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

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Review: Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Epic, emotional and exciting!

This book is a combination of three POVs. Chaol, the recovering ex-captain of the king’s guard, Yrene, the healer we met in The Assassin and the Healer, and Nesryn, the current captain of the king’s guard. It was supposed to be a novella but it turned out quite a bit longer and way more indepth. However, my feelings were all over the place here. I found myself not caring about anything but Yrene for a while. The life she has lead and the reason she is where she is, is just insane. She is truly an amazing healer. My heart wanted a novella, so it was stubborn.

Chaol. What can I say about him. There’s a lot under the surface that he needs to deal with before he can move on and heal properly. And while he’s trying to heal, he must convince the khagan to give them support and deal with the utterly crazy royal family. And I mean crazy in a somewhat good way. Never a dull moment.

Nesryn actually gave me the only scene I teared up in. I didn’t think I was going through care about her storyline but I did. I’m glad she found what she was looking for. I hope nothing happens to her in the next book. I’d be very upset.

This story gives us a few answers to questions we’ve been asking. And also gives us quite a few new discoveries. It makes me rather anxious to get to the final book now. I do wish that there was a little more from Chaol’s past though. We see snippets but not enough, in my opinion. This takes place in the same timeline as Empire of Storms and we do get a few glimpses into what’s happening with Aelin and the rest of the crew.

As for the YA/NA jump, ToD had a few scenes that were definitely not in the young YA world but less than the full on NA. So be prepared. I did block a few parts off since my kids aren’t ready for that.

Now the only thing I have a problem with was the usual changing of the loves. Sarah has a habit of getting us invested in a couple, only to have them break apart a few books later. She does this in both her series. While I love her stories, it hurts to get invested in a storyline, only to have it shattered later on. I need to seriously think about taking another chance in her future series. My heart can’t take this.

~Melpomene

Buy Tower of Dawn http://amzn.to/2jSBlk9

Get caught up with the Throne of glass series:
The Assassin’s Blade http://amzn.to/2xvMuvX
Throne of Glass http://amzn.to/2fHFYJc
Crown of Midnight http://amzn.to/2yxmxL7
Heir of Fire http://amzn.to/2wO3rhy
Queen of Shadows http://amzn.to/2yyCC3l
Empire of Storms http://amzn.to/2y0iU3n

Review: Enrage by Rachel VanDyken


I love this mafia family. They aren’t perfect, but they’re family. When one of their own starts to go down a path that’s not what the majority wants, it’s up to them to reel them in and point them in the right direction. But sadly, sometimes that isn’t always easy to do.

When we first met Dante, I was very curious about him. I knew they were going to train him, but I didn’t know how much of an participant he would be in the family. Man, oh man, did he make his presence known.

My heart was in my stomach by the end of this book. I had NO IDEA what direction it was going to go. Frankly, I was shocked. Utterly shocked. But after I had a few days to think and ponder it, I realize why this happened. What people project on the outside isn’t always what’s going on on the inside. Lives will forever be changed. Hearts will be broken. The family will never be the same.

Rachel is the master at this mafia gig. Truly. I could read and reread these books and never be bored. You should really start from the beginning and read all the books. You won’t fully understand all the emotions that are packed into this one until you do. They’re filled with such fantastic characters with wild and crazy stories. They’re family and family always sticks together, even during the hard times. Blood in. No out.

~Melpomene

Buy Enrage HERE

Review: The Queen and the Cure by Amy Harmon

“There will be a battle, and you will need to protect your heart.”

This quote depicts this book perfectly. Battles of the mind, body and soul will be fought. To be victorious, Kjell must hold fast to who he is and trust in himself. My heart was taken with Kjell and his journey. There was so much for him to learn. I feel honored to get to watch him grow into himself.

Now this book wasn’t without heartache and pain. Oh no, definitely not. It was a slow burn and running smoothly…until it wasn’t. Then the real pain began. I made the mistake of reading this late at night and had to stop just when it was coming to a head. But I woke up at 3 am to continue my torture, and it was glorious. I live for these kind of books. The kind that drag you into the depths of despair and keep you there until you think you can’t go on any longer. Then BAM. Yes, as you can tell, I enjoyed this book very much. This story blew The Bird and the Sword out of the water for me.

Sasha was such a well written character. She was so strong, even when she wasn’t. She had to be. Her entire world depended on it. I love how fierce she was. Sasha wouldn’t take any crap from anyone, even if it put her life at risk. She loved with a fierceness that I adore. No matter what life threw at her, she remained true.

Amy Harmon has mastered the art of fantasy romance. The world is believable and the stories seem so real. I felt like I was sitting in the clouds watching this transpire. I hope she’ll write more from this genre. And possibly more from this world. *hint hint*

~Melpomene

Buy The Queen and the Cure here: http://amzn.to/2pBPp2R
Meet Kjell first in The Bird and the Sword here: http://amzn.to/2pQH8sS

Review: 180 Seconds by Jessica Park

When will I learn to read JP books with a box of tissues nearby? I mean seriously, these books reek havoc on my heart.

Allison is a very closed off person. She’s been tossed around in foster care and has learned it’s better to keep to herself than to put herself out there and be rejected or left behind. She had my heart all twisty. She struggles with letting people in. I wanted to reach in and hug her.

After a social media experiment she was pulled into, she realizes that she needs to let people in and to open up her heart a little. There are so many people around her that would love to get close, if only she’d let them. Anxiety is hard to face and even more difficult to let go.

I loved Esben. He’s bigger than life, with a heart of gold. Really, he’s perfect in all the ways that matter. It was wild to see his reaction to the 180 Seconds experiment and to watch him chip away at Allison’s wall until it falls at her feet. It will not be easy. There will be tears. LOTS of tears. But they’ll be worth it.

“I don’t need protection from your past. I need protection from mine.”

Jessica’s books have a way of stringing you along, then tearing your heart out and forcing you to take a deep breath before continuing. Angst must be her middle name. If you loved Flat Out Celeste and Left Drowning/Restless Waters, then this book is right up your alley. This story made me take a good long look at my own life and others around me. You never know who might need a little extra patience and love.

Be brave.

~Melpomene

Buy 180 Seconds here: http://amzn.to/2pTVpo4

Review: Franco by Kim Holden

francoThis is a book about love, determination, friendship and family. The Bright Side family is the best family out there. In fact, I wish I was a part of this family. I want people in my life like this. They know when to joke, when to give advice and when to just be there. Gah! This story was filled with the full range of emotions. Plus, I loved seeing Gus and how he’s doing. I love him.

SYNOPSIS

Franco Genovese is the drummer for world renowned American rock band, Rook. He’s got it all. A killer smile. Tattoos. Talent. Razor sharp wit and humor. And a heart as big, and generous, as they come.
Life is good. Steady. Uncomplicated. Just the way he likes things.
Until one night at an unassuming L.A. bar changes everything.
Enter Gemma Hendricks.
She’s a successful young architect from Northern England with an adorable smile, sarcasm for days, and an unparalleled trusting heart.
The attraction is instant.
So is their friendship.
It’s also temporary because they’ll both be heading home, thousands of miles apart from each other, in a few days.
Or is it?
There’s something Gemma wants more than anything else.
And when Franco propositions her to provide what she’s looking for, everything changes.
Will it transform friendship into love, or will it be their ruin?

From the moment I was inside Franco’s head, I loved him. What attracted me to him was his attitude toward women and his friends. Seriously. He knows what he likes and isn’t shallow in his feelings. Immediately I was hooked and I wanted to see who he was going to end up with. Every girl should want a Franco in their life. And when he thinks about his friends, he embraces their differences and quirks and loves them for it. I want a Franco in my life.

Gemma was the absolute best. THE BEST. I want to meet her and be her friend. She is strong and resilient. She makes me think of Kate and how, no matter what life throws at her, she takes it head on and keeps going. I wanted to reach in a hug her so many times. She is going through something so difficult, I can’t even imagine how she’s hanging on. I don’t know if I could be that strong.

“Do you think dream are better left as dreams because they still hold possibility and wonder and there’s no room for failure.”

“No. I believe that dreams fuel life. And it’s when you’re chasing them that you’re most alive. There’s no reward in settling for status quo.”

Franco and Gemma’s connection was instant. Their relationship was both sexy and sweet. I had a blast watching them grow together and experience what life had in store for them. They were made for each other. The best of friends that grew into more.

She’s my other half. Like for the first time in my life, I know what being unquestionably whole feels like.
And I realize that the notion that my heart beats for me alone is a lie.
It beats for us.

This is one of those books that’s hard to review without saying to much. What I can say is that I woke up at 3:30 am to finish this book before I had to wake up my kids. I needed to know what happened. I laughed and cried and squealed at one certain part. You’ll know it when you read it, if you know me at all. It was so exciting. This story had my heart overflowing until it was a puddle on the floor.

~Melpomene

You don’t need to read Bright Side or Gus to fully enjoy this book, but I really wish you would. Your heart will thank you. Trust me.

Buy Franco HERE
Buy Bright Side HERE
Buy Gus HERE

Review: Faithful by Alice Hoffman 

Faithful is a good YA novel with some realistic grit and an excellent rendering of teenage emotion. Hoffman perfectly describes adolescent/young adult self-centeredness — being egocentric without knowing it — the feeling that no one understands you and you’re the only one going through so much pain. 

Hoffman has a terrific way of harnessing the overwhelming despair Shelby feels without making the book contrived or too angsty. I believed in Shelby as she looked for ways to save herself – some destroyed her further, but some were steps toward healing. Hoffman beautifully illustrated a realistic message of HOPE – there’s a way out and something better waiting, but it’s up to you to grab a hold of the ladder rungs. In Faithful, Shelby achieved more than she ever bargained for: she found her savior, and became one to someone else. 

*This novel is not appropriate for teens under age 15 due to brief and infrequent but graphic and vulgar descriptions of sex.* 

-calliope

Buy FAITHFUL