#BlogTour: One Week To Claim It All by Adriana Herrera

For this final stop of the Slide Into Summer Romance Blog Tour Series, we’re looking at a great short romance perfect for your July 4th plans, no matter what they may be. For this stop, we’re looking at One Week To Claim It All by Adriana Herrera.

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

Solid Short Scintillating Summer Story. This is one of those great vacation reads because of its brevity- at around 150 pages, you’re not committing to too much, so you can enjoy whatever you’re doing on vacation itself and still have a solid escape during downtimes. As to actual trope classification, some might call it enemies to lovers – the couple does in fact start out this book in that form – but others might classify it as second chance – they start out as enemies because of a failed romance years before the events of this tale. Either way, solid mashup of boardroom / entertainment drama as our leads clash over who will take over a multimedia powerhouse, and with our leading lady just as capable as our leading man of taking on any challenge presented. Also features a wider array of Spanish speaking ethnicities and nations than is usually presented in US media, so there is that as well. ๐Ÿ˜€ Very much recommended.

Below the jump, the publisher information, including an excerpt!
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#BookReview: A Thin Disguise by Catherine Bybee

Solid, But With A Glaring Error Early. As a romance between an amnesiac assassin and an undercover FBI agent, this story works great. As a continuation of this new Richter series (which is apparently a spinoff from the First Wives series, though I did not know that until perusing the reviews on Goodreads for this book), this works quite well. As a forced-proximity romance, this is actually fairly inventive, as the leading couple is not alone in the house… *and* there are cameras and sensors (almost) everywhere to boot!

But there is one *blinding* in its glaringness issue that needs to be mentioned, even though it isn’t objectively strong enough to remove a star over (though I know some who would likely 1* the book on this issue alone). And that issue is the very moment the assassin becomes an amnesiac. When she is shot on a crowded Las Vegas street in a drive by shooting with a “silenced” weapon. That nobody hears.

Why is this so glaring?

Because I know from both handling firearms and speaking/ listening to others who do that suppressors – they aren’t actually called “silencers”, for one – don’t actually silence a weapon, unlike what happens so often in Hollywood. Depending on several factors such as barrel length of the gun (usually shorter, in drive by situations), temperature, humidity, etc – all of which would be known and factored by professional hitmen/ security / assassin types – a suppressor *at best* takes a gun shot from sounding like you’re standing beside the speakers at a rock concert to sounding like your is using a chainsaw to cut down a tree on the other side of the fence you are standing beside.

In other words, for the shot not to be heard by *everyone* nearby – inside or outside – is so implausible that it brings the reader out of the story if they know the realities of these devices *at all*.

And since Bybee herself noted during the discussion of her Canyon Creek series that she knows her way around a shotgun, it is implausible that the author is not aware of these issues directly. Which makes them being written this way even worse. Though again, because it was a singular point in the book and not a recurring problem, it isn’t a star-deduction level error.

Ultimately, this is a quite solid book for what it actually is, and I’m still very much looking forward to seeing where this series goes from here. (And I’ll need to go back and read the book this series spins off from, since I bought it years ago and have yet to read it. :D) Very much recommended.

This review of A Thin Disguise by Catherine Bybee was originally written on May 27, 2021.

#BookReview: The Perfect Family by Robyn Harding

“So Many Secrets. So Many Lies. And So Much Anger.” Yes, the title of this review is a direct quote from the book. Yes, it is during the final 10%, when everything is being revealed and wrapped up. And yet you still have no idea what it actually refers to. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But that particular line really does sum the book up in and of itself. This is a four person family consisting of mom and dad who have been married for over 20 years, 20 yo college dropout son, and 17yo high school junior daughter – and *every single one of them* are keeping secrets from all the others and actively lying to both the other people and themselves. Harding does a tremendous job of showing flawed, nuanced characters just trying to do what they think is right with limited information… sometimes with tragic results. No one comes out looking squeaky clean, and yet no one comes out looking overly monstrous either. Great job of showing just how murky real life often is. Very much recommended.

This review of The Perfect Family by Robyn Harding was originally written on May 27, 2021.

#BlogTour: Second Chance Love Song by Jessica Lemmon

For this penultimate stop on our Slide Into Summer Romance Blog Tour Series, we’re looking at a solid second chance Harlequin romance. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Second Chance Love Song by Jessica Lemmon.

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

Solid Harlequin Romance. This is a Harlequin romance of the classic type, though they’re trying to get away from the somewhat infamous cover set apparently. ๐Ÿ˜€

For those that love that style – and there is a very clear business reason why the publisher puts out so many books of exactly the same style – know that you’re getting exactly what you’re after here. Solid romance, a couple of sex scenes, a Hallmarkie type plot and conflict resolution (with a fair amount of angst to boot), etc. This book is perfectly within your comfort zone, and it is a solid, fun, and short-ish book to boot. So go ahead and hand over the money you know you’re going to anyway, and have fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

For those that are more hesitant, perhaps *because* of the infamy, know that if you’re open to the romance genre at all, this one is going to be pretty well exactly what you expect (see above). It is truly enjoyable, but also very much within the conventional bounds of the genre. Some heartstrings pulled, and a fun (if foreseeable due to genre rules, but still interesting in exact manner) resolution that plays on a bit of a darker moment from earlier in the book.

There really isn’t much more to say here. Again, if you’re open to the genre at all, you’re going to have fun with this book. If you’re not, you probably aren’t even reading this review. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt and the publisher details. ๐Ÿ™‚
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#BlogTour: Trouble In Big Timber by BJ Daniels

For this mid-week entry in the Slide Into Summer Romance Blog Tour Series, we’re looking at a romantic suspense that while deep in a series actually works quite well as a standalone book and entry point to the series. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Trouble In Big Timber by BJ Daniels.

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

Solid Romantic Suspense. This book is listed as Book 5 in a series, but I can tell you from having read it without having read any of the other books that it works totally fine as a standalone as well. The existence of people from the prior books is mentioned, but I didn’t actually note anything that could even really be a spoiler about those books in this one (other than the not-really-a-spoiler-due-to-genre-rules mentioning that certain people are together, possibly). Overall a truly solid book mostly on the mystery/ suspense side – it opens with a man attempting suicide and being stopped by what he believes is the butt-dial of a long-lost friend being murdered by his long-lost ex-best friend. But this *is* a romance, and that *does* develop, it just mostly develops later as our leading man and leading woman are largely approaching the investigation into the phone call and what it revealed from two very different angles that later become more intertwined. One of those with twists almost until the very last page (other than the epilogue). Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt and the publisher details! ๐Ÿ™‚
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#BookReview: WorkQuake by Steve Cadigan

Interesting Yet Also Seemingly Retreading Well Known Ideas. I’m not exactly known for reading business type books – which is one reason I wanted to read this one, actually, as it sounded interesting even though it was in more of the “Big Idea for Business” type space. While I tend not to discuss my professional life too much in these reviews, it bears a mention in this particular one, so here’s a very brief synopsis just to know my own background for my further commentary: I’m a mid career software developer that has mostly worked in local small-medium (500-2000 people) companies that were usually owned by a singular person, though I currently find myself as effectively a team lead working with various offshore teams and onshore contractors for a Fortune 50 company with approximately 200K+ people worldwide. I’ve had a couple of somewhat innovative breakthroughs, but for the most part I keep my head down and do whatever needs to be done in my current role.

So when I began reading Cadigan’s commentary about the future of tech being less about individual skills and more about networking – alluding to what I call the “Flight Director Principle” based off “Iron Flight” Paul Dye’s 2020 memoir Shuttle, Houston without ever getting even remotely close to actually naming it, much less naming it as I do here – eh… I can see it, and yet I also see in my own looking/ recruitments (in large part based on the very network Cadigan helped lead at one point) I also see quite a bit of employers – perhaps just in the areas/ jobs I’m looking? – still demanding specific technologies and specific amounts of experience with them. But perhaps Cadigan, presumably with a better sense of the pulse of business generally, has better insight there than I do as more of a grunt on the verge of being a low level leader.

Overall his ideas are certainly intriguing, and absolutely worth considering, one simply wonders, based on the text at hand, whether Cadigan is simply pushing change for change’s sake and taking the safe bet that change is always inevitable, or if he truly has specific – unnamed – change strategies. Cadigan here emphasizes adaptability for both the employee and the employer, which while valid, is still a safe and typical recommendation – if you don’t know the need to be adaptable, you’re probably going to quickly find yourself stuck, on whichever side of the hiring process you find yourself.

And this is my argument that his central theses here are mostly retreads of well known ideas. At least in my own experience in this industry even at the levels I’ve seen it, most of this stuff is well known, even if the particular anecdotes and case studies he uses aren’t always. And yet, this is still absolutely a worthy book to read and consider, because despite the well known general ideas, Cadigan does present a few scenarios and specifics that are interesting to consider and, I can say, many companies *need* to consider. Will the future of employment truly look as Cadigan forecasts here? We don’t have enough data at this time to know. But as this is a fairly short book at less than 200 pages of actual narrative, the time investment here is minimal and the rewards could range from minimal to quite substantial – and thus the risk/reward calculation says you really lose more from not reading this book and losing out on some valuable insight than you lose in time if you don’t really gain any new insight. Recommended.

Note: As this review was written on May 25, 2021, and the book doesn’t publish until August 3, 2021, yes, of course, this is an advance reader copy which in this case was obtained via NetGalley.

This review of Workquake by Steve Cadigan was originally written on May 25, 2021.

#BookReview: The Patron by Tess Thompson

Beautifully Woven Complex Romance. This was the first time I’d actually read this author, despite being in similar orbits for a few years now – virtually since I first began this book blogging/ “review absolutely everything I read” adventure. But as I told her privately, when she puts a book directly in the very channel I make no secret of the fact that most of my current reading comes from (NetGalley, though technically this book was published *before* I got it)… it kinda sounds like a beacon “READ THIS BOOK, JEFF!”. ๐Ÿ˜€

And seriously, this was an absolutely beautifully woven tapestry that mixes in long family lore (with many references to her “Emerson Pass Historicals” ongoing series) along with not just one, but *three* second chance romances and a very developed town and surrounding characters. All of the characters feel fully “human” – there aint a single one of them that is wholly monstrous or wholly innocent, and that is a refreshing change of pace from so many books, even within the same genre, that have less complicated characters.

One note, just because I know it itself is a clarion call both directions for different people, is the frequent-yet-not-preachy calls to God, prayer, faith, etc. Having grown up in the Southern Baptist Church and lived my entire life in the exurban or even rural Southern United States, this is the level that people actually talk down here – not the preachiness that so many politicians or celebrities pound on, but just the honest, heart felt, “natural” level of people who genuinely believe what they say. Some of y’all are going to love that, I know other readers who will 1* a book the instant they come across that. So consider yourself prepared either way. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve bought many of Thompson’s books in the time that I’ve known of her, mostly on the strength of being around her and having several common friends that *rave* about her books. And now I call tell you straight up: If you’re looking for something deeper, something more complex with various threads going all over the place and making a book world feel like a true community rather than just a series of barely-joined books… you’re going to want to check out this author. And this particular book isn’t a bad place to start, despite being labeled Book 2. (Though yes, it does give several details of what – presumably – happened in Book 1.) Very much recommended.

This review of The Patron by Tess Thompson was originally written on May 25, 2021.

Featured New Release Of The Week: You Will Remember Me by Hannah Mary McKinnon

This week we’re looking at a fun tale that showed a fairly large set of steel balls in both its writing and its ending. This week we’re looking at You Will Remember Me by Hannah Mary McKinnon.

As always, the Goodreads review:

Misery Loves Company. McKinnon gets bold, trying to tell one cohesive story from three separate primary perspectives – and largely having it work. The ending itself isn’t quite as mind-bending as her 2020 release Sister Dear, and perhaps elements of it are in fact fairly well established much earlier in the text. But it also isn’t *quite* so predictable as some other reviewers make it seem, as many of the actual details aren’t really known until McKinnon actively reveals them. And then that ending. Mind-bending? No. But showing that McKinnon has balls bigger than many male authors? Absolutely. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Very much recommended.

And in quite possibly a first for this blog (which will actually be repeated in about a month… ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), we have a surprise! This week’s Featured New Release is ALSO a Blog Tour! After the jump, an excerpt followed by the publisher information! ๐Ÿ™‚
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#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! ๐Ÿ™‚
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#BlogTour: Hard Sell by Hudson Lin

For this first entry in our Slide Into Summer Romance Blog Tour Series. we’re looking at a MM romance that makes its name thanks to its interesting dichotomies. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Hard Sell by Hudson Lin.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Interesting Dichotomies. This book, for me, was more about the interesting dichotomies than anything. You get a MM romance… with both an FF couple as side characters and set within the Asian community, which isn’t overly common. (Maybe not as hyper-macho as wildfire firefighters, but seemingly near that level in rarity.) You get a hyper successful financial type… who isn’t being his normal hyper successful self, and in fact is desperate for a win and who comes from… less successful… beginnings. You get a black sheep who feels he must prove himself apart from his ultra-successful family. And you get the particular blend of tech and finance that I could have felt was a bit too close to my own “real” world (where I work in IT for a Fortune 50 financial firm) that it could have been *too* real. And yet it all worked. And worked well in fact. On the actual romance side, you get a fairly standard will they/ won’t they / this is a freaking romance novel so you know they do. You get the whole “best friend’s sibling” dynamic, with its usual problems and resolutions. And you get a *crap ton* of angst. If you want your romance novels bright and breezy… this aint it. But if you want a romance novel unlike most you’ve ever seen before… this one is probably *exactly* that. Very much recommended.

Below the jump, a page-ish excerpt from near the beginning of the book (seemingly Chapter 1, but it *could* have been Chapter 3) and the publisher information ๐Ÿ™‚
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