Review: Dane’s Storm by Mia Sheridan

This is a book about survival, mentally and physically. From the prologue, I was instantly sucked in. I knew this was going to be a doozy of a story. My heart was in my stomach after those couple of pages. Whew!

Dane and Audra’s story is a heartbreaking one. What started out as a whirlwind romance eventually turned into heartbreak and resentment. What they went through, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. The unimaginable pain they have lived with through the years is more than most can bare. They never imagined they’d get a second chance. But the heart wants what the heart wants.

“You weren’t my just my first love. You were my once-in-a-lifetime.”

When circumstances bring them together, Dane offers to fly them back home to resolve an issue, but no one expected his plane would go down and they would be fighting for their lives. While they’re trying to survive they are forced to come to terms with what made them break all those years ago. I wish it didn’t take a plane crash to bring them to this point, but sometimes fate likes to rattle us.

This story is told from both POVs and in the end, I found myself feeling more for Audra than I initially thought. She tends to be rough and tough and hold things inside, but it’s a defense mechanism. She knows once she opens herself up, all her walls will come crashing down. I am thankful that Dane took initiative and started to chip at her defenses. She wasn’t the only one hurting. Once she realized that her heart could start to heal.

“You must bloom.”

This is a standalone which was released as an audible first, but I’m reviewing the ebook. I haven’t listened to it yet. Not sure if this a fast read, since I’m a speed reader, but all I know is that I couldn’t stop. I needed to know they would be okay. I needed to know they would be healed, inside and out. I needed it. And I’m glad I found out. Mia Sheridan has this way of writing that makes you feel it all. All the pain and sadness, and then the joy. Can you epilogue? My heart is happy.

~Melpomene

Buy Dane’s Storm https://amzn.to/2oEcSib

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Review: Cooper’s Charm by Lori Foster

Cute story with lots of laughs! Phoenix relocates to the seasonal community of Cooper’s Charm for a fresh start – and is delighted to be surrounded by the beauty of nature… and handsome men. Her sister Ridley soon follows, buys herself an RV, and makes herself at home. Between sibling heart-to-hearts and early morning coffee talk with the guys, the sisters realize that the slower pace of Cooper’s Charm is just what they need.

This book was just the kind of easy reading that I look for after the workweek is over. Some fun characters, heartfelt friendships, warm humor, and people working together for good.

-calliope

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Review: Imposter’s Lure by Carla Neggers

I’ve adored FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan since I began this series. Later I came to appreciate the whole Sharpe clan with their art expertise, and all of those Donovan brothers showing up at just the right time. And while Oliver York was thought to be a criminal art thief for several books, he’s now helping the Sharpes and lovely Henrietta solve crimes.

That’s the backstory of Neggers’ well-developed characters and the intricate relationships among them.

Enter Imposter’s Lure. Same characters – plus some – but a bunch of contrived details that seemed like they were backfilled into a pre-written ending. This book needs paring down and re-writing just so I can understand all the complexities. After whittling away some of the convoluted family and friend relationships that don’t move the plot forward, then maybe I could enjoy the New England chahhhm, the English countryside, and the Irish lowlands as a backdrop to a sinister plot to make money off of art forgeries … and destroy the evidence.

-calliope

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Read the review for Book 4 in the Sharpe and Donovan series – one of my faves!

Review: Promises and Primroses by Josi S. Kilpack

Another Proper Romance to sink your teeth into. I can’t get enough of these. This is the first in the Mayfield Family series. What a way to start. The moment I opened the book, I couldn’t put it down. I was instantly sucked in.

Elliot doesn’t like the direction his family is headed. So he comes up with the idea of a marriage campaign to bring them out of the scandals and to erase the many mistakes they are making. He remembers making the worst mistake of his life and he doesn’t want his nieces and nephews to suffer as he did. He wants them happy and respectable. He’s he’s going to start with his eldest nephew, Peter.

Peter is widower and a father of two young girls. He’s looking for a governess, not a wife. No matter what his uncle is hoping for, her is just happy being a father and a dog breeder. Yes, this book has puppies. YAY! When all his options are taken away, he is stuck with a young lady who, frankly, is too pretty to be a governess. But the crazy thing is, she’s perfect. Julia is really good with his daughters, and they love her and are learning from her. Plus she has the added bonus of being good with dogs, which definitely comes in handy on more than one occasion.

Now everything may look perfect, but when Julia’s mom, Amelia, discovers that her daughter is now a governess in the household of someone related to the man who broke her heart, she is determined to get her away. She doesn’t want what happened to her to happen to Julia.

Not that I condone Amelia’s actions, but I understand why she responded the way she did. She has lived a happy life, even after her husband died, but she’ll never forget the heartache Elliot caused. I feel as their story was a nice little bonus. Two stories for the price of one. It was sweet and sad, but I loved it.

But my favorite was watching Peter slowly come to the realization that he doesn’t need to be alone. He may have loved his wife very much, but that doesn’t mean her can’t find love again. Especially one that fits in his household. He was so adamant that he would be content alone, it was fun to see him fall in love.

Now, I don’t know when we’ll get more of the Mayfield Family, but I hope it’s soon. I love series based on big families. And since the marriage campaign is based on love, I know it’s gonna be sweet.

~Melpomene

Buy Promises and Primroses https://amzn.to/2MpWhMF

Review: Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber

When Annie moves to the Pacific Northwest, she’s just looking for a safe place to grieve, a comforting and uplifting place. What she finds is a cottage that needs some love, a garden that needs all that love and a bowl of cereal, and a couple people from her past who she can’t quite put her finger on.

Macomber does a great job tying together Annie’s new friendships with the experiences from their pasts. Though the characters don’t dwell on their youth, we see how it colored their behaviors as adults – and how grief and trauma in childhood or adolescence can be debilitating for the long-term.

I found compassion for Annie’s friend Mellie, who seemed so unstable and isolated until she was surrounded by love. I was in awe of Keaton, who shed no tears over how badly he was treated by family and community for decades, but came to the rescue in a heartbeat for those who needed his help or protection.

Macomber created a story of hope and belonging out of a medley of troubled folks. This book could have been depressing – but it wasn’t. It opened my eyes to the hurt people may be walking around with, and showed that people put their mark on the world in varied and unexpected ways.

-calliope

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Preview: Wedding from Hell part 3 by J.R.Ward


Here’s the final part of the FREE 3-part prequel to Consumed. It’s actually an excerpt from Consumed. I don’t know about you, but I’m even more excited to dive into it now that we got a glimpse into this world. As a firewife, I’m all about firefighter books, so I’m a very happy girl.

Here’s the synopsis:
About the Book:
From the creator of the #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series, get ready for a new band of brothers. And a firestorm.

Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed…

By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.

Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse blaze changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.

Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn’t believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again—until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the commonwealth, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.

And here’s your final excerpt:
Excerpt:

Harbor Street and Eighteenth Avenue
Old Downtown, New Brunswick, Massachusetts

Box alarm. One-niner-four-seven. Two engines and a ladder from the 499, responding.

Or, put another way, Anne Ashburn’s Friday night date had showed up on time and was taking her to a show. Granted, “on time” was the precise moment she had sat down for a meal at the stationhouse with her crew, and the “show” was a warehouse fire they were going to have to chorus-line for. But if you judged the health of a relationship on its constancy and whether it brought purpose and meaning to your life?

Then this firefighting gig was the best damn partner a woman could ask for.

As Engine Co. 17 turned the corner onto Harbor with siren and lights going, Anne glanced around the shallow seating area of the apparatus. There were four jump seats behind the cab, two forward- facing, two rear-, the pairs separated by an aisle of gear. Emilio “Amy” Chavez and Patrick “Duff” Duffy were on one side. She and Daniel “Dannyboy” Maguire were on the other. Up in front, Deshaun “Doc” Lewis, the engineer, was behind the wheel, and Captain Christopher “Chip” Baker, the incident commander, was shotgun.

Her nickname was “Sister.” Which was what happened when you were the sibling of the great Fire Chief Thomas Ashburn Jr., and the daughter of the revered—falsely as it turned out— Thomas Ashburn, Sr.

Not everybody called her that, though.

She focused on Danny. He was staring out the open window, the cold November wind blowing his black hair back, his exhausted blue eyes focused on nothing. In their bulky turnouts, their knees brushed every time the engine bumped over sewer access panels, potholes, manholes, intersections.

Okay, okay, she wanted to say to fate. I know he’s there. You don’t have to keep reminding me.

The hardheaded bastard was a lot of things, most of which carried terms you couldn’t use around your grandmother, but he knew she hated the “Sister” thing, so to him, she was Ashburn.

He’d also called her Anne—once. Late at night about three weeks ago.

Yes, they had been naked at the time. Oh, God . . . had they finally done that?

“I’m gonna beat you at pong,” he said without looking at her. “Soon as we get back.”

“No chance.” She hated that he knew she’d been staring at him. “All talk, Dannyboy.”

“Fine.” He turned to face her. “I’ll let you win, how about that?”

His smile was slow, knowing, evil. And her temper answered the phone on the first ring.

“The hell you will.” Anne leaned forward. “I won’t play with you if you cheat.”

“Even if it benefits you?”

“That’s not winning.”

“Huh. Well, you’ll have to explain to me the ins and outs of it when we’re back at the house. While I’m beating you.”

Anne shook her head and glared out the open window.

The first tap on her leg she ascribed to a bump in the road. The second, third, and fourth were obviously—

She looked back at Danny. “Stop it.”

“What?”

“Are you twelve?” As he started to smile, she knew exactly where his mind had gone. “Not inches. Age.”

“I’m pretty sure I peak more like at sixteen.” He lowered his voice. “What do you think?”

Between the sirens and the open windows, no one else could hear them—and Danny never pulled the double entendre if there was a risk of that. But yes, Anne now knew intimately all of his heavily muscled and tattooed anatomy. Granted, it had been only that once.

Then again, unforgettable only had to happen one time.

“I think you’re out of your mind,” she muttered.

And then they were at the scene. The old 1900s-era warehouse was a shell of its former useful self, sixty-five thousand square feet of broken glass panes, rotting beams, and blown-off roof panels. The outer walls were brick, but based on the age, the floors and any room dividers inside were going to be wood. The blaze was in the northeast corner on the second floor, billowing smoke wafting up into the forty-degree night air before being carried away by a southerly wind.

As Anne’s boots hit the ground, she pulled the top half of her turnouts closed. Her ponytail was up high on the back of her head, and she stripped out the band, reorganized the shoulder length, and cranked things tight at her nape. The brown was still streaked with blond from the summer, but she needed to get it trimmed—so all that lightness was on the chopping block.

Of course, if she were a woman “who took care of herself,” she’d get it highlighted through the winter months. Or so her mother liked to tell her. But who the hell had time for that?

“Sister, you sweep the place with Amy for addicts,” Captain Baker commanded. “Stay away from that corner. Danny and Duff, run those lines!”

As Captain Baker continued to bark orders out, she turned away. She had her assignment. Until she completed it, or there was an insurmountable obstacle or change of order, she was required to execute that directive and no other.

“Be safe in there, Ashburn.”

The words were soft and low, meant for her ears alone. And as she glanced over her shoulder, Danny’s Irish eyes were not smiling.

A ripple of premonition made her rub the back of her neck. “Yeah, you, too, Maguire.”

“Piece’a cake. We’ll be back at pong before ten.” They walked away from each other at the same time, Danny going around to the stacks of hoses in the back, her linking up with Chavez…

Be sure and grab this final part before you dive into Consumed.
Wedding from Hell
Part 1 https://amzn.to/2BDpL58
Part 2 https://amzn.to/2LeCF9t
Part 3 https://amzn.to/2PoZ3A6

Preorder Consumed so you can have it ready to read on release day, Oct 2
https://amzn.to/2nXznxW

Review: The Late Bloomers’ Club by Louise Miller

Small town story lovers, meet Nora, of the Miss Guthrie Diner. Don’t mess with her customers or her sister. And when the cake lady dies, please don’t try to buy the land to turn it into a big box store. And if you do try such a thing, make sure you’re a good looking guy with a heart of gold and your eyes on a certain diner owner. But don’t be disappointed if she pays no mind… she has a sister to help, a dog to find, cake recipes to learn, and a town to support. And if her diner gets in trouble, well, be one of those people who saves the day. Nora would do it for you.

And definitely, definitely, read the book. There’s nowhere else you’ll get the sister’s boyfriend up to his eyebrows in maple icing, your precious home filled with your sister’s filmmaking equipment, addictive Girl Scout popcorn at the town meetings, and a zoning vote that threatens to divide the town (but come on, nothing can divide this small town). I loved every page.

-calliope

Buy THE LATE BLOOMERS’ CLUB