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

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Review: Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Epic, emotional and exciting!

This book is a combination of three POVs. Chaol, the recovering ex-captain of the king’s guard, Yrene, the healer we met in The Assassin and the Healer, and Nesryn, the current captain of the king’s guard. It was supposed to be a novella but it turned out quite a bit longer and way more indepth. However, my feelings were all over the place here. I found myself not caring about anything but Yrene for a while. The life she has lead and the reason she is where she is, is just insane. She is truly an amazing healer. My heart wanted a novella, so it was stubborn.

Chaol. What can I say about him. There’s a lot under the surface that he needs to deal with before he can move on and heal properly. And while he’s trying to heal, he must convince the khagan to give them support and deal with the utterly crazy royal family. And I mean crazy in a somewhat good way. Never a dull moment.

Nesryn actually gave me the only scene I teared up in. I didn’t think I was going through care about her storyline but I did. I’m glad she found what she was looking for. I hope nothing happens to her in the next book. I’d be very upset.

This story gives us a few answers to questions we’ve been asking. And also gives us quite a few new discoveries. It makes me rather anxious to get to the final book now. I do wish that there was a little more from Chaol’s past though. We see snippets but not enough, in my opinion. This takes place in the same timeline as Empire of Storms and we do get a few glimpses into what’s happening with Aelin and the rest of the crew.

As for the YA/NA jump, ToD had a few scenes that were definitely not in the young YA world but less than the full on NA. So be prepared. I did block a few parts off since my kids aren’t ready for that.

Now the only thing I have a problem with was the usual changing of the loves. Sarah has a habit of getting us invested in a couple, only to have them break apart a few books later. She does this in both her series. While I love her stories, it hurts to get invested in a storyline, only to have it shattered later on. I need to seriously think about taking another chance in her future series. My heart can’t take this.

~Melpomene

Buy Tower of Dawn http://amzn.to/2jSBlk9

Get caught up with the Throne of glass series:
The Assassin’s Blade http://amzn.to/2xvMuvX
Throne of Glass http://amzn.to/2fHFYJc
Crown of Midnight http://amzn.to/2yxmxL7
Heir of Fire http://amzn.to/2wO3rhy
Queen of Shadows http://amzn.to/2yyCC3l
Empire of Storms http://amzn.to/2y0iU3n

Review: Secondborn by Amy Bartol

Fantasical and exciting! I was sucked in from the very beginning. Amy Bartol knows how to write fantasy that is gripping and emotional.

Roselle has lived her life in front of cameras. Being a secondborn, her life is not her own. When’s she’s transitioned, it seems that very few people are on her side. She must find a way to survive and make this new life her own. Each decision she makes not only affects her, but the world around her as well.

I liked Roselle. A lot. She’s 18 and had this new life thrust upon her and had to choose to give up or fight. She’s got a lot of spunk and it’s quite wild to watch her. What I most especially like is that I know this is the type of book my daughter will love. A girl who isn’t the damsel, but the knight. I can’t wait till she reads this!

“I want to write the story of my life to suit me. I want to see the world without restrictions. I want to use my mind to obtain freedom, like she had.”

I really enjoyed diving into this new world. As with most first books in a series, there’s a lot to cover and introduce you to. I’m happy to say that I wasn’t overwhelmed with all the information. I tend to struggle with first books. My brain can’t seem to keep up. On top of that, the scenery was described in a way that I could imagine being right in the midst of it all. There are quite a few characters for you to love, and perhaps a couple to hate. My mind is turning with all my theories for the future. I’m gonna need the second book ASAP.

Well done, Ms. Bartol!!

~Melpomene

Buy Secondborn http://amzn.to/2vp2tMM

Review: Enrage by Rachel VanDyken


I love this mafia family. They aren’t perfect, but they’re family. When one of their own starts to go down a path that’s not what the majority wants, it’s up to them to reel them in and point them in the right direction. But sadly, sometimes that isn’t always easy to do.

When we first met Dante, I was very curious about him. I knew they were going to train him, but I didn’t know how much of an participant he would be in the family. Man, oh man, did he make his presence known.

My heart was in my stomach by the end of this book. I had NO IDEA what direction it was going to go. Frankly, I was shocked. Utterly shocked. But after I had a few days to think and ponder it, I realize why this happened. What people project on the outside isn’t always what’s going on on the inside. Lives will forever be changed. Hearts will be broken. The family will never be the same.

Rachel is the master at this mafia gig. Truly. I could read and reread these books and never be bored. You should really start from the beginning and read all the books. You won’t fully understand all the emotions that are packed into this one until you do. They’re filled with such fantastic characters with wild and crazy stories. They’re family and family always sticks together, even during the hard times. Blood in. No out.

~Melpomene

Buy Enrage HERE

Review: The Queen and the Cure by Amy Harmon

“There will be a battle, and you will need to protect your heart.”

This quote depicts this book perfectly. Battles of the mind, body and soul will be fought. To be victorious, Kjell must hold fast to who he is and trust in himself. My heart was taken with Kjell and his journey. There was so much for him to learn. I feel honored to get to watch him grow into himself.

Now this book wasn’t without heartache and pain. Oh no, definitely not. It was a slow burn and running smoothly…until it wasn’t. Then the real pain began. I made the mistake of reading this late at night and had to stop just when it was coming to a head. But I woke up at 3 am to continue my torture, and it was glorious. I live for these kind of books. The kind that drag you into the depths of despair and keep you there until you think you can’t go on any longer. Then BAM. Yes, as you can tell, I enjoyed this book very much. This story blew The Bird and the Sword out of the water for me.

Sasha was such a well written character. She was so strong, even when she wasn’t. She had to be. Her entire world depended on it. I love how fierce she was. Sasha wouldn’t take any crap from anyone, even if it put her life at risk. She loved with a fierceness that I adore. No matter what life threw at her, she remained true.

Amy Harmon has mastered the art of fantasy romance. The world is believable and the stories seem so real. I felt like I was sitting in the clouds watching this transpire. I hope she’ll write more from this genre. And possibly more from this world. *hint hint*

~Melpomene

Buy The Queen and the Cure here: http://amzn.to/2pBPp2R
Meet Kjell first in The Bird and the Sword here: http://amzn.to/2pQH8sS

Review: 180 Seconds by Jessica Park

When will I learn to read JP books with a box of tissues nearby? I mean seriously, these books reek havoc on my heart.

Allison is a very closed off person. She’s been tossed around in foster care and has learned it’s better to keep to herself than to put herself out there and be rejected or left behind. She had my heart all twisty. She struggles with letting people in. I wanted to reach in and hug her.

After a social media experiment she was pulled into, she realizes that she needs to let people in and to open up her heart a little. There are so many people around her that would love to get close, if only she’d let them. Anxiety is hard to face and even more difficult to let go.

I loved Esben. He’s bigger than life, with a heart of gold. Really, he’s perfect in all the ways that matter. It was wild to see his reaction to the 180 Seconds experiment and to watch him chip away at Allison’s wall until it falls at her feet. It will not be easy. There will be tears. LOTS of tears. But they’ll be worth it.

“I don’t need protection from your past. I need protection from mine.”

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.

Be brave.

~Melpomene

Buy 180 Seconds here: http://amzn.to/2pTVpo4

Review: Keepsake(True North#3) by Sarina Bowen

keepsake
There’s just something about this series that I love. I can’t put my finger on it, but whatever it is, I hope it continues.

Lark has lived through a horrific ordeal and is struggling to get back to what she was before. She goes to stay at the orchard for the summer, in the hopes that the peace she finds there will put her back together. But she has no idea that the peace won’t come from work and fresh air, but from a certain sheltered boy who’s had his own share of trials.

I loved Zach, from the very first book. I was so curious about his story. I loved his vulnerability and yet his strength. He was sweet and patient with Lark. I loved the way he helped her at night. He’s compassionate about her struggles and soon finds himself with feelings that he’s unclear if he should run with.

She looked vivid, as if God had painted her features with bolder paints than he used on the rest of the world.

Watching these two tiptoe around each other was cute. Gah! I love these characters! This entire family, whether blood related or not, is the perfect family. They care and love each other and would just about anything to help each other out. At one scene I had tears pouring down my face from how much these guys care fo each other. They may tease and give a lot of grief, but it’s all in love. I wish I lived on the Shipley’s farm.

This may be book 3 in a series, but it can totally be read as a standalone. However, I highly recommend you read the first two books also. You will love this family as much as I do.

~Melpomene

Buy Keepsake HERE.