Review:The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale

Don’t let that gorgeous cover fool you. This a super creepy and crazy book. But in all good ways. After my daughter and I read The Beast is an Animal, we knew that whatever Peternelle wrote we wanted to read it. So when I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of The Cold is in Her Bones I was through the roof with excitement. And to find out it has a Medusa feel, well then SIGN ME UP.

Milla has been raised in a far off house, away from the towns. She’s not allowed to go anywhere and is raised to be a helper of those who are older than her. She always seemed to do the wrong things and upsetting her parents. When a new girl arrives at a neighbors house she finds hope. Hope of a friend and maybe even a sister. But Iris is keeping a secret from Milla, in the hopes that will keep her safe.

But of course that doesn’t last.

The towns that Milla has been forbidden to go to, have been plagued by demons. Demons possess the girls so Iris and Milla were assumed to be safe since they were far. You know what they say about assuming…

When Iris is “infected” and is sent away, Milla is determined to find her and bring her back home. Her journey is one of self discovery. She isn’t as safe from the demon as she hoped, but for the love of her sister of her heart she is willing to travel far and wide and find a way to save them both. Friendship and familial love was a thread woven throughout this story. Milla broke free from what was expected from her in order to find her own way and take charge of her own life. There were trials and struggles but for love you’d go through anything. Even face a demon.

Girls who run from what frightens them don’t get what they want.

As I was reading this, I kept thinking of my own daughter. She’s the strongest girl I know. She won’t let anyone control her or hold her back. She wants to try everything and if mistakes are made, she owns them and learns from them. And since she LOVED The Beast is an Animal, I know she will love this as well. I can’t wait for her to read it!

~Melpomene

Buy The Cold is in Her Bones https://amzn.to/2BMziUv

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Review: The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh

If only all parents could be as open and approachable as Lacey’s…this thought kept running through my head as I read this one.

A teenage mom herself, she’s determined to not have Lacey’s life take the same path. So Lacey’s always been raised in an open household where no issue is off limits. And that includes any and all things related to sex. So it’s just natural that Lacey would become the “expert” at school for sex ed advice.

Except that Lacey’s never even kissed anyone, let alone had sex. But when she sees her school pushing an abstinence-only policy, she’s determined to take a stand. Even if that means trouble.

Unusual for sure, probably not everyone’s cup of tea. And likely more than a few people will disagree with the author’s stance on this issue. But I liked it soooo…

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me

Review: The Memory of You by Jamie Beck

Great start to a new series! Steffi is offered a job renovating a room in her ex boyfriend’s mom’s house… and that about says it all, doesn’t it?! Seriously loved the good relationship between Ryan’s mom and Steffi – and the slow refreshment of a friendship between Ryan and Steffi. Good, solid story with likable characters, great dialogue, and cool references to the state I call home. I’m looking for book 2 as soon as this review is done being written!

-calliope

Buy THE MEMORY OF YOU

Review: Not Quite Over You by Susan Mallery

Silver dances to the beat of her own drum, for sure. In true Happily Inc fashion, she’s fiercely independent, strong, and knows her limitations. When she decides to expand her business, she just doesn’t realize that an old flame is going to show up with money burning a hole in his pocket and unrequited love burning a hole in his heart.

Cute story, loved the business focus and Silver’s approach to the learning curve. Susan Mallery continues to impress me with fresh characters and plots, cameos consistent with prior books, and the ever popular but hard-to-find-in-real-life “sensitive” alpha male.

-calliope

Buy NOT QUITE OVER YOU

Review: The Songbird by Marcia Willett

Love how this new-to-me author develops so many characters in such a clear and natural way so as not to confuse this reader who usually likes easy escape reading. The characters are distinct, but not caricatures or stereotypes; they’re of every generation – and even the olders and youngers are relatable.

Especially memorable are William, who after years of doing what his wife wants, finally grows a pair and does the Right Thing; Mattie, who is loving and innocent and fun and young – and so so sincere; and Tim, who moves to the cottage with a heavy burden, and leaves the cottage with someone to share it with.

Though my copy was an ARC, I was a little taken aback by the formatting – especially all of the proper nouns that weren’t capitalized, and the majority of sentences that started with lowercase letters. Just threw off the flow for me and made the act of reading a little bit of a chore.

Besides that, I really enjoyed this cast of 10 or so characters, living their lives, figuring out their problems, getting to know each other and themselves. There’s not a whole lot of action, but Willett does write a story filled with poetry, deep thoughts, and emotion.

-calliope

Buy THE SONGBIRD

Review: The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

Vivid, magical and EPIC!! That was the best way to end this most amazing trilogy. My heart was racing all throughout this entire book.

Vasya is determined to save her country by uniting them and showing them that there is way to be together and allow everyone their own religious freedoms. When we thought she was strong in the previous books, this is nothing compared to those.

She lives up to the prophecy. She makes allies with those who wouldn’t normally work together. As it’s said in the book, she’s a bridge between men and chyerti. The magic is failing as those stop believing in spirits. I loved watching her. She has the power to change things and she does.

No spoilers but this book was probably 10 times as exciting as the first two books. I couldn’t put it down. As I type this out, I’m awaiting Urania’s excited reactions. It’s her influence that gave me the nudge to dive into these books. I owe her.

There is a smidgen more of romance in this one but it’s very much on the back burner. I actually find myself not even looking for it. It’s just a bonus. But love, familial or romantic, is definitely a strong motivator to get things accomplished. But I will say that I’ve had my eye on Morozko since the first book and I’m happy to see him live up to my expectations.

“Love is for those who know the griefs of time, for it goes hand in hand with loss. An eternity, so burdened, would be a torment.”

Let the book hangover begin…

~Melpomene
Buy The Winter of the Witch https://amzn.to/2QksNlT

Review: Prisoner of Night by J.R.Ward


Whenever we get a book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world, I am very excited. Even if these characters aren’t known to us, there’s more happening in the BDB world than with just the Brothers. Prisoner of Night will give us a tiny smidgen of the BDB world as we wait for The Savior to come out in April.

Druan has been imprisoned for years and biding his time to escape. But he has no idea his plans are about to take a crazy turn. When Ahmare walks into his prison something flairs up inside him and gives him the shock of his lifetime. There’s something about this female that has him questioning everything.

Ahmare’s brother has been captured and in order to free him she must use the “weapon” she’s provided with to retrieve something of value to his captor. What she wasn’t planning on was this weapon being a huge scary male with decades of pent up anger and hurt.

“I don’t want it to be like I never existed.”

These two characters go on a journey to places they never imagined, into a world they wish never existed. No matter what happened to Duran, these past decades, he was still a male who’s been raised to protect females, so he will do what it takes to get the job done and to find his revenge. What he doesn’t plan on is falling for this female almost instantly. But in the BDB world, that’s the way things happen. When they know, they KNOW.

I liked Ahmare. She kept a cool head all the while making choices that would affect her forever, all for the sake of her brother. I loved watching her discover that no matter what happened in the past, she is finally able to move forward, if she has the right male beside her.

“Funny, how a male could tell you, you’re beautiful without a word”

Prisoner of Night is a shorter story filled with the darkness and excitement we’ve come to know from the BDB books. This is a good way to wet your feet a little in this world without having to diving head first into this epic series. But really, why wouldn’t you wanna do that? The Black Dagger Brotherhood are one of my most favorite series. I wish everyone would dive into these books. I hope this series never ends.

~Melpomene

Buy Prisoner of Night https://amzn.to/2LQtaz6

Excerpt:

Twenty-One Years, Three Months, Six Days Ago . .

“Where is it! Goddamn you, where’s it at!”

Duran spit blood out of his mouth and spoke over the ringing in his ears. “I’ll never tell you—”

Chalen the Conqueror swung his open palm again, nailing Duran’s lacerated face like a bat hitting a fastball. But it didn’t hurt as much as the other shit they’d been doing to him in this castle’s great room. They’d already pulled out his fingernails, broken all of his toes, and whipped his back until strips of his own flesh flapped against his ribs. At the moment, he didn’t have the strength to keep himself on his feet, but no worries there—two guards, with grips locked under his pits, were holding him up off the floor.

As his head flopped back into its lolling hang, he shook it to get the sweat and blood out of his eyes. In the hissing, kicking light of the hearth, the male in front of him was stocky of build and ugly of feature, an oak stump with a bulldog’s muzzle and a hungry bear’s bad fucking attitude.

“You are going to tell me the location.” Chalen took Duran by the throat with one of his meat hands. “And you’re going to do it now.”

“Sorry, not . . . a big talker—”

The conqueror grabbed onto the lower half of Duran’s face, squeezing so hard his jaw split and the inside of his mouth was forced between the hard-and-sharp of his molars. More blood welled, spilled, fell on his bare chest.

“Why are you protecting the male who put you here?” Chalen’s opaque eyes searched Duran’s expression as if he were trying to extrapolate a map of Maryland in the features. “All you need to do is tell me where that facility is.”

Duran waited for that grip to release. When it did, he spit more blood out. “I’m not . . . protecting him.”

“Then what are you doing?”

“Making sure you don’t cheat me of what’s mine.” Duran smiled, aware he must look deranged. “You kill him . . . I don’t get to.”

Chalen crossed his strong-man arms over his barrel chest. He was dressed in weapons, whatever clothes he had on underneath the holsters of guns and knives largely hidden by metal. No daggers, though. He’d never been Black Dagger Brotherhood material and not just because he was a mutt according to his lineage: Even among black market thieves, there was a code of conduct.

Not for Chalen. He had no code. Not in the Old Country, and not during his last century here in the New World.

There was only one male who was worse.

“I will break you,” Chalen said in a low voice. “And I will enjoy it.”

Duran laughed in a wheeze. “You have no idea what I’ve already been through—”

Chalen swung that palm wide again, the crack so heavy Duran lost his vision, everything going checkerboard. And then there was a drop in blood pressure, his brain emptying of oxygen, floaty disassociation riding in, a foggy savior buffering the suffering.

The sound of chains moving and gears shifting brought him back to reality. A section of the sweaty stone wall rose by inches, the great weight ascending like a gate, revealing a corridor . . .

Revealing a male who was naked but for a black hood that covered his head.

“I will make you pray for death,” Chalen said. “And when you give me what I need, you will think back to this moment. When you could have saved yourself from so much.”

Duran exhaled in a gurgle. His body was on fire, the pain burning through his veins, turning him into a semi-living, kind-of-breathing, sort-of-conscious incubator for agony.

But fuck Chalen.

“Do what you will,” he mumbled. “I’m not going to give you a goddamn thing.”

“I will make you wish you were never born.”

As the hooded male came forward, Duran was dragged over and slammed face-first down onto a table, his torso bent parallel to the floor. Turning his face to the side, he smelled the spoiled meat and rancid fat embedded in the fibers of the planks.

“Already there, asshole.”