Spicy Tropey Romance. Up front: If you prefer no sex/ “fade to black” sex in your romance books… this one isn’t for you. The sex in this one would get an automatic NC-17 if it was ever shown on film exactly as described in the text, even though there are only a couple such scenes in the book. That covers the spicy side of the title, but what about the tropey bit? Well, we’ve got a widower who hates his job, embraces his family legacy… but would love to leave it. He also happens to have one remaining daughter after his wife and older daughter vanished in the period before this story takes place – and yes, he does eventually get his closure on those topics within this story, thanks to cameos from other characters earlier in the series. We’ve got the small town shop owner (a book shop, in this case) who is perhaps a touch secretive about a few things… that she then learns maybe she wasn’t as secretive as she thought she’d been. And our shop owner happens to be the best friend of the missing wife… who harbors hidden feelings for our widower. So like I said, very tropey, very Hallmarkie type small town romance. If that is your jam and you either don’t mind or even actively like the higher heat level here… Snow always manages to slam these types of stories out of the park, and this one is absolutely no different. With the particular events in this book, I would actually recommend newbies start at least at the beginning of this Wild Coast series (even if you don’t go all the way back to the Wild Alaska series it spun off from, which isn’t really necessary to understand the events of this particular book). Readers who have already read the first two books were going to read this one anyway… but I’m fairly positive most will agree with me that this was another excellent entry into the series. And while it almost seems like our story in Port Serenity has finished, particularly with some of the seeming meta commentary built into this tale… that bonus novella advertised on the cover (Love In The Alaskan Wilds, a separate review for me) points to the idea that perhaps Snow isn’t quite finished with Port Serenity after all. Overall, as mentioned, a solid romance tale well told as always, and very much recommended.
This review of Second Chance Alaska by Jennifer Snow was originally written on March 21, 2023.
They Say To ‘Write What You Know’… In this tale, Beck does an excellent job showing a middle aged mother struggling with empty nest syndrome (though this term is never really used in the book) and a new neighbor who is secretly a very feminist-forward progressive who also happens to be a struggling author in hiding. Beck is, herself, a middle aged mother whose children have left the nest and an established author who changed genres just a few years ago from romance to women’s fiction. As someone who has previously reviewed her books before and after that shift, she has proven herself to be an equally strong storyteller in either space. Here she manages to wrap different aspects of her own (publicly discussed) life into a compelling tale that also shows some other clear real-world correlations, with other recent books from Amazon Publishing – including at least The Magic Of Found Objects by Maddie Dawson and Other People’s Things by Kerry Anne King – also spinning their own tales around the common theme of ‘humanizing’ kleptomania. Beck weaves her own tale here and shows both common aspects (shame, fear of being misunderstood, etc) across the other books as well as her own distinct aspects (how it can impact a long term marriage, young adult children, etc) and again, shows her own skill as a storyteller in the process. As a long time reader of both Beck and Amazon Publishing in general, this was thus quite intriguing in many ways – though even someone who doesn’t have that experience will find a well written, compelling tale here. Truly an excellent work, and an solid representation of Beck’s style for any readers who may be new to her work. Very much recommended.
*Note: To be clear, I am not claiming that *every* aspect of these characters is inspired by the author’s real life. Only that the broadest outlines – middle aged mother whose kids have left home and an author who has direct insight into the “real world” of publishing – echo what Beck has herself publicly discussed being.
This review of Take It From Me by Jamie Beck was originally written on September 18, 2022.
This week we’re looking at a great bit of escapist fiction set on a tropical island and written by a debut author. This week we’re looking at The Finalist by Joan Long.
Solid Debut. This is one of those books where the premise draws you in, and the author begins executing with the very first page. Solid mystery/ action tale of murders happening on a supposedly secure remote tropical island, this one does a bit of setup before the murders start, but once they do the action picks up reasonably well and stays reasonably well paced through the end. Ultimately one where you can see the promise of this author’s ability, while also still showing some things that need some improvement generally. Still, this reader for one is looking forward to Long’s next book. Very much recommended.
Real Life Disaster Movie Memoir. This is one of those memoirs from someone who was “on the ground” at an event that so very many of us have lived through and with, and thus someone whose experiences are at least worth exploring. That noted, Almand and her husband are both 70 ish yr old seniors with comorbidities (including Type 1 Diabetes in her husband) that make them more susceptible to COVID-19, and this does in fact inform much of her own thoughts on the issue. Still, as a memoir of a sort of Gilligan’s Island – where they went out expecting one thing and got something dramatically different that cast them into a survival situation – this is quite remarkable. From being at Mardi Gras 2020 to being at some of the last NBA games to be played outside the “bubbles” to piecing together where to go in light of confusing, conflicting, and scant data to the various experiences of coming to terms with the new life and reality, this is truly an interesting memoir. Recommended.
This review of Running From COVID In Our RV Cocoon by Gerri Almand was originally written on May 20, 2021.