Melpomene’s Top 10, in other words, Angstfest 2014

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I was looking through Goodreads and I decided to make a Top 10 list of my favorites. By the end, you will get a glimpse into what I look for in a book, as if you don’t already know.

#1 Beautiful Disaster: A Novel, by Jamie McGuire
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Travis is my very first book boyfriend and no one will ever take his title. This book was my first introduction into the New Adult, angst filled romance books, and it set a pretty high standard. It is usually one of two books I always tell people to read. Beautiful Disaster is pure perfection. My review doesn’t even do it justice. It’s just perfect. Read it for yourself and you will fall in love with it. I promise you.

#2 Poughkeepsie (The Poughkeepsie Series), by Debra Anastasia
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This is by far the wildest romance book I’ve ever read. I am in love with this book so much, I can’t put it into words. I made the tattoo as my phone cover, a poster in my reading corner and even a book bag. I just love all thing Poughkeepsie. It’s real and raw and so very romantic. It’s basically the perfect combination of everything I love in a romance book. I judge every other romance book against this one.

#3 Point of Retreat: A Novel (Slammed), by Colleen Hoover
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I am a lifetime CoHort. Seriously. I love EVERY book Colleen Hoover writes, but Point of Retreat is my all time favorite. I can’t pinpoint the reason, but the emotions that this book caused was so overpowering, I was devastated. This is another NA/romance book that will not disappoint. But be sure to read Slammed first, or you’ll be completely lost. 🙂

#4 The Edge of Never, by J.A. Redmerski
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I actually grabbed this book, based on the cover. I had no idea what it was about. I new it was NA, which seems to be my theme, but I never read the description. This book had a rather unconventional love story, but I think my review does it justice. It can be read as a standalone, even though she wrote a second book. This one was my favorite.

#5 The Sea of Tranquility: A Novel, by Katja Millay
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This was another book that I grabbed, based on the cover. And it shocked the emotions right out of me. It’s hard to put in words how I felt. I wanted to reach inside this book and hug every single person. They were so broken, my heart was breaking for them. Beautiful and gut wrenching. Another perfect book.

#6 Gabriel’s Inferno, by Sylvain Reynard
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I remember picking this up and thinking, “How in the world is a guy going to be able to write a romance and make it beautiful?” HA!! I was totally surprised. This book was absolutely beautiful. I was shocked by the tears that fell from my eyes. The words were so romantic and beautiful.

#7 The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
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OK. This book DESTROYED me. Honest to goodness killed me. I was ripped to pieces and shredded. I have never cried more in my life, than when I read this book, TWICE. This book gets into your soul and changes you. It’s beautiful and sad. If you need to release some pent up emotions, read this. You will feel whole, when you are done.

#8 When I Look to the Sky (The Rock and Roll Trilogy), by Barbara Stewart
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This is the second book in a trilogy and it was very hard to decide which book I liked more. The first one, Rock & Roll Never Forgets, I can’t even review. It was so beautiful and epic and I was sobbing by the end. I tried to write a review, but every time I think of this book I cry. Big, fat, ugly tears. This book killed me even more, but I HAD to post about it. I can’t have another day go by without people hearing about this book. My review took forever to write. In between all the tears and emotions that were pouring out of me. My family thought I lost my mind, after I was done. It was that good. On a side note, this story helped me get through one the hardest times in my life. I ordered a complete set of signed books and they arrived at my house on the day I received such horrible news. They were such a comfort to me. I can never truly explain how much I love Barbara for these.

#9 Easy, by Tammara Webber
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I remember searching for books similar to Beautiful Disaster, and stumbling upon Easy. I was completely blown away. I fell for Lucas, instantly. I love reading about broken guys who try desperately to put it all behind them and move forward. And I love the girls who help them. 🙂 I am anxiously waiting for Lucas’ story to come out, in May. I am already anticipating on needing tissues for that one. 🙂

#10 Left Drowning, by Jessica Park
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I remember reading Flat Out Love and completely falling in love with Jessica Park. So when I found out that she was going to write another book, I was super excited to read it. This book…..To quote the last line of my review, “I may never get over this book.” This was the perfect combination of romance, angst, silliness and devastation. Another perfect combination. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next from her. But it will be awesome.

WOW!!! Typing this out, brought all the emotions back to the surface. Now I need a tissue, or two…perhaps a hug.

~Melpomene

Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

20140120-071025.jpgLaurie Halse Anderson is a master at speaking the language of teenage angst and turmoil. She gave us Speak, a story about a teenage girl traumatized to the point of becoming mute. In Wintergirls, she addresses the self-destructive behaviors of eating disorders and cutting. And then there’s her latest endeavor…

Seventeen-year-old Hayley and her dad, Andy, have relied on just each other for years. A veteran of wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Andy suffers from debilitating PTSD while Hayley does her best to hold their fragile lives together. As is the case in many of these situations, she becomes the parent while her dad struggles to simply survive each day. She can’t separate the happy memories from the bad ones, so she represses them all. They’ve traveled across the country as he attempted to escape his demons. When that doesn’t work, they settle back in their hometown where Hayley enrolls in school for the first time after being homeschooled for so many years. Enter Finn, a quirky, lovable soul who takes her as she is, secrets and all. There’s also Gracie, Hayley’s one remaining friend from her childhood. Hayley’s reluctant to allow anyone access to her private world even as it crumbles around her. Andy sinks deeper and deeper into his own private hell as each day passes. He drowns himself in alcohol and drugs in an attempt to silence the battle going on in his head. The rare moments of lucidity and normalcy are just enough to keep Hayley from reaching out for help. She, meanwhile, is facing her own struggles outside of home. A bright student who loves to get lost in her books, she’s also extremely unmotivated and spends much of her school days in either the counselor’s office or detention. The story follows Hayley as she tries to save her dad and, as a result, herself as well. Along the way, she realizes that her friends’ picture perfect lives aren’t as happy as they seem; every family has its secrets. Hers are just a little more dangerous.

Laurie Halse Anderson has once again written a story that plunges you deep into the hearts and souls of her characters. Hayley is a flawed teenager who could be any of us. She has a dry, witty sense of humor and a strong sense of survival for both she and her dad. She is wise beyond her years and is loyal to a fault. Hayley isn’t one of the pretty, popular girls but she’s the one I’d most like to be friends with. I enjoyed this book tremendously and finished it in a day. It’s another great young adult book from an amazing author.

~ Thalia

Buy it Now: The Impossible Knife of Memory

Review: If I Stay, by Gayle Forman

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Summary:

On a day that started like any other,

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she’ll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.

 

This is my second time reading this. I’ve been seeing all the still shots, from the movie, on Gayle Forman’s FB page and it got me in the mood to reread it. Since I’m a fast reader, I tend to read a lot and therefore forget a lot. I remembered bits and pieces, but as I saw the pictures I realized I was missing bigger pieces. So I bit the bullet, grabbed a box of tissues and my kindle and settled down for an emotional ride.

Let me tell you, this book caught me off guard. I knew what it was about, but I wasn’t prepared for how the scenes would play out and how they would affect me. These kind of books are why I’m always buy tissues by the case and why I get so excited when I find someone who enjoys reading. The release I get, from these crazy crying books, leave me feeling content.

18 yr old Mia thought her hardest decision was following her musical heart and going to Julliard or following her love heart and staying with her family and the love of her life. Never did she realize how simple those choices would be. Now an accident has taken everything away from her and she is now caught in between and she’s trying to decide to stay or go. She spends her time watching as her family and friends grieve and hold vigil for her, and remembering the past and how it’s shaped her and gives her the ability to make this decision.

As her dad would say, “Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make me.” She struggled with knowing that if she stays, her life would never be the same. But leaving just doesn’t feel right either.

Seeing her past memories and how they shaped her, makes her decision even harder. But the music part of her, tugged on my heart. I found myself listening to Yo-Yo Ma and feeling all those emotions with her.

But I really loved seeing her with her rock star boyfriend, Adam. The shy and awkward phase was so sweet. Watching them, grow to love each other, made me smile. When we sees her, lying battered and bruised, in the hospital bed, tears were pouring out of my eyes. I had to set my kindle down, cuz I couldn’t see past my tears.

“Please Mia,” he implores. “Don’t make me write a song.”

My heart was breaking every time someone came and spoke to her. They were trying to help her make her choice. But truly, how could you choose??

“Dying is easy. Living is hard.”

Here is the movie trailer. I am super excited for this!! I get chills just watching it.

~Melpomene

Buy it now If I Stay

Review and Blog Tour: Gabriel’s Redemption, by Sylvain Reynard

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“Of all the gifts God gave me…the greatest one is you.”

Let me start out by saying that I was perfectly happy with the way Gabriel’s Rapture ended. If there wasn’t a third book, I would be content. Even Sylvain Reynard was content with the ending of Rapture. That being said, I’m even happier he changed his mind and gave us a bit of closure and a bit of their futures.

Professor Gabriel Emerson left his job to follow his wife, Julianne, to Harvard for her graduate program. He is happy, just to be with her. But when he brings up having children, Julianne’s world crashes around her. She wants to make him happy, but also feels selfish for wanting to finish school first. She knows that for him to want children, is a big step. But she seems a bit childish in this situation. I know having children is scary, but knowing that Gabriel would need a vasectomy reversal soon, since it’s been 10 years, I can’t understand why she would want to wait. She made me a bit irritated.

While Gabriel has a need for a family, he realizes he knows nothing of his own family history, except what he dreams about. And even then, he’s not really sure if it’s real or not. So in order to make his dreams come true, he needs to do a bit of digging into his past. And his past is nothing he wants to be near, too many ghosts.

He also has a hard time accepting the fact that God has forgiven him for his reckless past and he can move on. He doesn’t feel he is worthy of happiness. Julianne has to show and teach him that he is worthy of everything. And no matter what struggles they go through, they will always be together.

“For you, my love, I would endeavor to pluck the stars from the sky, only to shower them at your feet.”

The love between Gabriel and Julianne is so great, I’m surprised my kindle didn’t start smoking. Some of the scenes were downright HOT! I feel even harder for the professor. He knew how to show love and he showed it a lot. 😉 I loved the little snarky narrator, that added to the scenes. For instance, Desk sex can be very, very good, but it’s important to remove the staplers first. 🙂

We also get a glimpse of Julianne’s friend, Paul, and his quest to move on from Julianne. My heart kinda broke for him. He loved Julianne and every time he saw her or though about her, a little piece of his heart broke off.

We also run into and old enemy who decides to continue with the trouble she caused before. I so wanted to beat her! She was making me so mad. I kept hoping she’d get put in her place.

I absolutely adored both of their families. Their struggles to keep moving forward with their lives, was heart breaking. The loneliness of some were eased, while others still struggle. But the love they all share, will get them through anything.

It’s bittersweet to read this book. But all good things come to an end, right? But these will always remain of of my favorite series.

Enter the a Rafflecopter giveaway
to win a pair of Christian Louboutins(Gabriel’s favorite) or 1 of 15 signed sets of the trilogy. Me personally, I want the books. I’d fall on my face in those shoes. I’m a chucks kinda girl. 😉

~Melpomene

Buy it now Gabriel’s Redemption (Gabriel’s Inferno Trilogy)