Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Taste of Air by Gail Cleare

4 Star

A simple phone call disrupts Nell Williams’s well-ordered life. Her mother, Mary, is in a hospital in Vermont. But her mother is supposed to be safely tucked away in an assisted-living facility in Massachusetts, so Nell can’t fathom why she would be so far from home.

After notifying her sister, Bridget, Nell hops on a plane and rushes to her mother’s side. There, she discovers that her mother has been living a second life. Mary has another home and a set of complex relationships with people her daughters have never met.

When Nell and Bridget delve deeper into their mother’s lakeside hideaway, they uncover a vault of family secrets and the gateway to change for all three women. 




Kathryn - 4 Star

I sat on this novel for a long time before being able to read it- and I wish I hadn’t deprived myself!
The title actually evokes the feelings I remember from the book- the escape by the ocean is so airy you can taste the breeze and the need for that air is also essential for those who are seeking it- a good title for the overall feel of the book.

Nell’s family life is put on hold when she receives a phone call that her mother is in serious condition in a hospital a long way from the retirement home she thought her mother was living in.  It starts a whole series of discoveries for Nell about her mother’s life and her own family history.  When her sister Bridget is able to join her near the ocean at their mother’s beach house they really begin to realise that their mother spent a good portion of her life making her own happiness.  I think it actually helps them both to realise that they must seize their own joy – even if Nell didn’t realise she was missing any and Bridget knew she needed more.

I found the relationship between the sisters to be honest and thought provoking as well as their personal relationships with men and on the whole what we eventually know about their mother was heart-warming and heart-wrenching at the same time.  The novel really explored family relationships as well as individuality.


Thank you to the author for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Gail Cleare:
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Friday, January 12, 2018

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

5 Star

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.




Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

Rarely do I read books of this type as I am not particularly interested in the paranormal and magic in general, but I fell in love with the Owens family and the children whose story this book told. The second book in a series, this book is a prequel to Practical Magic which I have not yet read but certainly will after reading this one.

Set in the sixties mostly in New York City and Massachusetts, this book tells the story of siblings Jet, Franny and Vincent whose lives were all unique but who shared many family secrets and abilities which made them close despite separations they faced over the years.  I loved hearing about this magical family and the suffering they faced due to their unique lives and the parents who tried to protect them at all cost. Facing many trials and tribulations, these three show their tenacity throughout this story which spans from childhood to adulthood and their own families. Multi-generational, the story speaks of a legacy that is everlasting and calls upon many characters throughout to weave together the story of the Owens.

A truly heartfelt story, which tugged at my heartstrings, I enjoyed getting to know this family and learning about one of my favourite cities during a fascinating time period. Alice Hoffman shows again what a master storyteller she is.


Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Alice Hoffman:
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Monday, January 8, 2018

Hanna Who Fell From The Sky by Christopher Meades

3 Star

Hanna has never been outside her secluded community of Clearhaven. She has never questioned why her father has four wives or why she has fourteen brothers and sisters. And in only one week, on her eighteenth birthday, Hanna will follow tradition and become the fifth wife of a man more than twice her age.

But just days before the wedding, Hanna meets Daniel, an enigmatic stranger who challenges her to question her fate and to follow her own will. Then her mother tells her a secret--one that could grant Hanna the freedom she's known only in her dreams. As her world unravels around her, Hanna must decide whether she was really meant for something greater than the claustrophobic world of Clearhaven. But can she abandon her beloved younger sister and the only home she's ever known? Or is there another option--one too fantastical to believe?





Kathryn - 3 Star

This was a strange book and not only because of the internal working of a cult content but because I felt as if it was incomplete.  Hanna is almost 18 and gives a voice to the confined world in which she's been brought up.  She is about to be married off to an elder in the fold who already has several wives and is at least 30 years her senior.  The entire story covers the short period of time leading up to her arranged marriage but there is also some back story interwoven into the present.

Hanna is more aware of her surroundings and her situation than her siblings appear to be, she’s unsure about the way her future is looking and seems to be edging towards finding a way out.  She’s also having a hard time reconciling herself to leaving her younger sister behind- she fears that no one will be able to care for her the way she can.

I wish this novel explored a longer time frame so that we had more of a feel for Hanna’s family dynamics- we had snippets, but I didn’t grasp the whole.   I feel also that there should have been more links for Hanna within the community that she could have leant on- as it was she only appeared to be close with the one sister and occasionally her mother.  She then meets Daniel who seems to give her the boost she needs to explore other options- but then she backtracks again and decides she will have to remain in Clearhaven.

I think I was frustrated because I felt this novel could have been more powerful and that the bones were there but not complete?  I enjoyed it and wanted more but am now also really curious to read other books by this author.


Thank you to Harlequin for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Christopher Meades:
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Thursday, January 4, 2018

To Provence with Love by T.A.Williams

4 Star

Struggling writer Faye Carter just can’t believe her luck. She’s off to Provence to write the autobiography of a famous film star and she’ll be staying in the stunning chateau!

So when she meets charming (and completely gorgeous) lavender farmer, Gavin, she knows that she’s made the right choice – even if glamourous, elderly Anabelle seems to be hiding something…

But when the sun is shining, the food is delicious and the air smells of honey, anything seems possible. Will the magic of Provence help Faye finally find a happy-ever-after of her own?




Kindle    Nook    Kobo


I was again enchanted by this novel by T.A Williams which is wonderful- perhaps it’s because this novel returns to the warm countryside where romance can flourish amongst the scents of summer and majestic countryside?  Or perhaps I just related to Faye easily so everything fell into place? 

I loved that Faye upped her life and moved in with a mysterious stranger to write a memoir.  It was a pretty gutsy start to the novel and I was intrigued by her strength and determination- luckily for her she’s set up in a lovely apartment above the stables or garage or some other outbuilding and lands on her feet helping a famous film star write her story. 

All of the people who work for and with the glamourous Annabelle are charming and delightful so she’s not lacking for company either, despite the chateau’s isolation. There’s even a lovely dog to accompany her on her walks and force her outside when she needs a break from writing.

It seems almost superfluous to her joy to also be intrigued by the handsome (but a bit broody) lavender farmer next door.  A lavender farmer with a past though makes for some romantic plot twists for us and I appreciated their slow connection.  I was equally charmed by the villagers Faye meets and her father who comes to visit.

Entirely charming and sweet this novel will have you wanting to hop on a plane and discover your own slice of lavender and chateaus.


Thank you to Harper Collins UK for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with T.A.Williams:
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