Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emory Lord

Lucy has a great life. A loving family, a strong support system at both school and church, a devoted boyfriend…she has her future mapped out. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, her entire world is rocked. She begins to question everything she once believed in. Her faith is no longer enough. Her boyfriend isn’t who or what she thought she wanted. So when her mom decides to send her to a new summer camp, it just adds to her growing list of unknowns. Who would have thought she’d find the answers to all her questions in a group of friends as different from her as possible? This is a sweet, heartbreaking story. I loved Lucy, and I especially loved the strength shown by her mom. A great reminder that everything isn’t always what it seems!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Names They Gave Us

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Review and giveaway: The Slow Burn by Kristen Ashley

True to KA form this book had all the feels and I loved every moment of it! I cried, I laughed, I swooned. The perfect story.

There’s something about a duology that just works. You don’t have to commit to years of rereads to try and remember what happened. These rank right up there after the standalone. And the Gamble brothers definitely deserved more than a standalone.

“You got soft leather and smooth whiskey and I got goose down and kitten fur. But under what we got, it’s granite and steel. Daphne made that. That’s her legacy. That’s what she gave us, what our kids will get…”

We met Toby in the first book, The Hookup, so we get a glimpse on his personality but we don’t fully get to know him til this one. I love everything about him. His actions scream perfection. From the first time he meets Adeline I just knew he was gonna make an impression. And all throughout this book he wanted nothing more than to take care of her, even if she wanted to do everything on her own.

Adeline is a single mom trying to make ends meet, and doing it alone. She is deeply independent, like her mom was, and it’s starting to take it’s toll on her. Toby made an impression on her, but he’s off limits. Or is he?

While there was an instant connection between these two, they tried to fight it, hence The Slow Burn. I love books like this. You could see from both of their POVs how they felt. When they finally connected, it was explosive and romantic. He was made to care for a woman and the woman he wants to care for is Addie.

“I’ll agree, Gamble Men are the best. But Forrester Women are better.”

Kristen Ashley knows how to write an alpha man. Which is probably why I reread her books quite often. There’s something about a guy who takes charge and protects his woman’s body and heart. While Toby was an alpha, he was sensitive to her heart and didn’t attach from all ends. He cared for her in a way that gave her the independence she needed while still taking care of her needs.

And don’t get me started on that epilogue. Those always kill me.

~Melpomene

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Grab these two books and get ready to swoon! Click the pic to buy.

Quick preview: Romanov by Nadine Brandes

I remember watching Anastasia when I was younger and totally getting sucked in. Heck, I watched it last year and still remembered all the songs. The idea of a princess surviving, when her family didn’t, gave me chills. The strength she would have to have. WOW. So when I heard that Nadine Brandes was wrote a story about Anastasia, I HAD to read it. And yet I knew it would be hard to read. I always get choked up at the idea of her family’s assassination. I can’t even imagine how terrified she must’ve been. Ugh.

Romanov was a magical twist of the story of an exiled princess. It tugged at my heart numerous times and it gave me hope. I think I loved it even more because it wasn’t all real, there was a bit a magic woven into the story. I was not expecting that at all. But I’m honestly happy it was there. If this was a 100% true account, I would’ve been crying the whole time.

While the story was a retelling, some parts were very real and mildly graphic. If giving this to a younger teen, give them a little heads up about what really happened. I know my stomach dropped while reading. I was prepared, and yet I wasn’t, for the firing squad scene.

This retelling is now one of my favorites. I look forward to what Nadine gives us next.

You definitely should add Romanov to your TBR!
Release date: May 7, 2019

~Melpomene

Click to buy Romanov

Review: This Book Is Not Yet Rated by Peter Bognanni

What a sweet, sad story this was. Ethan, poor lost Ethan, trying everything to save the very old and very rundown theater that’s his last physical connection to his dad. and since his dad died several years ago, it’s where he spends most of his time. But now it’s slated to be turn down. And Ethan, along with his group of employees who are just as lost as he is, determined to keep that from happening. Funny, not entirely plausible, but completely enjoyable.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: This Book Is Not Yet Rated

Monday Musing: Fangirling

Do you fangirl/fanboy or your authors? I do. ALL THE TIME. I go to multiple book signings each year and I have to try and contain myself. It’s so hard sometimes. Social media has made it easier to interact with out authors, which amps up the fangirling. I see the same author every year and I still get all sweaty and bumble my words. I consider her a friend and I still act like a dork. *sigh*

They don’t realize the effect they have on us. When they recognize us by our face or names, it’s a thrill. If they call us out and act excited to see US, we lose our minds. I can’t tell you how many times I have to leave a signing room to calm down. These people are our rock stars.

Last month my family and I went to D.C. for a vacation and so I could attend Apollycon. I took my daughter with me to the signing, even though she hates to read almost every book except Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass series. I wanted her to meet some of my favorite YA authors and see their books and hear them speak. Some get so passionate it’s fabulous. I hoped she would find at least one new author to try out. I never expected anything like what happened.

A little backstory, since January my daughter has been dealing with a debilitating illness that we can’t figure out what is causing it. So we were very nervous to take her on a 9 hour drive and then to all the museums and monuments. But she wanted to go. Amazingly she did well and didn’t get sick once. I however, was a nervous wreck the entire time. This has been my life since January, so it won’t switch off till we get a diagnosis.

Her one wish was to see and get a picture with Sarah J. Maas. She won the lottery so she would get to meet her and get a book signed but a picture wasn’t part of the deal. But on that Friday, I was working the registration and I get a text saying, “Sarah is in the lobby. I’m too nervous to ask for a pic.” To which I respond with, “ASK!!!” I mean, what’s the worst that can happen, she says no?

And then I get this picture. Mind you, she just got back from Mount Vernon and she had a hat on all day, so she looks tired and a mess. 🙂 But look at that smile.

Sarah had no idea what this kid’s been dealing with. She doesn’t know that she came up to me shaking, with tears in her eyes, and she never cries. She has no idea that in that couple of minutes she took away the fear of an unknown diagnosis. She made my girl so happy that she forgot all the stress. I went with her the next day to get a book signed and I tried to tell Sarah how much it meant to me as a mom to have her daughter get her wish and I could barely get the words out through my tears. I would’ve said thank you for making my daughter’s whole life, so far. Thank you, for taking a few minutes to show a teenager that they’re worthy of your time. You made her wish come true and I will be forever thankful.

By the way, she still tears up when we talk about it. That’s the power of an author. And that’s the life of a fangirl.

~Melpomene

Review: Twisted Pride by Cora Reilly

I’m finding myself more and more intrigued with mafia books than ever before. In February I stumbled upon Cora Reilly’s Born in Blood mafia series while doing a free trial of Kindle Unlimited. From the very first book I was hooked. I inhaled them in a matter of a couple of days, then I immediately jumped into The Camorra Chronicles, which is the spin off series. So I’ve been DYING to get Remo’s story! He’s one of the most brutal characters in these series but I knew he would crack when he found the right woman.

Now mafia books aren’t for the faint of heart. They’re brutal and sometimes disturbing, but family is at the core, so they can also be filled with lots of love. This series is about a set of brothers and Remo is the head of them. He will do everything and anything for his family, even kidnap and break an innocent woman. I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous when I started. I know what Remo’s like and I needed to prepare myself. But like I said, all it take is the right woman to ease the monster and Serafina is that woman.

Serafina was raised like all women are raised, covered in protection till their wedding. But when she is kidnapped on her way to her wedding, she has to be strong and unbreakable in the face of a monster. The more she’s there, the more she grows to understand Remo and why he’s the way he is. Soon her heart makes a decision that will forever change her life.

I missed the days when I thought a knight in shining armor riding a white stallion would steal my first kiss.

Instead a monster had claimed me, body and soul.

I loved watching these two circle each other. Seeing the brothers get a little softer when more women enter their lives is fun to watch. They will still be killers, don’t get me wrong, but when they look upon the face of their women, you see an easing of the tension that surrounds them. Behind all the violence are men who just want to be loved, even if they don’t want to admit to that.

~Melpomene

Read all three books in the Camorra Chronicles. Click picture for link.

Review: Alice’s Island by Daniel Sanchez Arevalo

Stories about dead spouses with secret lives are a dime a dozen. Can’t name one off the top of my head because that’s how common they are, how they all seem to run together. So it was with a bit of hesitation that I picked this one up. And I’m glad I did. Because it’s both familiar and different at the same time.

Alice has a good life. Great job, loving husband, beautiful daughter with another child on the way. And then it all changes in an instant. When her husband, Chris, dies in a car accident she’s shattered. Imagining life as a young widow is tragic. But even worse is the realization that Chris died far from where he was supposed to be.

So Alice begins digging. And she digs some more. Eventually her curiosity leads her to an island she’s never even heard of. Soon she finds herself living a new life as she continues her quest to discover who her husband truly was and what secrets he was keeping from her. But at what cost to both Alice and her children?

I enjoyed this story a lot. While the main plot is one that I’ve heard before, the author takes a unique twist with it. The characters are intriguing, and there’s an underlying vein of humor throughout the story. It’s a bit long and wordy at times but all in all a great story.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Alice’s Island