Friday, December 20, 2013

5 Star Random Reads Review - Athena's Daughter by Juli Page Morgan

Title: Athena's Daughter
Author: Juli Page Morgan
Release Date: May 10, 2013
Pages: 336, eBook
Goodreads Rating: 4.00 stars
My Rating: 4/5 stars
My Content Rating: 18+ (Explicit sex)

Summary from Goodreads: Seven years ago, Athena Hill made a hasty decision that hurt the two people she loves most, only they don’t know it. Yet.

When Athena discovers she’s pregnant after her blissful summer in England, she isn’t too worried. After all, she and Derek Marshall plan to get married anyway – they’d already be married if it wasn’t for her visa expiring, sending her back to the States to apply for another one. But when she calls Derek to tell him about their baby, a girl answers the phone; a girl who tells Athena that she is Derek’s fiancée. When Athena’s sister urges her to forget about a man who would use her and then toss her aside, she’s conflicted. But frightened by her sister’s warnings that such a man might also try to take the baby from her, Athena enters into a hasty marriage of convenience with a man she doesn’t love. 

Seven years later, Athena is divorced and raising Derek’s look-alike daughter on her own and regretting not finding a way to tell Derek, even if she could reach him. His once fledgling rock band is now a success and he’s surrounded by security, making contact with him impossible. Or so she thinks until the owner of the record store where she’s manager books the band for a personal appearance. 

Now she’s face to face with Derek again, and he’s furious. He was never engaged to anyone else and has spent the past seven years thinking Athena ran out on him without a word. Realizing she was played for a fool, and ashamed for keeping Derek’s child from him, Athena knows she has to make right the colossal wrong she committed seven years ago.

But breaking through Derek’s anger at what he thinks was her callous abandonment of him is harder than Athena thought. That anger is nothing compared to his reaction when she finally tells him about his child, and it destroys the loving connection they’d re-established.

Now Athena’s daughter has the father she always wanted and needed, and Derek is overjoyed to have his child in his life. But even though there’s still an undercurrent of passion and desire between Athena and Derek, he still treats her like someone he used to know. Will he ever be able to forgive her for what she did, or have her past actions destroyed any chance of happiness with the man she still loves?

Athena's Daughter was my November Random Reads pick - yep, I know, I'm behind, but it's been that kind of month!

I don't know why I put off reading this book for so long!  I received this book from the author months ago and have to admit that, for some reason, I kept putting it on the back burner.  I don't exactly know why - I think that perhaps the fact that it was set in the 60's and 70's didn't appeal to me (even though I was born in the 70's, I was too young to feel much of a connection with that time period).  Whatever, it was that kept me from reading this book, all I can say is shame on me!  Athena's Daughter was an amazing story that had me up all night reading!!  I should have picked this one up a LONG time ago!

The synopsis describes the story pretty thoroughly, so I'll jump straight to the positives and negatives.

The negatives:
  • Lack of communication.  Okay, so this whole book is based on a premise that sometimes drives me crazy - a lack of communication.  After all, the whole basis of the book is that Athena believed the worst about Derek years ago and chose to cut off all contact with him, never allowing him to tell his side of the story and never telling him about his daughter.  This is the ultimate in lack of communication, right?  Then, when Derek and Athena finally have a possible second chance, they mess it up again by not talking to each other when things get messy.  Sometimes in a book this would drive me completely crazy and make me hate it, but Morgan has managed to write such great characters that I overlooked this.  I couldn't even bring myself to take off a half star for this because I put the book down feeling overwhelmed with happiness!
  • Family love.  I absolutely loved that both Athena and Derek did their best to put their daughter first and that they had such a sweet relationship with her.  Elizabeth was just an adorably sweet little girl and I couldn't help but fall in love with her too.  At the end of the book, when she's sad, it broke my heart in a way that the adults' sadness just couldn't match - ah, to see the world through the eyes of a child!
  • Athena and Derek.  At first I wasn't sure if I would love the fact that the book jumped back and forth between the past (when Athena and Derek first met) and the present, but it actually worked well in this book.  The scenes in the past made us fall in love with Athena and Derek as a couple - they were sweet and fun together, even if they did have a bit of a whirlwind romance.  In the present, Athena and Derek's relationship is much more complicated - more grown up in a lot of ways - but I still loved them together and was hoping that they would work past their pain to find each other again.  Oh, and there are some very steamy scenes between these two - definite chemistry!  Add that all up and you get a great relationship!
  • Making up for past mistakes.  This was pretty much the theme of this book.  Is it possible to make up for past mistakes, even monumental ones, and to get past them?  I have to tell you that there were times when I was just as conflicted about this as the characters were - I mean, you wanted Derek to forgive Athena and forget the past, but at the same time, it seemed almost impossible considering how she'd hurt him.  But, this emotional journey is what made the book compelling - there were no easy answers.  Should Derek forgive Athena?  Should Athena forgive herself?  In the end, when you realize that the past is past and you can't change it, can you let it go?  The emotion in this book is palpable and I found myself in tears more than once.  I love a book that makes me think and hits me where it hurts!
Athena's Daughter is an amazing story and I really should have read it months ago.  You should have too - so go pick it up now!  5/5 stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***


Juli Page Morgan is a former rock ‘n roll radio announcer who had the great luck to meet and interview lots of bands over the years. During those interviews she heard lots of interesting stories, but it was when the microphone was turned off and they were just hanging out that she heard - and saw - the really juicy stuff! Incorporating these revelations in her books (with names and locations changed to protect the innocent, and often the not-so-innocent!) lets her remember those wonderful people that briefly rocked through her life, and to take her readers on a hard rocking journey full of love, music and happy endings while giving a “backstage peek” at some of the things that really happened. Her Romances that Rock™ include Crimson and Clover published by Crimson Romance, and Athena’s Daughter.

Juli lives in Arkansas with her husband. When she’s not writing she’s recording voiceovers for television commercials, remodeling her old house, and trying to convince her husband the world won’t come to an end if the television is turned off. She also listens to a lot of music at maximum volume and exceeds the speed limit when she drives. Juli’s an unapologetic lover of rock ‘n roll, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, and French onion dip, not necessarily in that order.

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