#BlogTour: A Family Affair by Robyn Carr

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.
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#BookReview: Water Memory by Daniel Pyne

One Of The More Inventive Kill Shots I’ve Seen. It was the final fight, killing the final bad guy, so I can’t really go into details here because spoilers, but man, that one was fun. As to the rest of the tale, I don’t get all the hate on Goodreads for this book. I’ve read a lot of books across a lot of genres, and I’ve never seen anything quite like this one. Hell, the only thing that confused me about it is because I thought (from months old memories) that according to the description, I was jumping into a woman waking up on a cargo ship under attack with no memory of who she was or how she got there, but that turned out to be exactly the kind of badass that can – and does – save the day. Instead, while we still got the badass that can and does save the day, we also got a much more nuanced bad ass, with a lot of elements here – hello, sudden lesbian shower sex scene, child kidnapping, stay-at-home-dad, and assassin-with-kids, among others – not usually seen in these types of action tales. The setting, once the book got outside the US around the quarter or so mark, was mostly “Third World Sh*thole” ala most any Far Cry video game, and it actually worked quite well. I for one am very much looking forward to seeing where this series goes, and I’ll be starting Book 2 soon (as an ARC). Very much recommended.

This review of Water Memory by Daniel Pyne was originally written on October 31, 2021.

Featured New Release Of the Week: Only One Life by Ashley Farley

This week we are looking at a generational tale of love, loss, secrets, and a mother’s enduring love for her children. This week, we are looking at Only One Life by Ashley Farley.

Structurally, this book was intriguing. The “normal” structure for these types of books that delve into stories in both past and present is to alternate chapters or sometimes even scenes within a chapter. This book takes a seemingly novel approach to the novel and instead opens in the present, goes back to the past to tell that entire story up to the present day, and then comes back to the present to finish out the overall story. For the story of this particular tale, this structure worked very well indeed – and even within this structure, managed to save some surprises for late in the book.

The tale itself was heartbreaking and yet also full of hope. The struggles that the primary mother and daughter go through are immense, but the ending gets to a happily ever after that manages to leave at least one key plot point resolved yet ready for a sequel, should Ms. Farley choose to pursue it. Overall an excellent tale, my first from this Lake Union author, and yet again not my last. Very much recommended.

And as always, the Goodreads/ Amazon:
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Featured New Release Of The Week: Dancing With The Sun by Kay Bratt

This week, we’re looking at a book from yet another new-to-me Lake Union author. This week, we’re looking at Dancing With the Sun by Kay Bratt.

This book was all about a mother’s love for her daughter, and read very much like a love song from a mother to her daughter. Learning later that Bratt actually has two daughters, one hopes that both of them reads this book and realizes just how much their mother truly loves them.The story itself opens with the mother having the difficult duty of telling her daughter that after many years of marriage to the daughter’s father, she is ending the marriage. But the daughter has plans of her own, and wants to take her mother to a beautiful place she found in Yosemite National Park. Except a freak severe rain storm comes up, and they get lost on the way. Now, the battle for survival is on – with neither woman prepared for such a battle.

I wasn’t joking earlier when I said that this book reads like a love song from a mother to a daughter. That is absolutely the main thing you will remember about this book months later. The absolute determination to do whatever it takes to ensure her daughter lives almost screams across every page once the survival part of the story kicks into gear. Yes, the mother battles her own doubts and demons, and has an excellent character arc as a woman of her own right. But the main focus is absolutely the mother/ daughter dynamic, and in that focus this book truly shines. This may have been my first book from Bratt, but it won’t be my last.

And as always, time for the Goodreads/ Amazon version of the review:
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