#BookReview: Did Not Finish by Nicola Marsh

Shortish Near Meta Romance. This is one of those books where the author packs so much real-world stuff that directly applies to themselves in the novel that you almost can’t tell where the novel ends and the author begins. Specifically as it relates to insider knowledge of how things actually work within the industry moreso than with any particular plot line within this tale, to be sure. The romance itself here *does* go from enemies to lovers rather abruptly, so if you’re looking for a lot of angst or drama in that transition… let’s just say that Marsh didn’t have a lot of room within this page count for a lot of drama *both* at this point *and* in the standard “final conflict” of romance novels, so clearly an editorial decision was made here. Clearly, Marsh thinks it works well and honestly, so do I. But I’ve never been overly picky with my romance tales – they’re fun escapism for a few hours, nothing more serious than that. But *that* – fun escapism for a few short hours – is *exactly* what this tale ultimately is. And I’m very intrigued to see where Book 2 goes after this book not exactly being an obvious series starter. Very much recommended.

This review of Did Not Finish by Nicola Marsh was originally written on September 27, 2022.

#BlogTour: Home To Brambleberry Creek by Elizabeth Bromke

For this blog tour we’re looking at a book that is a more serious approach than its author’s normal tales and is also a series starter – though this isn’t always obvious in the tale. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Home To Brambleberry Creek by Elizabeth Bromke.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Serious (And Not Always Obvious) Series Starter. In this first book with a new publisher, Bromke does something she’d rarely done in my experience reading her books over the past year or so – approached 300 pages. Most of her other books I’d read hit between 150 and 200 or so pages, and here the extra length works to allow fair amount of extra drama and detail that Bromke normally manages to tell a strong tale while excluding. Yet she adds it in such a way that it is never obvious, and that is evidence of solid storytelling abilities. While the witty comedy that she normally brings is noticeably absent here, there are still some fun times to be had – but the overall tone of this particular tale is truly much more serious than previous efforts I’ve read from her. Still, in the end it does in fact become clear that there are at least two more tales to tell in this world, and this reader for one is looking forward to coming back to this world and seeing where Bromke takes us. Very much recommended.

After the jump, the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Home To Brambleberry Creek by Elizabeth Bromke”

#BlogTour: The Good Son by Jacquelyn Mitchard

For this blog tour we’re looking at an interesting story of love, forgiveness, repentance, restorative justice, prison reform, and penance that could perhaps have used a better storytelling approach. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Good Son by Jacquelyn Mitchard.

Interesting Story, Perhaps Better Served By A Different Storytelling Technique. This is an interesting story of what happens after a person who has been accused of a heinous crime is released from prison and the toll wrought on the person and their family and friends – particularly in the face of continued harassment from the community. Readers who hate multi-perspective stories will enjoy the fact that we only really get one perspective here, but this is actually the weakest thing about the book to my own mind. For me, having a multi-perspective book with the prisoner’s mother (the perspective we get here), the prisoner, and maybe even the stranger and the victim’s mother, would have made this story quite a bit tighter and potentially, assuming it was done right, that much more interesting. The issues that the book does explore well – restorative justice, repentance, forgiveness, mother’s love, etc – could have been further strengthened by this other technique as well. Still, for what we do get here, it is fairly solid but not “edge of your seat” reading. If you go into this expecting a thrill-a-minute… you’re reading the wrong dang book. But if you look at this more as a character study / family drama with elements of suspense and thriller, you’re likely going to leave this book more satisfied. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Good Son by Jacquelyn Mitchard”

#BookReview: The Passing Storm by Christine Nolfi

When The Storms Of Life Slam Into You. This is a book that can be a bit oppressive at times in just how *heavy* it is. Our main character has suffered a lot of loss that she’s never fully recovered from – some more recent than others – and now she has to confront it all. And yet, it is because of such heavy tragedy that the book is able to explore all that it does and indeed show just the level of hope and forgiveness it does. By the end, the reader is left feeling much lighter and more hopeful for the future, and yet also somber in the face of all that has been lost and yet also all that has been found. If you’re looking for a lighter, quirkier book ala Nolfi’s earlier Sweet Lakes trilogy… this isn’t that. But if you’ve been through some White Hurricanes yourself, or maybe are currently in the middle of one, and just need some level of hope to cling to… this is the kind of book you’ll want to read. And let’s face it – we’ve *all* been through a White Hurricane, are in one, or are about to be in one. (And often all three at once.) For those times and any other, this book is very much recommended.

This review of The Passing Storm by Christine Nolfi was originally written on April 5, 2021.

#BookReview: Forgetting by Scott A Small

Intriguing New Science. For much of human history and even for much of the last few hundred years – when our scientific knowledge has seemingly gone into warp drive itself, sleep was said to be nothing more than the land of dreams, that humans could work at peak efficiency without much of it at all. Forgetfulness, even in many circles now, has been seen as a negative of various extremes, from embarrassing to debilitating.

But what if we’ve had it all wrong, and forgetting is actually one of our more *useful* adaptations? What if sleep actually plays a significant part of this process?

Here, neuroscientist Small examines what we’ve learned – in many cases, much of it over the last decade in particular – about just how imperative forgetfulness is to the very existence of the human body and human society more generally. From the social/ societal benefits all the way to the molecular, intra-cranial benefits, Small examines it all in a text that is clear enough to work in the “popular science” realm while still giving plenty of technical and precise details. Very much recommended.

This review of Forgetting by Scott A Small was originally written on March 14, 2021.