Superior Saving Skills. In this continuation of the new (non-paranormal) series from Pine, a lot of people need saving in a lot of different ways, and everyone saves everyone else in their own ways. 😀 Along the way, yes, Saxon does find a Savior – in more ways than one (though religion is never mentioned, for those worried about that either direction). But you get all kinds of other things too – superheroics during a traffic accident gone bad (think: severe accident, 80s movie style action 😉 ), more superheroics during a hurricane to bookend the tale (with a different person/ people being the superhero(es) here), and some subtler saving – saving from preconceptions, saving from bad relationships, saving from family disasters that could have been far worse, etc etc etc. Overall arguably one of the strongest books in this series, and yet another fine example of family coming together – particularly the family you choose. Very much recommended.
Fun, Fast Read With Lots of Heart. This is a shorter novel at around 150 or so pages, and that actually makes it near perfect for a quick escape from family during the holiday season. You know, for those who may desire such an escape for some reason or another. 😉 Small town second chance romance that deals with some pretty weighty issues including bullying and attempted suicide, but in the typical Evans fashion of tackling them head on yet still sensitively. Excellent foundation for the series, with several secondary characters introduced – enough such that one gets the sense this series could go for a while, but none standing out quite so blatant as to be the obvious main character in the next book. Very much recommended.
Once again we come to a Carina Adores Blog Tour, which are always awesome. Seriously, I haven’t encountered a bad book in this program yet, and I’ve found several authors doing this that have taken me to places I’d never been before – and that is always awesome. 🙂
Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:
Fun Foodie FF Romance. This is a lesbian romance where the two ladies are about as opposite as it gets – one is a trained chef working for a corporate restaurant group, the other is a legacy baker who took over and revitalized her mom’s shop. As a short romance, it works well in that it hits all the requirements of the genre (yes, including sex) and executes each solidly – but you’re not going to get the conflict and growth of a 100 page longer book. Though there are still significant, more complicated than Hallmarkie, conflicts here. Ultimately a fun book that hits all the right notes and even manages to highlight the particular region it features very well. Very much recommended.
And below the jump, a page-ish excerpt from near the front of the book (Chapter 2, IIRC):
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Secret Ingredient by KD Fisher”
Required Mention Of Thelma And Louise Meets Fast And Furious. Redfearn blatantly admits that she set out to do a “modern” retelling of Thelma and Louise and to honor a guy she met at her restaurant. Here, she did both exceedingly well. (Well, I never knew the real Skipper, but the fictionalized version of him is a great character.) But where so many reviewers focus on the Thelma and Louise aspect or the kid aspect, allow this childfree dude to bring in another aspect no other review I’ve seen has: This book is *also* exceedingly similar to the Fast and Furious franchise, with its emphasis on the family you create and doing the right thing by them while running from law enforcement agents who may or may not understand what is really going on – or care. Yes, Hadley and Grace could be seen as the Thelma and Louise that Redfearn blatantly set out to emulate. But they can also be seen as Dom and Brian, just trying to make bad situations right. Great light adventure story and a great way to begin a new year. Very much recommended.
Welcome back to yet another Blog Tour from Carina Press, the first of two this week in as many days. Both feature excellent though very divergent tales, and we’re gonna see my own reviews of each, a couple of pages from when the characters first see each other in each, and all of the relevant details to make it really easy for you to jump over to your eBook market of choice and buy the dang books. 😀
Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:
Feel-Good Finale. This second-chance romance tale, seemingly the last book of this year’s Hotshots series, was a solid way to go out. It is *very* loosely coupled with the previous two books – both prior couples make cameos – but can largely be read as a standalone. Fans of the MM genre will like this one, as it contains pretty well all of the standard elements of the genre. But that actually gets to one of my quibbles with the book. One of the guys here is alternatively described as both demisexual and asexual – which are both elements of the spectrum that don’t get mentioned as much, and thus it is always awesome to see. Yet in playing too much into genre expectations, to me it felt like Albert did the asexual aspect a disservice in almost making it seem that an asexual may just turn out to be a horn dog… with the right person. Similar to a character described as being comfortably childfree winding up with a kid at the end of the tale. (Note, that is just an example – in this particular tale one of the two is actually already a father.) The other quibble? Not enough actual firefighting in this book, particularly relative to the other two books in the series. Though the jobs here are actively away from the front lines, and for what they are, the jobs seem well represented in and of themselves. Still, a solid tale and a satisfying conclusion. Very much recommended.
And after the jump, a 2 page-ish excerpt from near the beginning of the book, when one of our leads learns he is about to run into the other for the first time in many years:
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Feel The Fire by Annabeth Albert”
This week we’re looking at a breakneck psychological thriller that also serves as a clarion call on an issue many are speaking of quite a bit over the last decade. This week we’re looking at Lies We Tell Ourselves by Steena Holmes.
Trying to force myself out of the writing funk I’ve been in for several months now when it comes to these posts, I want to add at least a little bit to the Goodreads review below.
First, I love that Holmes frequently includes a reference to one of her friends’ books – usually released in the same year – in her books. This one is no different there, and the book in question (which you’ll have to read this book to find out) is in fact one that was also a Featured New Release on this very blog earlier this year.
Second, at least on the ARC copy I read Holmes includes a note at the end about a particular Easter Egg… which I completely missed. I remember getting the sense that it was a very random encounter – usually a good clue of an Easter Egg – but in my defense, I’ve read over 200 books since reading Holmes’ two releases last fall. (The Perfect Secret and The Patient, both of which included this same character, apparently.) Indeed, I actually thought that a more major character was the joining fabric potentially of all three books – and I would love to see future books including that particular character. Let me know which character you think I’m referencing here, I don’t want to give it away in this post. 🙂
Finally, this book really does go in depth with nearly all facets of sex trafficking, and while most of the worst of it is “off screen”, there is enough discussion in enough detail of enough facets that this book could in fact be very difficult to read if this issue has impacted you. But honestly, I think that in that case, you need to read this book arguably more than the rest of us. If only so you can write your own review and tell us just how close Holmes gets here. From the outside looking in, it seems that she captured the emotions and struggles quite well indeed, but this is something that I have no direct knowledge of and thus can’t know. So please, even if you think this book will be difficult for you, read it and write a review on Goodreads and Bookbub and let the rest of us know just how close – or, perhaps, far off – Holmes really was.
As always, the Goodreads review:
Continue reading “Featured New Release Of The Week: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Steena Holmes”
Fun Tale Told In A Possibly Unique Way. In some ways, this was a typical light-ish, women’s fiction level mystery involving a dead husband, a separated wife, and the mistress who caused the separation. It ultimately becomes a feel-good tale of friendship and bonding between female neighbors with a bit of a dark undertone, which was very well executed – darker than the Hallmark Romance level romances Snow typically writes under this name, but nowhere *near* as dark (and *far* funnier) than the depths Snow plumbs as JM Winchester. But what truly makes this book so rare and possibly unique is the decision to tell the tale from the perspectives of both the wife… *and* the mistress. Excellently told story that will ultimately have you guessing until very nearly the last word. Very much recommended.
Strong WWII-Europe Tale Featuring Not-Usually-Featured Personnel. This was a solid tale of the trials and tribulations of a job in WWII-Europe that doesn’t really get featured much in the discussions – written war correspondents, and particularly the few females who had enough balls to force themselves into such roles. Lane does a superb job at dropping us into the action at famous and infamous points and showing the side of the war she wants to feature rather than the more well known stories – including a seemingly-unreal-yet-actually-real story of one particular female war correspondent who did, in fact, hide herself on a hospital ship and thus become the *only* correspondent – of either gender – to see the events of D-Day unfold with her own unaided eyes. (Yes, Lane fictionalizes even that event, but a real-life version *did* actually happen.) Indeed, my only real complaint here was that I wanted to have Lane have her photojournalist do something in Sicily involving Patton (and his subsequent sidelining by Supreme Commander Eisenhower) that apparently no real photographs exist of. Which makes sense that Lane couldn’t then have her character do something that is in fact documented as having never happened. 😉 Ultimately a great story of some very brave women and the very real decisions that would have had to have been made by real-life versions of these characters. Very much recommended.
Literary Soap Opera. This is a tale of dual sets of sisters roughly three decades apart making uncannily similar boneheaded moves, told primarily from the perspectives of two of the sisters in one timeline and one from the previous timeline. It is a compelling mystery with all kinds of interweaving and looping drama that truly makes it feel like a soap opera, but in a very approachable and enjoyable way. Some reveals were telegraphed early, others not until the very moment – with some pretty solid misdirection thrown in at times. Overall great story and great execution, and a remarkable contrast in storytelling style from Marsh’s earlier October 2020 release, Second Chance Lane. Very much recommended.
Real World Meets Frequency Meets Bicentennial Man. Long ago, there was a situation I was very tangentially linked to (I was a classmate of the survivor) where a boy witnessed his brother be murdered in front of him via a shotgun blast meant for the boy. In the movie Frequency, my singular favorite scene is near the end when the dad in the 1960s uses his shotgun to blow off the hand of the bad guy and you see the hand wither to nothing in the present day timeline. And in Bicentennial Man, you follow Robert Williams’ robot character as he lives and loves over the course of two centuries. Literally this morning (as I write this), Catherine Ryan Hyde is using her telescope and camera setup to photograph the known universe, or at least the parts of it she can see from her own small slice of Earth.
This book wound up evoking the first three of these for me in that strange place that resides between my ears, and along the way we get a prototypical character-driven Catherine Ryan Hyde novel. It even included a scene that those that know Hyde even via her Facebook page could see playing out in her real life, making it all that much more “real”.
This isn’t an action filled book, it isn’t even really a mystery filled book. This is a solid character driven moving story about two people thrown together in very unlikely circumstances at a particular point in their lives, who turn out to be very rare types of people themselves. It is a powerful yet relatively sedate story very akin to Bicentennial Man itself.
And sometimes, those are exactly the stories we need to hear. Very much recommended.