Review: The Final Vow by Amanda Flower 

This is number three in a series – and I so wish I had read the first two, well, first. I totally dug the storyline: Kelsey Cambridge, historical farm director gets herself embroiled in a murder mystery. And I dug the characters: bridezilla, jerky ex, perky assistant, grouchy good old boys club, Wonder Woman wedding planner, and uber-supportive wannabe boyfriend. But I struggled to empathize with them, because I didn’t get to know them deeply enough. I almost felt my heartbeat faster when things got a little dicey for Kelsey, but for the most part I was on an even keel, just watching the events unfold but not really feeling them. 

I think I need to read number four though. Now that I’ve been introduced to Kelsey et al, I need to see where the romances go, how the Cherry Foundation decides to proceed, and if ringing the bell makes it into daily rotation at Barton Farm. By the end, I was invested, and now I need more!

-Calliope

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Review: Every Other Wednesday by Susan Kietzman

This is the story of three women moving from one phase to another in their life journeys, meeting for lunch to vent and learn and make decisions.

I would’ve liked more depth of character and personality in Joan, Ellie and Alice. I saw a lot of their behaviors but didn’t feel like I knew them very well. And because I didn’t know them, their behaviors annoyed me instead of endearing me, which is too bad because this could’ve been a terrific book. 

Unfortunately, the book seemed more like a list of “sins” (in the characters’ eyes) — gambling, homosexuality, a woman making her own money —  than a story of three authentic women. 

I did like the title, and it reminded me of another “Wednesday” book I’ve read — one I absolutely adored: The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton, which got 4 fat and happy stars from me. 

-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: The Thing About Love by Julie James

Jessica Harlow (love that name) and John Shepard went to the FBI academy together – and everything was a competition.  After six years in different offices, they’re back in their hometown of Chicago, working an undercover operation… together. 

Julie James did her thing with this book – infused the right amount of levity, tension, witty banter, fierceness, and tenderness. In The Thing About Love, James gives us cool bromances, family get togethers, a trendy bar scene, and a trashy egomaniac of a mayor that you’ll love to hate. By the middle of the book, I KNEW Jessica and John, I rooted for them as they figured out how much of themselves to share, my jaw dropped when they moved their relationship in various directions, and I cried when Jessica finally saw her own truth. 

I couldn’t put down this book for the life of me. I read it while I brushed my teeth and then stayed up really late and by that time I was at 84% so I just stayed up even later to finish it.

I finally saw the last page at 2:30am, got 4 hours of sleep, and I’m not even sorry. It’s a really good story with badass FBI agents. If that’s not enough for you, there’s a Gucci happily ever after, too. 

-calliope

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Review: A Wedding in Italy by Tilly Tennant

Aaahh, Rome! Kate moves there from London with high hopes of getting a great job and living happily ever after. But boyfriend Alessandro’s family and coworkers throw a wrench into Kate’s plan. Of course Kate rallies… but at what expense? 

This book gave me a wonderful taste of Rome, from the quick bites to eat to walking the stone streets to Nonna’s cooking to coffee in the square. I lived in Rome for a little bit with Kate, felt her independence, her struggle to “make it” as a seamstress and real estate agent, and her frustration at not being accepted fully into Alessandro’s family.  

Kate’s a cute character, realistic and relatable. Tennant could’ve written Alessandro a little deeper, though. He was sort of on the periphery, even more so than his ex girlfriend and his family. I love a good romance, but half the romance is the guy! 

If you like all things Italian, pick this up – if only for the fast drives to the countryside, the pasta, and Kate’s attempts to ingratiate herself with Nonna! 

-calliope

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