Review: After the End by Clare Mackintosh

This was such a great story, and so very different from what you’d expect.

The illness of a child, something that parents don’t even want to imagine. But here it is, Max and Pip dealing with the harsh reality of Dylan’s cancer. And even when things are very bad, they still believe that it has to get better.

It doesn’t get better, though. And if the doctors are to be believed, it won’t ever get better. So Max and Pip are faced with a decision that no parent should ever have to make. What happens if they decide differently?

This much alone makes this such a deeply compelling story. But the author does something unexpected. We are presented with two different endings, two different paths the story could have taken. And the most intriguing part is, we never truly find out which was the actual outcome. It leaves you wondering, which in this case is a great thing!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: After the End

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Review: Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

Looking for the perfect beach read this summer? Well look no further. This latest offering from Jennifer Weiner is just the thing for lounging with your toes in the sand. Actually, that’s exactly where I started it and finished it two days later. It was that good!

Bethie and Jo, Jo and Bethie. Sisters. Such a complicated word full of implications. Their lives have not been easy, and their relationship has not been ideal. But they’ve always been there for each other through a multitude of tragedies and dramas.

Over the course of their lifetimes, their paths crisscross back and forth between what they dreamed for themselves and what reality gives them. Each sister finds herself at odds with what she’d imagined for her life. There are struggles with sexuality, childhood traumas, family deaths, difficult and overbearing parents, lost loves, and so much more.

This book is so much. It’s a reflection on changing times as we begin in 1950’s era Detroit and end in the year 2016. Society changes, both a lot and not so very much at the same time. It’s a tale of family, whatever that may be. I found myself pulled in from the very first page. When the journey came to an end, I was at a loss. Definitely five stars!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Mrs. Everything

Review: The Memory of You by Jamie Beck

Great start to a new series! Steffi is offered a job renovating a room in her ex boyfriend’s mom’s house… and that about says it all, doesn’t it?! Seriously loved the good relationship between Ryan’s mom and Steffi – and the slow refreshment of a friendship between Ryan and Steffi. Good, solid story with likable characters, great dialogue, and cool references to the state I call home. I’m looking for book 2 as soon as this review is done being written!

-calliope

Buy THE MEMORY OF YOU

Review: Not Quite Over You by Susan Mallery

Silver dances to the beat of her own drum, for sure. In true Happily Inc fashion, she’s fiercely independent, strong, and knows her limitations. When she decides to expand her business, she just doesn’t realize that an old flame is going to show up with money burning a hole in his pocket and unrequited love burning a hole in his heart.

Cute story, loved the business focus and Silver’s approach to the learning curve. Susan Mallery continues to impress me with fresh characters and plots, cameos consistent with prior books, and the ever popular but hard-to-find-in-real-life “sensitive” alpha male.

-calliope

Buy NOT QUITE OVER YOU

Review: Three Christmas Book Reviews (The Christmas Wish, Christmas at the Chalet, Cupcakes for Christmas)

A trio of reviews follows… Merry Christmas!

The Christmas Wish is a story of new beginnings. When Esme’s finds she can’t take her grandmother on a trip of a lifetime to see the Northern Lights in Lapland, Esme goes alone. Loved the quirky trip-mates, the little obstacles Esme overcomes to find herself again, and Esme’s newfound friendships, bound under snowflakes and starry skies.

Buy THE CHRISTMAS WISH

Cupcakes for Christmas is ostensibly about a baker, her shop, and a new special someone who comes in to buy cupcakes. But really it’s about the fear of loneliness and sadness that may drape over people during the holidays. While the story wasn’t a sad one, we see through Olivia’s eyes the challenges that Christmas brings for some. We also see how acceptance, love, and the Christmas spirit can help bridge the gap between two lonely hearts.

Buy CUPCAKES FOR CHRISTMAS

Ever wanted to spend Christmas at a chalet? Here’s your chance. Anita Hughes transports you to the land of snow and apres-ski in the Swiss Alps. Wedding gown designer Felicity, her assistants, and her models spend a week among the jet set in St Moritz – and you’re along for the ride. This is a fun, superficial, exciting, bright read. I loved the snowy settings, the wedding gowns, and the glitz and glamour on the slopes. I didn’t love all the reminiscing and flashbacks, but I did like the side story of re-uniting a bride’s parents.

Buy CHRISTMAS AT THE CHALET

-calliope

Review: Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber

Loved this nice, sweet Christmas story about Josie the chef from Seattle. Josie finds fun, adventure, and romantic interest Palmer while she’s spending some time in Alaska. Though she’s scheduled to go home to Seattle, the fates intervene – and Josie is held in Alaska for longer than she planned.

Palmer and Josie were lovely characters and it was fun to see their relationship develop. I also really liked seeing what Josie was going to cook up next – I guess you could say that I have that in common with cranky but lovable Jack!

Solid, uplifting Christmastime read.

-calliope

Buy ALASKAN HOLIDAY

Review: The Light Before Day by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The saga continues! Siblings Hetty and Henry love their home on Nantucket, but it all goes topsy turvy when their stern grandmother leaves them her fortune upon her passing – with stipulations, of course.

It was fun to read about how Henry and Hitty wanted to spend their inheritance – and eye opening to watch progress create division among the islanders. I also enjoyed watching that progress – from muddy paths to cobblestone streets, from no safety protocols to lightships and fire supplies. As usual for the Nantucket Legacy books in this series, I learned a few things about the Quaker religion, and how non-Quakers were drawn in to the light and spirituality they saw in the Friends.

My favorite parts of the book were the tender moments between couples who didn’t even consider themselves couples – but as the reader I could see the love between them.

Engaging and entertaining historical fiction, with comedy, tragedy, and a happily ever after.

-calliope

Buy THE LIGHT BEFORE DAY