Review: The Happy Hour Choir by Sally Kilpatrick

  

Some books are just magical, making me feel like I’m in another world, even though the plot and characters are pretty realistic. Some authors have a way of spinning a story into ethereality. The Crossroads Cafe by Deborah Smith, The Reluctant Prophet by Nancy Rue, and First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen all took me by surprise, embracing me into their twilight. And now The Happy Hour Choir joins the list. 

Beulah is a poor southern young woman, living with a friend, working in a bar, rolling her eyes at religion, and avoiding the church rectory across the street. Until a new, good looking, patient, strong, God-loving pastor comes to town. Beulah certainly notices Luke, and even though she avoids talking about God with him, she appreciates his steadfastness and stability.  

Luke doesn’t try to convert Beulah, but he does guide her in the areas of self-respect and leading others. 

And that’s where the happy hour choir comes in. Beulah uses her connections from the bar to put together a new choir for Luke’s church. And it just happens to meet after Luke’s bible study… Also held at the bar. 

Beulah and Luke wend their way through storms and calm, meeting up and lending support along the way. I loved to see their hearts changing and them shepherding the people around in amazing ways. 

Maybe the magic is in the southern-ness of the story, maybe it’s conviction of faith, or maybe it’s just Luke’s strong silent alpha maleness, but whatever it is left me feeling warm and wanting more. 

-calliope

Buy THE HAPPY HOUR CHOIR

Review: Time and Time Again by Ben Elton

time and timeOkay, I have to say that this book isn’t perfect. Heck I guess no book is. However, I feel like I must give this one 5 stars….even though any book with time travel makes for a book that might have a few logical issues. I mean the whole butterfly effect thing can drive you mental if you dwell on it too long….If you dare to add historical factors in it…well, I’m sure there will be people who nitpick all the way through it and tell you why x, y and z just isn’t possible…..

But I say screw all that….This book was a fantastic read for me because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I continue to think about it now that I have finished the last sentence. I looked for ways to mention this book and the concept in my everyday conversation.

Finally….well….truth be told…it boggles my mind. I don’t mean that it’s hard to follow. I simply mean that the more I think about this book and the possibilities…well, the more I get drawn deep into my imagination. I can’t stop thinking of the ramifications of the concepts this book brings forth.

I’ve read a few time travel books and have always enjoyed them. *Most* of the ones I have read are people trying to change to revisit history for their own gains….In this, Elton has giving us a story of a hero that is trying to revisit history for the greater good of the entire planet.

Let’s face it…this is hard book to review….why? Because my mind won’t shut down. Even now I am still scrolling through the endless possibilities that lie within this novel. Imagining past worlds and future worlds and all of the players that are on the stage of making history….both minor and major players all have their parts….

So really, are people made by history? Or do people make history? Is history just a matter of being in the right place at the right time? If something happens and a key player is no longer there….well, does history still right itself and just call in another key player to take the place of the one who doesn’t show?

I won’t say more than that….you don’t need to know all the details….but you do need to read this book. There are some really interesting stuff that’s going on. I will say that the entire book grabs you from the start and it’s a steady stream of happy reading….but at the last 20% there are lots of twists and turns that I did not see coming and if the book can be called “fast paced”…well the last 20% was turbo speed paced!

Finally this book has loads of great quotes so I wish to leave you with a few…

What fun those long, semi-drunken Sunday afternoons had been. The debates always degenerated into loud, name-calling battles between the Marxists, who contended that much of history was inevitable, the result of preordained economic and material forces, and the romantics, who believed that history was made by individuals and that a single stomach ache or an undelivered love letter could have changed everything

‘Proof? What proof can I give beyond the fact that logic requires it?’ he said, his voice rising. ‘Time is time. It ticks aways from the beginning until the end.’

‘but it doesn’t, you damned fool!’ Newton exclaimed ‘Am I really the only person on earth to have grasped this fact? Time is not linear. It does not go along on a steady course like a road from London to York. It does not have a beginning and it does not have an end, nor is it the same to one person as it is to another, nor to two planets or a million starts. It is different in all circumstances. Because it is relative.’

Such is the terrible irony of bereavement, turning every familiar joy to misery. Each smile a twisting knife. Each thing of beauty an added burden of pain.

‘I really hope you didn’t get me here to suggest I take comfort in religion,’ he growled.
‘Not in the slightest,’ McCluskey replied. ‘I don’t think religion should be comfortable. That’s where it all went wrong for the Anglicans, trying to be comfortable. Deep down people want fire and brimstone. They want a violent vengeful God who tells them what to do and smites them if they don’t do it. That’s why the Prophet Mohammed’s doing so well these days. I’ve occasionally thought about switching myself. At least Allah’s got a bit of fire in his belly. But you see I could never give up the turps.’

Until next time…

Urania xx

Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now Time and Time Again by Ben Elton

Review: Take Another Look by Rosalind Noonan

511PcSLyRdL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This latest thriller from Rosalind Noonan had me hooked from the very first page. From the opening scenes until the conclusion, I simply could not tear myself away.

It starts off as sort of a “What would you do?” When Jane finds herself pregnant with twins and in an unhealthy relationship, she makes the heart-wrenching decision to give one of the babies up for adoption. After struggling with just which twin to keep, she makes peace with herself and her choice. She moves away and starts a new life with baby Harper.

Several years later, her past comes back to haunt her when she unwittingly comes face to face with her long-lost daughter, Isabel. Everything she’s struggled to build for both herself and Harper is threatened when she must ‘fess up to Harper.

As if that wasn’t a hard enough task, Isabel’s arrival coincides with some strange happenings. Accidents, missing items, illnesses, truths disguised as lies…Jane doesn’t know who or what to believe. Are these just more of Harper’s typical teenage dramatic outbursts? Or is something more disturbing at play?

This is one of those stories where you might think you know what’s going on. I thought the same thing. And I was right. Partially. It’s a book that leads you on and keeps you guessing. And even when you’ve got it figured out, it’s still one heck of a story!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Take Another Look

Review: Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

 

So maybe you’re hanging in on a Friday night (like me), wondering what to read next (like me). Or maybe it’s Saturday and you’d like a book to help you procrastinate, because really, who wants to clean the bathroom right now?  Look no further. Barbara Kingsolver is a five star author. And if you’re lucky, you’ll be reading her instead of doing anything else. 

The first novel I read by Kingsolver was The Bean Trees. Loved it. So clever. I reviewed it on this blog. Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior – even more clever. See, Barbara Kingsolver writes in layers, so I can effortlessly enjoy the superficial layer: Dellarobia and her family living in Appalachia; the beauty of butterflies and the wonder of their migration. 

And then I can look underneath… at the marriage struggles, and the secrets, and the desires to stop the cycle of poverty and ignorance. I can understand the socioeconomic and ecological divisiveness that microcosms create. 

And as I keep reading, the deepest layer peeks out: the hows and whys of nature gone wrong; the right way to be honest with the ones you love; the flight of survival, even when it takes you away from the comfortable, predictable place you’ve always called home. 

There’s even more, of course. Love, religion, education, science,  living off the land… Kingsolver addresses myriad facets of life and polishes them from underneath. She keeps putting pieces together… And when you see the result you’ll be amazed. 

This is a five-star read. 

-calliope

Buy FLIGHT BEHAVIOR

Review: Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven

01 badEver read a book that’s seems more real than real life? Well, this is that book. Everything flowed perfectly. There was enough banter, but not over the top annoying. There was enough romance, but not not to where I wanted to skim over “yet another sex scene.” There was the perfect amount of sexual tension to curl my toes and keep me on the edge of my seat.

SYNOPSIS
When Cassie Taylor met Ethan Holt at acting school, sparks flew. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy about campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing, Cassie and Ethan’s romance seemed destined. Until he broke her heart and betrayed her trust. Now the A-list heartthrob is back in her life and turning her world around. One touch at a time.

Cast as romantic leads once again, they’re forced to confront raw memories of the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their secret college affair. But they’ll also discover that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks.

The chemistry between Cassie and Ethan was thick. They fought, and loved, fiercely. My heart broke for the hurt they both endured, but I know things will work themselves out. These two people, while they’re far from perfect, are perfect for each other.

I laughed so much in this book. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the comedy worked. I know actors tend to be over the top and sometimes annoying, but Cassie and Ethan never seemed like that. This was real. This is exactly how I would talk to my friends.

Now I’m waiting at the edge of my seat for the next book. Can they move on from the past hurts? Can they have a happily ever after? I really hope so.

~Melpomene

Buy Bad Romeo

Review: The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q #1) by Jussi Adler-Olsen

keeperHow many times to you keep seeing a title of a book and remind yourself weekly that you *really* should get around to reading it? Well, “The Keeper of Lost Causes” is a book I’ve been meaning to read for years. For one reason or another it just kept getting pushed to the back burner.

Now that I’ve finally finished it I feel that I need to give myself a swift kick up the arse for being a total idget and not reading it sooner! This is a detective novel for sure…there’s plenty of mystery and suspense to go around. The storyline and the suspense is truly enough to satisfy anyone that loves Thrillers. However, what is even more remarkable with this novel are the characters. Not the main character. Granted, once again, the head of Department Q is plenty enough to satisfy anyone…there is so much to his inner workings that you can’t wait to spend more time with him….however, the secondary characters are truly outstanding. There isn’t a single one that you don’t long to know more of. There are many that you can easily hate (but in an, “I LOVE to hate you” kind of way) but there are also a few that you will absolutely fall in love with. You will want to rush out and finish the rest of the series just so you can see where Adler-Olsen takes them. You will long to hear their background history…You will thirst to know what happens next. I simply can’t wait to revisit them all soon and to see what is happening with them.

Adler-Olsen has done a brilliant job in laying the foundation in a series that will have you wishing the characters were not only real people….but also part of your intimate circle of friends.

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q #1) by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Review: Master of Freedom by Cherise Sinclair

01 master I am fascinated with BDSM and all things Cherise. She has a way of writing BDSM books that feel real. It’s almost as if I’m in the room watching and feeling everything they are. I know this is a novella, but it totally didn’t fell like one! This felt like a full length novel, with all the emotions and excitement.

SYNOPSIS
Detective Atticus Ware gave up his beloved Idaho to start again in the mountains of California, close to his imprisoned brother. He has a rewarding job and friends, but the experienced Dominant wants more than the Do-Me submissives who flock around him. He needs a woman who will give her heart as well as her body.

Virginia, “Gin,” is damn good at her challenging career as a prison psychologist. However, one problem inmate is mired in misery and unable to overcome his guilt at causing a friend’s death.
To clear her mind, she joins a friend’s kinky backpacking excursion, planning to hide in her tent during the evening BDSM pursuits. But Atticus lures her into the activities. She’s read about BDSM, but submission under the hands of a powerful Dom is beyond anything she’d imagined. She doesn’t trust men, doesn’t want a relationship, and yet…wants more from him.

Finally, Atticus has found the woman he wants in his life. In his bed. In his cuffs. But she’s not only his brother’s therapist, but also works in a prison. How can he tolerate his woman walking into danger every single blasted day?

Gin knows she has no future with Atticus Ware, but still, hope is rising in her heart.

I loved these two together!! They were made for each other. They balanced each other and helped each other with their pasts. Their chemistry was off the charts HOT!! Even the plain ol’ kissing was hot. Actually, with Atticus, there is no plain ol’ kissing. But as they grow closer, parts of their pasts creep up and threaten to break these two apart.

Virginia, I’ll always come after you. I keep what’s mine.”

~Melpomene

Buy Master of Freedom: A Mountain Masters Novella (Mountain Masters & Dark Haven Book 5)