#BookReview: Buck’s Pantry by Khristin Wierman

Interesting Story Marred By Divisive Politics And Too Long “Epilogue”. Given the setup for this story – and this may be on the publisher, as I’m talking about the description here – it seemed that the “event” (which is spoilery to disclose the nature of) would consume much more of the book. Instead, it is over little beyond the 50% mark, and a solid 33 – 40% or so of the tale is the *aftermath* of the event in question. And while there is a lot of interesting storytelling here with strong points about how complicated humans are, it wasn’t what the description led this reader to believe he would be getting into. Still, this was not enough of a concern to deduct a star, but it needed to be discussed in this forum.

What led to the star deduction was actually the author’s divisive political commentary, where one character in particular explicitly proclaims to another “You’re a _______?!?!?!?” (again, not naming which direction as it is a touch spoilery). The rest of the tale from this point is the other person apologizing and only being “redeemed” for changing their entire belief system to match the first person’s. Not only is this not realistic – and despite this tale being fiction, most everything else here is solidly grounded in realism – but it is also shall we say “less than helpful” in this already divided time. This reader had hopes that such a proclamation could lead to each side working together and understanding each other more, which would have been phenomenal and even transcendental in these times of hyper-division. Instead the author took the easy route and steered hard into what is likely her own viewpoint, essentially proclaiming everyone else to be savage brutes unworthy and incapable of having differing opinions or even being worthy of redemption without being forced to conform.

Overall this is still a compelling tale and a worthy read. Recommended.

This review of Buck’s Pantry by Khristin Wierman was originally written on September 6, 2022.

#BookReview: The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

Ninja Cows! I picked up this book on July 4th because I was reading a book set in the UK at the time, and that just would NOT do on that particular day. ๐Ÿ˜€ And I’m glad I got to have some fun with this book, because it takes Center out of her more usual tale and brings her into a bit of a less serious while still dealing with serious things kind of tale, which allows both her as the author and us as the readers to have more fun and still enjoy the work of a great storyteller. There is enough drama here to be compelling without overwhelming, enough comedy to keep things light and fresh without being distracting, and ultimately a solid love tale of an unconventional couple in a fake relationship. And yes, ninja cows. Seriously, the only negative of this book is that the ninja cows should have had more screen time. ๐Ÿ™‚ Very much recommended.

This review of The Bodyguard by Katherine Center was originally written on July 5, 2022.

#BookReview: Gun Barons by John Bainbridge Jr

Could Be An Entertaining – And Equally Informative – History or Discovery Documentary Series. I went into this book expecting something more along the lines of Nathan Gorenstein’s The Guns Of John Moses Browning or Jeff Guin’s War On The Border… and got a touch of an amalgamation of the two. Like the Gorenstein book, this book is focused on the lives of a select group of men that became icons of gun manufacturing in the US… and how they got there and what their legacies became. Like the Guin book, this book also tells the surrounding history and places these men’s live solidly within their historical context, mostly between the Mexican-American war in the front half of the 19 century and the US Civil War and Reconstruction in the back half of the same century. Unlike the Gorenstein text, you’re not going to find a lot of technical discussion of the exact details and features of the guns in question here – though you *will* find quite a bit about the various lawsuits and threats of lawsuits that helped some of these men and hindered others of them. Overall, a solid look at the men and the early days of their empires whose names last even into the new Millennium. Very much recommended.

This review of Gun Barons by John Bainbridge Jr was originally written on May 23, 2022.

#BookReview: Alamo Gold by David Wood

Another Fun Bonebrake Conspiracy / Action Tale. Secret societies. Texas history. Haunted graveyards. A Knight’s Tale reference. Battle inside a Duck Boat. And even some cave diving to boot. Seriously… what more do you want in 120 pages of fun action/ adventure? This one has it all, including a couple of hot/ steamy scenes… both in the naked sense and the literal one. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Another wild romp, this time through a fair swath of Texas, and featuring Bones’ usual witty banter and bone-shattering physicality. Very much recommended.

This review of Alamo Gold by David Wood was originally written on August 27, 2021.

#BookReview: Second Chance Summer by Poppy St James

Sometimes You Find Yourself By Accident. Let’s be perfectly upfront: I don’t have one qualm whatsoever in telling you right here, right now that by the end of this book, the couple is together and everything is awesome. *THIS IS A ROMANCE BOOK*, and therefore this is a given. ๐Ÿ˜€

With that out of the way, this was actually a fun and fast one, reading seemingly much faster than its near 300 page length would generally suggest. It is fairly low angst, as much as that can be said of a romance featuring someone running from their life and another person trying to recover from his. It is utterly steeped in small town Southern charm, even if rooted in Texas (where they somehow think they are different from other Southern towns – you’re not, and football is as much a god anywhere in the rural South as it is in Texas ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). And it has all of the requisite fish-out-of-water / good ol’ boy hijinx. The one thing it doesn’t have, which some romance fans will hate and others love, is that there is little more than kissing in this book, even as the couple is shown in bed overnight together. So for those “sweet” / “clean” romance types, this one is for you. If you *have* to have sex in your romance books… just know up front this one isn’t that. It was a great read regardless of that point, and a solid way to pass a couple of hours on a long summer day. Very much recommended.

This review of Second Chance Summer by Poppy St James was originally written on June 22, 2021.

#BookReview: Cowboy Karma by Laura Drake

Fun and Quick Cowboy Romance. At just under 100 pages, this book is one of those easy, quick reads that is perfect for stepping away from the family for a few minutes during the holidays and getting a quick read in without feeling too guilty. And guilt is actually a large theme of this book – specifically, arguably undeserved guilt and in particular guilt that really only exists inside your own skull. If you’re into this particular subgenre, this book will hit most everything you’re expecting. Even if you’re not necessarily into this subgenre, this book will give you a solid taste without demanding too much from you, so is a great introduction to both the subgenre and the author. Very much recommended.

This review of Cowboy Karma by Laura Drake was originally written on November 8, 2020.