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The Bluebonnet Battle–feuding families

The Bluebonnet Battle

by Carolyn Brown

I expected a romance with conflict between two feuding families. What I got in The Bluebonnet Battle was a very mean-spirited tale. There were clearly two sides. Matilda is an angry woman who excels in manipulating others to get what she wants. The other side is headed up by Liddy who has certainly been wronged but is vindictive and unforgiving. In fact, one of her friends suggests to Liddy that she pray for Matilda explaining that it might not change Matilda but it might take the anger out of Liddy’s heart. Liddy responds with a venomous, disgusting, unkind prayer that causes her adult niece Ruth Ann who acts like a Greek chorus in this book to giggle. It is hard to like any of these characters.

Fortunately, Nick, Matilda’s son, and Amelia, Ruth Ann’s daughter, slowly overcome family hurdles to form a relationship. By the time you get to this point in the story, you will be so tired of how the feud plays out through vegan versus Southern cooking featuring lemon meringue and lemon chess pies, along with who controls the local funeral dinners, that you will be glad for romance in any form. There is actually some motivation revealed for why Matilda is the way she is, but the explanation is too little and too late. The townspeople are closed to outsiders and small-minded. Nick and Amelia develop into nice people, but my favorite of the bunch is Uncle Harry, Matilda’s much older brother; he is the only character I would like to know. If a romance’s plot is character driven, it shouldn’t be replete with bitter characters.

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Montlake for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3/5

Category: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

Notes: 1. Includes recipes.
2. Contains profanity, even in church where the characters immediately, but rather insincerely, ask God’s forgiveness.
3. Several older and presumably wiser characters suggest to Nick and Amelia that the only way to know a person (with the goal of having a good marriage) is to live together first. That is advice that may be popular in some circles, but is one with which I take issue.
4. Perhaps a minor detail to some, but the flowers on the cover are not bluebonnets.

Publication: March 8, 2022—Mountlake

Memorable Lines:

When I heard Matilda was coming back to town, I figured we’d have to weather some storms. I just didn’t think we would have a class-five tornado two days after she arrived.

Compared to this thing between her aunt and Nick’s mother, the Hatfield and McCoy feud looked like a kindergarten playground fight.

Matilda’s whisper went right along with the look in her eyes—so toxic that a hazmat team wouldn’t have come near her.

In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You’re Not Around Later

In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You’re Not Around Later

by Abby Schneiderman and Adam Seifer

As a senior citizen, I realize I am each day closer to death than the day before and that no one, regardless of their age, knows when their time on earth will be over. With those things in mind, I agreed to review an advance copy of <i>In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You’re Not Around Later</i>. The first thing I noticed is that the digital copy provided was rather jumbled and therefore difficult to read. I am sure the final published copy will not have those issues. I plowed ahead, reading the Introduction, skimming the body of the text, and particularly noting the organization of the book.

This book provides timely advice and draws the reader’s attention to the multitude of decisions that should be made to help those responsible for end of life care and for the distribution of the estate. There are many decisions that, due to “advances” in technology, our ancestors would not have had to deal with (passwords, life support, etc.). This book both advertises and dovetails into their online planning system. In all fairness, though, they do refer readers to other companies besides their own, and by itself the book would be a good guide.

The authors differentiate between the critical issues that need to be done immediately (Plan of Attack), those items of lower priority, and other things that you might want to consider (Side Mission). They really do cover all the bases, for me anyway, and they recognize that even considering this project is difficult for many people in so many ways. Even as I write this review, my anxiety level has risen, but the idea is that if you make a plan you will not just feel, but actually be in control of, some aspects of your future and help those you care about during their time of grief.

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Workman Publishing Co. for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Self Help, Relationships, Grief

Publication: December 22, 2020—Workman Publishing Co.

Memorable Lines:

In order to really make a difference for people at their time of greatest need, you had to help people get a plan in place ahead of time.

We all love instant gratification, but this type of planning forces you to look beyond your own personal gain and know your family has a well-lit path forward if you’re not around.

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