The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon – a Review

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon – a Review


The Confusion of LanguagesAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Both Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw dutifully followed their soldier husbands to the U.S. embassy in Jordan, but that’s about all the women have in common. After two years, Cassie’s become an expert on the rules, but newly arrived Margaret sees only her chance to explore. So when a fender-bender sends Margaret to the local police station, Cassie reluctantly agrees to watch Margaret’s toddler son. But as the hours pass, Cassie’s boredom and frustration turn to fear: Why isn’t Margaret answering her phone, and why is it taking so long to sort out a routine accident? Snooping around Margaret’s apartment, Cassie begins to question not only her friend’s whereabouts but also her own role in Margaret’s disappearance.

Written with emotional insight and stunning prose, The Confusion of Languages is a shattering portrait of a collision between two women and two worlds, as well as a poignant glimpse into the private lives of American military families living overseas.



The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon is a story about two military families, centering on two wives, living overseas in the Middle East (Jordan); the time is around 2011, when Osama Bin Laden was killed.  The two women are Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw.  Cassie and her husband Dan, are considered veterans living in the US Embassy for about two years.  When Margaret arrives in Jordan with her husband, Crick, Cassie will try to help her get acclimated to this way of life.  The two women are complete opposites, with Cassie, a stickler for following the rules and Margaret, a rule breaker talking to everyone, even those she should not be mingling with.  The other detail is that Margaret has a young son, Mather, and Cassie, who wants desperately to have children, is childless.

When their husbands are sent to Rome on an assignment, they tell Cassie to keep an eye on Margaret.  When there is a vendor bender accident, Margaret goes to report her accident to the police, while Cassie stays back to watch Mather.  As the hours pass, and Margaret has not returned, Cassie becomes worried, and contacts Crick to have the embassy find her.   While waiting, she comes across Margaret’s diary and we learn more about her life, as well as what Margaret has been doing during her stay in Jordan.  Margaret, being her careless self, will befriend some Jordanian people, which will cause problems for all, as the Jordanian rules do not allow for this. 

What follows is an interesting and somewhat complex storyline of two women so different, yet thrown together in a dangerous and different environment.  The two main protagonists, Cassie & Margaret were to me not really likable.  Cassie, being lonely and taught to follow rules came across as sarcastic at times.  Margaret was a bit too flighty and not responsible.  There were some surprises and twists along the way, which did help the story line.

The Confusion of Languages was a different type of read for me.  I thought it was interesting, but not sure I would read this type of book again.   Though I will say that the writing of Siobhan Fallon was very well done, and I did read that she has experienced military life abroad.  If you enjoy these types of stories, you can’t go wrong with this book, especially so well written by Fallon.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


Second Chances by Abbie Williams – a Review

Second Chances by Abbie Williams – a Review


Second ChancesAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

The past summer has been a wild ride for Joelle Gordon, in more ways than one. After discovering her husband cheating, she fled Chicago for her small-town childhood home in Landon, Minnesota. There, her family’s lakeside diner, the Shore Leave Café, remains unchanged. Yet nothing else in Landon is the same, including her family of women, her three teenaged daughters, Camille, Tish, and Ruthann, and the intense, passionate love she has found with Blythe Tilson.  Now Blythe is in trouble and Jackson is back in Landon, rethinking the divorce. Joelle must face one of the most difficult and important decisions of her life – or will the Davis family curse ruin any chances of finding love?


Second Chances is the conclusion of Summer at the Shore Leave Cafe and the second Shore Leave novel by author Abbie Williams.

This novel begins with our heroine Joelle (Jo) preparing to go to Oklahoma to support her love Blythe Tilson. He’s up on charges of leaving the state without parole approval. Long story, but he had some troubles, explained in this story, that ended with his incarnation for a brief time. He thought since he had a job in Minnesota he was okay to go…short of it is he’s not a criminal even though her ex likes to say so.

He’s sentenced to thirty days, then will be released and can come back to the Shore Leafe Café to work. But not seeing him and having only 15 minutes once a week phone call and letters, makes a month feel like forever for the two of them. And while he’s away, the ex tries to win her back.

It’s an in depth look at finding your life again, beginning to put things in perspective for Jo. There’s lots of heartache for several people, as well as happiness and love, adventure and some issues. In short, it’s a great picture of the life of this family and friends at the Shore Leave Café.

Author Abbie Williams does a marvelous job of depicting the interesting lives of everyone concerned, while still having this plot revolve around Jo’s life and decisions.

There’s plenty of what most of us like, love scenes and downright romantic and hot conversations, fun, and thrills.

There was even a hint of drama for the next novel.

Reviewed by Georgianna

Copy provided by Publisher


Just Fine With Caroline by Annie England Noblin – a Review

Just Fine With Caroline by Annie England Noblin – a Review


Just Fine With CarolineAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

Caroline O’Connor never dreamed she’d be back home in Cold River, Missouri, the Ozark Mountain town where everyone is ‘up your business.’…they mean well as they drive you crazy. She thought she’d left town for good, but now she’s back, helping to care for her New York born mother—struck with Alzheimer’s, and prone to saying and doing anything—and her father, the beloved local doctor frustrated he can’t cure his own wife.

As for Caroline, she’s doing ‘just fine’ coping with her parents, her brazen cousin Ava Dawn’s marital disasters, her mostly-deaf dog…and with Noah Cranwell, far-flung relative of a local family mostly infamous for running moonshine, an ex-veteran who’s come to Cold River with troubles of his own.

Caroline believes she knows everything about Cold River and the people who live in its hills and hollers … but sometimes life’s greatest surprises happen closest to home.



Just Fine with Caroline by Annie England Noblin is the first book in her new Cold River series.  Caroline O’Connor, our heroine, is home in Cold River, Missouri helping her father take care of her mother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s.  Caroline runs the family’s bait shop during the day, and usually hangs with her cousin, Ava and her friend, Court at night.  Caroline’s father is a retired doctor, and works part-time at the clinic, with Ava watching over the mother.  Ava plays a big part of this story, as she mostly slips in at night to stay with Caroline, since she is separated from her abusive husband. 

One day, Caroline notices someone is snooping around the old closed station opposite her shop; to her surprise, she meets someone she has not seen in many many years.  Noah Cranwell, our hero, has returned home to rebuild the station. Noah’s infamous grandfather used to run a moonshine business long ago, with most town folks staying clear of the Cranwells.  Later in this story, we will find out that there is more to the Cranwells and the O’Connors from way back. Noah immediately befriends and takes an interest in Caroline.  Caroline’s deaf dog, Yari will gravitate to Noah, who communicates well with the dog, opening up a friendship between them.

This is a sweet lighthearted story line focusing on Caroline; her friends, family, life in general and her slow build romance with Noah.  Along the way, Caroline finds herself in the middle of issues that arise; such as Ava’s abusive and dangerous husband; the unknown secret between the Cranwell/O’Connor; helping her best friend move on with his life not meant to be in a small town.  I found the story lighthearted, with a simple look at small town life.  At times it did move slowly, but the characters we got to meet were very likable.  If you enjoy a sweet story about a small town life, then this would be a perfect book for you.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


The Curl Up and Dye by Sharon Sala-Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

The Curl Up and Dye by Sharon Sala-Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

The Curl Up and Dye Banner

The Curl Up and Dye
Curl Up and Dye #1
by Sharon Sala
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Genre: women’s fiction

The Curl Up and Dye / / Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

ABOUT THE BOOK: A brand new Southern women’s fiction from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sharon Sala who has 1.5 million books sold.

Wally Lamb meets Steel Magnolias in this story of LilyAnn Bronte, the Peachy-Keen Queen, which in Blessings, Georgia, was the epitome of success. After losing her fiance in the war in Iraq, her zest for life went into decline while added weight crept on. When a new guy arrives in town, LilyAnn embarks on a quest to remake herself from start to finish only to discover that love was always just right next-door.


Curl Up and Dye is a wonderful story of small town lives. Curl Up and Dye is the local beauty salon and run by some wonderful ladies, who know everyone and almost everything. Like in most small towns, the beauty salon is the center piece of life.

This is the story of LilyAnn Bronte, who had a lovely young life that went bad when her first love Randy Joe went to Afghanistan and was killed. She got stuck in that place, just short of growing up.

She dropped out of college that year and started working at the local pharmacy. Three years later her father died and her mother later remarried a man 12 years younger and now lives happily in Miami, Florida. LilyAnn never went back to school and just worked at Phillips Pharmacy and began packing on the pounds and living in her little rut. Eleven years later, hearing a hot rod truck rev up its pipes, she sort of had a revelation of change.

She went to the Curl Up and Dye for her weekly appointment. While there, the driver of the hot rod truck came in to ask for a haircut. He was moderately handsome and well-built and his name was T.J. Lachlan. T.J. was new in town and renovating his great uncle’s house that he’d inherited. LilyAnn knew the new stranger would never look at her as she was, but would have liked her as she was when she was with Randy Joe. This was the impetus for her change!

Mike Dalton is LilyAnn’s next door neighbor, as well as the owner of the local fitness gym, and has been in love with her since the tenth grade. He has never had the courage to make his feelings know, afraid of rejection.

This is the setting, the story is one of self-realization and finding out what life truly has to offer before it’s too late. It’s well written, you get to know many of the people in the town. Ms. Salsa does a great job of creating the town from the ground up. You feel like you have lived there, or could live there. She entwines the story around LilyAnn and Mike and their finding each other, interspersing it with tales of other townfolk.

It’s a bumpy road, some funny, some horrible, and some just embarrassing! It’s great entertainment. T.J. turns out to be not what everyone thought (no spoilers now) and the story is wonderful and fulfilling.

Grab a glass of your favorite beverage, cuddle up and have a good time with this wonderful home-town type story. It’s well worth the time to read! The characters are endearing and loveable, you get some bad guys to take you temper out on, and lots of great fun! Enjoy everyone, I did!

Copy supplied by the publisher

Reviewed by Georgianna


1. With the zany characters in your book, I just have to ask are they
based on people you know, a combination of people or just totally made up?

Well, I will admit to have quite a few characters in my family, and I have a wicked sense of humor and a wild imagination, so that’s how the people in my books come to be.

2. What one thing do you dislike most about writing?

That’s an easy answer and one I’d venture to say nearly all writers share. Its waiting to be paid. Publishers might pay quarterly, or twice a year, or whatever their market plan is, and no matter how hard we write and how many bills pill up, we don’t get paid when we finish a job. We wait months and months without knowing the amount we will even receive, because ALL of our income is based on royalty from the sales, and no one knows whether a book will sell well, or if it’s going to get pirated so many times your actual sales plummet, etc. It’s a hard business to be in and survive.

3. Most writers also enjoy reading when they have a chance. What was the last book you read?

It was a book by Robert Crais called Voodoo River.

4. Valentine’s Day is just a few days away. What meal would you consider to be perfect for the occasion?

I always loved having dinner with my sweetheart. I think that’s still the best thing a woman enjoys… not having to cook, being waited on, and being with the person you love.

5. What can readers look forward to next from you?

My next book for Sourcebooks will be book 2 from the world of Blessings, Georgia and the girls at The Curl Up & Dye. It’s called Family Specials.


About The Author

Follow Sharon: Goodreads / Website / Twitter /Facebook

Sharon SalaSharon Sala has been a published author since 1991, and has also written under the pseudonym Dinah McCall, although the last McCall book was released in March of 2007.

Her 76th book, THE HEALER, was released in April 2008. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and writes mostly romantic suspense and paranormal romantic suspense for Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Books, and at one time, also wrote for Harper/Avon. She also had a humorous western trilogy set in the Kansas Territory before the Civil War published by Loveland Press, a small press publisher out of Loveland Colorado. She’s a five-time RITA finalist, which is RWA’s equivalent of an Oscar or an Emmy nomination.

A three time Career Achievenment winner from RT Bookclub Magazine, as well as a five time winner of the National Reader’s Choice Awards. She’s a regular on the New York Times bestseller lists, as well as USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, and many other trade lists. She’s won many industry awards, including numerous ones from RT Bookclub Magazine, a trade magazine devoted entirely to the latest reviews.


Sourcebooks and Sharon are offering a paper copy of THE CURL UP AND DYE to one (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1.  If you have not registered, please register using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar)  or by using one of the social log-in.

2.  If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3.  Giveaway open to USA and CANADA only.

4.  Giveaway runs February 6-10, 2014