Birds of Paradise
By Anne Malcom
I am sitting here after a week of finishing Anne’s book—still trying to piece back together my heart. This book is my first Anne Malcom novel and I’m not quite sure how I’ve lived in the world of indie romance this long without her stories in my life.
“He collected beautiful things…” that is what you start off with in the blurb. I read the blurb but I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into. Some of my favorite books are those I start blindly and normally I am so happily surprised. No exception with Birds of Paradise.
Elizabeth is broken. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a more tortured or broken soul as she is written. My heart hurts for her right away but there is just enough information given to make you sprint to the next page—soaking everything in.
The man in the book (the non-hero) as he sees himself comes across Elizabeth one night. He is meant to end her suffering but in his own dark, cold and very broken and wounded heart; he can’t. The question I asked myself throughout the entire book is—was it that he couldn’t or that he wouldn’t.
Books that show the messy side of love are some of my favorites and Ms. Malcom doesn’t disappoint in this part of the story. But there is so much more—survival, humanity, forgiveness (or the lack of it), understanding—and at the end you are left a beautiful tale that will have your heart both wounded and healed at the same time.
I didn’t do this book justice with this review because I can’t without giving too much away. At the heart of the matter is love is dark, dirty, evil and can be convoluted with secrets. These two go through all of the above mentioned and because of their unique backgrounds, there love is foraged in a way that only Anne Malcom can spin in this story that will remain in my heart for a long time from now. This is beyond a 5 star story!
With Mother’s Day upon us—I want to share this with you. I am not posting this for any other reason than to let those know who are in the same club as I am in, there are others out there that miss the woman that raised them.
A couple months ago, I was unfortunate enough to lose my mother. This loss has put me through a gambit of emotions. I doubt there are even names for each of the emotions I have found myself wading through. Even though I was fortunate enough to have my mom for forty-one years of my life, I simply feel too young to be motherless.
This is the one true piece of reality I keep traveling back to. Being a mother myself, I feel robbed of my inability to share the magical moments with her that she shared with me. I find it a hard pill to swallow honestly. Existing in a world where the eternal and unconditional love of my mom is no longer a part of my daily life seems slightly hollower than it once did. I can recognize that I was able to have my mother be a part of my life far longer than other friends and I can look back now with gratitude at all the time I was able to share with her.
Coupled with this understanding is the fact that I still have my dad in my life. Many of my friends, both younger and older, have lost both set of parents by this stage in their life. To add to that blessing, that father of mine is as wonderful as they come and I adore him beyond measure. I know I must be grateful for what I have, but it doesn’t lessen my desire to have my mother’s love back in my life once more.
This is what I have learned so far on my short journey through grief. This road will continue to become a longer and longer one to navigate as the first year without my mom will soon turn into two, and then five and ten and so on.
I had a great relationship with my mother. It was not always perfect because at times I could be a real pain the ass, but our bond transformed into one of friendship. As I got older and a little more mature, I realized the importance of being less self-absorbed. It was then that our relationship turned into a connection from which I have very few regrets. In talking to friends who have lost their parents, I have come to realize something very important. Regardless of the relationship you share with your mother and whether you spoke to her daily (like me) or once a year, the loss you feel over her death is not invalidated. It is a real entity and you are entitled to grieve.
The first milestones without her have felt as if I am missing a major part of my body. I have already been through the first Mother’s Day without her. I dreaded this day and was full of sadness as I watched it grow closer on the calendar, though I knew I couldn’t just wallow in my own feelings of loss and remorse. Just like her, I am a mother as well and I knew that I had children who were counting on their mother that day. So what did I do? I got my rear in gear and looked after their wellbeing. That is what being a mom is all about. You put your kids before yourself. Always.
What I didn’t expect to affect me so awful was the first of my children’s birthday without her. It was something I always shared with my mom. She was there with me for each one of them and without thinking, we would always drift back and reminisces about each of my children’s births. After all, my children along with my sister’s children were her pride and joy.
I am not the only one missing her. I have children that miss her immensely every day. Even though geography was against us, my kids saw their grandmother quite often considering the distance between us. My children also knew that whenever they wanted to talk to Grandma, she was just a phone call away. My sister misses her too. So do her kids. My dad misses her most of all. I can’t even begin to explain how he feels. The list doesn’t just stop there either. There are countless others whose lives she touched and who miss her as well. I mean, for crying out loud, it was standing room only at her funeral! Many people loved her! I need to remember that I am not the only one grieving.
The process of grief is as diverse as each individual who experiences it. I remember the day of the funeral and my sister and dad being so overcome with emotions of loss and sadness. I barely shed a tear, which is odd considering I am someone who is extremely emotional in my own right. But we all process grief differently. I thought something was wrong with me, as if I didn’t miss her as much as my sister did. I’ve learned as time has gone by that it has become far harder for me than it was when I was in the midst the funeral. Regardless of the how you grieve, grief is grief and it sucks rotten eggs.
It doesn’t matter if your mom has been gone one day or ten years, you will inadvertently pick up the phone to call her or say something along the lines of, “Oh, mom would get a kick out of this.” I remember as we were preparing for her funeral, my sister was after a specific picture of the three of us together at the beach. It was my mom’s favorite place on this earth. My sister was down stairs looking for it, and in her mind she immediately thought, Oh, I will just go up and ask mom, she will know where it is. She shared that with me later on and I confessed that I too had similar moments that overwhelmed me without warning. I was always one to pick up the phone when my kids did something outlandish. My mom and I would laugh over even the littlest things concerning her grandkids. I miss that, more than I thought I would. There are going to be triggers and moments that bring back painful memories. I keep telling myself to be prepared for them, but unless you have gone through this yourself, you simply can’t fathom the emotional distress that will fill you when they occur.
You can’t help but feel a degree of despair when you see other adult children and mothers out spending time with one another. It fills me with both jealousy and thankfulness. Obviously, the jealousy part is self-explanatory. I want my mom here with me doing the things those other people are. The thankfulness part is two fold. First, it made thankful and blessed to have had my mom as long as I had. But on top of that, I am glad for those friends that still have their moms because I know how much I miss mine. For my friends that still have their moms on this earth, I am glad they haven’t had to feel the pain of loss I have.
The last thing I can share concerns those that still have their moms with them in this world along with anyone who has recently lost their mother. I was thankful my friends reached out to me, cried with me, and sat vigil with me as I spent her final days on Earth by her bedside. As much as my friends who sill have their moms hurt for me, they don’t fully understand the extent of my mourning because they simply have not traveled this same road. I was fortunate enough to have some friends who were able to pick me up emotionally and helped carry me through the process of loss. They themselves had already experienced the heartache I was so new to. One day, I will be that steady hand for a friend who has recently lost their mom. I know it will be in this moment that I will understand that all this pain was not in vain and I can help comfort those that are totally lost in their grief.
Maybe not all these ideas pertain to you. If you indeed have joined the same club I never wanted to belong in, you will find a tall list of absolutes that come with a loss so deep. In closing, I will leave you with one memory I have of my mom pertaining to her death. As a child, we attended a funeral where a mom was saying good-bye to her child for the very last time. It is an image I will never forget and it made a lasting impact on my mother as well. Shortly after, she sat my sister and I down and told us that no mother should ever have to bury a child. Being a mother now, I agree whole-heartedly with that statement. She continued to explain to the two of us that there was a natural progression to life and, although I hate this natural progression, I know this is what she would have wanted. She would have wanted her children to out live her. She would want us to carry on and keep her memory alive. I know she would have been proud to know that we are still trying like hell to make that happen.
Stud in the Stacks
I was intrigued by the premise of a male librarian. Just like a man cooking for you or holding a baby, a man who loves literature has me completely smitten. To make it more appealing and sexy if that is possible, this man also loves romance books.
Knox, is a handsome guy who loves books along with unattatched relationships with women until Parker Elliot blows into his life. She tries to “rent” him for the night to impress her ex at her high school reunion. More, she realizes the two of them know each other from childhood. Parker is one of the most endearing characters I have read in a while. I love her quirkiness but also how she knows what she wants in life.
In the end, this story leaves you with a wonderful happily ever after feeling and a love for Parker and Knox that will stay with you for a while.
By: Jo-Anne Joseph
Alyssa just doesn’t have anything to say after she killed her husband. She laughed and laughed but nothing to say other than I did it.
Luke knows there is more behind Alyssa than meets the eyes. He wants to help Alyssa but how to do it when she won’t speak.
They get way to deep into it. But Luke knows there is somethingbhe isn’t seeing.
My take on this book:
Jo-Anne has a way of writing that will draw you into the story so deep you do not see the twists that are coming. This book was no different. I felt alot of emotion while reading it. No I did not cry. But anger, fear, and love were felt very deeply. I highly recommend this book. Do not miss it.
Till the next book ~ Nancy
By: Betty Shreffler
Erika is trying to make something of herself to have a better life. With a sister that is dating a member of the Devil’s Serpents MC she is used to seeing bikers. But Dominic is the only one that stirs her insides. Her sister tries to keep Erika away from everything. But Dom has taken a interest in her.
Dominic knows there is something going on that isn’t right. He just has to figure out what. But Erika is so much of a forethought in his mind he can’t shake her.
My take on the book:
Betty has a what of writing that will draw you in. The world of The Devil’s Serpents is a dangerous and rowdy one but Betty pulls it off perfectly. If you like MC books like I do then this book is one that you will not want to put down. Hot, and sweet all in one book.
Till the next book ~ Nancy
By Marisa Oldham
I honestly wasn’t sure what I was getting into with this book but the teasers were awesome and the blurb caught my fancy right away! This book is dark—very dark and for those of us—like myself that love a dark read—this is right up our alley. It has every element that a dark read should have—an ominous alpha male—a heroine attracted to the darkness in the man and some very disturbing but fascinating scenes. I read this book with the need to flip to the next page immediately; never missing a second that had me almost suspended in the book. See, there is so much to the book but if I give too much away; the beauty that is this wonderful read will be ruined for you. However, let me set it up for you. Iris wakes up inside a box. She is groggy and she’s out of it. A man appears and right away; shows his dominance; telling her he could kill her if he wants yet through all of this; she is attracted to the man. This stockholm twisty read will have the reader asking so many questions throughout the book and at the end—the whole story will transcend reality—leaving you wanting more.
Nancy’s revew of
Racing Dirty and Racing Dirty: LA
These books are centering around the racing world. And what a hot world it is. Racing Dirty is Xavier and Izzys story. They have a past that hurt everyone. And Izzy ran away to L.A. Xavier goes into a really bad place while she is gone. Nolan is the only one that can keep him from totally falling. But then tragedy strikes and Izzy comes home. When the truth comes out the the danger begins.
Racing Dirty: LA is Nolan and Ashleys story. The best friends of Xavier and Izzy have one night together in Michigan and they can’t forget it. And when Ashley finds herself in serious danger the first person she calls is Nolan. He quickly finds her in LA and they get to work figuring out how to fix all the issues. But the secrets that come out are not only dangerous but life altering.
My take on the books:
These books are definitely page turners. The twists and turns will keep you guessing. Even though I know nothing about the racing worlds these books did not make me feel like I didn’t. The secondary characters are awesome really making me want more. Do not miss this series.
Until next book. ~Nancy
For those of us that love everything about books..
secret drawer of memories and thoughts
A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.
no holds barred, no page unturned
..reader with a blog and a glass of wine
Book Reviews, Meme Posts, Tags, And More!
Aspiring Author & Life Juggler
Romance, Musings, and More
All book lovers are welcome!