Review: Christmas in London by Anita Hughes

Anita Hughes writes for the reader who wants to escape. No matter if you’re reading Hughes’ beach vacation novels or her holiday books, you’ll remove yourself from reality, suspend your disbelief, and enjoy a ride through luxury. 

In Christmas in London, baker Louisa gets whisked away to London by television show producer Noah. She and her cinnamon rolls are needed for filming a Christmas special with a handsome, charming, world-famous chef and cookbook writer. 

When I read Hughes, I just latch on to the main character and forget my real life. In London, I got to wake up to the smell of coffee and pastry, buy fancy new clothes, take walks with the cutie pie producer, take cooking classes with the famous chef (and hang out in a mansion with him), and live the tv star life for a week… not to mention get a happily ever after (and watch a new friend get one too).

Not a bad way to spend 288 pages.  

-calliope 

Buy CHRISTMAS IN LONDON

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Review: Most of All you by Mia Sheridan


Mia Sheridan books melt my heart. They really do. And Most Of All You was no exception. From the very first chapter, my heart was in my belly. The pain and sadness was real. Mia brings out all the feels in this beautiful story about being broken and finding the strength to put yourself back together.

Gabriel and Ellie had horrible beginnings. And I do mean horrible. The worst. No matter what I type out, nothing could explain the heartache that these two have felt. But as with all Mia books, the hurt in necessary to get to the healing.

How had it come to be that I was broken and lost, heading home with a man I barely knew, a man I couldn’t begin to understand, a man who both soothed me with his gentle manner and scared me with his knowing eyes? And yet as I lay there, I admitted he was also a man I somehow innately trusted when I trusted no man. Ever.

My goodness.

I love Gabriel. He was pure in his feelings and naive in his actions. He’s lived a half life. In fact some would say he was alive but not living. That is until he met Ellie. He saw something in her and he needed it. Too bad it took her a while to understand what that was. She was too broken to believe that she was good enough to help anyone.

“You have hands for creating beauty.”

“I don’t create beauty, Eloise, I just reveal what’s already there.”

That is what he did. He dusted her off and chipped away at her outer shell until she shone with blinding beauty and realized that she was loved. There’s was a slow burning relationship. That made it all the more sweeter, in my eyes.

“I don’t mind chasing you, Ellie. Just let me catch you once in a while.”

In true Mia fashion, I was crying a few times. Ellie was so strong and yet not. She wanted to be loved, plain and simple. She needed an angel. She needed Gabriel to show her the way to healing.

“I win every time I’m bold in how I love. I want to say I win a hundred times a day, a thousand, by loving the sunrise, and the wind, and the way raindrops sound on my window…

“And you. Most of all, you.”

Read this book.

~Melpomene

Buy Most Of All You http://amzn.to/2zexvVw

Review: Dignity by Jay Crownover

Can I just start off my saying that guys with glasses are sexy? They really are. When I read the dedication, I knew I was going to like this book. I may be a little biased but I don’t care. To me, glasses make the characters more real. I can’t explain it, but they do.

I started Dignity right on the heels of the previous book, Honor, and I’m so thankful I didn’t have to wait. I was rather jittery and anxious and I needed to know what was happening. From the very first chapter, I had this nervousness that I couldn’t shake. Noe and Stark were complete opposites, and yet, they were the perfect match. I needed them together. When we saw their first interaction, in Honor, I knew there was going to be something. But when he told her he wouldn’t help her, I wanted to reach in and shake him. His stone heart needed to be softened and this girl was the perfect girl to do it. And then he realized I was right, but it was too late. Now he has to find her and pray that she’s in one piece, so he can prove to her that he needs her.

I liked Noe. Her life sucked. Completely and totally sucked. Her past has shaped her and made her hard. She is fine on her own. She doesn’t need anyone. But when she asked Stark for help, that took so much out of her. I feared that if she ever got away, she wouldn’t get past that hurt.

Stark has been a robot for quite sometime now. No heart, all business. But when he finds that perfect girl, there is nothing anyone can do to stop him from moving mountains to protect her from harm. I loved seeing these two together. They were hot, I’ll just say that. Their chemistry was off the charts.

I knew what it was like to be hungry, so hungry you thought you might starve. When you finally got a bit, no matter how big or small it was, you inhaled it like you might never eat again.

This world is full of anti heroes, which I find are the best heroes. Noe and Stark set out on a mission to rid the town of utter trash that is infecting their world in a disgusting way. They don’t hold anything back. They will whatever it takes to make the Point into the city they want it to be. With the help of many of The Point’s resident heroes, they will move on from their pasts and create a future that is clear and bright. And in doing so, they find a way to be together and realize that they need each other more than they ever thought. They make a great team.

I find this dark and twisty world fascinating and I am rather intrigued as to what the future holds for them.

~Melpomene

Buy Dignity(The Breaking Point #2) http://amzn.to/2yaJeqa
Buy Honor(The Breaking Point #1) http://amzn.to/2xu9xEc

Review: The House at 758 by Kathryn Berla

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A late-nighter for me.  That’s what this one was.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I finished it in less than a day.  It was that good.

Krista’s life isn’t going so well.  Still grieving the unexpected death of her mother, she’s also trying to cope with her dad’s new live-in girlfriend.  Her best friend is gone for the summer leaving Krista with nobody to confide in.  Rather than facing her problems head on, she escapes.  To a tent she’s pitched on her roof, to her car, anywhere but where her issues lie.

Her dad has tried to convince her to resume therapy but she’s not interested.  She’d rather, quite obsessively, watch the house at 758.  Why does this particular house hold her interest?   And what is she hoping to accomplish?

When she meets Jake, she begins to have a purpose.  Still, she has so many things she’s dealing with that having any kind of a romance proves difficult.  Then her grandpa comes for a visit.  He’s also mourning the loss of her mother, his daughter.  Can he help Krista find her way back to those she cares about?

Lots of things going on with this story, but they blend together seamlessly.  I loved reading Krista’s thoughts, especially in her self-imposed isolation on the roof.  She’s grieving but also avoiding grieving at the same time.  And the house at 758?  There’s a reason she can’t stay away.  It won’t take you long to connect the dots, but the full story doesn’t come until closer to the end.

Note:  Although this is the debut novel from this author, the Spanish version was released several years ago.  This new release is the English version.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The House at 758

Review: The Proving by Beverly Lewis

I really adore Amish fiction. Beverly Lewis is a pro at delivering believable plot lines, excellent writing, and characters so real that I start mimicking their facial expressions when reading dialogue. 

Mandy is a capable girl who left her Amish community because she was emotionally hurt. I was so glad Mandy ended up with a reason to return to her home – even if it wasn’t her first choice to do so. Though she had some family struggles and some uncertainty with the community and faith she grew up with, Mandy’s sister helped her see the truth about herself and her true home. 

I love all things B&B-related, so I was in my element with Amish baking on the inn’s farm table, sheets drying on the line, and guests who came for respite and left refreshed.  Getting to know the guests is always fun, and the carriage rides aren’t bad either. 

I read The Proving after a slew of September mediocrity, and I was very relieved to be able to effortlessly enjoy the inn, the sisterhood, and the faith of Mandy and her family.  
-calliope

Buy THE PROVING

Review and Giveaway: Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

“So many people dream of living in a house with a white picket fence. Little do they know, there’s no such thing as a perfect family, no matter how white the picket fence is.”

I am always so excited when I get to read a new Colleen Hoover book. I’m so anxious to see what she’s going to do to my heart. From the very first sentence I knew I was going to like Merit. From the second one, I knew this family was going to be different. So I orderd pizza for the kids and I settled in to spend the evening reading. Best night of my year.

Without Merit is a story about a girl who keeps all the many secrets of her family. She hates it but she does it. But everyone has their breaking point, and when Merit reaches hers, the Voss family won’t know what hit them.

After the emotional book, It Ends With Us, Colleen switched gears and went back to her Slammed roots and gave us this fabulous story. This is a book that I recommend you read along with your teens. It deals with some tough and very poignant issues that many of them, and us, face today. I personally, will be having my kids read this. In fact, this will be their first CoHo book and I’m rather excited over this fact. While they may not have to deal with many of the issues being faced in this book, they may find that Merit is just like them.

This story is a mass bundle of quirkiness and emotion. I was drawn in by the over the top idiosyncrasies of each member under the Dollar Voss roof. I wish I knew this family. They’re as unique as their names. I don’t wanna say anymore, because you need to just dive in and immerse yourself in this world.

Without Merit isn’t a romance story really. It’s a life story. At first I thought Merit wasn’t the “usual” character, but then I got to thinking, “What is the usual character?” She stressed over and struggled with daily life. She feels her family is a bunch of crazies. She wishes for peace in her world but doesn’t know a healthy way of finding it. I don’t know about you, but she sounds pretty “usual” to me.

“It used to feel like I was on top of the world. Then one day, I noticed that it felt like I was no longer on top. I was just floating around inside of it. And then eventually, it felt like the world was on top of me.”

Colleen, thank you for writing a story that hit me right where I needed to be hit. Thank you for giving me lots to think about in my children’s and my own life. You bury me.

~Melpomene
Enter to win a signed hardcover of Without Merit HERE

Buy Without Merit http://amzn.to/2yB3kqU

Review: The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

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Diane Chamberlain does it to me every time.  She writes stories that are so amazingly compelling that I find myself rushing through them while at the same time savoring the brilliance of the story.  Her latest is even better than that.

Tess has everything she’s ever wanted.  She’s surrounded by family and friends, close to graduating from nursing school, and engaged to the love of her life.  Then one mistake, one night, changes everything.  A drunken encounter with a strange man leaves her pregnant.  Suddenly her entire life is in upheaval.  Having a child out of wedlock in 1944 is out of the question.  So she does the only thing she knows to do.  She leaves the life she knows behind without much of an explanation to anyone.

When she settles in North Carolina with the father of her child, things definitely don’t go as expected.  She’s seen as an outsider by almost everyone in the small town.  Her new mother-in-law doesn’t care for her, and neither does her sister-in-law Lucy. Although Henry’s kind to her and she wants for nothing, he doesn’t really act like a husband.  And then there’s the accident.  Lucy’s dead, and everybody blames Tess.

But as her outsider status grows, so does her suspicion that something’s going on with Henry.  Not only is he increasingly distant, he’s gone for long periods of time during the night.  Oh and there’s that stash of hidden money she comes across…

I loved this book.  That’s not really surprising because I love this author.  But this one’s a bit different.  The historical fiction element was wonderfully written and made for one heck of a story.   This story will likely go down as one of my favorites from Diane Chamberlain.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Stolen Marriage