Review: Wicked Summer by Roma Brooks


I LOVE books about summer. And the beach. And food. And sisters. AND the east coast (USA). So I should have loved Wicked Summer. And actually, I did love the plot and most of the characters. I mean, three sisters meet at a B&B for their mom’s birthday… Family dynamics, old secrets, and marital drama ensue… What’s not to love?! The inn owners cook food fit for a king and in quantities enough for an army. There’s the smell of the ocean and a town fair. There’s fashion and trunks of vintage clothes. So so so much that should have been so so good. 

But the writing was awful. The dialogue was contrived at every turn. I cringed as early as page two because I just couldn’t believe the dialogue. Completely inauthentic. In addition, Brooks tried too hard to differentiate the characters, and it made them unbelievable as well. I didn’t need to be beat over the head with Hyacinth’s eating habits or Iris’ sourpuss attitude. I really didn’t need to be pushed into believing that the teenagers were disrespectful brats. Subtly is key, but it wasn’t applied in this book. And that’s too bad, because I loved the storyline so much. My solution was to try to overlook the amateurish writing and just enjoy the plot. Maybe you can too. 

If you’re not a stickler for excellent writing, Wicked Summer will entertain you seaside for only 99 cents. ūüôā 

2 stars for writing; 4 stars for plot

-calliope

Buy WICKED SUMMER

Review: Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley

01 amid “You don’t have a midnight soul, Frannie. Your soul is so bright, I look too close, I’d be blinded.”

Magical, romantic, beautiful and sweet. This series is all these things and more. I actually read this book slower than I normally would. I wanted to savor this world that I’ve come to love so much and I therefore I wasn’t ready for it to end. Heck, I know it’s over and I still have a hard time admitting that!

We’ve only ever seen one side of Franka, and it’s not the side that makes you love her. In fact, you want to stay far away from her. But after seeing what she’s endured her entire life, you can’t help to forgive her for her past embrace her in love.

Noc was a great hero to this story. He was thrust into a world not of his own, but he welcomed it and embraced it and helped save it. And to thank him for it, he was given Franka Drakkar, his Frannie. He knew she wasn’t the nicest person, but after an evening of whiskey and wine, he learns that there’s more to her and he wants all of it.

The slow burn between these two was perfect. I was so glad there was no rushing and Noc had the patience of a saint and knew she needed to get her head on straight before he could officially make his move. I loved each and every time Frannie discovered that she’s no longer the same person she was back when they first met. It tickled me to see her vulnerable like that. There was a secret part of Noc that he holds close to his heart, but somehow Frannie find a way to it and shows him that there’s more to him than this.

“I have a golden soul,” I said again. and he opened his mouth to speak buy I carried on. “I know this because the gods in my world and the God in yours would never tether a soul that was anything less than golden to the perfection that is you.”

And shall we talk about that epilogue? Simply perfect. In fact, I didn’t realize this was the final book until I started to read that. I was so very relieved to see the other couples and their families and even the newer couples find happiness as well. So bittersweet. So emotional. So very good.

~Melpomene

Buy Midnight Soul HERE.

Be sure and read the entire series so you can fully enjoy this one.

Wildest Dreams
The Golden Dynasty
Fantastical
Broken Dove

Review: Christmas at the Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant


Millie and Dylan. Jasmine and Rich. Spencer and Tori. The future in-laws, the cousin, the pub owners…  

Book Two in the Honeybourne series takes a look at three couples and the ever changing dynamics of their lives. This book engaged me more than the first in the series, and I liked Millie and Dylan even more. Spencer and Tori illustrated the ups and downs of wedding planning, and Jasmine and Rich the ups and downs of an established marriage. With all that’s going on in Honeybourne, sticking with the one you love requires lots of talking, alone-together time, and Millie’s special baked goods. 

I always like a bit of British chick-lit, and this one hit the spot. The happily ever afters were right on. Maybe it was Jasmine’s lightheartedness, maybe it was Spencer’s romantic side, or maybe it was just Millie’s magic! ‚̧

-calliope

Buy CHRISTMAS AT THE LITTLE VILLAGE BAKERY

Review: My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels #1) by Elena Ferrante

Layout 1Whilst I really enjoyed this book, I still have to wonder what all the hype is about. The beginning is what kept me going though page after page. I really want to find out what happens to the two girls…

I did enjoy Elena’s story of growing up. Not so much Lila’s. I don’t know. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t understand both girls. I do. To me, it’s just so obvious that Lila is a survivor and she neither needs or wants our pity. She is one with a lonely life…no matter how many people she will surround herself with later on in life…however, I strongly believe that the lonely life is one she has chosen willingly to have all that she wants in life….don’t understand? Read the book…

Elena on the other hand….She is a survivor as well….but her survival is based on her hard work…and I don’t think she will ever feel like a survivor or as a success…no matter how much fame or wealth comes her way. She will always be looking for some other fulfillment that I fear will never come…

Okay, so maybe I did like the book a bit more than I realise after writing this review…

However, I still feel sorry for one girl…so much so that I want to shake her because I am so angry. Elena is like another Melanie (GWtW) and Lily is Scarlett…I don’t have much patience for either type of girl really….

There are other ways in life to survive….

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Review: Piece of Mind by Michelle Adelman

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I admit, I’m a sucker for young adultish stories about people facing challenges of all kinds. ¬†Physical, emotional, mental…I love reading about how people overcome obstacles to succeed.

Lucy has a happy life.  Maybe some people would disagree, but as a victim of a traumatic brain injury at age three, her life is as good as she could hope.  Sure, she still lives at home with dad at the ripe old age of twenty-seven.  But they have their routines, and consistency is what she thrives on. She has trouble relating to people and depends on her dad to help her stay organized and on schedule.

All that changes, however, when her dad suddenly dies leaving her an orphan. ¬†Thankfully she has a brother to swoop in and take over, albeit a younger brother. ¬†Nate finds himself having to give up college, his band, his independence, pretty much everything as Lucy moves into his tiny apartment with him. ¬†Of course there are many struggles to adjust, and some of them don’t go so well. ¬†Lucy has to ask herself if she’s truly as helpless as she’s led herself to believe. ¬†Or has she been making excuses all these years?

This could easily be called a coming of age story even though Lucy is older than your typical young person who tries to find herself.  But there are real problems for Lucy as she faces the prospect of being on her own, finding romance, taking on a job. The story feels authentic from beginning to end and encompasses all you would imagine such a person going through.  Very enjoyable!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Piece of Mind

 

Review: Sweet Tomorrows by Debbie Macomber


Though it’s the last in the Rose Harbor series, Sweet Tomorrows read as beautifully as a standalone novel to me. 

Jo Marie and her inn work their magic on handyman Mark… until he pours out his heart and then lays down some surprising news. Lucky for her, newcomer Emily arrives, offering distraction as well as a helping hand. 

Emily needs healing of her own, but finds more complications when she sees a possible future home in the renovated house down the street. 

I loved the comforting tone of this story. Macomber wrote the inn as a respite, and it certainly came across as warm and inviting.  Jo Marie’s and Emily’s journeys were gradual and authentic, their feelings believable, and their resolutions satisfying. After reading Sweet Tomorrows I wished I had read the whole series! 

-calliope

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Review: Reaper’s Fire by Joanna Wylde

01 ar My feelings are bit all over the place for this book. I’m not sure what to think here. I was expecting one story and I got another. We met Gage in Reaper’s Fall. We saw a glimpse of Tinker too, but not too much. I was anxious to see what their story entailed, but it just didn’t turn out like I thought.

Let start out by saying that I liked Tinker. She was fantastic. She was way to good for Gage, but she still wanted him. Bad thing was he was undercover for the Reapers and had a girl/lover with this new club. He was with her practically the entire time. So this book had a slow burn in the romance department. Gage wanted Tinker, but he needed to finish this job, or his and her life would be on the line.

There was quite a bit of tension throughout this story. This club wasn’t doing things the right way and sometimes Tinker was mixed up in the middle of the mess and that stressed me out. I understand where Gage was coming from, but I wish he just dropped the undercover stuff and ran with Tinker.

While I am happy we get to see Gage’s story, there was so much I felt that should’ve been resolved. I felt that the ending was rushed and it left me wanting more. The timelines between this and Reaper’s Fall were a bit off, so I was getting mixed up. I know I’ll continue with the series, but I hope each book stays separate from now on.

~Melpomene

Buy Reaper’s Fire HERE.

Review ~ The End of the Affair by Graham Greene. 

You know, there’s nothing like going back to an old favorite! Make your favourite drink, prepare some favorite snacks, change into your comfortable clothes and sit back and relax into blissful familiarity. 

I’ve read this book multiple times and I still think that this is possibly one of the most complex, and realistic, dissections of human emotion.  Love, hate, confusion, lust and friendship, all play their parts. However, Greene does not do what most writers do and give each emotion it’s own familiar little compartment; love and hate often get mixed together, becoming one and the same, lust is often the focus, with confusion rearing its ugly head at the most inappropriate moments, and friendship arises, and ends, from the most obscure places. 

This is certainly not a plot driven novel. We know that the affair has ended before we even read the first page. We know another important fact as well, before we get even a quarter of the way through. This novel examines reactions, and the consequences of those reactions, whether it be physical or emotional. 

   We read books to escape, I get that. But sometimes it’s nice to realise that those effed up emotions that you feel at the most inappropriate of times, are completely normal, and quite frankly, inevitable. 

Give this classic a go – it’s short, but packs a major punch.

~ Pegasus.  

The End of the Affair

Review: Santorini Sunsets by Anita Hughes


Brigit is preparing for her dream wedding … to a dream guy. Blake may have come from modest beginnings but he’s rich and famous now. And he gets along well with Brigit’s family (but maybe too well).  

As Brigit, Blake and their families wrap up the last weeks of planning in picturesque Santorini, Greece, Brigit’s broody ex-husband shows up. 

Nathaniel still loves Brigit, but she’s pretty focused on Blake. I liked that Brigit stayed true to herself the whole time. She didn’t sell out or lie or betray. And neither did Blake and Nathaniel. Hughes wrote some terrific characters that didn’t compromise their own values. Each man and woman acted authentically, and the chips fell where they may.  

As always with Hughes’ exotically set novels, she richly describes landscape, sea, people, food, and clothing.  Reading Santorini was luxurious and satisfying, right up through the happily ever after. 

-calliope

Buy SANTORINI SUNSETS

Review: The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Series #1) by Bernard Cornwell

68527F’ing hell what a book. What in the world am I to read next as I can’t jump into book 2 right away. I need to savour this series and my beloved warrior, Uhtred Ragnarson…

That was all I could write when I finished this book and attempted to do a review. Really…I was just overwhelmed…now it has been several weeks and I still don’t know what to say…

Here is part of a conversation I had with with a mate when she told me she didn’t like historical reads:
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Really isn’t that different than some of the other stuff you’ve read honestly…except some of it is based on fact…King Alfred the great, the Danes and some of the battles…but people are people no matter the time…

Basically a young orphaned boy that discovers what it feels to loved and valued for the first time in the enemy’s camp…later his loyalties are tested time and time again…people want him to be educated, but he just wants to be a warrior…

A quote that won’t leave my mind from the book

‘Touch a harp,’ I said, ‘and it just makes noise, but play it and it makes music.’

The same is true about writing…put letters on a page and you just have words, but written by a gifted writer and true magic can happen….

Once again (never happens enough for me) a book I’ve read that is well deserving of its high ratings…
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That’s what this book was to me…true magic….I am ready to continue on with book 2…let’s be honest…I can’t stop thinking about book 1, even though it’s been near two months…I might as well follow my heart and carry on…

as testament to another quote from the book…

Destiny is everything

Until next time…

Urania xx

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell