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 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

Review: To the Moon and Back by Karen Kingsbury


There’s just something about books, that are based around real life tragedies, that suck me in. I read, and very much enjoyed, Karen’s 9/11 series. Being a wife of a public service employee, I find myself sucked into these types of stories very easily. When I saw that this was about the Oklahoma bombing, I knew the same thing would happen. And I was so right.

It’s been a while since a book pulled all these emotions from me. My eyes were wet more than they were dry. The feelings of loss and despair were so overwhelming, I was chocking on it. I know there is healing and comfort through faith, but while you’re in the midst of it, it’s sometimes hard to feel it.

There are two different stories happening here. One is about Amy. Not having read the first two Baxter books, I am unsure if her story played out in those, but in this book she is living with an aunt and uncle, since her parents and sisters were killed in a car accident. She may be 12 but she has this inner strength that makes me want to reach in and hug. She wants to get a sapling from the Survivor Tree, in honor of her being a survivor, and that basically sets the stage for the main story about Brady and Jenna.

Brady and Jenna were both children when their parents were killed in the bombing. Brady was in the building with his mom at the time, and he seems to be having a harder issue with letting God give him comfort. Jenna met Brady at the memorial when they were both 17. They had a connection of grief, but they never saw each other again.

But it only takes a moment to change the course of your life.

This book is about healing and finding hope, when yours is lost. It’s about holding on to those left behind. And it’s about having faith in someone stronger than yourself. Very powerful.

~Melpomene

Buy To the Moon and Backhttps://amzn.to/2HSXruu

Review: Somewhere Inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin

This is one of those books I read to just shut up a friend that was insistent that I read the novel. Every now and then I read a novel and I feel the exact same way…Going between feelings of wanting to bully or beg someone to read a novel that moved me a great deal, so I truly do understand why she demanded I read it. I usually ignore these pleas…but not this time…I went straight out and bought the book and proceeded to read it. Maybe partly to shut her up…hahahaha…but also I wanted to be moved as well….

Well then…this novel did move me. I loved these characters. Especially the Nan. Birdie broke me heart over and over again, and once I knew it was completely broken she would do a fast jig on top of it to make sure it was well and truly crushed!

We know from the very start how this book ends. No need to read the blurb (but if you do, it’s right there as well), it is on the very first page. Knowing the ending didn’t stop me from hoping against hope that it was just some bad dream and that it would all be okay. Not only did I love the characters and not want them to suffer, I loved the son and wanted him to know not only the inside of happy. I wanted him to know it inside AND out. I wanted him to grow up and do great things, as I know was the only option for him as an adult. What a wonderful lad and caring lad!

McPartlin has written such a wonderful and moving novel. I look forward to reading more by her. She engages us in such a way that we are not just bystanders at a terrible train crash, unable to look away, but she leads us from a happy place to the site of the crash and not only does this, but makes us willing to follow her…We do not follow her blindly, we go willingly.

Awww…man, lots of really feel good moments in her writing, but it’s all just so bittersweet…

Don’t miss out on this one…it’s worth your time…and your tears…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Somewhere Inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin