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

Review: Keepsake(True North#3) by Sarina Bowen

keepsake
There’s just something about this series that I love. I can’t put my finger on it, but whatever it is, I hope it continues.

Lark has lived through a horrific ordeal and is struggling to get back to what she was before. She goes to stay at the orchard for the summer, in the hopes that the peace she finds there will put her back together. But she has no idea that the peace won’t come from work and fresh air, but from a certain sheltered boy who’s had his own share of trials.

I loved Zach, from the very first book. I was so curious about his story. I loved his vulnerability and yet his strength. He was sweet and patient with Lark. I loved the way he helped her at night. He’s compassionate about her struggles and soon finds himself with feelings that he’s unclear if he should run with.

She looked vivid, as if God had painted her features with bolder paints than he used on the rest of the world.

Watching these two tiptoe around each other was cute. Gah! I love these characters! This entire family, whether blood related or not, is the perfect family. They care and love each other and would just about anything to help each other out. At one scene I had tears pouring down my face from how much these guys care fo each other. They may tease and give a lot of grief, but it’s all in love. I wish I lived on the Shipley’s farm.

This may be book 3 in a series, but it can totally be read as a standalone. However, I highly recommend you read the first two books also. You will love this family as much as I do.

~Melpomene

Buy Keepsake HERE.

Review: Just Friends by Monica Murphy

just-friends-amazon Have you ever read a book so crazy insane with angst that you wanna set it down and walk away, but you JUST CAN’T DO IT? Well, that is how I felt read Just Friends. My word… Teenage drama to the nth degree. Seriously.

Just Friends is about…well, friends. Friends and enemies. Frenemies really. The characters were so insane with teenage drama and feelings, I thought my head was going to explode. At one point I hated every single character. None of them were making good choices. They only cared about hooking up, which is true for most teenagers, but my word… Selfish, emotional and so over the top wishy washy. He likes her, but she doesn’t know if she likes him. But the he hooks up with someone else. But he really likes her, even though she doesn’t know if she can be with him. All of that and more. Teenage drama.

Now I say all of that, but in reality, I was sucked in from the very first chapter. I couldn’t take my eyes off the page. I needed to know what happens and who “really” like who, and why is she acting this way. GAH!!!!

If you stepped into your local high school, you would probably hear lots of the same conversations that were in the book. Ms. Murphy nailed the inner feelings and actions of teenage girls. Supremely. Not to mention that the boys were realistically stupid as always. Sex and sports.

I haven’t read an angst filled NA book in quite some time, so I wasn’t sure what my reactions were going to be. But it’s safe to say, there was a lot of yelling and “What are thinking?’ being shouted.Again, teenage drama. I know the characters are in high school, but they are doing lots of grown up things that I can’t label YA. This book will get your heart racing and tugging. Your heart will hurt and twist at the same time. So much fun.

And that ending? I need more NOW.

~Melpomene
Buy Just Friends HERE

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Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

empire Well, now…where to begin…I have so many feelings all jumbled up in my head. But, here goes.

This is the first book that I actually read with my children. My daughter read the first five books, including the prequels, last year, and my son was sucked into them after we went on vacation and we listened to the first one on our trip. So it was kinda fun reading along. It was crazy to be able to scream and yell and vent together.

Being that this is the 5th book in a series, you should be all ready to handle the amount of emotions that Sarah’s books will pull out of you. But this one was different. This book seemed more epic, if that’s even possible. So many storylines were going on at the same time, it was stressful. I kept waiting for the massive explosion from when they all crashed together. And let me tell you, explosion was exactly what we got. There were alliances made. Deals drawn. And that ending…my heart was messed up. My kids were NOT happy with that ending. They were yelling at me. I was laughing at them. I’m used to this kinds of devastation, but they are not.

While I was enjoying myself, this book seemed to take a turn for the NA world. Just a heads up there. This series, up til now, was pretty YA and the sexy scenes were fade to black. Not so with this one. It was quite descriptive and I had to block off a few spots for my teens. Now don’t get all huffy. I’m not about censorship, but I will do that for my kids. I like the sexy parts, but not for my kids. I won’t go into more about that, but I will say this, those scenes are the reason I gave this a 4 instead of a 5.

Besides all that, I will recommend this series if you like fantasy. Sarah creates worlds that are so unbelievable and yet they sound so real. I haven’t heard the audible for this one, but I did use it for my reread/relisten and the stories are even better when you hear them.

~Melpomene

Buy Empire of Storms HERE