Featured New Release of The Week: Raven Lane by Amber Cowie

This week we are looking at a stunning sophomore selection from a very promising new author. This week we are looking at Raven Lane by Amber Cowie.

In Cowie’s debut book last year she attempted a dual timeline story and did it very effectively – an accomplishment, considering that not even all experienced authors can pull that off. In this book, Cowie gets even more experimental with her craft and actually manages to weave in what is effectively a novella length story by the end of this book… *within this book*. This is a technique so rare in my reading experience as to nearly be unique, and Cowie does it astoundingly well, both in creating the novella and in weaving it into the overall tale of the main story.

The main story itself is full of twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing very nearly as long as her debut book did last year, and it does indeed feature several subjects that some might find troublesome. But if you like complicated characters and a well paced mystery, this is definetely the book for you. Overall a truly great work with only the barest hint of a sophomore slump – and that is more due to just how amazing the first book was rather than anything truly negative about this outing. Indeed, with the inclusion and execution of the novella, this is actually a stronger book in its totality. Very much recommended.

As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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#BookReview: The Light In The Hallway by Amanda Prowse

Sad Yet Hopeful – And With Sequel Potential. Up front: This book has moments that can be *extremely* depressing. But here’s the thing – Prowse does an excellent job of using those moments to explore real world emotions very well. And then she uses the story she creates here to restore a bit of hope to those who are going through similarly depressing phases of life. And along the way we find a solid story of a man rebuilding his life at a time he never thought he’d have to while also getting the story of one pivotal summer many years ago. This was my first of Prowse’s books, and it won’t be my last. (Particularly if we get that sequel, Shirley. 😉 ) Very much recommended.

This review of The Light In The Hallway by Amanda Prowse was originally written on November 17, 2019.

#BookReview: Full Circle by Andrea Barber

Amazing Story. Barber is obviously known to millions as Kimmie Gibbler, but here for the first time those same millions meet Andrea. And Andrea is full of the dichotomies that plague many of us. An introvert who happens to be a “celebrity”. Someone plagued with anxiety who is known for portraying the zany neighbor that always has a plan. The mother that slipped so far into anxiety and depression that she couldn’t take care of herself and nearly lost everything. Barber does an excellent job of easing the reader into the darkest moments of her life and explaining how she was able to come out of them and come… Full Circle. Very much recomended.

This review of Full Circle by Andrea Barber was originally written on November 15, 2019.

#BookReview: The Not So Perfect Match by Maggie Dallen

Solid Dallen. With A Cat. 😀 This is another excellent entrant in Dallen’s loosely coupled Friar Hollows series – meaning each book works well as a standalone, as long as you don’t mind expected spoilers of previous book leads being in relationships and making sporadic appearances. Hallmarkie-ish romance, with an element of cat vs dog person to boot – and some great hilarity around the cat in particular. Very much recommended.

This review of The Not So Perfect Match by Maggie Dallen was originally written on November 11, 2019.

#BookReview: Playing the Field by Christina Benjamin

Fun Sporty HS Romance. Fun and light, this book has been – along with its predecessors in the trilogy – a nice change of pace from the more “serious” books I’ve been reading of late, and this is one of the reasons I love this style of tale. Fair amount of angst here – these *are* teens we’re dealing with – and some pretty awesome pranking going on in this particular book. Overall it stays true to everything about the tale, even including a healthy respect for baseball and its traditions. Truly a great book, and now I have yet another new author to follow. Very much recommended.

This review of Playing the Field by Christina Benjamin was originally written on November 10, 2019.

#BookReview: A Relay And A Reunion by Maddie Evans

Righteous Rage, Really? I thought Cashman was like me – after all, dude is an acerbic computer geek! – but this book actually introduced a character even more like me in Lucas, even as we don’t actually share a profession. And the problems Lucas and Shelly have are very similar to some of the fights I’ve had with my own wife, particularly when I get lost in some new challenge. (Such as reading 200 or maybe 208 books this year. Thanks, Number 170! 🙂 )So this book hit a bit closer to home to me than even Book 3 (Mischief and a Marathon, Cashman and Julie’s story). But overall this is a solid continuation of the overall series, though it does feel like some early characters are as much wallflowers as some central characters here were in their books. Still, a truly remarkable series and one that I am eagerly awaiting the next book in. Very much recommended.

This review of A Relay And A Reunion by Maddie Evans was originally published on November 8, 2019.

#BookReview: Once Upon A Holiday by Claudia Burgoa

Best *Laid* Plans. The biggest thing I can tell you about this book is that if you’re one of those prudes that doesn’t want hard core sex or F-bombs in your romance books… skip this one. 😉 For the rest of us, this one was actually a fun, sexy romance about things not exactly working according to plan… and yet working out for the best. Excellent story, feels like it is somewhat deep in a series and yet I don’t remember seeing anything noting that in any of the descriptions I’ve seen. So if it isn’t, it is clearly a deep world that could potentially work for one.

This review of Once Upon A Holiday by Claudia Burgoa was originally written on November 7, 2019.

Featured New Release of the Week: Ghost Pain by Pandora Pine

This week we’re going back into a year long saga of a pair of ghost detectives. This week, we’re looking at Ghost Pain by Pandora Pine.

This entire spinoff series has been my entry point into Pine’s universe, and I’ve been very impressed so far. She manages to bring the paranormal and the normal together in ways rarely seen in other similar efforts, all while keeping the series focused on the people involved even as the individual books feature specific cases. (As the better long running series – in any medium – tend to do.)

This particular book is a typical entry in that vein – we open up dealing with the aftermath of the ending of Ghost of a Chance (Book 5), and because of that at minimum that book needs to be read before that one. But even that book deals with the events from the very first book in this spinoff series, Ghost of Himself. (And on and on and on :D) So read all six books – because by the end of this one Pine basically calls her shot with presumably the next book, and it is one that has been building since even before this spinoff series began.

This book in particular was Pine’s usual excellence in storytelling and execution, and I am very much looking forward to Book 7! 🙂

And with that… the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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#BookReview: A Drakenfall Christmas by Geralyn Corcillo

Hallmarkie Christmas Great For Princess Diaries or Downton Abbey Fans. If you hit any of the fandoms listed in the title, you’re going to love this book. Even if you don’t, it is still a solid Christmas romance set in the realm of English nobility and the staff that maintain their homes. Lots of different moving parts to this one, including three four separate intertwining romances – which may be a bit confusing to some, but was easy enough to decipher if the reader sticks with the story. Very much recommended.

This review of A Drakenfall Christmas by Geralyn Corcillo was originally written on November 3, 2019.

#BookReview: Playing To Win by Stephanie Street

Solid YA Romance. I came into this book unfamiliar with Street, but very familiar with the author of the first book in this series – Maggie Dallen – and this book keeps much of the same feel I am used to from Dallen’s work. To the level that it is almost unclear as to whether Street’s style is just so similar to Dallen’s or if the books were heavily coordinated amongst the authors. Though this isn’t a bad thing in any way, and indeed was a bit of a comfort. Overall you can expect a fun, fast paced romance with some angst (though far from emo levels) and some humor and some minor conflict at the back of the book just before the happily ever after – and a well executed one at that. Very much recommended.

This review of Playing To Win by Stephanie Street was originally written on November 2, 2019.