Review: The Last Chance Matinee by Mariah Stewart 

I’m so glad I started this series! Allie and Des find out they have a half-sister… and the trio is required to cooperatively restore an old theatre in order to get their inheritance after their dad’s death. Restoring a theatre – what fun!

Watching the three characters learn about each other and grow in themselves was great. Steward develops the characters evenly, even though the story is told through Cara’s eyes. The introduction of Allie’s daughter shows Allie’s heart – at a point in the story I had just about had it up to here with her! And Stewart’s illustration of Des’s flair for fashion gives positive personality to this third sister – and adds another light, fun aspect to the story. 

I love how open Cara is to new friendships with her sisters and the small-town neighbors watching them restore the theatre. Reading the story from Cara’s viewpoint was an exercise in optimism, hopefulness and adventure. And as I sit here writing this, I’m thinking I really can’t wait for the next book … so I’m signing off and checking the internet for Book Two’s pub date. 🙂

-calliope 

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Review: Red Clover Inn by Carla Neggers

Carla Neggers writes strong and unique main characters in Red Clover Inn. Charlotte is a tough marine archaeologist who is taking some time off to attend her cousin’s wedding … and mentally recover from a diving scare. Greg is a diplomatic security agent attending the same wedding and recovering from a gunshot wound. 

I was pleasantly surprised that these two took time to develop a sturdy friendship before having a physical relationship. I enjoyed watching them maintain their cool facades – what they’re used to in their jobs – while intuitively seeing what’s really underneath in the other person. Neggers managed to write the push and pull without being annoying or cliche – outstanding!

While Charlotte and Greg leave the wedding in London and fo their separate ways, they coincidentally end up in the same inn in Massachusetts. They fall in to solving a couple of little mysteries and meeting some of the many locals who are related in convoluted ways. Neggers could have done without trying to explain how everyone was related – I skipped over those parts because they weren’t necessary to the plot, and they held me up. 

I do think the writing is classic Carla Neggers – a really good plot but technically uneven. The creative storyline and intriguing characters made up for it, and I couldn’t put down my kindle because I needed to know what was happening next! 

-calliope

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Review: Find Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt 

This is book three of a super cool series by Kate Hewitt. Even though you can read them as standalones, they’re each so good that I think you should read them all! 

I thought I wouldn’t like cool, haughty, richy-rich Harriet with the snotty daughter, but I did! Harriet fit herself right in to Willoughby Close, despite her own discomfort, for the good of her children. She made some missteps, screwed up a few things marriage-wise, and was more materialistic than I could stomach … but Harriet redeemed herself by showing heart and diving in to a journey of self-discovery and development. 

I so enjoyed Harriet’s adventures with her children, the elderly neighbor, and the family next door. I also appreciated Harriet’s time spent alone – where Hewitt showed the reader quite clearly Harriet’s struggles and growth.  Who knew I would come to love Harriet so much? And that after she changed she would be loved just as dearly by her family and new friends. 

I can’t say enough about Hewitt’s masterful development of characters. Applause from me for writing light stories with meaningful messages and big heart. 

Here’s the link to my reviews of all the books I’ve read by Kate Hewitt

-calliope 

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Review: A Million Little Things by Susan Mallery


Zoe, her friend Jen, and Jen’s mom Pam are all at different stages of life – Zoe is living alone after a much needed breakup, Pam is afraid to love again after losing her husband, and Jen is getting used to married-with-a-baby life. Life is complicated for each of them, and made even more so because of the dynamic among the three ladies.  

This is a cute story filled with cliches and stereotypes… predictable but enjoyable. I liked Jen’s brother and his lovely way of wooing Zoe without being obnoxious. Pam annoyed me with her meddling, and Jen annoyed me with her self-centeredness. However, I’ve acted just like Pam and Jen in various circumstances, so their ways are pretty realistic! 

A Million Little Things pales in comparison to Mallery’s past novels, but it’s worth a look if you enjoy light women’s fiction. 

-calliope

Buy A MILLION LITTLE THINGS

Review: Falling Hard (Falling for the Freemans Book 2) by Kate Hewitt

No need to read book one to enjoy this second installment of Falling for the Freemans. Hewitt made it easy to get to know Quinn Freeman, youngest brother in the family, commitment-phobe, and general screw-up. Well… in the past. And it was smooth sailing figuring out Quinn’s direction once he arrived in his former hometown of Creighton Falls:  fix up the old family inn, and bring some vitality back to the town. 

I adored Quinn’s plumber, Meghan. What a strong woman, to choose to be the primary caretaker of her sister with special needs, and deny herself her own dreams to be an integral part of her family and her town. 

Quinn and Meghan aren’t perfect in Falling Hard, but they sure are cute together. Hewitt brings in ancillary characters just enough to add interest to the plot and tie the series together. This book focuses mostly on Quinn and Meghan — and it works for this small-town romance. 

-calliope

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Review: The Art of Us by Teri Wilson


Harper Higgins (what a great name!) is a reserved art history professor looking for tenure, until she literally bumps into soldier/dog-walker/artist Tom Stone and realizes she’s really looking for something more. 

Oooooh I just loved that Tom Stone. Talk about the perfect alpha … he’s an ex-soldier, doesn’t take crap from anyone, lives on a boat, doesn’t talk about his feelings but he HAS feelings, and shows his sensitive side when he’s supposed to. 

Harper is a pain in the neck who won’t get out of her head or out of her own way. But between her friends, her part time job teaching social art classes, and that handsome Tom Stone… well, Harper figures out a couple things that might do her some good. 

I liked the art discussions — I learned some fun facts! — as well as Frank’s flowers, the art classes (it’s a big thing where I live – go as a group to paint a picture while having a glass of wine), and the chemistry between Harper and Tom. The writing was fun and funny, even when addressing some serious issues. 

I even liked the villain, in that he tried to be tricky but really wasn’t smart enough to pull it off. As my teenager might say, “Oooh Lars, you just got burned.”

The Art of Us is totally entertaining on many levels… 

-calliope

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Review and Revisit: Before We Kiss by Susan Mallery

20140419-225500.jpgCalliope has already reviewed this novel a while back. I waited several months to include mine…one because I wanted her review to stand out as she is the true “HEA” reader between the two of us, whilst I am merely an imposter that pretends to from time to time (reel your neck in…I don’t pretend to love anything…hahahahahaha, so this review is a true reflection of how I felt about the book). I also waited in the hopes of perhaps reminding you to pick up this book if you have forgotten to do so after all the new release excitement has dissipated (yes I really am that thoughtful…you’re welcome).

In this novel we have the continuation of Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series. If you’re familiar and love the series then this one won’t disappoint. This is the story of Sam and Dellina. They are forced to work together after a misunderstanding that has caused them to avoid one another for months. Once they are forced to confront each other it’s only a matter a of time before they are forced to confront their feelings for each other as well. Sam’s parents are a bit over the top, but perhaps there *really* are people out in the world like them….I just haven’t been fortunate (or…errrr…unfortunate) enough to have met them.

There are plenty of hints throughout the novel of more names and romances to come as this series continues….Before long Fool’s Gold will be a booming metropolis!

Until next time,
Urania xx

ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review

Buy it now Before We Kiss by Susan Mallery