Review: A French Wedding by Hannah Tunnicliffe 

Lovely story, but not what I expected. I thought, “A wedding! France! Cheese! Pastry!” And I got a wedding… but not until the very very end; France… well a part of France  caught very much in between England and France in language and culture; cheese… yes, but not everyone liked it; and pastry… oh the very best pastries and cakes made by chef Juliette. 

Juliette set aside her personal baggage to be Max’s personal chef. For Juliette, life was even easier that way. When Max invited a bunch of friends to stay at his home for the weekend, Juliette was ready to cook for them like a madwoman. But things went wrong at every turn due to the shadow Max’s mood cast. Whether he meant to or not, Max kind of ruined everything for his friends and his chef. And that kind of ruined the story for me. 
Good writing, good plot, depressing main character. 

-calliope 

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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

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Review: Four Bridesmaids and a White Wedding by Fiona Collins 

What a hoot! Wendy’s getting married, and the bridesmaids do some early celebrating on a spa weekend. Except the spa part falls through and they’d never guess what was in store for them instead. 
Collins successfully writes this romcom with a true ensemble cast. Each woman reminded me of someone I know in real life, so reading this book became something of a movie in my head with my friends as the actors.  I won’t name names here, but if you read it you might recognize yourself. (For the record, I’m either Tasmin or JoJo.)

Four Bridesmaids is lighthearted for sure, but does take a somewhat serious look at the sacredness of relationships and our responsibilities in maintaining them. Collins also illustrates the strong bonds of female friendship. Sometimes all it takes is knowing you’ve found a kindred spirit to shine the light of truth on your life, and give you a happy nudge forward. 

-Calliope 

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Review: Solo by Jill Mansell

Solo is a mad adventure by two women who have their hearts set on something: for Holly, it’s Max, handsome hotel owner;  for Tessa, it’s being left alone and not being tied to a man. Unfortunately for them both, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” 

Tessa is involved with Max’s brother Ross in a love triangle of the most unexpected kind. Holly tries too hard. And Ross and Max have their own agendas! Cougar Antonia brings her own melodramatics that turn everyone’s lives into a soap opera. 

I always adore the fun and crazy that Jill Mansell writes, and this is no different. The characters are unique from book to book, Solo’s plot is multilayered, and the dialogue is believable even when it’s over the top. 

Thanks Ms. Mansell for taking me completely out of reality and into the world of fancy hotels, infidelities and karma, and simple girls who live in simple cottages quite happily enough. 

-calliope

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Review: Bookends by Jane Green


I love this story with an ensemble cast. Four friends grow up: one flies the coop, one gets married, one finds too much love, and one finds not enough. Green does a wonderful job making Cath the main character without taking time or page space away from the others. The writing is excellent, the plot moves at the perfect pace, and most importantly, there  aren’t so many characters that I have to work to understand who’s who. 

Favorite part: the bookshop, of course! 

Second favorite part: Cath’s romantic interest. Of course. 😉

This British rom com — about the development of relationships, the relative degrees of loyalty, and finding your true self behind the defensive walls we put up — is an oldie but goodie. I wanted to read a Jane Green novel, I did, and now I’ll be reading more!  

-calliope

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Review: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

25650078I absolutely loved this book and I devoured it in less than 24 hours and really wish I could go back for more second helpings!

How refreshing it is to have an author that doesn’t feel the need to rush two people into a bed to keep the reader engaged and invested in the story. Of course we knew (or hoped!) what was going to happen, but it was a joy to read the pages until we got there. It was also refreshing to read a novel about a girl who didn’t rely on the world (or a man) to help her. She had her moments of self-pity, but instead of wallowing in it, she picked herself up and moved on. She didn’t let her disappointments and the downfalls that were happening in one part of her life prevent her from enjoying the other parts that life has to offer.

We could all learn from that.

Perhaps this isn’t my usual book that I absolutely love, but what’s not to love about a book that keeps you up late at night reading it, loving it, and wanting more like it? One mustn’t get stuck on the same old menu day after day…sometimes it really pays off to try the chef’s special and go outside your comfort zone…whether or not we’re discussing books or eating, it’s best to reserve final judgement until you’ve at least sampled the offerings…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review

buy it now The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E Reichert

Review: Good at Games by Jill Mansell

  
I’m always up for a few hundred pages of fun when they’re written by Jill Mansell. If you’ve never read her British chick lit, pick up Millie’s Fling or Staying at Daisy’s – my two Mansell faves. And if you’re already a fan, try Good at Games. It’s not Mansell’s best, but it IS unique and enjoyable. 

Main character Suzy finds herself engaged to a man she doesn’t love – or even really like anymore. Meanwhile, Suzy has chemistry with his brother, she lives next door to her ex-husband, and takes in her long-lost half sister. Between the the love triangle, misunderstandings, and sneaking around, Good at Games is a comedy of errors that had my head spinning! 

Though a little convoluted for my “fluff” tastes, this book gets thumbs up for fresh, fun characters and a happily ever after. 

-calliope

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