Review: Fairytale Come Alive by Kristen Ashley

01 fairy I believe in fairytales and happily ever afters. When the characters have to fight tooth and nail for those HEAs, I love them even more.

I’m not normally a fan of “ghost” books, but this book was so much more!!

This is book 4 in the Ghosts and Reincarnation series. I haven’t read book 3 yet, but I will say that this one is the first one that had more “ghostly” feel to it, compared to the first two books. The others were more light on the haunted undertones. Don’t let that turn you away. I wish I knew about this book sooner. Heck, I wish more people knew about it. If you like second chance romances, this is one you’ll wanna add to you TBR.

SYNOPSIS
In Isabella Austin Evangelista’s life miracles never happen… she knows she’s destined to be the princess who’s stuck in the middle of a fairytale where there will be no happily ever after.

Once upon a time, Prentice Cameron loved Isabella Austin until he discovered she was a spoiled, rich girl who spent her summers toying with his heart.

Life led Prentice to his own fairytale, the love of the full-of-life Fiona Sawyer. That being so, that fairytale was torn away when Fiona died of a brain tumor leaving Prentice with a house to keep clean, piles of laundry to be done, a business to run and two children who were getting tired of takeaway.

But Isabella comes back to Prentice’s tiny fishing town and she sweeps into his children’s lives like a beautiful, well-dressed fairy godmother who bakes exquisite chocolate cakes and gives the perfect manicure to six year old girls. Then Prentice finds out Isabella’s soul destroying secrets, secrets that explain why she left him so many years ago.

Fiona, stuck in her village and forced to haunt her family and watch Prentice and Isabella’s crazy dance, finds the impossible happening. She’s cheering for Bella and Prentice to rekindle their love. Then she finds out why she’s caught in her heartbreaking haunting and discovers she must embrace her magic and keep Bella safe or Bella’s fairytale will never come true.

20 years is a long time, and yet sometimes it’s not long enough. When we see Isabella and Prentice reconnect, I knew it wasn’t going to be smooth sailing, and this time, I was right. Hearts were broken again and again. Isabella knew how much pain she caused, the last time she was in town, but she really had no idea being back would cause even more. But with pain also comes healing. And being with Prentice may just be the one person who can heal her.

Besides Prentice and Isabella, there were so many side characters that made this story even more beautiful. Some brought a spot of laughter when it was needed while others added a new dimension to the healing process. On a side note, when we see Bella interact with Pren’s kids, I melted. Completely melted. It was insta-love. She was the best person to help them while they helped their dad heal her.

I like to cry and feel when I read, as you know. But as I said above, this isn’t usually my type of story. I thought “ghost” books wouldn’t bring the feels out, but I was so very wrong about this one. I swear to you, I spent the first 25% in perpetual tears and heartache. I was quite unprepared for this. No joke.

And that epilogue?? Hand me a tissue and I’ll tell you all about it. How does Kristen Ashley always write books that leave me in a pile of mush? I swear, she is a master word wizard of emotions.

~Melpomene

Buy Fairytale Come Alive.

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Review: “If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?” By Gina Barreca

  
I’ve been reading Gina Barreca’s columns in my local newspaper for years. I love her brash attitude that reminds me so much of my own, her exasperation at injustices that no one should allow – no one!, and her talent for capturing just the right facet of a social issue to make a difference. 

 The dozens of essays in this book are tied together by section headings such as “I’m not needy; I’m wanty” and “If you met my family, you’d understand,” but more importantly woven together by the exploration of feminism.  

Barreca doesn’t bash men or bash women who like men. She doesn’t tell me I can’t wear pantyhose or I have to be pro-choice or I shouldn’t read smut. What I think Barreca says is that women should do what they do for themselves. For themselves! What a concept. If cooking for your husband makes you happy, do it. But don’t do it because he tells you to, because you feel worthless to him if you don’t, or because society tells you that’s all you have to offer if you’re a housewife. Get it? Read the book. You’ll get it. 

For me, it was nice that someone put a bunch of my thoughts into rational written form and then published it for all to read. For others, Barecca might not echo your exact thinking, but she will give you some food for thought. 

-calliope

Buy ‘IF YOU LEAN IN, WILL MEN JUST LOOK DOWN YOUR BLOUSE?’

Review: Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

25785334Oh dear….

I’ve read a few Gudenkauf novels and have absolutely loved them. This one? Ehh….not so much…

It read like a very bad Columbo drama episode on the telly.

Here we have Sarah and Jack going to back to Jack’s hometown after his absence of 20 years. As Sarah starts to learn more about Jack’s past, she becomes less sure of her future.

I suppose that I just had a problem with Sarah and Jack as characters. After 20 years of marriage they just didn’t seem to click at all. Even at the ending, the connection between them never seemed there…

I am also one that always has problems when a scared, inexperienced person walks away from a relatively safe situation and places themselves in grave danger, especially knowing that a police officer is closer and would be able to able to handle the situation and that they, themselves, wouldn’t be able to protect themselves, let alone any one else.

When authors do this exact thing it really puts me off the entire book. Saying that, I can honestly say it didn’t take just the ending to put me off this book. I was bored with my constant eye rolling with Sarah’s behaviour pretty early on. I don’t have to like a character to enjoy a book, but I do have to believe that a person would have acted in that way in real life. With this one I just felt, again, that it was an overreacted plot to create drama and suspense. A good novel doesn’t do that…No “overacting” is needed…

I’ll still read the next Gudenkauf novel that comes out…One bad book doesn’t put me off an author…especially one that I have enjoyed so much in the past…

I also hope Colombo does not take offense at me over this review 🙂 I loved Columbo when I was growing up….hahahaha

Until next time…

Urania

ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

Review: Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry

01 aa This is another book that I can’t wait til my daughter can read it. This story is filled with a very real problem, cyber bullying. It’s a real issue and it happens more than we know. I swear to you, I never read the blurb, so I had nothing to go on. So when I realized what was happening, I was just sick. In my head, I kept trying to figure out a way to help her. I realize this story is fiction, but to many, it isn’t.

SYNOPSIS
One moment of recklessness will change their worlds

Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life.

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules.

And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.

Razor!!! Oh, how I really like him. I had no idea this boy, we met in Nowhere But Here, had so much going on in his head. He’s been floundering for a few years. Struggling to come to terms with something that happened in his past. But it all changes when he meets Breanna. Something clicks. And now he knows what he wants, and he knows how he’s going to get it, even if it costs him his family.

I must admit, my stomach was twisting all over the place, with Breanna. My heart broke for her. She has been struggling with who she is as a person, a daughter, a sister and a friend. No one understands her. She is wired differently than most. Sad to say, but people don’t seem to accept differences, especially teens. The tipping point, for her, is now dealing with a bully. She wants help but she doesn’t know who to ask or how to ask.

It’s so hard being a teenager in this world. On a personal note, I’ve had to deal with this as a teenager and I will say, it SUCKED. You’re afraid to tell anyone, at the risk of making it worse. But cyber-bullying is a whole new thing. It’s 10 times worse.

This is another fabulous installment of Thunder Road series that dealt with real life problems. This book had me on the edge of my seat quite a few times. My heart was hammering in my chest and my nerves were wrecked. Razor and Breanna both had serious issues that required help from others, but neither wanted to go and ask. They thought they could do it alone but you need family to help sometimes. And this book is all about family.

~Melpomene

Buy Walk the Edge (Thunder Road)

Meet Razor and all the gang in Nowhere but Here (Thunder Road)

Review: The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman

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Way back when, I read several of Kellerman’s Alex Delaware stories. And I loved them. Still, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this one. I was not disappointed.

Grace Blades had about as hard of a childhood as one can have and live to tell the tale. Unwanted from the beginning, and pretty much unloved all along, she was left to fend for herself while her mom and dad partied away. Then the unthinkable happens when her mom and dad die. But in a way, this is her salvation. This is her opportunity to escape the life she’s had and maybe have a shot at a better one.

As she weaves her way through the foster care system, she encounters a different kind of nightmare. She survives, though, and comes out stronger than anyone could ever have predicted. A loner by choice, she’s a highly successful psychologist treating people who’ve experienced traumatic events.

She also harbors a naughty little secret side that nobody would ever guess exists. And it’s this naughty side that brings her in contact with someone from her childhood that she’d rather forget. And then he’s murdered. Being the strong person she is, of course she can’t just sit by and wait for the police to solve the crime.

This is a great thriller. There’s a nice little shoutout to Alex Delaware in the plot that will please fans of his series. Grace is a great leading character, even though she’s far from perfect. My only complaint is that the ending of the story was a bit too wordy and drawn-out. Not enough to to keep me from recommending it, though!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Murderer’s Daughter

Review: Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis 

  
I never thought I’d love a Jill Shalvis series other than my First Jill Shalvis Series, Lucky Harbor. But I am falling in love all over again. Maybe it’s Cedar Ridge itself – sort of reminds me of Robyn Carr’s town of Virgin River, or maybe it’s the Kincaid brothers, but either way Shalvis has me hooked. 

In Nobody But You, military guy Jacob Kincaid returns home to his estranged twin brother and several other siblings (who are happier to see him than his twin pretends to be). Jacob didn’t realize there was more waiting for him in Cedar Ridge: one spit-fire Sophie Marren, recently divorced from her cheating ex-husband and living in a boat illegally moored at, yup, Jacob’s dock. 

Nobody But You reads total Shalvis: authentic and witty dialogue, lots of affection and competition among siblings, and great views. What sets this story apart from her others is the spice factor. Shalvis describes a lot more bedroom activity than usual, though not a gratuitous sentence in the bunch. Every kiss and caress reflects the passion Sophie and Jacob develop for each other, because of and despite misunderstandings and heartfelt fears of commitment. 

The only question I had at the end was Who’s Next to fall in love in Cedar Ridge now that the Kincaid brothers are taken? 😉 

-calliope 

Buy NOBODY BUT YOU

Review (revisted): I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb

20131210-215528.jpgIf you live under a rock and don’t know who Malala is please read this book. If you know and have no interest because you don’t wish to hurdle into a group based on her religion or nationality, read this book. If you have little hope for the future of humanity, again, read this book. Finally, if you’re aware of who Malala is and commend her for all that she has done, if you think you grasp most of the facts, please, take a moment and at least read the epilogue. I learnt a lot from this read. I learnt more about the politics of Malala’s country then I have reading several more famous books. Every bit helps in my understanding of the complexity of these countries. Especially hard to do when you’re like me, and lucky to be born into a country that has a stable government. Where it is safe to walk the streets unescorted. Where a girl can walk without fear whilst holding a book in public. Where a woman can walk into any hospital unescorted and be treated for injuries. Malala and millions of other women have not been so lucky. However, Malala, even as young as she is, has a passion for politics and understands them…she is even, at times, able to manipulate those political unrests and bend them to her favour. She is also young enough to be frank about politics and to be sensible about them. She is not trying to bend or mould them into something to ensure her own political gain. It’s so much easier to see things when the speaker is not trying to manipulate the story to cover their own agendas. Malala is honest and upfront with her desires. A world where we are all equal, educated, and free to follow our own heart’s calling….

The epilogue is a true bright and shiny gem. It sums up the changes and challenges she and her family now face. It sums up her belief system and her love for her country. As well as why she can’t go back. But mostly, I hope that you can see the young woman who has sacrificed so much and asked for so little. Sacrifices I dare say that no one reading this review (myself included) would ever be brave enough to make…and she does it with such grace to make it look like it wasn’t a sacrifice at all, but an honour. She might be a noble peace prize winner…but first and foremost, she is a young girl, a daughter, a silly girl with silly friends, a student, a misfit, a nerd, a Muslim….first and foremost, she is just like any of us…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now I Am Malala