Review: The Myth of Perpetual Summer by Susan Crandall

I love stories like this. Historical, epic, tales of families and their pasts & presents. And of course, all families have secrets. Those secrets play a big role in this latest book from Susan Crandall.

Tallulah had a very unusual childhood. Growing up in a small town means being part of the gossip. And her family offered up much to gossip about. Her parents’ erratic, volatile relationship meant that she and her siblings were left to their own devices much of the time. It fell upon her shoulders to raise her younger siblings during the many times her mom was off saving the world.

So when Tallulah escapes and goes off to build her own life, she has little intention of ever returning. But she can’t stay away when her brother is accused of murder. And this family reunion of sorts will expose all kinds of secrets from her childhood.

Great story, wonderful characters, and beautifully written!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Myth of Perpetual Summer

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Review: Ain’t She a Peach by Molly Harper

Southern charm has a bit of a different meaning in Molly Harper’s Southern Eclectic series. I loved Sweet Tea and Sympathy for the big hug that city-girl-Margot’s extended family gave her when she arrived at their doorstep looking for a shoulder… and a job. In Ain’t She a Peach, Harper fleshes out the character of Margot’s goth cousin Frankie, a born and bred southern woman of many talents (including excellent makeup skills).

I really enjoyed getting to know Frankie. She is more than just silly clothes and rainbow hair and slitty eyes at the teenage troublemakers. Frankie is a pop-tart-lovin, jail-sleepin, cancer-survivin, Aunt-Tootie-toleratin lovable 30-something with a stubborn streak and a coroner’s license. With a nudge from Margot and company, Frankie learns how to speak up for herself, catch a crook, and finally let her guard down when it comes to love.

This book is funny, heartwarming, and filled with puppies. And okay yes, I also really liked that Sheriff Eric was part of the happily ever after. ❤

-calliope

Buy AIN’T SHE A PEACH

If you’d like to read book one first, here’s my review and a link … SWEET TEA AND SYMPATHY

Review: The Restorer (Graveyard Queen #1) by Amanda Stevens

** spoiler alert ** Okay, so I really enjoyed plenty in this book. However I had to take off major marks for the actual mystery. I don’t know. The whole concept just didn’t mesh for me.

Let me explain. I had no issues with the whole ghost seeing thing. I enjoyed the whole graveyard/ghost bit. I had no issues with most of the mystery. But I did feel like certain bits were thrown in just to misguide or to confuse the reader. They had no real purpose in Amelia’s story and they just showed up at just the right time. It was just too smooth. My other major issue (probably more so than any other) was the fact that at the end we find out that one of the players in the novel was actually a ghost and Amelia had no clue. So her and her father have went through their entire lives and met/seen countless ghosts and this has never came up before? Again, I felt that Stevens just threw this in there to confuse us and to lead us off track. That was the real purpose. It’s fine for an author to try to confuse us with FACTS, but not to just invent a different reality to lead us off course is not.

I don’t suppose many would see an issue with something like this, but I did. I really would have enjoyed the book more if I didn’t feel everything was just so forced and convoluted just for the sake of trying to make it more interesting and more of a hard solve. The storyline was already interesting by Amelia herself and also with the added tension between her and Devlin. It didn’t need more. The actual story and enjoyment I could have gotten from both the characters and story was lost in all the added details that really added nothing to the story except more words and misguidance.

Not sure if I’m really vested in continuing this series. I want to see more of Amelia and see her relationship with Devlin evolve, but I don’t fancy another cheat by Stevens to do so…

JMHO

Until next time…
Urania xx

buy it here The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

Review: Bring Me Back by BA Paris

There’s a thread of commonality in most psychological thrillers. Jilted lover, mental illness, murder and mayhem…it almost reads like a recipe. Many of them are still very good, though. However, I’m always excited when I read one that’s so far off that path that it rocks my reading world.

It’s been 12 years since Layla disappeared. Suspected at first of causing her harm, Finn has finally moved on. Quite unexpectedly, he’s found love and happiness with Ellen, Layla’s sister. But just as they are ready to begin planning their wedding, the memory of Layla rears its head. At first they brush it off as coincidence, maybe even someone playing a cruel joke. Eventually, though, there’s no denying that Layla, or someone pretending to be her, is back. The question is, what does she want? And where has she been all this time?

Outstanding. That’s about all I can say about this one. It’s dark and foreboding and you just know something bad is going to happen. And I gotta admit, I’m pretty good at figuring things out before the very end. But even I didn’t see this one coming!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Bring Me Back

Review ~ The Slap, by Christos Tsiolkas

Hello you beautiful people, it’s been too long! Well, I’m back today with a review for a book that, and this is going to sound full of hyperbole, kicked my reading mojo back into gear.

Christos Tsiolkas, up until recently, was an unheard of author, to me. However, that is just a product of my ignorance as he is well known in Australia and has achieved great success. Recently, I was in Australia visiting family, and of course, when I see a bookshop, I HAVE to go in. I was browsing around and this book just popped out to me. Maybe it was the cover, maybe the simple title, or maybe it just happened to be in my line of sight… Well, I took a gamble, and unlike in the casino, it actually paid off!

Set in contemporary Melbourne (Australia), The Slap centers on a family/friend barbecue and a series of events that leads to the titular “Slap”. Now, this slap is given by an adult to a 4 year old. Harsh, you might say… Well deserved, you may also say… It is this act that reverberates amongst all the guests, both for those that are on side, and those that disagree. Lives will never be the same again, secrets are exposed, true colours begin to shine through.

The format of the story is frankly nothing new; the back and forth chapters that are told from various perspectives are common place, especially with authors such as Jodie Picoult and Liane Moriarty. However, in this case, it really works and is not overused.

Plot aside, it is the characters that really kept me glued to the page. Set in contemporary Melbourne, we are presented with composite of contemporary society and issues including, race, identity, drugs, sexuality, and immigration. Each character is so fully fleshed out, that they could easily each have their own book and story. In fact, the one negative to this book is that it left me wanting more, a lot more – and that’s saying something considering the book is almost 500 pages.

If you want to check out a new author, read a story that will stay with you for a long time afterwards, take you on an emotional roller coaster, then you could do a lot worse that picking up a copy of The Slap.

Well, I’m off to continue reading another Tsiolkas novel!

The Slap

Until next time,

Pegasus.

Review: How Hard Can It Be by Allison Pearson

If you’re a woman over 40 — either working or going back to work after taking time off to raise children — you’ve got to read this. Actually, if you’re any woman you’ve got to read this. You’ll either identify with it because you’re just like Kate, or you’ll identify with Alice or Candy or Sally. If you’re a husband you should read it for its eye-opening characteristics. If you’re a single guy with a job, well, it might enlighten you too, man.

I’m just going to admit it. This is exactly what’s it’s like to be a 40ish woman going back to work after a decade off. Luckily I have a husband and colleagues who are a little more forgiving, but other than that, How Hard Can It Be is the cold unvarnished truth about raising teenagers, the pressures and interruptions of managing a home and extended family problems, the difficulty finding time to exercise, and the change of life that hits everyone with XY chromosomes.

It’s funny, authentic, heartbreaking. I furrowed my brow wondering how Kate could miss so many red flags with her kids, but in her defense, she had a LOT going on., And throughout every chapter I thought It is so nice to know I’m not the only one in this particular boat!

-calliope

P.S. This book reminded me of a couple of women in real life who are offering an online course for women wishing to re-enter the workforce after opting out to care for family. You can find details at Prepare To Launch U.

Buy HOW HARD CAN IT BE

Review: The Sugarhouse Blues by Mariah Stewart

Book two in a series, The Sugarhouse Blues continues the sister drama among Des, Cara and Allie, while filling in the family tree with their Aunt Barney and third generation Nikki.

Reading this is like watching a home renovation show on HGTV, the Real Housewives of Small Town America, and a Hallmark movie all rolled into one. You’ve got your historical theater renovation, the dwindling inheritance, a spitfire auntie, the cute-no-nonsense-friendly-yet-alpha sheriff, a boyfriend or three, and the sisters who love each other – most of the time – and have very little patience for each other’s antics. I love it all.

Read book one first so you’re not lost, then get a hold of this one, pronto. And then you can wait with me – watching Housewives and eating popcorn – until Ms. Stewart releases book three.

-calliope

Buy THE SUGARHOUSE BLUES