Review: Paris is Always a Good Idea by Nicolas Barreau

  

Rosalie had high hopes for her humble  wishing card shop in the middle of Paris. She had little idea a famous author would stumble in and change her world. She had absolutely no notion she’d have another gentleman stroll in … and rock her world. 

This charming book had me aahhing and mmmm’ing and sighing, as well as laughing with tears in my eyes. Barreau’s descriptions of Paris streets and pastries brought me back to my one and only trip abroad when I was in my twenties. 

The famous author’s past offered the reader a cozy mystery and provided opportunities for Barreau to flesh out Rosalie’s character. Though Rosalie was primarily an artist and shopkeeper, we got to know her better through her mystery-solving endeavors and interactions with other characters. 

My favorite part of this book was finding out about a secret love story in addition to the obvious one. Paris once, Paris twice, Paris always. 

-calliope

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Review – The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George

23278537This isn’t my usual type of read at all. However, past experiences of dipping my toes in other genres have proven successful in finding one of my favourite reads (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), so I thought I’d give it another go! Now, I’ll tell you upfront, this book didn’t turn out to be a favourite read of mine, but a solid choice nonetheless.
Nina George is German based writer, and so I was initially concerned that this book may get lost in translation (remember my experiences with the Dutch novels?), however, it remains rather neutral.
Set in modern day Paris, The Little Paris Bookshop follows Jean Perdue, a bookseller that sells his products from a river boat. Jean is very in-tune with his customer’s feelings and knows exactly what they should read in order to make them feel better, much like a chemist, but the prescription is books!
We learn that Jean’s wive left him quite a few years ago, and one day he finds a letter that explains a lot. This sets of a trip he takes down the river Seine and throughout France.
Along the way he meets a host of characters and experiences life like he never had whilst in Paris.

George writes a good story and I will be reading further offerings from this author. The characters are realistic (to a point), and are given enough emotion so that the reader cares about them. If you’ve never been to Paris, or France in general, you will want to go after reading this, so start saving those pennies! If you’ve been before, you will want to re-visit, so again, I say to you, start saving those pennies!

This novel is a mixture of heartbreak, comedy, and passion. Passion for fellow human beings and indeed passion for books. Sometimes, an eye roll did almost occur, however, this is a nice light read and should be taken for what it is. If you’re looking for something different, but not too different, then definitely give this one a chance!

Pegasus.

The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel

Review: Cocktails at Le Carmen by Isabelle Andover

 
Chloe’s transferred from London to Paris for a one- year work contract. And while she’s there she misses her mediocre boyfriend Scott, crushes on handsome boss Jean-Luc, and meets new confidante Rosie. All’s well that ends well, but a lot goes on in the meantime! 

This is a very light, fun story about shopping and girlfriends, cocktails and hangovers, and finding a good man while finding oneself. I enjoyed it but found some things a little disconcerting. Andover wrote in a few pages here and there that I thought were to move the plot in a certain direction, but then didn’t.  They weren’t quite plot twists, and they weren’t quite plot inconsistencies. They were just odd hints or teases that I expected to be fulfilled in some later chapter, but weren’t.  Some extra editing would have helped avoid these pointless insertions. 

Besides that, I loved the love story, the friendships and the sibling rivalry. Andover wrote a terrific male lead… who wouldn’t adore a Jean-Luc with a French accent?! 

Cocktails at Le Carmen is solid three star chick lit, and I’ll definitely pick up another Isabelle Andover… tout de suite! 

-calliope

Buy (for only $3.99!) COCKTAILS AT LE CARMEN

Review: The Nightingale (revisited) by Kristin Hannah

21853621So are you a fan of Kristin Hannah? Read this book! Wait! You’re not a fan of Kristin Hannah? Oh well, read this book!!!! This is a book worth reading. From start to finish it had me completely captivated.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a customer about the War. I now live in England and of course the War still has a presence here. Sometimes you run into people who remember what it was like. Having to take in strangers that were forced from their homes…and their lives….This customer was one such lady…It was just a random conversation that comes up unexpectedly…but leaves you pondering the entirety of the conversation…voicing my thoughts about what people had to go through…well, it has left me to wonder about life for long hours after the conversation ended. See here’s the thing I pointed out to her….it’s not Hitler I wonder about….it’s the every day people….we are so quick to judge….so quick to say, “I would NEVER do that.”…however…..how can you ever know? If your child is near death and hasn’t a drop of milk and you only have to nod your head when a neighbor’s name is mentioned…what would you do? If you only had to pretend to not hear the knock at your door of a person in need of hiding to protect your family….would you turn a deaf ear? If you were starving and there were five bites of sawdust bread for your entire family, would you be tempted to eat two bits of the bread? How easy would it be to walk away and close your eyes to Jews being marched down the street to their deaths? How hard would it be to take a step forward and show your support knowing you might be forced to join them?

Here is that story that attempts to give you some insight to these hard questions. Here you have two sisters and a father…a father that has already come home from one war and now finds himself watching another….two sisters that each have different views of how to get through this war…Even though all three might have different ways of “living” during this time….who is to say which is the right way? As they perhaps judge one another for the choices they are making it is soon apparent to them all that there is no black and white in such circumstances.

The only clear truth one can surmise is that even though the three all take different courses of action to survive….that there isn’t a right or a wrong choice…

I don’t know what else to say….I love books like this…..because they make me realise how your life can change in an instance….it makes you realise just how bad and just how evil people can be….and just how pure people can be…it makes you realise that everyone has reasons why they make the choices that they do….it makes you realise that no matter how simple it is to judge someone by their actions that in reality you have no idea what is powering those choices…

Such a wonderful read…..not a comfortable read….but a wonderful one…

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Review: R is for Rebel by Megan Mulry

20140206-215420.jpg Wow! Sexy, royal fun is the name of the game for Abigail and Eliot. The romance goes beyond boy meets girl… The man is so in love he will stop at nothing to be with his woman. It’s a little unrealistic, a little over the top, but I like that in a romance novel. Mulry writes expensive lingerie, fancy parties, executive level jobs, and private jets. The families are intense, the relationships are passionate, and the celebrations are fantastical whirlwinds. It all makes for a riveting read.

–Calliope

Buy R Is for Rebel: …and Royalty, Relatives, Reality, and Running from love… (Unruly Royals)

Review: Honeymoon in Paris by Juliette Sobanet

20131206-001838.jpg New Release!

Honeymoon in Paris is a mystery wrapped in chick-lit, with a little romance thrown in. Charlotte and Luc begin their marriage in a small apartment in Lyon, France, where Luc romances the heck out of his wife ….
Until he starts keeping secrets.

For most of the book, Charlotte tries to unravel Luc’s mysterious past, while she herself unwittingly wades into the mystery. I liked Charlotte’s amateur sleuthing. I identified with her need to know what was going on, and also her obliviousness to some of the danger around her. (Call me nosy and naïve!)

I also liked Charlotte’s friendship with Lexi and Fiona. Their knowing glances, quick-catch-ups over pastry or texts, and occasional nights out seemed authentic. The girls are young, adventuresome, and pretty fearless. The book skewed a little young for my personal taste, but it brought me back to my 20s, and it was a pretty fun trip.

The supporting cast was a treat – sleazy Vincent, Devil-Loves-Prada-Glenn-Close Mireille, and spoiled Brigitte. Sometimes foils are just as fun as protagonists, and that was certainly the case here!

The only thing that bothered me about Honeymoon in Paris is the subtitle (A Paris Romance). This book wasn’t much of a romance. It was mostly chick lit and mystery, with a few lovey dovey scenes between the newly married couple. Because of the subtitle, I expected a romance and was disappointed. If the subtitle read A Paris Adventure, I would have been ready for the capers that ensued. The other Paris books in Sobanet’s repertoire skew more toward romance.

If you’re up for suspenseful chick lit and you’ve got your sleuthing hat on, you’ll enjoy Honeymoon in Paris.

-Calliope

Buy it now Honeymoon in Paris