Review: Twisted Pride by Cora Reilly

I’m finding myself more and more intrigued with mafia books than ever before. In February I stumbled upon Cora Reilly’s Born in Blood mafia series while doing a free trial of Kindle Unlimited. From the very first book I was hooked. I inhaled them in a matter of a couple of days, then I immediately jumped into The Camorra Chronicles, which is the spin off series. So I’ve been DYING to get Remo’s story! He’s one of the most brutal characters in these series but I knew he would crack when he found the right woman.

Now mafia books aren’t for the faint of heart. They’re brutal and sometimes disturbing, but family is at the core, so they can also be filled with lots of love. This series is about a set of brothers and Remo is the head of them. He will do everything and anything for his family, even kidnap and break an innocent woman. I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous when I started. I know what Remo’s like and I needed to prepare myself. But like I said, all it take is the right woman to ease the monster and Serafina is that woman.

Serafina was raised like all women are raised, covered in protection till their wedding. But when she is kidnapped on her way to her wedding, she has to be strong and unbreakable in the face of a monster. The more she’s there, the more she grows to understand Remo and why he’s the way he is. Soon her heart makes a decision that will forever change her life.

I missed the days when I thought a knight in shining armor riding a white stallion would steal my first kiss.

Instead a monster had claimed me, body and soul.

I loved watching these two circle each other. Seeing the brothers get a little softer when more women enter their lives is fun to watch. They will still be killers, don’t get me wrong, but when they look upon the face of their women, you see an easing of the tension that surrounds them. Behind all the violence are men who just want to be loved, even if they don’t want to admit to that.

~Melpomene

Read all three books in the Camorra Chronicles. Click picture for link.

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Review: Alice’s Island by Daniel Sanchez Arevalo

Stories about dead spouses with secret lives are a dime a dozen. Can’t name one off the top of my head because that’s how common they are, how they all seem to run together. So it was with a bit of hesitation that I picked this one up. And I’m glad I did. Because it’s both familiar and different at the same time.

Alice has a good life. Great job, loving husband, beautiful daughter with another child on the way. And then it all changes in an instant. When her husband, Chris, dies in a car accident she’s shattered. Imagining life as a young widow is tragic. But even worse is the realization that Chris died far from where he was supposed to be.

So Alice begins digging. And she digs some more. Eventually her curiosity leads her to an island she’s never even heard of. Soon she finds herself living a new life as she continues her quest to discover who her husband truly was and what secrets he was keeping from her. But at what cost to both Alice and her children?

I enjoyed this story a lot. While the main plot is one that I’ve heard before, the author takes a unique twist with it. The characters are intriguing, and there’s an underlying vein of humor throughout the story. It’s a bit long and wordy at times but all in all a great story.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Alice’s Island

Quick review and giveaway: When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

Can I just say that I fell in love with the cover before I even read the book? I had no idea what the book was even about when I started reading. I was pleasantly surprised.

Beatriz Perez and her family were forced to leave their country in order to survive. But Beatriz wants nothing more than to bring down Castro and go back home. So she joins the CIA to infiltrate Castro’s inner circle to find a way. She never thought she’d find romance along the way. But she must choose between her heart and her home.

My heart was practically in my stomach the entire time. Many of her decisions could’ve gotten her or her family killed. I was stressing. And I do believe at a point or two, I cried. Not just from emotions, but from the stress as well. She was willing to risk her life and love for her country. I never read Next Year in Havana, so these characters were new to me, but in no way did I enjoy the book any less.

I have quite a few friends who will be receiving this book as a gift this year. Books rich in history like this are some of my favorites. I am definitely bumping up Havana in my TBR and I look forward to reading whatever Chanel brings to us.

~Melpomene

Buy When We Left Cuba https://amzn.to/2D14bGj

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway HERE

Review: A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd

“But she is in the stars I try to read. She’s in the wind of our sails and in the water that surrounds us. I’ve discovered the problem with learning to observe everything in nature—it means I am aware of her, always, because she is in all of it.”

There’s something about a story that says “Inspired by a true story” that makes my heart clench. While I was reading A Song for the Stars I could feel it happening quite often. Imagine living in the Hawaiian Islands in 1779. Your world is small. You only know what’s on your island. When new people come bringing their traditions and unfamiliar wares, your world gets even smaller.

Maile and John meet under very heartbreaking circumstances. She is told to train him in their ways, so he can navigate and find his way home. But the more time they spend together learning and sharing, the more time their hearts soften to each other.

I loved watching them interact. She was so angry and devastated in the beginning, my heart broke for her. She starts out leery of him but, then John’s openness and eagerness to learn about her makes her question what she originally thought. Soon she realizes that her heart may find healing after all.

This story was beautifully written I could see and feel the world around me. And knowing that these are the author’s ancestors, makes this story all the more real.

Melpomene

Buy A Song for the Stars https://amzn.to/2UutgTK

Do you need a Savior?


Waiting for this has been MURHDER…

I am so ready for The Savior! Are you? I am currently on my 7th reread of the Black Dagger Brotherhood in preparation for The Savior. In fact, I reread these every year since I discovered them. There’s something very addicting about these books. So Tuesday can’t come soon enough! Preorder so you can start it right away. https://amzn.to/2THtUc2

While I wait for my book to arrive, I’ll be enjoying the latest edition of The Caldwell Courier Journal that will show up in my email. Have you subscribed yet? If not, click HERE to be added. Meanwhile, enjoy this preview while you wait.

Who better to ask for honest, snarky relationship advice than Vishous?
Ask At Your Own Risk
.

Dear Vishous, Agony Aunt Column
(with help from Mary)

Dear Vishous,

First of all, thank you for doing this. I need another perspective. I am a 27 year old woman, about fifteen months out of a five year relationship. I started dating a guy about two months ago. I’ll call him “Evan.” We met on Match.com. We both workout. We like a good time out at the clubs and the bars. We’re both Sox fans. He’s funny and he’s been good about keeping in touch when he travels frequently for work.

My problem is this. He told me he was twenty-eight. A week or so ago, when we were playing pool at our local, he told me to snag his wallet and pay for the next round at the bar. While I was getting money out, I saw his driver’s license. It said he’s thirty-six and the address listed was in a different area of the city than he told me he lives in. I got the drinks and put his wallet back in his pocket, and tried not to think about it.

But I can’t shake the idea he lied, and it’s causing me to obsess about things that are probably no big deal. Like, he only comes to stay at my place. I’ve never been to his apartment, and when I asked about this, he said he has two roommates who get on his nerves and he prefers the break he gets when he sleeps at my apartment. And I’ve introduced him to my friends, but he’s never offered to do the same. At first, I was psyched because my ex never wanted to hang with my people. But now? I guess I’m uneasy and looking for shadows everywhere.

I don’t care how old he is, and I know that some times folks on Match fudge their age to make them more attractive. And maybe it’s just an old license. I don’t want to ruin a good thing by looking like I’m second guessing him about stuff that only appears iffy and for which there is a reasonable explanation.

Please advise,

On The Fence In Beantown

#################

Vishous: Here’s what you need to do. Go to your local Stahp ‘n Shahp and get some Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ. Then get a good knife. After you slice his b*lls off, marinate them and then pan fry ‘em. Serve them to him hot and spicy and-

Mary: Okaaaaaaay. Let’s just all take a deep breath here.

V: I know, because the BBQ sauce smells great, right?

Mary: Ah, no. It’s because we should not settle this type of conflict through bodily harm.

V: Whatever, that lying sack of sh*t with the fake Match profile doesn’t deserve a set of nuts. S’all I’m sayin’.

Mary: I think we’ve heard your point of view loud and clear. And now, I’d like to offer a more nuanced opinion. On The Fence, it’s clear that there are some reasons to be concerned about this guy. One of the things that I tell people in my practice is to always trust your instincts. As much as you want to believe the best-

V: Fine. No BBQ sauce, then. Just slice, dice and toss ‘em in the pan. He doesn’t deserve Sweet Baby Ray’s.

Mary: …………….

V: What. Oh, come on, don’t look at me like that.

Mary: I’ve never actually said this before to someone, but why don’t you light up a cigarette and take a few deep drags.

V: I thought you’d never ask.

Mary: Anyway, On The Fence, my suggestion is that you have a frank, face-to-face conversation with “Evan.” Share your concerns calmly and succinctly. See what his answers are. Based on how he responds, you should be able to tell a lot. Is he listening to you and taking you seriously? Is he offering to have you stay over at his place? Or is he defensive and turning everything back on you-

V: And his Red Sox card is revoked. He has to root for the Yankees now.

Mary: -in a way that makes you uncomfortable? At the end of the day, you deserve to be in a relationship with someone who’s as honest as you are and treats you the way you’re treating them.

V: I have to agree with Mary on this one. Even though you’re a human, being with a lying sack of sh*t is whack.

Mary: Remember, your physical safety comes first, and fast on its heels is your emotional health. Please do not sacrifice your happiness just because you are hoping that “Evan” is the one-

V: I think you’re going to find out he’s got a wife and kids and he’s playing you. Which brings us back to my solution to the problem-

Mary: -and let us know how it goes, please. Best of luck!

V: F**k him! Go get a real man- and that skillet.

~Melpomene

Review: Annelies by David R. Gilliam

A different take on a familiar story…

We all know the heartbreaking, inspiring story of young Anne Frank. But what if her story had taken a different turn? What if, instead of perishing at Bergen-Belsen, she had made it out alive? This newest tale from David R. Gillam imagines just that.

She would almost certainly reunite with her beloved father who actually did survive. As the sole living members of their family, they’d only have each other. Maybe they’d fall back into their routines, working at the family business. Maybe Anne would pick up where she left off, taking up her writing once again. But it’s just as likely that too many things would have changed, made them all different people.

There are many things to like about this story. It’s full of historical accuracies making it highly believable. It also makes you wonder what might have been…

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Annelies

Review: We Told Six Lies by Victoria Scott

Young love is hard, y’all. All those emotions and hormones and stuff running wild. It’s easy to see how feelings could get out of control. But how far is too far?

Molly is missing. Just disappeared. And of course, the first place the police look is at her boyfriend Cobain. But he’s just as perplexed as the authorities are. He would never hurt her. After all, she’s his everything. Before Molly came into his life, he was just existing as he wandered through life. Molly brought the light to his world. And now she’s gone.

Cobain is determined to find out what happened to Molly. He knows more than what he’s told the police, and he has a suspect list. Did he really know Molly, though? What secrets was she hiding from him?

There’s A LOT going on with this story. It’s told from two different perspectives as well as shifting from past to present. Surprisingly, though, it’s easy to follow and suspenseful enough to keep you reading until the twisty end.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: We Told Six Lies