Review: Falling Hard (Falling for the Freemans Book 2) by Kate Hewitt

No need to read book one to enjoy this second installment of Falling for the Freemans. Hewitt made it easy to get to know Quinn Freeman, youngest brother in the family, commitment-phobe, and general screw-up. Well… in the past. And it was smooth sailing figuring out Quinn’s direction once he arrived in his former hometown of Creighton Falls:  fix up the old family inn, and bring some vitality back to the town. 

I adored Quinn’s plumber, Meghan. What a strong woman, to choose to be the primary caretaker of her sister with special needs, and deny herself her own dreams to be an integral part of her family and her town. 

Quinn and Meghan aren’t perfect in Falling Hard, but they sure are cute together. Hewitt brings in ancillary characters just enough to add interest to the plot and tie the series together. This book focuses mostly on Quinn and Meghan — and it works for this small-town romance. 

-calliope

But FALLING HARD ($3.99!)

Review: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

25150798-1Ah, Lisa See has done it again.

Her books are always a favourite because there is so much more than what is written on the pages. I can’t think of any of her novels that haven’t inspired me to research about what she’s writing about. I remember being obsessed with the love-sick maidens…of foot binding…of the treatment of those of Asian descent during the war…of paper sons…and this novel was no different…

Ahhh…tea….I used to enjoy loose leaf teas so much once upon a time…oolong and pu erh were always my favourites. I couldn’t stand the herbal teas…or the fruit teas…however, I had no clue about tea cakes! How could I not know this? So I read a bit, then I go off to google a bit…read a bit…order some tea….read a bit more…sigh….enjoy my tea…read a bit more….

This is what Lisa See always does…she changes me in some small way…yes, a couple of weeks after reading this novel, I’m well stocked with tea again for the first time in 3 or 4 years…but it’s more than that…Lisa See…well…her writing still sings to me…That’s what it was like the first time I read her…”Peony in Love” sang to me. I actually read it 3 times in a row! It was the song of my heart.

So maybe this novel hasn’t changed the person I am…except for now being inspired to be stocked up in tea….but Lisa See sings to me and enables me to see more clearly who I am…I can’t explain it…but I know it…every time I read one of her books, it doesn’t change me…but it makes me feel more…well…myself….I’m not Asian…I don’t have her heritage…but her novels sing to me none-the-less….

No other author touches me as Lisa See does…I’m lucky to have found her and honored to read anything she write…

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now The Tea Girl at Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Review: The Art of Us by Teri Wilson


Harper Higgins (what a great name!) is a reserved art history professor looking for tenure, until she literally bumps into soldier/dog-walker/artist Tom Stone and realizes she’s really looking for something more. 

Oooooh I just loved that Tom Stone. Talk about the perfect alpha … he’s an ex-soldier, doesn’t take crap from anyone, lives on a boat, doesn’t talk about his feelings but he HAS feelings, and shows his sensitive side when he’s supposed to. 

Harper is a pain in the neck who won’t get out of her head or out of her own way. But between her friends, her part time job teaching social art classes, and that handsome Tom Stone… well, Harper figures out a couple things that might do her some good. 

I liked the art discussions — I learned some fun facts! — as well as Frank’s flowers, the art classes (it’s a big thing where I live – go as a group to paint a picture while having a glass of wine), and the chemistry between Harper and Tom. The writing was fun and funny, even when addressing some serious issues. 

I even liked the villain, in that he tried to be tricky but really wasn’t smart enough to pull it off. As my teenager might say, “Oooh Lars, you just got burned.”

The Art of Us is totally entertaining on many levels… 

-calliope

Buy THE ART OF US ($3.99!)

Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

01-aThe Wallflowers was my first introduction to Lisa Kleypas, then I went on to The Ravenels. Without saying any spoilers, I will say that I highly recommend you reading those before you take a dive into this book. You’ll feel such a stronger connection once you realize who the story is about. Very exciting. She’s a fairly new to me author, so I haven’t had to wait long for this book, but I was no less excited for this story.

The main thing I like about this book was how different Pandora was. She’s not the usual swooning maiden who’s perfect in all things. She wanted to continue to be who she is and not have it all taken away if she got married. She wanted to maintain her identity and not have it stripped from her. Plus without sounding mean, she was less than “perfect” physically. She there were parts of her that just made her more human in my eyes. Again, there is no perfect person, I hope you understand what I’m trying to say.

Gabriel was major swoon worthy in my eyes. He was smitten almost immediately and was willing to step up to the plate and be the man he needed to be, even if he never wanted this. He was trying to be the honorable man. I love seeing couples in the courting stages. It’s rather sweet. And let me tell you, Gabriel has all the right moves.

“You’re the reason the earth turns and morning follows night. You’re the meaning of primroses and why kissing was invented. You’re the reason my heart beats. God help me, I’m not strong enough to survive without you.”

I LOVED seeing Sebastian St. Vincent. He was just as amazing as he was in his own book. He still loves Evie, even after 30 years together, and it’s a great example for Gabriel. While he hasn’t always made the right decisions, he’s shown him what’s it like to be a good husband and protector. Plus he knows what to say when it’s needed.

“Dangerous creatures, wallflowers. Approach them with the utmost caution. They sit quietly in corners, appearing abandoned and forlorn, when in truth they’re sirens who lure men to their downfall. You won’t even notice the moment she steals the heart right out of your body-and then it’s hers for good. A wallflower never gives your heart back.”

I read that part three times with a silly grin on my face. Truer words never spoken.

And by the way, if the next book is going where I think it’s going, I’ll be barricading myself in my room all release day, just so I can get transported into this magical world that Lisa has created. I recommend you do the same.

~Melpomene

Buy Devil in Spring HERE

Review: The Seekers (Book 1 of The Amish Cooking Class series) by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Amish couple Heidi and Lyle live a simple life on their farm, but with Lyle out most of the day and no children to care for, Heidi finds her days empty. When Heidi advertises a cooking class – that she will teach in her home kitchen – an unexpected variety of participants arrives. They’re nervous to start cooking, but also nervous about being judged by a new group of people. 

The Seekers is very predictable, and an easy, straightforward read. I kind of needed something like that when I read this, so I appreciated the no-effort, feel-good experience! The Seekers wasn’t overly simplistic, though. The author wrote in a few characters that I myself judged … and by the end she had taught me a little lesson about that. *hangs head in shame* 

Once in a while it’s necessary to get back to basics, on an Amish farm, with a cooking class worthy of The Breakfast Club, and a lesson much more important than the pie crust turning out. I found that in The Seekers. 

-calliope

Buy THE SEEKERS

Review: My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Think Devil Wears Prada, but with a stronger protagonist and a nicer antagonist. And parents who live out in farm country. And a cute guy. With a tasteful tattoo. 

Sigh. 

Katie loves her job — and London — but not so much the people. Good thing for her, then when she’s needed at the family “farm” and actually has an opportunity to show her marketing skills and get a little sweet revenge. And fall in love. Action on the farm reduced me to tears of hilarity, and I literally read while brushing my teeth because I needed to see out the rest of Demeter’s bespoke resort activity. Well done you, Katie! 

I appreciate that Kinsella put family at the heart of this story – Katie’s family, Demeter’s family, and the true family at the London office. Though I always adore a satisfying romance, this might be one of the first times I eagerly anticipated the next friends-and-family move over the the next romantic move. 

So… there was more than one happily ever after in My Not So Perfect Life. What went around came around, to the winning pleasure of Katie, her friends, her family, and her man. We won’t talk about the losers. 

-calliope

 Buy MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE

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