#BookReview: Heart Of The Violist by Maddie Evans

Excellent Start To New Series. With this book, Evans “officially” begins a new series that had a “soft opening” with the novella Faking The Harmony. Here, we really begin to see what makes the Castleton Family click… by having an interloper threaten to destroy all that they hold dear. Except this interloper… may just be exactly what he is claiming to be. Another excellent novelization of the very real-life issues faced with DNA testing, along with some solid discussion with real-world facts about the differences between the various DNA testing companies (all of whom are fictionalized in the text here) and how they operate. This is easily read as just a solid Hallmark-ish romance, the extra commentary just adds a bit of extra depth and real-world gravitas to the already solidly grounded tale. Excellent work, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the unresolved threads of the Castleton Family hash out. Very much recommended.

This review of Heart of the Violist by Maddie Evans was originally written on December 12, 2020.

#BookReview: One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak

One Perfect Fictionalized Story Of Real World Concerns. I picked this book up the instant I read the description because it seemed like it would be working through in novel form many of the same issues Libby Copeland raised in her nonfiction book The Lost Family, which released about a month before this one will. (Yes, this is yet another book I’m reading as an ARC, and my reviews are my own honest thoughts no matter how I acquire a book or when I read it in relation to its official publication date.) I was not disappointed in that regard at all, and if anything this book actually did a better job of truly exploring these complexities than the nonfiction book did, if only because in novel form it is much easier to express just how messy these situations can be from so many angles. Yes, you may get answers – but those answers in these cases… well, many of them were buried for very good reasons. And then there are the people who just do these DNA kits on a lark to “find out where they’re from” or some such – which is actually how one of our lead protagonists arrives in this situation, highlighting the stark realities of how serious even taking one of these tests can be. Truly an excellent work grounded in real world research and even real world situations, as the nonfiction book shows. Very much recommended.

This review of One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak was originally written on March 14, 2020.