Review: The Perfect Homecoming by Julia London



This is the third book in the Pine River series… And my favorite. All three books deal with some heavy problems, but The Perfect Homecoming has a wonderful balance of sorrow, love, redemption, and humor. 

Emma left L.A. for the Pine River mountains to deal with the ranch her jerk of a father left to her and her two half-sisters. While the three sisters figured out how to get along, an old acquaintance of Emma’s turned up in Pine River. A really good-looking acquaintance. One Emma remembered sharing a few sparks with the first time they met at a Hollywood party. 

Although Cooper went to Pine River for work, he was able to break through Emma’s walls and start a relationship with her, as well as growing close with Emma’s friends and family. 

My favorite part of this book was how realistic Cooper’s confusion was when Emma acted a little crazy. The plot line with Emma’s friend Leo was beyond heartwarming. Family love, friend love, and romantic love all play big parts in this complex, beautifully written novel. And London tied them all together at the wedding at the end of the book.  

-calliope

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Review: Return to Homecoming Ranch (Pine River #2) by Julia London

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Sigh. I wanted to love this book. I liked some of it, like the romance, the realistic struggles of Libby and Sam, and the changes happening at the ranch.

But Libby’s relationship with her mom and sisters needed more development. I would have preferred more of that subplot than about Libby’s ex-boyfriend and her stalker-ish behavior. Reading about Libby’s obsession and Ryan’s pathological lies was just depressing. I wanted to skip the downhearted ramblings. I know depression is real, as is alcoholism and PTSD… I just didn’t expect them all to be subplots in a romance novel!

If you loved Pine River #1, and you’re okay with real life struggles making up a big part of a romance novel, you really will enjoy Return to Homecoming Ranch. As for me, I like my happily ever afters preceded by predictable solutions to the small problems in life. 🙂

-Calliope

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Review: Bridesmaid by Julia London

20130928-072827.jpg Bridesmaid is a novella about Kate, who has to travel from New York to Seattle on a deadline — and with a poufy bridesmaid dress in tow. Joe, a handsome, successful IT guy who hasn’t yet found his one and only, sweetens the trip.

Kate and Joe overcome funny travel challenges together in order to their final destinations. On the journey, they notice they kind of like each other. What do they do about it? Read the book!

I’ve read Julia London before and I usually like her books. I also appreciate a really tightly written yet thorough novella. I didn’t enjoy Bridesmaid as much as I wanted. The writing wasn’t as good as I expected, the dialogue was just mediocre, and the characters were a little flat.

Bridesmaid has a cute plot and a nice, easy love story. But it isn’t quite the best you can get from Julia London.

–Calliope

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Review: Homecoming Ranch by Julia London

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4 stars

I was excited to start this book, because I had so much fun reading Julia London’s first book in The Fancy Lives of the Lear Sisters series. I figured, this London chick knows how to write, so I picked up Homecoming Ranch, an August release. I’m glad I did.

I’m going to admit I was confused in the beginning. Three sisters — Emma, Madeline and Libby — were left a ranch in their dad’s will. But the ranch was the lifelong home of a completely different family. And one sister had already made herself at home when the story began.

But then it sorted itself out. Once I was un-confused, I could sit back and enjoy London’s fabulous, real characters. These sisters pouted and gave dirty looks, hugged and cowered, laughed and made fools of themselves… just like people I know in real life. And the male love interest? Whoohoooo! He was pretty real too (well, okay, except for the customary perfect physique). Luke got annoyed, angry, impatient, confused, distant, sappy, happy, passionate… hey, just like a real guy.

Leo (Luke’s brother) provided some comic relief and a reality check amidst Luke and Madeline’s love story. London’s “Leo” voice was brilliant, so so brilliant. Changing literary points of view made the story so genuine. Yeah, there’s a romance happening, but yoohoo, readers, there’s real life baggage to deal with too. Just because London writes a Happily Ever After doesn’t mean she skims over the struggles.

Besides writing superb characters, London illustrates the fun, funny and difficult moments of families, whatever package they come in.

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

-Calliope

P.S. It’s only $3.99 for Kindle!

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Review: Material Girl (The Fancy Lives of the Lear Sisters) by Julia London

material girl cover4 stars

Robin Lear is a successful businesswoman at her father’s giant freight corporation. Or so she thinks. Once she meets Jake — the guy renovating her new house — she realizes she’s little more than an arrogant, spoiled child who can’t see outside her fancy bubble. When Robin’s feelings for Jake begin to deepen, she knows she must shed her material girl image and find her real self, the self she can share forevermore with a man like Jake.

This is a fun romance with a happily-ever-after ending. I enjoyed reading about Robin’s material girl lifestyle: her jetsetting weekend trips, designer bags, expensive taste in wine. But I really loved watching her fall out of love with her fancy life and fall in love with Jake and his family. Jake is a little bit sappy, but strong when it counts most: vying against slick corporate Evan who chases Robin like he’s trying to win a carnival prize.

London did a great job endearing me to the main characters. She fleshed out the ancillary characters enough to make me want to read about Robin’s sisters and estranged parents in the next two books of the Lear Sisters trilogy. And best of all, London told a great love story, rife with ups and downs, arguments and make-ups, picnics and unmet expectations, and misunderstandings and kisses.

-Calliope

Buy It Now Material Girl (The Fancy Lives of the Lear Sisters)