#BlogTour: His Secret Daughter by Melissa Wiesner

For this blog tour, we’re looking at one of the most realistic domestic mystery/ thrillers I’ve ever encountered. For this blog tour, we’re looking at His Secret Daughter by Melissa Wiesner.

Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:

What Would You Do? Wiesner does a tremendous job here of making a realistic, grounded mystery from a tragic yet all too real setup. Everything else flows fairly naturally here, and all of the character motivations are again all too real. (Particularly as someone who has experienced some version of some of the things that would be a spoiler to reveal, even these sections are, sadly, all too common.) And yes, the ending, while not something everyone will *want* to happen… is again, very, very realistic given the story to that point. Ultimately this really is one of the most realistic domestic mystery/ suspense books I’ve ever encountered – and I don’t know if that is an indictment on the genre or a praise of Wiesner. 😀 Truly a great read, and very much recommended.

After the jump, the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and sales links.
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#BlogTour: Home Sweet Christmas by Susan Mallery

For this blog tour, we’re looking at the second book in a series of Hallmark Christmas Romance-type tales that feels like it was only tangentially related to its first book, The Christmas Wedding Guest. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Home Sweet Christmas by Susan Mallery.

Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:

Hallmarkie Christmas Tale. This was a solid Christmas tale with a pair of romances in small town Washington State that features a *lot* of meddling by a mother/ “adoptive” mother who wants grandkids. You’ve got the expected small town charm, the native-who-left-and-came-back part of the couple (for one of the two romances), the out-of-towner (for the other), the successful businessman, the “normal” guy with a major (yet amazing) secret… basically, everything any Hallmark Christmas Romance movie enthusiast expects to see in their stories. And Mallery, as usual, does a solid job of using her 400 ish pages to fully flesh out this story without ever feeling overly long in the process. Truly a solid story well told, and a worthy addition to this series and Mallery’s overall catalog. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BlogTour: The Road To Christmas by Sheila Roberts

For this blog tour we’re looking at a somewhat innovative “shotgun road trip” approach to a somewhat standard-type Hallmark Christmas tale. For this blog tour we’re looking at The Road To Christmas by Sheila Roberts.

Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:

Hallmarkie If Hallmark Did Road Trips. This is one of those almost 80s-cartoon feeling… “interesting”… blends of road trip tale and Hallmark Christmas tale. There are three separate road trips going on here – grandparents, parents, and siblings – all going their own routes and having their own adventures along the way to joining up with youngest sister and her husband and newborn for Christmas. There’s some hilarity, some heart strings being pulled, some solid road trip fun, some solid Christmas fun, a lot of small town charm – in multiple small towns, also in departure from pure Hallmark format – and a healthy dose of moralizing/ preaching about the joys of family and the sacrifices we sometimes make for them. (Which is where the “almost 80s-cartoon feeling” comes in.) Ultimately a solid blend of a few different popular formats, and the “shotgun” approach also works quite well and is fairly innovative. Ultimately this is a solid tale well told, and is very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BlogTour: Taken Before Dawn by B.R. Spangler

For this blog tour we’re looking at the most intense Casey White series book yet. For this blog tour we’re looking at Taken Before Dawn by B.R. Spangler.

You Probably Won’t Want To Read This Right Before Bed. In this next chilling installment of this series, we get what is quite possibly Spangler’s most chilling villains to date – and the most direct threat to Detective Casey White since I picked up this series around book 4 or so. One sequence in particular, taking up somewhere around a quarter of the book or so, is so truly chilling that the title of this review was warranted – you’re not going to want to try to go to sleep while reading/ soon after reading this particular section. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll be a bit oblique and note that there is a popular horror franchise that is actually *less* chilling, though around the same type of idea, as what is going on here. Before and after this section, the book is actually more of a “standard” Casey White series police procedural. We get to see the team doing its thing both professionally and personally, including how later developments in the series (again, being vague to avoid giving anything away) continue to play out. Certainly one of the better books in this series, which is saying quite a bit itself, and arguably the best to date – which is saying *quite* a bit. I know this thing releases almost a full month after I’m writing this review, but BR… Imma need number 8 like, *now*. Very much recommended.

After the jump, the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BlogTour: The Italian Daughter by Soraya M Lane

For this blog tour we’re looking at a tale where the author can *finally* combine “both halves” of who she is as a storyteller. For this blog tour we’re looking at The Italian Daughter by Soraya M Lane.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Slight Departure From Lane’s Typical Approach, Same Great Storytelling. I think this may be the first dual timeline book I’ve encountered from Lane, who normally writes historical fiction – mostly WWII – under this name. Here, we get a WWII story… but it serves to fill in the holes of the current day mystery, which is the other timeline. This is potentially an excellent starter that does well to both set up a series *and* combine “both” sides of Lane’s storytelling – she also writes actual romance stories as her name without the “M” middle initial, and the romance/ women’s fiction element here is particularly strong in *both* timelines. Which arguably makes this Lane’s strongest book to date, as she is finally able to combine her components into one full “self”. Truly an outstanding work, and very much recommended.

After the jump, the “publisher details”, including book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BlogTour: Snowed In For Christmas by Sarah Morgan

For this blog tour we’re looking at Sarah Morgan’s seeming annual Christmas story, this time a Hallmarkie type tale set primarily in Scotland. For this blog tour we’re looking at Snowed In For Christmas by Sarah Morgan.

Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:

Hallmark Scottish Christmas. Let’s be real here, this book is essentially a Hallmark Christmas movie set in Scotland. How you feel about the entire tale will likely be pretty close to how you feel about the sentence prior to this one in this review. There are three different romance tales at play here, between each of three siblings – Ross being the sacrificial lamb with a made up girlfriend to distract his parents from his sisters’ issues but who becomes all too real, Alice with an all too real fiancee, and Clemmie with plans of her own… who then has her own story from there. Along the way we also get to see the conflict between Ross and his dad, both of them successful businessmen who love to talk about anything *other* than business with each other. Ultimately, Morgan weaves her magic and makes all of this work quite well – if pretty much exactly within the Hallmarkie mold. Still, this is yet another solid hit for Morgan, and exactly how good of a hit really depends on exactly what the reader themselves feel about this type of story – Morgan’s bread and butter. I happened to think it worked quite well, and it is very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BlogTour: The Book Haters’ Book Club by Gretchen Antony

For this blog tour we’re looking at a novel that has some truly novel storytelling mechanisms that work well to elevate the (good in its own right) overall story. For this blog tour we’re looking at The Book Haters’ Book Club by Gretchen Anthony.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Novel Approach To Novel Writing. I *really* like what Anthony did here with the interludes throughout the book, including opening and closing. It becomes very clear (because one of the early ones is “signed’) quite early exactly who this person is, but the way Anthony writes them and where she chooses to place them are indeed quite novel in my experience, and thus this book is recommendable for this feature alone. Then there are the (Minnesota-specific) actual book recommendations spiced throughout the tale, in the form of newsletters the bookstore/ book club sent out periodically. And again: *Actual. Books.*. As in, you can search for them on your preferred site and buy them yourself! Which, again, is novel and recommendable for this feature alone.

Actual story-wise, we spend the first half of the book with many of our characters in shock and trying to prevent what they see as a travesty… and then a bombshell is dropped when the answers they’ve been begging for are finally provided. This bombshell twists the entire book to pivot in a new direction… and gives them all much more depth. Throughout both halves there is quite a bit of humor and heart, and there are a lot of different threads and themes going on here. (So those readers that prefer a more contained/ linear / singular focused tale… I still say give this one a try, but know going in it may not be your thing.) Ultimately the story itself is strong enough here, and the novel aspects of the writing truly take this book over the top in the best ways. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BlogTour: Would You Rather by Allison Ashley

For this blog tour we’re looking at a book that could have gone far darker and more serious than it did and instead chose to have fun even while dealing with serious subject matters. For this blog tour we’re looking at Would You Rather by Allison Ashley.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Solid Friends To Lovers Romance. This is one of those books that takes a legitimately serious issue – insurance, insurance fraud, and organ transplants – and spins a charming and fun romance around it. Ashley manages to weave the ultra-serious in with the frivolous to great effect, enhancing both the seriousness and the fun while leaning more into the fun and romance. Overall a truly fun book, and a solid one for its end-of-summer release time frame. Very much recommended.

After the jump, the “publisher details” – including an excerpt, book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BlogTour: The Ex Between Us by Nicola Marsh

For this blog tour we’re looking at an excellent thriller that takes its early cues from the best disaster movies. For this blog tour we’re looking at The Ex Between Us by Nicola Marsh.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Disaster Movie That Spins On Its Head To Leave You Breathless. This tale starts like a disaster movie – people living their normal, complicated lives. Slowly the tension builds, with small weird or disturbing events that seem off but not particularly dangerous. Marsh eventually elevates the danger, and this is when the more suspense/ thriller part kicks in. In the end, the reader is left breathless and yet still questioning of certain things… which this particular reader always enjoys. An excellent tale excellently crafted and told. Very much recommended.

After the jump, the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BlogTour: Mr Perfect On Paper by Jean Meltzer

For this blog tour we’re looking at a comedic look at romance during the Jewish High Holy Days that presents some interesting ideas. For this blog tour we’re looking at Mr Perfect On Paper by Jean Meltzer.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Interesting Story Built Primarily Around Jewish Holidays With Epic Final Meeting. This was a genuinely interesting – if long (seriously, the same story could have been told with roughly half the length and worked just as well, maybe better) – story built around a Jewish tech magnate and a desperate ploy to use the Jewish High Holy Days (+ Hanukah) as a way for a daytime TV show to save its ratings and thus the jobs of its staff. The comedy hits well, particularly in the initial appearance of the tech magnate on the TV show and on the first few dates (that all end in some form of disaster). The romance plods along a bit (this is where the shorter length proposed above could dramatically help), but the slow build works to get to a truly epic final meeting between the lead couple. Overall a solid story and well told, and gets some different ideas out to boot without being overly preachy about them. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Mr Perfect On Paper by Jean Meltzer”