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 XX 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

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Review: The Runaway Wife by Dee MacDonald

Oh Connie. Taken for granted by her husband and adult children — and not done a thing about it for years. Finally she and her little car set out find freedom on the open road, but of course they find so. much. more. I can’t really say all of what she finds because that would be giving away the good stuff, but let’s just say she has quite a few adventures and makes some new lovely friends who really appreciate her. Connie also meets up with some old friends who remind her how much they value her.

One big surprise is the ending. I don’t mean the ending ending, but like the last few chapters. I didn’t realize I was going to be reading such heartwarming stuff… but be forewarned and have a tissue ready.

Apart from a little morality misalignment (but that’s just me personally), I really just loved the entire book. Maybe because I sometimes feel taken for granted or ignored, like Connie did, I could truly relate. Or maybe because I’m feeling the itch for a good road trip, I was happy to live vicariously through Connie. And it could even be that I so loved this book because it provides a helpful perspective on seeing people and situations in a hopeful, positive light.

The end of the book mentioned a future sequel, so I’ve now added Dee MacDonald to my “regularly search for this author on NetGalley, Amazon and Overdrive” list.

-calliope

Buy THE RUNAWAY WIFE

Review: Fat Chance by Nick Spalding

I enjoyed the story. I also found myself laughing out loud more than once at the diary entries. I might have even gotten a wee bit emotional at the running race.

However, I found myself getting a bit wound up more than once over the body shaming and name calling. I mean, Zoe and Greg faced discrimination daily. Faced judgement based solely on the size of their clothing. Yet they didn’t seem to mind doing the same type things to people they knew who were overweight or those that weren’t “perceived” as attractive.

Perhaps some might say I am being too politically correct. I don’t care. Body shaming and any other shaming (be it how someone dresses or looks) really bothers me. More and more each day it seems. I don’t want to lighten up over it. I don’t care if you’re making a joke about it. Or you’re just being judgemental amongst yourselves. I don’t think it’s right.

I think it’s a bit hypocritical to have two characters that are trying to change their lives because they are sickened by being judged or ashamed of how they look and feel and then have them turn around and do the same thing. Personally, it really turned me off and bothered me.

This would have been a great book for me if the main characters could have had a wake up moment of realising that their size doesn’t determine their worth…or that how someone dresses doesn’t make them crazy. Or so many other things that bothered me here…but as it is, it was just okay for me… #sorrynotsorry

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Fat Chance by Nick Spalding

Review ~ Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Phewf! Well, that was an intense week of listening! I’m going to hold my hands up shamefully admit that I’d held off from reading anything by the super popular author Liane Moriarty, simply because her fiction was so often labeled as chic lit. I conjured up aspersions of a bodice ripper type novel, empty angst or some other unfair generalization. Well, if this novel is classed as chic lit, then sign me the hell up! 

Big Little Lies follows a group of parents in a seaside Australian town. They have their rituals, meet at the school drop-offs, and have their cliques and issues. A new parent moves to town and soon makes fast friends, and indeed enemies. 

The novel starts off in an interview type manner, and we soon learn that something has happened at a school PTA quiz night. As we hear witness accounts of may or may not have happened that night, we are taken back to when Jane first arrives on the scene. 

What makes Moriarty’s novel such a hit, is not the plot; the plot, while good, is not one so unique that you wouldn’t ever see in a novel. No. Where Moriarty excels, is in her characters and their interaction. There is such razor sharp authenticity in how these parents and friends talk and act, that you really feel like you know them, and are there living with them. 

This is a brilliant novel that will keep you glued until the very end. If you’ve yet to start reading Moriarty, then Big Little Lies is a great place to start. 

~ Pegasus 

Big Little Lies

Review: The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg


I am addicted to these Fox and O’Hare novels. Federal agent O’Hare and genius criminal/informant Fox work together to catch super bad guys across the globe. Working so closely together, they’ve managed to peek into each other’s personal lives… and even fall in Like. 

The Pursuit gives the reader a double whammy. The pair finish a case in the beginning chapters and quickly land a new case… One they can’t even put on the books. One that sends them to Belgium and the Paris underground. It’s a con. Maybe the biggest con they’ve ever pulled. And their lives depend on them making zero mistakes. 

Part comedy, part MacGyver, and part Ocean’s Eleven, The Pursuit is the perfect light read to get me laughing and holding tight to the edge of my seat in the same chapter. I’ll read them as fast as Goldberg and Evanovich can write them. 

-calliope 

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Review: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

15790837Oh my word. I just love David Sedaris. I would love to try to match wits with him at least a few times…perhaps pick up trash with him on summer afternoon. I love to enjoy his books via audio simply because he is just so delightful. His voice and his delivery is half the fun when it comes to enjoying his book.

This one is no different than any of his other books. I love hearing about his family. I marval at how he has moved beyond his wayward youth…

I also never giggle more with any other author. I am often shocked and outraged. So much so that I can’t stop laughing! Outraged or not, he is spot on! That’s what makes him so brilliant! If only we were all so brave to be so honest and open with the things we see around us…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

Review: The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard


Emmy and Nathan take a trip to the French countryside to work on their relationship. But then Nathan gets, um, distracted. And then it all goes in the toilet and Emmy needs to find a better way to spend her holiday. Like maybe hanging out with the cute gardener, Ryan.  Or making friends with the older and wiser French maid. Or going into town and finding herself. 

I loved the food, the friends, the comraderie, the French phrases, the cute accountant Alain, and the eye candy in the garden. This is exemplar chick lit — light and sassy and easy, but with a substantial storyline, fleshed out characters, and sharp dialogue. 

My most favorite thing about this book is the Amazon listing that says it’s the first in a series. Yes! 

*happy dance… awaiting number two*

-calliope

Buy THE LITTLE FRENCH GUESTHOUSE (only 99¢ for kindle!)