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 Last Chance Matinee by Mariah Stewart 

I’m so glad I started this series! Allie and Des find out they have a half-sister… and the trio is required to cooperatively restore an old theatre in order to get their inheritance after their dad’s death. Restoring a theatre – what fun!

Watching the three characters learn about each other and grow in themselves was great. Steward develops the characters evenly, even though the story is told through Cara’s eyes. The introduction of Allie’s daughter shows Allie’s heart – at a point in the story I had just about had it up to here with her! And Stewart’s illustration of Des’s flair for fashion gives positive personality to this third sister – and adds another light, fun aspect to the story. 

I love how open Cara is to new friendships with her sisters and the small-town neighbors watching them restore the theatre. Reading the story from Cara’s viewpoint was an exercise in optimism, hopefulness and adventure. And as I sit here writing this, I’m thinking I really can’t wait for the next book … so I’m signing off and checking the internet for Book Two’s pub date. 🙂

-calliope 

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Review: At the River’s Edge by Mariah Stewart

20140128-102744.jpg I’ve got to stop reading new books in a series when I haven’t read the previous books in that series. I’m just so confused by the number of characters and I can’t keep the relationships straight! At the River’s Edge is the seventh book in the Chesapeake Diaries series. It’s a fun read, but I would’ve enjoyed the subplots more had I been familiar with all the secondary characters.

The main plot is terrific! Sophie leaves her old life in Ohio, moves south, joins the family law firm, and buys an old restaurant. In the process she meets handsome Jason, a new local landscaper who has become close friends with Sophie’s grandfather.

I had fun reading about the challenges of Sophie’s and Jason’s respective businesses, the small-town friendships they forged, and the community spirit they made themselves part of. Their romance seemed secondary to their positions in the community, but that was okay. I love a good, sweet, hometown story, and the Sophie-Jason romance was icing on the cake.

Because I like an easy read, I enjoyed the positive, predictable plot direction. Sophie and Jason practicing forgiveness and humility (after their selfishness got in the way) brought a tear to my eye. The happy ending… Well… *sigh* … I love a happy ending.

-Calliope

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