For this blog tour, we’re looking at a tale that seems to describe New York City (at least its yuppie Upper West Side types) to a T. For this blog tour, we’re looking at A Small Affair by Flora Collins.
Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:
NYC To A T. I’ve been trying to think about what to say about this book for four days and I’ve got… nothing. There isn’t anything overly technically wrong here (the time and perspective jumps can be jarring at times, maybe, but that’s about it), and it is in fact a mostly engaging story – you’re going to want to know what happened, and then you’re going to want to know how and why it happened. On both of these points, Collins gets rather explosive. Overall though this book just has the feel of an utterly pretentious New York… witch… who can’t see beyond her Upper West Side aspirations. Certainly for the characters, and maybe Collins herself was simply being a solid conduit of these characters. If you like tales of that particular yuppie New York world, eh, you’re probably going to LOVE this book. And again, even if that isn’t overly your thing, this is still a good book. But if you’re more of a Southern Suburbanite/ hillbilly type who remembers with fondness the old Pace Salsa commercials with their “*NEW YORK CITY?!?!?!?!?* tagline… this is NYC to a T from that perspective. So know that going in. Recommended.
After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: A Small Affair by Flora Collins”
For this blog tour we’re looking at a WWII action tale built more for guys, without the emotional impact of similar works in women’s fiction. For this blog tour we’re looking at The Last Of The Seven by Steven Hartov.
Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:
Slow Start Builds To Action-Packed Finish. This book is one that starts with an intriguing mystery – a man shows up at a British post in the northern Africa desert during the Africa Campaign of WWII wearing a German uniform and claiming to be British – and builds a bit slowly and at times seemingly disjointedly – random flashbacks to this soldier’s memories from Jewish persecutions in Berlin – to a bit of a romance middle and then an action packed final mission reminiscent of most any WWII movie. Overall a solid war tale for guys, with a lot of the emotional punch of women’s fiction WWII historical fiction largely removed in favor of showing people actively being blown apart or shredded by machine gun fire. Recommended.
After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher’s details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Last Of The Seven by Steven Hartov”
This week we’re looking at a remarkable tale of love and family. This week we’re looking at These Tangled Vines by Julianne Maclean.
What A Tangled Web We Weave. This was a strong story of finding yourself, even if that happens a bit later than some would like and creates a bit of a mess. And it was a strong story of ever lasting love, treachery, and forgiveness. All set (mostly) in the idyllic Tuscan countryside. The pacing was solid, the dual timeline worked well – even if a sense of foreboding hung over one of the timelines its entire duration. (We learn early in the book – Chapter 1, IIRC – how that timeline ultimately turns out, so getting there is wonderful, yet also like watching a replay of a momentous event… that you know turns out in disaster.) Overall, the writing here really speaks to the strength of Maclean’s storytelling abilities and shows them to be quite strong indeed. Very much recommended.
“So Many Secrets. So Many Lies. And So Much Anger.” Yes, the title of this review is a direct quote from the book. Yes, it is during the final 10%, when everything is being revealed and wrapped up. And yet you still have no idea what it actually refers to. 😉 But that particular line really does sum the book up in and of itself. This is a four person family consisting of mom and dad who have been married for over 20 years, 20 yo college dropout son, and 17yo high school junior daughter – and *every single one of them* are keeping secrets from all the others and actively lying to both the other people and themselves. Harding does a tremendous job of showing flawed, nuanced characters just trying to do what they think is right with limited information… sometimes with tragic results. No one comes out looking squeaky clean, and yet no one comes out looking overly monstrous either. Great job of showing just how murky real life often is. Very much recommended.
This review of The Perfect Family by Robyn Harding was originally written on May 27, 2021.
Complicated Yet Beautiful. Hawker has a way of painting pictures with words that are utterly beautiful, and yet also utterly ugly at the same time. Ultimately, this book reads like a more evocative, more painting quality version of the somewhat similar story David Duchovny created in Truly Like Lightning, even as it seems that both authors were working on these works for quite a number of years. Particularly in their showing of the worse sides of Mormon life, complete with overbearing and hypocritical fathers, this reads almost like as much an attack on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as the character study that it is. And yet, again, the way Hawker executes it here is utterly beautiful in its prose and storytelling. Hawker sucks you in, weaving these plot threads near and around each other before bringing them all together to grand effect. Ultimately the biggest quibble with this entire effort isn’t Hawker’s writing, but the actual description of the book – which leads one to believe certain aspects arguably happen sooner than they do. Indeed, Linda becoming “privy to a secret Aran and Tamsin share that could dismantle everything everyone holds dear” happens quite late (later than 80%, maybe even closer to the 90% mark), though again, the actual execution here is quite solid and indeed allows the book to end in surprising ways that were only very subtly hinted at much earlier. Even Aran and Lucy getting together to begin with seems to happen much later in the tale than the description seems to indicate, though that relationship *is* particularly well developed. Ultimately this is a book that Mormons likely won’t like, people with various misconceptions about Mormonism will probably tout, but one that tells a remarkable tale in the end. Recommended.
This review of The Rise Of Light by Olivia Hawker was originally written on May 21, 2021.