Review: The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery 

 

Three women in an L.A. suburb find themselves in the middle of some changes. Big changes. Marriage, divorce, pregnancy, death, grief, friendship, and new beginnings all play a part in this new series by one of my favorite authors. 

The writing is excellent, from the fleshed out characters to the descriptions of the coastal setting. Technically, everything is on point as Mallery invites us into the lives of three women of different ages, their families and friends, their businesses.

But there’s something missing for me. Excitement, maybe. And I get it that lack of excitement is one of the relationship issues in the book, but the reader should still somehow be pulled into the book… And I just wasn’t. For one thing, there was a lot of “telling instead of showing” (like when one character sat across from her friend and next to her other friend and put her purse on the free chair). I liked the book enough, but I wasn’t totally invested in it. It didn’t thrill me. 

On the other hand, Mallery successfully shows the reader real emotions. For example, one character is mourning a loss. Brava for getting to the nitty gritty of being beside oneself with grief. The scene at Goodwill – I can picture that kind of thing because I have seen people just UNDONE like that. I’m thinking WOW as I remember reading Mallery’s take on it.  And the spa scene with the possible future stepchild – realistic and full of tension. 

Although this particular plot was a bit of a downer for me, I enjoyed Mischief Bay and its inhabitants. I’ll be on the lookout for book number two. 

-calliope 

buy THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY

Review: Becoming Rain by K.A.Tucker

01 become

“Guilt and happiness go to war inside of me as I fall. I wonder which one will win.”

Holy tension, Batman!!! I swear to God, I was nervous the entire time I was reading. I was not expecting that!! I was cringing and closing my eyes at some parts, and hoping for the best. Every time I turned a page, I had this overwhelming feeling of dread and angst, but I loved it!!

Synopsis
Luke Boone doesn’t know exactly what his uncle Rust is involved in but he wants in on it-the cars, the money, the women. And it looks like he’s finally getting his wish. When Rust hands him the managerial keys to the garage, they come with a second set-one that opens up the door to tons of cash and opportunity. Though it’s not exactly legal, Luke’s never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Especially when it puts him behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 and onto the radar of gorgeous socialite named Rain.

Clara Bertelli is at the top of her game-at only twenty-six years old, she’s one of the most successful undercover officers in the Washington D.C. major crime unit, and she’s just been handed a case that could catapult her career and expose one of the west coast’s most notorious car theft rings. But, in order to do it, she’ll need to go deep undercover as Rain Martines. Her target? The twenty-four-year old nephew of a key player who appears ready to follow in his uncle’s footsteps.

As Clara drifts deeper into the luxurious lifestyle of Rain, and further into the arms of her very attractive and charming target, the lines between right and wrong start to blur, making her wonder if she’ll be able to leave it all behind. Or if she’ll even want to.

After reading Burying Water, I was a bit smitten with Luke. I knew he was tempted to follow his uncle into some not-so-legal activities, but I was holding out hope that he would make the right decision though.

I didn’t envy Clara one little bit. I understand her need to get the job done and do it well. But being close to Luke and not falling for him, is more difficult that working for the FBI. Slowly she realizes that she has no control over her heart and is dancing on the line of professionalism.

“I’ve been in this deceitful place before. And yet this time, it feels completely new and different. And somehow more dangerous.”

It was nice to revisit characters from the previous book, Burying Water, and see how they are doing. I missed them.

K.A.Tucker has created some of the most believable and perfectly flawed characters I have ever read. The torment is real. I love is real. The heartache is real. I feel like I could reach in and grab on to them and never let go. And this story is no exception. I felt like I was living this story and my heart almost couldn’t take it. But I held on to the very end and my heart is happy.

~Melpomene

Release day-March 3, 2015
Buy Becoming Rain: A Novel (The Burying Water Series)

Review: The Hidden Library by Heather Lyons

01 hidden “True love does not have limits or restrictions. True love allows a person to love deeply and unconditionally. True love does not ask you to let go of life. True love encourages you to live.”

Oh my word. I have missed these characters so very much. I was ready to dive in as soon as this book hit my kindle. From the very beginning I realized this book was going to be filled with more action and adventure than the first book. I was right. The Hidden Library was filled to the brim with romance and adventure, and mysteries and secrets. A twisted tale of love and loss, mixed with hope and friendship and sprinkled with heroes and villains.

SYNOPSIS
Alice Reeve and Finn Van Brunt have tumbled into a life of secrets. Some secrets they share, such as their employment by the clandestine organization known as The Collectors’ Society. Other secrets they carry within them, fighting to keep buried the things that could change everything they think they know.

On the hunt for an elusive villain who is hell-bent on destroying legacies, Alice, Finn, and the rest of the Society are desperate to unravel the mysteries surrounding them. But the farther they spiral down this rabbit hole, the deeper they fall into secrets that will test their loyalties and pit them against enemies both new and old.

Secrets, they come to find, can reveal the deadliest of truths.

Holy adventure, Batman!!! This book was one adventure after another. And as they discover one secret, another pops up. Soon you’re so caught up and making presumptions that are totally wrong. Just when we thought we knew the story, we get slapped with secrets we never saw coming.

I love the timelines. I was never a reader, so to get a little glimpse of the classics, makes me so happy. It makes me wanna curl up with a copy of Alice or Finn’s books.

In the midst of trying to find the destroyer of the legacies, Finn and Alice discover that their feelings are stronger than they ever thought they would be, but they keep it secret til it was almost too late. I seriously love Finn. But I gotta admit, I still have a soft spot for the White King. I am torn between the two. They both are good for Alice, but there can be only one.

“Courting is meant to endear lovers to one another. I am already hopelessly attached to you, Finn Brunt.”

From one chapter to the next, you will get pulled in the legacies themselves. I felt like I was living in them. It was the perfect continuation. PLUS, you get dual points of view. We get to see what Finn and thinking and feeling, which makes some parts of the story more heartbreaking, and therefore more exciting to me. And that ending?!?! I hope Ms. Lyons can write fast, because I’m not sure how long I can hold out. My heart can only take so much.

~Melpomene

Buy The Hidden Library (The Collectors’ Society Book 2)

To get the full experience, grab The Collectors’ Society

Review: Where Secrets Sleep by Marta Perry

IMG_3053
I just love when my three favorite genres converge. Amish life, suspense and romance all play a part in this novel about Allison Standish, a city girl who inherits her estranged grandmother’s fancy house-turned-small-shops-building near Amish country.

While the conditional inheritance trope might not be original, it’s the perfect foundation for mysterious shadows, doors ajar, and electrical problems. The protagonist moving to a different town also provides impetus for a love story. I always enjoy the novelty of watching a new relationship grow.

I found this story comforting and homey. The Amish characters provided serenity and hope. Nick, the love interest, lent an easiness and a smile. His interactions with his dad, brother, and son warmed my heart and made me laugh. The mystery moved the plot forward and gave me plenty to ponder and wonder about.

I’ll always be a fan of Amish fiction, suspense, and romance as individual genres. But it’s a nice surprise to find them all together in a well-written novel. Three fixes in one. #addictedtoreading

-calliope

buy WHERE SECRETS SLEEP

Review: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

oneplusMy first Jojo Moyes novel and I have to say that I can now add a new author to my favourites list. Moyes is one of those authors that you now hear so much about in the literary world that you might find yourself hesitant to actually read one of her novels! You might feel that she couldn’t possible live up to all the hype. You might put off reading one of her novels because, well….she’s talked about so often you just take for granted that they novels will always be there for you to finally pick one up at some point, but you see no need to drop all and read her now…..

I haven’t read any of her work probably because of a combination of those two different reasons….

It’s no secret that I’ve been a total slacker for the last year when it comes to reading. I’ve lost my reading mojo….I’m trying very hard to not pressure myself or to try to force reading back into my life. I still attempt to read most days….and I ALWAYS think about what I would like to be reading every single day….it’s just actually sitting down and doing it….and then trying to stay focused….or lost inside a book that I find difficult….

Having said all of that, this book grabbed me from about 30 pages in and it didn’t let me go….I read it in two days…..now back in the day I would have read it in a few hours….but two days for me at this point is saying that I absolutely loved this book. I could relate to all of the characters even though I can’t say I had much in common with them…I loved them all…

This book is about a family that is struggling….life just keeps throwing one thing after another at them…each member is facing their own battles….those battles are not only felt by one, but by all of them as they watch each other’s struggles. Finally, when they feel that they are moving forward and making progress, life yet again yanks the carpet out from under them. At times it is almost painful to watch.

However as this happens…and you think they just can’t take another bad thing, Moyes does the most amazing thing….She uses these events to bring the family together. See, it’s easy enough (or not) to just keep taking the knock downs and brushing yourself off….trying once again to go forward….but it’s an entirely different thing to see those around you go outside of their comfort zone to help one another. To feel as if they don’t want to go on, but they do…not for themselves….but for each other….these characters take steps, emotional steps, toward one another if for no other reason then to offer each other comfort and support. They might not be able to tell you where their next meal is coming from, but damnit, they are sure and certain that they will figure that out *together*….

Moyes proves here once again that the best things in life can’t be bought….and this family….despite having no physical wealth…well they are beyond rich in their treasure chest of love and a willingness to sacrifice for one another….

Until next time….
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Review: The Forever Bridge by T. Greenwood

22544408All writers tell a story. Some simply narrate events, and some add a little bit more. And then there’s the all too rare author who takes those words and infuses them with a mystical, musical rhythm that’s as beautiful as the actual story. T. Greenwood is one of those authors.

Sylvie was once a happily married mother of two. But after one tragic night, a horrific accident, she’s suddenly no longer married. And she’s now the mother of one lost little girl who she no longer knows how to connect with. But Sylvie is not the only one who is suffering. Young Ruby misses her brother. She misses her dad as he was before the accident. And she misses her mom. When Sylvie and Ruby are forced to spend time together, the question becomes can they find their way back to each other?

I read my first T. Greenwood story a few years ago, and I was immediately struck by how eloquently the author tells her stories. She doesn’t just write the words. Instead she makes you feel them. It’s not hard to feel their pain, their struggles, their hopes as you read. This is contemporary fiction at its finest, a story that will tug on your heart strings and keep you reading with your heart and soul from beginning to end.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Forever Bridge

Review: One Wish by Robyn Carr

IMG_3033
You know the best thing about this book? It brought me back to 14 years of age, reading a teen novel about a figure skater… On Thin Ice, or Champion On Ice… I can’t remember the title, but I can remember the pink paperback cover, the worn spine, the old Volvo that almost didn’t get the skater to the rink one morning. I wish I still had that book. In the blink of an eye I would step into that teenage world for 150 pages and love every 1980s minute of it.

I can’t get a hold of that book, but I CAN get the same nostalgic feeling, vicariously through the main character of One Wish. Grace used to be a champion figure skater. She left the drama and the pressure to open up a flower shop in Thunder Point. Where she meets Troy. The teacher who likes to have fun during his time off. Outdoor fun. Athletic fun. Fun with women. Fun with Grace!

One Wish tells more than just the romance between Grace and Troy, though. We see Grace’s struggle with the past, her talent for the florist business, her ambivalence toward her mother, and her friendship with Iris.

I enjoyed the wedding planning, the return of old characters, the Ray-Anne subplot, and the sense of community coming together to support one of their own. Carr put heart into One Wish… And although Troy was occasionally a bit smarmy, most of the novel rang authentic. I shed some messy tears, both happy and sad.

Carr fans, you must read this book. I was SO EXCITED to read a Thunder Point novel that measured up to the Virgin River series – a high standard, indeed.

-calliope

P.S. I just KNOW that Ray-Anne’s Gingersnap will be a central character in an upcoming Thunder Point novel. I CAN’T WAIT!!!

buy ONE WISH (really! you must!)