Review: Denial by Lisa Renee Jones

01 den IT’S ELLA’S BOOK!!!!!!

Talk about adrenaline pumping!! I had a hunch that Ella wasn’t in for a simple trip overseas. And boy was I right!!

Ella wakes up in a hospital, in Italy, knowing nothing. She doesn’t even remember her own name! All she knows is that there’s a beautiful man watching her and wanting to help her. I can’t even imagine waking up and not knowing who I was or why I’m in a foreign country. But seeing as she’s all alone, Ella has no other choice but to trust him.

With Kayden’s help, bits and pieces of her memory slowly start to come back. But with these memories comes the realization that she has made some very bad choices and befriended some very evil people. The crazy thing is that she feels this insane attraction to Kayden and wants to trust him to help her, but what if he’s one of those people?

My word, just when you think you know what’s going to happen, the rug gets pulled out from under you. Every time Ella had a flashback I was hoping for a some answers, but all we got were more questions. This is a fantastic start to another thrilling and exciting series for Lisa Renee Jones.

Denial can be read without reading the Inside Out series, but I highly recommend you read that series as well. It was also get your blood pumping and your heart racing.

~Melpomene

Read Denial before Demand comes out, in May.

Review: Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

inside-the-obriens-9781476717777_lgI’m normally not the kind of person who gets scared while reading a book. Zombies, ghosts, vampires, end of the world…bring it on. But books about something that is a very real risk are in another category. This newest story by Lisa Genova is one of those books, one that will keep you thinking long after the last page has been turned.

Joe O’Brien is a happy man. He’s a proud member of the Boston police force, and his few days off are spent with his wife Rosie and their large family. They’re a classically close Irish family, even eating Sunday dinner together every week. Things aren’t perfect, and life is hard. But Joe understands it’s the small things that matter, things like watching baseball with his sons or watching his daughter dance with the Boston ballet.

But then things start to go wrong. At first it’s hardly noticeable, a forgotten word here and there. Things gradually get worse as Joe starts to experience extreme mood swings, stumbling from time to time, forgetting things on a regular basis. When Rosie finally persuades Joe to go to the doctor, neither one of them is prepared for the diagnosis of Huntington’s disease. So begins their adjustment to living with a progressive and fatal disease.

That’s not the worst part for Joe, though. He has to live with the fact that each of his four children has a 50% chance of carrying the gene for Huntington’s and eventually developing symptoms. Not only do they all have to live with this shadow looming over them, but they also must each decide if they want to be tested, to find out if they carry the gene that will eventually cause their premature death.

Without giving away too much, I will say that I was very satisfied with how this story ended. Rather than wrapping everything up in a nice, neat package for the reader, the author leaves us wondering a bit, deciding for ourselves just how we want it to end. There’s enough of a resolution to avoid a cliffhanger without making the conclusion seemed forced.

Genova has a way of getting right to the heart of the matter, whether it’s Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, or Huntington’s disease she’s writing about. As a neuroscientist she brings an air of credibility to her writing that makes the stories so much more authentic. But she also brings plausibility to her characters and makes them lovable in spite of their very real faults. I’ve read every book written by this author, and each one has been better than the last.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Inside the O’Briens: A Novel

Review: Slammed by Colleen Hoover

IMG_2194-0.JPGThere are many ways to choose a book. By its cover, by a favorite author, bestseller lists, book review sites, blogs, write ups in popular media…My all-time favorite way to pick my next book to read, however, is by looking at and listening to the books my friends are talking about.

So there’s this Muse you may know. Her name is Melpomene. And she’s a bit of a book nerd, thus explaining why we’re friends. She also is slightly obsessed with the author Colleen Hoover. She’s read everything Colleen has written, stays up until midnight to buy and read new releases, travels to author events just to meet Colleen, and can quote anything from any book ever written by her.

I on the other hand had never heard of this author until meeting Melpomene. But of course, when someone I know and trust speaks so highly of an author, I’m intrigued. So my question was, which book to start with? The answer was Slammed, so Slammed it was. And what a great first read it was!

Let me preface the remainder of this review by stating that I am in no way, shape, or form what one would consider a fan of traditional romances. My fellow Muse, however, is exactly the opposite. So it was with a slight bit of trepidation that I began this book. Would I like it enough to finish it? Would it be too mushy for me? Would I have to lie about how much I disliked it to avoid awkward moments and hurt feelings? No worries on all accounts.

When 18 year old Lake’s dad dies unexpectedly, her family leaves Texas for Michigan searching for a fresh start. They are now a family of three, and Lake knows it’s up to her to hold it together for her mom and her brother Kel. So, as miserable as she is about the move, she puts on a happy face and gives it her best shot. She’s not counting on the handsome new neighbor, though. Sparks fly instantly, and suddenly Lake’s not missing Texas any longer. Alas, happily ever after is never easy to come by…

And that’s all I’m going to say. It’s hard to give much more away without ruining the story. But I will say that it’s an amazing story, one that made me keep reading even after it was lights out on a school night. Yes, it’s a love story. But it’s also a story of loss, of grief, of resilience, of trust, of moving on. It’s a story I won’t soon forget.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Slammed: A Novel

Review: The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice

IMG_2160.JPGHorror story with supernatural elements set in the swamps of Louisiana? And an amazingly beautiful cover? You bet! When I requested this book from NetGalley I had never heard of Christopher Rice but I was intrigued by the promise of a good spooky story.

After the Delongpre family mysteriously vanishes one night in the bayou, those left behind are forced to carry on without truly knowing what became of Noah, Millie, and Niquette. Young Niquette’s best friend Ben and boyfriend Anthem are the hardest-hit by this tragedy. A decade has passed and they both still struggle with her memory in their own ways. However, when strange events begin happening around those connected to the family, the real frightfest begins. What is causing animals and people alike to lose control of their minds? What really happened to the family along that dark stretch of swampy road years earlier? Is the family still alive?

This story was a true horror story. It was creepy and spooky but also had an engaging storyline with good character development. On a side note, I feel that any review of this book must mention the fact that the author is the son of horror story master, Anne Rice. That being said, I didn’t know that when I requested the book and it didn’t sway my opinion at all. A definite must-read if you like creepy paranormal stories!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Heavens Rise

Review: Burying Water, by K.A. Tucker

01bury

“And the truth pushed to the surface. Like water, buried.”

I have read, and loved, all of K.A.Tucker’s Ten Tiny Breaths series and was very curious as to how this one was going to be. From the very beginning, I was hooked. The prologue snagged me and made my nerves a wreck. I knew this was going to be good. I stayed up all night reading. I couldn’t put it down. Speechless. Sorry, I’m rambling. I’m just wowed. I wanted to read this so fast, but I knew I needed to savor it. But once I started it, I never put it down.

“Jane Doe” wakes up in a hospital room, with no memory of who she is or how she got there. She is battered and bruised from head to toe, but has no clue who would do this to her. But after staying months in the hospital, she no longer wants to remain a Jane Doe and decides upon Water, after the tattoo that she finds on her person.

After meeting a cranky old Ginny Fitzgerald, she is welcomed into her home for her recuperation. Water is hoping that with time her memory will return and things can go back to the way they were.

Jesse Welles, is trying to stay away from Water. Part of him doesn’t want her to remember who she is, but yet part of him does. He knows she’ll be happier and safer without those memories, but the more he comes around the better chance she will remember. So he tries to stay away, but that only lasts for so long.

The longer Water stays with Ginny, the more she is feeling comfortable. She finds a job, in the small town, and is slowly trying to piece together the flashes she sees. She is also drawn to the neighbor next door and feels a sense of recognition, and possibly trust.

I am lost and yet somehow found.
I am afraid and yet somehow comforted.
I am drifting and yet somehow…home.

This book made me all twisty as parts of Water started coming to the surface. I was devastated and my heart was racing like crazy. My emotions were all over the place. I can’t imagine waking up in a hospital, and having no memory of how you got there. I doubt I would handle it as well as Water did.

The characters were so welcoming and loving. Ginny was the best!! She was rough, but you knew there had to be a reason why. You just had to be patient. The entire Welles’ family was the perfect family to live next door to. They cared for her in the hospital, and continued to do so, even after she was released. being surrounded by such loving and caring people made her journey even more heartbreaking. But it was so worth it, in the end.

The truth is like water: it doesn’t matter how hard you try and bury it; it’ll always find some way back to the surface.

01bury61
Ms. Tucker has done it again. This was another devastatingly beautiful story that will bring tears to your eyes and pain to your heart. But there is beauty in that pain. Beauty that I wish I could relive again, for the first time. How she manages to do this to me over and over, I’ll never know, but I think you for doing it.

~Melpomene

Buy Burying Water: A Novel

Review: All or Nothing, by Kendall Ryan

01all “Don’t make me fall for you…”

I have been most excited for this book, cuz it’s about Braydon. If you read the first book in this series, Working It, you will remember this sexy man. He participated in a very VERY hot scene and I nearly combusted. So when I heard Kendall was giving Bray his own book, I couldn’t wait to get my greedy hands on it.

SYNOPSIS
As one of the world’s most sought-after male models, Braydon is no stranger to the finer pleasures in life. The last thing he wants to do is limit himself, especially when it comes to women. His best friend, Ben, might’ve settled down, but Braydon doesn’t want to waste his youth on the messy complications of commitment. He wants fun. He wants easy.

Ellie isn’t looking for a casual relationship, but her tough and sassy personality instantly attracts Braydon, who proposes a “friends with benefits” arrangement. Unable to resist the powerful pull of the charming bad boy, Ellie eventually relents, though she longs for all-consuming love.

As the two spend more time together, Ellie soon realizes that Braydon’s posing skills extend off the runway. His carefully crafted façade masks a secret hurt that he’s reluctant to share with Ellie, even as they embark on a passionate affair that sends them hurtling toward a fate neither expected. Can Ellie risk her heart while she waits for Braydon to let her in, or will she be forced to demand all or nothing?

When two people set out, with a no strings attached, sex only relationship, things are bound to get muddled.

I loved Braydon. He’s sexy, funny, sweet and super loving. He had me swooning half of the time. Just when you thought he may say, or do something, he’ll regret, he pulls himself together and turns on the swoon. Seriously. He may seem like this super player, but he’s just afraid to love. That is, until he meets Ellie.

Ellie is the best friend, who is looking for love, but she isn’t sure she’ll find it in Braydon. But, boy is she wrong. Soon she finds herself in full on love with him, but he has no idea and still treats her like a sex only buddy. It’s hard to keep your heart in check. It does what it wants to do, and it wanted Bray.

This book was the perfect combination of sweet, sexy and all around fun. Makes me wish I was in the fashion industry. 😉

~Melpomene

Buy All or Nothing: A Love by Design Novel

Review: In Her Wake, by K.A.Tucker

In Her Wake cover (1) Oh my, Trent. You poor broken soul. Let me start out by saying that even though this is a .5, you MUST read Ten Tiny Breaths beforehand. MUST!! If you don’t, you’ll kind of ruin the surprise in TTB, and you don’t want to do that.

Synopsis
Before you knew him as Trent in Ten Tiny Breaths, he was Cole Reynolds—and he had it all. Until one night when he makes a fatal, wrong decision…and loses everything.

When a drunken night out at a Michigan State college party results in the death of six people, Cole must come to terms with his part in the tragedy. Normally, he’d be able to lean on his best friends—the ones who have been in his life since he could barely walk. Only, they’re gone. Worse, there’s the shattered body of a sixteen-year-old girl lying somewhere in a hospital bed, her entire life ripped from her because of a case of beer and a set of keys.

Everyone assures him that they know it wasn’t intentional, and yet he can’t ignore the weight of their gazes, the whispers behind his back. Nor can he shake the all-consuming guilt he feels every time he thinks of that girl who won’t so much as allow him near her hospital room to apologize. As the months go by and the shame and loneliness festers, Cole begins to lose his grip on what once was important—college, his girlfriend, his future. His life. It’s not until Cole hits rock-bottom that he can begin to see another way out of his personal hell: forgiveness.

And there’s only one person who can give that to him…

This was a very fast read, but it still had all the emotions of a full length novel. K.A.Tucker has created a world around these characters that make you feel as though you truly know them. My heart was breaking for what Trent had to go through. I knew he felt guilty, but never on this level.

Trent had everything he wanted, until one mistake changed the rest of his life. Now he must move on and carry on. Easier said than done. Being the one left behind, and having no one to help him, he find that life is way too hard alone. The brokenness he felt, made my heart hurt. He had guilt, the size of mountains. The ‘What ifs” were almost too numerable to count. No amount of them would bring his friends back. So after months of desperation, he finds a way to come out from the fog and to move on.

I have always loved Trent. He was my favorite TTB character. But watching him like this, was a bit hard for me. I think guy’s POVs are always a bit more emotional for me. I guess, in some backwards ways, guys are supposed to be strong all the time. But it’s not true. This book shows that perfectly.

~Melpomene

Buy In Her Wake: A Ten Tiny Breaths Novella

Get caught up with the Ten Tiny Breaths series
katucker

Ten Tiny Breaths: A Novel

One Tiny Lie: A Novel

Four Seconds to Lose: A Novel

Five Ways to Fall: A Novel

Review: One of Us by Tawni O’Dell

9781476755878I was intrigued by this new one from Tawni O’Dell based on one of her previous books I enjoyed, Back Roads. And I must say, as much as I liked Back Roads many years ago, this latest venture was even better for me.

Danny Doyle is a famous forensic psychologist who’s been involved in some very well-known cases. When he returns to his home town to check up on his elderly grandfather, he unwittingly becomes caught up in another mystery, this one seemingly spanning several generations. Deep in the heart of Pennsylvania coal country lies the mystery of not only the latest murder but also unsolved murders from Danny’s past.

This was an intriguing story for the mystery aspect alone. It’s very much a police procedural story but so much more. The author tells a great story, and her descriptions of backwoods Pennsylvania are hauntingly beautiful. It was dark and mysterious enough to keep me interested and will appeal to anyone who likes a good mystery.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: One of Us