#BookReview: The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark

You Think You Know Me. This is a con artist/ revenge tale where if you think you know either of our main characters… well, you need to read through the end of the tale. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I found it close enough to thriller territory to warrant that label, as I was constantly wanting to further uncover exactly what was going on. Despite some other reviews claiming the contrary, there actually are a few twists… though I fully admit they are more of the “no narrator is honest” type, as the text openly admits. Ultimately I had fun with this tale, and that is all I really ask of a book. Very much recommended.

This review of The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark was originally written on June 22, 2022.

#BlogTour: Here For The Drama by Kate Bromley

For this blog tour, we’re looking at a fun and witty romantic comedy with heart – where the author seemingly read my review of her last book and corrected the issue in this one. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Here For The Drama by Kate Bromley.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

The One Where The Author Seemingly Read My Review Of Her Last Book. I’ve now had the pleasure of working both of Bromley’s books as blog tours, and this book shows her progression as a writer and storyteller – she is able to make a book that is just as fun and witty as her debut, but add in some serious angst and drama to boot, and in turn morph this romantic comedy into a blend of romantic comedy and women’s fiction. But the most interesting facet of this book, for this reader looking back at his review of her last one, is my commentary on an unnecessary feature in that first book’s epilogue… which gets mirrored (to a degree) in this book’s epilogue. It seems that at minimum, Bromley was aware that this issue existed, and actively chose to go a different (and refreshing) route in the epilogue here. Oh, and this is one of those romantic comedies where the dog dang near steals every scene he is in, if not the entire dang show. Truly a fun and witty tale with heart, and very much recommended.

Below the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Here For The Drama by Kate Bromley”

#BookReview: It All Comes Down To This by Therese Anne Fowler

Nothing Technically Wrong, Yet SLOW. This is one of those books where there is nothing technically blatantly *wrong* about the storytelling… and yet the reader is left with the sense that this story could have been so much more engaging had it been told differently. To the level that while this book is around the 350 page mark, it almost reads as though it is a dense academic tome of twice its length – even though it very clearly is *not*. As other reviewers have noted, there are a LOT of characters to keep up with early, but that does in fact get easier probably by even the 25 – 33% mark, once we’ve visited each a couple of times and get a sense of where their individual arcs are. In the end, this is a solid slice of life family drama that touches on very real and very messy issues, but could have been better told in this format with several dozen fewer pages (to speed the pacing) or with this number of pages in a different format. Still, as noted, there is nothing technically wrong here and other readers may have a better time with this book. Recommended.

This review of It All Comes Down To This by Therese Anne Fowler was originally written on June 20, 2022.

Featured New Release Of The Week: Beyond The Moonlit Sea by Julianne MacLean

This week we’re looking at a book that is a master class in how to take a tale that could veer into the prosaic and at least somewhat uninteresting and elevate it into a captivating and charming tale simply by making smart decisions in exactly how to tell exactly the same story. This week we’re looking at Beyond The Moonlit Sea by Julianne Maclean.

Interesting Case of Storytelling Excellence. This is one of those books where had the author chosen to tell this very same story in a more typical fashion, with just a single narrator that we follow over several decades of her life, it wouldn’t have been near as engaging or near as engrossing as the tale becomes by telling it the way she instead chose to tell it. As a singular narrative, the story is a solid tale of a woman struggling to find herself in her twenties and thirties, both as she finishes college and a bit later in the aftermath of a tragedy, who then has to deal with the repercussions of these events throughout her life. With the particular perspectives that MacLean adds – which do add extra length to the text that wouldn’t be present without them – we get a much more fleshed out tale that actually adds extra depth both to certain characters and to the overall story, and thus the extra length is absolutely warranted in this case. Ultimately a satisfying tale in a vein somewhat reminiscent of the great Robin Williams movie Bicentennial Man, without its length in years. ๐Ÿ™‚ Very much recommended.

#BookReview: The End Of The World Is Just The Beginning by Peter Zeihan

A Realist Looks To The Future. I’ve read several books in the last few years covering the general real-world end of the world scenarios and/ or projections for the next few decades, and this text is refreshing in just how grounded and real Zeihan’s approach is. There may in fact be squabbles about a particular point here or there, or even Zeihan’s entire general premise, as the only other review on Goodreads at the time I write this points out, but for me the analysis was close enough to be at least one plausible scenario among many that *could* play out – unlike most others I’ve read in this field. Add in the fact that this isn’t a dry academic look, but instead a somewhat humorous and even crass at times real, straightforward analysis… and you’ve got my attention. Note: If you’re a reader that absolutely WILL NOT tolerate f-bombs, even the occasional one… eh, you’re probably gonna wanna skip this one. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Instead, this reads more like you’re sitting at the bar with a few drinks with an absolute expert in his field, and he is going over a very detailed look at what he thinks is coming over the next 10 – 30 years. As a text, it is thus quite remarkable. The *singular* weakness I found in the text that was star deduction worthy was a complete absence of a bibliography, and the frequent use of footnotes without actually noting even when they were happening was a touch irritating, but not additional star deduction worthy. Very much recommended.

This review of The End Of The World Is Just The Beginning by Peter Zeihan was originally written on July 13, 2022.

#BookReview: Iris In The Dark by Elissa Grossell Dickey

Solid Sophomore Effort That Doesn’t Live Up To The Author’s Debut. With this book, Dickey gives a solid story that has elements across several genres – and thus may not work for readers who are exclusive to any given genre. For readers who are more open though, this one actually works quite well. There is a mystery/ creepiness factor (combined with a tragic/ dark backstory) that almost gives mystery/ suspense vibes, but when combined with the more romance side of the tale switches to almost a romantic suspense vibe. Then there are the women’s fiction elements of a woman trying to find herself yet again when her world begins to collapse – or is it simply her mind collapsing? In the end, I would suggest that the book ultimately follows all rules I know of for the romance genre, and thus likely best fits there – though I’m not sure that this is what Dickey or her publisher (not known for romances) intended. I appreciate that Dickey tells a dramatically different story here than her debut (The Speed of Light), and I encourage all readers to go check out that book as well, no matter your own thoughts on this one. This book is ultimately the well-travelled tale of a phenomenal debut making the next work so much harder, as it has so much to live up to. Judged on its own, this story is truly a solid and intriguing one. Recommended.

This review of Iris In The Dark by Elissa Grossell Dickey was originally written on June 10, 2022.

#BookReview: Miss Memory Lane by Colton Haynes

Raw. Brutal. Not A Name-Dropping Hollywood Story. Like so many others, I first “met” Haynes when he showed up on my TV screen as Roy Harper in CW’s Arrow. A show which I didn’t want to like at first because it came *so* close to Smallville and Justin Hartley’s own excellent portrayal of the same (now titular) character, but whose grit and realism shined through and made me a fan (at least of its earlier seasons). But I never knew too much of the actual Colton Haynes other than knowing that he seemed to be friends with his female cast mates in particular and that he had previously been on the MTV version of Teen Wolf.

And while both of these shows are mentioned here (with more details about Teen Wolf than Arrow, though not a Hollywood-gossip type entry on either of them), the focus of this book is more about Haynes’ upbringing, from his earliest memories to his first sexual abuse at age six to his later sexual abuse throughout his teenage years, and his life as all of this was happening. Even when we get into the areas where he came into the public eye, beginning with modeling in New York and LA (after h

This review of Miss Memory Lane by Colton Haynes was originally written on June 9, 2022.

Featured New Release Of The Week: Beach Heart by Grace Greene

This week we’re looking at a remarkable book about healing and finding your way, even at your very lowest point. This week we’re looking at Beach Heart by Grace Greene.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

The Chair Comes Too! Yes, the title of this review is a reference to a minor yet great element of this particular tale, one that I can relate to a great deal. In this case, the chair in question is where our lead was sitting when she found out some momentous news, at a point where she was at her lowest. In my own case, my grandmother had a bench on her front porch for years that she or I would sit on while we talked as she smoked her cigarettes – and that very bench now sits in my house. For both of us, these furniture pieces come to serve as a reminder of both devastation and healing, of fond memories and the moments they were ripped away – but ultimately, of a strength neither of us knew at the time that we possessed. And yes, this book also serves as a great introduction to Greene’s style for those who have never read her books before as well as a familiar voice telling a new story with some wrinkles we don’t always see even from Greene herself. Truly an outstanding book, one great to read on a beach somewhere if you get a chance – or anywhere else if you don’t. Very much recommened.

#BlogTour: The Sea Nurses by Kate Eastham

For this blog tour, we’re looking at an atypical tale of WWI that pulls no punches. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Sea Nurses by Kate Eastham.

Atypical Tale That Pulls No Punches. While the WWI period isn’t *quite* as common in historical fiction tales as WWII, it is hardly the rarity another reviewer claims it to be – though this *is*, in fact, the first tale I’ve come across to detail life on the ships of the White Star Line in the years after the Titanic catastrophe. As such, Eastham does a great job here of showing life aboard the Olympic during its last cruise before Germany declared war on Great Britain – and the moment those on the ship first learned of that fact. We also see a vivid description of life along the coasts of Scotland and its great fisherman… and the women who toiled so hard to process all the fish that were caught. Eastham then dives into The Great War itself… as seen through the eyes of these nurses (mostly) as they serve on the HMHS Britannic. Eastham actually uses the moment of its sinking as a prologue, before eventually getting back to that moment deep in the book (around the 70% mark, IIRC). Eastham then continues to follow these two nurses through the end of the war, and it is here in particular that she shows the bravery to do things few authors do. Overall a solid tale of its type, one fans of the genre will love and which even those new to the genre will get a good example of this type of tale. Very much recommended.

After the jump, the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, author links, and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Sea Nurses by Kate Eastham”

#BookReview: Aeon Rising by Matthew Mather

This week we’re looking at an action packed series starter from a thrilling scifi author. This week we’re looking at Aeon Rising by Matthew Mather.

Action Packed Series Starter. This is one hell of an action packed series starter for Mather, and one that despite a few similar general ideas (such as crippled communications due to space activity) with his CyberStorm series never gets quite as dark as that one can. Indeed, the darkest thing here is unfortunately all too common, but to reveal it specifically would be a spoiler (though even here, Mather manages to put a scifi twist to it in furtherance of his ultimate series objectives). The different types of action here are reminiscent of everything from nearly-every-Amazon-based-action-movie-you’ve-ever-seen such as Predator or Anaconda, just to name a couple, to more urban based ala Daniel Pyne’s Sentro Security or a Mission Impossible / Jason Bourne type. Throw in some elements similar to Deep Impact, as well as a few other elements of a few other popular tales that would be a touch spoilery to add here, and you’ve truly got a promising start to a potentially long series. This book is mostly set-up without ever truly *feeling* like it is mostly set-up – the action is tightly paced, as is the exposition, there is just *so much here* that by the end it is quite clear that this series is intended as a trilogy at minimum. Very much recommended.