Review: The Cotswolds Cookery Club by Alice Ross

This book is actually a compilation of three serial novellas… just so you know… because I was thrown for a loop when I finished the first novella at 34%, previously having thought it was a novel, and wondering what the heck the other 66% could be! Now that that’s sorted…

I really enjoyed these entertaining novellas, each focusing on one member of the casual, put-together-on-a-whim, friendly club of women who like to cook. Alice Ross did a wonderful job making the friendships come to life and drawing the reader into each woman’s joys and pains. These are lighthearted stories, though there are a few heavy-hearted conversations among the friends about love, marriage, and children.

As an aside, I found it pretty awesome that one of the recipes a character makes is Patatas Bravas – the same dish my teenager had to make as part of a group project for her high school Spanish class.

So… each story has some seriousness, some playfulness, and a couple of out-loud laughs, but my most favorite happily ever after was in book 3 when karma makes an appearance, and the comeuppance is delish.

-calliope

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Review (Take Two): Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Dr. Nora returns home to Scupper Island, Maine for a while for some rest and recuperation. She decided to leave behind her old life in Boston for a while – well, her old “reinvented in medical school” life, the one where she lost weight and gained confidence.

Higgins wrote a fascinating mother daughter relationship between Nora and her mom, and then put icing on the cake adding Nora’s wayward sister into the mix. Very well done. The family dynamics sucked me in without being too over the top. And Nora’s niece … aw, man, I was endeared to her from the start!

Best thing ever: The houseboat Nora rents. Second best thing ever: reading Nora’s emotions when she hears a certain someone walking up the dock. Oh and don’t miss the dinner party of all dinner parties – thank goodness for supportive friends, slightly eligible bachelors, and a mom who doesn’t stand for any nonsense.

Want to read Melpomene’s recent review of this book? Click right here.

-calliope

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Review: The Ladies Of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen

I simply loved this book, and when I realized it was book 2 in a series, I wished I had read book 1!

Rachel and Mercy share a home with the two elderly Miss Groves. The young ladies try to keep out of trouble, contribute to society, and progress their lives educationally, socially, and romantically. The Miss Groves try to help without butting in too much!

Not surprisingly, my very favorite part of this book is Rachel’s homegrown library. I’m envious! I mean, opening up a library by yourself, getting to organize all those books… sigh. Love love love. And good for Mercy standing up for herself and her school for girls. These are my kind of ladies!

-calliope

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Review: An Engagement in Seattle by Debbie Macomber

I like a hokey, predictable romance once in a while, but this one left a lot to be desired. I liked the Lesley-Chase meet cute. I didn’t like the pretense and forced feel of the romance that followed. I liked Chase – until he got just too smarmy for me. And I liked Lesley until I realized that I wasn’t going to see any depth later in the book, because character development stalled at 30-40%. What truly disappointed me was the chauvinism in this book. I have very traditional values, but that doesn’t mean I expect women to be viewed as objects, as I felt the women in this book were portrayed.

If you can overlook those things – and you’re in the mood for a clean, sweet romance, this might be for you.

-calliope

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Review: Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins knows how to write the sweet women’s fiction/chick lit/romance. It’s not my usual type of book, but I love Kristan’s books so I had to read this. And I’m so glad I did.

This story is about family and friendship. While there is romance, that’s not what the story is about. From the first page, I was sucked in. I stayed up late and woke up early, because I needed to see how Nora was going to handle everything that life has thrown at her.

Nora finds herself back at her hometown, trying to move forward, but every day she’s reminded of the past. I liked her attitude. She has this spunk about her. I want to be her friend. She is determined to live the life she wants and if she has to beat in a few heads along the way, she will. She doesn’t give up on the ones she loves.

While she plans on only staying for the summer, before she goes back to Boston for work, the more time she spends on the island, the more time these people get their hooks into her. Sometimes she gets hurt by those hooks, but she’s strong enough to take it.

Like I said, this was more about friendship and family. She struggled with making her family open up to her, but she wasn’t giving up. She loved them and wanted it in return. My heart felt for her. Especially with her niece. With a mom in jail, she is very bitter and doesn’t open up. But I appreciated how much Nora worked at her. But honestly, Nora was easy to love. She has a good heart and has plenty of room in it for those around her. Since the romance was more of a side story, it wasn’t overpowering and very smooth.

If you’re looking for a sweet standalone that will make your heart happy, then this book is for you.

~Melpomene

Buy Now That You Mention It http://amzn.to/2zEsAwU

Review: Moonlight over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Loved this rom com with Harriet the dog-walker and Ethan the guy with the sterile, modern bachelor pad. They crossed paths more than once – and in totally meet-cute ways. I liked that Harriet could be a bit self deprecating without being annoying about it, and that she was well aware of both her strengths and her shortcomings. It was refreshing to get to know a character who made no apologies for herself while still recognizing she could be happier if she changed a few things here and there.

Ethan made a great foil for Harriet. He ostensibly had it all together, but underneath he knew he really needed to make some adjustments in life, too.

I had fun watching Harriet and Ethan together, figuring out themselves and each other … and one another together.

-calliope

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Review: The Memory of Butterflies by Grace Greene

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  I sometimes get behind in my book reviews.  And then when it’s time to write those reviews, a sufficient amount of time has passed that my memory is a bit hazy on some of the finer details.  Surely that never happens to anyone else, right?  Such is the case with this book by Grace Greene.  Several months have gone by since I finished it.  Several months in which many other books were read.  I’m not going to try to bluff my way through a detailed review.  I’m just going to say that I absolutely loved this story.  It’s full of family love and heartbreak, secrets revealed and still hidden.  It tugs at your heartstrings.  So read it.  And don’t wait as long as I did to review it!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Memory of Butterflies