Solid Romance, More Drama Than Usual For Evans. This book has Evans stretching herself as a storyteller and introducing much more drama than is typical of her, *almost* to the level of becoming a romantic suspense. What saves this book from that particular marketing is the presence of a personal favorite character from her previous series, the Brighthead Running Club…CASHMAN! Seriously, fans of that particular series will LOVE Cashman’s appearance here – nearly to the point of stealing this book! The comedy there is comedic gold, and some of Evans’ best. Overall, the two parts of the tale are integrated well – Cashman serves as an advisor of sorts on some of the earlier points of the suspense side – and play off each other in-world superbly. Very much recommended.
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.
Fun, Fast Read With Lots of Heart. This is a shorter novel at around 150 or so pages, and that actually makes it near perfect for a quick escape from family during the holiday season. You know, for those who may desire such an escape for some reason or another. 😉 Small town second chance romance that deals with some pretty weighty issues including bullying and attempted suicide, but in the typical Evans fashion of tackling them head on yet still sensitively. Excellent foundation for the series, with several secondary characters introduced – enough such that one gets the sense this series could go for a while, but none standing out quite so blatant as to be the obvious main character in the next book. Very much recommended.
Fitting Finale. This was a fitting finale to the Brighthead Running Club, and while I’m sad to see the series go, Evans truly did a great job wrapping up all outstanding plotlines and giving each couple a fitting end. Read the rest of the series first, and you’ll know what to expect from the overall tone and pacing of this story. Truly great work. Very much recommended.
Righteous Rage, Really? I thought Cashman was like me – after all, dude is an acerbic computer geek! – but this book actually introduced a character even more like me in Lucas, even as we don’t actually share a profession. And the problems Lucas and Shelly have are very similar to some of the fights I’ve had with my own wife, particularly when I get lost in some new challenge. (Such as reading 200 or maybe 208 books this year. Thanks, Number 170! 🙂 )So this book hit a bit closer to home to me than even Book 3 (Mischief and a Marathon, Cashman and Julie’s story). But overall this is a solid continuation of the overall series, though it does feel like some early characters are as much wallflowers as some central characters here were in their books. Still, a truly remarkable series and one that I am eagerly awaiting the next book in. Very much recommended.
Mischief And Mirth. In this continuation of Evans’ Brighthead Running Club series, we get the story we have been waiting on for a couple of books now – Julie and Cashman. And we learn some very startling things about Cashman throughout, but some of the biggest surprises are right up front… Excellent book, and one that can serve as an introduction to the series with only minimal spoilers at all. Very much looking forward to the next book in the series.
Goats! Wood Chippers! Bonfires! In this second entry into Maddie Evans’ Brighthead Running Club series, we meet a new character that didn’t appear in the first entry… and yet is still intertwined with the cast we did meet then. Charlie is an artist running from a cheating fiancee… and Brighthead’s resident artist runner happens to be an old friend. But Brandon is also an idiot, thinking that because he was poor growing up he can’t be relatively wealthy as an adult – and I say this as someone who has undergone just such a transformation in my real life. When Brandon’s efforts for Kealty begin to get him more notice, will he let his history with her sabotage the best things he’s ever come across? And with one final tease at the very end, Evans throws a swerve as to who the couple in the final book in the series may involve… Very much recommended, very much looking forward to the conclusion of this series. 🙂
Running and Tragedy. Ok, so with a title like this you’ve gotta be expecting a romance and some running, right? Because if you’re not, you’re in the wrong place – that is exactly what you’re getting here. Evans does an excellent job of showing her characters experiencing real pain in the midst of tragedy, and she does an excellent job of showing the journey of a beginner runner going into her first 5K. Excellent book, very much recommended – and this reader can’t wait for the next one. 🙂