book that is hard to review, because it simply isn’t black and white. This novel is about a lady who finds a baby left unattended in an IKEA store and walks away with her. Twenty one years later she is caught. This book attempts to tell her story and show us the aftermath.

I’m so conflicted. Yes, what she did was 100% wrong. She never claims it wasn’t. However, the fact of the matter is, it was a “one-off” that would have never happened if the birth mother hadn’t answered a phone call, walked off, and left her baby unattended for several (never really told how long, but I am guessing it was well over 10 minutes, possibly more than 20) minutes.

Facts are, no one is perfect. Especially parents. Even though Lucy (the lady who abducted the child) seemed to want to be a parent above all else, it’s pretty evident to me that she wasn’t the best mother. Yes, she needed to support herself and her *daughter*, but it seemed pretty obvious to me that she was a very career oriented person. Much of the raising was left to the nanny. Having said that, she provided a good life and did, in fact, love the child. I do believe she didn’t attend to take the child and as the minutes ticked by one by one, she found herself unable (and unwilling) to correct the situation…

I would also like to point out that the birth mother….well, there’s no two ways about it. I didn’t like her character. As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t find her believable. She was just too over the top and wholesome for me to deal with. Going on and on about placing soothing drops on pillows to help her reunited daughter sleep easier through the night, sessions of throwing rocks and yelling into the wind to cleanse out bad feelings, taking her (now adult) daughter to sessions to have her charted and palms read. Yes, I’m sure these people exist in life…but if I was that daughter, I would have been very weirded out by her.

Finally, why the book was full of so much grey matter for me was the daughter. She made the book worth reading. Once she started reflecting on her life and the guilt she felt for loving a woman who provided so much for her….when she started wondering how different her life would have been….well, you can imagine…having to feel guilty about loving someone…well it must be a terrible feeling to have. Then trying to come to terms with that love, with the guilt, and being glad she had the life she had and not the one she was taken from….well, again, her story and her hurt is what made the entire book a worthwhile read for me….

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross

Review: Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke

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Stories like this are the reason I continue to love historical fiction.  Skilled authors are able to take an event or era from the past and weave an intricately compelling story around it.  Granted, there’s no shortage of stories set in Nazi Germany, but this one is definitely a must-read if you’re a fan of the genre.

It’s the early 1970’s, and Hannah must come to terms with her mother’s recent death.  Not particularly close to her in life, she now is faced with the task of clearing out her mom’s house and possessions.  A job to be completed as quickly as possible so that she can get back to her life. Until she comes across some mysterious letters, that is.

And so  her quest takes her all the way to Germany where she meets a grandfather she had no idea even existed.  And she’s a surprise to him as well.  Hannah is as determined to find out her family secrets as her grandfather is determined to keep them forever hidden.  As she digs deeper, she finds out so much more than she bargained for.  And she discovers the person her mother truly was.

Much of the appeal of this story, as is the case with most historical fiction, is that it’s told from two perspectives spanning several decades.  What Hannah is feeling is entirely justified, but hearing her mother’s story puts a whole new spin on things.  An excellent story with the reminder that things aren’t always what they seem!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:   Secrets She Kept

Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

  
Sara flies from her home in Sweden to nowhereville, Iowa to visit a pen pal and fellow book lover, but when she arrives, nothing is as she expected. The people surprise her, the town isn’t much of a town at all, and her old standby — books — are hard to come by. So she makes a plan and makes some friends and puts the pieces of her life back together. 

In the course of telling the story, Bivald writes in some contrivances that just made certain aspects of the plot too obviously fake to me. I also noticed that as I read I kept asking myself, “is that supposed to mean something?” Maybe Bivald wanted to integrate symbolism in places? But those were just two bumps in the road. 

Most of the book went along quite smoothly, introducing the reader to some stereotypically exaggerated characters (the old maid, the gay guy, the town drunk) which, to me, made Sara seem all the more plain and subdued. But she surprises people and makes waves in her own way. 🙂 

I really loved that Sara shared her love for reading in the best, most apt way possible. She shared herself through those books, and I could feel the other characters’ gratefulness. 

The best part of the book was the happily ever after because it gave me that “sigh, everything is as it should be now” feeling. Settled. Which is something Sara only felt at the very end as well. 

-calliope

But THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND

Review: The ‘Burg series by Kristen Ashley

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Another week. Another Kristen Ashley series. I know I’ve said this before, but if you’re in the mood for a good romance that ends with a HEA, then you need to pick up a KA book. I swear to you, you will like it. And this series was another winner for me. I spent my last week of Christmas break reading the last five of these books. And then I sat there at the end, just crying. Kristen Ashley writes the BEST epilogues I’ve ever read. In fact, this one was so perfectly written, I found it hard to even pick up another book. Everyone’s lives are laid out in a nice pretty package.

Another fabulous thing about her books are the crossovers. If you go her site, you will see a reading order. Now, you don’t have in order, but I highly recommend it. You’ll see past characters pop up periodically, and it makes you squeal. Or maybe that’s just me. But seeing all these characters interconnect is pretty darn sweet. Seeing the kids grow up together and find their own happiness, makes me feel like a proud mama.

Plain and simple, read Kristen Ashley.

~Melpomene

For You (The ‘Burg Series Book 1)
At Peace (The ‘Burg Series Book 2)
Golden Trail (The ‘Burg Series Book 3)
Games of the Heart (The ‘Burg Series Book 4)
The Promise (The ‘Burg Series Book 5)
Hold On (The ‘Burg Series Book 6)

Review: Smoldering Hunger by Donna Grant

01 smold If it’s wrong to love these dragon kings so much, then I don’t wanna be right. I’m so happy with this book, I can’t even tell ya. Romance, drama, suspense, intrigue and emotion. The perfect combination of this paranormal romance series.

The last time we saw Darius and Sophie was at the end of Passion Ignites. They were in a bit of a saucy situation, that was definitely an indication of what was in store for us in this book. Let me tell you, they have quite a connection.

Darius is back in Edinburg searching for dark fae to destroy, but he tried to stay clear of Sophie and deny what he feels, because he wants to protect her. He knows being with her would put her in harms way, an swore to protect the human race, even if they wouldn’t do the same to him. In fact, when Con woke him to join in the war, he was so angry. Nothing soothed him, until he met Sophie. She had this way of calming him and pulling on his heart. I think it was because she was a doctor. She was always calm and knew the right things to say and do. And when you’re up against an angry dragon king, sometimes that’s how you need to be.

There are a few different story lines happening in each book. And I love them all. But this one had a story line made me mad. I’m waiting for someone to step up and smack some sense into this dragon. And another one had me smiling the biggest smile. I am freaking out. No joke. When I read it, I squealed and had the goofiest grin on my face when I got to the end. I’m still sitting here in a happy fog.

We also get a glimpse into a few characters from the spin off series, the Reapers. They bring in a whole new story line and a new set of allies/enemies, depending on who you’re talking to. I have a feeling it’s gonna be good. And I can’t wait!!

If you’re in the mood for a new PNR series, I highly recommend you pick up read the entire Dark series. Go HERE for the entire list.

~Melpomene

Buy Smoldering Hunger: A Dark Kings Novel