Review (quick and dirty #5 FINALLY): Summer at the Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard 

I’m all caught up! Here’s the fifth and final Friday night quick and dirty book review: 

I love this series set in the French countryside! Emmy is a wonderful Jane-of-all-trades at Rupert’s lovely inn, and there’s no shortage of chick-lit drama. “Interesting” guests, crazy ex-wives, and family secrets drive the plot forward fast and furiously. I like that Emmy is soft-hearted yet doesn’t stand for any nonsense… and the other characters appreciate that about her as well. What most impresses me is how Pollard writes about real life issues with lightness and whimsy. GUESTHOUSE is so fun that you don’t even realize you’ve read about divorce, grief, mortality, trauma, and tolerance. All you feel is love, laughter and friendship — which are balms for all of life’s messy parts. C’est bon. 

-calliope

Buy SUMMER AT THE LITTLE FRENCH GUESTHOUSE

Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) by Alan Bradley

bottom-pieI just love little Flavia…so wish I could go back in time and read these as a 10 year old! I would have been mad for her then! Such a cheeky little bugger! But whom I kidding? I love her now as a 46 year old!

If you think this is a short review, well you’re wrong…You don’t need me to tell you what the book is about, you just need me to tell you to go out and read it…so I am telling you now…it doesn’t matter how young or old you are…go out and buy this book…we all need a little Flavia in our lives!

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Review: Any Day Now by Robyn Carr

Sierra shows up at Sullivan’s Crossing and finds more than just her brother and sister-in-law with welcoming arms. Sierra finds a father figure, some peace of mind, and Connie (Conrad) the firefighter. 

Carr did a wonderful job pacing the romance and the family dynamics, making the relationships realistic as they grew. I liked that Sierra and Connie had a support system, and that the people around them were part of the fabric of the story – not just background characters. 

I’m not exactly a fan of the “quirky drifters appearing at the campground” type setting of these Sullivan’s Crossing books … but the endearing characters make up for it. 

-Calliope 

Buy ANY DAY NOW

Review: Kiss Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

I love these quick and fun Willoughby Close novels. Trying circumstances send a person to Willoughby Close to rent a cottage on manor property. The person grows in various ways, gets a hand up if necessary, chooses a direction, and makes their life the best they can. Kiss Me is Ava’s story… and boy howdy does she need a cottage to live in after her rich husband dies and leaves her with next to nothing, not even one of their several homes. 

At Willoughby Close, Ava learns how to interact with people on a friendly and neighborly level, reach out when someone needs help, and show her true colors instead of putting on a façade. Ava finds more than just her strength at Willoughby… she also finds the handsome and sensitive alpha groundskeeper, throwing a wrench into all her plans to be independent. 

While Ava is surrounded by good people who want to help her, she does plenty of helping herself — and even taking the time for a young woman who could use a break. 

I love that Hewitt focuses on second chances, and it’s uplifting to see good people making something positive out of those chances. 

-Calliope

Buy KISS ME AT WILLOUGHBY CLOSE

Review: Garden Spells (Waverley Family #1) by Sarah Addison Allen

garden-spellsWhat in the world did I do before I found Sarah Addison Allen when i needed a touch of magic in my life? Oh my….I just love her books more and more….I think I’ve appreciated and loved each book I’ve read more than the previous ones….I really enjoyed this one from SAA…..I’m sad that I only have one more to go….what will I do now? Where will I find the magic in everyday life? Yep…she needs to write faster!!!

If you haven’t ever tried SAA, please do. I never expected to love her so much. Don’t go thinking it’s all unreal and not believable because I mentioned magic. There’s just a tad…and only enough to assure you that, yes, magic really does exist in the world…and who doesn’t believe that, or at least wish they could believe in magic?

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Review: I am Death by Chris Carter

i-am-deathHaving just turned the last page I have to say this book was fantastic. It was also one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read. Talk about taking deviance to a whole new extreme!

You’ve read one thriller, you’ve read them all right? I mean some might be better or more thrilling (see what I did there?) than others, but at the end of the day they are all the same basket of fish, eh? Wrong! This one had me hooked from page one and breathless all the way to the end.

I had to find out more about Chris Carter since this was the first time I had picked up one of his books. After looking up the author’s profile here I admit to finding his history quite fascinating as well…

Can’t wait to read more from this series and anything else Carter has penned!

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review.

Buy it now I am Death by Chris Carter

Review: Silent in the Sanctuary (Lady Julia Grey #2) by Deanna Raybourn

silent-sancI didn’t like this one nearly as much as I did the first book in the Lady Grey series. I have to admit, I started to give it a mediocre rating. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it, I just felt it was missing some of the charm and the prepossessing nature of the first novel. Let’s also be honest and admit I felt some of the banter between Ms. Grey and Brisbane was missing…or there wasn’t enough of it. Julia Grey seemed a bit fickle at times, wanting her independence and then being a bit disappointed when Brisbane didn’t pressure her or demand answers. However, I have to be honest and say that’s often how it is in real life, is it not?

However, the few talks that Julia has with a few characters at the end really made me love this book. There really was some profound tidbits in there that made me sit back, stop the book, and marvel at how even a light, fun read can make you ponder life.

Now living in England, stories such as these really are a delight since I am familiar with many of the places that are mentioned. I was often able to see that some life long traditions and some favourite places of the characters are now some of my favourite traditions and places of my very own.

There were several storylines going on in this novel, so I shall leave the description and plot summary to the book’s cover and to other reviewers, and, instead, leave you with a few of my favourite quotes from this one…

I took a sip of my tea and averted my eyes. The tea was bitter now, and I put it down again.

‘Ah, the taste of regret,’ Magda said softly. ‘You wish you had not come. But you did, and you must let me finish the tale I have begun.’

Those are facts. Are they the truth? No, for they do not tell you of the heart, and that is where truth lives.

It is astonishing how words can cut one to the quick and yet leave no outward trace. One would have expected a lash like that to leave a mark.

Life is either far too short or far too long to make yourself miserable.

‘But surely such things are better left unknown, I too have the curious cousins, but we do not speak of them.’
‘That is the difficulty, my dear. In your family you do not speak of them. In my family, we celebrate them. In Italy, one must always be conscious of la bella figura, of presenting one’s best self. Among the Marches, we please ourselves and the devil take the rest.’

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn