Review: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

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I fell in love with the words of Jesmyn Ward years ago.  Salvage the Bones is a story that has stayed with me while so many others have been quickly forgotten.  So it was with great anticipation that I dove into her newest novel.

Young  JoJo has a mom.  And he has a dad.  But neither of them is very strong in the parenting department.  Dad’s in prison, and mom Leonnie seemed to have missed getting the maternal instinct gene.  Luckily, though, JoJo and his baby sister Kayla have the love and parenting of their grandparents. Life is hard, but there’s always plenty to eat and more than enough love to go around.  When it’s time for dad to be released from prison, Leonnie decides that a family road trip is in order.  Forget the fact that neither child wants much to do with her.  They’re both uprooted against their grandparents’ wishes and off they go.  Along the way there’s illness, drug deals, hunger, and handcuffs.

Oh and ghosts. Did I mention the ghosts?  Leonnie, JoJo, and baby Kayla it would seem are all blessed, or cursed, with the ability to see spirits.  Leonnie is haunted by the image of her dead brother.  And JoJo picks up a friend at the prison,  a young life lost long ago.  Both have unfinished business.

This is the story, and it’s a good enough story that it’s enough.  But then add in the hauntingly beautiful words of the author and you have something else.  You have a piece of literature that is an epic tale, a tragedy of great proportions that will keep you reading until the very end.

There are no happy endings in this story. But does life always guarantee us as much?  If you’re expecting everything to be wrapped up neat and tidy by the last page, then this isn’t the story for you.  If, however, you’re looking for a raw and realistic portrayal of life written in the most beautiful way, look no further.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Sing, Unburied, Sing

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Review: Feversong by Karen Marie Moning

01-a The most critical, defining battles we wage in life, we wage alone.

It has taken me almost a week to collect my thoughts on this book. I’m still reeling. Let me start out by saying that this isn’t the final book in the Fever series, but the final one in the Mac/Barrons story line. So savor it and read it slowly. Trust me.

When we left Feverborn, we left screaming. Mac opened herself up to the Sinsar Dubh and we weren’t sure how, or if, she would be able to get out. In Feversong, Mac must take back control and destroy the book, find the Song of Making to also destroy these black holes that seem to be slowly eating up our world, and do all this without getting lost inside herself again. It is an ongoing battle that only she can do. She must forget about her past actions and focus on the future with a clear head.

In the midst of Mac’s issues we have Dani and her quest to find a balance between Jada and Dani. She is there to help destroy the book, of course, but the five year she spent alone in the silvers has changed her, and not for the better. On the outside Dani is hard and uncaring, but if you chip away her layers, you see that she is soft and just wants love. She will fight to the death for it. Watching her grow into herself was beautiful, devastatingly so. I can’t remember watching a character go through so much and come out stronger for it. I am looking forward to see what happens to her. She has had enough heartache to choke on and I know she deserves a happily ever after.

“I love you more eternal than pi.”

As I said this is the final book about Mac and Barrons. Their story comes full circle and it’s crazy when I look back at when they first met. She was so sad and naive, but by the end she knew who she was and was stronger for it. They had their battles but, through it all, their love was the stuff faerie tales. Truly.

“Fire to his ice.
Frost to my flame.
Forever.”

I spent the final 25% of this book with tears in my eyes. Some scenes had them flowing nonstop, while others had me chocking to hold them in. This book was an epic edition to this series. A full range of emotions. You won’t leave untouched. She makes us work for this ending. Grab a comfy blanket, perhaps a box of tissues and leave the world behind as you escape into the world of the fae. You can thank me later.

~Melpomene

Buy Feversong HERE

Review: Every Dead Thing (Charlie Parker #1) by John Connolly

175242This was a really good book considering it’s was a debut novel. I don’t imagine it was meant to be an ongoing series…I say this because there was just so much going on in this book! It was over 400 pages long and it read more like 600. I’m not saying it was boring. It wasn’t. There was just really too much going on. It easily could have been made for two complete books with two great story lines. With a few twists and a minor changes I dare say it could have made for three. If Connolly had planned on making a series, I do believe he would have broken this up into multiple books….I dare say we would all have been the better if he had….

If you’re wondering what it was all about….in this novel we meet Charlie Parker for the first time. I read the last Charlie Parker, #12 in the series, earlier this year because I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of the novel. It was fantastic (https://randombookmuses.com/2014/10/29/review-the-wolf-in-winter-by-john-connolly/). He’s a police detective. Parker’s family is killed right off in this book and we fast forward to months later. Now Parker has quit the force and is working for himself. He takes a job and in the midst of solving that case he is also solving his family’s murders.

There are a few bits that didn’t make sense with me as far as the time frame went. I’m not sure how Parker got from point A to B at times either. Perhaps I was just too distracted to understand, or perhaps it was just a matter of a debut novel and an author that was coming into his own. At any rate, it was a really good read, and having sampled his current writing style, I can vouch that it will indeed get better. This is a storyline and a cast of characters I truly look forward to getting to know. Parker is very complex. Connolly might be writing detective novels, but don’t let it fool you….he really has a way with words…and some of the depth that he lays out amongst the blood, guts and gunfire really give you a cause to stop and reflect. I’m going to leave this review and let Connolly’s own words convince you that you really need to be reading this series….

For a moment they still lived and I experienced their deaths as a fresh loss with each waking, so that I was unsure whether I was a man waking from a dream of death or a dreamer entering a world of loss, a man dreaming of unhappiness or a man waking to grief.

I believe in evil because I have touched it, and it has touched me.

He sat back in his chair. “But I let it go. In the end, you have to let things go. The things you regret are the things you hold on to.” “So is nothing worth holding on to?” asked Rachel. Angel looked at Louis for a while. “Some things are, yeah, but they ain’t made of gold.

I think I wanted to say more, to try to explain to her what it was like without alcohol, about how I was afraid that, without alcohol, each day would now leave me with nothing to look forward to. Each day would simply be another day without a drink. Sometimes, when I was at my lowest ebb, I wondered if my search for the Traveling Man was just a way to fill my days, a way to keep me from going off the rails.

I don’t believe in the next world, Bird. It’s just a void. This is Hell, Bird, and we are in it. All the pain, all the hurt, all the misery you could ever imagine, you can find it here. It’s a culture of death, the only religion worth following

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now Every Dead Thing by John Connolly

Review: Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon

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I’ve had the Dark Hunters books, on my kindle, for a few years now. I bought them all at once. It was quite daunting looking at 23 books, and knowing that there were way more if you add in the all the side series. This summer I decided to enjoy the summer and read for me. Not for the blog, just me, which means I barely reviewed anything. Sorry, Muses and Pegasus! So I charged my kindle and set out to finish this series.

I’ve had lots of people talk about Styxx and “Oh my gosh, his book killed me!” Well, in order to get to this killing book, I needed to read the 21 books before it. So this is what I’ve been doing. And yesterday, I realized that everyone was right. I’m writing this review from beyond the grave, cuz this book killed me. Dead.

If you’ve read this series you’d know that Acheron’s book was not for the faint hearted, but this book surpassed that one. I’m not even kidding when I say that I spent the last 15% in constant tears. With the size of this book, that means I was crying off and on for about 4 hours. It takes great talent to read through tears. I believe I’ve mastered that now.

You get a glimpse of Styxx in Acheron’s book and the impression you get isn’t good. He seems like this snotty, unloving selfish brother, and to be honest, I didn’t care about him. I knew his book was a sad one, but I didn’t think I would really care, after the way we saw him treat his siblings. But, holy cannoli, there was so much more going on! The amount of devastation and abuse this boy was handed, I’m surprised he’s still sane. A lesser man would’ve broke.

I can’t really say what happens, but I will say this, I’m so glad that Acheron has someone for him. Someone who understands him and what he went through. Brothers need to stick together.The funny thing is though, now I feel like the rest of the books are going to pale in comparison to this one.

~Melpomene

Buy Styxx HERE

Review: Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley

01 amid “You don’t have a midnight soul, Frannie. Your soul is so bright, I look too close, I’d be blinded.”

Magical, romantic, beautiful and sweet. This series is all these things and more. I actually read this book slower than I normally would. I wanted to savor this world that I’ve come to love so much and I therefore I wasn’t ready for it to end. Heck, I know it’s over and I still have a hard time admitting that!

We’ve only ever seen one side of Franka, and it’s not the side that makes you love her. In fact, you want to stay far away from her. But after seeing what she’s endured her entire life, you can’t help to forgive her for her past embrace her in love.

Noc was a great hero to this story. He was thrust into a world not of his own, but he welcomed it and embraced it and helped save it. And to thank him for it, he was given Franka Drakkar, his Frannie. He knew she wasn’t the nicest person, but after an evening of whiskey and wine, he learns that there’s more to her and he wants all of it.

The slow burn between these two was perfect. I was so glad there was no rushing and Noc had the patience of a saint and knew she needed to get her head on straight before he could officially make his move. I loved each and every time Frannie discovered that she’s no longer the same person she was back when they first met. It tickled me to see her vulnerable like that. There was a secret part of Noc that he holds close to his heart, but somehow Frannie find a way to it and shows him that there’s more to him than this.

“I have a golden soul,” I said again. and he opened his mouth to speak buy I carried on. “I know this because the gods in my world and the God in yours would never tether a soul that was anything less than golden to the perfection that is you.”

And shall we talk about that epilogue? Simply perfect. In fact, I didn’t realize this was the final book until I started to read that. I was so very relieved to see the other couples and their families and even the newer couples find happiness as well. So bittersweet. So emotional. So very good.

~Melpomene

Buy Midnight Soul HERE.

Be sure and read the entire series so you can fully enjoy this one.

Wildest Dreams
The Golden Dynasty
Fantastical
Broken Dove

Review: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

01 aclo This has to be the one of the most unique books I have ever read. Unique in the sense that I’ve never read Steampunk before. All the talk of gears and ray guns and such was just wild for me. Now toss in vampires, werewolves and ghosts and you have the making a crazy story. Not to mention romance, cuz of course I need romance in my stories. This was just plain fantastic.

When Lucy decided to visit her cousin, Kate, she thought she was there to merely help her get well. She had no idea that she was about to get sucked into such drama. From pushy relatives to ghost hauntings, she has more on her plate than she ever thought possible. Last thing she wants is to deal with a mean, yet handsome, man who seems to be everywhere she looks. I liked Lucy. She had spunk. She wasn’t going to let anything scare her off until she figured out what was making her cousin sick. Not even the big bad beast could move her along.

Miles was fun to watch. Yes, he had is secrets. Yes, he was brash. But he cared for his family and was trying to do the best for them. In the ways of the “beast” it was sweet to see him fall for Lucy, even though he didn’t want to. He tried to protect her and push her away, but she wasn’t taking any of his crap. These two were too stubborn to not connect with each other.

The best part of this book is that it’s clean. As with all Proper Romances, this story has nothing to hide. Teens to adult can enjoy this story without worrying about sexy scenes. I look forward to letting my daughter read this when she’s ready.

I’ll admit, I had no idea what I was getting myself into here. I have no idea what’s “traditional” steampunk and what isn’t. I still don’t know. But what I do know is that I completely enjoyed this story. And if all steampunks are like this one, then I know I found another genre to add to my TBR.

~Melpomene

Buy Beauty and the Clockwork Beast HERE.

Review: Dragon Fever by Donna Grant

01 a1001 I just love this sexy dragon series. I mean, it’s dragons. And everyone knows dragons are cool.

Rachel is sent to get information on dragons living in our world and expose them for what they really are. She was picked specifically because she wouldn’t fall for whoever she was after. She’s a diehard reporter who knows how to get the story no matter what. But after her first glance of Asher, she knows that this is going to be harder than she thought.

Asher wishes he was back home at Dreagan instead in Paris. But after a chance meeting, he begins to think that maybe Paris isn’t so bad after all. That is until he finds out what she’s doing but still has trust her when things start to fall apart.

I really enjoyed this fast paced novella. These Dragon Kings move quickly in the romance department. When they find something they like, they go after it FAST. And I gotta say, I like their speed. They don’t mess around. We also discover who’s behind the trouble and learn a few things that I never saw coming.

Sometimes I don’t get to read novellas in some of my series, but I’m so glad I read this one. If you like this series, I highly recommend you read this one. Plus it’ll hold you over until the next one, in March.

~Melpomene

Buy Dragon Fever HERE.

Excerpt

Asher exited the car amid a flash of clicks from cameras as well as reporters doing their best to holler questions the loudest in the hopes he might answer.

“Is it true you’re a dragon?” one reporter asked.

Another yelled, “Shift for us.”

They had no idea how much he wanted to do just that, if for no other reason than to get everyone out of his face. Instead, he put on a serene expression, buttoned his jacket and gave a nod to a few spectators lined up along the entrance as he walked in.

Once inside the centre, there was no time to relax. Ms. Engel was right on his heels, directing where he was headed and giving him names of those he would be meeting.

He stopped outside of the closed doors of the room.

“Is something wrong, sir?” Ms. Engel asked.

“For one, my name is Asher, not sir.”

She held up a finger to stop him. “Mr. Constantine also tried to tell me the same thing. I work for Dreagan and whoever represents the company at the WWC. While here, you’ll always be ‘sir.’”

Asher could accept that. Blossom was beginning to grow on him. She might be a miniature drill sergeant, but she was damn good at her job. No wonder Con used her year after year.

He drew in a breath and released it as he looked behind them. “Is it always so…” He waved his hand around, looking for the right word.

“Crazy? Insane? Nearly fanatical?”

He nodded. “Yes.”

“Only when Dreagan is here.” Ms. Engel put the cap on her pen. “Before TVL, everyone just wanted a glimpse of those who were a part of Dreagan and get a taste of the whisky. After TVL, well, now they want to see what might happen.”

“TVL?” he asked, sorting through all sorts of words she might mean.

“The Video Leak.”

“Ah.” Well, that made sense. He turned his attention to her. “Did you see the video?”

“Of course.”

When she said nothing further, he asked, “What did you think?”

“It doesn’t matter, sir.”