Review: Mercy’s Chase by Jess Lourey

FBI agent Salem Wiley is a tough cookie who was raised by an even tougher cookie. In this book 2 of a series, Salem needs to solve a decades-old mystery involving Stonehenge, secret codes, and underground societies.

I never knew who to trust in this book (I mean, neither did Salem!), and that kept me on the edge of my seat. Even when Salem thought she knew someone… e.g. Agent Lucan Stone… she had no guarantee that her government partners, family members, or colleagues had her back.

I loved the adventure and the suspense, I totally missed a fabulous clue about who the bad guy was, and I got to be a fly on the wall watching conspiracy theories and patriarchal politics intersect. Plus, Salem Wiley pretty much had me by the arm, bringing me from one point of interest to another, giving me the sightseeing tour of a lifetime. Really a fun ride.

-calliope

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Review: Minding the Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

I’m so glad I found this Nantucket Legacy series. Fisher has converted me into a historical-Quaker-fiction fan — and I think I was eased into it because I already loved Fisher’s Amish stories.

Minding the Light certainly reflects the hardships in a burgeoning yet still isolated Nantucket community. It also demonstrates the hypocrisy of religion when what we practice doesn’t align with what we preach. Most significantly, it illustrates the many kinds of love we are able to share when push comes to shove.

Despite some tragic plot lines, I really enjoyed the Captain’s story. From his time on the boat to his trust in Abraham to his growing love for his children, the Captain was what we should all strive to be – dignified, respectable, caring, and open to hearing what others think of us.

This novel wasn’t all seriousness and morality lessons, though. There were Patience’s smirks, the children’s fun personalities, some love stories, a maverick business partner, and quite a caricature of a mother in law!

I was entertained, learned more about the Quakers, and enjoyed the oceanfront setting as I await my own vacation to the shore.

-calliope

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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

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If you’d like to read book one first, here’s my review and a link … SWEET TEA AND SYMPATHY

Review: The Restorer (Graveyard Queen #1) by Amanda Stevens

** spoiler alert ** Okay, so I really enjoyed plenty in this book. However I had to take off major marks for the actual mystery. I don’t know. The whole concept just didn’t mesh for me.

Let me explain. I had no issues with the whole ghost seeing thing. I enjoyed the whole graveyard/ghost bit. I had no issues with most of the mystery. But I did feel like certain bits were thrown in just to misguide or to confuse the reader. They had no real purpose in Amelia’s story and they just showed up at just the right time. It was just too smooth. My other major issue (probably more so than any other) was the fact that at the end we find out that one of the players in the novel was actually a ghost and Amelia had no clue. So her and her father have went through their entire lives and met/seen countless ghosts and this has never came up before? Again, I felt that Stevens just threw this in there to confuse us and to lead us off track. That was the real purpose. It’s fine for an author to try to confuse us with FACTS, but not to just invent a different reality to lead us off course is not.

I don’t suppose many would see an issue with something like this, but I did. I really would have enjoyed the book more if I didn’t feel everything was just so forced and convoluted just for the sake of trying to make it more interesting and more of a hard solve. The storyline was already interesting by Amelia herself and also with the added tension between her and Devlin. It didn’t need more. The actual story and enjoyment I could have gotten from both the characters and story was lost in all the added details that really added nothing to the story except more words and misguidance.

Not sure if I’m really vested in continuing this series. I want to see more of Amelia and see her relationship with Devlin evolve, but I don’t fancy another cheat by Stevens to do so…

JMHO

Until next time…
Urania xx

buy it here The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

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 XX 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.

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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

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Review: The Burning Room (Harry Bosch #17) by Michael Connelly

I just don’t know…I loved Harry Bosch years ago before he became a household name. Now, I just don’t have strong feelings for him. I don’t hate the books, but I certainly don’t love them. I’m oftentimes bored. I also feel that it all just fits in together too nicely at times. The detail to the crimes and the whole solving of them just isn’t the same as it used to be. I felt more involved and more present step by step. Now I just feel like an outsider that is watching everything fall into place in a nice neat pattern. It just doesn’t do anything for me. Maybe it’s because it’s cold cases now? I don’t know. I only know that although I will probably eventually get caught up in the series, that I am no great rush to hurry up and start the next book. I’m perfectly fine waiting a year or two to start the next one…and in the past I was always chomping at the bits waiting for release dates.

Harry Bosch used to be a very complex man who fought his inner demons. Now he’s just a mellow guy that’s biding his time…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now The Burning Room by Michael Connelly