Review: The Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant


This was a cute rom com, short on the rom and com, though, in my opinion. I read it more like a slice of life in a small town. I loved the characters, except for the villainess who seemed a little overly wacky and cruel for a light book. Millie was quirky and emotional, Jas and Rich were a fun couple, Dylan and Spencer were good male characters who made tremendous growth and development by the end of the book. Millie’s potions should have been edited a little to make them either more important or not in the story at all. I felt like her “magic” was an afterthought.

As usual, I was glad for the romance that eventually developed, and for the happily ever after, even as neatly tied up as it was.  
I did enjoy reading The Little Village Bakery, but wished there were more pastries, fewer psych problems, and a smidge more focus on the magic.  

-calliope

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Review: The Last Days of Summer by Sophie Pembroke


Wow. I thought this was just going to be a bit of fluff based on the publishing imprint (Carina) and the title. But no. It’s almost a saga. There are juicy family secrets, tensions between siblings, eccentric writers, hidden woodland hideouts, varied buildings on the family estate, and the sudden appearance of an assistant, an envelope, and a diary. 

The Last Days of Summer explores deeper issues, too. I especially loved the discussion of the blurred line between truth and fiction — and the ways it can help or hurt a relationship. Pembroke also broaches the topics of forgiveness, honesty, and loyalty. 

My favorite character had to be carefree Caroline, though she was followed closely by her older sister, main character Saskia. I was enamored by their dad and grandfather… their warmth came right through the pages. 

Pembroke really showed her talent for weaving a complicated tale that reads easily. From the arguments to the embraces, the clothes-horse auntie to the raggedy writer, this story had threads of consistency throughout. Pairs of characters on benches, the office, the woods… Every repeated instance kept the storyline tight and moving forward. Brava! 

I sort of want to keep talking and writing about this book, but I don’t want to end up giving away spoilers… so I’ll end here! Don’t miss this excellent read. 

-calliope 

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Review: A Hard and Heavy Thing by Matthew J Hefti

26542105This is a story about those left behind by war. It just so happens to be that instead of the family left behind it is about the man who was at war who one day finds himself left behind. How he attempts to pick up the pieces after his combat days are over. A story where the young man finds out that although he might have left the war, he now finds himself in a different type of combat…now with enemy soldiers, but with his own personal demons and his feelings about himself. Novels like this do much to show how the image some see of people are never the images that they see of themselves. It also makes it clear that although War Heroes do exist, it is rarely the hero himself that views it as heroism.

Was this the best book I’ve read this year? No, sorry to say it’s not even close. However, it is an important book and I’m glad I invested the time to read it. Does it change my views on war and the destruction it causes? Not on the enemy, lands, or even countries. or on the men and women themselves. But it does reinforce my belief that not everyone can be judged by the outside image they display. Nor can they be defined by the labels that have been placed upon them. We should all give just a moments more time to really try to see and to help the people before us. Lest the masks they wear for us truly hide them until they are suddenly gone as is the person that wore them…

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now A Hard and Heavy Thing by Matthew J Hefti

Review: Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

01 abit “She and I were a dangerous combination. We needed cautionary signs like the ones hanging in the tractor shed over the cans of diesel fuel. WARNING: COMBUSTIBLE.”

Honestly, this book shocked the crap outta me. I had NO IDEA I was going to like it so much. Who knew farmers would be so sexy? Plus silly thing, like learning some of the ins and outs of organic farming, was quite fascinating to me. Not to mention that this romance was a bit like a second chance romance, which I love, I was completely drawn in and fell for this entire family, extended and non. In fact, I found myself thinking of them, after I was done, forgetting that they weren’t real. In fact, I still am, and it’s been weeks since I’ve read it.

Now that the summer weather is here, I am looking forward to hitting up all those farmer markets and give them my support. Honestly, I never thought, when reading a book, that I would feel this compulsion. Who knows, maybe I’ll see some sexy farmers there. 🙂

Also I was completely taken in my Jude and his story. I can’t wait until the next book to see what happens next in his world. I have a feeling it’s going to be a bit more emotional than this one.

Buy Bittersweet HERE.

Interesting

Review: Cure by Brenda Zalegowski

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Warning:   If you are expecting an in-depth review of this book with complete character analysis and a detailed plot summary, you’ve come to the wrong place.  If, however, you’re looking for a simple directive to read an outstanding book, then carry on.

Let me also preface this very short, brief review by saying that you really must read Brenda’s debut novel, Behind the Falls.  Yes, it’s the precursor to this outstanding story.  And no, it’s not imperative to understanding and loving Cure.  But it will help you fall in love with the characters even more.

This is a story of love and loss, things that we are all familiar with.  Love never comes easy, but then most things worth having never do.  And young love, teen love especially, is that much more difficult.  There are tears and there are smiles.  There are lives lost and lives saved.  And there’s closure, of some sort at least.  Yes, you’ll recognize many of the characters from the first story.  And you’ll meet some new ones.

And that’s all you’re going to get.  I’ve never been one to write a synopsis of a story and call it a review, but I do usually give a bit more than you’re getting with this one.  But I just can’t with this one.  You’ll just have to trust me.  Read Behind the Falls.  And then read this one.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Cure

Review: The Tulip Factory by Kacie Davis Idol


I loved waitress-turned-receptionist-turned-successful-you’ll-find-out Corinne. And I loved James, student of the school of hard knocks, climbing his way up and out and free. 

Though I liked the characters and the trajectories Kacie Davis Idol wrote for them, I struggled with some technical aspects of this book:

  • I don’t like chapters that alternate narrators, but I can get over it… unless the author also uses flashbacks and flash-forwards. One or the other may have worked. As it stands it’s confusing for the reader. 
  • The author took up pages and pages describing things that didn’t move the plot forward: Corinne’s outfits, her sister’s wedding, that night at the bar… If it doesn’t add to character or plot development, it’s not needed. Once I realized the chapters were 80% extraneous, I started to skim over the pages of irrelevant details. 
  • The tone for James was inconsistent. Sometimes his chapters made him sound like a sensitive, artistic, loving guy. Other chapters made him seem callous and cold. I’m not sure a man crassly talks about his “kid” one minute and then says he’s in love with the baby a few moments later. 

I think this book has promise. With some paring down of details, reformatting of the order of the chapters, and an editor helping with consistency, The Tulip Factory would have been an enjoyable cute coming-into-her-own story. 

Review: Only Beloved by Mary Balogh

01 aonly It’s done. It’s over. I’m sad. This was such a beautiful and emotional series. It’s only fitting that we close it out with George’s book. I mean, he is the reason The Survivors’ Club was here in the first place.

After the death of his son and wife, George, the Duke of Stanbrook, took it upon himself to open his house to many men and women who suffered after the Napoleonic Wars. He grew close to six of them and watched them get healthy and find their happily ever afters. But after seeing them happy, he felt lonely. He was always content with just his friends, but now he feels that it’s time to see if he can fins happiness for himself.

Dora was content in her life. It didn’t turn out the way she was hoping, but she has no regrets. She has a job and a few close friends. What more does she need? Turns out, she needed George.

When she met George a year ago, she was dazzled, but didn’t think anything would come of it. He’s a friend of her sister and brother-in-law, and that’s it. But when he shows up unannounced, she must make a decision that will change the course of her life.

Now, of course, like all the survivors, George isn’t without a backstory. And his story is one of heartbreak and deception. But he hid it well, under the guise of friendship and mentor. He was the listener of the group, not the sharer.

So bittersweet to see this series end. But I am quite happy with how well everyone turned out. The epilogue is exactly what I needed to move on. Knowing these survivors are well loved and taken of, makes me very content.

I can’t wait to see what new series Mary has up her sleeves.

Review: The Wedding Sisters by Jamie Brenner


This is a reader’s book for sure. English professor Hugh and wife Meryl have three daughters: Meg, Amy, and Jo. Sound familiar? 🙂 

When the three young ladies accept marriage proposals from their respective – and wealthy and socially prominent – boyfriends, a triple wedding is planned. 

I very much enjoyed the characters and the plot outline in this book. The writing was technically excellent, and the dialogue was on point. But there was something imperfect about it. Part of my struggle was that I thought this book was going to be quirky and fun, but it didn’t quite make it there. Brenner maybe needed to write with a little more jaunt and insouciance. Or if whimsical wasn’t the goal, more dramatic and saga-type scenes would have helped me identify the mood. 

Brenner did impress me by keeping the characters true to themselves, right up until the very end. I appreciate an author who will take a risk with every single character, making them face their own truths in order to be authentic to the people around them. ❤

-calliope

Buy THE WEDDING SISTERS

Waiting on Wednesday~ The Lost Codex by Heather Lyons

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TITLE:
The Lost Codex(The Collectors’ Society #4)
AUTHOR:
Heather Lyons
GENRE:
Romance, fantasy
RELEASE DATE:
July 19, 2016

SYNOPSIS:
Allies, once inseparable, splinter until they break apart.
An insidiousness carves its way through Wonderland, challenging the land’s very existence.
Battle lines will be drawn as pages, long languishing in darkness, are finally illuminated.
Swords will clash, blood will be spilled, and lives will be lost.
For what is written can still be erased.

Add to your Goodreads shelf HERE

01 wow

Review (revisited): Life or Death by Michael Robotham

25674405Okay, I’m a bit perplexed. All of my friends loved this book. Even one whom I never would have imagined to! For me however it was just okay. I did enjoy it. But I found it too much of a dramatized Hollywood made for telly movie of the week.

For me, a novel has to be believable. Even a fantasy books have to be believable. That’s why I get so excited when I read one that makes me forget that the characters aren’t real! This novel, well, I just didn’t find it believable. Trust me, I have no issues in finding certain people in society that we perceive as good turning out to be the bad guys. I also have no problem with parts of the criminal justice system being corrupt. Nor do I have issues with people who have amazing good luck and bad luck….

But this novel just had too much of all of the before mentioned all wrapped together in a nicely decorated package for it to work well for me.

Yes, this novel was entertaining. Yes, I say again, I did enjoy the majority of it, but towards the end it had just went on for too long with endless improbabilities for me to continue to enjoy it.

Until next time…

Urania xx

Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now Life or Death by Michael Robotham