#BookReview: The Lighthouse Cafe by Bebe Reed

Short Cozy Family Drama Sets Up Series Well. This is one of those barely 200 page books that packs quite a bit in it – but is also one of those books where everyone is lying to someone about something, which is where much of the drama comes in. Meant to be more of a cozy coastal foodie vibe primarily, it actually does work as that down the stretch… it just takes a bit to get there. The titular Lighthouse Cafe really comes into its own eventually – kinda sorta ala settlement building in Fallout 4. Yes, the pieces are there and broken when you first encounter them, but this is where a lot of the beauty for a lot of people comes in, seeing just how these people mend themselves as they mend the building and business.

Overall a breezy book with perhaps more drama than many would want on a “beach read”, but also great for those cold winter nights when you need to be transported to a more tropical location in your mind.

Very much recommended.

This review of The Lighthouse Cafe by Bebe Reed was originally written on June 5, 2024.

#BookReview: The Seaside Sisters by Pamela Kelley

Solid, If A Touch Generic, Beach Read. You know those tales where you go into it knowing roughly what is going to happen from the get-go, but also knowing you’re going to enjoy the experience because you know this type of tale and know nothing too shocking or controversial will be a major plot point? In other words, a somewhat Hallmark Movie type plot, but more on the women’s fiction side and featuring multiple storylines in one?

Yeah, this is pretty well exactly that, in coastal Cape Cod + NYC as the “big city”. Solid enough to be a solid, inoffensive choice for lounging at the pool or on a beach reading while relaxing as the kids make a fool of themselves in the water… in other words, fairly idyllic “summer read”. And what do you know, positioned to release right at the beginning of the “summer season” in the US, just over a week after Memorial Day and when many – particularly more Yankee-area – schools are getting out of school for the summer later that week.

So if this is the kind of tale you’re looking for – and based on the Hallmark Channel’s success, clearly there is a fairly substantial market for this type of tale – then you’re going to enjoy this one and it is pretty well going to be everything you expect it to be. For those looking for something with more teeth… look for some of my other reviews, wherever you may find them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Very much recommended.

This review of The Seaside Sisters by Pamela Kelley was originally written on May 31, 2024.

#BookReview: Summers At The Saint by Mary Kay Andrews

Not A Casual “Beach Read”. With the cover and even a common understanding of the description, one might think going into this tale that it is a breezy easy beach read. Well, I’m of the belief that any book you read at a beach is a beach read, but this book takes some effort. If you’re looking for a simple tale… this aint that.

What this *is* though is a solid tale of survival on so many different levels. Yes, you have the tale of the struggle to save the resort that the description points out. But there is also *so much more* here, and the problems at the resort go *so much deeper* than is initially believed.

At first, this seems to be a tale of the resort manager building her team, Nick Fury building the Avengers style. As this slow burn story continues though, we see that not everything is as it seems, and Nick may have found Loki posing as Thor rather than the actual Thor…

Ultimately, all of the separate characters and threads do come together in a wonderful tapestry, but it takes a while to see the full picture of all that is happening and why, but for those that demand books that wrap up everything… this *is* one of those tales, at least.

Very much recommended.

This review of Summers At The Saint by Mary Kay Andrews was originally written on May 8, 2024.

#BookReview: Blame It On Emerald Isle by Luke Young

Strong Continuity And Also Strong Growth. This book is Luke Young’s first in several years – I believe his last new release before this one was 2017’s Seriously Messed Up, which *still* holds up as one of the funniest, most truly laugh out loud books I’ve ever read. This book actually opens with a scene that will readily bring to mind that book for any who have read it, and the overall tale actually has a lot of similarities to Young’s formerly long running Friends With … Benefits series, including a fair amount of quite explicit, damn near erotica level sex that brings to mind the “Ian Dalton” “sexier” versions of Friends With… Benefits series.

And yet, Young also shows quite a bit of growth in writing almost a women’s fiction level romantic tale of self discovery, as well as in creating some genuinely heartbreaking moments not usually seen in his prior works. Clearly, the time away from new releases has allowed Young to grow and develop as a storyteller – and while that is never a bad thing, this in particular is also a case of a great comedic storyteller learning to show true depth, while staying true to his comedic roots, which overall makes him an even *stronger* storyteller.

So read this book. I can almost guarantee you’ll never find anything quite like it, as despite my extensive and wide ranging reading (particularly since Young released his last book), even *I* have never encountered one quite like this one – and yet it is perfectly in line with the romance/ women’s fiction spaces, and thus familiar *enough* to not be alienating in any real way (barring personal hangups about any number of topics).

Very much recommended.

This review of Blame It On Emerald Isle by Luke Young was originally written on July 15, 2023.

#BookReview: The Bookshop By The Bay by Pamela Kelly

To Mothers And Daughters And Best Friends Forever! Yes, the title is a line from near the end of the book. But I thought it summed up the book quite well – this is ultimately a story of girl power, of friends and family and the family you choose. It is a lighter-side Hallmarkie type tale where there is some amount of drama, but most of the tale is women finding their paths at various ages and stages of life. Yes, there is some romance here (though with no sex scenes, for the clean/ sweet crowd), but really the focus really is squarely on the various women at hand. While the men are never *quite* caricatures, there is certainly a fair amount lacking in their characterizations and indeed even ultimate importance to the story, but that is perhaps to be expected with the type of tale crafted here. Foodies – and those aware that Kelley has written at least two fiction tales specifically about a restaurant – will love the descriptions of the meals and drinks here. This is clearly designed, from its storytelling to its cover to even its early June release date, to be designated a “beach read”, and it absolutely feels comfortable in that type of space. Very much recommended.

This review of The Bookshop By The Bay by Pamela Kelly was originally written on January 1, 2023.

#BlogTour: Summer At The Cape by RaeAnne Thayne

For this blog tour, we’re looking at a book that is all about second chances and the hope they can bring. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Summer At The Cape by RaeAnne Thayne.

Second Chances. Sometimes… sometimes life *does* give you a second chance. A chance to re-evaluate what you thought you knew, and perhaps a chance to reconnect with those you had massive misunderstandings with previously. And Summer At The Cape? Well… it is all about those second chances… and the ones that will never happen. Beautifully written and heart felt, this is one that will pull your heartstrings in so many directions. The *one* negative, for me, was that the epilogue felt tacked on. I personally would have been perfectly fine without it – the story didn’t actually need it, and the things it adds are for me superfluous tropes that added nothing and somewhat detracted even. But hey, read the story for yourself and see what you think of the epilogue. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 “#BlogTour: Summer At The Cape by RaeAnne Thayne”

#BlogTour: Summer On The Island by Brenda Novak

For this blog tour, we’re looking at a strong summer/ beach tale that is marred by pervasive references to COVID. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Summer On The Island by Brenda Novak.

Strong Summer Beach Romance / Women’s Fiction Tale Marred By Referencing COVID. If one takes away the pervasive references to COVID, this is a strong summer island getaway beach romance/ women’s fiction tale of three women escaping to the far coast from where they currently live in order to get a break and maybe even heal or find themselves in the process. At it absolutely works in those elements, particularly as our central character unpacks her history and uncovers an astonishing family secret. Truly the only reason for the star deduction is because I DO NOT WANT TO READ ABOUT COVID. PERIOD. And thus I’m waging a one man Crusade against any book that mentions it via an automatic star deduction. So if you feel as I do, know that this book does reference COVID quite a bit, but at least in this case it is more backstory/ explanatory than something the characters are actively living through within the text of this tale. Truly a strong, fun summer/ beach type read, great for those who have been stuck inside for two years and are just now beginning to venture out again. Though one final note: For those that want their books “clean” or “sweet”… this isn’t that. Hell, there are some XXX scenes here – as is typical in many romances. Closed door, this ain’t. So know that going in too. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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 “#BlogTour: Summer On The Island by Brenda Novak”