Review: Little Broken Things by Nicole Baar

Oh the drama! Quinn and Nora are distant sisters who would still do anything for each other. Tiffany is Nora’s bff… and a messed up drug addict with an illegitimate daughter. When Nora texts Quinn that she and Tiffany need her help, Quinn steps up. But it’s hard to know how to do the right thing when Nora won’t give her any details, and Tiffany is nowhere to be found.

I was psyched reading the first half of this book – there are good guys and bad guys, weak women and strong women, loving yet dysfunctional mothers, and a criminal so disgusting he turned my stomach. Baart weaves them all together in a dramatic and suspenseful plot, a story you don’t want to stop reading because you can’t believe what’s happening next.

And then — I’m not sure if it was my particular frame of mind, or if I’ve just read way too many books — I by mistake figured out the one big unknown. The mystery. The root of the drama. The guy who caused the secrets to grow bigger and bigger. And I hate that I figured it out, because it ruined the rest of the story for me. I skimmed the last half of the book, just in case there were some worthy plot points (and there were).

Baart is a master at expressing the love and confusion and envy and all the emotions in a sisterly relationship. What I appreciated most is that Baart lets her female characters be unapologetically themselves. There are no victims here, except maybe a little girl. The grown women own their choices, support each other, and make their own new beginnings.

-calliope

Buy LITTLE BROKEN THINGS (publishes on Nov.21, 2017)

Advertisements

Murder Over Mochas by Caroline Fardig

Solid, cute, cozy mystery with a dead guy, an amateur sleuth, an ex-fiancé, an ex-boyfriend, a potential boyfriend, and a couple of cops. Oh – and a coffee shop! I’m going to admit, I often choose books based on their covers, and I chose this one for the coffee. #yesidid

The protagonist Juliet is likable and genuine. I liked that I could envision her expressions and feel her exasperation. The police officers and a few other secondary characters were a little bit one dimensional to me, but I didn’t mind, as I was busy trying to solve the mystery before they did. I liked Juliet’s best friend Pete, also. He’s a sturdy, reliable dude – and every cozy mystery needs a Pete.

Fardig did a nice job weaving a creative, fresh mystery with just enough twists and turns to keep it interesting. I was onto the perp before Juliet was, but it still took me a good while to do it, and I had fun from beginning to end.

-calliope

Buy MURDER OVER MOCHAS

Review: The Girl Who Came Back by Kerry Wilkinson

35616667

There are certain things I look for in a gripping psychological thriller.  Great characters, engaging storyline, plausibility, a nice little twist or two…if these things are present then I’m likely to enjoy and recommend it to others.  This newest release from Kerry Wilkinson fits the bill.

Olivia is the girl who disappeared 13 years ago, and now she’s back.  Her mom and dad couldn’t be happier, although there are other people in their small village who have their doubts.  Where has she been all this time?  What exactly happened that day she disappeared from their backyard?  And why has she suddenly reappeared?  Questions abound as the mystery deepens.  If she’s an imposter, what does she want?

This was a great little story, full of suspense.  It kept me guessing until almost the very end which is no small feat.  Grab it and settle in for an enjoyable ride!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Girl Who Came Back

Review: Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright

Another Proper Romance book that had my heart all fluttery.

I’ll admit that I’ve never read a Jane Austen book. I’ve seen the Kiera Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice though, so I’m hoping that gives me a half point at least. But I still like the idea of Mr. Darcy and of finding your true love.

When I first picked up Lies Jane Austen Told Me, I was rather curious. Was this going to be a retelling of sorts? How will this happen in modern day time? That’s not exactly what happened, and I’m quite happy about that.

Emma wants to be loved, plain and simple. She’s has a bit of baggage she carries around with her, though she doesn’t realize it. She believes Jane Austen is right in all things love related. But when things fall apart she thinks Jane Austen lied and almost gives up. That is until she gets to know Lucas.

Besides the way Emma meets him, which was the most embarrassing moment in her life, I loved these two together. I liked the fact that these two weren’t insta-lovers. It was a slow burn. What started out as friends/co-workers, turned out to be much more. Now it wasn’t easy, nor was is always fun, but it was so worth it in the end. Lucas was quite the guy. He knew the right things to say and when to say them, when it came to Emma. He has his own baggage, you could say. So he isn’t exactly looking for love when he stumbles upon Emma.

Since this a Proper Romance, it’s definitely a clean romance. Super sweet and super swoony and with a bit of angst thrown in. I like Julie’s writing style and look forward to adding more of her titles to my TBR.

~Melpomene

Buy Lies Jane Austen Told Me http://amzn.to/2zpEKNB

Review: Mr. 60% by Clete Barrett Smith

32970056

I love young adult books, especially ones that highlight the very real problems that teenagers face.  I’m not talking about a bad haircut or not getting a date to the prom.  Sure, these are tragic events to most teens.  But for many young people, the hardships they face are much more serious.

Matt has had a hard life, and it’s becoming more difficult each day.  His much loved Uncle Jack, the only stable force in his life, is in the last stages of cancer.  Matt carries the load for his small family of two.  In his case, that means dealing drugs at school to make ends meet.  It’s easy to judge him for this until you realize he does it to take care of his dying uncle.

Then he meets Amanda.  She’s his complete opposite, bubbly and cheerful and eternally optimistic. When he’s unwillingly partnered with her for a class project, he almost can’t handle it.  Amanda, however, sees something in Matt that most other people don’t at first glance.  And when she finds out the secret she’s keeping, she helps him out more than he could ever expect.

This isn’t a traditional feel good story where everything ends nicely at the end.  It’s a good story, though, safe for teens while at the same time showing another perspective of real life.  My only complaint is that I was left with more questions than I’d like at the end.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Mr. 60%

 

Review: Bless Her Heart by Sally Kilpatrick 

Some people might rate this book 4 or 5 stars for the authentic southern characters that Kilpatrick introduces with such aplomb you feel like you’ve known these people forever. Some readers might fall in love with “fun Posey” who uses the 7 deadly sins as a guide to make up for 10 sucky years married to a controlling, manipulative jerkhead.  And some readers might call this book a winner for its excellent writing – and easy dialogue among a hippie mom, sisters named after natural elements, and a best friend who literally saves more than one day. 

I’m giving Bless Her Heart a bunch of fat stars because it made me so sufficiently mad at Chad Love, so ticked off that he thought it was okay to treat any human being the way that he treated his wife, and so angered with a patriarchy that thinks “Wives, submit to your husbands” isn’t part of a speech that says “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her … Love your wives like your own bodies,” that now I am taking steps to help some people who are in situations like Posey’s. Sally Kilpatrick, any gratitude that comes my way from women who are tired of being controlled and interrogated and mentally beaten down – that gratitude is due to you. 

-calliope

Buy BLESS HER HEART

Review: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

How does one review this book? Looking at near 250k ratings and over 10k reviews on Goodreads.com I reckon I don’t have to. However, you all know I’m a glutton for punishment so I will say a few words…

With all the foreshadowing in the first 100 pages of the book you can pretty much figure out how it’s to end…you might even think you know the whys. I mean it’s all there…however, as in life, this book demonstrates that it’s all in the details…and in perhaps what is never said as well…

This book made me laugh out loud in more than a few places. It’s a wonderful telling about two boys growing up. How they help one another in ways that they are unable to even ask for. I found at times I was a bit irritated with the back and forth of the memories. The 1st person narrator would have a memory and then the novel would go back in time to expand on that memory. As the novel progressed and I became used to this, it really proved interesting. Especially since many of the memories were reminisced over a few times. Experiencing something vs looking back at a memory vs looking back at a memory after a traumatic event can all be very different experiences for the same person. “After the fact” we can all imagine how things might have been different if we had picked up on the clues we were given.

I should note that this is a novel full of wonderful secondary characters. Some of them truly do help make this an extraordinary read.

I admit, Owen really annoyed me during much of the novel…however, some part of me thinks that’s part of the point.

I also leave myself wondering how different Johnny would be if Owen was still his best mate living down the street. Or if Owen hadn’t thrown that ball…

Finally, I have to say that at times I might have wished greatly that this book would just move along faster. The slow pace was just as annoying as Owen was. Reading this book really was a test of my discipline. Some novels are just like that for me…My reward wasn’t the ending….it was all the time spent with so many wonderful characters, getting to know them in a way that just wouldn’t have been possible if the novel was written any other way…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving