For this blog tour, we’re looking at a solid tale of family taking care of each other. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Irish House by Ann O’Loughlin.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
A Grandmother’s Love. This is, ultimately, a tale of a grandmother’s loves – for her daughters, her granddaughters, and her home. O’Loughlin does an excellent job of making the grandmother feel like an active character, even though she is already dead in the very first scene, and indeed the grandmother winds up driving the narrative as much as anything else. Outside of the grandmother, this is a tale of one woman’s decisions as her life is thrown into chaos in more ways than one, and now she is tasked with repairing a house and her cousins… while also repairing what she can of her own life. It is a tale of learning and loving and the mistakes we make big and small and the love and understanding that gets us through them all. Written very conservatively without being preachy, this is one that the “sweet”/ “clean” crowd will like, and those that expect more cursing and/ or bedroom action in their women’s fiction/ romance blends may find a bit lacking. Overall a solid tale for what it was, this is absolutely one worthy of a few hours of your time. Very much recommended.
After the jump, the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Irish House by Ann O’Loughlin”
For this blog tour, we’re looking at a second book in a very loosley connected series that proves to be even more powerful than the first. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Cuban Daughter by Soraya Lane.
Here’s what I said on Goodreads:
Second Verse More Powerful Than The First. This was the second book in this new trilogy where Lane combines both sides of her writing to phenomenal success. As Soraya M Lane, Lane generally writes compelling and seemingly realistic historical fiction. As Soraya Lane, Lane generally writes more contemporary romance, with all that said genre entails. With this series, Lane manages to execute on Digimon Frontier’s Susanoomon ultimate combined evolution and combine both sides of herself into one truly powerful writer. Both sides of this work just as well as any fan of either side of her writing would expect, and combine to breathtaking and heartbreaking result. Cuba comes alive in this tale in ways few American media really allow it to do, both in the historical side and in the contemporary side – which may be helped by the fact that Lane lives in New Zealand and this particular series is published by a British imprint? 🙂 Truly an excellent book, and one loosely coupled enough from its predecessor (who is only briefly alluded to near the beginning of this tale) that anyone can pick up either book in either order and not really miss anything or be spoiled of any details from the other book. Very much recommended.
After the jump, the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, social media, and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Cuban Daughter by Soraya Lane”
Perfectly Poignant. This is ultimately a story of family and healing, and yet again Walker uses both the situations and the settings to combine to work great magic in his storytelling. The base setup turns out to be something that is almost ripped from the headlines, and while some fiction authors can and have gone a more preachy route with the topic, Walker instead eschews the politics completely and looks at the very human side of what actually happens in such a situation. Truly an excellent work, and one that this reader at least could easily imagine Luke Bryan playing the leading role… should Bryan ever decide to make such a career move. Very much recommended.
This review of A Spanish Sunrise by Boo Walker was originally written on August 17, 2022.
For this blog tour, we’re looking at a remarkable tale ostensibly about how four adult sister get along with each other that becomes so much more. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Lost And Found Girl by Maisey Yates.
Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:
Slow Start That All Comes Together For A Dramatic Finish. This is a story of how four sisters – three biological + one adopted – interact as adults when the adopted sister comes back to the town that saw her as their “miracle” from the moment she was found 22 yrs ago. It features romance angles for each of the sisters, though some of the guys are more well fleshed out than others – but each has at least a moment or two to shine. In particular there is the town pariah, accused of a murder a year before the adopted sister was found but for which he has maintained his innocence all along. Can an angel and a devil coexist? What if they may be more linked than anyone – except the two people in town harboring a deep, dark secret that *no one* is aware of – may realize? And what if the town *needs* that secret to be unearthed, whether they realize it or not? Truly an utterly fascinating book, one that no matter how slow you feel the start is you absolutely need to hang in there through the finish. Very much recommended.
After the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Lost And Found Girl by Maisey Yates”
For this blog tour, we’re looking at a remarkable book about the murky real world choices so many of us face. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Choice I Made by Cynthia Ellingsen.
Here’s what I had to say about the book on Goodreads:
Choices Are Rarely Clear Cut. Ellingsen does a remarkable job here of showing the tensions between competing choices so many of us face. Spouse vs genetic family. City vs rural. What I wanted to be vs what society made me into. Finding myself vs keeping what I have. And so many more. All within a solid tale ostensibly about a childless married woman trying to help save her family’s Dirty Dancing-style wilderness resort… and stumbling across a secret that could bring it all tumbling down. Excellent work layering so many issues into a readable and average ish length (circa 300 page) story. Very much recommended.
Below the jump, all of the publisher information, including a description of the book, contact links, and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Choice I Made by Cynthia Ellingsen”
Solid Story, Could Have Used Better Structure. This was a solid story of a woman trying to find herself after putting her career on pause to raise her kid and give him a life she had never had. For me, though, the structure of the storytelling itself would have dramatically benefited from a slight variation of the technique here. Here, we get a mostly dual timeline story, a bit scattered at times (date stamps alone would have been useful in that regard, even if just “x years ago”) but workable. What *really* could have elevated this story though would have been to take a page from another tale of another professional struggling to find his way and looking back on his life – Billy Chapel in the *movie* version of For Love Of The Game. (We shall not speak of the book – one of very few cases where the movie is by far the superior story.) There, the story is told in the same dual timeline approach that we get here – but with *both* timelines happening before the seminal event (in that case, the last game Billy Chapel will ever pitch as a professional baseball player, in this case an important concert), then some follow-up after the event itself. Ultimately just a tweak, though a significant one, that would have made the story flow so much better for at least this reader. Still, truly a worthy read and very much recommended.
This review of The Sound Between The Notes by Barbara Linn Probst was originally written on February 25, 2021.
Excellent Start To New Series. With this book, Evans “officially” begins a new series that had a “soft opening” with the novella Faking The Harmony. Here, we really begin to see what makes the Castleton Family click… by having an interloper threaten to destroy all that they hold dear. Except this interloper… may just be exactly what he is claiming to be. Another excellent novelization of the very real-life issues faced with DNA testing, along with some solid discussion with real-world facts about the differences between the various DNA testing companies (all of whom are fictionalized in the text here) and how they operate. This is easily read as just a solid Hallmark-ish romance, the extra commentary just adds a bit of extra depth and real-world gravitas to the already solidly grounded tale. Excellent work, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the unresolved threads of the Castleton Family hash out. Very much recommended.
This review of Heart of the Violist by Maddie Evans was originally written on December 12, 2020.
Real World Meets Frequency Meets Bicentennial Man. Long ago, there was a situation I was very tangentially linked to (I was a classmate of the survivor) where a boy witnessed his brother be murdered in front of him via a shotgun blast meant for the boy. In the movie Frequency, my singular favorite scene is near the end when the dad in the 1960s uses his shotgun to blow off the hand of the bad guy and you see the hand wither to nothing in the present day timeline. And in Bicentennial Man, you follow Robert Williams’ robot character as he lives and loves over the course of two centuries. Literally this morning (as I write this), Catherine Ryan Hyde is using her telescope and camera setup to photograph the known universe, or at least the parts of it she can see from her own small slice of Earth.
This book wound up evoking the first three of these for me in that strange place that resides between my ears, and along the way we get a prototypical character-driven Catherine Ryan Hyde novel. It even included a scene that those that know Hyde even via her Facebook page could see playing out in her real life, making it all that much more “real”.
This isn’t an action filled book, it isn’t even really a mystery filled book. This is a solid character driven moving story about two people thrown together in very unlikely circumstances at a particular point in their lives, who turn out to be very rare types of people themselves. It is a powerful yet relatively sedate story very akin to Bicentennial Man itself.
And sometimes, those are exactly the stories we need to hear. Very much recommended.
This review of My Name Is Anton by Catherine Ryan Hyde was originally written on October 21, 2020.