Review: When We Found Home by Susan Mallery

Three lovely people grow up -separately- without loving parents, and though they don’t share the same mothers, they do share the same paternal grandfather. This guy might be in the background of the story character-development-wise, but he’s the hub that brings his three grandchildren together. Well, with a little help from a friend.

Susan Mallery wrote a terrific story about a non-traditional family. Malcolm was raised from boyhood by his grandfather. Keira was brought into the family home much later – and at the transitional age of 12 has a hard time feeling like she belongs. Delaney, a woman who works in the same building as Malcolm, helps bridge the brother-sister gap. Meanwhile, a third sibling is found and brought “home.” Callie isn’t sure this new world is for her, but feels a sense of responsibility for Keira.

I’ve read a lot of half-siblings-brought-together stories, but none quite like this. Mallery wrote fresh characters with realistic flaws and shortcomings, characters you can be annoyed with and cry with and laugh with… and sympathize with. And Mallery keeps up the realism all the way to the end, when everyone really has found home, even if it’s not what you’d expect. Terrific story about family, loyalty, and love.

-calliope

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Review: The Myth of Perpetual Summer by Susan Crandall

I love stories like this. Historical, epic, tales of families and their pasts & presents. And of course, all families have secrets. Those secrets play a big role in this latest book from Susan Crandall.

Tallulah had a very unusual childhood. Growing up in a small town means being part of the gossip. And her family offered up much to gossip about. Her parents’ erratic, volatile relationship meant that she and her siblings were left to their own devices much of the time. It fell upon her shoulders to raise her younger siblings during the many times her mom was off saving the world.

So when Tallulah escapes and goes off to build her own life, she has little intention of ever returning. But she can’t stay away when her brother is accused of murder. And this family reunion of sorts will expose all kinds of secrets from her childhood.

Great story, wonderful characters, and beautifully written!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Myth of Perpetual Summer

Review: Bring Me Back by BA Paris

There’s a thread of commonality in most psychological thrillers. Jilted lover, mental illness, murder and mayhem…it almost reads like a recipe. Many of them are still very good, though. However, I’m always excited when I read one that’s so far off that path that it rocks my reading world.

It’s been 12 years since Layla disappeared. Suspected at first of causing her harm, Finn has finally moved on. Quite unexpectedly, he’s found love and happiness with Ellen, Layla’s sister. But just as they are ready to begin planning their wedding, the memory of Layla rears its head. At first they brush it off as coincidence, maybe even someone playing a cruel joke. Eventually, though, there’s no denying that Layla, or someone pretending to be her, is back. The question is, what does she want? And where has she been all this time?

Outstanding. That’s about all I can say about this one. It’s dark and foreboding and you just know something bad is going to happen. And I gotta admit, I’m pretty good at figuring things out before the very end. But even I didn’t see this one coming!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Bring Me Back

Review: Rules of Rain by Leah Scheier

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It’s fairly easy to find a story about young people dealing with various issues.  It’s more difficult, though, to find one dealing with the siblings of those young people.  So I’m usually highly optimistic when such a story comes across my radar.  This one did not disappoint.

Rain has always taken care of her twin brother Ethan.  As the sister of a person with autism, her life has its own obstacles.  But she rises to each challenge, putting Ethan’s needs before hers.  She eventually finds out just how difficult it is to put her life on old for everyone else.  And the hardest part may be realizing that Ethan doesn’t need her as much as he used to.

This is a book with a solid storyline.  It’s enjoyable and believable.  The little sidenotes from Rain’s blog make it even more so.  Four stars!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Rules of Rain