If Jimmy Buffett Wrote A Detective Novel… it would likely feel very much like this one. This is one where the body count gets staggeringly high for such a small island, but one where the murders and mystery almost take a backseat to the vibe of the Caribbean island and #islandlife. There is a lot of action here, and a credible yet also human detective – but this is no Big City or Jack Reacher type tale. If you’re looking for a nonstop thrill ride or an near superhuman hero… this ain’t it. But if you’re looking for a more laid back, approachable dude who runs a Caribbean hotel and happens to be a former detective back in his former life in the States… well, for that kind of tale you’ve come to the right place. Excellent story and well told. Very much recommended.
This review of Paradise Cove by Davin Goodwin was originally written on March 30, 2022.
Update: According to this Instagram post from the publisher, Book 1 of this series – Diver’s Paradise – is on sale during the month of April.
Angsty Teen Sports Romance. For those that enjoy revisiting the high drama of falling for your best friend in high school, look no further. We’re going back to summer camp, y’all, and this time we’ve got love on the diamonds. With a fair amount of actual sports action from various practices to actual games and with all the fun of summer camp on a small college campus in the middle of nowhere, we get a solid tale of “should I/ I shouldn’t”… that we all know how will ultimately wind up, because this *is* a romance novel. 🙂 But Benjamin executes the entire story well, and when our leads *finally* get together… well, there may be quite a bit of dust in the room. And maybe someone just cut up a lot of onions too. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll probably want to knock some sense into both of these teenagers. But in the end, you’ll get a solid bit of escapism for a few hours… and isn’t that what we ultimately read fiction for anyway? Very much recommended.
This review of Foul Play With My Best Friend by Christina Benjamin was originally written on March 30, 2022.
This week we’re looking at a solid third entrant into what will hopefully be a seven book series that breathes new possibility that this could well happen. This week we’re looking at Only A Country Doctor Can Save This City Rose by Sophia Quinn.
Here’s what I said on Goodreads:
Solid Entry That Breathes New Life Into Series. Coming out of Book 2 of this series (Gucci Girls Don’t Date Cowboys), we knew we were coming directly into Rose’s tale (though it is a bit spoilery to note *how* we knew). What was less clear at that time was just how the series would continue beyond that, as we had now dealt with the two primary sisters from the beginning of the series and had a semi-obvious plant for a male lead for a third book, but not too much obvious beyond that. With this entry, we get a solid romance that can stand mostly on its own (though seriously, read Books 1 (Pretend To Be My Cowboy) and 2 first) – but we also get a solid sense of how this series can continue at least through the next main subset of the O’Sullivan Sisters, with one obvious tale coming out of this one and at least a couple of possibilities for the male lead in the book beyond that one, dealing with the final sister of this subset (supposedly, I have no inside information here :D). As this tale is indicative of the generally strong, Hallmarkie type small town romance genre that this series very much plays into, this is a very good thing that we’re apparently going to get at least two more books into it, and this reader in particular is still hoping that we eventually get all seven. Very much recommended.
This week we’re looking at a book that has a slow start and a LOT of moving parts that ultimately all ties together into a satisfyingly suspenseful tale. This week we’re looking at The Lying Club by Annie Ward.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
Slow Start Yet Overall Satisfying. This is one of those books that starts a bit slow and has a LOT of moving parts and thus can be a touch difficult to keep track of at times, even for those of us who like this type of setup. One where there is little action and it seems a touch pointless at times… until the back parts of the book where the action truly finally picks up steam and gets fairly suspenseful. And yet, by the end all is tied up neatly – perhaps a bit too neatly, and the epilogue is perhaps unneeded as well. Ultimately a strong book that arguably tries to do a bit too much – but still largely succeeds in telling its tale its way. Very much recommended.
After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, social and buy links.
Continue reading “Featured New Release Of The Week: The Lying Club by Annie Ward”
His Father’s Son. (And yes, that particular phrase happens in this book.) This was a solid ending to this trilogy, featuring the oldest son of the family – and the one to turn his back on the family ranch, yet still be there when needed. There is a lot going on here, both within the romance and with Zach finding out that he doesn’t actually know everything he thinks he knows, and while the romance was a fairly standard/ fairly comedic “cold stoic meets fiery lady who can’t help but be awkward in his presence” type, the emotions playing out here with Zach and his parents – and in particular his father, late – are easily the show stealers of the tale. Yes, for those who have read this series starting with Book 1 (or even 2, as I did), we finally find out exactly why Zach left. And, ultimately, we get a long view conclusion of a happily ever after. Truly a book that works well on all fronts and accomplishes everything it needed to both within its own tale and within the series. Very much recommended.
This review of Summer Nights With A Cowboy by Caitlin Crews was originally written on March 21, 2022.
In The Vein Of Michelle Alexander’s A New Jim Crowe. This is one where ultimately your opinion of it will be largely based on whether you agree with Ms. Roberts’ Critical Race Theory based worldview. Honestly, had I known she was a CRT adherent, I personally would not have picked up this book to begin with – as I’ve avoided several others by known CRT adherents that otherwise sounded interesting. As with other CRT writers, Ms. Roberts begins with a set theory in mind and ignores any other possible explanations of the issues she examines, which is the overall Theory’s critical flaw. All of this noted, *within this frame*, Ms. Roberts actually does a pretty solid job of making her case, and the issues she speaks to even within this frame raise many points that need to be in the overall conversation of reform in America. She even gives lip service at times to the fact that many of these issues are more related to poverty and economic status than race, but even within these remarks she ultimately declares that white people always have it so much easier. Within the realm of CRT and social “science”, the scholarship here is pretty standard – nothing overly remarkable either way, good or bad. And even objectively, the bibliography clocks in at around 24%, which is fairly standard for most nonfiction tales and is actually quite good for works where the author bases much of their commentary on their own experiences and interviews they directly conducted. So read the book, whether you agree with CRT or not, because there *is* enough here to justify wading through that particular detritus. And if you *do* agree with CRT, you’re likely going to be shouting from the rooftops about how amazing this book is. Recommended.
This review of Torn Apart by Dorothy Roberts was originally written on March 16, 2022.
This week we’re looking at a great bit of escapist fiction set on a tropical island and written by a debut author. This week we’re looking at The Finalist by Joan Long.
Solid Debut. This is one of those books where the premise draws you in, and the author begins executing with the very first page. Solid mystery/ action tale of murders happening on a supposedly secure remote tropical island, this one does a bit of setup before the murders start, but once they do the action picks up reasonably well and stays reasonably well paced through the end. Ultimately one where you can see the promise of this author’s ability, while also still showing some things that need some improvement generally. Still, this reader for one is looking forward to Long’s next book. Very much recommended.
Conventional Story Of Unconventional Therapist. If you enjoy slow burn-ish domestic thrillers where the front half builds the intrigue and the back half (and particularly the last 15% or so) ramp up the thriller/ action side… you’re going to love this book that is 100% within that mold. If that’s not your thing… this is still a solid story, but not everyone likes everything. 🙂
The unconventional – and unlicensed because of it – therapist really stole the show for me. Mostly because of just how realistic (yet extreme) she is portrayed. Yes, she is invasive bordering on criminal, contract or not. But dadnabbit, she gets results as much as any Detective out there and for similar reasons. Which actually arguably gets to why I liked this so much – one can almost read this tale as a police procedural, with a profiler taking center stage in the tale. The side story with Big Pharma is all too realistic, and the web of lies turns out to be far larger than anything anyone – be it our therapist or the reader themselves- could have guessed.
But maybe I’m a bit of a sucker for unconventional yet conventional. You should read this for yourself and make up your own dang mind. *After* you *finish* the book. Very much recommended.
This review of The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen was originally written on March 11, 2022.
More Progressive Self-Help/ Indoctrination Reinforcement Than Scientific Explanation. If you’re an Autistic of a “Progressive” bent that hates anything white and/ or anything male, this is a great self help book that won’t challenge you at all and may help explain a few things. If you care about scientific objectivity and/ or are not Autistic yourself and/ or are *not* a racist misandrist… eh, there’s still a bit to be gleamed, but you’re going to have to put up with a *lot* of racist misandrist anti-science drivel to get to it.
Which is highly disappointing. The description speaks more to this book speaking about the *entire* Autism Experience, and yet the author makes clear that they are such a racist misandrist that they actively deny that it is even possible for white and/ or male Autistics to have just as many struggles with masking as any of the other intersectional minorities the author clearly prefers.
Further, while the documentation is *near* normal at about 20% of the overall text, it is still on the low side, particularly relative to actively ignoring such a large part of the Autism Experience. (Normal range for documentation in my thousands-of-ARCs-in-5-years experience is 20-33% or so, and particularly well documented books – generally with less controversial and more holistic narratives – can get upwards of 40%.)
Overall a highly disappointing book that still offers a few points worthy of general discussion, and which certain segments of the population may like more than others. Recommended.
This review of Unmasking Autism by Devon Price was originally written on March 11, 2022.
This week we’re looking at a sequel of sorts that takes its original’s much more imminent question of actual physical survival and turns it around to ask questions of survival after less life threatening, but similarly life shattering, trauma. This week we’re looking at Moment In Time by Suzanne Redfearn.
Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:
Interesting Sequel Of Sorts. This book takes as two of its primary characters some of the characters from her 2020 hit In An Instant – and pretty majorly spoils that book almost from the get-go. For those who don’t mind such spoilers (particularly such major ones), this one *can* be read first. But based on reading other GR reviews where the reader hadn’t read In An Instant first… I’d say go back and read that one first. There are also two other key characters introduced later in the story from Redfearn’s 2021 book Hadley and Grace, though their characters are developed enough here and without any truly overt ties (that I remember, hundreds of books later) to that one that it isn’t *as* essential to read it first to understand them. Overall I do think In An Instant hits harder, but I think this one shows a more “everyday” survival that far more people face than the truly life threatening scenario in In An Instant. Both books do great jobs of showing how even seemingly minor choices can have major impacts on how major events play out, and indeed this one seemed all too realistic. Furthermore, Redfearn does a tremendous job of showing the aftereffects of rape on both the victim and those around her – *without* showing the rape itself on screen (which, let’s face it, is difficult at best to read even for those who *haven’t* been through that trauma). Overall a solid and compelling book, and very much recommended.