South Florida Noir. This really does have that combo South Florida / Noir vibe to it, and if you approach it from that sense… it tends to make more sense. In the end, this is a tale of one man and his daddy issues, and while ultimately nowhere near the literary feat of The Great Gatsby, also gives off some similar vibes there too.
Note that the Amazon listing even for the Kindle book shows it dramatically shorter than what Goodreads currently shows it as – 209 pages on Amazon (which feels closer to accurate with just how quickly this book reads) vs 336 on Goodreads (which feels remarkably long for just how quickly this book reads). And yes, as I am writing this review a full week before release, that means I read an Advance Reviewer Copy and a Goodreads Librarian can update the page count on that site at any point between when I’m writing this review and when you are reading it. So if this has been corrected, ignore this part of the review. 🙂
Overall, this is a great, fun, short read perfect for a bit of escapism and perhaps a degree of catharsis. Maybe not a Dr. office read, and arguably not really a beach read either, yet perfect for one of those languid hot humid Southern summer nights. Particularly if you happen to be *in* South Florida at the time, and likely particularly with a good cigar in one hand while sipping a fine Old Fashioned. Damn, now *I* need to read this book again in that manner. 🙂 Very much recommended.
This review of Liquid Shades Of Blue by James Polkinghorn was originally written on May 9, 2023.
Next Up. Yet again, Wood shows that he knows his characters and audience quite well – this is yet another excellent Maddock and Bones tale with both of them working together, along with a wide range of the friends they’ve picked up over the years, to solve some puzzle involving some long lost artifact. We get the same banter and action that the audience has come to expect, and we get the same quick (120 page or so) tale that has come to typify these later works in particular – meaning they’re never too much of a time commitment even for people new to the series. Though this one does reference *several* prior tales, so those who are anti-spoiler absolutists… well, this *is* listed as Book 15 of the series… 😀 The addition of an in-world park that is clearly distinct from, yet also clearly similar to, a certain real world park with complexes in both Los Angeles and Florida is even better, with quite a few solid jokes (and some mild, one-line and move on type, commentary). Adventure fans and/ or anyone looking for a quick read that could likely be completed while sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, look over here. Very much recommended.
This review of Desert Gold by David Wood was originally written on May 2, 2023.
For this blog tour, we’re looking at a second book in a very loosley connected series that proves to be even more powerful than the first. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Cuban Daughter by Soraya Lane.
Here’s what I said on Goodreads:
Second Verse More Powerful Than The First. This was the second book in this new trilogy where Lane combines both sides of her writing to phenomenal success. As Soraya M Lane, Lane generally writes compelling and seemingly realistic historical fiction. As Soraya Lane, Lane generally writes more contemporary romance, with all that said genre entails. With this series, Lane manages to execute on Digimon Frontier’s Susanoomon ultimate combined evolution and combine both sides of herself into one truly powerful writer. Both sides of this work just as well as any fan of either side of her writing would expect, and combine to breathtaking and heartbreaking result. Cuba comes alive in this tale in ways few American media really allow it to do, both in the historical side and in the contemporary side – which may be helped by the fact that Lane lives in New Zealand and this particular series is published by a British imprint? 🙂 Truly an excellent book, and one loosely coupled enough from its predecessor (who is only briefly alluded to near the beginning of this tale) that anyone can pick up either book in either order and not really miss anything or be spoiled of any details from the other book. Very much recommended.
After the jump, the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, social media, and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Cuban Daughter by Soraya Lane”
Solid Blend Of Several Elements. This book, despite its 230 ish page length, has quite a bit going on. You’ve got a women’s fiction type tale of a woman losing everything and having to discover anew just who she is and what she wants out of life. You’ve got the good looking adventurous dude with a shady history. You’ve got a fake relationship between the two… set up by the sister of the woman/ gay best friend of the guy. And you’ve got all of this set in bustling NYC, sandy Cocoa Beach, FL, and the wonders of the Caribbean on a beautiful cruise ship. And yes, the titular moonlight on Lido deck… can truly be life-changing (noted from near-personal experience – it is almost always magical, at minimum). Overall truly a solid tale that combines all of these elements and makes them enhance each other into a fun, and short-ish, story. Very much recommended.
This review of Moonlight On The Lido Deck by Violet Howe was originally written on March 12, 2023.
Hot Chicks. Cool Gulf Breeze. Fast Cars. Compelling Mystery. What’s Not To Like? Another reviewer 2*’d this book citing the line herein about men never progressing beyond the maturity of a 14yo – and noting that the book was entirely written for said 14yo and that this was a *bad* thing.
Um, no. This book is written for *adults*, with quite a bit of four letter words (and not “four” or “word”) and sex… well, anywhere Jake and Nicole can find a few minutes alone. Even on a stakeout. There is also a decently high body count, including a few particularly grisly murders and at least a tease of a rape threat (that, to be clear, never *really* develops – a bit of a spoiler, perhaps, but a needed one, for some).
So this is written for adults, but adults who enjoy a more laid back approach. Not every mystery tale has to be Big City Something or some frenetic John Wick / Jeremy Robinson / Matthew Reilly balls to the wall action with guns blazing and other weapons flying all over the place all the time.
This tale is written for those who enjoy the more laid back vibes of the Gulf shores of the US or the general Caribbean region, who want their murders with their margaritas as they sit by the pool on a cruise ship (exactly what I was doing while reading part of this book, fwiw). And as the first book in what I now know to be a decently long running series (I’ve now worked books 5 and 6 – or is it 4 and 5? – as Advance Reader Copies over the last couple of years before now coming back to the books I missed), this one sets up everything I already knew I loved from the series. Indeed, Jake and Nicole’s meeting is both abrupt and quite hilarious, and I love how both prove themselves capable in their own ways in this very first outing.
Truly a great, fun, relaxed book perfect for those pool side drinking days – or any other place you may find yourself reading it. Very much recommended.
This review of Deep Six by D. P. Lyle was originally written on January 31, 2023.
For this blog tour, we’re looking at a strong summer/ beach tale that is marred by pervasive references to COVID. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Summer On The Island by Brenda Novak.
Strong Summer Beach Romance / Women’s Fiction Tale Marred By Referencing COVID. If one takes away the pervasive references to COVID, this is a strong summer island getaway beach romance/ women’s fiction tale of three women escaping to the far coast from where they currently live in order to get a break and maybe even heal or find themselves in the process. At it absolutely works in those elements, particularly as our central character unpacks her history and uncovers an astonishing family secret. Truly the only reason for the star deduction is because I DO NOT WANT TO READ ABOUT COVID. PERIOD. And thus I’m waging a one man Crusade against any book that mentions it via an automatic star deduction. So if you feel as I do, know that this book does reference COVID quite a bit, but at least in this case it is more backstory/ explanatory than something the characters are actively living through within the text of this tale. Truly a strong, fun summer/ beach type read, great for those who have been stuck inside for two years and are just now beginning to venture out again. Though one final note: For those that want their books “clean” or “sweet”… this isn’t that. Hell, there are some XXX scenes here – as is typical in many romances. Closed door, this ain’t. So know that going in too. 😀 Very much 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: Summer On The Island by Brenda Novak”
Entertaining. This is a book that is somewhat deep in a series – Book 5 – and never once shies away from that fact. It has a wide range of established characters and storylines, but Keim does a remarkable job of making sure the reader understands the relevant histories, no matter if they’ve been a long time fan or if this is your entry point to this series or even this author – as it was both for me. Indeed, it is arguable that perhaps Keim does *too much* rehashing of prior stories- more in repeating a few sentences (with variation, not copy/ paste, at least not obviously) about whatever relevant fact such as how characters met or why another character is so problematic, etc.
And yet, despite and perhaps because of all of this, this book absolutely works as a continuation of its world and as a showcase for the author’s style and tone. Those that enjoy ensemble casts with a lot of characters and a lot going on will thoroughly enjoy this book, those who prefer fewer characters… probably won’t like it as much. But the storylines all interweave remarkably well, particularly with the narration being solely driven by one character’s perspective and the primary focus being that character and her business partner and friend – who enjoy catching up in stolen moments via the titular event.
Ultimately a strong book about friendship and defending the hurting, this tale is very much recommended.
This review of Margaritas At The Beach House Hotel by Judith Keim was originally written on June 8, 2021.
This week, we’re looking at a wild and maddening tale of the fight to save the Florida Panther. This week, we’re looking at Cat Tale by Craig Pittman.
This was a tragic story of how humans actively brought a particular sub-species to the brink of extinction, how human involvement and greed kept the sub-species at that point until it was too late to come back without dramatic human intervention, and how even that intervention nearly didn’t work due to human politics. It is yet another tale that will turn a person into an anarchist, as it shows just how inept and even corrupt government is at all levels. The narrative mostly focuses on the last 50 years or so, and indeed includes data up through 2018.
But the style of the narrative is forthright and even funny, with puns and other humor rampant, including one pun that apparently the author’s wife thought of. Overall simply a well told, compelling tale, and it is thus very much recommended.
Continue reading “Featured New Release of the Week: Cat Tale by Craig Pittman”
A Warning For The Entire US Eastern And Gulf Coasts. This book is fairly comprehensive in its history of coastal development, with particular emphasis on the back bays of New Jersey but also discussing development all the way South to Florida and up along the Florida Gulf Coast all the way to Galveston Bay and Houston, with detailed discussions of Mobile and New Orleans along the way. And even discounting its heavy emphasis on global warming / global cooling / climate change / whatever the alarmists are calling it these days, the book paints a very stark picture about just how much coastal redevelopment costs people all over the country, including the landlocked midwest, due to heavy Federal subsidies in the post-WWII era. Its ultimate points are solid, yet it is also extremely realistic that the best solution to the problem is extremely politically unlikely. Very much recommended reading, and certainly a discussion that should factor into election discussions going into the 2020 Presidential race.
This review of The Geography of Risk by Gilbert M. Gaul was originally published on July 19, 2019.