#BookReview: Deep Freeze by Michael C Grumley

Slow Burn Scifi Thriller Does Just Enough To Feel Like A Singular Complete Tale Series Starter. This is one of those books that starts off as an edge of your seat thriller, slows down so much that one may think they are being cryogenically frozen themselves, and then picks back up as though you’re being thawed out and called to action – not unlike the opening sequence to Mass Effect 2, which echoed The Million Dollar Man’s “We can rebuild him. We have the technology”. Which… well, to say what I was about to say would get into spoiler territory. Even the references above may get a *touch* close, but they’re also generic enough to my mind to get right up to the line without crossing it, yet give the reader of the review an idea of what they’re getting into here. As this tale ended, it honestly looked like it was going to get a star deduction for being a tale cut into half in a blatant cash grab, but Grumley does *just* enough in the last few pages to at least seal this particular tale off into its own complete tale… while still being a very blatant setup for a future tale. It will be interesting to see where Grumley takes this series next, as some passages brought ideas put forth in Marcus Sakey’s Afterlife to this reader’s mind (and/ or, if one prefers a more well known reference point here… a particular X-Man, though that one is *slightly* more tenuous than the Sakey reference).

Overall an interesting tale for what it is, which is a slow burn series starter. Recommended.

This review of Deep Freeze by Michael C. Grumley was originally written on January 4, 2024.

#BookReview: A Mother Would Know by Amber Garza

Slow Burn That Becomes Twistier And With More Crossings Than A Mountain Road Between A Railroad Track And A River. Let’s get the elephant out of the room up front: Through around the 2/3 or so mark of this 300+ page book – so for roughly the first couple hundred pages – this book is *slow*. So slow that it does in fact struggle to keep the attention at times. But then, Great Gatsby was *so much worse* in that regard and is regarded as one of the greatest books in American literature. This particular book will never be in *that* conversation, but like Gatsby it does have the moment where suddenly, it begins getting *so much better* and actually becomes a truly solid book by the end. Indeed, that back third – that last hundred pages or so- really is going to remind you of driving down a 2 lane mountain road between train tracks and a stream – there are so very many twists and crossings that it can get rather dizzying trying to keep track of who is crossing who and for what reason now. And yet it is this aspect of the book that is executed *so* well and almost *had* to have the slow buildup it got. Some of the stuff here is utterly horrific, others of it more simply extremely creepy, and in the end you will be left breathless. Very much recommended.

This review of A Mother Would Know by Amber Garza was originally written on November 22, 2022.

#BookReview: The Personal Assistant by Kimberly Belle

Meganets And Pre-Networks. Ok, I know what you’re thinking – what does computer networking and the Internet have to do with this book? Well, on some level, it is somewhat obvious – one of our main characters is a social media “influencer” with a million followers. But on another level… Belle actually manages here to show the pitfalls and advantages of two different eras of human history, perhaps without even being cognizant of doing this, just seeking timelines that worked for the story she was telling and making the other details work around that. Yet speaking of details, there are some wrong ones here, particularly around guns – which anyone who follows Belle’s own social media knows that the anti-gun paranoia expressed by one main character is at least somewhat close to Belle’s own real life feelings (though, to be clear, I am not saying the character’s specific motivations for these feelings are anywhere near Belle’s, as I have never seen any public comments from her anywhere near those specific actions). Specifically, guns are not “registered” anywhere in Georgia, not even in Fulton County (home of Atlanta and generally heavily left-of-center of American politics, much less non-Atlanta Georgia politics). Still, going back to the main thrust of this review, Belle truly does do a remarkable job of showing just how easily today’s meganets can be used for harm… while also showing that the pre-meganet era was still pretty dang bad itself. All told this is a remarkable tale that manages to bring elements to the general setup not often seen anywhere else – and never seen before in my own reading within the genre – and thus this alone is quite commendable. Very much recommended.

This review of The Personal Assistant by Kimberly Belle was originally written on October 30, 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.

#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: Little Girl Gone by Amanda Stevens

For this next entry in the Twelve Days Of Romance blog tour series, we’re looking at a *very* slow burn romance that serves as a solid series starter. For this entry, we’re looking at Little Girl Gone by Amanda Stevens.

Solid Series Starter. Ok, so I use that same title a fair amount. But it applies so often! Here, Stevens focuses primarily on the investigation, as police procedurals tend to do, while establishing at least her primary leads fairly well, and giving readers reasons to want to continue to invest in them. Arguably one weakness is that this is a *very* slow burn, second chance kind of romance that may or may not meet the strictest “rules and regulations” of the genre in that regard. So for the absolute genre purists… read and decide for yourselves here. For the rest of us, this was a solid story all around, one that resolves its primary mystery while allowing enough to remain open that we’ll want to come back to this world again – which is exactly what a Book 1 is supposed to do, so kudos there! Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: Little Girl Gone by Amanda Stevens”

#BlogTour: Forever Home by Elysia Whisler

For this blog tour, we’re looking at a strong tale of second chances and taking risks… in more ways than one. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Forever Home by Elysia Whisler.

Lots Of Moving Parts And Yet It All Works. This book has a *lot* of moving parts with a primary romance, a secondary romance setup, two different tragic female backstories to encounter and mostly resolve, and a primary mystery and a secondary one to boot. And yet Whisler somehow manages to make all of that work, though the fact that she has 400 or so pages to play with here probably plays into this working as well as it does. The story is well paced – if you don’t mind a very slow burn primary romance. As in, not so slow that there is zero “piano playing” at all, but slow burn enough that this doesn’t actually happen until the last 15% or so of the book. So for the clean/ sweet crowd… eh, *all* of these characters have enough rough edges you’re likely not going to like this one. For those that *like* a bit more edginess… yep, this one is for you, particularly if you’re closer to the clean/ sweet side but like to get brave occasionally. 🙂 Overall a great tale that never overly feels like a “Book 2”, even though it is explicitly noted that this tale is, in fact, a “Book 2”. Very much 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: Forever Home by Elysia Whisler”