Review: Cooper’s Charm by Lori Foster

Cute story with lots of laughs! Phoenix relocates to the seasonal community of Cooper’s Charm for a fresh start – and is delighted to be surrounded by the beauty of nature… and handsome men. Her sister Ridley soon follows, buys herself an RV, and makes herself at home. Between sibling heart-to-hearts and early morning coffee talk with the guys, the sisters realize that the slower pace of Cooper’s Charm is just what they need.

This book was just the kind of easy reading that I look for after the workweek is over. Some fun characters, heartfelt friendships, warm humor, and people working together for good.

-calliope

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Review: Go Ask Fannie by Elisabeth Hyde

Three siblings visit their father in New Hampshire. They all have different ideas about how to help him as he ages. They have different ideas about how to help each other (or not). What they have in common is love for their dad, and an ache in their hearts missing their mom.

I generally enjoy books about families and New England, so this was right up my alley. The siblings’ relationships with each other and their spouses was true to life, and I identified with the frustration of having so many opinions in one space!

My favorite part of the story was watching the mom’s secrets unfold. It really goes to show you that you can’t know everything about even your family. We all hold back a tiny part of ourselves — and unless we write cookbook marginalia or we have a secret room, well, those secrets might stay hidden forever.

Well done, Elisabeth Hyde.

-calliope

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Review: The Secret to Southern Charm by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Can’t beat a story about three sisters, all together for the summer with their families – including mother and grandmother. One of my own favorite memories is of visiting my childhood home at the same time my brother and sister were there. We enjoyed that at-home feeling. Not that we didn’t have our own homes, but there was something comforting about being in the backyard while Dad grilled dinner, mom brought out the sides, and we all talked. Easy, cozy, safe.

That’s the mood Harvey sets forth in Southern Charm. The three sisters get along, annoy but love each other, and take care of each other’s families. My favorite part was when Sloane’s husband wasn’t sure they should take Caroline’s offer to stay in her house for a while. Sloane said that what was Caroline’s was hers, because she, Caroline and Emerson were all the same one person.

Despite the ups and downs of life, the heartbreak and the grief, that’s how I feel … my siblings and I will always be the same person. We are rooted in our parents love, as are these three Southern sisters.

The book is a little slow (boring? overly descriptive) in some places, and could use some tightening up. There are also a few plot lines that I take moral issues with. Besides that, I enjoyed it, and it brought back some nice memories for me.

-calliope

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Review: Need You Now by Emma Douglas 

Caleb White, tennis player extraordinaire, needs a distraction from his recent decision to retire. When he visits Cloud Bay he meets the perfect distraction — Faith. Faith runs a huge music festival, mostly because she’s the daughter of a famous (and deceased) rock star, but also because she’s really really good at it. 

I was hooked on Caleb and Faith, separately and together. But I wasn’t hooked on the music festival because music festivals just aren’t my bag. I kind of wished for more island-ish happenings – like catching rays, boat rides, and digging toes in the sand. But that’s just me. I have no idea how I thought this book was going to be about coastal living, but I was definitely wrong! I was right about one thing however – that Emma Douglas would give me a happily ever after.

So there’s rockers and romance… and family dynamics, a little bit of dysfunction, some nice architecture (hello million dollar coastal homes), and a good look at ambition, which I loved. If you also appreciate outdoor festivals, rock band life, and all things musical, this book is for you. 

-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: On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

Kate and Ainsley are half sisters, but they feel worlds apart most of the time. Kate is reserved, classical, and practical. Ainsley is fashionable, whimsical and fun. But when they each find themselves alone after their respective romantic situations fall apart, their sisterly love shines through righteously. 

Some of this story just broke my heart, and I wasn’t sure I could get through the despair. Then I noticed I was only a quarter of the way through the book, leaving PLENTY of time for redemption, hugs, and gluing hearts back together. 

My most favorite part of this whole book, even more awesome than the sister love (which is pretty awesome, and a big part of the story), even snazzier than the Tiffany ring (big!), and even more heartwarming than the boss finding a soft spot in his heart for an employee (unexpected!), was Daniel the Hot Firefighter. Higgins masterfully wove him in as comic relief and a reliable pal, but he was so much more. Aside from his witty banter and alpha male-ism, Daniel the Hot Firefighter symbolized Hope… hope for a future when the present is bleak, hope for women looking for a good man, hope for children needing a father figure.

I kind of guessed where Daniel the Hot Firefighter would end up at the close of the story, and I was so glad that my guess only scratched the surface. Look for your Hot Firefighter, people. You never know when you’ll need to be rescued, and he will be there with a generous heart… and a smile. 

-calliope

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Review: The Perfect Homecoming by Julia London



This is the third book in the Pine River series… And my favorite. All three books deal with some heavy problems, but The Perfect Homecoming has a wonderful balance of sorrow, love, redemption, and humor. 

Emma left L.A. for the Pine River mountains to deal with the ranch her jerk of a father left to her and her two half-sisters. While the three sisters figured out how to get along, an old acquaintance of Emma’s turned up in Pine River. A really good-looking acquaintance. One Emma remembered sharing a few sparks with the first time they met at a Hollywood party. 

Although Cooper went to Pine River for work, he was able to break through Emma’s walls and start a relationship with her, as well as growing close with Emma’s friends and family. 

My favorite part of this book was how realistic Cooper’s confusion was when Emma acted a little crazy. The plot line with Emma’s friend Leo was beyond heartwarming. Family love, friend love, and romantic love all play big parts in this complex, beautifully written novel. And London tied them all together at the wedding at the end of the book.  

-calliope

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