#BlogTour: What Happens In Miami by Nadine Gonzalez

For this second entry in the Slide Into Summer Romance Blog Tour Series, we’re looking at a sizzling Miami romance that takes us all over the city while telling a tale of mystery and romance. For this blog tour, we’re looking at What Happens In Miami by Nadine Gonzalez.

Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:

Sizzling Miami Romance. This is an incredible tour of Miami through the eyes of a megastar – who wasn’t always – and a struggling artist. As the two come together, we see most sides of Miami from its glittering glitz of the mega-famous to the down-in-the-dirt seediness of its struggling working class – and everything in between. Gonzalez does remarkable job of showing the breadth of the hispanic community’s lives in that city – and tells a solid tale of mystery and intrigue while building what is ultimately a romance novel. All tied up in less than 200 pages, making this a solid July 4th vacation read no matter what your plans for the weekend may be. Very much recommended.

Below the jump, an excerpt and the publisher information! 🙂
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#BookReview: The Rise Of Light by Olivia Hawker

Complicated Yet Beautiful. Hawker has a way of painting pictures with words that are utterly beautiful, and yet also utterly ugly at the same time. Ultimately, this book reads like a more evocative, more painting quality version of the somewhat similar story David Duchovny created in Truly Like Lightning, even as it seems that both authors were working on these works for quite a number of years. Particularly in their showing of the worse sides of Mormon life, complete with overbearing and hypocritical fathers, this reads almost like as much an attack on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as the character study that it is. And yet, again, the way Hawker executes it here is utterly beautiful in its prose and storytelling. Hawker sucks you in, weaving these plot threads near and around each other before bringing them all together to grand effect. Ultimately the biggest quibble with this entire effort isn’t Hawker’s writing, but the actual description of the book – which leads one to believe certain aspects arguably happen sooner than they do. Indeed, Linda becoming “privy to a secret Aran and Tamsin share that could dismantle everything everyone holds dear” happens quite late (later than 80%, maybe even closer to the 90% mark), though again, the actual execution here is quite solid and indeed allows the book to end in surprising ways that were only very subtly hinted at much earlier. Even Aran and Lucy getting together to begin with seems to happen much later in the tale than the description seems to indicate, though that relationship *is* particularly well developed. Ultimately this is a book that Mormons likely won’t like, people with various misconceptions about Mormonism will probably tout, but one that tells a remarkable tale in the end. Recommended.

This review of The Rise Of Light by Olivia Hawker was originally written on May 21, 2021.

Featured New Release of the Week: Letters to a Stranger by Mercedes Pinto Maldonado, Translated by Jennie Erikson

This week we’re looking at what is quite possibly the first modern book I’ve ever read that was originally written in another language. This week we’re looking at Letters To A Stranger by Mercedes Pinto Maldonado, translated by Jennie Erikson.

This was an interesting read. The mystery is solid and compelling, and the writing is excellent (at least in the English, and presumably in the Spanish – though I barely read or write Spanish and thus read the English version). But the book itself is all about loss, and that depressive state pervades this book almost from the first words to the last. (Though to be fair, the last words are a bit cliche, a slight mar to the finish of an otherwise outstanding work.) So as I note below, you’re almost going to be begging for a zany and hilarious romantic comedy as a palate cleanser after this one.

But there *is* a love story embedded within the loss, as well as a pair of redemptive arcs that play out on different time scales. These provide just enough levity to allow the gravitas of the loss to settle without being overbearing, and these show just how adept at her craft Maldonado is. This seems to be the first of Maldonado’s works to be translated into English, but this reader for one is hoping that more follow – I’m not quite so desperate to read more of her work that I would learn Spanish just to be able to do so, but I would indeed like to see more. Very much recommended.

As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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#BookReview: Aiden Inspired by Blake Allwood

Masterful, With a Singular (non-fatal) Flaw. 20 years ago right around now, I gave an extemporaneous speech in my high school speech class that told this fantastical tale of alien adventures that took place over an extended time period. I thought it was an awesome story, and I had fun telling it. I thought the speech went amazing! And then my classmates and teacher started chiming in just absolutely eviscerating it. As it turned out, I had forgotten the very premise I had been told to work with: that the story had begun just the night before.

This book is an absolute masterpiece of a romance, with the fairly explicit sex MM romance is somewhat known for. The primary characters are charming in their own ways, and each has their flaws that are never glossed over as is the case of some tales in the general romance genre. The settings are amazing, and the extended time in the remote southeastern corner of Washington State (I googled the location) was astounding – it worked to further the plot while also enhancing the story.

The one flaw this story has is the same one my speech had all those years ago – in telling such a superior tale, the author gets his timings mixed up quite a bit. Things that happen overnight are spoken of in the section after speaking of things that happened over a much longer period of time,and this is a recurring problem of this tale – enough that I felt I had no choice but to ding it a star, as a one time blip of even that level could have been simply noted in this review yet forgiven on the rating.

Truly a masterful work, and I want to read the stories alluded to in the epilogue… 😉

This review of Aiden Inspired by Blake Allwood was originally published on April 18, 2019.