Review: The Bookshop on the Corner

I loved Nina and her van full of books! As she traveled and matched up the right books with the right people, Nina also experienced personal growth. Along her journey from England to Scotland, Nina did more than just drive some kilometers. She transitioned from roommate-situation to living alone, and from depressed to wide-eyed in awe. 

I also liked Nina’s relationship with her roommate Surinder – everyone needs a best friend who can share unvarnished truths. And Surinder was so fun! Nina also had a beautiful friendship with teenage Ainslee, a girl who just needed a good book and a nudge in the right direction. 

I didn’t enjoy the Marek storyline at all, but I did see the necessity of a “transition” guy during Nina’s transformation. So while Marek and his subplot made a lot of sense, the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth.  The chapters with Nina’s landlord were similarly nose-wrinkling. He was a great guy, but I didn’t like his circumstances in the story. 

Overall, I sailed happily through this lovely story about a woman making a big life change. While the romantic parts weren’t my cup of tea, Nina’s friendships and journey of self-discovery were on point. Author Jenny Colgan made me feel like I was part of Nina’s book van, and that was a thrill in itself! 

-calliope

Buy THE BOOKSHOP ON THE CORNER

Review: Inherit the Bones by Emily Littlejohn

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** spoiler alert ** Awww man….this could have been a solid 4 star read for me. Other parts make it a very wobbly 2 star read for me. I’m actually a bit angry as well as disappointed. I don’t know how else to rate it except a 3 star…and if I am being honest, the parts that made it a poor read for me rub me so much that I think the 3 stars is being very generous. I’m sorry to the author for having said that, but I always try to be completely honest in my reviews regardless of how bad they might be. Up until that parts that really bothered me, I thought this was an engaging and very well written novel.

I will just quickly go over the things I really found…okay….errrr….stupid…not just stupid but unbelievably stupid…there are only a couple of them really…

**SPOILERS WITHOUT SPOILERS**

I just don’t believe any police officer would have someone break into their homes and not report it for several days. Especially if they felt it might be tied to an ongoing murder investigation. I don’t buy it and no matter how many people wish to tell me they believe it, I don’t. especially considering other things about this officer (to mention those things would be giving too much away)…

I also don’t believe that not one but TWO police officers know the name of a murderer and withhold that information from their commander. I don’t believe that they would want to wait until they had the “full story” to share what they’ve uncovered. Part of police work is meant to include discussing ongoing cases with other officers and your commander, especially when he is asking you point blank…it’s not to hide and withhold evidence so you can come in at the end and have it all solved in a neat package all by yourself.

Lastly, the ending…seriously? I’m not upset with bit players at the end and the whodunit or even the whys (okay, it was all a bit too neat, but I could have lived with that) but I could almost see the scene in the kitchen played out in my mind in some two-bit small town production where the actors are meant to overact and to over exaggerate everything almost in an attempt to make fun of the whole thing. Only this wasn’t meant to be bad acting or over exaggerating…but it so was…I could almost see someone falling to the floor in a 5 minute long dying scene that the audience can’t help but to laugh at…and then the other players say, “oh well, that’s all sorted. Time to go home.” and just pack up and head offstage left…

yes, to me, it really was that bad!

Why why why?

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by the publisher and Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now Inherit the Bones by Emily Littlejohn

Review: I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

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Even though I usually run true to form with my book choices, every now and then I surprise myself by going outside my norm.  This is one of those times.

Maddy had it all together.  A stay at home mom, she seemed to thrive on taking care of her husband, her daughter, her house…all her pride and joy.  But then why would she take her own life?  Were things really as good as everyone believed?  This is what her family is left to ponder as they try to come to terms with her death.

Maddy, however, has another job on her hands.  She’s gone but not really, stuck somewhere between here and there.  Before she moves on for good, she’s determined to make sure her family will be okay without her.  Whether that means mending fences between her husband and daughter or doing some matchmaking from beyond, she has her hands busy.

This was a good story, much different from what I’d normally pick.  Sappy and sweet in some places, sad and melodramatic in others, with a few surprises along the way.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  I Liked My Life

Review: Solo by Jill Mansell

Solo is a mad adventure by two women who have their hearts set on something: for Holly, it’s Max, handsome hotel owner;  for Tessa, it’s being left alone and not being tied to a man. Unfortunately for them both, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” 

Tessa is involved with Max’s brother Ross in a love triangle of the most unexpected kind. Holly tries too hard. And Ross and Max have their own agendas! Cougar Antonia brings her own melodramatics that turn everyone’s lives into a soap opera. 

I always adore the fun and crazy that Jill Mansell writes, and this is no different. The characters are unique from book to book, Solo’s plot is multilayered, and the dialogue is believable even when it’s over the top. 

Thanks Ms. Mansell for taking me completely out of reality and into the world of fancy hotels, infidelities and karma, and simple girls who live in simple cottages quite happily enough. 

-calliope

Buy SOLO

Review: The Lady of the Lakes by Josi S. Kilpack

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“Love comes from the connection of souls.”

This type of story is probably the most difficult for me to read, in the sense that I know it’s fiction, but it’s based on real life. I’ve heard of Sir Walker Scott, but I really don’t know who he is. Does that make sense? When I sat down I braced myself for heartache. Last year I read another story by Josi and was left completely gutted. I knew she was going to do it again, and I was right.

SYNOPSIS
One is his first love.
The other is his best love.
Which will be Walter’s true love?

Walter Scott has three passions: Scotland, poetry, and Mina Stuart. Though she is young and they are from different stations in society, Walter is certain their love is meant to be. For years, he has courted her through love letters. She is the sunshine of his soul.

Though Mina shares Walter’s love of literature and romantic temperament, it’s hard for her to know if she truly loves him or if she has only been dazzled by his flattery. When she meets the handsome and charming William Forbes, her heart is challenged. Who will she choose?

But as every poet knows, “the course of true love never did run smooth,” and on a windy morning in the lake country, Walter meets Charlotte.

At twenty-six, Charlotte Carpenter believes she will never find love. After all, she is a Catholic-born Frenchwoman living in London with a family history shadowed by scandal. Though quiet, practical, and determined to live a life of independence, her heart longs for someone to love her and a place to call home.

Passion and promises collide as Walter, Mina, and Charlotte must each decide the course for their futures. What are they each willing to risk to find love and be loved in return?

Let me tell you, Walter stole my heart. He was so romantic and normally I’m not into mushy gushy romance, but this made me weep with happiness. And of course, sadness and frustration at times.

Walter fell for Mina so fast it made his head spin. I think she was a bit too young to understand what love really was, so she wasn’t fully prepared to open her heart to him. He wanted to be loved by her but she just frustrated him, and me, if I’m being honest. He deserved better. No one should have their hearts ripped out like she did to his.

He deserved Charlotte. Charlotte was simple. She wanted independence. She wanted love and happiness. When she meets Walter she expected them to be just acquaintances or even friends, but no more. After all, they come from two totally different worlds. In her eyes, she could never marry someone like him, or even be welcomed into his family. Walter may not have a ton of money, but he was willing to do what it took to secure himself and a bride, whenever he found one. And he eventually found one in Charlotte.

Walter needed to find a way past his hurt and open his heart to love. While it wasn’t smooth sailing for this couple, love found a way.

I can’t wait to see what story Josi is going to kill me with next.

~Melpomene

Buy The Lady of the Lakes HERE

Review: Meet Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

A Cotswold Christmas introduced this series, but you can certainly read Willoughby Close as a standalone. Willoughby Close is a little collection of charming cottages on a large estate of a lovely royal-ish elderly lady. I have a feeling a collection of charming people will inhabit them all by the time the series is finished! 

For now, we meet Ellie and her daughter Abby. Ellie has a new job at the University, and Abby is looking forward to making a fresh start where friends are concerned. 

I so love how Hewitt wrote professor Oliver — the guy  Ellie works for. He’s nerdy and introverted and stays true to himself. Hewitt did a phenomenal job developing Ellie, as well. Ellie is a little nervous and quirky, and she’s quite unsure of herself most of the time. That could be annoying, but not here. Hewitt made her real and relatable. I like Ellie’s mom side and her romantic side – she appears to the reader as a whole fleshed out character with different facets – just like a pal in real life!  

I also really like how the new neighbors moved in and they’ll be the focus of the next book in the series. And how the Close’s superintendent is a flirt! This is a fun read that touches on some harrowing issues in just the right way. 

-calliope 

Buy MEET ME AT WILLOUGHBY CLOSE

Review: Commander in Chief by Katy Evans

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The ending of Mr. President had me reeling. I wanted more. I needed more. Thankfully Commander in Chief gave me more.

If you read Mr. President you’ll know that Matt didn’t want to want Charlotte. He saw how his mom was treated, as first lady, and didn’t want to do that to her. But the heart wants what the heart wants and you have to just get on board with it. Matt decides if he can’t date her out in the open, then he’ll bring her inside to him and have her anyways. He decides to make her the acting First Lady so she has a platform to do all the things she wants to do.

You see where this will go, right? Exactly where we hope it does. You can’t work close like that and not have feeling resurface.

I loved Charlotte. She took on the roll perfectly with poise and lots of heart. She loves Matt and if this is a way to be close, then so be it. She knows she shouldn’t want to be with him, but she just can’t help it. The sexual tension was fantastic. The sneaking around was sweet. These two were meant to be together.

This book goes pretty fast, in the sense that a lots happens in between the pages. It spans over a few years, with quite a bit of excitement and a smidgen of angst. I was never bored with this story, like some contemp romances have left me lately. I read so quickly, because I knew their story was going to be perfect. And I was right.

~Melpomene

Buy Commander in Chief HERE
Buy Mr. President HERE