This week we’re looking at a tale that manages to combine elements from disaster movies, The Lord Of The Rings, and The Breakfast Club into a beautiful and poignant tale with strong yet never preachy social commentary. This week we’re looking at The Night of Many Endings by Melissa Payne.
Adult Breakfast Club During A Disaster. Ok, so I love me a good disaster movie, and The Breakfast Club (look it up, kiddos) is one of the most iconic movies Hollywood has ever produced, at least for those of us who were anywhere from young kids (and mostly learning of its amazingness a few years after it released) to young adults (who were actively living it) in that era. Here, Payne manages to hit both notes while admittedly not having quite the same tear-jerking punches of both of her prior novels. The front part of the book sets up the disaster, and actually does nearly as good a job as the Tommy Lee Jones movie Volcano in showing just how “normal” the day of the disaster is. Then the disaster strikes and our more Breakfast Club mode kicks in. Here, our cast isn’t trapped by an overbearing Principal in detention, but in a life and death struggle to stay alive and stay warm during a brutal snowstorm – but the ultimate tones and themes are very similar, up to and including various relevant tragic backstories. (Note that only the currently-relevant-backstories-at-time-of-publication part is similar between the two. The actual backstories are actually wildly divergent and yet great looks into under-told stories of each type of person.) And yet – get ready for yet another movie reference – the ending drags on a bit similar to The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King. Ok, the “coronation” has finally happened. We don’t need half the tale being what happens after! (Note, nowhere near that bad here – more like the back 20% ish of the tale.)
Still, the writing is as beautiful and poignant as ever, the overall backstories are inventive in their rarity in literature, and ultimately this *is* a really strong book that everyone should read. Very much recommended.
Excellent Adventure Starter. For those who like their adventures to be Indiana Jones type – including both going into the jungle and facing down Nazis – well, have I got a book for you. This combines that basic style with Grumley’s usual science/ science fiction bent to produce much more nuanced characters who have much bigger personal stakes than his “breakthrough” series, to great effect in the closing moments. About the only negative is that the final confrontation… isn’t really there. At least not what could have been the *really* cool parts. Still, while I’m not as intrigued about this new series as I was in BREAKTHROUGH by the end of its first book, I definitely want to see where Grumley goes with this. Very much recommended.
This review of The Last Monument by Michael C Grumley was originally written on August 1, 2021.
Cowboy Bodice Ripper. This is one of those slow burn (ish) cowboy romances where you’ve got the busty-and-beautiful-but-no-one-knows-it-because-she-hides-it-all-the-time librarian meeting up with the playboy-that-can’t-escape-his-dark-past cowboy. The slow burn and banter through the front half of the book is great, helped along via a subplot involving a troubled teenager. And then you get to the (nearly requisite in the genre) sex around the 2/3 mark where suddenly both of our leads are very well endowed for their genders. Sure, why not. A bit typical, and a bit of a letdown because of it, but eh, when being typical in one particular area is the worst you can say of a book… it really isn’t a bad book. Fans of the genre will like it, those that aren’t fans of the genre won’t have any real reason to come to the genre via this particular book. For the clean/ sweet crowd, well, I already told you it has a sex scene, and there’s references to several others, both “onscreen” and off. Solid tale mostly solidly told, and it does in fact work as an entry point into the series despite being Book 2. Very much recommended.
This review of All Night Long With A Cowboy by Caitlin Crews was originally written on July 13, 2021.
Loose Threads Come Together Quickly. And Explosively. The front half of this book is very much setup for the back half, but it is intriguing in a very mysterious way in its own right. But then at around the halfway point, Payne inserts a “Holy Hell!!!” moment that explosively changes everything and sets in motion the back half of the book – with some explosive revelations of its own, up to almost literally the last page of the tale. Truly excellent book, and I’ll very much be looking for future books from this new author. Very much recommended.
This review of The Secrets of Lost Stones by Melissa Payne was originally written on August 27, 2019.