Review: Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper

Margot Cary had been curious about her biological dad for a long time, but nothing ever tempted her enough to leave big city life for a pack of estranged relatives and their rural southern lake life. Until a giant embarrassment at work got her fired – and blackballed from the industry. When a McCready relative offered her a job, she reluctantly went for it.

I loved that Margot took her job seriously at the Funeral Home/Bait Shop. I mean, this girl gave 100% every day. She even showed up in heels. I think Harper did a fantastic job with the cousin relationships, making them believable and three-dimensional without casting a shadow over the main events. And the main events? Meeting her dad of course, and … drum roll … a little sweet southern romance. Except the guy is pretty much just as southern as she is. I appreciated that Harper had Margot stay true to her non-southern-belle self!

This book had a little bit of humor (perfect milieu in the funeral home), and a lot of spunk. One liners abounded as Margot tried to take over running a town event. I think I also read a few Bless Your Hearts, and Harper provided some physical humor as well. All that fun was a good respite from the ever serious issue of Margot wanting to repair the relationship with her dad. Margot even used humor herself when uncertain about her romantic situation.

All in all, I loved this slice of southern life, with fresh characters I believed in, a big and loving family to find comfort in, and a couple of city folk who were making lake life their own.

-calliope

Buy SWEET TEA AND SYMPATHY

Advertisements

Review: The Lives of Desperate Girls by MacKenzie Common

33672985

Two girls.  About the same age.  Both missing.  And then one is found dead.

Nobody seems to pay that much attention to Helen’s death, except those people hoping it may somehow be related to Chloe’s disappearance.  Because, after all, Chloe’s the important one.  Helen’s just a poor girl from the reservation.  Chloe’s rich, white, and popular.  So of course people are going to be more concerned about her.  At least that’s the way Jenny sees it.  And it bothers her.

It bothers her so much that she begins to dig deeper, hoping to uncover the truth about what happened to Helen.  At the same time, she has to face the truth about what happened to Chloe and the part she played in it.

This was a good, solid story for me.  The suspense is there, but it also has a very humanistic approach.  The author delves deeply into societal divides, across races and classes and even high school cliques.  A good read!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Lives of Desperate Girls

Review: One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

29939066

Lisa Scottoline is greatness.  She has a way of pulling you in from the very first sentence and then not letting you go until the last page.  This latest thriller is no exception.

Chris Brennan is not who you think he is.  He seems like a perfect candidate for a small-town coaching/teaching position.  But everything about him is a lie.  And there’s a lot at stake, including lives.  Among the cast of characters are high schoolers with troubles of their own, single moms trying to get by, and married couples coping with lies as well.

I will tell you that this book made me think one thing at the beginning but then made me change my mind several times along the way.  It’s not who you think it is, and it’s not why, either.

This one is a great suspense story.  My only complaint is that the ending seemed a bit rushed in a bid to tie up loose ends.  That doesn’t take anything away from the riveting story, though.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  One Perfect Lie

Review (revisited) and Blog Tour: “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend” by Katarina Bivald (translated by Alice Menzies)

RBW-Blog-Tour-Graphic 9781492623441-300_RBGThis book was previous reviewed by our very own Calliope (see her review here) a little while ago. It was a cute book though, so why not review it again for our readers! Besides, it’s always interesting to see what different people think about books!

This was a cute and often funny book. It was also predictable. I don’t mind predictable. Sometimes we all need that in our lives. Heck at one point the author points out that very thing. However, my complaint with this novel is that at times the author really seemed to “force” quirkiness into this novel. For me it felt almost as if Bivald sought out some quirky traits that everyone would love and forced them into the characters of the novel, instead of making characters that we would all love and filling them with quirky traits….I realise that for many readers there might not be a difference, however for me there was. That is where the book let me down.

Regardless of that I loved the story. So many wonderful quotes as well. Some of the quotes were well worth the time it took for me to read this novel.

I don’t know if this was a debut novel for Katarina Bivald or not, but regardless, it read like one to me….in saying that I hope I don’t take away from someone wanting to check out the book, because it simply means that I look forward to reading more by this author. I can’t wait to see her grow more confident with her talent and going with that. Perhaps she forced nothing and it’s just the way the book turned out…however, it’s something I expect won’t be there in future novels….

Perhaps, my review left you uninspired to pick up this novel. I hope not. It really was a fun read. To prove it I’ll hopefully tantalize you with some quotes, just so you know that Bivald really does have some promising talent…

Sara had never believe that you had to meet friends—many of her most rewarding relationships had been with people who didn’t even exist—

It’s funny, the way we talk about terrorism nowadays as though only Muslims and Arabs threaten our society. I’m afraid my understanding of terrorism was shaped long before September 11. It was the fear, the arbitrariness, the violence that affected people indiscriminately—even those who said they didn’t want to get involved or had no intention of fighting against segregation. For me, terrorism is still the image of white men, people active in society, standing over the charcoal, lynched body of a black man and looking pleased with their work. John says I think about historic injustices too much. Maybe he’s right, but it’s just that it doesn’t feel historic to me. We never seem to be able to accept responsibility for these injustices. First, we say that’s just how things are, then we shrug our shoulders and say that’s just how things were, that things are different now. No thanks to us, I want to reply, but no one ever seems to want to hear that….That day I got him drunk, he said it was the first place he hadn’t felt afraid. Do you understand now? How can something like that be forgiven?

It was, in many ways, her dream bookshop. Not least because all the books had already been read. Books that had already been read were the best. She hadn’t always thought that.

Books or people you ask…I can’t for the life of me explain why I have the bad sense to prefer people. If you went purely by numbers, then books would win hands down. I’ve loved maybe a handful of people in my entire life, compared with tens or maybe even hundreds of books (and here I’m counting only those books I’ve really loved, the kind that make you happy just to look at them, that make you smile regardless of what else is happening in your life, that you always turn back to like an old friend and can remember exactly where you first “met” them—I’m sure you know just what I’m talking about). But that handful of people you love…they’re surely worth just as much as all of those books.

Finally, this gem…

There’s always a person for every book. And a book for every person.

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by NetGallery for an honest review

buy it here Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Review: Death of the Couch Potato’s Wife by Christy Barritt

20140702-215554-78954638.jpg
I like a nice, easy, cozy mystery once in a while. Especially before I begin a more complex read. Well, Death of the Couch Potato’s Wife fit the bill for a cute mystery requiring little effort.

Laura and her husband move to a small town from Chicago, and have to adjust to their new surroundings. At the same time, there’s a murder in the neighborhood, and Laura joins in the investigation.

I liked the friendship aspect of this story more than the mystery part. The mystery was a little hokey and far-reaching, frankly. But the relationships among the women could have been developed further … The women were likeable and strong.

This was a Christian mystery, but there was no preaching, and just a smattering of mentions of God. This was another area that could’ve been developed more, as Laura tended to think about God when she was worries about her marriage, and marriage is a pretty hefty topic!

The marriage survived, the murderer was caught, and the friendships thrived. All’s well that ends well.

When *you’re* ready for a break from some heavy reading, pick up a cozy mystery.

Now I’m off to read some Anne Rivers Siddons. *waves*

-Calliope

buy DEATH OF THE COUCH POTATO’S WIFE

Review: It Had to Be You by Jill Shalvis

imageAli Winters is having a rough day. She discovers that her boyfriend is cheating. Said boyfriend dumps her before she can dump him. She was living with her now ex-boyfriend, who didn’t renew the lease on the house, which now leaves her homeless.

Luke Hanover is not having a good day himself. He was in charge of the investigation of multiple murders, with the prime suspect being a prominent senator. The case ended with the death of the senator’s aide and the senator killing himself. Luke is using all of his vacation time to return home to Lucky Harbor and to be left alone.

Unfortunately, Ali is still at his house when he goes home. Feeling bad for her situation, he allows her to stay. Soon, he is helping her investigate who stole the 50K that Ali is accused of stealing. Also, he is dragged into investigating smaller crimes that his grandpa’s friends need help solving.

It is always fun to visit the small but lively town of Lucky Harbor. I enjoyed watching Ali and Luke circle each other and eventually give in to their lust. I liked seeing that lust develop into something more. Ali and Luke both have some baggage involving their families that they must overcome.

The outcome of the books in this sweet, funny and sometimes sexy series is always predictable but thoroughly enjoyable to read. There is sequel bait with Luke’s two friends, Jack, the firefighter and the mysterious, unseen, military man, Ben. I look forward to their stories and revisiting Lucky Harbor.

This is the 7th book in the Lucky Harbor series but it can definitely be read as a standalone. It’s a great entry to the series because it’s the start of a trilogy within the series. The next book features Jack and Ali’s friend, Leah.

ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley.

~Thalia

Buy It Now It Had to Be You (Lucky Harbor)