Solid Romance – On A Cruise. For those unfamiliar with Keim’s various romance series, this is a great – and short, at roughly 150 pages – introduction to her style of beach/ coastal romance. A solid entry in this genre, you have some mild drama both with the titular contest/ winning tickets and later with one character in particular, but the focus really is on the friends (both old and new) and the pair of romances (one primary, one secondary in that it gets slightly less attention). As with every book in this series I’ve read so far, Keim manages to pack quite a bit into the short length here, including a full cruise and a decent amount of story before and after the cruise. Overall truly a solid tale, and one that makes me glad I’ll be able to see the forts at Old San Juan myself in just a few days (as I am getting on my own cruise tomorrow as I write this!). Very much recommended.
Another Strong Family Tale From Bratt. This is yet another tale where Bratt uses elements of her own life and where she is in life to craft a fiction tale that explores deep issues in a serious yet also light-ish manner. Here yet again she shows great love for her youngest daughter’s adopted home of Hawaii and shows that having family thousands of miles away can still result in close bonds – if efforts are made. But the main story is of a woman facing the all-too-real scenario faced by so many women nearing or above Senior Citizen Discount age: what happens when you lose your partner of decades? This is the main thrust of the story, and Bratt does a tremendous job of exploring this scenario, particularly as it also relates to having adult children with their own lives, through the course of this sub-150 page novella. Packing quite a bit here, it is often forgettable just how short this story is – while it reads quick due to its actual length, Bratt manages to have *so much happen* that it “feels” like it could have had an extra 50-100 pages. In other words, don’t let the short actual page count fool you – this is a complete tale, just one without the filler and perhaps extra drama of an actually longer tale. And for those familiar with Bratt’s real-life work rescuing dogs and particularly Yorkies… yes, a Yorkie also appears here. 😀 Ultimately a strong tale filled with great topical exploration… and more drama than ever happens on any of *my* cruises. 😀 Very much recommended.
Solid Series Introduction. This is an introductory book to a very loosely coupled set of tales of middle aged women going on cruises for various reasons, written by a swath of women’s fiction authors. Here, we get the prologue – essentially the “inciting incident”, to use technical terms – for each of the eight actual tales in the series. And each one completely works, in its own ways. I truly want to see how each of these stories play out, and I’m glad that they’ll all release within a couple of months of each other, essentially one every couple of weeks or so, as that makes it quite easy indeed to finish one right as the next one releases. 😀 I’ve read a few of these authors before (Bratt, Keim, Bromke) and *know* how good storytellers these ladies are. I’m trusting that the company they keep is equally strong, and based on the prologues in this collection I’m expecting that my trust is well placed indeed. And yet the loosely coupled nature of this collection means that if you read this particular book and find that one or another tale doesn’t quite strike you… you lose nothing in skipping that particular book. So get this one, read it – and get ready for some great tales on the high seas. Very much recommended.