#BookReview: The Abbey House by Elizabeth Bromke

Compelling Conclusion. This is an excellent conclusion to the short novel/ novella trilogy of Heirloom Island, where all three sisters play prominent roles in each book yet with each book focusing primarily on one of the three in particular. Because it is such a great conclusion, I have to make the rare recommendation of actually starting with Book 1 of this series, The Boardwalk House, and reading through the entire trilogy – which is still shorter than some single books out there. And when you do that, you’ll be glad you had the entire trilogy at hand at one time. ๐Ÿ˜€ Very much recommended.

This review of The Abbey House by Elizabeth Bromke was originally written on January 5, 2022.

#FallIntoChristmasRomance #BlogTour: The Christmas Escape by Sarah Morgan

For this blog tour, we’re looking at a more-realistic-than-Hallmark Christmas Romance. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Christmas Escape by Sarah Morgan.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Would It Be Christmas Without Family Drama? This book has a LOT going on, and yes, it does in fact more blend the women’s fiction and romance genres than play strictly by either one. (Though it *does* meet all of the “qualifications” for either even according to the strictest interpretations of the “rules” I am aware of, for those that care about such trivialities.) Your *basic* plot threads are these: married couple with problems working to reconcile, forced proximity romance, best friend issues between the two women in the aforementioned couples, long lost family/ traumatic secrets. Which in 350 ish pages is a LOT to work through, but Morgan does it well and never drags too much at any given point. The Lapland scenery is described beautifully (at least as I’ve seen the region on such shows as The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals on Netflix, this American has never been further North than New Hampshire), and the cold and isolation provide some amazing (and “traditionally” – for northerners) “Christmassy” vibes. This story is a bit more serious and complex than a usual Hallmark Christmas movie, and doesn’t rely as heavily on “Christmas Magic”, but instead serves as a more realistic take on a Christmas Romance – which is needed in the overly saturated market. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, social media links, and buy links.
Continue reading “#FallIntoChristmasRomance #BlogTour: The Christmas Escape by Sarah Morgan”

#FallIntoChristmasRomance #BlogTour: The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery

For this blog tour we’re looking at a very Hallmark Christmas type tale that happens to be a two-for-one romance, with *two* couples’ stories told at once. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery.

Two-For-One Christmas Romance. This is one of those Christmas Romance novels that almost seems destined to be made into a Hallmark Christmas movie – you’ve got the quirky town, the various leads that have no interest in an actual relationship, the innkeeper, the local shop owner, the mysterious stranger, and even the unusual-yet-cool career… and *none* of them are actually looking for romance. And yet… Mallery has a lot to cover in nearly 400 pages, and does a solid job of showing the two relationships – one new, one second chance – building throughout. If you’re looking for a book where the couple is already together a quarter into the book… this isn’t that. This is one of those where they finally actually get together closer to the end (which isn’t a spoiler due to genre ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), and it is indeed a satisfying conclusion. It will be interesting to see where Mallery takes Book 2 of this new series, with a couple of interesting possibilities there. Very much recommended.

After the jump, the “publisher details” including book description, author bio, social media links, and links to buy the book.
Continue reading “#FallIntoChristmasRomance #BlogTour: The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery”

#BookReview: The Manger House by Elizabeth Bromke

Short Tale Packs A Lot In Its Pages. This is a long novella / short novel (seriously, it is right at that 160 page point that some consider the cutoff between the two) featuring three sisters and their efforts to reclaim their lives and make their marks on their hometown. As the middle book of a trilogy, arguably Book 1 (The Boardwalk House) should be read first, but honestly this book reads perfectly fine if you want to start here and go back as well. Great atypical Christmas story featuring three vastly different sisters in three vastly different situations, yet who all show what Christmas is all about. Another great read for those family get togethers where maybe you just need a break from your actual family. Very much recommended.

This review of The Manger House by Elizabeth Bromke was originally written on November 18, 2021.

#BlogTour: The Inheritance by JoAnn Ross

For this blog tour we’re looking at a strong book filled with strongly developed characters. For this blog tour we’re looking at The Inheritance by JoAnn Ross.

Solid Women’s Fiction With Historical Elements. This is one of those books where the description perfectly sets up what you’re actually getting here – a tale of siblings finding each other after their father passes away and sets in motion a plan for the three of them to meet. Along the way, they discover their still-living grandmother and get to hear the stories of her activities in WWII – including meeting and falling in love with their grandfather. On these elements, this is a solidly written women’s fiction tale with historical fiction *elements* – but I personally would not market this as a “historical fiction” title. So if you’re a reader that *only* reads historical fiction… I’d still say this one is worthy of your time, just know that you aren’t getting a true tale of that genre here. Indeed, along the story of one of the sisters in particular (and to a lesser extent another of them), this *could* be marketed as a romance – though the women’s fiction side is still the dominant side of the tale. The titular Inheritance? Well, that’s actually the best part of the tale… when you realize what Ross intends it as. Overall a strong book filled with strongly developed characters among is main and primary supporting cast, and a very well told story. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt followed by the usual publisher details – book description, author bio, social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Inheritance by JoAnn Ross”

#BookReview: The Happy Accidents by Jamie Beck

Awesome Yet Also Problematic. This story is Beck’s usual excellence as far as storytelling itself goes. Beck sucks you in with the aftermath of almost a Hangover (movie) type night (though to be clear, not *that* wild) where three women – two sisters and their friend – have made life-changing decisions… and now have to handle the repercussions. We open the story the morning after, and only ever get the high level details of what happened that night – the story is about life *after*. And for two of the three women, Beck does *amazing* work showing that even in screw-ups, good things can happen. The other lady’s story is the more problematic one, and it comes from Beck’s own unfamiliarity with the growing subculture of the childfree. Seeming without meaning to, Beck confronts this particular issue as much of society at large does… and unwittingly causes many eyes to roll. Having been a part of this community for several years (I’m a 38yo DINK – Dual Income No Kids and happily childfree), know that if you’re a part of this community and in particular a woman in it, this storyline is going to make you want to throw this book off the nearest dam or into the nearest bonfire. But don’t, because the other two subplots are truly excellent, and even this one is dealt with *some* degree of realism. Overall an excellent book, and let’s face it – even with its growing popularity, the life of the childfree isn’t exactly dominant yet. Meaning most readers will enjoy all three subplots very much. Very much recommended.

This review of The Happy Accidents by Jamie Beck was originally written on August 16, 2021.

#BlogTour: When We Were Sisters by Cynthia Ellingsen

For this blog tour we’re looking at a solid book about two sisters painfully separated years ago who have a chance to rebuild their relationship over the course of one epic summer. For this blog tour we’re looking at When We Were Sisters by Cynthia Ellingsen.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Epic Summer Revisited. This was a strong look at sisters separated by forces beyond their control and the hurts and insecurities that this brought about. Long time fans of Ellingsen’s will see her particular style of drama and storytelling play out well here, and it is also a great introduction to this author and her stylings. Told with a single perspective, this is also a book that will work well for those readers that don’t like multiple POVs in a book. Ultimately a satisfying read that could prove cathartic for siblings separated by distance or other issues. Very much recommended.

Below the jump, the publisher details – including the book description, author bio, and social and purchase links! ๐Ÿ™‚
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Featured New Release Of The Week: Write My Name Across The Sky by Barbara O’Neal

In what is just about the only tradition we have here at BookAnon, yet again Barbara O’Neal has released a new book, and for the fourth year in a row, it is the Featured New Release of the Week on release week. This week, we’re looking at Write My Name Across The Sky by Barbara O’Neal.

Swinging For The Fence… But Not Quite Putting It Over. This was another of O’Neal’s works over the last few years where she is very clearly swinging for the fence in attempting to write a masterpiece that will leave you breathless – which she nailed in 2019’s When We Believed In Mermaids – that doesn’t quite make it over. Ultimately this is a solid double/ stretch triple – powerful and great, but also very clearly not quite what she was hoping for. And honestly, most of that has to do with the ending and particularly the flash-forward epilogue. As at least one other review has mentioned, this could have been better with another hundred pages or so to flesh out that particular area, or perhaps (my own suggestion here) as a duology wherein the resolutions to the varying plot threads are set up, and then executed (with complications, of course) in the second book. Still, truly a solid and compelling read that hooks you in early and makes you want to read all the way through. Very much recommended.

#BlogTour: The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery

For this blog tour, we’re looking at a strong character study of three very different women, perhaps where one of them doesn’t look inward quite enough. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery.

First, here’s what I had to say about the book on Goodreads:

Strong Character Study With Maybe Not Quite Enough Introspection. This is one of those strong women-bonding-as-character-study type books where we get to see three very different women thrown together as a result of a family that blended and then dissolved years ago, and how that blending and dissolution affected all of them and even their common parents (one step father, one stepmother, both of whom combine to be the natural parents of the third sister). As someone who has a cousin that is actually in the exact position of the third sister – both parents having been previously divorced and having kids from those marriages – this was particularly interesting. As with the other Mallery book I’ve read so far, she does excellent work keeping things mostly realistic, and really my only fault here – potentially intentional, as it is still a realistic scenario – is that one of the three sisters perhaps doesn’t look into herself as deeply as the other two do. Ultimately an engaging and satisfying book, this is thus very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the publisher information, including book description and buy links! ๐Ÿ™‚
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery”

#BookReview: The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

Compelling Family Drama. This one was pretty wild. On the one hand, you’ve got one twin sister who seems to be Autistic, though that word is never once used. Instead, Hepworth simply claims various “sensory processing disorders” (many of them very similar to this Autistic’s own, fwiw) and shows this twin taking things very literally, not reading people very well, etc. IOW, classic signs of Autism – but again, that word is never once used in the text. Which is both cool and irritating. The other twin is a diabetic that feels she must always protect her Autistic sister. Except… let’s just say the twins don’t always remember the same events the same way. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Deeper into the book, a much larger conspiracy develops that really turns the back half of the book to near breakneck speeds. And then those last words… Truly excellent book, even without the use of the one word, and very much recommended.

This review of The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth was originally written on December 5, 2020.