Bone-Chilling Survival With Lots Of Moving Parts. This is one of those excellent lost in the wilderness/ lost in the blizzard survival tales that also happens to be a chase tale that is actually a story about family and breaking generational problems. So clearly, there is a LOT going on here, and a LOT of moving parts. And the non-moving parts – the wilderness and to a lesser extent the blizzard – are given their own fair respect here as well, both in the area natives’ respect for them and in the out-of-towners’ disrespect. One of Brennan’s most complex stories I’ve yet come across after working a couple of her other series over the last few years, this is truly an excellent tale of a different type from her, with her usual excellent execution in all aspects of the story. You’re going to *feel* the impacts here, from the coldness of the wilderness – and the coldness of some of the characters. Which is great, for a summer release during several consecutive days of “Excessive Heat Warning” events. 😀 Very much recommended.
The More You Think You See, The Easier It Will Be To Fool You. For the first time since I began reading McKenzie’s books (with 2018’s The Good Liar) at minimum, here McKenzie uses her former profession as a lawyer to craft a women’s fiction tale that almost rivals the legends of legal fiction such as John Grisham. The prologue pulls you in, the alternating timelines build the mystery, and while the pacing gets slow between the prologue and say the 3/4 mark or so, it is always with a tinge of menace right around the corner. And then that final 10-15% or so, where the title of this review *really* kicks in. Almost until the last word, McKenzie begins flipping everything you think you know around so much it begins to look like a Rubik’s cube master’s speed run. Quite an interesting tale, and very much recommended.
Unanswered Prayers. This is another solid continuation of this loosely-coupled series where the couples in each book may show up in the others, but the focus of each story is its leading couple. Here, we get a great and fun forced proximity / fake relationship romance… that of course (because it *is* a romance novel) becomes a real one. Solid fun in the Alaskan setting, including getting out on the multitudinous waterways of the region and even some climbing and other more adventuresome activities. For the clean/ sweet crowd… ummm… maybe sit this one out. 😉 For those that like intense sex scenes (nothing particularly kinky, just enough steam to drive a dang electric generator), I think you’ll like this one. 🙂 Snow knows her genre very well, and this is a perfect example of that. Very much recommended.
Solid Escapism. This is one of those books with enough twists and turns that it truly provides a great deal of effective escapism – even if you manage to put it down, you’re going to be wondering what can possibly happen next. As a setup to a series… I’m interested to see where it goes from here, honestly. To me, it didn’t really feel too “setup” ish and almost completely read like a true standalone book. There weren’t any real threads left dangling here, so other than setting up the backstory of the primary character and a few key supporting characters…. like I said, not overly obvious what this series will entail. Which is unusual for a Book 1. Still, in and of itself this was an excellent twisty mystery/ action book, though the climax did feel a bit abrupt. Overall a fun read, and very much recommended.
Prepare to Cry. It really is as simple as that. McDonough’s tragic tale is told in a style that has you hanging on to every word, even if you know the ultimate story from following the news 5 yrs ago or from seeing Only the Brave, the movie based on this book, last year. Simply amazing, and heartbreaking. The *only* quibble I have is Page 270, where McDonough calls for a wildfire firefighter union. Other than that, this book is simply a phenomenal combination of McDonough’s own memories combined with clear research into the science and sequence of events of the tragedies – particularly Yarnell.