Review: Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

If you’ve read The Illuminae Files you’ll know that when Jay and Amie get together the reaction is explosive and exciting. And Aurora Rising was no exception. From the very first page I was completely sucked in. I’m chuckling right now cuz I just read the synopsis and it describes these characters to a T.

Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

I mean, who wouldn’t want to read a book with characters like that?! They were all so different but they learned to work together. Misfits finding a family with each other. You will love them.

Even the dedication started it off the right way.

If your squad was hard to find, or you’re still looking, then this one is for you.

You just knew this book would be amazing. And while it has to do with space, it has nothing to do with The Illuminae Files. Jay and Amie just have this space thing down and this is why we love them.

If I was watching this on the big screen, I would’ve been at the edge of my seat, but since I was in bed reading, the best I could do was sit up straighter. 🙂 This book was so much fun! Excitement, antics and emotion. The trifecta if ever I heard of one. Amie and Jay knocked this one out of the park! Can I just say that this book will be SO MUCH FUN in audio‽‽ Seriously. I’m glad I have it preordered. The kiddos loved listening to The Illuminae Files and I know they’ll love this as well. Be sure you have this preordered so you can start reading or listening right away. You don’t wanna hear spoilers!

I cannot wait till the next one!!

~Melpomene

Grab your copy today! Click picture for link.

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Review: The Stolen Mackenzie Bride by Jennifer Ashley

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Since I never read the synopsis, I didn’t know who this book was about. But when I realized who the story was about and my heart started to race. From reading the previous books, I knew who Malcolm was and how he became Duke. I didn’t read a sad story, a story I already knew the outcome. But I kept going and realized this was so much more.

This love story was so epic and emotional, filled with heartache and honor. Mal loved his family so much he was willing to do just about anything to keep them safe and together. Oh my gosh. And he loved Mary something fierce. His love for her was his driving force for all of his actions. He was never going to leave her unless he had no other choice.

This story had me smiling and crying. And I mean CRYING. So embarrassing. These battles happened. These man lost their lives. This was real. And through it all, Malcolm never stopped fighting for his love. Ugh. So many tears…

You can read this book first, as a standalone, or read the series in order. I personally liked reading in order. As you read, you’re able to see glimpses of future Mackenzies in the past ones. I could totally pick out all the brothers’ personalities. It was fun to see which brother was matched up with what nephew. I loved it! I can’t wait for the next book. My historical romance heart is verra happy with this series.

~Melpomene

Buy The Stolen Mackenzie Bride HERE.

Review: Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

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I love it when authors put their own unique twist on classic stories and fairytales.  Bonus points if their version is even more dark and twisted than the original.  This is what you get with the latest from Lisa Maxwell.

We all know the story of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.  The story from my childhood places Peter in the role of hero, saving all who are lost.  And the Neverland I remember was a magical place full of swashbuckling fun with a dash of danger thrown in.

This is not the story we grew up with.  This Neverland is full of deadly secrets at every turn.  There are more beasts than you can keep track of.  And death is a regular occurrence.  Oh and Peter?  He may not be what you remember.  This Peter is more sinister and conniving. And then there’s Captain Hook.  Because what would a Peter Pan story be without a bad guy?  But maybe Hook isn’t really the bad guy.  Or maybe he is.

This is what Gwendolyn has to decide for herself.  Her entire life has been spent moving from place to place.  Just as soon as she gets settled, her mom uproots them yet again.  She has a good reason.  They are running from monsters, after all.  To Gwen, this is just more of her mom’s eccentric behavior.  So when they end up in London, she doesn’t take any of the warnings seriously.  Keep the windows closed, don’t turn off the lights…

And when she doesn’t heed these warnings, bad things happen.  In the form of dark shadowy creatures who swoop in and capture Gwen along with her friend Olivia.  When Gwen wakes up, she finds herself on the ship of the infamous Captain Hook.  She knows the story, so she knows he’s not the good guy.  So she escapes and is rescued by Peter Pan.

Here’s where the story takes even more twists and turns.  Gwen quickly realizes that Pan may not be what he seems.   And it would appear that she holds the key to saving herself and Olivia.  Maybe her mom wasn’t so crazy after all…

This was such a fun book to read.  The author has a way with words and is able to create magical worlds that transport the reader.  While staying close to the original storyline, she still gives us a fantastical alternate version.  Add this one to your list!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Unhooked

Review: Never Never by Brianna Shrum

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I’ve been hooked on fairy tale retellings and books based on fairy tales. Since I’ve never read them, as a child, I think that’s why I like them now. So when I was gifted Never Never, I was super excited to start it. Now that ABF is over, I was finally able to do just that.

SYNOPSIS
James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.

When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child – at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.

But grow up he does.

And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.

This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

Except one.

Since I’ve never read the Peter Pan story, so I really have no idea how it goes. But when I finished this book, I had tears forming in my eyes. I have no idea what to do now. James Hook had my heart. I wanted him to be good. I really did. I wanted him to find peace and a home and to find love. But I never expected this. I’m a bit shocked, but yet, not really. He is a pirate after all. He does the usually pirate things, but I knew it was for a reason. There just had to be!!

One part of this story made my romantic heart very happy and, at the same time, broke it into a million pieces. I wanted such good things for James. He deserved it, after what Peter did to him. My heart really wanted the happily ever after. But sadly, life, or in this case, fairy tales don’t always work like that.

“I grew up for you.”

And that Peter Pan…..I was a bit mad at him. I don’t wanna talk about him. I understand he was a boy, but there’s a side to him that smashed the Disney version to pieces. SHATTERED.

If you like retellings, you will enjoy Never Never.

~Melpomene

Grab NEVER NEVER while it’s on sale!! Only $1.99!!!

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

01 ill This book is the epitome of roller coaster. I have no words. When I first heard about this book, I was doubting all these people who said it was the best book they’ve read in a long time. I mean, c’mon, how can a book, with not a single “real” page, be the best book?? Well, I stand corrected.

Illuminae is not like anything I’ve ever read before. The pages are amazing. At first I wasn’t sure if I could understand it, but it took just a few minutes to get the hang of it and to realize what was going on. Then I was instantly sucked into the story. The interactions between all the characters completely sucks you in. Kady and Ezra especially, had my heart tugging. Here’s a pair of teenagers thrown into a war with nothing but their brains to keep them alive. They desperately want to find each other and are doing everything they can to stay alive until that happens. With the plague all around them, they must make decisions that will affect not only them, but the 1000s of others who’s lives are at stake as well.

To be honest, I almost didn’t finish it. I was so angry. Like legit furious and book burning angry. But again, roller coaster. My friends talked me down and back into my seat. I buckled down and held on tight. So many ups and downs. One minute my heart was racing with nerves and the next I was tearing up. Lots of love and loss.

I tried listening to the audible but, one, there are no chapters to tell where you are, so it’s hard to find where you left off, and two, so many pages get lost in translation. To fully enjoy this unique story, you must read the DTB. (DTB=dead tree book=”real” book) That being said. the audible is FANTASTIC. I mean, the talent of the three narrators is amazing. You felt like you were right in the action. You could feel all the emotions and that made this book even better. I was reading along with them, because I wanted to experience it fully. I can’t wait until it’s on the big screen. To see the full action will be almost as good as what I just experienced.

I am quite looking forward to the next book. If it has half of the emotion and excitement as this one did, I think I may need to take a chill pill beforehand. WHOA.

~Melpomene

Buy Illuminae (The Illuminae Files)

Review: The Executioner’s Daughter by Jane Hardstaff

9781405268288When I was a kid, I loved simple horror stories. Just enough to raise the goosebumps on your arm, maybe a bit more to keep you awake at night. And I still love those kinds of stories today. The problem is, especially for me as a teacher, most scary stories don’t fall within the acceptable range for younger readers. This one by Jane Hardstaff is an exception to that rule.

Meet Moss, a young girl who lives alone with her dad. Dear old Dad just happens to be the executioner of the Tower of London. And Moss is responsible for collecting the heads after each beheading, catching them as they drop and putting them in a basket. It’s the only life she’s every known, and her dad is the only parent she’s ever had since her mom died during childbirth.

But there’s more to that story than Moss has ever been told, and it’s the reason they can’t leave the Tower of London. When Moss finds a way out, she’s inexplicably drawn to the river. The river is slow and steady some days, fast and unpredictable on others. And there’s something lurking just under the surface, something that’s taking young children. Moss discovers that she’s tied to the river in a way she never dreamed possible, going all the way back to her mom’s death.

This book was a pleasant surprise. Not that I was expecting bad things, but you just never know. It’s historical, most definitely, but it has a healthy dose of paranormal/thriller thrown in. And I have to say, this is the first book I’ve read that’s set in Tudor times. This is a story that I’ll definitely be recommending to some young readers who I know. And the sequel, River Daughter, is high at the top of my TBR list.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Executioner’s Daughter

Review and Giveaway: Saving Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia

01sav For those who don’t know, I have loved loved loved Poughkeepsie more than words can say. From the very first chapter, I knew this book was special. It is in my Top 10 of all time. In fact this was my very first signed book I ever received. So it will always hold a special place in my heart. So when I heard that she was making it a trilogy, I was concerned. I loved the first book so much, and I just didn’t know if the second and third books could hold a candle to it. I have such love for Blake, Cole and Beckett and was so worried something horrible would happen, that I almost didn’t want to read them. But I had faith in Deb, and she didn’t disappoint.

Synopsis
Beckett Taylor’s quest to be a better man has brought Eve Hartt back into his life, but sometimes it feels like they’re bound together with barbed wire. Though he longs to love her without causing pain, the wreckage of their past continues to crash down around them.

Yet with the help of this brothers—and for his brothers—Beckett won’t stop trying. He’s determined to make them all a family, to make a life they want to live, and to make Poughkeepsie a place that’s safe to live it.

He can feel their futures balanced precariously on his shoulders: Blake and Livia and their children, Cole and Kyle and the new baby they’ve just brought home, and Eve…always Eve. He wants their dreams to be real. But murderers don’t just get Happily Ever After handed to them. They have to wrench it away from Satan himself.

Good thing Beckett is prepared to do just that. After all, saving Poughkeepsie is the only way his story ends.

Prepare your heart and your head for a wild ride in this final installment of the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood series. Debra Anastasia does not disappoint as she weaves the last chapter of a story that blends true love, turbulent emotions, and life’s harsh realities into an uplifting tale that calls to the good in each of us.

Okay. This book….I started this book knowing it was about Beckett and nothing else. I knew it was going to be rough. Cuz let’s face it, Beckett Taylor is not a clean cut guy. He is a force. If you don’t work with him, you’re against him, and he will take down anyone who’s against him.

Saving Poughkeepsie is just that. He wants to save it and will do anything, in his power, to do that. He wants his family to be safe. If that means losing his own life, then so be it. But he wants Eve as his family, so he’s going to do everything to keep himself, and her, safe as can be.

“Everybody in my life has their match. I just want you to be mine.”

Eve’s story was so heartbreaking. The fact that everyone around her was starting families, and she knew she couldn’t, it was chipping at her heart. But she loved Beckett and trusts him to be her family. So little by little, his little “Killer” was coming back to him.

This story was filled with a hefty dose of emotional scenes that stunned me to my core. I was so upset at one point, I had to step away. How can a book do this to me?? I kept hoping I was reading it wrong, or perhaps it was a dream. I was in no way prepared for what I just read.

This was the most action packed, nerve wrecking, heartstrings tugging, gut twisting, amazing book. The last 20% I spent on the verge of wanting to drink. The excitement level was through the roof. I felt like I was in the story. I was rooting for Poughkeepsie. I wanted to jump in there and defend it against those who wished to tear it down.

This was the best ending to the most fabulous series. I feel honored to be able to experience this story. Well done, Debra. Well done!!

***GIVEAWAY***
If you’d like to read about Poughkeepsie and experience all these emotions for yourself. Comment below and I’ll pick a winner later this week and you’ll receive a set of all three EBOOKS.

~Melpomene

Buy Saving Poughkeepsie

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