Review: Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins knows how to write the sweet women’s fiction/chick lit/romance. It’s not my usual type of book, but I love Kristan’s books so I had to read this. And I’m so glad I did.

This story is about family and friendship. While there is romance, that’s not what the story is about. From the first page, I was sucked in. I stayed up late and woke up early, because I needed to see how Nora was going to handle everything that life has thrown at her.

Nora finds herself back at her hometown, trying to move forward, but every day she’s reminded of the past. I liked her attitude. She has this spunk about her. I want to be her friend. She is determined to live the life she wants and if she has to beat in a few heads along the way, she will. She doesn’t give up on the ones she loves.

While she plans on only staying for the summer, before she goes back to Boston for work, the more time she spends on the island, the more time these people get their hooks into her. Sometimes she gets hurt by those hooks, but she’s strong enough to take it.

Like I said, this was more about friendship and family. She struggled with making her family open up to her, but she wasn’t giving up. She loved them and wanted it in return. My heart felt for her. Especially with her niece. With a mom in jail, she is very bitter and doesn’t open up. But I appreciated how much Nora worked at her. But honestly, Nora was easy to love. She has a good heart and has plenty of room in it for those around her. Since the romance was more of a side story, it wasn’t overpowering and very smooth.

If you’re looking for a sweet standalone that will make your heart happy, then this book is for you.

~Melpomene

Buy Now That You Mention It http://amzn.to/2zEsAwU

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Review and Giveaway: Shelter by Jay Crownover

Y’all!! This book will grab your heart and squeeze it TIGHT.

All his broken pieces made mine seem less jagged.

To say that Sutton and Emrys were broken is an understatement. These two lived through something absolutely horrific and it will take time to them to be back to normal. Or at least a new normal. This can be read as an interconnected standalone, but to fully understand where they’re coming from, you should read Retreat first. Trust me.

I liked Em. She had spunk. She was so much stronger than I probably would ever be, in her situation. But it’s been six months of her trying to heal on her own, when she realizes she needs some closure before she can truly heal. When she shows up on Sutton’s doorstep, it’s the last thing he needs. Well, at least that’s what he thinks. But he soon realizes that she is the only person who can help him move forward and change the path he’s currently on.

“I like all your pieces, Sutton. I keep finding new ones to add to the collection. You keep dropping them and I keep picking them up. Once i have them all, I’m going to give them back to you and you can put them all together whichever way you want. They don’t have to fit they did before. You can shape yourself into someone else.”

I am completely in love with this series. These characters seem very real to me. I love the sense of family and all the love they show to each other. In fact, I’m a wee bit jealous of that also. 🙂 And of course the passion between Sutton and Em is flaming. Absolutely hot. Jay nailed it, with this one. My heart is happy. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book!

~Melpomene

Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!!

EXCERPT: 

I’d been fooled once by the promise of quiet nights and serene days in the sunshine. I believed the brochure when it said I could leave my worries at home and escape to a simpler, quieter kind of life. I let myself be lured in by the picturesque landscape and stunning mountains. I foolishly fell prey to the temptation of leaving my current set of troubles behind in San Francisco while I hid away in the middle-of-nowhere Wyoming.

I now knew firsthand the glossy brochure that brought me to Wyoming the first time was nothing more than a bunch of pretty, packaged lies. I knew the bar brawl erupting in front of me was hardly the worst thing that could happen here. In fact, the level of bloodshed and violence was child’s play compared to what I’d witnessed the last time I’d stepped foot in this small, quaint town. Well, I hadn’t really been in Sheridan last time I was here. I’d spent most of my time in the backwoods that surrounded the Warner brothers’ ranch, which was still a good forty-five minutes outside of this tiny town. The ranch was where I was currently trying to get to so I could see my best friend.

When I left Wyoming, I told myself I would never come back.

Ever.

I told myself there was nothing here for me but bad memories and heartache. I was a pro at lying to myself, at telling myself exactly what I needed to hear to justify my actions. I could convince myself of anything, like it was okay that my last boyfriend stole my grandmother’s silver when I kicked him out because he needed it more than I did. I had no problem believing that pulling Leo out of the city was the only way to heal her broken heart even though she didn’t want to go. It was easier to distract her than it was to watch her wallow. I persuaded myself into believing what I needed to heal was space and solitude. I held onto that until time passed and I was still a mess. I was sick of my own company and of hiding from everything I was feeling. I was the one who always went out of my way to fix everyone else around me, it wasn’t exactly a shock to learn I didn’t have the skills to repair myself. I spent my days helping others focus on their goals, on doing better and achieving more, so I didn’t have to think about the lack of any ambition of my own. I turned thirty at the end of the year and I was still trying to figure out what and who I wanted to be when I grew up. I’d been aimless for a long time; the only direction in my life come from the fact I knew all the way down to my bones that I had to go back to Wyoming and face off with Sutton Warner.

Retreat is on sale for only 99 cents: http://amzn.to/2C63g5K
Shelter: http://amzn.to/2zu5kRV
Escape(Jan 30, 2018): http://amzn.to/2C95ovM

About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, the Point Series, the Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.

 

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Review: The Bridgertons by Julia Quinn

As some of you may know, I’ve spent almost this entire year reading historical romances. I can’t get enough. My most recent binged series was The Bridgertons by Julia Quinn. Funny thing was, I had zero intentions about reading them. In fact, since I consider myself a late in life reader, I never even heard of these. But I had a friend who posted some 1-star reviews that claimed there was too much sex in them. Well now, since I love love, I figured it was my duty to see if they were correct in their rants. They weren’t. And I’m a little disappointed in that, if I’m being honest. They were a slow burn type of romance, not that I’m complaining. I don’t know what these people were talking about.

This series is about eight siblings and how they each meet their true loves. This is plenty of heartache and romance and lots and lots of banter. I was pretty much reading with a silly smile on my face the entire time. I’m not even kidding. The banter was spot on. I adore books like these. Love is important in life, but without the funny, it’s rather boring. So, if you were born under a rock, like myself, and never read these books, go and add these to your tbr right.

The one thing you need to know is that each book has a bonus epilogue that was written after the books were all done. So there may be a few minor spoilers, like who the love interests are, of the future couples. It didn’t bother me. It just made me wanna read faster. Which is probably why I had to buy a few of these, since my library was taking too long to give them to me. I was impatient. Man, I really liked these books.

I’m so glad those 1-star whiners were wrong.

~Melpomene

THE DUKE AND I http://amzn.to/2ADB21v
THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME http://amzn.to/2j2qBQH *My favorite*
AN OFFER FROM A GENTLEMAN http://amzn.to/2j3uPHV
ROMANCING MISTER BRIDGERTON http://amzn.to/2j2TtIE
TO SIR PHILLIP, WITH LOVE http://amzn.to/2zYePK5
WHEN HE WAS WICKED http://amzn.to/2ADAEzY
IT’S IN HIS KISS http://amzn.to/2ADUPxw
ON THE WAY TO THE WEDDING http://amzn.to/2j2h2Bn

Review: Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper

Margot Cary had been curious about her biological dad for a long time, but nothing ever tempted her enough to leave big city life for a pack of estranged relatives and their rural southern lake life. Until a giant embarrassment at work got her fired – and blackballed from the industry. When a McCready relative offered her a job, she reluctantly went for it.

I loved that Margot took her job seriously at the Funeral Home/Bait Shop. I mean, this girl gave 100% every day. She even showed up in heels. I think Harper did a fantastic job with the cousin relationships, making them believable and three-dimensional without casting a shadow over the main events. And the main events? Meeting her dad of course, and … drum roll … a little sweet southern romance. Except the guy is pretty much just as southern as she is. I appreciated that Harper had Margot stay true to her non-southern-belle self!

This book had a little bit of humor (perfect milieu in the funeral home), and a lot of spunk. One liners abounded as Margot tried to take over running a town event. I think I also read a few Bless Your Hearts, and Harper provided some physical humor as well. All that fun was a good respite from the ever serious issue of Margot wanting to repair the relationship with her dad. Margot even used humor herself when uncertain about her romantic situation.

All in all, I loved this slice of southern life, with fresh characters I believed in, a big and loving family to find comfort in, and a couple of city folk who were making lake life their own.

-calliope

Buy SWEET TEA AND SYMPATHY

Review: Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright

Another Proper Romance book that had my heart all fluttery.

I’ll admit that I’ve never read a Jane Austen book. I’ve seen the Kiera Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice though, so I’m hoping that gives me a half point at least. But I still like the idea of Mr. Darcy and of finding your true love.

When I first picked up Lies Jane Austen Told Me, I was rather curious. Was this going to be a retelling of sorts? How will this happen in modern day time? That’s not exactly what happened, and I’m quite happy about that.

Emma wants to be loved, plain and simple. She’s has a bit of baggage she carries around with her, though she doesn’t realize it. She believes Jane Austen is right in all things love related. But when things fall apart she thinks Jane Austen lied and almost gives up. That is until she gets to know Lucas.

Besides the way Emma meets him, which was the most embarrassing moment in her life, I loved these two together. I liked the fact that these two weren’t insta-lovers. It was a slow burn. What started out as friends/co-workers, turned out to be much more. Now it wasn’t easy, nor was is always fun, but it was so worth it in the end. Lucas was quite the guy. He knew the right things to say and when to say them, when it came to Emma. He has his own baggage, you could say. So he isn’t exactly looking for love when he stumbles upon Emma.

Since this a Proper Romance, it’s definitely a clean romance. Super sweet and super swoony and with a bit of angst thrown in. I like Julie’s writing style and look forward to adding more of her titles to my TBR.

~Melpomene

Buy Lies Jane Austen Told Me http://amzn.to/2zpEKNB

Review and Giveaway: Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

“So many people dream of living in a house with a white picket fence. Little do they know, there’s no such thing as a perfect family, no matter how white the picket fence is.”

I am always so excited when I get to read a new Colleen Hoover book. I’m so anxious to see what she’s going to do to my heart. From the very first sentence I knew I was going to like Merit. From the second one, I knew this family was going to be different. So I orderd pizza for the kids and I settled in to spend the evening reading. Best night of my year.

Without Merit is a story about a girl who keeps all the many secrets of her family. She hates it but she does it. But everyone has their breaking point, and when Merit reaches hers, the Voss family won’t know what hit them.

After the emotional book, It Ends With Us, Colleen switched gears and went back to her Slammed roots and gave us this fabulous story. This is a book that I recommend you read along with your teens. It deals with some tough and very poignant issues that many of them, and us, face today. I personally, will be having my kids read this. In fact, this will be their first CoHo book and I’m rather excited over this fact. While they may not have to deal with many of the issues being faced in this book, they may find that Merit is just like them.

This story is a mass bundle of quirkiness and emotion. I was drawn in by the over the top idiosyncrasies of each member under the Dollar Voss roof. I wish I knew this family. They’re as unique as their names. I don’t wanna say anymore, because you need to just dive in and immerse yourself in this world.

Without Merit isn’t a romance story really. It’s a life story. At first I thought Merit wasn’t the “usual” character, but then I got to thinking, “What is the usual character?” She stressed over and struggled with daily life. She feels her family is a bunch of crazies. She wishes for peace in her world but doesn’t know a healthy way of finding it. I don’t know about you, but she sounds pretty “usual” to me.

“It used to feel like I was on top of the world. Then one day, I noticed that it felt like I was no longer on top. I was just floating around inside of it. And then eventually, it felt like the world was on top of me.”

Colleen, thank you for writing a story that hit me right where I needed to be hit. Thank you for giving me lots to think about in my children’s and my own life. You bury me.

~Melpomene
Enter to win a signed hardcover of Without Merit HERE

Buy Without Merit http://amzn.to/2yB3kqU

Review: The Promise of a Letter by Kathleen Fuller

Leanna is one of my favorite protagonists! She doesn’t apologize for being different (and that’s something, when you’re not a naturally domestic kind of gal, but you *are* Amish), and she doesn’t resent being different, either. Leanna uses her talents to work in a mechanical shop, and she loves it! But author Fuller doesn’t stop there; she fleshes out the full character of Leanna – a loving sibling, a fun caregiver, and a fiercely loyal friend. 

And then we meet Roman. He’s Amish too, sort of. And he is also a mechanic, sort of. He’s on a journey of self-discovery, self-acceptance, and reconciliation with his brother. 

Fuller does a great job illustrating modern Amish life, touching on family dynamics, spirituality, unconventional career choices, education, and romance. I appreciate that Fuller wrote a strong, feminine character that performed a “man’s” job,  without making Leanna into a stereotype or a mascot for feminist politics. And I am pleased that there was a happily ever after for more than one couple. 

-calliope 

Buy THE PROMISE OF A LETTER