#BookReview: Under The Palms by Kaira Rouda

Sequel Perfectly Flows From Prior Book. This is one of those books where everything I said about its prior book, Beneath The Surface, still feels spot on for this book as well. This is the continuing saga of one family and their business empire and the machinations as the patriarch of the family faces his coming death and everyone else is biting at the bit to become his chosen successor. The atmosphere switches from a yacht off shore near Catalina Island to a resort onshore… as the Santa Anna winds kick up, with all of their usual effects on both land and people (at least per so many books and even some real life reports I’ve seen, I’ve never lived in Southern California or indeed anywhere west of the Alabama/ Georgia State Line).

Because this flows so perfectly from Beneath The Surface, you really do need to read that book first. But once you do, you’re likely going to be glad that this book is already available – I read almost 130 books between reading them both as Advance Review Copies.

Whatever you feel about dark family/ boardroom dramas is how you’re going to feel about this series as it currently exists, as both books have really identical feels. Rouda actually did a truly superb job in doing so well with the first book and then managing to clone the stylings so effectively in this tale while telling a similar yet distinct tale the furthers the overall universe – and even allows for some intriguing possibilities for any potential Book 3.

Overall a very fun book, and also on the shortish side at under 300 pages. Very much recommended.

This review of Under The Palms by Kaira Rouda was originally written on May 9, 2024.

#BookReview: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Strong Story. Strong Storytelling. Don’t Understand The Hype. Let me be extremely clear on this: This was a very strong story of a family’s rise and fall across two generations, told in both past and “present” (with the “present” being nearly 40 years ago from the time of publication) and executed very well in both. The use of a full 24 hour timestamp as a narrative structure was great, as it really drove home that the story was counting down to some cataclysmic event. Truly, there is absolutely no doubt here – this is a great story superbly told.

But I would be remiss if I didn’t share my *other* overriding thought about this book, and that is simple: I truly don’t get the hype. I stand behind everything I said in the last paragraph 100%. But this was book 56 on the year for me and I’ve read over 250 since the COVID-related lockdowns began 53 weeks ago. And *many* of them were equally strong, and some quite similar in genre and tone. So I simply do not understand how this review will be number 990 on Goodreads – over two full months before this book publishers – while others languish in obscurity, seemingly struggling to get even double digit reviews even though they are at least as strong and good as this one. And again, I cannot emphasize this enough: This isn’t saying in any way that this book isn’t an excellent tale excellently told. My sole point is simply that there are *so many others* that could and arguably should receive the same amounts of attention and love, yet do not. And I truly don’t understand how this happens. I mean, I know *how* it happens- massive marketing campaigns. I just don’t understand the *why* of it and why *not* those others. Something that will likely always elude me.

Anyway, read this book. It deserves it. And maybe follow me wherever you find this review, and maybe you’ll find some equally deserving books you weren’t aware of. 😀 Very much recommended.

This review of Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid was originally written on March 23, 2021.