Monday Musing: Fangirling

Do you fangirl/fanboy or your authors? I do. ALL THE TIME. I go to multiple book signings each year and I have to try and contain myself. It’s so hard sometimes. Social media has made it easier to interact with out authors, which amps up the fangirling. I see the same author every year and I still get all sweaty and bumble my words. I consider her a friend and I still act like a dork. *sigh*

They don’t realize the effect they have on us. When they recognize us by our face or names, it’s a thrill. If they call us out and act excited to see US, we lose our minds. I can’t tell you how many times I have to leave a signing room to calm down. These people are our rock stars.

Last month my family and I went to D.C. for a vacation and so I could attend Apollycon. I took my daughter with me to the signing, even though she hates to read almost every book except Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass series. I wanted her to meet some of my favorite YA authors and see their books and hear them speak. Some get so passionate it’s fabulous. I hoped she would find at least one new author to try out. I never expected anything like what happened.

A little backstory, since January my daughter has been dealing with a debilitating illness that we can’t figure out what is causing it. So we were very nervous to take her on a 9 hour drive and then to all the museums and monuments. But she wanted to go. Amazingly she did well and didn’t get sick once. I however, was a nervous wreck the entire time. This has been my life since January, so it won’t switch off till we get a diagnosis.

Her one wish was to see and get a picture with Sarah J. Maas. She won the lottery so she would get to meet her and get a book signed but a picture wasn’t part of the deal. But on that Friday, I was working the registration and I get a text saying, “Sarah is in the lobby. I’m too nervous to ask for a pic.” To which I respond with, “ASK!!!” I mean, what’s the worst that can happen, she says no?

And then I get this picture. Mind you, she just got back from Mount Vernon and she had a hat on all day, so she looks tired and a mess. 🙂 But look at that smile.

Sarah had no idea what this kid’s been dealing with. She doesn’t know that she came up to me shaking, with tears in her eyes, and she never cries. She has no idea that in that couple of minutes she took away the fear of an unknown diagnosis. She made my girl so happy that she forgot all the stress. I went with her the next day to get a book signed and I tried to tell Sarah how much it meant to me as a mom to have her daughter get her wish and I could barely get the words out through my tears. I would’ve said thank you for making my daughter’s whole life, so far. Thank you, for taking a few minutes to show a teenager that they’re worthy of your time. You made her wish come true and I will be forever thankful.

By the way, she still tears up when we talk about it. That’s the power of an author. And that’s the life of a fangirl.

~Melpomene

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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.

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: Healing Hearts by Sarah M. Eden

What a wild and intense story! I mean seriously. This poor girl jumps off a stagecoach and is immediately swept up and taken to her wedding, but she had no idea! She thought she was coming to Savage Wells to be a nurse, not a wife. Talk about miscommunication.

Gideon is plain tuckered out. He’s the only doctor for Savage Wells and all the towns around it. He has no one to help him so that’s why he requested a mail ordered bride, who is also a nurse. But somehow wires were crossed and only the nurse was delivered.

Miriam is hiding a secret. One that I never even thought of! But it’s not a surprise how people treated others back in those days. I loved her. She was so strong, even in the face of everything she’s had to endure. So when she’s allowed to stay on as a nurse instead of a wife, she thinks things are starting to look up. But when her secret is discovered, she must face her greatest fear head on. But luckily she’s not alone anymore.

As I’ve said numerous times before, I love these Proper Romances. They’re super sweet and innocent and they make the story the most important part, not the romance. That being said, I adored watching these two dance around each other. Shyness turned to jokes, which turned to soft touches and then BAM. A perfect sweet romance. On a side note, I am hoping for a certain US Marshal to get his own story. There just HAS to be a perfect girl for him!

~Melpomene

Buy Healing Hearts https://amzn.to/2sAUl8b

Review: What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

The wind and water know all the earth’s secrets. They’ve seen and heard all that has ever been said or done. And if you listen, they will tell you all the stories and sing every song.

From the moment I read the prologue I knew this story was going to hit me harder than any other book I’ve read lately. And I was so right. In fact, I’m pretty sure this story was written just for me. There are small details that connect me and I can’t even explain what that feels like. I know it sounds silly, but it’s true.

Without giving away spoilers I will just say this, at 10% I started to cry and I didn’t know why. I was noticing things that had me breathless and speechless. Even as I’m typing now, there are tears in my eyes. The talk of the past and how these people are no longer with us always makes my heart clinch. Anne discovers things that she never knew, but yet, she always knew.

This story is rich in history and romance and I was swept away. What the Wind Knows had an Outlander feel to it, due to the time traveling, but it was so much more than that. This book was so rich in history, I felt like I was there. The people were real, as were their struggles. My heart broke when theirs did.

The romance between Anne and Thomas made me swoon and cry. I’m not even kidding. When I say I was crying, I mean I was CRYING. I woke up one morning at 4:30 to finish it. And by the time I was done, my pillow was soaked and my eyes were red and puffy. I was breathless and overwhelmed by every word I was reading. I may never recover.

“My love is so big and full and brimming that I can’t breathe around it. It’s terrifying to love so much, knowing how fragile our existence really is. You’re going to have to hold on to me, or I’ll burst…or maybe I’ll just float away. Up into the sky, out into the louch.”

~Melpomene

Buy What the Wind Knows https://amzn.to/2SXtmQ4