Review: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Once upon a time, in a land long since burned to ash, there lived a young princess who loved her kingdom…

Epic, awesome, emotional roller coaster of a book. The end has come and it’s not without heartache and hope.

My emotions were all over the place. I got chills so many times. I could see these scenes playing out like a movie, the battle soundtrack playing in my ear, the characters going through heartache after heartache, it felt real to me. So many times I had step away and collect myself so I could keep going. This book was an experience like none other. In fact, when I finished, I told my family that I haven’t felt this, “What am I supposed to now?” kinda feeling since I first read Hunger Games. I’m at a loss on what to do.

“You do not yield.”

I still have all kinds of feelings flowing through my veins. Sadness is probably at the top, but not the for the reasons you may think. You see, I was late to this series. I discovered it at Heir of Fire and introduced it to my kids at Queen of Shadows. So for the past few years we’ve talked and experienced these books together. Even my son, who’s an anti reader, enjoyed these. But it’s my daughter who I really had fun with. I had to buy an extra copy for her so we could buddy read. In fact, I gave her the day off of school so we could read it on release day. #HomeschoolPerk We laughed and cried and raged together. This is a memory I’ll always have. So the reason I’m sad is that now we don’t have anything else to look forward to. This was her favorite series and now it’s done.

I bet this is how the Harry Potter parents felt when the last book released. The end of an era. Time to move on and grow up. I don’t think I like this.

Because of all the above, this review is a little bit different. A thank you of sorts. Not to spoilery, but I’d wait to continue on until after you finish the book. Just in case.

Aelin, thank you for rising up and taking the world on your shoulders and doing the best you can to make it better. Should this happen again, don’t keep all your ideas to yourself! Let others help you!

Rowan, thank you for loving Aelin and showing her how to the best person she can be. I’m so happy she found you right at the moment she needed you most.

Chaol, thank you for realizing your mistakes and doing everything in your power to fix them. You’re going to be an amazing helpmate with that kind of heart.

Dorian, thank you for reaching down in your soul and discovering the great king we all knew you could be. I hope you have an epic HEA.

Manon, thank you for being so strong when you kept getting knocked down and showing us how to move on from such overwhelming heartbreak. I grew to love so much more than I did when we first met.

Aedion, thank you for being so steadfast in your love for your queen and cousin. Every family needs a member like you. But when your angry, take a deep breath before you say hurtful words. It’ll save you a lot of groveling later. 😉

Lysandra, thank you for being the best friend Aelin could ever ask for. You are strong and have the biggest heart. I am so happy you found them and they found you. I wish for you a very long and happy life.

I wanna say thank you, Sarah, for giving us this most epic of series. Thank you for this roller coaster ride that has lasted for these eight books. Thank you for giving me memories with my children that some parents don’t get. Thank you sharing this world with us. And I look forward to your next series and I’m anxious to read it.

~Melpomene

Read this exciting series!!

The Assassin’s Blade https://amzn.to/2CHHWFL
Throne of Glass https://amzn.to/2D7G0HN
Crown of Midnight https://amzn.to/2O9XkNt
Heir of Fire https://amzn.to/2Rl2gkD
Queen of Shadows https://amzn.to/2D75eWW
Empire of Storms https://amzn.to/2EK7jtn
Tower of Dawn https://amzn.to/2CHHTtz
Kingdom of Ash https://amzn.to/2CJqsJr

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Review: Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

If the title doesn’t get you, that cover surely will.

When Ellis Reed captures a moment on film, he has no idea what that split second decision will lead to. “2 Children for Sale”, reads the sign. And yes, the children are right there to prove it. What would drive a family to sell their own flesh and blood? Ellis has an inkling as does everyone else in the country dealing with such devastating hard times. Because, you see, he himself is soon led do something questionable. And this moment results in a domino effect of tragic proportions. The question is, will he be able to make things right before it’s too late?

This book is everything I love most in a story. It’s historical and reads like an epic tale. The characters are raw and gritty and read true to life. With so much truth woven into the story elements, you feel like you’re reading a real life account of events. Definitely a keeper!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Sold on a Monday

Review: Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar

Just when I think I’ve read all of the best historical fiction novels, a new one comes along.

In this case it’s the story of Helene, a young mother who finds the horrors of war at her doorstep when she and her family are thrown into a concentration camp. Separated from her husband, she focuses on keeping her children safe. As a nurse she earns herself a bit of an advantage and is able to secure work along with a few extra, although slight, privileges. The doctor she’s enlisted to work for, however, is none other than Josef Mengele. Even as she struggles to help those around her, she still must bear witness to his evilness at work.

This is a heartbreaking story, as are all tales about this time in history. This one is even more so as it’s based on a true story. Helene was a real person, and how she chose to live her life even in the face of the greatest hardships imaginable will inspire you while making you weep at the same time.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Auschwitz Lullaby

Review: The Beekeeper’s Promise by Fiona Valpy

Looking for a fun little piece of historical fiction? Look no further!

When Abi finds herself in need of some time to heal, she decides on a yoga retreat in rural France. Soon, however, she ends up taking a summer job at a château with a long history. As she herself recovers, she learns the story of another brave young woman from long ago…

Under the threat of war, young Eliane occupies herself with tending to the gardens and beehives at Château Bellevue. It is here that she finds, and then loses, love. Circumstances lead her to join the Resistance as France finds itself engulfed by the war and under German occupation.

As is the case with many pieces of historical fiction, this story is told from two viewpoints in two different time periods. And as is the case with the best of them, this one does a great job of meshing the two all the way to the very end. A definite must read if you’re a fan of the genre!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Beekeeper’s Promise

Review: Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

When was the last time you finished a book and immediately sat down and wrote out a list of people who MUST read this book? When I finished this, that’s exactly what I did. The first, my kids, then my homeschool co-op teens, then some moms of those teens, then a few scattered friends who I know would get a kick out of this. And then I pretty much went on IG and FB and shouted it from the rooftops there. THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING!!! Thought provoking and exciting and I can’t wait for everyone to read this.

When I first got Pacifica, I almost skipped the author’s note and went right to the story. I’m so glad I didn’t. The author’s note is where the magic begins. It’s where the background story comes from. It’s the first time your heart is squeezed. And it’s definitely not the last.

When you read dystopians, part of you thinks, “This could never happen. We won’t let it happen.” But when I was reading this book, I kept thinking, “Crap. This could totally happen. And that would be horrific.” Basically climate change and the affects it has on our planet. But that’s not the hardest part of this story. The people, and what’s happening right under their noses, that’s the hardest part. They thought the government knew what was best for them and they just went along with it. But when the story is uncovered, they realize it’s far from anything they’ve ever heard of.

I think the best part of this book was the friendships. I was cheering everyone on. Marin, who was a pirate’s daughter and Ross, the president’s son, set out to rescue Ross’ friend, Adam, the vice president’s son, and it is non stop action. Like stomach twisting action. I couldn’t stop reading, for fear of something happening and I miss it. 🙂 Silly, I know, but I was so invested in these characters, I wouldn’t stop until they found their way back to safety. Now there is a little bit of love brewing on the high seas, but can you blame them? People who’ve gone through traumatic experiences tend to react that way. But it’s teen friendly, so no worries.

I have never read a Kristen Simmons book, but if they’re anything like this one, she’s found a new fan and I’ve found a new autobuy author. This story is now added to my ever growing “You need to read these YA books!” list. And all those people who are on my list above, better act surprised when they all get copies for Christmas.

~Melpomene

Buy Pacifica http://amzn.to/2FqHGxt

Review: Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk


They were shadow and light. Death in two forms. Together, they killed ten, twenty, forty men before the sun rose.

This is a debut novel?! No freaking way. That blows my mind. For those who like the kick a$$ heroines, this is a book for you. The epicness of Rome and all it’s death and beauty will keep you turning those pages. I couldn’t put it down.

Attia’s entire world was detroyed and was taken into slavery and given to the Champion of Rome, a gladiator named Xanthus. Now that sounds brutal, and it is, but there is way more to their stories, that you’ll have to read yourself. These two slaves want more than the life they have now, but they need to be patient and find the right moment to take control of their destinies.

“Rome has taken everything from me-my family, my home, my freedom. I won’t let it have Xanthus.”

Of course, in the midst of battles that surround them, they realize that they can be of use to each other. They learn each other’s secrets, which then makes them form a bond that will help forge a rebellion right under the Roman’s noses, all the while bringing the legend of Spartacus to life. I was cheering in my seat, when that was brought to light.

Xanthus was the kind of man who asked rather than took, who begged the gods to forgive his sins with whispered breath. He was the man who’d fallen to his knees before her, who had help her close until the night was over, who would give anything to keep her whole.

Of course there’s romance, but that is so secondary. It fits the story perfectly without being forced. Slow burn, in fact. I wasn’t expecting it, if I’m being honest, so it was a pleasant surprise. These two just want to get by to they get their revenge on those who’ve taken their world away. But they realize they’re better together and start to plan.

But then the world turns upside down. And I’m not even exaggerating. Hence the reason I need book two immediately. But I gotta wait til next year!! AHH!!!

~Melpomene
Buy Blood and Sand http://amzn.to/2C4M2Uw
Add Fire and Ash to your Goodreads shelf https://goo.gl/uNtXcY

Review: The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz

01ab1 ~Everyone deserves light~

This book…

If you read Tiffany’s The Bourbon Thief, then you’ll recognize a few names and places in this one, but it’s not connected. This story is in a whole other world. The Night Mark has a bit of an Diana Gabaldon feel with a Tiffany twist. Twist is definitely what this does to my heart and soul.

Because the synopsis doesn’t say too much, I won’t say much either. What I will say is that Tiffany Reisz has jumped up another notch in my eyes. This story was pure magic. She creates a world like no other.

I realize time travel isn’t possible, but what if it was? If you were hurting so much would you make the choice to leave this world behind? I was so brokenhearted hearing about Faye’s suffering. There’s been one thing after another with her. I’m surprised she’s still standing. When she discovers a way to be happy, but it’s not in this life, she’s willing to do anything in order to find it and keep it.

This book is about love. This book is about pain. This book is about letting the light in and praying that it heals the soul. If you’re in the mood for an epic romance that will have you twisting in your seat as you read, then I think this book will make you happy. Go in with an open mind and an open heart. And don’t read any spoilers. 🙂 In fact, I think this book will be in my Top 10 of 2017. It was that magical and beautiful.

“You know a man by his heart. You know a lighthouse by its beacon.”

~Melpomene

Buy The Night Mark HERE