Featured New Release Of The Week: No More Lies by Kerry Lonsdale

This week we’re looking at a truly strong series continuation that explains several things from the first book from new perspectives while also building anticipation for the concluding book of the trilogy to a fever pitch. This week we’re looking at No More Lies by Kerry Lonsdale.

Excellent Book 2. This is book 2 of Kerry Lonsdale’s newest trilogy, and while the timelines of both Book 1 (No More Words) and Book 2 overlap – they *do* deal with siblings, at their core – you really do need to read Words first to understand particularly later developments in this book. But this book also explains how certain situations in Words came to be as well – and it is this truly well layered storytelling that is arguably the strongest feature of both this book and this series so far. Yet again, by the end of the tale you’re going to want the next one… which is a problem when you’re reading an ARC nearly 6 months before publication when the author has barely *started writing* said next book. ๐Ÿ˜€ Truly a well told story both here individually and within the series, and I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on No More Secrets, Book 3 of this series, as soon as I can. Very much recommended.

Featured New Release Of The Week: Disappeared by Bonnar Spring

This week we’re looking at an atmospheric and visceral mystery that turns into an edge-of-your-seat survival thriller. This week we’re looking at Disappeared by Bonnar Spring.

Atmospheric Mystery Turns Nail Biting Thriller. This is one of those visceral, atmospheric type tales where you truly feel immersed in the (for most readers) exotic locale. Spring does a tremendous job of showing the breadth of Morocco, from its urban and more modern (ish) areas to its much more remote and tribal areas, from its dazzling seascapes to the bleak Saharan Desert. Much of the tale is a mystery of a woman trying to find her sister, who she arrived in-country with but has now disappeared. Later revelations turn the tale into a desperate attempt to survive and to flee the country, and this is where the book begins to take on much more of its thriller vibe (though there was at least some tinge of foreshadowing of this during the more mystery-oriented section of the tale). Truly a remarkable work, and very much recommended.

Featured New Release Of The Week: Until We Meet by Camille Di Maio

This week we’re looking at a story that I could very easily have seen my own grandparents living elements of in their actual lives during WWII – it truly feels that real and that authentic. This week, we’re looking at Until We Meet by Camille Di Maio.

All Too Real. Di Maio has made a name for herself taking various historical events and wrapping a fictional story around them that stays true to the real world yet tells her own story – and this book is exactly that. Here, she tackles life in New York and specifically around the Brooklyn Navy Yard as it builds the last of the great battleships – the Missouri – and the newest generation of naval ships – the aircraft carrier. At the same time and across the Atlantic, she also tackles life as a new kind of infantry soldier – the Airborne – as they train in England after the US enters the war, attack Normandy on D-Day, survive Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge and finally the end of the war. In both places, Di Maio does a stunning job of being true and accurate (mostly) to the era, and it is very easy for many Americans to see their own parents / grandparents / (and now great grandparents) largely living exactly these types of situations. Di Maio doesn’t hold back from the various tragedies of the era, but she also doesn’t hold back in showing people who were even then “outside the norm” though revealing exactly which norms of the era were broken would delve into spoiler territory – read the book for yourself to see them. ๐Ÿ™‚ And yet, through all of this, this is still ultimately a women’s fiction tale that could alternatively be classified (technically) as a historical romance, and indeed it really works in either genre. Very much recommended.

Featured New Release Of The Week: Vital Lies by Daniel Pyne

This week we’re looking at the second book in Daniel Pyne’s Aubrey Sentro series of spy action thrillers. This week we’re looking at Vital Lies by Daniel Pyne.

Fast Paced Action Thriller. This is a spy thriller for those who like more of the pacing of a Jeremy Robinson / Matthew Reilly / James Rollins action thriller. It isn’t *quite* so action packed / always-on-the-move as those guys, but it is a solid blend of their style of insane and unexpected action combined with a more Robert Ludlum (Bourne series) level complex spy game.

Whereas the first book focused to a certain degree on Sentro’s older child, here the focus is more with her younger child as Sentro continues to try to repair their broken relationships… while getting drug into the very life she is trying to leave.

There are elements here that will give some pause – including a fairly brutal yet also passing/ flash-in-the-pan rape scene that works within the context of the story being told – but overall this is a great read for those who like a *touch* of thinking with their action… without having to be a Stephen Hawking level intellect to keep track of everything. Truly a great read, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Pyne takes this next. Very much recommended.

Featured New Release Of The Week: Free Speech by Jacob Mchangama

This week we’re looking at a particularly timely – though not *quite* complete – look at the history of one of the most important human rights – up there with the rights of property and of defending said property. This week we’re looking at Free Speech by Jacob Mchangama.

One Of The Most Thorough Histories Of The Field I’ve Come Across. This is exactly what the title here says – easily one of the most thorough histories of the concepts of free speech I’ve ever seen, from their earliest incarnations into where the two competing versions came into their own in Athens – more unlimited, though not without certain hypocrisies – and Rome – more elite controlled and even, as the title notes, into the realm of social media, Donald Trump, and even (with a few scant sentences) COVID-19. Timed a bit interestingly (and without any way to know beforehand) so close to the Neil Young / Joe Rogan spat over Spotify, this is truly a strong history for anyone who claims to promote the ideal, one that shows that pretty well everyone who does or ever has has been a hypocrite to some degree or another regarding the topic. Indeed, if any real critique can be had here, it is that Mchangama, even while noting the cenorious actions of social media giants of late, fails to note that corporations can have a chilling effect on the free speech of their employees and those they do business with (hello, Spotify and too many businesses to list here). Though he does at least touch on the idea as it relates to modern academia and yes, cancel culture. There are also a few throwaway lines late re: “fact checkers” and COVID “misinformation” that are more YMMV level on, but which in the end aren’t substantial enough to warrant a star deduction over. This is, again, absolutely a book that anyone who claims to love free speech should absolutely read. Very much recommended.

#BookReview: Not The Romantic Kind by Nicola Marsh

Solid Tomboy Romance. And because it *is* a romance… yes, a wedding is mentioned late in the book, and because this is set in Australia it is a “spring” wedding… in October. Which feels weird to this reader who has never been South of the Equator – nor even within 1,000 miles of it. ๐Ÿ˜€ Otherwise a fun take on the tomboy / enemies to lovers idea where he is a corporate tycoon out to build mansions on the property that meant so much to her as a kid but which her mother recently sold off. This is something I personally identified with a bit, having grown up with a small 3 acre lake outside of Atlanta being owned by my grandfather’s family before my mother’s cousins sold it off in my early 20s after both my grandfather and his twin brother died. So seeing Gemma be able to fight to save any piece of “her spot” was pretty awesome for me. Overall a fun book and on the quick/ short side at right around 200 pages, this one is a solid introduction to Marsh’s romance books for those who are new to her while also being a satisfying one for long time fans. Very much recommended.

This review of Not The Romantic Kind by Nicola Marsh was originally written on January 14, 2022.

Featured New Release Of The Week: Under A Sky Of Memories by Soraya M Lane

This week we’re looking at a visceral and harrowing fictionalized version of a real-world WWII event that even with my intense fascination with that period, I’d never heard of before reading this book. This week we’re looking at Under A Sky Of Memories by Soraya M. Lane.

Visceral, Harrowing, And Heartbreaking. Yet again Lane manages to take an event out of WWII, fictionalize a story into it, and show just how real and relatable it must have been to have been the real people involved here. The motivations for our three primary women here are distinct but relatable, and their journeys through the tale are seemingly all too real – so many times, you’re going to find yourself dreading that the worst is about to happen. In the end, you will likely shed tears of both happiness and heartbreak – and particularly when joined with the resources in the Author’s Note, you’ll likely learn a few things too. As in, despite both mine and my father’s life long “obsession” with WWII (in his case due to how it shaped his father and in mine due to how it shaped *both* of my grandfathers in dramatically different ways), even I had never heard of this particular event that Lane bases the story around here. Once again a very fine piece of researched fiction from Lane, and very much recommended.

#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: The True Cowboy Of Sunset Ridge by Maisey Yates

For this final entry in the Twelve Days Of Romance blog tour series, we’re looking at another Maisey Yates story that is steamy.. and yet somehow also very introspective and contemplative. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The True Cowboy of Sunset Ridge by Maisey Yates.

Contemplative Steamy Romance. Wait. How can a romance novel that effectively starts off with a sex scene be contemplative? Well, you’re gonna have to trust me here… and then read the book for yourself to verify. ๐Ÿ˜€ Yes, there is hot and heavy sex here, even pretty well hate sex. So the sweet/ clean crowd… eh, maybe not for y’all. But this book also features quite a bit of solid introspection, and indeed it is this part of the book that is a refreshing change of pace to so many in the genre. At nearly double the length (380 ish pages vs 220 ish pages) of Yates’ other soon-to-release romance from Harlequin (Rancher’s Forgotten Rival, Jan 25), there is quite a bit more here, and much of it is more in the extended introspection and angst than anything else. (There are also a few more plot complications, including a fairly significant one. But really this book is about both of our leads figuring out how to clear their own heads enough to see what is right in front of them.) Excellent romance with a fair amount of cowboy to it, and a refreshing change of pace within the genre. 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 “#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: The True Cowboy Of Sunset Ridge by Maisey Yates”

#BookReview: The Abbey House by Elizabeth Bromke

Compelling Conclusion. This is an excellent conclusion to the short novel/ novella trilogy of Heirloom Island, where all three sisters play prominent roles in each book yet with each book focusing primarily on one of the three in particular. Because it is such a great conclusion, I have to make the rare recommendation of actually starting with Book 1 of this series, The Boardwalk House, and reading through the entire trilogy – which is still shorter than some single books out there. And when you do that, you’ll be glad you had the entire trilogy at hand at one time. ๐Ÿ˜€ Very much recommended.

This review of The Abbey House by Elizabeth Bromke was originally written on January 5, 2022.

#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: Rancher’s Forgotten Rival by Maisey Yates

For this penultimate day of the Twelve Days Of Romance blog tour series, we’re looking at a solid series starter romance that manages to combine the comedy of Overboard with the saga of the Hatfields and McCoys. For this blog tour we’re looking at Rancher’s Forgotten Rival by Maisey Yates.

Overboard x Hatfields and McCoys. This tale is essentially a ranching version of a combination of Overboard (take your pick on the 1980s version or the 2010s version) and the saga of the Hatfields and McCoys. Throw in two people dedicated to their families yet who have always wanted each other despite their families… and you get some pretty intense hate sex and a romance that Shakespeare could never be bothered with. (Yes, some might try to go the Romeo and Juliet route in their comparisons, but those were immature teenagers with a remarkably high body count. Here, our leads are more established – late 20s/ early 30s ish – and more importantly *don’t get anyone killed*.) As a series starter, it works in establishing that our male lead has several brothers and our female lead has a sister… who may be interested in one of said brothers. Overall a solid romance that elevates its basic elements into a more mature – and arguably more enjoyable for it – tale where people actually try to do the right thing, even when it may cost them everything. 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.
Continue reading “#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: Rancher’s Forgotten Rival by Maisey Yates”