Review: Kiss Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

I love these quick and fun Willoughby Close novels. Trying circumstances send a person to Willoughby Close to rent a cottage on manor property. The person grows in various ways, gets a hand up if necessary, chooses a direction, and makes their life the best they can. Kiss Me is Ava’s story… and boy howdy does she need a cottage to live in after her rich husband dies and leaves her with next to nothing, not even one of their several homes. 

At Willoughby Close, Ava learns how to interact with people on a friendly and neighborly level, reach out when someone needs help, and show her true colors instead of putting on a façade. Ava finds more than just her strength at Willoughby… she also finds the handsome and sensitive alpha groundskeeper, throwing a wrench into all her plans to be independent. 

While Ava is surrounded by good people who want to help her, she does plenty of helping herself — and even taking the time for a young woman who could use a break. 

I love that Hewitt focuses on second chances, and it’s uplifting to see good people making something positive out of those chances. 

-Calliope

Buy KISS ME AT WILLOUGHBY CLOSE

Review: Garden Spells (Waverley Family #1) by Sarah Addison Allen

garden-spellsWhat in the world did I do before I found Sarah Addison Allen when i needed a touch of magic in my life? Oh my….I just love her books more and more….I think I’ve appreciated and loved each book I’ve read more than the previous ones….I really enjoyed this one from SAA…..I’m sad that I only have one more to go….what will I do now? Where will I find the magic in everyday life? Yep…she needs to write faster!!!

If you haven’t ever tried SAA, please do. I never expected to love her so much. Don’t go thinking it’s all unreal and not believable because I mentioned magic. There’s just a tad…and only enough to assure you that, yes, magic really does exist in the world…and who doesn’t believe that, or at least wish they could believe in magic?

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Review: Four Bridesmaids and a White Wedding by Fiona Collins 

What a hoot! Wendy’s getting married, and the bridesmaids do some early celebrating on a spa weekend. Except the spa part falls through and they’d never guess what was in store for them instead. 
Collins successfully writes this romcom with a true ensemble cast. Each woman reminded me of someone I know in real life, so reading this book became something of a movie in my head with my friends as the actors.  I won’t name names here, but if you read it you might recognize yourself. (For the record, I’m either Tasmin or JoJo.)

Four Bridesmaids is lighthearted for sure, but does take a somewhat serious look at the sacredness of relationships and our responsibilities in maintaining them. Collins also illustrates the strong bonds of female friendship. Sometimes all it takes is knowing you’ve found a kindred spirit to shine the light of truth on your life, and give you a happy nudge forward. 

-Calliope 

Buy FOUR BRIDESMAIDS AND A WHITE WEDDING ($2.99 hey now!)

Review: The Thing About Love by Julie James

Jessica Harlow (love that name) and John Shepard went to the FBI academy together – and everything was a competition.  After six years in different offices, they’re back in their hometown of Chicago, working an undercover operation… together. 

Julie James did her thing with this book – infused the right amount of levity, tension, witty banter, fierceness, and tenderness. In The Thing About Love, James gives us cool bromances, family get togethers, a trendy bar scene, and a trashy egomaniac of a mayor that you’ll love to hate. By the middle of the book, I KNEW Jessica and John, I rooted for them as they figured out how much of themselves to share, my jaw dropped when they moved their relationship in various directions, and I cried when Jessica finally saw her own truth. 

I couldn’t put down this book for the life of me. I read it while I brushed my teeth and then stayed up really late and by that time I was at 84% so I just stayed up even later to finish it.

I finally saw the last page at 2:30am, got 4 hours of sleep, and I’m not even sorry. It’s a really good story with badass FBI agents. If that’s not enough for you, there’s a Gucci happily ever after, too. 

-calliope

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Review: A Wedding in Italy by Tilly Tennant

Aaahh, Rome! Kate moves there from London with high hopes of getting a great job and living happily ever after. But boyfriend Alessandro’s family and coworkers throw a wrench into Kate’s plan. Of course Kate rallies… but at what expense? 

This book gave me a wonderful taste of Rome, from the quick bites to eat to walking the stone streets to Nonna’s cooking to coffee in the square. I lived in Rome for a little bit with Kate, felt her independence, her struggle to “make it” as a seamstress and real estate agent, and her frustration at not being accepted fully into Alessandro’s family.  

Kate’s a cute character, realistic and relatable. Tennant could’ve written Alessandro a little deeper, though. He was sort of on the periphery, even more so than his ex girlfriend and his family. I love a good romance, but half the romance is the guy! 

If you like all things Italian, pick this up – if only for the fast drives to the countryside, the pasta, and Kate’s attempts to ingratiate herself with Nonna! 

-calliope

Buy A WEDDING IN ITALY

Review: Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

remember-meThis was a book I really needed to read. I picked this one up from the charity table at my local co-op. I used to love Sophie Kinsella. It’s been a few year since I’ve read her so I thought I might revisit her writing again. Yesterday I decided to take this book with me in the car. Since moving to England I get car sick whilst reading my kindle. I wondered if it would happen with a dtb. To my delight it didn’t! I zoomed through a couple hundred pages. Then finished it today.

Here we have Lexi trying to regain the memories of the past 3 years. She lost the memories after a slight car accident.

I wonder how all of us would act and how lost we would be of we suddenly woke up one day and three years had passed. As You can imagine Lexi has a lot to come to terms with. She tries to reconcile this new, unknown Lexi with the Lexi she knew from before. Many of the pieces don’t fit and she struggles to make them all fit.

This has been a very tough week for me. My father’s birthday would have been this past week. A time I could always rely on knowing I would talk to him. His death hits me at times like waves. I felt greatly pulled under and lost the last few weeks. I lost a spider. Not a huge thing to many people I suppose, but gutting to me. And I’ve had the worst case of PMS I can remember. I’ve cried endless tears for no reason. I’ve been sad. I’ve been total drama queen. Like I said, it’s been a horrible week. Why say all of this in a review?

Because, books like this are seriously what has helped me get through the tough patches in my life. I loved this book because I could laugh a bit…because I could worry about someone else’s problems for a change…because I could sympathize with someone else and stop feeling sorry for myself…because for just a few hours I was able to forget…

I was lucky to find such a book as this for me just when I needed it. Thanks Ms Kinsella for making my week a little bit better. I truly needed it…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

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 

Buy THE LAST CHANCE MATINEE