#BlogTour: The Memory Bones by B.R. Spangler

For this blog tour, we’re looking at a book that I actually reviewed a month ago, in a weird situation I’ll detail at the end of this post. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Memory Bones by B.R. Spangler.

Here’s a recap of the Goodreads review:

A Finale. Without going *too* deep into spoiler territory, by the end of this book the long-running mythos surrounding Detective White achieves a resolution – and not only that, but several other character arcs seem to be wrapped up as well. So much so that this book ends feeling like a series finale – until you hit the author note at the back, confirming that the author *is* working on the next book in this series. Which means that this book isn’t so much *series* finale as “season” finale, and I for one can’t wait to see what else the author cooks up from here.

As to this particular tale, yet again Spangler manages to craft a fairly inventive way to murder, and yet again the mystery here is quite wide ranging and explosive – and based on at least one real world situation that I am aware of, that went on at least as long before it was detected. (Though to be clear, I am not aware of any murders happening in the real world variant to preserve the secret… though it is at least theoretically possible.)

But the real stars of this series are White and her team, and here they yet again step up and provide much of what makes this series so great. Yes, Spangler is solid on the mysteries and murders, but it is in this part, in developing the entire cast of characters and their relationships, that Spangler truly excels and indeed (possibly arguably) overcomes the limitations and perceptions of this genre. Very much recommended.

After the jump, the various “publisher details”, including the book description, author bio, and social media and buy links. And the explanation. 😀
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#BookReview: Pretend To Be My Cowboy by Sophia Quinn

Solid Series Starter. This is the beginning of a new series by two authors combining under a single pen name, and while I had only read one of the two before… this is truly a solid sweet romance that her fans will enjoy, but also shows where she is not the only voice in the room. And yet, there is never a *blatant* change of perspective or anything that overtly gives away that two different people were writing this – which actually speaks to just how well they work together both as storytellers and through the editing process. Absolutely one for the sweet/ clean crowd – there is barely any kissing, much less anything else. (Sorry, steamier fans.) Also one for the Hallmark Movie type crowd, as this is absolutely one of their infamous general plots – big city girl comes to the wide open country, falls in love with the charming small town and one of its resident cowboys. While this book had *some* minor (Hallmarkie) level drama, there is a fair amount of foreshadowing here that there is at least the potential for meatier drama down the road in the series, and that could actually be a welcome change of pace for the one author I’m familiar with here. (For those that read this book and enjoy it, you’re absolutely going to love that author’s work as well.) Excellent work, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this progresses and how many books are ultimately in the series. Very much recommended.

This review of Pretend To Be My Cowboy by Sophia Quinn was originally written on December 1, 2021.

#BookReview: The Manger House by Elizabeth Bromke

Short Tale Packs A Lot In Its Pages. This is a long novella / short novel (seriously, it is right at that 160 page point that some consider the cutoff between the two) featuring three sisters and their efforts to reclaim their lives and make their marks on their hometown. As the middle book of a trilogy, arguably Book 1 (The Boardwalk House) should be read first, but honestly this book reads perfectly fine if you want to start here and go back as well. Great atypical Christmas story featuring three vastly different sisters in three vastly different situations, yet who all show what Christmas is all about. Another great read for those family get togethers where maybe you just need a break from your actual family. Very much recommended.

This review of The Manger House by Elizabeth Bromke was originally written on November 18, 2021.

#BookReview: Fake Dating My Rockstar Roommate by Maggie Dallen

When You’re Dating A Celebrity – And Don’t Know You Are. This was one of the more entertaining “fake dating” type romances that spun the general idea on its head and runs with the idea of “what if a PR team claimed their client was dating someone – who had no idea the photo they are spinning had even been taken?”. From there, we get a realistic-ish look into the world of celebrity in the modern era, where *everyone* has a phone and even minor things most people wouldn’t even think twice about can go viral just because someone “famous” is doing it. Another fun entry into this series that works as a standalone, but one where the characters from previous books do show up. Very much recommended.

This review of Fake Dating My Rockstar Roommate by Maggie Dallen was originally written on November 17, 2021.

#BookReview: The Memory Bones by B.R. Spangler

A Finale. Without going *too* deep into spoiler territory, by the end of this book the long-running mythos surrounding Detective White achieves a resolution – and not only that, but several other character arcs seem to be wrapped up as well. So much so that this book ends feeling like a series finale – until you hit the author note at the back, confirming that the author *is* working on the next book in this series. Which means that this book isn’t so much *series* finale as “season” finale, and I for one can’t wait to see what else the author cooks up from here.

As to this particular tale, yet again Spangler manages to craft a fairly inventive way to murder, and yet again the mystery here is quite wide ranging and explosive – and based on at least one real world situation that I am aware of, that went on at least as long before it was detected. (Though to be clear, I am not aware of any murders happening in the real world variant to preserve the secret… though it is at least theoretically possible.)

But the real stars of this series are White and her team, and here they yet again step up and provide much of what makes this series so great. Yes, Spangler is solid on the mysteries and murders, but it is in this part, in developing the entire cast of characters and their relationships, that Spangler truly excels and indeed (possibly arguably) overcomes the limitations and perceptions of this genre. Very much recommended.

This review of The Memory Bones by B.R. Spangler was originally written on November 7, 2021.

#BookReview: A Little Bird by Wendy James

S L O W Mystery. This is one of those books that takes F O R E V E R to really build out its mystery – but once it finally gets there, it is quite explosive indeed. Instead, this is almost more of a small town character study of a woman coming back to her smalltown hometown with her tail between her legs and having to rebuild her life… who then accidentally stumbles onto new evidence that perhaps her past isn’t what everyone thought it was. So the first half ish of the book is much more character study driven, with the back half being more of a slow-normal paced mystery. The setting was interesting too, but could have been set in a wide variety of regions with little other change, so it didn’t quite work as well as it arguably could have. Still, a worthy and recommended read.

This review of A Little Bird by Wendy James was originally written on November 5, 2021.

Featured New Release Of The Week: The Secret Of Snow by Viola Shipman

This week we’re looking at a great novel of finding oneself even later in life that takes us from gut-busting laughter to massive tears, and everywhere in between. This week we’re looking at The Secret Of Snow by Viola Shipman.

The Ghosts Of Christmases Past. This is a story of how running away from your pain can be just as painful – even when buried – as staying and working through it. Here, we actually get to see a bit of both, along with a fair degree of real-world, perfectly-within-story-yet-real, commentary. Unlike the last book from Shipman I reviewed, where one character was seemingly designed as little more than a strawman pin cushion for the author to lob everything she (he) hated about that type of person into the book, the characters here all felt much more authentic and true to the situations they found themselves in. Even Sonny’s precipitous meltdown near the front of the book is wild, yet “realistic” – many of us would at minimum *consider* doing exactly what she did, and if we found ourselves in the exact situation she was at that moment… yeah, totally realistic. 😀 But just as realistic is the pain and the ghosts that Sonny has been running from for 30 years, and when she is forced to go home and ultimately confront the pain… also, so very realistic. Spoken as someone just slightly younger than Sonny (nearly 40) who very nearly lived her scenario. (In my own case, there was an accident where I was driving and both of my brothers were in the car, yards from my house – our mom heard the impact. Fortunately we all survived with little lasting damage, but because of that I could that much more easily empathize with Sonny – I could well see my life turning out very differently had that particular day become much, much darker.) While this is more drama than comedy, with a dash of romance thrown in (YMMV on that one, but I thought it was subtle enough that it added more than it detracted), there is certainly enough comedy here to keep the drama from being overwhelming, while allowing the parts that *need* to hit harder to do so. Truly an excellent book, and very much recommended.

Featured New Release Of The Week: A Lot Like Christmas by Jennifer Snow

This week we’re looking at a book that uses a Christmas countdown to both countdown to Christmas… and to a goodbye. This week we’re looking at A Lot Like Christmas by Jennifer Snow.

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

A Different Kind of Christmas Countdown. What happens when you meet a new person 3 weeks before Christmas and you find yourself falling in love… and yet they have told you up front that they are leaving town again on Christmas Day? Well, in this case… you have a plot (and plot device, as the countdown is given at the start of every chapter) for a romance novel. 😀 For the clean/ sweet crowd, know that Snow doesn’t exactly shy away from the sex scenes here, and they are never of the “behind closed doors” (unless inside a freezer counts? :D) nor “fade to black”. Otherwise, this was a fun Christmas novel of the various parties and sweets that flavor the season while also dealing with a couple of distinctly non-Christmas heavier issues as well. Truly an excellent work that shows Snow’s skill of showing off social issues without letting them weigh a story down – and even working them into the overall theme of the given book. Finally, I love the “connective tissue” of the series such that we see the couple from the first book a few times and seem to have an indication of who at least one person in the next couple in the next book will be. Excellent tale no matter the time of year you read it, and very much recommended.

#BookReview: The House That Christmas Made by Elizabeth Bromke

Tonight, On The Conclusion Of The Harbor Hills Saga… This is the final book in this highly interconnected series of much drama and secrets among neighbors on a particular street in small town (fictional) Michigan. As such, you *really* need to start at the beginning of the series and work your way to this point – which you’ll be glad you’ve done by the time you reach this book, as this is absolutely a series that leaves you wanting the next book in your hand the moment the previous book is done. And yet, in this conclusion of the saga… everything *does* get wrapped up. All is revealed. And yet we *also* maintain the fun, intricate, and varied progressions and relationships that have come to define this series. Very much recommended.

This review of The House That Christmas Made by Elizabeth Bromke was originally written on September 26, 2021.

#BookReview: The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews

Book Version of Hallmark Christmas Movie. The title is basically all you need to know here. If you like the Hallmark Christmas Movie craze, you’re going to love this book. If that isn’t really your thing… you should still try this book out, since it *is* funny and includes a compelling small-town mystery of long-lost family. This is an excellently written story that fits well within the space intended, and thus is another sure-fire winner for an author who seems to be in that “groove” now. All the feels, a touch of humor, a dash of Christmas magic, and no true anxiety/ fear inducing drama. Truly, all you can really ask for in a story of this type. Oh, and this one is a short and easy read too – perfect for a quick bite to get you in the Christmas spirit or to kick off your three months of Christmas. Or for when your family is over for Christmas and you need a break! 🙂 Very much recommended.

This review of The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews was originally written on August 19, 2021.