Review: Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

If you’ve read The Illuminae Files you’ll know that when Jay and Amie get together the reaction is explosive and exciting. And Aurora Rising was no exception. From the very first page I was completely sucked in. I’m chuckling right now cuz I just read the synopsis and it describes these characters to a T.

Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

I mean, who wouldn’t want to read a book with characters like that?! They were all so different but they learned to work together. Misfits finding a family with each other. You will love them.

Even the dedication started it off the right way.

If your squad was hard to find, or you’re still looking, then this one is for you.

You just knew this book would be amazing. And while it has to do with space, it has nothing to do with The Illuminae Files. Jay and Amie just have this space thing down and this is why we love them.

If I was watching this on the big screen, I would’ve been at the edge of my seat, but since I was in bed reading, the best I could do was sit up straighter. 🙂 This book was so much fun! Excitement, antics and emotion. The trifecta if ever I heard of one. Amie and Jay knocked this one out of the park! Can I just say that this book will be SO MUCH FUN in audio‽‽ Seriously. I’m glad I have it preordered. The kiddos loved listening to The Illuminae Files and I know they’ll love this as well. Be sure you have this preordered so you can start reading or listening right away. You don’t wanna hear spoilers!

I cannot wait till the next one!!

~Melpomene

Grab your copy today! Click picture for link.

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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

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: 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.

Quick review and giveaway: When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

Can I just say that I fell in love with the cover before I even read the book? I had no idea what the book was even about when I started reading. I was pleasantly surprised.

Beatriz Perez and her family were forced to leave their country in order to survive. But Beatriz wants nothing more than to bring down Castro and go back home. So she joins the CIA to infiltrate Castro’s inner circle to find a way. She never thought she’d find romance along the way. But she must choose between her heart and her home.

My heart was practically in my stomach the entire time. Many of her decisions could’ve gotten her or her family killed. I was stressing. And I do believe at a point or two, I cried. Not just from emotions, but from the stress as well. She was willing to risk her life and love for her country. I never read Next Year in Havana, so these characters were new to me, but in no way did I enjoy the book any less.

I have quite a few friends who will be receiving this book as a gift this year. Books rich in history like this are some of my favorites. I am definitely bumping up Havana in my TBR and I look forward to reading whatever Chanel brings to us.

~Melpomene

Buy When We Left Cuba https://amzn.to/2D14bGj

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway HERE

Review: A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd

“But she is in the stars I try to read. She’s in the wind of our sails and in the water that surrounds us. I’ve discovered the problem with learning to observe everything in nature—it means I am aware of her, always, because she is in all of it.”

There’s something about a story that says “Inspired by a true story” that makes my heart clench. While I was reading A Song for the Stars I could feel it happening quite often. Imagine living in the Hawaiian Islands in 1779. Your world is small. You only know what’s on your island. When new people come bringing their traditions and unfamiliar wares, your world gets even smaller.

Maile and John meet under very heartbreaking circumstances. She is told to train him in their ways, so he can navigate and find his way home. But the more time they spend together learning and sharing, the more time their hearts soften to each other.

I loved watching them interact. She was so angry and devastated in the beginning, my heart broke for her. She starts out leery of him but, then John’s openness and eagerness to learn about her makes her question what she originally thought. Soon she realizes that her heart may find healing after all.

This story was beautifully written I could see and feel the world around me. And knowing that these are the author’s ancestors, makes this story all the more real.

Melpomene

Buy A Song for the Stars https://amzn.to/2UutgTK