Review: The Family Gathering by Robyn Carr

The Family Gathering is book 3 in the Sullivan’s Crossing series, where I loved book 1, but had some reservations about book 2 (quirky wanderer gave me pause). I’m feeling the love again for this installment.

Dakota needs time to decompress after serving his country, so he visits his sister and brother in Sullivan’s Crossing. Besides building a relationship with his siblings and their families, Dakota starts to build a life in town (he sees it as temporary but come on now).

I very much enjoyed Carr’s customary secondary plot lines that reference past books but don’t depend on them. I also liked that she focused so much on family — because Dakota’s family totally had some issues to resolve! And of course the romance…. well, it’s obvious Sid would be a tough nut to crack. Question is, is Dakota the guy to do it…

As for my favorite part of most books: I won’t tell the hows and whys and wherefores, but after some work, Dakota and his family experience some pretty nice happily ever afters.

-calliope

Buy THE FAMILY GATHERING

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Review: The Summer Sail by Wendy Francis

Abby, Caroline, and Lee hop on a cruise ship with their guys and their kiddos… to celebrate a 20th wedding anniversary, share some personal news, await a proposal, and straighten out some of life’s twists and turns.

I loved the cruise ship setting. So fun! For an hour or two each night I was whisked away into the land of lounge chairs and umbrella drinks — and hot sunny days. Wendy Francis did a fantastic job making the friendships real and easy. The women were like sisters with each other – just how I’d imagine this trio in real life. And although some of the plot was predictable, Francis developed it in a fresh, engaging way. I was in it for the whole cruise: laughter, tears, and mouth agape. Nicely written, very entertaining!

-calliope

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Review: The Runaway Wife by Dee MacDonald

Oh Connie. Taken for granted by her husband and adult children — and not done a thing about it for years. Finally she and her little car set out find freedom on the open road, but of course they find so. much. more. I can’t really say all of what she finds because that would be giving away the good stuff, but let’s just say she has quite a few adventures and makes some new lovely friends who really appreciate her. Connie also meets up with some old friends who remind her how much they value her.

One big surprise is the ending. I don’t mean the ending ending, but like the last few chapters. I didn’t realize I was going to be reading such heartwarming stuff… but be forewarned and have a tissue ready.

Apart from a little morality misalignment (but that’s just me personally), I really just loved the entire book. Maybe because I sometimes feel taken for granted or ignored, like Connie did, I could truly relate. Or maybe because I’m feeling the itch for a good road trip, I was happy to live vicariously through Connie. And it could even be that I so loved this book because it provides a helpful perspective on seeing people and situations in a hopeful, positive light.

The end of the book mentioned a future sequel, so I’ve now added Dee MacDonald to my “regularly search for this author on NetGalley, Amazon and Overdrive” list.

-calliope

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Quick Review: Rough Ride by Kristen Ashley


Loved this novella. It had all the action and emotions as a full length book. I was completely sucked in and never wanted it to end.

This book started out INTENSE. I mean gut twisting, deep breathing kind of intense. Horrific. But there’s always a light at the end of every tunnel, if you can just hold on and keep moving forward. That’s exactly what Rosie did. She made a bad call, but for the best reason, and it about cost her everything. I’m so glad Snapper took it upon himself to keep an eye out and help her.

This was a quick romance that was brewing for a while. I liked that. She wasn’t quick to accept it and I think that was the right thing for her. She had a lot of healing to get through before she could move on to find her happiness.

And of course Chaos isn’t always the calmest of people, so there’s always drama and excitement happening. Which is probably why I’m gonna need the next book pretty darn fast.

This novella is a continuation of the Chaos books and if you like MC books as much as I do, then you’ll definitely want to start from the beginning. Kristen Ashley knows how to write series that you don’t mind getting sucked into. They’re addicting and very exciting.

~Melpomene
Grab Rough Ride http://amzn.to/2F9SJry

Review: The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon


“Sometimes it’s the smallest part that steals the show.”

Emotional, devastating, healing, and magical. This book will bring all the feels. So go find a quiet place to read and react.

From the prologue, I knew this was going to put my heart through the ringer. I was right. Good grief, did it hurt. So bad. But it was a healing hurt. I was sucked in a felt everything. I won’t tell you too much, you must just go into this blind.

We met Dr. Noah Andelin in The Law of Moses. To be honest, it’s been so long since I read that, that I forgot who he was. But then it clicked and I was super happy to get his story.

This book is about family. Family isn’t always blood. In fact the best type of family is the one you choose. Blood doesn’t matter. Only the heart does. Cora, Noah and Mercedes were the three Musketeers. No matter what happens in life, they will always be there for each other.

Mercedes was the glue to her family. She would do everything and anything for them. Even stepping away from her true love, so her best friend could find happiness. She isn’t a martyr though. She genuinely wants everyone to be happy and is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish that. I loved her. She was so real to me, that as I’m typing this out, I have tears in my eyes. The sacrifices she made for her family will shock you. But her heart is so big, she can’t help but to help.

I love Noah. He could do anything as long as he knew his best friend was there for him. And let me tell you, life sure tested this. Him and Mercedes were always close, and this book shows that. From a young age, through life’s ups and downs, they were always there. And when life decided to toss them a few curveballs, they stood strong and held on tight. To have a friend like that is inspiring.

“You may not be where you want to be in your life, Mer. But I’m so glad you’re in my life. Your birthday is one of my favorite days, because it means you exist, and I’m so grateful for that.”

I will say no more, except that you just need to read this. I don’t wanna say anything spoilerish, so I’ll leave you with this. The Smallest Part is a story that will break your heart and mend it at the same time.

Love can be found in the craziest of places if you only open your eyes, and heart, to it.

~Melpomene

Buy The Smallest Part http://amzn.to/2BXF4km

Review: Sisters Like Us by Susan Mallery

Stacey and Harper are two very different sisters who each struggle to make their way in the world. Harper has a hard time navigating the financial and teen-parenting lands of the newly divorced, while Stacey makes bank but can’t respond to social cues to save her life.

Lucky for them, Susan Mallery has just the challenges they need to figure out that they can shift focus, ask for help, and come out the other side nearly unscathed. Nearly.

Harper’s story was a little better fleshed out than Stacey’s, but I enjoyed them both. Harper’s nutty mom, ex-husband, teenager, clients and new employees were rich fodder for big laughs and tender moments. Stacey’s story was going to break my heart until her husband’s nephew saved the day with his gentleness, gratitude, and earnestness. Just like in real life, sometimes all it takes is that one person to give a couple of meaningful minutes for you to realize you’re not alone, and you can do that thing you thought you couldn’t.

Really heartwarming, Susan Mallery. Those are some pretty awesome sisters, and they’ve got a pretty terrific circle around them.

-calliope

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Review (Take Two): Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Dr. Nora returns home to Scupper Island, Maine for a while for some rest and recuperation. She decided to leave behind her old life in Boston for a while – well, her old “reinvented in medical school” life, the one where she lost weight and gained confidence.

Higgins wrote a fascinating mother daughter relationship between Nora and her mom, and then put icing on the cake adding Nora’s wayward sister into the mix. Very well done. The family dynamics sucked me in without being too over the top. And Nora’s niece … aw, man, I was endeared to her from the start!

Best thing ever: The houseboat Nora rents. Second best thing ever: reading Nora’s emotions when she hears a certain someone walking up the dock. Oh and don’t miss the dinner party of all dinner parties – thank goodness for supportive friends, slightly eligible bachelors, and a mom who doesn’t stand for any nonsense.

Want to read Melpomene’s recent review of this book? Click right here.

-calliope

Buy NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT by Kristan Higgins