Controversial Real Life Bleeds Into Story. I fully cop to the title of this review being clickbait, but it is also 100% true. Yet again Bratt brings elements of real-world cases and her real-world life into this particular series, and in this particular case the most obvious direct real world connection is also one of the more controversial things Bratt has ever done in her actual life since I’ve been reading her books since 2018 or so. But revealing exactly where that moment is in the book and what the direct connection is to her real life would be a spoiler… so read this book and see if you can spot where it might be, then follow Bratt on her social media channels to see if you were right. Yes, I’m plugging both the book and the author here, because to be quite honest both are equally great – even if I personally 100% disagree with the choice made both in the book and in real life – but Bratt manages to tell both stories quite compellingly, and it is her books and her life. 😀
One word of caution though: This *is* Book 6 in a series, and in this case you really do need to read the prior books first to really have any real understanding of exactly where we are in this tale. Some more words of caution about the actual content: There is stalking, possible gaslighting, bullying, and a touch of animal neglect here (all on the part of the bad guys, to be sure), but Bratt manages to show these as exactly that – actions not to be condoned. Still, if those are absolute no-go issues for you for whatever reason, know that they’re here.
Overall though, this was yet another compelling entry in a series that manages to combine both police procedural and family drama elements quite well, all while showing off the merits and perils of both policing and small town life – which is something few other books I’ve ever read have done quite so well. Very much recommended.
This review of Nobody Told Me by Kay Bratt was originally written on August 10, 2023.
Perfectly Poignant. This is ultimately a story of family and healing, and yet again Walker uses both the situations and the settings to combine to work great magic in his storytelling. The base setup turns out to be something that is almost ripped from the headlines, and while some fiction authors can and have gone a more preachy route with the topic, Walker instead eschews the politics completely and looks at the very human side of what actually happens in such a situation. Truly an excellent work, and one that this reader at least could easily imagine Luke Bryan playing the leading role… should Bryan ever decide to make such a career move. Very much recommended.
This review of A Spanish Sunrise by Boo Walker was originally written on August 17, 2022.
This week we’re looking at a book that is a master class in how to take a tale that could veer into the prosaic and at least somewhat uninteresting and elevate it into a captivating and charming tale simply by making smart decisions in exactly how to tell exactly the same story. This week we’re looking at Beyond The Moonlit Sea by Julianne Maclean.
Interesting Case of Storytelling Excellence. This is one of those books where had the author chosen to tell this very same story in a more typical fashion, with just a single narrator that we follow over several decades of her life, it wouldn’t have been near as engaging or near as engrossing as the tale becomes by telling it the way she instead chose to tell it. As a singular narrative, the story is a solid tale of a woman struggling to find herself in her twenties and thirties, both as she finishes college and a bit later in the aftermath of a tragedy, who then has to deal with the repercussions of these events throughout her life. With the particular perspectives that MacLean adds – which do add extra length to the text that wouldn’t be present without them – we get a much more fleshed out tale that actually adds extra depth both to certain characters and to the overall story, and thus the extra length is absolutely warranted in this case. Ultimately a satisfying tale in a vein somewhat reminiscent of the great Robin Williams movie Bicentennial Man, without its length in years. 🙂 Very much recommended.
For this blog tour, we’re looking at an otherwise strong family drama marred by COVID references and bigotry. For this blog tour, we’re looking at A Family Affair by Robyn Carr.
Bigotry And COVID Mar Otherwise Strong Family Drama. On its whole, this is a mostly solid family drama about a mom and two of her three children dealing with a tragedy and trying to move on with their lives in the wake of it.
However, it does have significant problems, problems I’ve yet to see any of the other 44 Goodreads reviews in existence at the time of this writing address.
The first is the near-constant references to the insanities of 2020-2022, mostly as a way to ground the story in a sense of time and place. But here’s the thing: I DO NOT WANT TO READ ABOUT COVID. PERIOD. And thus a star was deducted for this. Maybe you, the reader of my review, are less adamant about this or maybe you even appreciate such references. Good for you, you’ll enjoy those parts of this text. But for those who feel as I do on the matter, know that it happens here.
The second major issue is the portrayal and handling of the Autistic third child. To say that this is a highly bigoted view along the lines constantly spewed by the Autistic hate group Autism Speaks is still being a bit too polite, to this Autistic’s mind. This character is every tired and worn out Autistic stereotype rolled into one, and while the family claims to love her, they also drug her into oblivion so that Carr can write her out of the back half of the book. Indeed, if an author treated pretty well any demographic other than the neurodiverse/ Autistics like this in a book, that author would likely go viral for social media cancelling them – and yet something tells me most will be silent about or even praise Carr’s reprehensible treatment of this character. That it publishes just days after World Autism Acceptance Day and during World Autism Acceptance Month is a slap in the face to Autistics from the publisher, but perhaps they were not aware of just how offensive this characterization truly is and were not aware of April being so designated.
The third issue, a throwaway line that further reveals Carr’s political leanings, is a reference to a school shooting where the shooter got “automatic weapons” from his dad’s garage. In California. In the 2000s. BULLCRAP! For one, while *some* automatic weapons *are* legal, the manner in which they are legal is INCREDIBLY expensive to obtain and subjects one to an entire alphabet soup of agencies – both Federal and State, particularly in California – knowing exactly where and how you store such weapons. Further, in the *extremely* rare case of Columbine/ Parkland style attacks as is described in this part of the text, such truly automatic weapons are virtually *never* used. But someone who only follows certain paranoid propagandists on this matter would have no clue about these facts, and Carr reveals herself to be just such a person in this instance. However, this did *not* result in a third star deduction as this was more of a one-off throwaway backstory line and not a pervasive element within the book as the first two issues were.
Ultimately, this is one of those books where your mileage may vary quite a bit. If you don’t mind references to COVID in your fiction and if you agree with Carr’s views on Autism and guns, you likely will enjoy this book quite a bit. And to be clear, other than these issues – which were *not* on every page – the story itself really is quite good. But if you feel as I do on these issues… still read the book. It really is that well written, mostly. Just know there is going to be some infuriating moments. 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: A Family Affair by Robyn Carr”