Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world.”
My goodness!! I am so excited after finishing this book! I pretty must wanna write, “GO READ THIS!” and just leave it at that, but I won’t.

I’ve been told by quite a few people that this book is super fun and intriguing, and will keep you on your toes. And they were so very right. I had so many theories as I was reading. It’s hard to know what’s going to happen when you’re told not to believe anything to you see or hear.

It’s only a game…

Famous last words.

Scarlett and Tella have grown up under the evil hand of their father. In fact, his scenes had me wincing quite a bit. Evil is an understatement. But the girls have a chance to run away to Caraval for a few days and escape their life, before Scarlett is forced to marry someone she’s never met. But things don’t turn out the way that they hoped. The game has a way of changing you, if you’re not too careful.

When Tella is kidnapped, the game gets more real. Scarlett must rely on the help of Julian, the sailor who seems to have an ulterior motive behind his actions, in order to rescue her before the five days is up. Scarlett has always done what needs to be done, in order to protect her sister, so this will push her far beyond her imagination.

As she spends more and more time with Julian, she starts to question everything about him. Romance has no place in this game. By the end, no matter what her feelings are for Julian, it’s all about her sister. Scar will do whatever it takes to find Tella and escape their father.

This is another YA book I’ll be adding to my list. No only is there a sweet romance in the background, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat and have you constantly guessing. A real page turner. In fact, if you liked the movie Now You See Me, then you will like this book. Nothing is real, and yet it is. It’s only a game, and yet it isn’t…

SO.MUCH.FUN.

~Melpomene

Buy Caraval https://amzn.to/2IiEYHh

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Review: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell


Exciting and magical and characters you can’t help but root for.

What a wild ride!! I decided to listen to this instead of reading it and I wish I read it first, then listened to it. While loved the narrator and how she made the voices come alive, I wasn’t able to highlight all my quotes, like I usually do. So flipping back and forth, if I got tripped up in all the excitement, wasn’t possible. But I will say that this book was very exciting and kept my attention. I wanted to sit in my room and do nothing but listen. The story had me on the edge of my seat.

Time travel and magic…I never knew how much I would love it. It was so fascinated with all the characters. They all had their secrets and personal missions. I had no idea who to trust!

Esta and Harte were super fun to get to know. The banter between these two, was super fun. Esta reminded me of my daughter, with all her sassiness. I really want her to succeed in her mission. And I look forward to what happens to her in the next book.

I had my teen son read this book when I finished. He’s a very reluctant reader, so I was hoping he would enjoy it. Well, I gave it to him one evening and two days later he handed it back and sorta teased that he can’t handle the stress of endings like that. And then he immediately asked for the next one. That’s a sign of a good book right there.

I had no idea this book was a duology, so by the end, my nerves were shot. I was on the edge of my seat hoping and praying for an ending that didn’t have me crying. What a wild last chapter!! I had to shush my kids as they talked around me. Epic. I may even tensed up for a moment. I need the next book!!

~Melpomene

Buy The Last Magician http://amzn.to/2GXbyyW
Add The Devil’s Thief to your GR shelf https://goo.gl/HxeN9C

Quick Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Mesmerizing, passionate, dark and heart breaking. I can’t believe I waited so long to read this. Goblins, changelings, and fae beings, of a sort. I love fantastical books like this.

“Love is a bridge that spans the world above and below, and keeps the wheel of life turning.”

There’s something about the music aspect that sucked me in. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I loved it. The way music is wrapped around her makes Elisabeth more powerful than she ever knew. This girl was filled with passion, it was overwhelming. I can’t wrap my head around how it surrounded everything about her. Her whole world was music. Her soul even. She was almost manic about it. I can understand a bit of that.

I love the Goblin King. By the end of this story he had my heart. In fact, he broke my heart. My eyes were stinging when I closed my kindle. He loved her so much. I could feel it through the pages, straight to my gut. This is what makes me want to read. This feeling of a love so strong you’d give up you very existence for it.

“The maiden was both brave and beautiful, beautiful in ways that she did not see. Could not see, for all her beauty was locked away inside, magic and music, waiting to be set free.”

I am dying to dive into book 2 right now. My heart needs to be put back together, after that ending. I can’t take this much pain.

~Melpomene
Buy Wintersong ~ http://amzn.to/2D0qN8q
Pre-order Shadowsong(Feb 6) ~ http://amzn.to/2F8xIgC

Melpomene’s Top 17 of 2017

I’ve read so many series this year, that many of the books blend into one, but there’s a few books that have stood out against all that. What are some of your favs? Do we have any duplicates? These are in no particular order.


Hunted is probably my top read of the year. This was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but with a twist. I loved it so much, I read it and listened to the audible. Hunted is the epitome of what the perfect YA fantasy book should be. Engaging from the very beginning, exciting and emotional throughout, and a very climactic ending that leaves you breathless and in tears.
My review is HERE


What can I say about Renegades? Epic, exciting and engaging!! Oh my gosh!

Superheroes are all the rage now. But what if the lines between villains and heroes were blurred? Well, then you’d get Renegades. I was rooting for Nova, and then I wasn’t. And then I was, and then… I’m gonna need the next book ASAP.
Buy Renegades http://amzn.to/2zOo7aJ


If you read Tiffany’s The Bourbon Thief, then you’ll recognize a few names and places in this one, but it’s not connected. This story is in a whole other world. The Night Mark has a bit of an Diana Gabaldon feel with a Tiffany twist. And twist is definitely what this does to my heart and soul.

This book is about love. This book is about pain. This book is about letting the light in and praying that it heals the soul. If you’re in the mood for an epic romance that will have you twisting in your seat as you read, then I think this book will make you happy. Go in with an open mind and an open heart. And don’t read any spoilers.
My review is HERE


Devil In Spring The Wallflowers was my first introduction to Lisa Kleypas, then I went on to The Ravenels. Without saying any spoilers, I will say that I highly recommend you reading those before you take a dive into this book. You’ll feel such a stronger connection once you realize who the story is about. Very exciting. She’s a fairly new to me author, so I haven’t had to wait long for this book, but I was no less excited for this story.

The main thing I like about this book was how different Pandora was. She’s not the usual swooning maiden who’s perfect in all things. She wanted to continue to be who she is and not have it all taken away if she got married. She wanted to maintain her identity and not have it stripped from her. Plus without sounding mean, she was less than “perfect” physically. She there were parts of her that just made her more human in my eyes. Again, there is no perfect person, I hope you understand what I’m trying to say.
My review is HERE


This book was everything, Everything, EVERYTHING I was hoping it would be!! My heart is overflowing. Exciting, emotional and so very romantic. Ms. Byrne has a way with these flawed and imperfect characters. You can’t help but fall in love with all of them.
My review is HERE


This series is nothing short of fabulous. Romantic and so very swoony. We’ve been waiting so long to get Mary’s story. I love that we get her’s at last. She deserves all the love and family, even if it comes with a fair amount of heartache.
Buy Once Upon a Maiden Lane here: http://amzn.to/2DAv8yi


Oh, how I adore a Kristen Ashley book! The Time In Between was the perfect ending to a fabulous trilogy. Lots of emotion, heartache and love. This book made me swoon and smile, and made my heart race with anticipation. I wanted so many good things for Cady and Coert and I’m so happy that they finally found their happily ever after.
My review is HERE


Time travel and magic…I never knew how much I would love it. It was so fascinated with all the characters. They all had their secrets and personal missions. I had no idea who to trust! I decided to listen to this instead of reading it, so I wasn’t able to highlight any cool quotes, but that didn’t hinder me from fully enjoying it.
Grab a copy here: http://amzn.to/2BUuGKL


Without Merit isn’t a romance story really. It’s a life story. At first I thought Merit wasn’t the “usual” character, but then I got to thinking, “What is the usual character?” She stressed over and struggled with daily life. She feels her family is a bunch of crazies. She wishes for peace in her world but doesn’t know a healthy way of finding it. I don’t know about you, but she sounds pretty “usual” to me.
My review is HERE


My heart has been twisted all around in this book. Kristen is the master of that. I love everything about this story. The romance, the swooning, the family, the friends, and the unexpected cameos from other KA books. Perfect. Just perfect.
Grab a copy here: http://amzn.to/2EiARKk


Jessica’s books have a way of stringing you along, then tearing your heart out and forcing you to take a deep breath before continuing. Angst must be her middle name. If you loved Flat Out Celeste and Left Drowning/Restless Waters, then this book is right up your alley. This story made me take a good long look at my own life and others around me. You never know who might need a little extra patience and love.
My review is HERE.


I spent the final 25% of this book with tears in my eyes. Some scenes had them flowing nonstop, while others had me chocking to hold them in. This book was an epic edition to this series. A full range of emotions. You won’t leave untouched. She makes us work for this ending. Grab a comfy blanket, perhaps a box of tissues and leave the world behind as you escape into the world of the fae. You can thank me later.
My review is HERE.


I read this series but never read these novellas. I don’t like looking back, especially when I know the end result. But I got guilted into it by my daughter, so I finally picked this up, and let me tell you, I was DEVASTATED by the end. Just as I knew I would be. But it does give a little more knowledge into the series and it’s characters. I do recommend you read this…with tissues.
Buy it here: http://amzn.to/2DxUb5e (At time of posting, it’s currently on sale for 99 cents!)


This is a book about love, determination, friendship and family. The Bright Side family is the best family out there. In fact, I wish I was a part of this family. I want people in my life like this. They know when to joke, when to give advice and when to just be there. Gah! This story was filled with the full range of emotions. Plus, I loved seeing Gus and how he’s doing. I love him.
My review is HERE


“Make a fuss.”

The last time I felt this way, after reading a Mia book, was when I read Kyland. This story is about love, forgiveness and honor. It will make you think and make you cry. You will be gutted. But most of all, this book brings attention to a very real issues that many people face in this country. In fact, it brought to my attention another serious issue that many women deal with, but often no one talks about it. I realize that many people read books differently and some won’t even think about this. This story has so many things going on, many real life issues, that this may get glanced over. But to me, it broke my heart. Like the quote up top, make a fuss. Don’t settle. You’re worth fighting for.
My full review is HERE


If you’ve read the Rock Chicks books, you know all about Daisy. The sweet tinkling bell laugh, the Dolly Parton physique and her love of all things sparkly, are the first things you think of. You know some of her past and know that her husband, Marcus, loves her more than life itself, but that’s just the tip of what makes her her.
My review is HERE


I’ve been reading K.A.Tucker’s books for years now. And the past few books have been more of the suspense. So when I read this, it was like coming home. I adore her romance writing and this book was perfect. I hope you give it a shot.
Buy Until it Fades here: http://amzn.to/2CsjENO

I can’t wait to see what next year brings me!

~Melpomene

Review: Dark Sword series by Donna Grant

I spent last week binge reading this series. For some crazy reason, I read the two series that followed this, Dark Warriors and Dark Kings, but I never read this one. So weird.

The Dark Sword series is about Scottish warriors who have gods living inside of them. The gods come to the strongest in each clan. The men had no idea they had god inside of them until the evil Deirdre took them captive and unbound them. These book are their stories of how they escaped and how they vowed to seek revenge and destroy her.

Each story is filled with action and adventure and, most of all, love. There is the perfect woman for each man. And of course, then men don’t feel worthy, due to there being a god inside of them. They’re afraid of the god taking over and making them evil, so they try to stay away from the women they want. And plus, Deirdre will do anything to hurt them and bring them back under her mountain. She wants their power and will kill anyone that gets in her way.

Since I read the first series last, I saw so many familiar faces. It makes me want to do a massive reread, but I just don’t have the time. *pretend I’m making a sad face* You’ll feel the same way once you read these also.

If you like a world filled with magic and druids and sexy highlanders, then this is the series for you.

~Melpomene

Grab the full series
Dangerous Highlander~ http://amzn.to/2zc8w56
Forbidden Highlander~ http://amzn.to/2x0r7Ax
Wicked Highlander~ http://amzn.to/2xJzy7A
Untamed Highlander~ http://amzn.to/2yrc5qm
Shadow Highlander~ http://amzn.to/2zeN9Qx
Darkest Highlander~ http://amzn.to/2yNU9rA

Review: First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

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Fifteen-year-old Bay has come to terms with being part of the magical Waverley family. She accepts her mother’s and aunt’s special abilities, and is totally fine with her power to know where things – and people – belong.

But she’s still a teenager. She has the knowledge of where she belongs, but she doesn’t feel a sense of belonging. Unless she’s at Aunt Claire’s house, watching magic happen in the kitchen. Or in the backyard at the apple tree, waiting for it to blossom during the first frost of the year.

When Bay falls in love with a popular boy at school, she knows they belong together, but HE doesn’t know it. And to mix things up a little more, there’s a shiny con man appearing in random places, stories of Bay’s grandmother having the power of frost, and Aunt Claire forgetting where she really belongs.

At first frost, everything falls into place. The family, the apple tree, the con man, and a boy’s heart.

This story is magical without being about magic. It’s a warm, cozy, relaxing tale that wraps you up in wonderment. I can’t explain why else I loved it, but I did.

-calliope

buy FIRST FROST

Review: Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

20140417-215356.jpg The edition I read was comprised of two separate stories: Call Me Mrs. Miracle, and The Christmas Basket.

What I love about Debbie Macomber’s books (similar to Deborah Smith and Melody Carleson novels) is the magic. I don’t mean wizardry or sorcery. I mean a spiritual, magical change of heart that the characters undergo. It fills my own heart and reminds me of the beauty of my fellow man.

These stories are Christmassy, and I enjoyed reading them as much now as I would have in December. In Call Me Mrs. Miracle, Holly meets Jake Finley, heir to the successful Finley’s department store. With a little help from Mrs. Miracle, Holly and Jake develop a friendship, Holly’s nephew gets a Christmas surprise, and old Mr. Finley gets the best Christmas present anyone could wish for: peace.

The Christmas Basket illustrates how a petty grudge between two families turns into an embarrassing feud, one that undermines the romance of two beautiful people. One loving person arranges for two disputing women to work on a project together: filling a Christmas basket for charity. Aggression, blame, and making a scene at the discount store ensue. I cried and laughed with these poor women, knowing that at times I too have been too proud to change my tune.

These are feel-good family stories with distinct romantic subplots. I liked them for their sweetness, their love, their faith in humanity. And for their magic.

-Calliope

Buy CALL ME MRS. MIRACLE