#BlogTour: Up In Smoke by Annabeth Albert

For this blog tour we’re looking at the latest book in Annabeth Albert’s year-long tale of MM romances set in the hyper-macho world of “hotshot” firefighters. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Up In Smoke by Annabeth Albert.

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

Another Solid Entry In Series. This is another solid entry in the series Albert has created over the last year featuring MM romances set in the hyper-macho world of western US “hotshot” firefighters and smoke jumpers – the front lines of any wildfire containment efforts. Here, we finally get smokejumper Brandt’s story, and it is at least as good from the romance angle as any of the other entries in this series. Maybe even better, since it runs a bit smoother with lower angst, minimal separation, both equally hoping for the other’s success, etc. Has an almost A Star Is Born vibe to it at times, though without the more depressing elements of that tale. But the biggest thing that will be hit or miss depending on exactly what you feel about it is the baby stuff in particular. Even as a childfree married male who generally doesn’t like babies (older kids are much cooler, though I’m always grateful that I can leave when I need to :D), I didn’t find the baby aspects *too* detracting, even for my tastes. Because the story really did focus on the interactions of the adults, with the baby providing the realistic distractions that adults having to care for a baby would actually provide. But if you’re particularly opposed to anything remotely baby related… well, you were told in the description that this one had one. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Overall a truly solid story, and very much recommended.

Below the jump, about a page long excerpt from the very first scene of the book, when Brandt and Shane first meet. Followed by the publisher information. ๐Ÿ™‚
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#BookReview: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Strong Story. Strong Storytelling. Don’t Understand The Hype. Let me be extremely clear on this: This was a very strong story of a family’s rise and fall across two generations, told in both past and “present” (with the “present” being nearly 40 years ago from the time of publication) and executed very well in both. The use of a full 24 hour timestamp as a narrative structure was great, as it really drove home that the story was counting down to some cataclysmic event. Truly, there is absolutely no doubt here – this is a great story superbly told.

But I would be remiss if I didn’t share my *other* overriding thought about this book, and that is simple: I truly don’t get the hype. I stand behind everything I said in the last paragraph 100%. But this was book 56 on the year for me and I’ve read over 250 since the COVID-related lockdowns began 53 weeks ago. And *many* of them were equally strong, and some quite similar in genre and tone. So I simply do not understand how this review will be number 990 on Goodreads – over two full months before this book publishers – while others languish in obscurity, seemingly struggling to get even double digit reviews even though they are at least as strong and good as this one. And again, I cannot emphasize this enough: This isn’t saying in any way that this book isn’t an excellent tale excellently told. My sole point is simply that there are *so many others* that could and arguably should receive the same amounts of attention and love, yet do not. And I truly don’t understand how this happens. I mean, I know *how* it happens- massive marketing campaigns. I just don’t understand the *why* of it and why *not* those others. Something that will likely always elude me.

Anyway, read this book. It deserves it. And maybe follow me wherever you find this review, and maybe you’ll find some equally deserving books you weren’t aware of. ๐Ÿ˜€ Very much recommended.

This review of Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid was originally written on March 23, 2021.

#BookReview: My Way To You by Catherine Bybee

Stunning. Bybee here uses her real life situation over the last few years to craft a story that is a testament to those who helped her most – the firemen and the flood control guys and the various repairmen – while also sticking to her bread and butter of romance novels. This one has some fun elements, such as when the lead guy comes out of the shower and, seeing his brother and sister in addition to our lead gal, says that he is glad he came out covered. His brother responds along the lines of “yeah, no one wants to see that”, and our lead gal raises her hand “I do!” (Seriously, I’m still cracking up about that particular scene. ๐Ÿ™‚ But overall, the tone here is much more serious. For our lead gal in particular, life isn’t exactly easy. But she has an AR, an AK, a shotgun, a 911, and a .40 cal Glock and she’s a good shot – as she tells another character who thinks he can just come on her property any time he needs to. Not as light as I remember the Not Quite series being, but absolutely a strong story, and with such a cast that it isn’t clear (as it usually tends to be) where this series is going next. (I have suspicions, but even that is only a somewhat educated guess.) Very much recommended.

This review of My Way To You by Catherine Bybee was originally written on March 8, 2020.