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

Review: Wicked Lust by Sawyer Bennett

01 cainHoly hotness, Batman!!! Dirty, sexy, HOT!! If you’re looking for a super saucy book with a bit of romance mixed in, then this would be right up your alley.

SYNOPSIS
Cain Bonham is as big and bad as they come. After serving in the Marines, he’s returned home to Wyoming and now works as head of security at the exclusive sex club, The Wicked Horse. His job is to protect not only the patrons, but to zealously guard the secret existence of the club itself.

Sloane Preston is all about discovering secrets. As an undercover reporter, she’s determined to reveal the truth behind the facade of The Wicked Horse and expose it for all the world to see. She just didn’t count on her pathway into the club coming at the hands of one gorgeously scarred and bad ass bouncer who manages to easily possess her body and soul.

While Cain’s not looking for anyone to catch his eye, Sloane did it all the same, and he’s not bemoaning the fact that she’s as wickedly kinky as he is. As both get caught up in the sinful fantasies that only The Wicked Horse can create, secrets and loyalties will be tested and hearts will risk being broken.

Sloan was on a mission. She must do her job at the risk of her own heart. But that silly heart of hers is pulling her in different directions. She had no idea that meeting Cain would make this job so difficult.

Cain is a dream maker at The Silo. He’s there for fun. Never giving more than one night to a girl. That is, until her meets Sloan, then he’s sunk. He’s wants more with her and pretty soon, she has him hooked into her. So when he finds out that he’s been played, the life he was working towards, just night be an illusion.

I thought Cain was just a player, but there was more behind the scenes that made me really fall for him. There’s a reason he does all that he does. But he also has a heart and would do anything for the girl who holds it.

Seriously, this book was super hot. If you don’t like dirty sex, or anything more than m/f, then steer clear. This book will dirty you up. And I seriously can’t wait for Rand’s book!!

~Melpomene

Buy Wicked Lust (The Wicked Horse Book 2)

You don’t NEED to read Wicked Fall (The Wicked Horse Series Book 1) to read this book, but I highly recommend it. You get more of Cain. And who wouldn’t want that?

Review: The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

25513627My very first Chris Bohjalian novel….I’ve been told time and time again in the past that I should be reading this author….but like so many, I just have an abundance of really good books on my TBR list and not nearly enough time….In this case, a review copy dropped into my lap at just the right time and I dove right in. I am so glad I did! I can’t wait to read my by Mr Bohjalian!

There are lots of characters I feel that a reader can sympathize with….and because of that, I think this would be a really great book club read…and that is something I NEVER say! I don’t really do book club reads…hahahaha…but regardless of that, I still think this will be a brilliant book club read! It would be interesting to see whom people aligned their loyalties to…the husband, the wife, the young *strippers*, the daughter? All of them? None?

I for one love realist endings over HEA endings….so I wasn’t that bothered by this ending…but it will be interesting to see what others think….

This book makes it clear that life can change in an instant…..we all know it…..but we often forget it….we like to think that nothing like this could happen to us….we like to call this “escapism”….we tell ourselves that it makes for an interesting read and a distraction from real life….that we would never find ourselves in this type of situation….Bohjalian really makes me question that….this book starts out with just a few simple choices….not even choices…it’s more like being in the wrong place at the wrong time….when it comes down to it, the fact is, not many people who find themselves in a bad situation have actually meant to be in that position….yes, there are some things that you would change with hindsight…but that’s the pesky thing…hindsight only comes about AFTER the fact…..

There are lots of things and moral situations to ponder in this story….you’re sure to find yourself trying to put yourself into other’s shoes here and wonder what you might have done differently….

Highly recommend this one….no matter if you’re a long time fan of Chris Bohjalian or a new fan like myself…

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

41ONc4Ga9+L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Let me preface this review by saying that this book isn’t for everybody. But then, most books aren’t. Still, violence and gun violence in particular is so prevalent in our society. And when the subject is a school shooting, that one place that absolutely should be safe, it makes it that much harder. But if you do choose to read it, you won’t be sorry.

54 minutes. That’s all it takes for young lives to be forever changed. In that span of time, one teen’s inner turmoil turns into revenge. And his high school classmates are the targets. They never saw it coming as they filed into the auditorium to listen to their principal’s speech. They find themselves cowering and scrambling for safety, all the while wondering why.

As the story is told from several different perspectives, we get a glimpse into the killer’s past to find out just what pushed him to this point. We also view the tragedy through the eyes of other students. What did they know? Could they have done anything to prevent what’s unfolding? Theirs are stories of bravery and heroism, lives saved and lives lost. Each character is unique and reads true to life, and the story flows easily in spite of the varying points of view.

As much as I enjoyed this story, I long for the day when a book such as this truly is fiction instead of something that sounds very plausible. Sadly, occurrences such as this one are far too common.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: This Is Where It Ends

Review: Anything For You by Kristan Higgins

  
I love Kristan Higgins’ books – always have. She writes hilarious one-liners that provide comic relief when things get heavy. Higgins writes authentic, deep characters… people I feel like I know, even though they’re fictional. 

Higgins’ Blue Heron series adds beautiful scenery and a vineyard backdrop to the mix. I almost feel like this series is a saga – generations of families, light politics, and family owned businesses play a big role. 

Anything For You is number five in the series. Connor has been in love with Jessica forever, but even after a decade she holds him at arm’s length. Oh the angst, my friends. I mean, you know (hope) there will be a happily ever after, but for so long things are looking grim! I was tense in the shoulders waiting for the other shoe to drop. And drop it did, though not in the way Connor or Jessica or I imagined. 

The love story rocked (in all its angst), the subplot of new employees at O’Rourke’s and the vineyard — totally hilarious, and the recurrence of past characters in cameos was precise, deliberate, and perfectly placed. 

I’m just going to keep on loving these Blue Heron folks. Thanks, KH! 

-calliope

Buy ANYTHING FOR YOU

Cover reveal: Midnight Lily by Mia Sheridan

I must admit, I am in love with this cover. I’m in love with the synopsis. Frankly, I’m in love with all things Mia Sheridan. So here it is, the synopsis and cover of Midnight Lily:

Holden Scott is the prince of professional football. At least he was before he lost it all . . . or more to the point, before he threw it all away. Now he’s out of a job, out of the public’s good graces, and perhaps just a little out of his mind. So when a friend offers up his remote lodge in the wilds of Colorado, giving Holden some time away to get his life back on track, he can hardly say no. The last thing he expects is to see a beautiful girl in the woods—one wearing a white, lace dress who appears in the moonlight, and leaves no footprints behind. Is she a dream? A ghost? A product of his muddled imagination? Or something entirely different?

Midnight Lily is the haunting love story of two lost souls reaching for each other in the dark. A tale of healing, acceptance, and the worlds we create to protect our own hearts. It is a story of being lost, of being found, and of being in the place between.

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Release Date: March 15, 2016
Pre-order Midnight Lily
AMAZON
iBooks
KOBO
BN: will be added when it’s available

Review and Giveaway: Built by Jay Crownover

01 built What can I say? I like my characters to be a little bit flawed or broken. Not shattered or destroyed, just a little chipped. And Miss Jay Crownover has a knack for that type of story, which is why I was super excited to sink my teeth into this book.

Zeb Fuller is this big mountain of a man who has turned his life around from his past mistakes. He’s happy with his life and never really knew what he was missing until Sayer walked into it. Sayer is this straight laced layer who likes everything simple and calm on the outside. She was in no way prepared for Zeb and his overwhelming presence in her life.

SYNOPSIS
Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller couldn’t be more different. She’s country club and fine-dining, he’s cell-block and sawdust. Sayer spends her days in litigation, while Zeb spends his working with his hands. She’s French silk, he’s all denim and flannel.

Zeb’s wanted the stunning blonde since the moment he laid eyes on her. It doesn’t matter how many smooth moves he makes, the reserved lawyer seems determinedly oblivious to his interest—either that or she doesn’t return it. Sayer is certain the rough, hard, hot-as-hell Zeb could never want someone as closed off and restrained as she is, which is a shame because something tells her he might be the guy to finally melt her icy exterior.

But just as things start to heat up, Zeb is blindsided by a life altering moment from his past. He needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. He can’t risk what’s at stake just because his attraction to Sayer feels all consuming. But as these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, battling together to save a family, the steam created when fire and ice collide can no longer be ignored.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Sayer. She seemed a little stuck up. But the more I got to know her the more I realized where she was coming from. She was made to help people, and being a family lawyer, she is very good at it. But when it comes to her own relationships, she needs a little nudge. Enter, Zeb.

I really liked these two together. It was a bit of give and take and little push and shove, but these two were made for each other. I loved watching Zeb force her into looking in the mirror and realize what’s right in front of her. She needed that nudge. Zeb was perfect. Yes, he made mistakes but he will move heaven and earth to fix them and build his life to what he wants it to be.

This was very nice way to start this spin off series. It was nice to see a few of the past favorites and I see a few new characters that I’m hoping we’ll see a bit more of. Their stories are bound to be full of drama and angst. Just the way we I like it.

~Melpomene

Enter the giveaway HERE.

Release Date: January 5, 2016
Be sure and pre-order Built: Saints of Denver

EXCERPT:
I met her at a bar.
She had a beer bottle in her hand even though she looked like she should be sipping champagne out of an expensive flute, and that inexplicably turned me on. She was pretty and looked completely out of place in the no-name bar sitting across from one of my longtime friends who also happened to be her long-lost brother. He was the reason she was here. In that split second that I laid my eyes on her I wanted to be the reason she stayed.
I knew it was rude and that the two of them needed some time together, some time to figure out what they were to each other now that she had blasted into his life unannounced. If I was a better friend I would have left them alone. As it was, I made my way over to the tiny table and sat down. I was covered in sawdust and had drywall mud caked in the hair on my head and on my face, but she didn’t flinch or bat an eyelash when I purposely broke up their party of two and placed myself as close to her as I could without actually touching her.
My buddy Rowdy St. James lifted his eyebrows at me as I stared at her while he introduced us. Sayer Cole. Even her name was elegant and sophisticated sounding. She was an enigma, this pretty woman that seemed like she should be in any place but this bar with the two of us. She’d showed up out of the blue a couple of months ago claiming to be Rowdy’s half-sister, claiming that they shared a father, claiming that all she wanted was to be in his life and have some kind of family of her own. She looked too delicate to be that brave. Came across as way too proper to have said “fuck it all” and picked up her life to move it someplace unknown without being sure of her welcome. She looked like silk, but if my guess was right about her, it was silk wrapped around steel.