#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.
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#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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Featured New Release of the Week: Under An Alaskan Sky by Jennifer Snow

This week we’re looking at a solid romance set in the wilds of Alaska. This week we’re looking at Under An Alaskan Sky by Jennifer Snow.

As I say in the Goodreads review below, this was a solid romance novel that has most everything fans of the genre will want, and is a good enough story within that lane that even those who haven’t enjoyed romance novels before might like this one. Also, a solid Hallmark movie style romance, for those into that kind of thing.

What *really* drew me to this book though was Snow’s new alternate identity. You see, last year a book came out that I described as “one of the darkest, most disturbing books Iโ€™ve read in quite some time”. That book was All The Lovely Pieces by J.M. Winchester. Which happens to be this alternate identity of the author of this Hallmark-type romance, Jennifer Snow.

So, the dichotomy intrigues me – and points to Snow/Winchester’s strength as a story teller. To get such divergent books from the same mind is quite remarkable given the fact that so many authors tend to stick to one particular genre and, usually, even one particular type of story within that genre. And thus this week I urge you to not only pick up this particular book, but also the other one – which was a Featured New Release when it released last summer to boot.

As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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