Review: The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard


Emmy and Nathan take a trip to the French countryside to work on their relationship. But then Nathan gets, um, distracted. And then it all goes in the toilet and Emmy needs to find a better way to spend her holiday. Like maybe hanging out with the cute gardener, Ryan.  Or making friends with the older and wiser French maid. Or going into town and finding herself. 

I loved the food, the friends, the comraderie, the French phrases, the cute accountant Alain, and the eye candy in the garden. This is exemplar chick lit — light and sassy and easy, but with a substantial storyline, fleshed out characters, and sharp dialogue. 

My most favorite thing about this book is the Amazon listing that says it’s the first in a series. Yes! 

*happy dance… awaiting number two*

-calliope

Buy THE LITTLE FRENCH GUESTHOUSE (only 99¢ for kindle!)

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Best of My Love by Susan Mallery


Shelby and Aidan have self-improvement goals, and they’ve decided to form a mutually beneficial friendship with each other to put themselves on a successful path. They don’t anticipate the whole of Fool’s Gold egging on a ROMANTIC relationship between the two. And they certainly don’t foresee Mayor Marsha putting in her two cents. 

I love all the Fool’s Gold heroes – who wouldn’t? They’re perfectly perfect for their ladies, and they’re swoon-worthy to boot. Mallery did something special with Aidan, though. Shelby got to know him as a friend, totally platonically, before ever diving into something more. Whether something romantic worked out for Aidan and Shelby or not, you’ll have to find out by reading the book. Shelby’s a great catch, so there’s definitely some sort of love story — just wait! 

-calliope

Buy BEST OF MY LOVE

Review: The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton and Lisa Stienke

01 a14 Many people have that one moment that they look back and think, if only. If only I could go back and do things differently. Would things change or stay the same? Would I be happier? For Jessie, Gabriela and Claire, they get that chance and we get to see what happens.

I’ll admit, when I first saw this cover, I was immediately intrigued. Not that I want to admit to this, but I’m turning 40 this year, so I knew I needed to read this book, even if it’s not my usual genre.

Regret. That is very hard word to live with. And for Jessie, Gabriela and Claire, they’ve been living with it for over a decade. When they go to celebrate their 50th birthday, they realize just how much they wish they could change back when they turned 40. Amazingly, they’re given that chance to go back and relive the year they turned 40 and we get to see if their new choices make a difference.

But as with life, no matter what you do, some things just don’t change. Each of them have to make hard decisions and some work out for the better while others don’t.

My heart was in my throat as I watched each of them struggle with their choices. I wanted it all to be perfect, but life is far from perfect. You learn, and hopefully grow, from your mistakes. We get to see them as they grow and hopefully learn new things over the year. I admit I did get a little nervous a few times, but I think life has a way of working it out.

When I finally closed this book, I sat back and pondered my own life. I realize that there’s no magic that can take me back so I can relive a “What if? moment. You live and learn from your mistakes. You must make the most of your life now and make each year the best it can be. No regrets.

~Melpomene

Buy THE YEAR WE TURNED FORTY

Review: Island in the Sea: A Majorca Love Story by Anita Hughes


Juliet is a record label executive who gets sent to Majorca to light a fire under Lionel’s songwriting behind. While she’s there she enjoys the seaside, the luxurious food, the shopping, and the sun. Best of all, Juliet meets Gabriella, who turns out to be a good friend, a beautifully talented singer, and the salt of the earth that helps Juliet stay grounded. 

I scoop up Anita Hughes’ novels because of the lush food, extravagant shopping and stunning locales. The Island in the Sea love stories are icing on a cake that’s a feast for the senses. 
-calliope

Buy ISLAND IN THE SEA

Review: The Silent Girls by Ann Troup

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Having never read anything by Ann Troup, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  Sure, the description is intriguing.  But how many times have we started a book with high expectations only to experience disappointment when it doesn’t follow through?  Not the case with this one!

When Edie returns to her childhood home to clear up some loose ends after her aunt’s untimely death, she doesn’t expect to be there for long.  Clean out the house, sell off some belongings, settle the estate, and then she’ll be on her way.  But of course things don’t go as planned.

It’s known by all that Coronation Square was the scene of a series of grisly murders years ago. When the killer was caught and executed, justice surely was served.  But as Edie starts digging through the clutter and dankness that was her aunt’s life, she begins uncovering secrets. It quickly becomes apparent that there are people who want those secrets to remain hidden.  And they’ll stop at nothing to make that happen.

This is such a dark, dreary book.  And that’s exactly as it should be.  Anything else wouldn’t have worked.  The author paints a depressing, suspenseful scene that fits the story perfectly.  There are twists and turns galore to keep you guessing until the very end. An excellent, well-told mystery!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Silent Girls

Commemorative Post

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.”

 

When you hear William Shakespeare being mentioned, you may conjure up horrid memories of forced Romeo and Juliet readings in school, or the random Lawrence Olivier production that you caught on TV one time.   However, we need to should give Mr S. some props; I cannot think (and this is obviously purely opinion) of any writer that has left such a legacy that could match or surpass that of Shakespeare’s.  You, of course, may disagree, and I love differing opinions, so please let me know!

Today is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.   In his time he wrote 36 plays – spanning many different genres, around 154 sonnets, may poems, and performed for 2 different monarchs!

Shakespeare was the chameleon of writers; 16th and 17th century England wasn’t exactly known for its liberal stance on censorship.  Shakespeare had to perform a delicate balancing act of observing the status quo, both politically and legally, and actually writing what he wanted to write.  Much like many of us I imagine, Shakespeare rather preferred to keep his head!

Even though Shakespeare wrote many wonderful plays, my personal favorite has to be King Lear.   This, to me, is his most “human play”.   It focuses on family, what it means to be a family, and indeed the consequences of flouting the strict societal and legal rules of the time.    There is commentary on old age, primogeniture, parent-child relationships, misogyny, class, justice, nature and human cost.    This play runs the whole gauntlet and it is perhaps his most contemporary of plays.

To help celebrate this anniversary, we are giving away a copy of this beautiful book 

In order to be in a chance of winning, simply leave a comment describing your favorite play by Shakespeare.   Alternatively, you can also comment with your least favorite!   The person that gives the most passionate plead (either for or against a play) will win.  As I may be biased, I will ask one of my muses to pick.

Good luck, and happy reading!

Pegasus.

Quick early morning poll

Since it is approaching the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, we thought it’d be interesting to get an idea of your favorite plays!    Tomorrow will feature a commemorative post, where you will get a chance to win a beautifully illustrated book of Shakespeare plays by E.B Nesbit!     For now though, please let us know what is your favorite play, and if it isn’t listed, leave a comment!