Review: Stokehurst series by Lisa Kleypas

In my quest to read as many historical romances as I can, I stumbled upon these two books this week. I’ve never heard of them before so I was excited to have zero preconceived ideas about them. I like finding hidden gems such as these.

The first book, Midnight Angel was interesting. I’m not a fan of huge age gap romances, even though they happen a lot in historicals, so that took a bit to work through, but the heroine was quite old in spirit. Her past definitely aged her, so she wasn’t the typical young person that’s a bit flighty and immature. After faking her death she escapes to England under the cover of a governess to a child not much younger than she is. And you can guess what happens next. The father ends up falling for her despite not wanting to grow close to another woman after his wife died.

If you can get past the age thing, which I obviously did, this was a very intriguing story. There’s a bit of magic swirling around, which again, intriguing. I enjoyed watching this timid, yet fierce woman take charge of her life and find her own happy ending.

And that brings us to the next book, Prince of Dreams, which takes place 7 years later. This one is about the daughter and I think this one was my favorite of the two. You kinda knew who it was going to be about at the end of the previous book, so part of me hoped that it would be done in a matter that wouldn’t be too gross. Age gap is one thing, but under age is another. Thankfully it wasn’t like that.

This book had a definite magical feel to it. In fact, dreams were often a glimpse into the past and I was riveted. I couldn’t read fast enough. And by the time I was done, tears was streaming down my face. I can’t explain without spoiling, but this reaction is how I felt when I read books based on real people. Knowing they were real people, had real losses just gets me. This was how Nikolas’ dreams were.

Now about Nikolas. He was definitely NOT perfect. He made horrible choices that I probably wouldn’t forgive, but after those dreams, I can see why he acted the way he did. It’s fiction, so I must move on from it.

This story had a few twists that made it all the more enjoyable and magical. In fact, they were so unexpected I think that’s why I cried a lot. Angst to the max!!

If you’re looking for something different in your historical romances, then I highly recommend you grab these two books. Oldies but goodies.

~Melpomene

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Review: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

This was my first TBR star book of the year! I am so happy with choosing this one. I’ve been wanting to read this for a while now. They’ve been sitting on my shelf for way too long.

When you look at the cover of this book you think pirates, right? Since I don’t read descriptions, I assumed pirates. Well, that’s not exactly what this was about…and yet it was.

Blackhearts is about a boy and a girl. It’s about a boy longing to be free of the land around him and live on the sea. It’s about an orphan girl who’s biding her time till she is able to leave and find her mother’s family.

This is definitely more romance than anything. Edward “Teach” Drummond spent the last year living on the sea and returns home a changed man. He’s being forced into a marriage not of his choosing with a girl who is utterly ridiculous in all ways. He tries to make his father listen to him but to avail.

Anne Barrett has been living a half life. She was born for better things but without the funds to make that happen she is stuck as a maid in the Drummond house.

Slowly Anne and Teach are drawn to each other even knowing the cards are stacked against them. But it was sweet watching them try. So many times I thought the worst was going to happen but it didn’t. Everything seemed to be falling into place for them…until the rug was swept out from underneath them.

This book was a breath of fresh air for me. Another book to add to my teen rec list. It was a sweet romance tucked underneath intrigue and excitement. The conclusion had me face palming in a “Now I get it,” type or reaction. I really should read the synopsis sometimes. 🙂

~Melomene

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Review: Regretting You by Colleen Hoover


I tried something new with this review. I asked my daughter, we’ll call her Sassy, to buddy read it with me. She’s 17 and hates romance but because of the mother daughter relationship I wanted her to try it. Her reactions are italicized. This is the second CoHo book I’ve given to her. Her first was Slammed and she was so mad at the main character for being so immature and not thinking of the hero and his circumstances. So I was super excited to see how she’d react with these two. Sassy usually reads fantasy that has a minor focus on romance. So watching her read a straight up romance makes me smile. I’m waiting for the day she comes to me and asks to read another of my books. But I won’t hold my breath.

Regretting You was written from both the mother and the daughter’s points of views. This intrigued me. And seeing that the girl is a newly 17 year old, I was curious if her actions would be something Sassy would agree with, or not. I went in without reading the blurb and I’ve very glad I didn’t. And because of that, I felt all the emotions had a quite a few gut kicks. Mothers and daughters aren’t without their dramas and this had plenty. This gave me Slammed feelings all over the place. Both had to deal with feelings they never anticipated on having and I felt EVERYTHING. Moms protecting their daughters from hurt is the right thing to do but they shouldn’t lie. That makes things worse and brings more hurt. However, daughters should also not make things harder for the moms in trying situations.

If you have an older teen daughter, then I recommend you buddy read this with her. I had Sassy stop after a few chapters and give me her first impressions. Let me preface by saying that Sassy is a very independent girl. She’s never been boy crazy and won’t change for one. What you see is what you get with her. She is very straight forward and has no patience for shenanigans. So saying that her reactions were quite funny would be an understatement. She’d come out and yell at me for the behavior of characters I had no control over. I’m like, “Blame Colleen! I didn’t create them!”

My favorite was when she came out after the first sex scene, which was mild, and said, “That was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever read.” I died. I don’t even know how she handled everything else. But I’m guessing she skipped some parts, since she never said anything.

She was mad and disappointed in Clara’s behavior quite often. “No amount of guilt justifies those actions.” As a mom, I’m happy about that because I’d to think if she were faced with distressing circumstances that she would react differently. She’d be more level headed.

First impressions:
-It was better than Slammed.
-Clara was stupid teenager.
-I can see Colleen’s sarcasm in each character’s personalities. She was probably like that as a teenager.
-I like how she writes the boys. I like them more than the girls. Just like Slammed, I liked Will more than Lake.
-Morgan made silly mistakes but all in all she did the best she could with the circumstances she was dealt with.
-How could a mom of boys write a mother/daughter relationship so well?!
-The end(no spoilers) was super cute and sweet.
-I’d totally wear an orange prom dress.
-When is she writing that fantasy? I’m still waiting. I’d read that in a heartbeat.

Thank you, Colleen, for writing a book that I could share with my daughter. Thank you for giving us new topics to talk about.

~Melpomene and Sassy

Don’t forget to grab a copy! It’a also FREE on KU! https://amzn.to/38tJQr1

Review: Where Winter Finds You by J.R. Ward


Blessed are those who believe in all that two hearts aligned achieve. For once united, no matter where winter finds them, they will always be warm.

After the emotional distress of The Shadows, I was ready, and yet not, for this story. I saw it coming for a few books now but I was not fully prepared for what this book was gonna bring. When I finished chapter one with tears in my eyes I just KNEW that this was gonna be a doozy. And I couldn’t wait. So I grabbed a box of tissues, got comfortable and dove right in.

Everyone seemed to get their HEA but not Trez. He’s been floating in and out for a while now. The pain so great. He avoids everyone because his pain seems to bring them all down to his level and he doesn’t wanna do that. When he first met Therese and she was the spitting image of his Chosen, he couldn’t get her out of his mind. It was an instant shock to his system. Come to find out, it was the same with as well.

Therese is trying to make a life for herself and doesn’t need any handouts or distractions. But there’s just something about Trez that she can’t put her finger on. There’s more to the Shadow than she thinks. But while she tries to distance herself, the fates have another thing in mind.

I needed this book. Diehard fans need this. I am so happy that J.R. Ward gave us what we wanted. There were so many scenes that tugged at my heart and had me reaching for those tissues. Family is the theme all throughout this book. An unbreakable familial bond, weaved together with love. My heart is truly happy. If you believe in happily ever afters, then you definitely need to pick up a copy of Where Winter Finds You.

~Melpomene

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Review: All Fired Up by Lori Foster


This series was wonderful. I’m so happy I rediscovered Lori’s books.

I love the way she writes her characters. The men are protective without smothering. The women are strong but know when to ask for help. It’s the perfect balance. I wish more romances were written like this.

This story actually tugged on my heart a bit. Mitch finding his half brothers and being welcomed into their lives was hard for him. But they broke him down. He wasn’t used to being able to rely on anyone so they was a hard lesson. And finding Charlotte made that a little bit easier.

Charlotte has always been like a sister and daughter to the Crews. When she meets Mitch she’s instantly drawn to him. When she finds out that he’s part of the family, her heart realizes that she should probably let him bond with his brothers and step back. But that pesky heart doesn’t agree with that.

This book had everything I liked in a romance, sweet love, tension, family and a bit of excitement. If you’re looking for a romance like this, then I highly recommend to grab this series.

~Melpomene

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Quick review: Stealing Her by Rachel VanDyken


Pins and needles. That’s how I was feeling as I was reading. I knew something was going to happen but I just had to hold on and wait for it. This reminded me of that movie “While You Were Sleeping” but yet it’s different.

I adored this book. I never read the blurb so I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. Rachel did a fabulous job at keeping me reading and connected. I just couldn’t stop! And then it ended and I’m feeling lost… I mean, how could she leave us like this‽‽ Doesn’t she realize that we want EVERYTHING and we don’t wanna wait for it‽‽ These characters have so much more to show us.

I am truly satisfied with this book and how this series has started. I’ve read practically everything Rachel has written but only her Eagle Elite books have left me feeling this way, until now. My heart is all a flutter of emotions. Give me more!!

~Melpomene

Click the pic to buy! It’s also FREE on KU!

Review: Fast Lane by Kristen Ashley

For those who don’t know me, I love Kristen Ashley. HARD. When I hear she has a book coming out, I clear my schedule and get ready. And when the book arrives, whether ARC or release day, everything gets dropped and my family can eat cereal for all I care. Luckily my hubby loves her almost as much as I do, so he totally understands.

Fast Lane was written in a way I don’t think I’ve ever read before. She said she was inspired by Daisy Jones & The Six. While I’ve not read that, I was unsure for what I getting myself into. I’ll admit it took a little bit to find my groove but once I did, I couldn’t put it down.

Lyla and Preacher’s romance spanned decades and I loved every heartbreaking moment. In typical rock ‘n roll fashion, there was a lot going on, but in the midst was their love. It was all encompassing. Preacher’s world revolved around Lyla’s and vice versa. Theirs was a love that hit you in the gut. Listening to her tell their story, I could feel how much she loved him. They made bad decisions, but they made them together. What’s life without a little drama, right?

This book was a true roller coaster of emotions. I had faith that Kristen wouldn’t do me wrong, but I’ll admit it got a little tense a few times. And I can remember the moment. You know what I’m talking about? The moment just when you think all is lost, something happens, and you lose your freaking mind. Let’s just say I’m glad no one was home when I read that part.

In true Kristen Ashley form she brings you up, down, and all around, till you’re a puddle of goo on the floor. I really hope this gets put in audible form. I do believe hearing the voices and all the pain will hit ever harder than just reading. Thank you, Kristen, for going with your gut and giving us a story that is different than what we’re used to, and yet still the same emotional romance.

~Melpomene

Buy Fast Lane https://amzn.to/2nP0krt