#BookReview: A Wild River Match by Jennifer Snow

Short And Fun Valentine’s Romance Novella. This is a short and fun novella where the main conflict is that our leading dude used to date our leading lady’s sister, and while both are attracted to each other in this forced-proximity mishap, the sister weighs heavily on them both. Given that this is a 70 ish page novella… there isn’t a lot of room for much more conflict than that, and Snow works well within the space she has allowed herself here to show a full romance, but quicker and with fewer details in certain areas and less overall conflict/ adventures. Still, yet again, for long time fans looking for a quick book to hit whatever arbitrary reading goal you have or for those new to Snow looking for a quick taste to see if you’re even going to like her style of storytelling, this is a solid book for both camps and for anyone in between. Very much recommended.

This review of A Wild River Match by Jennifer Snow was originally written on November 2, 2022.

#BookReview: An Alaskan Christmas Homecoming by Jennifer Snow

Fun And Short Christmas Novella. This is a 50 ish page novella that packs a punch, particularly for anyone who has ever felt like the black sheep in the family. Solid Christmas theming, complete with decorations, a “Scrooge”, and forgiveness. Oh yeah, and even a complete romance tale that checks off all of the “rules” I am aware of, while not going into a *ton* of detail on any given aspect – the difference in a 50 page novella and a 300+ page novel. ๐Ÿ˜‰ For those looking for an introduction to the author and/ or this series, this tale works well as only a minimal time commitment to give them a try. For fans of the series, this is more of a quick bite between longer tales, and for readers – like this one – who are fans of the author and series who are looking for a quick book to meet some arbitrary reading goal quickly… here ya go. ๐Ÿ˜€ Very much recommended.

This review of An Alaskan Christmas Homecoming by Jennifer Snow was originally written on November 2, 2022.

#BookReview: Alaska For Christmas by Jennifer Snow

Cold Weather Rescues, Amnesia, and Christmas Romance In Alaska! This is a solid tale with a few cold-weather rescues on both land and sea for the Port Serenity Coast Guard and our leading male… including one where he has to rescue our leading female… only to later discover she now has amnesia from her ordeal! It is at this point that the actual Christmas Romance portion of the novel sets in, and here too Snow does her usual strong romance work, including featuring some dates that seem possible only in Alaska or similarly northern locales. For those “clean” / “sweet” romance types… umm… this isn’t exactly erotica, but the reader is in the room for certain situations. So if you’re not a fan of such scenes… well, they’re fairly standard in most romance novels and this one is included there. Overall a strong novel that fulfills all the standard RWA rules while telling a fun and at times harrowing tale. Very much recommended.

This review of Alaska For Christmas by Jennifer Snow was originally written on October 16, 2022.

#BlogTour: Sweet Home Alaska by Jennifer Snow

For this blog tour we’re looking at an excellent “book one” for a new series after having had a couple of teases in prior works by the author. For this blog tour we’re looking at Sweet Home Alaska by Jennifer Snow.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Excellent Multi-Layered “Series Starter”. After having had a back-door pilot in Alaska Dreams, where the couple traveled down to Port Serenity (our town in this book) to work with the Coast Guard (one of our main groups here, and one who has a direct connection in a secondary character in our unit here) to shoot a movie (which is then watched in one scene in this book) and a lead-in novella in Love On The Coast that explicitly introduces our town and some of its residents and history (and whose couple – and story – is summarized in this book)… we finally get into a proper Book 1 for this new spin-off series from Snow’s semi-long running (6 books or so at this time) Wild Alaska series.

And it absolutely fires on all cylinders. You’ve got a couple of tense Coast Guard rescues in the cold Alaskan waters where our new heroine learns to trust herself. You’ve got the tragic backstory of high school sweethearts who split due to several misunderstandings/ secrets. For the “sweet” / “clean” crowd… eh, you’ve got some pretty dang intense sex scenes, both penetrative and not – and not a dang one of them “fade to black” / “behind closed doors”. There’s enough drama in the book to elevate it above “bubble gum pop” level romance, without it being *too* burdening – and thus it is still a solid escape (and a longer-ish one at near 400 pages) for those who may need to escape the “real” world for a bit. It also happens to be a solid introduction to the author’s overall storytelling style for those who may be new to her. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BookReview: Love On The Coast by Jennifer Snow

Short, Quick Introduction. This a short novella – just 56 pages according to Amazon – that is meant to introduce a new small Alaskan town and series. This complements the “back door pilot” from Alaska Dreams – Book 6 in Snow’s Wild *River* (Alaska) series, where the Coast Guard actually played a role in that tale as well and it was clear what Snow was doing the instant it happened.

This tale itself is a solid introduction to Snow’s overall style, without the 350 ish pages she normally works with. Which makes it a great first book for someone that may be wanting to try Snow out for the first time, as the time investment here is minimal – pretty sure I finished this book in under an hour, and I’ve already got the official Book 1 of this series – Sweet Home Alaska – on deck. Very much recommended.

This review of Love On The Coast by Jennifer Snow was originally written on May 13, 2022.

#BookReview: Alaska Dreams by Jennifer Snow

When Dreams Turn To Nightmares, Create Your Own Reality. This was another solid entry into the Wild River series, one that can be read as standalone if you don’t mind knowing that other couples from previous romance books wound up together. While the focus is on our primary couple here and their struggles both personally and as a couple, most of the rest of couples from previous books make appearances, with some of them playing key support roles. Overall an excellent depiction of this side of Snow’s writing, this one is great for the Hallmarkie type crowd that needs at least some elements of drama without going *too* deep, but which also likes several laughs along the way. Another fun book that manages to showcase Alaska – but also Seattle and Los Angeles. Very much recommended.

This review of Alaska Dreams by Jennifer Snow was originally written on January 27, 2022.

Featured New Release Of The Week: The Ex-Husband by Karen Hamilton

This week we’re looking at a tale of karmic suspense that takes place at least in part at sea and shows the commonalities and differences between cruising and yachting quite well. This week we’re looking at The Ex-Husband by Karen Hamilton.

Karmic Suspense At Sea. This book is a mystery/ suspense set partly in the UK and partly (or pretty well fully, in its back half) at sea mostly in the Caribbean and even one Alaska season. The dual timeline approach is used here to show the suspense of someone stalking our narrator with information she doesn’t want known and which they shouldn’t have in the present timeline, with the second timeline being “18 months ago” when her world came crashing down. Except that the 18 months ago timeline is filled at least as much with the entire backstory of how she got to that point as well. This tale is an interesting blend of both cruising and yachting, which are very different experiences. Even though the largest megayachts (such as the Azzam) and the smaller cruise ships (such as Windstar Cruise Lines’ Wind Surf) are roughly the same size, with cruising you’re usually with a few hundred (at least, it can be closer to 5,000+) strangers + up to 2,000 or so crew members whereas with yachting you’re usually with no more than a few dozen people you’re at least tangentially associated with – even if only through a common acquaintance – and no more than a hundred or so staff. Also, the onboard experience of a cruise tends to be more akin to a perma-mall/ theme park on a cruise vs a much more exclusive, bespoke experience on a yacht. (Think of the difference of going to say Disney World vs what happens on Bravo’s Below Deck shows, for example.) Still, Hamilton actually does a good job showing how similar yet different each of these are, even as she weaves a tale of con artistry and karmic suspense through both facets of sea-travel experience. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social and buy links.
Continue reading “Featured New Release Of The Week: The Ex-Husband by Karen Hamilton”

#BookReview: Alaska Reunion by Jennifer Snow

Unanswered Prayers. This is another solid continuation of this loosely-coupled series where the couples in each book may show up in the others, but the focus of each story is its leading couple. Here, we get a great and fun forced proximity / fake relationship romance… that of course (because it *is* a romance novel) becomes a real one. Solid fun in the Alaskan setting, including getting out on the multitudinous waterways of the region and even some climbing and other more adventuresome activities. For the clean/ sweet crowd… ummm… maybe sit this one out. ๐Ÿ˜‰ For those that like intense sex scenes (nothing particularly kinky, just enough steam to drive a dang electric generator), I think you’ll like this one. ๐Ÿ™‚ Snow knows her genre very well, and this is a perfect example of that. Very much recommended.

This review of Alaska Reunion by Jennifer Snow was originally written on August 1, 2021.

#BookReview: Wrong Alibi by Christina Dodd

Solid Escapism. This is one of those books with enough twists and turns that it truly provides a great deal of effective escapism – even if you manage to put it down, you’re going to be wondering what can possibly happen next. As a setup to a series… I’m interested to see where it goes from here, honestly. To me, it didn’t really feel too “setup” ish and almost completely read like a true standalone book. There weren’t any real threads left dangling here, so other than setting up the backstory of the primary character and a few key supporting characters…. like I said, not overly obvious what this series will entail. Which is unusual for a Book 1. Still, in and of itself this was an excellent twisty mystery/ action book, though the climax did feel a bit abrupt. Overall a fun read, and very much recommended.

This review of Wrong Alibi by Christina Dodd was originally written on December 2, 2020.

Featured New Release Of The Week: Of Bears And Ballots by Heather Lende

This week we’re looking at an intriguing look at rural small town American politics. This week, we’re looking at Of Bears and Ballots by Heather Lende.

This one got my attention mostly because I myself ran for rural small town City Council twice a decade ago – unsuccessfully both times – and so whenever I see an actual book come out about such experiences, I’m immediately interested. In this one, it turns out that this particular town has a couple of very big differences than my far-from-the-sea town did: 1) The jurisdiction here includes a cruise terminal and Glacier Point, a major cruise excursion destination. 2) While the town that I ran for Council in is the home of country singer Luke Bryan, San Fransisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, and American Idol Season 12 winner Phillip Phillips (and I have interesting experiences being in area crowds with both singers), Lende’s town – Haines, AK – happens to be the hometown of Parker Schnabel of Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush family of shows. And one of the controversies Lende spends a fair amount of time on in this book is her decision – along with other members of a split Council – to hire Parker’s aunt, Debra Schnabel, as the town’s Manager. It was a controversy big enough that it nearly led to her ouster less than one year into a three year term, and it apparently set the tone for the rest of her term and indeed for the narrative of this book.

Overall the book did exactly what I expected of it – it showed the realities of life on a small town City Council, the striking dichotomies of being “The Honorable Heather Lende” or “Ms. Lende” or such in meetings and “Heather” as soon as the gavel sounds to close the meeting. Of having disagreements about policy so stark that voters initiate a recall election against you… and then finding out people you thought were good friends, who go to church with you, shop at the store your husband runs, or other seemingly major small town connections… signed the damn petition that forced the recall to happen. I had a degree of that myself even in my unsuccessful runs, watching people as they walked into the singular voting precinct in my town (Lende’s had two, despite having roughly the same number of voters) as I waved campaign signs from across the street while talking to an area reporter. So while I was never recalled, I know well the… interesting… feelings Lende discusses quite well in the text.

In her calls for civility and her support for Robert’s Rules of Order as a mechanism for returning us back to a more civil era of politics and the Rule of Law, Lende actually manages to evoke a sense of President Andrew Shepherd as portrayed by Michael Douglas in The American President. Which their shared liberal politics helps to cement, to a degree. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ultimately, this was a very satisfying and fairly quick (for a nonfiction book) read, and it is very much recommended.

As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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