#BookReview: A Wild River Match by Jennifer Snow

Short And Fun Valentine’s Romance Novella. This is a short and fun novella where the main conflict is that our leading dude used to date our leading lady’s sister, and while both are attracted to each other in this forced-proximity mishap, the sister weighs heavily on them both. Given that this is a 70 ish page novella… there isn’t a lot of room for much more conflict than that, and Snow works well within the space she has allowed herself here to show a full romance, but quicker and with fewer details in certain areas and less overall conflict/ adventures. Still, yet again, for long time fans looking for a quick book to hit whatever arbitrary reading goal you have or for those new to Snow looking for a quick taste to see if you’re even going to like her style of storytelling, this is a solid book for both camps and for anyone in between. Very much recommended.

This review of A Wild River Match by Jennifer Snow was originally written on November 2, 2022.

#BookReview: An Alaskan Christmas Homecoming by Jennifer Snow

Fun And Short Christmas Novella. This is a 50 ish page novella that packs a punch, particularly for anyone who has ever felt like the black sheep in the family. Solid Christmas theming, complete with decorations, a “Scrooge”, and forgiveness. Oh yeah, and even a complete romance tale that checks off all of the “rules” I am aware of, while not going into a *ton* of detail on any given aspect – the difference in a 50 page novella and a 300+ page novel. ๐Ÿ˜‰ For those looking for an introduction to the author and/ or this series, this tale works well as only a minimal time commitment to give them a try. For fans of the series, this is more of a quick bite between longer tales, and for readers – like this one – who are fans of the author and series who are looking for a quick book to meet some arbitrary reading goal quickly… here ya go. ๐Ÿ˜€ Very much recommended.

This review of An Alaskan Christmas Homecoming by Jennifer Snow was originally written on November 2, 2022.

Featured New Release Of The Week: Crazy To Leave You by Marilyn Simon Rothstein

This week we’re looking at a strong book about (re)discovering yourself in mid-life. This week we’re looking at Crazy To Leave You by Marilyn Simon Rothstein.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Solid Tale Of Discovering Yourself In Mid-Life. There is an overarching theme through many of the lower-starred reviews (at least as I read Goodreads early on release day, just after finishing the book myself) that they “didn’t know where this tale was going”. To me… *this is the very point of the book*. Our main character suddenly finds herself directionless after what she thought she had in the bag collapses around her, and we get to watch as she picks up the shattered pieces and rediscovers herself – and discovers her voice for possibly the very first time – in the aftermath. In this, Rothstein does a truly tremendous job of having a solid combination of support and antagonism – often in the same supporting characters. Thus showing that *everyone* is flawed to some degree, but also that *everyone* is good to some degree as well. The banter is great, the emphasis on her time at summer camp as a teen is excellent nostalgia reminiscent of Wet Hot American Summer, the slow burn romance is well executed, and even the very serious issues discussed – workforce discrimination (though never truly fleshed out there), diet “culture”, overbearing but well intentioned parents, etc – are done well, with just enough weight to give substance without becoming truly overbearing. Very much recommended.

Featured New Release Of The Week: Disappeared by Bonnar Spring

This week we’re looking at an atmospheric and visceral mystery that turns into an edge-of-your-seat survival thriller. This week we’re looking at Disappeared by Bonnar Spring.

Atmospheric Mystery Turns Nail Biting Thriller. This is one of those visceral, atmospheric type tales where you truly feel immersed in the (for most readers) exotic locale. Spring does a tremendous job of showing the breadth of Morocco, from its urban and more modern (ish) areas to its much more remote and tribal areas, from its dazzling seascapes to the bleak Saharan Desert. Much of the tale is a mystery of a woman trying to find her sister, who she arrived in-country with but has now disappeared. Later revelations turn the tale into a desperate attempt to survive and to flee the country, and this is where the book begins to take on much more of its thriller vibe (though there was at least some tinge of foreshadowing of this during the more mystery-oriented section of the tale). Truly a remarkable work, and very much recommended.

#BookReview: The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth

What Is Reality? This is a phenomenal book that really brings forth the question: What is reality? In situations where you observe one thing but someone you trust says a completely different thing occurred – who can you trust and why? And what can happen if you trust the wrong person and/ or for the wrong reason? To me, this book worked quite well on all of these fronts.

Reading the other Goodreads reviews (briefly), it seems that there were massive edits in the ARC process. I can’t speak to that. I can tell you that I originally downloaded the book way back in August 2021 – and only finished reading it nearly a full week after publication. (Such is the sheer volume of such reading I do.) I don’t know if the back parts of the story – where apparently the subsequent editing was heaviest – were the edited versions or the original versions. What I *can* speak to is that *I* thoroughly enjoyed whichever edition of the story I read, and I thought this version did in fact work very well indeed.

But read the other reviews too. Read the book. And decide for yourself.

Very much recommended.

This review of The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth was originally written on April 14, 2022.

#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.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: A Family Affair by Robyn Carr”

Featured New Release Of The Week: Only A Country Doctor Can Save This City Rose by Sophia Quinn

This week we’re looking at a solid third entrant into what will hopefully be a seven book series that breathes new possibility that this could well happen. This week we’re looking at Only A Country Doctor Can Save This City Rose by Sophia Quinn.

Here’s what I said on Goodreads:

Solid Entry That Breathes New Life Into Series. Coming out of Book 2 of this series (Gucci Girls Don’t Date Cowboys), we knew we were coming directly into Rose’s tale (though it is a bit spoilery to note *how* we knew). What was less clear at that time was just how the series would continue beyond that, as we had now dealt with the two primary sisters from the beginning of the series and had a semi-obvious plant for a male lead for a third book, but not too much obvious beyond that. With this entry, we get a solid romance that can stand mostly on its own (though seriously, read Books 1 (Pretend To Be My Cowboy) and 2 first) – but we also get a solid sense of how this series can continue at least through the next main subset of the O’Sullivan Sisters, with one obvious tale coming out of this one and at least a couple of possibilities for the male lead in the book beyond that one, dealing with the final sister of this subset (supposedly, I have no inside information here :D). As this tale is indicative of the generally strong, Hallmarkie type small town romance genre that this series very much plays into, this is a very good thing that we’re apparently going to get at least two more books into it, and this reader in particular is still hoping that we eventually get all seven. Very much recommended.

#BlogTour: Am I Allergic To Men by Kristen Bailey

For this blog tour we’re looking at . For this blog tour, we’re looking at Am I Allergic To Men by Kristen Bailey.

One Of The Most Hilarious Books I’ve Read Recently. Ok, so maybe it takes being an (elder) Millenial myself and the oldest of three brothers, but for me the comedy of this book was dang near off the charts. Yes, Lucy is a mess. Yes, she is fiercely independent and 100% committed to living her life her way – and you know what? It totally works. There is a touch of 13 Going On 30 vibes with both the opening sequence (which, contrary to the description, is *not* when Lucy wakes up from a coma – that happens later) and when she initially wakes from the coma, but in all honesty if you like that kind of comedy you’ll probably enjoy this book. One main point that the reviewers who *didn’t* like the book commented most on were that it wasn’t a romance, well, it isn’t currently marketed that way. Maybe it was initially, but it isn’t now at publication day. It is a “women’s humorous fiction”, and that category is spot on. The other was that it was part of a series – and it is, though Amazon doesn’t really mention this. (Goodreads does though.) That said, there was enough here that I didn’t even pick up on this until reading the reviews *after* reading the book myself. So now I’ll need to go back and read those tales, since I thought they were *upcoming* while reading this. In the end, I absolutely stand by the title of this review – this is absolutely one of the funniest books I’ve read in quite some time, and if you need a laugh, I very much recommend picking this one up.

Which Sister Are You? Take this interactive quiz created by the author and find out…

Below the jump, the various “publisher details”, including book description, author bio, and social media links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Am I Allergic To Men by Kristen Bailey”

#BlogTour: Light Years From Home by Mike Chen

For this blog tour we’re looking at a strong tale remiscenent of both the X-Files and ET: The Extra Terrestrial where scifi is used more as setup for women’s fiction level family drama, but which is still strong enough to comfortably classify the book within the bounds of scifi as well. For this blog tour we’re looking at Light Years From Home by Mike Chen.

Space Opera Scifi For The Women’s Fiction Crowd. This is one of those books where you go into it expecting a lot of scifi… something. Drama, action, maybe comedy, whatever. Instead you get scifi as setup for more women’s fiction type family drama. Which is actually an interesting spin, but which will leave both crowds a bit perplexed. Overall though, Chen actually serves both crowds quite well, with enough of an off-screen hint of a backstory that he could come back to this world and give it the full-on Richard Phillips’ Rho Agenda-style trilogy of trilogies exploring just the stuff he left *off* the page in this book – and yet what he *does* put on the page is truly solid women’s fiction where brother and father’s disappearances set in motion chains of events that mother nor either daughter could have ever dreamed of. Most of the actual tale here is more about the two sisters and how their lives have changed since that moment 15 years ago – and how they can move forward. The climax, with the FBI hot on the siblings’ tails as they race toward brother’s ultimate redemption, is as taught as anything in scifi and is reminiscent of both X-Files (the author’s stated inspiration) and even ET: The Extra Terrestrial. Truly an excellent tale strongly told, and very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Light Years From Home by Mike Chen”

#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.