Review: Dane’s Storm by Mia Sheridan

This is a book about survival, mentally and physically. From the prologue, I was instantly sucked in. I knew this was going to be a doozy of a story. My heart was in my stomach after those couple of pages. Whew!

Dane and Audra’s story is a heartbreaking one. What started out as a whirlwind romance eventually turned into heartbreak and resentment. What they went through, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. The unimaginable pain they have lived with through the years is more than most can bare. They never imagined they’d get a second chance. But the heart wants what the heart wants.

“You weren’t my just my first love. You were my once-in-a-lifetime.”

When circumstances bring them together, Dane offers to fly them back home to resolve an issue, but no one expected his plane would go down and they would be fighting for their lives. While they’re trying to survive they are forced to come to terms with what made them break all those years ago. I wish it didn’t take a plane crash to bring them to this point, but sometimes fate likes to rattle us.

This story is told from both POVs and in the end, I found myself feeling more for Audra than I initially thought. She tends to be rough and tough and hold things inside, but it’s a defense mechanism. She knows once she opens herself up, all her walls will come crashing down. I am thankful that Dane took initiative and started to chip at her defenses. She wasn’t the only one hurting. Once she realized that her heart could start to heal.

“You must bloom.”

This is a standalone which was released as an audible first, but I’m reviewing the ebook. I haven’t listened to it yet. Not sure if this a fast read, since I’m a speed reader, but all I know is that I couldn’t stop. I needed to know they would be okay. I needed to know they would be healed, inside and out. I needed it. And I’m glad I found out. Mia Sheridan has this way of writing that makes you feel it all. All the pain and sadness, and then the joy. Can you epilogue? My heart is happy.

~Melpomene

Buy Dane’s Storm https://amzn.to/2oEcSib

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Preview: Wedding from Hell part 3 by J.R.Ward


Here’s the final part of the FREE 3-part prequel to Consumed. It’s actually an excerpt from Consumed. I don’t know about you, but I’m even more excited to dive into it now that we got a glimpse into this world. As a firewife, I’m all about firefighter books, so I’m a very happy girl.

Here’s the synopsis:
About the Book:
From the creator of the #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series, get ready for a new band of brothers. And a firestorm.

Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed…

By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.

Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse blaze changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.

Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn’t believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again—until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the commonwealth, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.

And here’s your final excerpt:
Excerpt:

Harbor Street and Eighteenth Avenue
Old Downtown, New Brunswick, Massachusetts

Box alarm. One-niner-four-seven. Two engines and a ladder from the 499, responding.

Or, put another way, Anne Ashburn’s Friday night date had showed up on time and was taking her to a show. Granted, “on time” was the precise moment she had sat down for a meal at the stationhouse with her crew, and the “show” was a warehouse fire they were going to have to chorus-line for. But if you judged the health of a relationship on its constancy and whether it brought purpose and meaning to your life?

Then this firefighting gig was the best damn partner a woman could ask for.

As Engine Co. 17 turned the corner onto Harbor with siren and lights going, Anne glanced around the shallow seating area of the apparatus. There were four jump seats behind the cab, two forward- facing, two rear-, the pairs separated by an aisle of gear. Emilio “Amy” Chavez and Patrick “Duff” Duffy were on one side. She and Daniel “Dannyboy” Maguire were on the other. Up in front, Deshaun “Doc” Lewis, the engineer, was behind the wheel, and Captain Christopher “Chip” Baker, the incident commander, was shotgun.

Her nickname was “Sister.” Which was what happened when you were the sibling of the great Fire Chief Thomas Ashburn Jr., and the daughter of the revered—falsely as it turned out— Thomas Ashburn, Sr.

Not everybody called her that, though.

She focused on Danny. He was staring out the open window, the cold November wind blowing his black hair back, his exhausted blue eyes focused on nothing. In their bulky turnouts, their knees brushed every time the engine bumped over sewer access panels, potholes, manholes, intersections.

Okay, okay, she wanted to say to fate. I know he’s there. You don’t have to keep reminding me.

The hardheaded bastard was a lot of things, most of which carried terms you couldn’t use around your grandmother, but he knew she hated the “Sister” thing, so to him, she was Ashburn.

He’d also called her Anne—once. Late at night about three weeks ago.

Yes, they had been naked at the time. Oh, God . . . had they finally done that?

“I’m gonna beat you at pong,” he said without looking at her. “Soon as we get back.”

“No chance.” She hated that he knew she’d been staring at him. “All talk, Dannyboy.”

“Fine.” He turned to face her. “I’ll let you win, how about that?”

His smile was slow, knowing, evil. And her temper answered the phone on the first ring.

“The hell you will.” Anne leaned forward. “I won’t play with you if you cheat.”

“Even if it benefits you?”

“That’s not winning.”

“Huh. Well, you’ll have to explain to me the ins and outs of it when we’re back at the house. While I’m beating you.”

Anne shook her head and glared out the open window.

The first tap on her leg she ascribed to a bump in the road. The second, third, and fourth were obviously—

She looked back at Danny. “Stop it.”

“What?”

“Are you twelve?” As he started to smile, she knew exactly where his mind had gone. “Not inches. Age.”

“I’m pretty sure I peak more like at sixteen.” He lowered his voice. “What do you think?”

Between the sirens and the open windows, no one else could hear them—and Danny never pulled the double entendre if there was a risk of that. But yes, Anne now knew intimately all of his heavily muscled and tattooed anatomy. Granted, it had been only that once.

Then again, unforgettable only had to happen one time.

“I think you’re out of your mind,” she muttered.

And then they were at the scene. The old 1900s-era warehouse was a shell of its former useful self, sixty-five thousand square feet of broken glass panes, rotting beams, and blown-off roof panels. The outer walls were brick, but based on the age, the floors and any room dividers inside were going to be wood. The blaze was in the northeast corner on the second floor, billowing smoke wafting up into the forty-degree night air before being carried away by a southerly wind.

As Anne’s boots hit the ground, she pulled the top half of her turnouts closed. Her ponytail was up high on the back of her head, and she stripped out the band, reorganized the shoulder length, and cranked things tight at her nape. The brown was still streaked with blond from the summer, but she needed to get it trimmed—so all that lightness was on the chopping block.

Of course, if she were a woman “who took care of herself,” she’d get it highlighted through the winter months. Or so her mother liked to tell her. But who the hell had time for that?

“Sister, you sweep the place with Amy for addicts,” Captain Baker commanded. “Stay away from that corner. Danny and Duff, run those lines!”

As Captain Baker continued to bark orders out, she turned away. She had her assignment. Until she completed it, or there was an insurmountable obstacle or change of order, she was required to execute that directive and no other.

“Be safe in there, Ashburn.”

The words were soft and low, meant for her ears alone. And as she glanced over her shoulder, Danny’s Irish eyes were not smiling.

A ripple of premonition made her rub the back of her neck. “Yeah, you, too, Maguire.”

“Piece’a cake. We’ll be back at pong before ten.” They walked away from each other at the same time, Danny going around to the stacks of hoses in the back, her linking up with Chavez…

Be sure and grab this final part before you dive into Consumed.
Wedding from Hell
Part 1 https://amzn.to/2BDpL58
Part 2 https://amzn.to/2LeCF9t
Part 3 https://amzn.to/2PoZ3A6

Preorder Consumed so you can have it ready to read on release day, Oct 2
https://amzn.to/2nXznxW

Review: When We Found Home by Susan Mallery

Three lovely people grow up -separately- without loving parents, and though they don’t share the same mothers, they do share the same paternal grandfather. This guy might be in the background of the story character-development-wise, but he’s the hub that brings his three grandchildren together. Well, with a little help from a friend.

Susan Mallery wrote a terrific story about a non-traditional family. Malcolm was raised from boyhood by his grandfather. Keira was brought into the family home much later – and at the transitional age of 12 has a hard time feeling like she belongs. Delaney, a woman who works in the same building as Malcolm, helps bridge the brother-sister gap. Meanwhile, a third sibling is found and brought “home.” Callie isn’t sure this new world is for her, but feels a sense of responsibility for Keira.

I’ve read a lot of half-siblings-brought-together stories, but none quite like this. Mallery wrote fresh characters with realistic flaws and shortcomings, characters you can be annoyed with and cry with and laugh with… and sympathize with. And Mallery keeps up the realism all the way to the end, when everyone really has found home, even if it’s not what you’d expect. Terrific story about family, loyalty, and love.

-calliope

Buy WHEN WE FOUND HOME

Review: The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne

Swoon worthy and romantic with a dash of emotion and excitement!

I went in not knowing what this book was about. It was a Kerrigan Byrne story and that’s all that mattered to me. But as soon as I finished the prologue I had a feeling that this was going to suck me in. And by the end of chapter one, I knew I was right.

I love the secret that is the Rook. And the epicness of a 20 year longing has my heart all squishy. My gosh! I can’t even imagine how that felt! Theirs was a romance that was meant to be. Lorelei has suffered for so long and I was so happy to see that she finally found someone to really care for her and keep her safe.

She was his prayer in the night. His song in the dark. His past and present. His future.

This series is one of my favorites and seeing a few past characters makes this book even more amazing. This series has a way of turning even the most notorious villains into heroes. Who would’ve thought I’d fall in love with so many of them. I won’t say anymore except that if you’re looking for a series that brings out all the feels and makes you appreciate the anti-hero, then this is the series for you.

Now I wanna reread them all.

~Melpomene
Preorder The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo(Releases Aug 28) https://amzn.to/2wjZX8i

Start from the beginning
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Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Ever have a book that you wanna read but the hype scares you? I mean when EVERYONE likes it, that makes me nervous. It puts a lot of pressure on me. What if I don’t? I’ll have to keep it a secret or risk defending my reasons for not liking it. I hate it when that happens. Well, The Hating Game was that book. I’m gonna be honest here. When I first started reading it, I realized it was a rom-com, and I don’t like those, so I stopped reading it. Sad, but true. HOWEVER, it was staring at me every time I turned on my kindle, so this last week, I picked it back up and tried it again, and you know what? I. LOVED. IT. Every single moment.

The Hating Game was not your traditional rom-com, thankfully. It was definitely enemies to lovers, which I love, so I am sitting her with the biggest, goofiest grin on my face. This book totally lived up to the hype. Trust me.

Can you imagine being around the one person you hate all day, every day at work? They work across from you and you have see their annoying face for 8+ hours? That’s what Josh and Lucy do. The entire office knows that they hate each other. HR has files on them. Even their bosses know to keep them apart. But you know what that say, there’s a fine line between love and hate, and this is proof of it.

Being on the outside, I could totally read the signs, but obviously, they couldn’t. I loved watching them come to realization that they were being ridiculous and their hearts were pushing them together. I swear I spent the last few chapters cheering and giggling at how things all started coming together. I love love this book made my heart so very happy. It was a slow burn that kept me wanting more. If you’re looking for a book that’ll leave you happy and swoony, this is the book for you.

“I hope it’s not too forward of me to say, but your eyes are incredible, Lucy. I die when you blink.”

Hello, swoon.

And if this is Sally Thorne’s debut novel, I can’t wait to see what else she brings to the table! I’ll be first in line.

~Melpomene
Buy The Hating Game https://amzn.to/2LAPNe0

Preview: Wedding From Hell by J.R. Ward

GUYS!!! Did you see that J.R. Ward has surprised us with a FREE three part prequel to her new book Consumed, which comes out in October? Super excited to dive into these as we wait for Consumed to release. Part one is available now. Parts two and three will be coming in August. Scroll down for links and an excerpt.

About the Book:
It’s a classic recipe for disaster: Take one bridesmaid who thinks pink is the root of all evil, mix with a best man who’s hotter than a four-alarm fire, add in their explosive sexual attraction, a nightmare bridezilla, two cat fights, and an emergency call, and you have the wedding from hell.

Experience the sizzling start of Anne and Danny’s intense relationship. Is this the start of something good…or just an erotic one-night stand that rocks their world, but must never be repeated?

Grab Part 1 https://amzn.to/2LE5e4e
Preorder Part 2 https://amzn.to/2A8B8By
Preorder Part 3 https://amzn.to/2A8Ctby

Excerpt:

Thursday, October 29
T minus 48 hours ’til blastoff
College Row, New Brunswick, Massachusetts

“Because women are not frickin’ groomsmen! That’s why she can’t be in the goddamn wedding!”

As Anne Ashburn walked in the back door of the shotgun apartment, that happy little explosion was not only what she’d expected all along, it also offered her the out she’d been praying for. And it was probably the one and only time she was ever going to agree with the bride.

Not about the role of females in bridal parties, but that Anne wasn’t going to be in the “goddamn wedding.”

Everyone standing in the kitchen turned and looked at her: Deandra Cox, the impending wearer of the white dress; Robert “Moose” Miller, her exhausted fiancé and Anne’s fellow crew member down at the 499 fi rehouse; and . . . Dannyboy Maguire.

Who was the only one she really noticed and, for that reason, the person she refused to look at.

Too bad Danny always made an impression. Like most firefighters, he was in great physical shape, his big body thickly muscled and ready to snap into motion in an instant. With his heavy arms linked over that chest and his long legs crossed at the boots, he was leaning back against the chipped countertop, his too-blue stare missing nothing. He was fresh from a shower, his glossy black hair wet, and Anne tried not to picture him naked under the spray, his tattooed torso arching as he rinsed the shampoo out of his—

She put her hands up to stop herself as much as the argument. “Look, I don’t want to cause any problems. I’m happy to step aside—”

“And now I have one too many bridesmaids.” The bride-to-be refocused on her intended. “My count is wrong. You wait until two days before the wedding to tell me this when you know I’m not going to like it, and now my count is off!”

As the groom focused on the linoleum floor, it was impossible not to picture a wax version of the couple on a multi-tiered cake: Deandra in skinny jeans and that tight cashmere sweater, her dark hair streaked blond, her body cocked forward like she was going to throat-punch the man she was going to marry; Moose in his New Brunswick Fire Department T-shirt, all broad-shouldered and bearded around the face, easing back like someone with the flu was about to sneeze in his face.

Ah, true love.

“I didn’t think it was a big deal,” Moose muttered. “Anne’s a member of the four-nine-nine crew, and everyone else is with me.”

“She’s a girl.” Deandra pointed at Anne. “It throws off everything.”

“I really don’t want to cause any problems.” Anne put her hands up again. “So I’ll just be in the congregation. It’s perfectly fine—”

Deandra’s glare swung Anne’s way. “The count is still wrong. And my friends have already paid for their dresses. They were a hundred and twenty dollars apiece.”

And that’s my cue to go, Anne thought. Moose may have volunteered for this, but no one else had or needed to—

“I think women can be whatever they want.”

As Danny spoke up, everyone looked at him—including Anne, who suddenly felt shades of what Deandra was throwing out.

Don’t you dare, she mouthed at him behind the bride’s back.

Danny just shrugged like he’d thrown on a pantsuit and was channeling Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton all at once. “I mean, Deandra, you’re above all that sexism, aren’t you? No one’s going to tell you what’s right and wrong for your own wedding. You’re more secure than that.”

I am going to kill you, Anne vowed. “I think Deandra wants things done properly for her only wedding.”

Danny frowned in pseudo-confusion. “So you’re saying it’s okay to have a double standard for men and women? That’s a shocker given how you are at the station. I thought you believed in equality.”

“I do,” Anne snapped. “But this isn’t about equality.”

“You sure? I don’t know how you can support traditional gender roles when it comes to a wedding ceremony at the same time you defend the right for women to be firefighters, cops, and on the front lines in the military.”

“Spare me someone who’s never been in a dress having an opinion about women’s issues, okay?”

“I’m just pointing out that you don’t want women out of dresses.”

“It’s her wedding.” Anne jabbed a finger at Deandra. “She’s the bride. She gets to say what’s right and wrong for her, and she does not need some man telling her what to do.”

“Even if I’m defending the rights of women?”

“Until you grow a set of ovaries, you can shut the hell up about our rights!”

As Anne’s voice ricocheted around the kitchen, she realized that she’d marched right up to Danny—and that Deandra and Moose were watching the two of them in total stillness.

She cleared her throat and took a step back. “Anyway, Deandra’s made up her mind. And I support her decision.”

Deandra’s eyes narrowed on Danny, and something about the way the woman looked at him didn’t seem right.

“Actually,” the bride said, “maybe she should be in the wedding party.”

Anne prayed her expression stayed neutral. “Don’t compromise your vision on my account.”

“I won’t.” The woman stared at Danny. “Fine. Let’s put her in a tuxedo like the rest of the men. She can walk my sister down the aisle, just like a man should. Her shoulders are too big for a gown, anyway, and that way my count stays the way it should.”

Anne rolled her eyes. Let’s hear it for girl power.

“So it’s settled,” Deandra said with a tight smile. “You need a tux. Unless you already own one.”

For a moment, Anne waited for somebody to argue with the woman. Like Moose. But he was clearly done falling on swords over the wedding details, and Danny had just gotten what he wanted so he wasn’t going to say a damn thing.

And the truth was, after how many years of fighting fires with these men, they were her brothers in all but blood. Even though she thought Moose had lost his ever-loving mind marrying this beautiful but sour woman after knowing her for a matter of months, Anne was still going to stand up for the guy if he wanted her to—and he did. He’d asked her down at the stationhouse specifically.

“Where did you guys rent your suits?” Anne said to him.

“Tuxedoes,” Deandra corrected.

The groom blinked like he’d forgotten how to speak English. Then again, he’d been doing that a lot at the firehouse lately. “You’re actually going to wear one?”

“What the hell do I care?”

“Yes, she is wearing one,” Deandra cut in.

Danny spoke up. “I’ll go with you. I know where the place is.”

About the Author:
J.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.

Review: Like Never and Always by Ann Aguirre

When I first read the synopsis of this, I was intrigued. Can you imagine waking up in someone else’s body? I would flip out. That’s exactly what happens to Liv when her and Morgan and their boyfriends get into a car accident. Liv seems to have died, while Morgan survived. Except she didn’t, sorta.

But it’s not just the new body that would freak me out. It’s the mysterious texts. The boyfriend that should be mine, if she were really Morgan, and the general sense that nothing is as it should be.

When Liv finds a file in Morgan’s room, a whole new world opens up for her. There is more going on around her than she ever knew. Scary and horrifying, if I’m being honest. She must try and put the pieces of her past together and see why this has tampered with her future.

My heart was racing a quite a few times as I was reading. I wanted to read faster just to get to the end. When it was over, I sat back and wondered what in the world just happened. There’s a bit of mystery, romance and sci-fi working here. While it was good, I’m having a hard time figuring out how I feel about the end. For some reason I didn’t expect it to happen this way, and yet my head can’t wrap around any other way it could’ve happened. What a ride!

~Melpomene
Buy Like Never and Always https://amzn.to/2JDe2Cq