Review: Quiet Man by Kristen Ashley


Novellas are always hard to rate. They’re usually too short to be too emotionally awesome. Now a KA novella, those are in a league of their own. Definitely worth the five stars.

Mo and Lottie’s sorry was short and sexy and just the right length. I am so happy she got her dream man. She deserved happiness just like the rest of the Rock Chicks. It was so fun to see Lottie take center stage and not get swallowed up by the craziness of those girls. She gets lost in the shuffle sometimes. She was due to have her own HEA.

Mo was the perfect man for her. It’s like he was made for her. I love everything about him. He was strong and yet insecure at times. I like that in a hero, his realness. I liked being in his head. He was definitely a riot at times.

And can we talk about his buds? They are gonna be so fun to watch! The way they all responded to her and accepted her made my heart squeeze. They all have their quirks and she knows exactly how to work with them. She now has more “brothers” than she knows what to do with. I am happy for her.

And of course the epilogue was amazing as ever. Kristen Ashley is the queen of the epilogue so there was never any doubt.

So I didn’t get a Hot Bunch Guy.
I got my Dream Man.
And the best of all that…
My Dream Man got his Dream Girl.

This is the start of a new spin off of sorts and I can’t WAIT to get more!! I love these new guys!

~Melpomene

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Review: Dark Alpha’s Redemption by Donna Grant


These Reapers books are quick fast reads that hold us over till we can get to the next Dark King story. They add a little side story to an already full world. I consider them stepping stones as such. You could skip them, but you’d miss out one this entire batch of fun characters.

In order to become a reaper, they all were killed unjustly. Death has compassion and gives them the option of coming to work for her or staying dead. The story behind Bradach is why he dislikes the Dark and no longer trusts them. So when he meets Maeve, he immediately has his qualms about working with her. But he does what Death tells him to do.

This story was super fast, and almost a filler. So much happened, but yet they still don’t have the answers they need. Usaeil is still evil, but now they know how evil. They also know the way to kill her, but they’re still searching for Rhi to do the job. I will say it’s nice that after so many years alone, it’s nice to see the reapers finding love. I can see the light coming! We’re almost to the end of this world! Bittersweet, I know, but I can’t for everything to come together in an explosive end.

~Melpomene

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Review: Strong by Kylie Scott

“For a woman with so much pride, Martha, you have a very thin grasp of your worth.”

Let me start out by saying that this book can be read as a standalone. While it features characters from Kylie’s Stage Dive series, you can fully enjoy this without reading those. BUT, and I emphasize that, you really should read them. They’re super fun and have enough emotion weaved throughout them to make me very happy.

This story is ten years in the making. While Sam has always been in the background watching and waiting, Martha has been out front causing mayhem and grief. They are the epitome of opposites attract. I wanted to reach in numerous times and wring her neck. Martha has been watching the Stage Dive guys fall one by one but all the while she’s been watching their super hot bodyguard from the sidelines. She knows she’s all wrong for him, but she can’t stop the wanting.

Sam has been wanting Martha for 10 years. Hard to believe this spoiled, high maintenance girl would ever want him. But he’s not willing to wait any longer and sets his sight on her and slowly reels her in. Of course there are fireworks when this happens, and not just the beautiful, awe inspiring kind. The kind that blow things up and make you take cover.

Sam has the patience of a saint. Martha definitely didn’t make it easy but it was fun to watch. I’m glad that things worked out, and not just between her and Sam. She isn’t the most liked character and it’s been a long time coming and growing up, on her part. It was also fun to see the past characters join in the party and come together. love when series end like this.

~Melpomene

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Dive into Stage Dive from the beginning
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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
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Review: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has a few different spots in my heart…the first is that he writes brilliantly and beautifully as so few can do. His style is both unique and refreshing. The second thing is the sound of his voice. It makes me near swoon. I could listen to him speak all day. I never get tired of it. Finally, he is one of the only writers that I actually enjoy a great deal of his short stories. I’m not a short story person really. However, I really do find myself enjoying some of his tales. I also love that he takes the time to explain where the stories come from. Sometimes those super short blurbs are more interesting than the actual story! They certainly almost always add to the story as well. If I had a complaint about the formatting of this novel it would only be I wish the blurbs came right before each story (or perhaps the end). Instead they are all in the start of the book so you have to go back and forth…or if you read the book from start to finish, you forget what little blurb inspired the story in the first place. Yes I know you can go flip back and forth…however, if you’re trying to listen to the audiobook (AGAIN! The second thing! HIS VOICE!!!) it’s not as easy to do.

Some of my all time favourite short stories can be found in this collection. I shall only mention one…”The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury”. If you can find a copy or a recording of Neil reading it PLEASE DO!!! (it’s also on the An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer cd, which is where I first heard it)

Finally Trigger Warnings…The term. I find it hard to express how I feel about trigger warnings and how silly it has sometimes became in social media. I’ve seen trigger warnings posted such as “dog”, “fat”, “diet”, really this list is endless. And no these were not instances of someone trying to be funny…these were honest to goodness trigger warnings….I’m no one to judge….however, I don’t believe we do ourselves or anyone else living in a censored world of padded rooms full of insulated words…

Again, I’m not a judge or an expert…and I’m not a writer, but my friend, Mr Gaiman is…I found his introduction was spot on for me. It’s exactly how I wish I could explain how I fell about “trigger warnings”…yeah, it might be a bit of an overkill, and you might not want to read it, but I am going to include it anyways…hahaha…if you decided to read it, I hope you’re lucky enough to be able to imagine Neil reading it (I pretty much do his voice inside my head ANYTIME I read one of his books now). Here it is…the introduction of the book:

There are things that upset us. That’s not quite what we’re talking about here, though. I’m thinking about those images or words or ideas that drop like trapdoors beneath us, throwing us out of our safe, sane world into a place much more dark and less welcoming. Our hearts skip a ratatat drumbeat in our chests, and we fight for breath. Blood retreats from our faces and our fingers, leaving us pale and gasping and shocked.

And what we learn about ourselves in those moments, where the trigger has been squeezed, is this: the past is not dead. There are things that wait for us, patiently, in the dark corridors of our lives. We think we have moved on, put them out of mind, left them to desiccate and shrivel and blow away; but we are wrong. They have been waiting there in the darkness, working out, practicing their most vicious blows, their sharp hard thoughtless punches into the gut, killing time until we came back that way.

The monsters in our cupboards and our minds are always there in the darkness, like mould beneath the floorboards and behind the wallpaper, and there is so much darkness, an inexhaustible supply of darkness. The universe is amply supplied with night.

What do we need to be warned about? We each have our little triggers.

I first encountered the phrase Trigger Warning on the Internet, where it existed primarily to warn people of links to images or ideas that could upset them and trigger flashbacks or anxiety or terror, in order that the images or ideas could be filtered out of a feed, or that the person reading could be mentally prepared before encountering them.

I was fascinated when I learned that trigger warnings had crossed the divide from the internet to the world of things you could touch. Several colleges, it was announced, were considering putting trigger warnings on works of literature, art or film, to warn students of what was waiting for them, an idea that I found myself simultaneously warming to (of course you want to let people who may be distressed that this might distress them) while at the same time being deeply troubled by it: when I wrote Sandman and it was being published as a monthly comic, it had a warning on each issue, telling the world it was Suggested for Mature Readers, which I thought was wise. It told potential readers that this was not a children’s comic and it might contain images or ideas that could be troubling, and also suggests that if you are mature (whatever that happens to means) you are on your own. As for what they would find that might disturb them, or shake them, or make them think something they had never thought before, I felt that that was their own look out. We are mature, we decide what we read or do not read.

But so much of what we read as adults should be read, I think, with no warnings or alerts beyond, perhaps: we need to find out what fiction is, what it means, to us, an experience that is going to be unlike anyone else’s experience of the story.

We build the stories in our heads. We take words, and we give them power, and we look out through other eyes, and we see, and experience, what they see. I wonder, Are fictions safe places? And then I ask myself, Should they be safe places? There are stories I read as a child I wished, once I had read them, that I had never encountered, because I was not ready for them and they upset me: stories which contained helplessness, in which people were embarrassed, or mutilated, in which adults were made vulnerable and parents could be of no assistance. They troubled me and haunted my nightmares and my daydreams, worried and upset me on profound levels, but they also taught me that, if I was going to read fiction, sometimes I would only know what my comfort zone was by leaving it; and now, as an adult, I would not erase the experience of having read them if I could.

There are still things that profoundly upset me when I encounter them, whether it’s on the web or the word or in the world. They never get easier, never stop my heart from trip-trapping, never let me escape, this time, unscathed. But they teach me things, and they open my eyes, and if they hurt, they hurt in ways that make me think and grow and change.

I wondered, reading about the college discussions, whether, one day, people would put a trigger warning on my fiction. I wondered whether or not they would be justified in doing it. And then I decided to do it first.

There are things in this book, as in life, that might upset you. There is death and pain in here, tears and discomfort, violence of all kinds, cruelty, even abuse. There is kindness, too, I hope, sometimes. Even a handful of happy endings. (Few stories end unhappily for all participants, after all.) And there’s more than that: I know a lady called Rocky who is upset by tentacles, and who genuinely needs warnings for things that have tentacles in them, especially tentacles with suckers, and who, confronted with an unexpected squid or octopus, will dive, shaking, behind the nearest sofa. There is an enormous tentacle somewhere in these pages.

Many of those stories end badly for at least one of the people in them. Consider yourself warned.

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

Review: Rome’s Chance by Joanna Wylde

While this is a novella, I in no way felt gypped. I’ve read this entire series and, even if I didn’t, this can be read as a standalone. Rome’s Chance gives you a glimpse into the world of the Reapers and the reason they’re a family.

Randi has come home to take care of her brother and sister, and the last thing she wants or needs is to be caught up in Rome’s web again. She has enough on her plate without getting pulled away in a romance. A romance that left her heartbroken in the past. But the more time she spends here the more time she’s presented with the possibility of Rome.

This second chance romance was sweet in all the right places. Watching Rome and Randi circle each other was right up my alley. He knew she was the forever girl in his life, but she needed a little convincing. So while we get some heartaches and some sexy times, he pulls out all the stops in making Randi realize what his heart already knows.

I love the 1,001 Dark Nights series, in that they give yo a taste and let you decide if you want to jump into a series. This book was the perfect jumping point. If you lie MC books, then give this story a chance. You can thank me later.

~Melpomene

Buy Rome’s Chance https://amzn.to/2F6MseM

Review: The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

luckiest-girl-alive-9781476789637Most of the time, when I finish a book I’m able to talk about it right away. But every now and then a book comes along that makes me hesitate, sit back and think about it a bit. This debut novel by Jessica Knoll is one of those books.

Meet Ani. She’s a young women living in New York, not yet thirty and already an established contributor to The Women’s Magazine. She’s the epitome of success. Ani knows how to dress, how to walk and talk, how to order at a restaurant. And she’s engaged. Not just any average Joe will do. Luke comes from old money, a well-to-do and highly respected family. He’s her ticket to security. Does she love him? Does it even matter?

But Ani is hiding a secret from most of the world. Something from her past has come back to tarnish the image she’s worked so hard to cultivate. Everyone thinks they know what happened when she was a student at the prestigious Bradley School, but now it’s time for Ani to tell her side of the story.

I’m the first to admit, it took me more than my typical 10% to get into this story. Even after 20%, I was still skeptical. But I knew, just felt even, that something was going to happen to make it worth my while. So I stuck with it. And I’m glad I did. Because it paid off.

This is a dark, sarcastic, humorous, witty story. There’s a depressing sadness that comes from finally hearing what happened to Ani. But at the same time, she’s not always a very likable character. She’s kind of mean, biting, cruel even. Once you hear her story, however, you understand. And you find yourself pulling for her, even cheering her on as the story reaches its ending. It’s a story that I think will leave people pondering for a bit, wondering about what they just read. And it’s a book that I believe people will recommend to others, just like I’m now recommending it to you!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel