Sunday, March 27, 2022

Review: Summer Getaway

 



About the Book

Single mom Robyn Caldwell needs a new plan for her future.  She has always put her family first.  Now, with her kids grown, she yearns for a change. But what can she do when her daughter has become the most demanding bride ever, her son won’t even consider college, her best friend is on the brink of marital disaster and her ex is making a monumentally bad decision that could ruin everything?

Take a vacation, of course. Press reset. When her great-aunt Lillian invites her to Santa Barbara for the summer, Robyn hops on the first plane to sunny California.

But it’s hard to get away when you’re the heart of the family. One by one, everyone she loves follows her across the country. Somehow, their baggage doesn’t feel as heavy in the sun-drenched, mishmash mansion. The more time Robyn spends with free-spirited Lillian, the more possibilities she sees—for dreams, love, family. She can have everything she ever wanted, if only she can muster the courage to take a chance on herself?

My Comments

The women featured in most women's fiction/romance books tend to be young women, women the age of my daughter.  While Robyn is younger than I am, we are at about the same stage of life--our nest is emptying and we are having to say "now what?". Another thing we have in common is young adult children and trying to balance being there for them and making their problems ours.  Unfortunately, running away to Aunt Lillian's isn't an option for me.  

The strength of Susan Mallery's good books is her characters and that is true of this book.  Robyn's daughter goes from being the clueless rich girl to someone who wants to stand on her own two feet.  Her son shows the maturity that a lot of young people could use when he rejects his parents' paths for his life and goes for what he wants.  Even the ex-husband finally grows up (or so it seems).  

I read this one in one sitting so it definitely caught my attention.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for providing a complimentary review copy via NetGalley. Grade:  B+

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Review: Summer on the Island

 



About the Book:

After the death of her US senator father, Marlow Madsen travels to the small island off the coast of Florida where she spent summers growing up to help her mother settle the family estate. For Marlow, the trip is a chance to reconnect after too long apart. It’s also the perfect escape to help her feel grounded again—one she’s happy to share with friends Aida and Claire, who are hoping to hit reset on their lives, too.

A leisurely beachfront summer promises the trio of women the opportunity to take deep healing breaths and explore new paths. But when her father’s will reveals an earth-shattering secret that tarnishes his impeccable reputation and everything she thought she knew about her family, Marlow finds herself questioning her entire childhood—and aspects of her future. Fortunately, her friends, and the most unlikely love interest she could imagine, prove that happiness can be found no matter what—as long as the right people are by your side.

My Comments:

As you may surmise by the dearth of recent posts, I've been in a reading/blogging funk lately.  I haven't felt like reading and I have wanted to write even less.  Given that attitude, I didn't really think it was right to blast some author about a book I didn't like primarily because I didn't want to read at all.  

However the other day I was perusing NetGalley and I saw Summer on the Island and I wanted to read it. I generally like Brenda Novak's books and the premise of this one sounded interesting.  Unfortunately, this one came out as just too predictable.  It's a romance so it was no stretch to figure that they would end up together, but the other plot threads involving Marlow's friends and family members were just as predictable.  

One first for me is that this was the first book I've read that incorporates Covid-19 and the changes it made to the world.  Marlow and her friends live in California and one has lost her business due to the pandemic.  Of course in Florida the pandemic is little more than a subject of disinterested conversation.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade  B-



Is It Time to Declare Covid "Over"?

 For the record, while I spend many of my working hours reading other people's medical records, I have no medical training.  My college science classes many years ago were for non-science majors.  In short, I have no medical training and little expertise.  However, like most people, I have an uneducated opinion about about how we should be dealing with covid in today's world.

At the time I am writing this, the wave caused by Omicron appears to be receding.  I say appears to be because home testing is much more prevalent than it was a few weeks ago, so perhaps the numbers aren't falling as fast as they appear to be, but hospitalizations are headed down too so I have to believe the number of cases is really falling fast. 

I personally think it is time to declare covid "over" and to remove all governmental restrictions involving it.  Why?  What if the next variant is as contagious as Omicron but more deadly?  

Why?  Because today, we should worry about what we know today--which is that for people who are vaccinated, covid as we know it today is not a deadly disease.  Yes, people are dying but overwhelmingly they are people who have chosen not to be vaccinated and/or are the elderly and sick.  Treatments are available for those who become sick, and people who are at high risk for a bad outcome know who they are.  

Also, if not now, then when?  From everything I've read, Covid isn't going anywhere.  While at one time there was some hope that if we could just vaccinate enough people fast enough we could stop this thing and turn it into another measles or polio--diseases for which vaccines gave us herd immunity--, the Omicron variant has shown that's not going to happen as even vaccinated people got sick.  Covid is not going to be another polio, its going to be another flu, and like the flu it appears that one shot or series of shots isn't going to do the trick long term.  It looks like we will be rolling up our sleeves yearly for a Covid booster, which basically means that those who do not see themselves as being in high risk groups just won't get around to it in many years even if the outright refusal isn't an issue anymore.  

I personally think anyone who refuses a Covid vaccine is doing something foolish.  I have no problem with the same institutions that mandate flu vaccines mandating covid vaccines. However, much beyond that, I think the vaccines ought to be freely available, that people should be encouraged to get them and that they be allowed to make up their own minds about it.  


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Review: Sleigh Bells Ring

 



About the Book:


Ranch manager Annie McCade thought her twin niece and nephew could join her at the Angel View Ranch for Christmas with her absent employer being none the wiser. But when the ranch's owner, Tate Sheridan, shows up out of the blue, Annie's plans are upended. Soon she finds herself helping Tate make a Christmas to remember for his grieving and fractured extended family.


Sleigh Bells Ring is the latest heartwarming, festive Christmas story by New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne.

My Comments:

It's a Christmas romance.  Cute kids, horses, sweet woman, man who doesn't realize that something has been missing, and yes even a sleigh.  But this book goes a little (not much, but a little) deeper and looks at how guilt from the past can keep us from things (and people) we love in the present.  

Like most of Thayne's books, this is squeaky clean with no suggestion of sex outside of marriage.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for providing a review copy of this book via NetGalley.  Grade B. 

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