Review: Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Louisa makes a go at being on her own in New York City! Moyes shows us that Lou is still a teensy bit not quite over the whole Will thing — and thankfully her city crush gets checked by reality before she gets too smitten. Caring for Agnes proves to be a struggle, kind of like it was with Will, but Moyes uses it as Louisa’s segue to better things.

By the end, Lou balances her natural talent for taking care of people with taking care of herself. Lou takes the opportunity to explore her passions, make new friends – shout out to Mrs DeWitt, the coolest building-mate ever – and grow up a little.

I don’t know what could be in store for a book four – maybe a year in the life of Lou and Sam – but I’m up for it!

-calliope

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Review: Moonlight over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Loved this rom com with Harriet the dog-walker and Ethan the guy with the sterile, modern bachelor pad. They crossed paths more than once – and in totally meet-cute ways. I liked that Harriet could be a bit self deprecating without being annoying about it, and that she was well aware of both her strengths and her shortcomings. It was refreshing to get to know a character who made no apologies for herself while still recognizing she could be happier if she changed a few things here and there.

Ethan made a great foil for Harriet. He ostensibly had it all together, but underneath he knew he really needed to make some adjustments in life, too.

I had fun watching Harriet and Ethan together, figuring out themselves and each other … and one another together.

-calliope

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Review: Christmas in London by Anita Hughes

Anita Hughes writes for the reader who wants to escape. No matter if you’re reading Hughes’ beach vacation novels or her holiday books, you’ll remove yourself from reality, suspend your disbelief, and enjoy a ride through luxury. 

In Christmas in London, baker Louisa gets whisked away to London by television show producer Noah. She and her cinnamon rolls are needed for filming a Christmas special with a handsome, charming, world-famous chef and cookbook writer. 

When I read Hughes, I just latch on to the main character and forget my real life. In London, I got to wake up to the smell of coffee and pastry, buy fancy new clothes, take walks with the cutie pie producer, take cooking classes with the famous chef (and hang out in a mansion with him), and live the tv star life for a week… not to mention get a happily ever after (and watch a new friend get one too).

Not a bad way to spend 288 pages.  

-calliope 

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Review: Completely by Ruthie Knox

After a few weeks of mediocre romances, I was so happy to read the first few pages of COMPLETELY. I knew by the end of the first chapter that I would come to know the main characters as if they were real people. I don’t know how some other authors can describe what a character is wearing and it seems all irrelevant and extraneous, and then Ruthie Knox describes someone’s clothing in a way that paints a picture in my mind and makes me know the character better. Whatever that particular facet of writing talent is, I’m grateful. I really was about to go on a romance hiatus until COMPLETELY came my way. 

So besides the draw of a good romance, COMPLETELY enamored me with complex family dynamics, the intricacies of mountain climbing, and the turmoil of people trying to decide if they’re suppose to continue on their current path or not. Most of the book was about mountain climbing. I learned a ton. But between the lines I also learned that the best figurative mountains to climb are the ones that are the most difficult. 

COMPLETELY has some steamy scenes and a whole lot of fun dates in New York City. It was a bit of a departure from the fluff romances I usually read, and I need to remember to go back and read Knox’s New York books #1&2. 

-calliope

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Review: Emerald Coast by Anita Hughes


Love the luxuriousness and glamour that this book exudes – like Hughes’ others. Lily and Oliver were a cute couple, even divorced, so I enjoyed their banter and rapport. 

Unfortunately, Emerald Coast was a little too predictable even for me, and I wasn’t a fan of the cliched reasons why Angela and Ricky were looking for a mate. I’ll always love Anita Hughes for her rich descriptions, beautiful writing, and memorable scenery. I just wasn’t cut out for the plot of this particular story.

-calliope 

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Review: Balancing Act (Chloe by Design #2) by Margaret Gurevich (illustrated by Brooke Hagel)


In Balancing Act, we follow Chloe at her New York fashion house internship that she won in Book #1 (Making the Cut). She lives in a dorm where one of her roommates gives her a hard time about not earning her way into the industry. But Chloe is so good at creating unique fashion, that her samples get chosen to be made into designs for fashion week. Her mentors even give her a gift bag at the end of her internship — and it contains a surprise that Chloe had only dreamed of. 

I really liked the full color fashion sketches in the book. When Chloe described clothing she saw, the next page would have a drawing of that item. The book illustrated many kinds of clothing, and I especially liked seeing all the different ways a simple shirt could be designed. 

I liked that the author made a few mean characters in the middle of all the happy friends, families, interns and mentors. The story seemed more realistic that way. Even though there were always those mean people trying to discourage Chloe, she focused on a good support system of people who encouraged her to go for her dreams. 

Now that Chloe is done with her internship, I’m excited to read Book Three when she is back in her California hometown. 

-calliope’s 11-year-old daughter 

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Review: A Cotswold Christmas by Kate Hewitt 

This quick and easy holiday romance was cute, but not as satisfying as I’d hoped. Maybe its brevity precluded some of the depth I’ve come to appreciate in cozy romance novels. 

Anna heads to the Cotswolds from New York City, hoping for a respite from the pressures of life: relationships, work, and family. What she finds is no room at the inn, and a second-rate offer by the innkeeper’s cousin Colin. Colin is a happy go lucky guy who forms an attraction for Anna. 

I won’t spoil it, but when two roads diverge in a yellow wood, Anna and Colin don’t have too many choices: they fall for each other or they don’t… someone moves halfway around the world or someone doesn’t. 

This is book one in a series, and it definitely seemed like an introduction. I wanted more substance, some subplots, and a more memorable hero. But it was charming and well-written, and a nice way to familiarize readers with a new setting… especially for the price ($2.99). Here’s hoping book two hits me right in the heart! 

-calliope

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