Review: A Miracle on Hope Street by Emma Heatherington

Everyone loves a Christmas miracle, and though agony-aunt columnist Ruth Ryans has advised many a citizen on how best to obtain theirs, she has no hope for her own. It all started when Ruth’s dad died, and her zest for life, her job and her friends kind of just went kaput.

But a couple of pals unexpectedly lift her up, and Ruth muddles through the letters for her column, realizing that the loneliness of her readers jibes with her own. She tries reaching out to others – and it works, nudging her out of her own head. There’s one big hurdle — finding her mom — and that thread carries throughout most of the book, providing a backbone for the subplots.

This is a feel-good book that gives hope to people missing their loved ones — without being contrived or syrupy sweet. I pegged the ending way back in the mid to early chapters, but that’s okay, because a happily ever after is a happily ever after… and that’s what I’m looking for 6 weeks before Christmas!

By the way, you’ll meet the most beautiful people in this book. My favorites are Gloria – what an angel – and Nicholas, the pianist. They spread joy far and wide, and Emma Heatherington is wonderful for writing them.

-calliope

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Review: The Reckless Club by Beth Vrabel

First, apologies for not writing this the first week of October when The Reckless Club was first released. You or your kiddos have waited too long already to read this book. Perfect for middle schoolers, The Reckless Club is a tweenage-appropriate glance at The Breakfast Club, with the extra twists and turns you’d expect from kids this age.

Beth Vrabel did a great job writing varied characters who have personal quirks that showed me a little bit of their souls. And better yet, the kids got a glimpse of each other’s souls, what made them tick, what made them hurt, and what made them better people.

In this world of divisiveness, where people say things on social media that they would never say to someone’s face, we need commentary on the benefits of seeing each other as human beings. The Reckless Club takes that stand, shining a light on the real people underneath what other people see as a drama queen, a nerd, an athlete…

This book reminded me not to judge until I’ve walked a mile in the other person’s shoes. It would make a great Christmas gift for any middle schooler you know, or their teacher.

-Calliope

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Review: Oh My Stars by Sally Kilpatrick

Love this author. Kilpatrick writes small southern tales with such authenticity. In Oh My Stars, Ivy finds herself playing Mary in a living nativity scene reminiscent of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Lucky for Ivy, Joseph is played by the town pediatrician. Why lucky? Because the baby Jesus turns out to be a real swaddled child in need of help.

So what else? Well…

Heartwarming, realistically seasonal (Christmas is never actually all ice skates, snowflakes, and hot cocoa), and uplifting. Paints the picture of a dysfunctional family without pejorative connotation. And makes me want to read more Sally Kilpatrick, Christmas or not.

-calliope

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Review: The Last House on Sycamore Street by Paige Roberts

The Last House on Sycamore Street frames up a slice of life as a suburban mom. You’ve got the preschool /playdate social stratosphere, the how-much-should-i-work dilemma, and the keeping up with the Joneses drama. Except the Joneses are the former owners of the last house on Sycamore Street.

I liked this book – I could identify with the mom and her struggle to work but not work too much. I LOVED that she and her husband had a great marriage – something not every contemporary novel ensures. And the kids were cute – their smarts, their antics, and their occasional obnoxiousness.

But the former homeowners. Whew. What a piece of work those two are. And there’s the rub. I thought with a nutty couple like that, there would be bound to be a plot twist or a psychological thriller element. No such luck, and so I was a bit disappointed. (But to be fair, it was an expectation I came up with from thin air!) So… not a very climactic story, but a contemporary look at life in the suburbs from a people-pleasing mom’s perspective.

-calliope

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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: Love on the Rocks by Kerry Evelyn

How refreshing! Love on the Rocks is a sweet but realistic view of what happens when a fun-loving, horse-riding, God-fearing young woman has her life turned upside down in an accident. I liked being able to read Kat’s mind as she tried to be the woman she was before the accident – what a window into the soul of someone struggling mentally and physically. And it was great to see Kat continuing through the motions of faith – going to church, helping others, maintaining healthy friendships – as just a normal part of life, even when she didn’t feel normal and was making bad choices in other areas of her life. Kerry Evelyn wrote terrific friendships, too. I was uplifted seeing all the love and support Kat had around her.

My favorite part of this story was Kat’s love for her horse. It represented her past life and her future life, and when her horse was injured it provided a concrete illustration of how sometimes you have to carry on with a different sort of life than you had before — but it’s still life worth living!

Second favorite part of the book? Easton and JC! What a wonderful brotherhood and friendship they shared. Even though there was plenty of brooding and complaining, my heart was warmed seeing JC support Easton’s love for Kat in so many ways.

Love on the Rocks has the requisite romantic happily ever after AND the bonus happily ever after of a woman who felt so broken for so long, and finally was able to see herself as whole.

-calliope

Buy LOVE ON THE ROCKS for kindle. More details below.

About Love on the Rocks

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Kat Daniels regrets the day she chose barrel racing over her fiancé. After a year of reckless choices that led to an incident she’d like to forget, she’s back in Crane’s Cove wondering how it all went wrong and trying to pick up the pieces. Easton Crane has loved Kat for as long as he can remember. But when she shows up after rejecting his proposal a year ago, he’s more confused than ever. After all, he’s already sacrificed six years of his life to care for her after her traumatic brain injury. If his proposal couldn’t keep her in town, what was it that brought her back? Was it him or was Kat hiding something? When a hurricane hits Crane’s Cove and threatens the life of Kat’s beloved horse, the two are faced with the challenge of working together to save her. Can they battle the storm of old memories and wounds to rebuild their love stronger than before?

About Author Kerry Evelyn

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook Page | Facebook Reader Group

Kerry Evelyn has always been fascinated by people and the backstories that drive them to do what they do. A native of the Massachusetts SouthCoast, she changed her latitude in 2002 and is now a crazy blessed wife and homeschooling mom in Orlando. She loves God, books of all kinds, traveling, taking selfies, sweet drinks, and escaping into her imagination, where every child is happy and healthy, every house has a library, and her hubby wears coattails and a top hat 24/7.

Blog Tour Stops

10/15 – Spotlight Post on The Story Sanctuary

10/16 – Review on Susan Loves Books

10/17 – Review on Britt Reads Fiction

10/18 – Review on Random Book Muses

10/19 – Spotlight Post on Reading is My Superpower

10/20 – Spotlight Post on Where the Reader Grows

10/22 – Review on Christian Book-a-holic

10/23 – Review on Writing Pearls

10/24 – Review on Lovely Loveday

10/25 – Spotlight Post on Remembrancy

Optional Fun Stuff

Check out the Love on the Rocks Soundtrack for music which inspired the story.

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win an autographed set of Crane’s Cove novels and a $25 Amazon gift card. To enter, follow this link to the giveaway on Kerry’s Facebook page.

Review: Why Not Tonight by Susan Mallery

This series just keeps going strong! Built of standalone books centered around a family of brothers and a town known for wedding weekends, I thought I’d never see the day when Susan Mallery would write the adventures of brooding brother Ronan. But she did. And from the mudslide to the hidden room to Ronan’s sensitive and generous heart, she wrote a winner. There is no better match for Ronan than Natalie… and I don’t know how Mallery imagined such a perfect foil/love interest for Ronan, but she did.

And though the romance was central to the story, there were a few other fun threads happening at the same time, including friendships, family reconciliations, professional successes, and of course the requisite Happily Inc weddings. A fun and worthwhile read.

-calliope

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