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review 2018-11-15 21:52
Maude March on the Run (Maude March #2) by Audrey Couloumbis
Maude March on the Run! - Audrey Couloumbis

The papers call Maude notorious. But 12-year-old Sallie knows her big sister didn't do the things the stories say . . . not on purpose anyway. In fact, she and Maude have made a fresh start and are trying to live on the up-and-up. But just when the girls are settling into their new life, Maude is arrested—and before you can say "jailbreak," the orphaned sisters are back on the run! In the sequel to the critically acclaimed The Misadventures of Maude March, Newbery Honor winner Audrey Couloumbis once again takes on a dizzingly fast, delightfully rowdy, and altogether heartwarming ride through the old west—proving that half the fun of any journey is the getting there.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

The saga of the March girls continues! Maude is now sixteen while little sister Sallie is twelve. They're still technically in hiding, and keeping their true identities on the DL proves to be a continuous struggle. Maude started insisting on taking back her womanly way of dressing while tomboy Sallie prefers to keep on with the menswear look they've been rocking. Maude potentially blowing their cover stresses Sallie out but she tries to keep her calm by keeping her nose buried in her beloved dime store novels (though now she reads them from a different perspective, having now lived the "novel" life herself).

 

My heart went out to him. I'd learned there was more to being a hero than the glory parts. The glory parts wore a little tarnish if you looked real close. It didn't make the hero any less of one.

 

To make matters even more complicated, local outlaw the Black Hankie Bandit has recently been apprehended and brought to trial in the girls' new town of residence. All the lawmen suddenly in the area has the March girls sweating a bit! At one point, Maude IS recognized at the diner where she works. She's arrested but Sallie and friends bust her out, forcing the sisters back on the run yet again. 

 

 

Speaking of these adventures, this book includes a much more detailed map of the March sisters' travels than the last book offered. While I found the first book's actual adventure elements more entertaining than in this sequel, I feel this sequel offers more humor and as readers we get deeper into the emotional bond between Maude and Sallie. But seriously though, there are some really great one liners in this one:

 

Re: a gunfight: "The earlobe is a surprisingly messy place to get shot."

 

"Reputations are easier to pick up than put down."

 

"Things happen in this world that cannot be properly understood unless you were there in the midst of them."

 

"If the story won't make you cry, the spelling will."(Maude)

 

 

The feminist undertones are slightly stronger in Maude March on the Run than its predecessor. The novel as a whole spotlights Maude wanting to be her own boss while Sallie pushes to get the same level of respect as the boys around her. She points out how people only use the term "you girls" when someone wants to silence the girls' opinions or objections. Certainly important themes young female readers will benefit from experiencing! Hopefully these stories, historical fiction though they may be, will serve as a source of empowerment for the young female audience they draw in. 

 

Plus, super cute telegram style dedication at the start of the book -- I've never seen anyone else do this before!

 

 

 

My review for Bk 1: Misadventures of Maude March

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review 2018-10-23 19:54
February and March in Atlantis - Alyssa Day

I am glad that I waited until March was finally released before acquiring February, even if my reason was that I wanted a physical copy. The two read like parts 1 and 2 of a book rather than 2 novellas.

 

With that in mind... Jake, H in the first, was a drifter of sorts until Poseidon decided he'd drifted enough. A sea fae may have been involved. He's now a part of Denal's group, whether he wants to be or not. The h... I had issue with. There comes a point when wanderlust starts to look less like a life of adventure than an avoidance of responsibility. Her defensiveness towards her parents - who wanted her to stop wandering (considering where she wandered, I can certainly understand that. No parent really relishes the thought of their daughter ending up in a sex trafficking ring or well, dead). The two seem like the perfect match. Just hope they don't reproduce...

 

Lucas - H in the second - is the son of the traitor in the first handful of the Atlantis books. He's had to live with the results of this - even his own mother apparently views him with suspicion. The h...once upon a time, she fancied herself in love with a wolf shifter alpha who was an abusive douchebag. She finally ran - after figuring out she was preggers. Much of this one takes place in a car as the two of them go on a cross-country trip to get her kid back.

 

While the first half read as one story, the second half didn't. It split between the two couples, particularly near the beginning. Read as *a* book, it mostly works. There's some repetition there right at the beginning of March, that if eliminated, would have made things flow better. I do understand though that with the two halves being published independently, it needed to be there.

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review 2018-09-23 20:52
The Christmas Wishing Tree. An Eternity Springs Novel - Emily March

A cute, delightful, holiday romance that was sweet and innocent.  The characters were good, the plot was entertaining, the pacing was believable, and the passion was very very very tame.  Several kisses, but nothing else. In that department it lacked what I look for in a good romance.  If you like the tame and sweet romances, then this is perfect for you.  If you prefer to have some steam coming of the pages, go into this book expecting to be let down.  If I knew going into it that it would be tame, I would have been ok.  I did like the plot.  I did enjoy the characters and the conflict.  I did enjoy the story. But I do like to have passion in my romances, so that was the only let-down to this book.

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review 2018-09-04 00:52
An enchanted town, the power of believing, a mystery, and the perfect romance.
The Christmas Wishing Tree. An Eternity Springs Novel - Emily March

I am thankful to St Martin’s Press for offering me an ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review and for the opportunity to participate in the blog tour of its launch.

 Although I am not a big fan of Christmas, I do enjoy some Christmas stories, movies, and songs (especially out of season, when one isn’t surrounded by it). The offer to read and review this novel reached me in the middle of a pretty hot summer and it felt like the perfect way to combat the heat. It worked, for sure, and although I had never read any of the other novels in the Eternity Springs series, I quickly became enamoured of the place and its inhabitants. I can reassure you, though, that the story goes beyond the Christmas theme, and there are wonderful scenes that take place in other seasons (the Fall, the Fourth of July…) and other locations apart from Colorado (Nashville, Florida, Australia, and the Caribbean).  But I have to agree that the overall theme of the novel, and the spirit that suffuses it, is that of Christmas.

The novel, written in the third person, shares the alternating points of view (and locations) of a part-time resident of Eternity Springs, Devon Murphy (the son of Cam and Sarah Murphy, and brother to Michael, long-term residents of the town), and Jenna Stockton, a doctor specialising in Obstetrics and Gynaecology whom we meet in Nashville. While Devon seems to be a free-spirited man who loves the sea, boats, fishing, and women, but avoids commitment like the plague, Jenna is a model of responsibility. She is a single mom to Reilly, whom he adopted after looking after his mother, a young woman down on her luck who died when the boy was a toddler. She works hard and would do anything to ensure the safety and happiness of her son. But he has a Christmas wish that is out of her hands. Somehow, luck, magic, or the power of believing puts Reilly and Devon in contact, and in a roundabout way, the destinies of the three of them intersect in the wonderful town of Eternity Springs. Both main characters have secrets (as readers of the genre will probably expect): Devon has a traumatic past in the relationships department and has a lot in common with Reilly, and Jenna’s life is haunted by a stalker who seems intent on upping-the-ante and putting her and her son’s lives at risk.

I liked the characters and their relationship, that follows the well-known formula of will-they/won’t-they so successful in the romance genre (they both have very valid reasons for their hesitation, although if you get easily impatient, I must warn you that the book is quite long and the story develops over close to two years), and I liked many of the secondary characters as well (despite not having read other novels in the series, I got a fairly good sense of who they were, and I did not feel I could not fully enjoy the story because of lack of background information. And I wouldn’t mind getting to know more about many of them), particularly Celeste, her resort, and the wonderful idea of the Wishing Christmas Tree that gives the book its title. She has a touch of the magical and is the fairy godmother of the town and all the characters (and I’d love to meet her).

What I most enjoyed of the book was the town of Eternity Springs. I have read a number of novels that take place in charming towns (islands or other locations) where outsiders come and are quickly adopted by the community, becoming, in many cases for the first time, part of a big family. I always enjoy the fact that the town becomes a protagonist in its own right and when the novels works well, you feel as if you had spent time in a real place and look forward to future visits to the magical location. Eternity Springs is one of those towns, and to add to its attraction, it is located within a marvellous natural setting, and the writer does a good job of introducing us to parks, lakes, mountains, taking us on sledge rides, fishing, camping, and exploring the wonderful facilities and the traditions of the place. Although it has more than a touch of the fairy tale (everybody seems to be well-off, everybody is fairly happy, apart from the main protagonists, temporarily, and even the bad things that happen are pretty mild) and it can be a bit sugary at times, I think it would take a very cold heart to read the novel without falling for the magic of the town and its inhabitant. (And perhaps shed a tear or two. Good tears, though).

If I had to point out some things that readers might have issue with, one would be the mystery element. Jenna’s background story and her circumstances bear heavily upon her actions and how cautious she is when it comes to meeting new people and possible romances. Although the mystery element ramps up the tension and adds to the interest of the story, on occasions it seemed to be more of an afterthought and an opportunity to show Devon and his friends (all male) as a team capable of investigating and keeping everybody safe (and yes, some elements of the rescue fantasy and the knight in shining armour were clearly at work there). Although Jenna herself complains at times about being treated like a weak woman in need of protection —despite being a competent professional who had managed well by herself until that moment— this novel keeps to conventional and traditional gender roles rather than challenging them. I know that such plots and story-lines are typical of many romantic (wish-fulfilment) novels but might not suit all readers, especially those who prefer women in charge of their own destinies. As a reader of thrillers and mystery novels, I did not feel the mystery would have satisfied fans of the genre, as we are not given enough information to solve it (we get some details of the case but others are brushed over quickly and the resolution, when it arrives, is somewhat anticlimactic), and it takes a backseat to the romantic part of the story. Having read other books that mix both genres, and this being a romance with some mystery thrown in, rather than the other way round, I did not think its intended readers would be too disappointed.

There are many other subplots I have not mentioned, including dogs, pregnancies, health scares, fishing, older motherhood, baking, National Parks, love of nature, adoption, social media, stalking, counselling, vocation, tropical storms, family, traditions, Santa Claus, magic, traumatic relationships… There are wonderfully vivid and memorable scenes, the style of writing is easy and fluid, and the descriptions bring to life both the locations and the characters (without going overboard with the physical descriptions of the protagonists and love interests, although yes, don’t worry, they are attractive), and there are some sad moments, some funny ones, and many emotional and heart-warming scenes as well. There is plenty of sexual attraction and tension between Devon and Jenna, but there is no graphic sex and although there are some thrilling scenes, the doors stay firmly closed behind the protagonists when it comes to that side of things.

I know readers of romantic novels expect a happy ending. Well, you won’t be disappointed here. What’s more, I know some readers can get really upset if they feel there are elements in the story that are not fully solved and hate it when they feel that writers are using hooks and unresolved issues to keep them buying books in a series (not everybody feels the same, though). As I have said before, this novel can be read independently from the rest of the series, and all the plots and subplots of the story, even the secondary ones, are solved satisfactorily. So don’t hesitate to pick up this novel just because it’s part of a series. You will feel sad it has ended but it won’t keep you awake at night trying to guess what happened next. I kept imagining this novel as either a movie, or better even, a TV series, and would be surprised if some production company didn’t snatch it up. Done well it would be irresistible.

In sum, this is a novel that takes place in a magical location, in gorgeous settings, with a Christmas theme and a hopeful message, a romance that includes elements of mystery/thriller, with likeable characters that will make you feel home. I, for one, won’t hesitate to visit Eternity Springs again in the future.

 

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text 2018-06-07 21:47
Finished And Then There Were (N-one) by Sarah Pinsker
Uncanny Magazine, Issue 15: March/April 2017 - Lynne M. Thomas,Michael Damian Thomas,J.Y. Yang,Stephen Graham Jones,Beth Cato,Kameron Hurley,S. Qiouyi Lu,Sarah Pinsker,Elsa Sjunneson-Henry,Sam J. Miller,Paul Booth,Dawn Xiana Moon,Shveta Thakrar,Brandon O’Brien,Cassandra Khaw,Bogi Takács,Lisa M. Bradl

So far, this is three in the novella category for the Hugos.   Need to finish Provenance and the second in Lee's series for novels, although I want to read the first book in Lee's series - which I have signed - before I read the second, because things went down in book one, that much is clear. 

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