Review: The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan

Christmas! And sisters! And Scotland! Could there be a better combo? I don’t think so. Ok actually there could be – if Morgan added in some cutie pie kiddos and an awesome set of grandparents and the perfect love interests for the sisters. Which she did. Sigh.

I really liked all the references to New York, Washington state, and then the European locations outside of Scotland. I felt like I was traveling from the comfort of my sofa. And the other thing I so enjoyed was Jason’s admission that being a stay at home parent is not all bon-bons and soap operas. Even though his realization and apology was a teensy bit out of character and not 100% realistic, it was gratifying to read it all the same.

Morgan did a fantastic job individualizing the three sisters, giving them different perspectives on the same childhood tragedy they all suffered, and writing a believable and heartwarming resolution. Love and forgiveness are powerful, especially when you have the support of those around you.

Morgan also added in comic relief in little Ruby, Martha the chicken, and Eric. Beautifully done!

-calliope

Buy THE CHRISTMAS SISTERS

Advertisements

Review: A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson

While I love Melody Carlson’s ability to create fresh plots with believable yet quirky characters, this particular novella required me to suspend my disbelief just a little too much.

Christmas in Maine is cozy – and it was fun to see Wendy and her son set up their little home and become part of the town. But the romance seemed contrived and totally out of character for a worrier like Wendy. And it happened way too fast! A couple of weeks might be enough time for a young single person to let their guard down and fall in love with someone they’re spending 24/7 with… but Wendy didn’t spend all that much time getting to know Caleb, and I thought she’d be a little less trusting due to her nature and just the fact that she’s a mom.

I’ve enjoyed other Carlson books in the past – Christmassy ones too. You can find the link to those reviews below.

-calliope

Buy A CHRISTMAS BY THE SEA

Read Calliope’s reviews of more Melody Carlson books (loved some of these!)

Review: Strong by Kylie Scott

“For a woman with so much pride, Martha, you have a very thin grasp of your worth.”

Let me start out by saying that this book can be read as a standalone. While it features characters from Kylie’s Stage Dive series, you can fully enjoy this without reading those. BUT, and I emphasize that, you really should read them. They’re super fun and have enough emotion weaved throughout them to make me very happy.

This story is ten years in the making. While Sam has always been in the background watching and waiting, Martha has been out front causing mayhem and grief. They are the epitome of opposites attract. I wanted to reach in numerous times and wring her neck. Martha has been watching the Stage Dive guys fall one by one but all the while she’s been watching their super hot bodyguard from the sidelines. She knows she’s all wrong for him, but she can’t stop the wanting.

Sam has been wanting Martha for 10 years. Hard to believe this spoiled, high maintenance girl would ever want him. But he’s not willing to wait any longer and sets his sight on her and slowly reels her in. Of course there are fireworks when this happens, and not just the beautiful, awe inspiring kind. The kind that blow things up and make you take cover.

Sam has the patience of a saint. Martha definitely didn’t make it easy but it was fun to watch. I’m glad that things worked out, and not just between her and Sam. She isn’t the most liked character and it’s been a long time coming and growing up, on her part. It was also fun to see the past characters join in the party and come together. love when series end like this.

~Melpomene

Grab Strong https://amzn.to/2DGEs8W

Dive into Stage Dive from the beginning
Lick https://amzn.to/2xT914T
Play https://amzn.to/2IjNAyQ
Lead https://amzn.to/2xSRHgw
Deep https://amzn.to/2IheI1e

Review: The Dinner List

Cool plot idea – dinner with any five people, dead or alive. Loved the nostalgia and romanticism running throughout. Didn’t love the predictability (something should have been saved as a surprise!) and the pouty protagonist. I did like the ending – but was surprised that i did. Good cast of characters except for the college professor who seemed superfluous. Movie star, estranged father, love of her life… I mean come on. Awesome. And not knowing at first which were dead or alive was pretty interesting.

The premise was so good! Execution could have been improved upon and that would have helped the first half of the book be less boring and drawn out.

-calliope

Buy THE DINNER LIST

Review: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Have you ever just really, really disliked a character in a book? Admit it, even though they’re fictional, sometimes these “people” are just so very unlikable. That was the case for me with this one. I just didn’t like her. But then she redeemed herself. Not gonna tell you how because that would be too spoilerish.

When Cass makes a seemingly minor choice on her way home late one rainy night, things will never be the same. Her decision to NOT stop and help a stranded motorist begins to haunt her as soon as she finds out that the motorist, a woman traveling alone, was murdered that same night. She torments herself with thoughts of what if…

And then she begins to forget things, to misplace things, to question her sanity. It doesn’t help matters any that her mom suffered from dementia. So Cass is certain that she’s going down that same path.

This is one of those stories that’s hard to review without giving too much away. The story drags a bit in places, and as I mentioned earlier I really didn’t like Cass for much of the story. But because I’ve loved the author’s other books, I stuck with it. And I’m glad I did. You kind of see what’s coming near the end but that last twist is something else.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Breakdown

Review: Dane’s Storm by Mia Sheridan

This is a book about survival, mentally and physically. From the prologue, I was instantly sucked in. I knew this was going to be a doozy of a story. My heart was in my stomach after those couple of pages. Whew!

Dane and Audra’s story is a heartbreaking one. What started out as a whirlwind romance eventually turned into heartbreak and resentment. What they went through, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. The unimaginable pain they have lived with through the years is more than most can bare. They never imagined they’d get a second chance. But the heart wants what the heart wants.

“You weren’t my just my first love. You were my once-in-a-lifetime.”

When circumstances bring them together, Dane offers to fly them back home to resolve an issue, but no one expected his plane would go down and they would be fighting for their lives. While they’re trying to survive they are forced to come to terms with what made them break all those years ago. I wish it didn’t take a plane crash to bring them to this point, but sometimes fate likes to rattle us.

This story is told from both POVs and in the end, I found myself feeling more for Audra than I initially thought. She tends to be rough and tough and hold things inside, but it’s a defense mechanism. She knows once she opens herself up, all her walls will come crashing down. I am thankful that Dane took initiative and started to chip at her defenses. She wasn’t the only one hurting. Once she realized that her heart could start to heal.

“You must bloom.”

This is a standalone which was released as an audible first, but I’m reviewing the ebook. I haven’t listened to it yet. Not sure if this a fast read, since I’m a speed reader, but all I know is that I couldn’t stop. I needed to know they would be okay. I needed to know they would be healed, inside and out. I needed it. And I’m glad I found out. Mia Sheridan has this way of writing that makes you feel it all. All the pain and sadness, and then the joy. Can you epilogue? My heart is happy.

~Melpomene

Buy Dane’s Storm https://amzn.to/2oEcSib

Review: Hole in the Middle by Kendra Fortmeyer

I gotta admit, this one made me skeptical at first. The whole (no pun intended) concept seemed so far fetched that I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to play out. But there’s something about this author, something about the way she blends words together to tell one heck of a story.

Morgan has always been different. Born with a hole in her torso, she’s struggled to fit in. Very few people know her secret, but she stills struggles with accepting herself. An absent father and a perfectionist, demanding mother don’t help matters any. Finally, she decides she’s tired of hiding her body under bulky sweaters and sweatshirts. So she bares her secret, slowly at first. As secrets go, though, it snowballs out of control. Wishing she could take it all back but unable to…

And then there’s Howie. He’s her exact opposite. Literally. Where Morgan has a hole in her abdomen, Howie has a protruding lump of flesh. Could their shared abnormalities be the key to curing them both?

This is such a good story. Beyond the medical concerns and insecurities and body image issues, it’s a story of accepting yourself. Not only for Morgan but for those around her. It’s a message we could all use more of in today’s world of staged perfection.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Hole in the Middle