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

Review: The Vicar’s Daughter by Josi S. Kilpack

Oh, my swooning heart! This book was so sweet and romantic. I swear there were butterflies in my belly the entire time. The Vicar’s Daughter had a very “Emma” feel to it, but with a twist.

Cassie hated the rules her parent’s instilled that only one daughter at a time would be put in society. So in order to speed things along she tries to help her very anxious sister in making a match. But as things began to progress, she starts to get feelings for the man she wanted for her sister. She tried to put her them aside but when push comes to shove, her heart can’t take the pain.

Mr. Glenside is new to society so he’s learning the ins and outs and soon finds himself caught up in a situation that had only one outcome. But in order to be true to his heart he must make the unfortunate decision and cause himself lots of trouble and gossip to be flung his way. Not exactly how he wanted to come out in society, but some things can’t be helped.

I loved Cassie. Her heart was in the right place, but her execution was flawed. Royally flawed It’s was very hard to see her suffer. But as a vicar’s daughter there was no escaping it. SHe was well known,therefore people were going to know what happened. She had me in tears towards the end. Gah!! My heart was invested and was wishing for no more suffering.

As I’ve said before, I love this Proper Romance series. This one had more religious tones than the many of them. Since it was about a vicar’s family, I’m not surprised. If you love historical romances with all feels, then I recommend you grab this one.

~Melpomene

Buy The Vicar’s Daughter HERE

Review: Preston’s Honor by Mia Sheridan

01-aa “Make a fuss.”

The last time I felt this way, after reading a Mia book, was when I read Kyland. This story is about love, forgiveness and honor. It will make you think and make you cry. You will be gutted. But most of all, this book brings attention to a very real issues that many people face in this country. In fact, it brought to my attention another serious issue that many women deal with, but often no one talks about it. I realize that many people read books differently and some won’t even think about this. This story has so many things going on, many real life issues, that this may get glanced over. But to me, it broke my heart. Like the quote up top, make a fuss. Don’t settle. You’re worth fighting for.

SYNOPSIS
There were two brothers—identical twins—and though I loved them both, my soul belonged to only one.

Annalia Del Valle has loved Preston Sawyer all her life. The daughter of an impoverished migrant farmworker, she grew up as an outcast in what was no more than a tiny, cooped up shack in California’s Central Valley. But her heart found freedom in the land, in the wide-open spaces of Sawyer Farm, and in the boys who were her only friends.

Preston has yearned for Annalia since he was a boy. But a sense of honor kept him from pursuing her until he’s unable to hold back any longer and their worlds—and bodies—collide one hot summer night. A night that sets off a chain of events that will alter their lives forever.

Now Annalia is back in town after disappearing without a trace for six long months. Determined to reclaim her heart, her life, and the baby she left behind—the son who was created in a moment of lust and love and pent-up yearning.

Preston has survived grief, a ravaging drought, and the despair of heartache, but he’s not sure he can survive Annalia again. And he might be unwilling to try. Will pride and bitterness keep him from the one thing he’s always longed for?

How do you heal what is irreparably broken? How do you forgive that which is unforgivable? How do you discover that real honor comes not from circumstance, but from the place deep in our hearts where truth resides? And how do you move beyond the wounds of the past to discover that some loves are as solid as the ground beneath your feet, and as enduring as the earth itself?

This is not your usual love triangle. Trust me. Read this book with an open mind and open heart and you can thank me later. This is a story about a girl who keeps everything to herself. It’s about not standing up and thinking you need to take what life hands you, without complaint. It’s about not being strong enough to say, “Enough!” Lia represents a lot of people. She thinks she’s all alone and keeps to the sidelines of life. She’s created this wall around her heart so she doesn’t get hurt, but in doing so, this wall is slowly closing in on her and not allowing love to reach her. When you don’t feel love, you can’t give love. She was slowly dying inside but didn’t understand how to fix herself. What she needed to do was break free and let others in. But unfortunately she learned that the hard way.

I loved Preston. He was so strong, even when he thought he was weak, he was strong. He would do anything to keep his family afloat during tragedy after tragedy. There is no better person than him. He loved with a fierceness that even if it cost him everything, he would do what it takes to keep going.

“I vowed to prove to her that her secrets – the tender places inside her – were safe with me. And I promised myself I’d trust her with my tender places, too.”

I made the mistake of starting Preston late one night and read until about 12:30, then cried myself to sleep. I woke up at 6 to finish up. What an absolute beautiful and very thought provoking story. Mia is a word wizard. She created a world that I feel a part of and makes me want to step in and live it. This book and these characters are so very real. You will be moved to tears and your heart will be full. So many emotions.

~Melpomene

Buy Preston’s Honor HERE

Review ~ The Muralist, by B.A. Shapiro

24001083I was looking forward to this novel as I liked Shapiro’s previous novel, The Art Forger. An easy and fun read, The Muralist is split into a dual narrative, set in present day and in the 1930’s. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, featuring real people, you’ll love the 1930’s narrative. Guest appearances include: Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Lee Krasner, and, Eleanor Roosevelt. Through this narrative, we learn a lot about the real historical people, and the events and circumstances of 1930’s America.

Although entertaining, this story did tend to gloss over some important parts of history, and, seemed to sometimes name drop for the sake of it, although an argument for entertainment value can be made to support this stylistic choice. Generally speaking though, the characters were entertaining and somewhat fleshed out, and they definitely helped the development of the plot.

This is definitely a sit back with a glass of something and read sporadically throughout the week, kinda book. You can put it down and pick it back up without having to re-read chapters. I recommend it if you’re a fan of historical fiction, dual time narratives, and fun characters. Be warned though, you may well spend more time researching the real events and characters, than reading the book! Learning is never a bad thing though, so pick yourself up a copy, sit back, get a glass of your favorite tipple, and immerse yourself into Shapiro’s world.

Until next time,

Pegasus.

The Muralist

Review and a Revisit: This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

how-it-alwaysOur very own Thalia reviewed this novel a few weeks ago, but it’s so important I wanted to do another review in hopes that you will pick up this fantastic novel…Plus, I REALLY wanted to review it too! I loved it so much!

I loved this novel. I couldn’t stop thinking about this novel for days on end. I wish so much that every family in the world was as amazing as this family. I wish that every child that felt different had a Nan that went out of their way to make them feel normal. I wish all schools were led with forward thinking leaders that had the best interest of the children in mind.

The truth is, I personally feel, that it’s a vast minority that are like this.

I think I’m pretty open-minded. Or at least I try to be. I feel as if I understand what some people must feel. Reading this novel…well, how naive was I? This book made me see some things from a totally different angle. Yes, it’s one thing to hear an adult say that they always felt different…it’s another thing to actually see a young child going through something so difficult.

This book is so important.

Again, the parents of this novel did an amazing job! I loved them so very much. The siblings, again, A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!! I know parents and families like this DO exist.

However, if I had one complaint about this novel, it’s that the parents did too great of a job. That the siblings were too amazing. That the school leaders were too brilliant. That the fellow students were too perfect.

I don’t know. That sounds horrible. I so loved Claude and Poppy. THEY WERE VERY REAL TO ME…they broke my heart over and over again, and they gave me such joy as well. I want the happiness. I don’t want them to be hurt. I understand they were hurt. However, as in real life, much of the hurt we feel as preteens/teens is in our mind. No, that doesn’t make it less real. It’s still a valid hurt. It’s still a real hurt. I’m just saying that it wasn’t as bad in the school for Claude and Poppy as they imagined it to be. The peer group in the school DID accept them.

I don’t think the real world is like that. I think it’s just as bad as Claude/Poppy imagined it to be…no…I think it’s much worse. I don’t want that to be true…but I am afraid it might be.

That saddens me to say that maybe, for me…and families that are going through this…well…maybe the book was a small disappointment in that regards. It might be hard for the Poppy’s in the real world to relate to such perfect families and friends, when their own family and friends are very different.

I don’t want that to be true…I want the Poppy’s of the world to be free to be themselves. I want them all to be happy at the end.

I don’t know how to reconcile this desire with the reality of so much of the world…

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

Review: The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz

01-ab “Love what they destroyed.
Destroy what they loved.”

This story is nothing like I’ve read from Ms. Reisz before. NOTHING. In fact, this story has to be one the most insane stories I have ever read. I went in knowing nothing. No spoilers or anything, just a vague idea that it’s about thievery and bourbon. That’s it. But when I finished I sat back and wish I took Dramamine for all the twists and turns this book had. A truly wild ride.

SYNOPSIS
When Cooper McQueen wakes up from a night with a beautiful stranger, it’s to discover he’s been robbed. The only item stolen—a million-dollar bottle of bourbon. The thief, a mysterious woman named Paris, claims the bottle is rightfully hers. After all, the label itself says it’s property of the Maddox family who owned and operated Red Thread Bourbon distillery since the last days of the Civil War until the company went out of business for reasons no one knows… No one except Paris.

In the small hours of a Louisville morning, Paris unspools the lurid tale of Tamara Maddox, heiress to the distillery that became an empire. But the family tree is rooted in tainted soil and has borne rotten fruit. Theirs is a legacy of wealth and power, but also of lies, secrets and sins of omission. The Maddoxes have bourbon in their blood—and blood in their bourbon. Why Paris wants the bottle of Red Thread remains a secret until the truth of her identity is at last revealed, and the century-old vengeance Tamara vowed against her family can finally be completed.

You must go into this story blind to truly appreciate the way the story unwinds itself on the pages. Deception, lies and revenge are the main themes of this tale. And one seriously messed up family. I won’t reveal spoilers, but I will say that you’ll never see the end coming. While some parts in this story will make you squirm, if you just take a deep breath, you’ll be fine.

To be honest, I held off reading this because I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this more, or even as much, as her Original Sinners series. That series is bananas. But I am so glad I took a chance. Tiffany has a writing style that is so addicting, you can’t help but be sucked in. You won’t be disappointed in anything you read from her.

~Melpomene

Buy The Bourbon Thief HERE

Review ~ Truly Madly Guilty, by Liane Moriarty.

26247008I was first introduced to Liane Moriarty when I read Big Little Lies (Big Little Lies – review) and I now consider myself a big fan. So, it was no surprise that I also loved her newest work, Truly Madly Guilty. This novel is a bit of departure from her previous novel; yes, there is still the same format – a buildup to a big reveal – but, this time, the reveal isn’t a “who’s the killer, what’s the secret” type of deal. Mortiarty’s latest novel take a more nuanced, emotional approach to unwrapping the story and revealing what happened.

As with previous books by Moriarty, character development is key to the story. Moriarty manages to present realistic, fleshed-out characters that pull the story along without the need for flashy incidents of disingenuous shocks. Indeed, the shocks in this novel are real; they happen to everyday people, and even though they may seem tame in comparison to traditional thriller writers, they really hit home due to the genuine portrayal of the characters.

A cathartic, emotional roller coaster, Truly Madly Guilty, will pull you into the world of seemingly normal suburuban characters, who go through abnormal circumstances. You may cry, you may laugh, and you may well find yourself with cold food/drinks as you read “one more chapter”, but most of all, you will be glad that you once again joined the journey of superb characters written by Liane Moriarty.

Until next time,

Pegasus.

Truly Madly Guilty