Freedom Road by William Lashner – a #BookReview

Freedom Road by William LashnerTitle: Freedom Road by William Lashner

Genre: Literature and Fiction, Thriller and Suspense, Action and Adventure

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: January 22, 2019

Print Length: 377 pages

ASIN:B07F6CLX1H

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Freedom RoadDepicts lonely flight

Book Blurb:

He’s taking a dangerous path in search of his missing granddaughter—the only part of his life worth saving.

Oliver Cross is fresh out of jail. His plans for the future are to live out his days in regret, back pain, and a bottle of Lone Star. But when he finds out his granddaughter, a wild child who reminds him of his late wife, has vanished—bless her hell-raising heart—Oliver jumps parole. With a sketchy teen and an abandoned dog, he hits the blacktop to find her.

On the road and on the run from a vengeful Russian drug dealer, Oliver finds himself on a trip across America and into his own past, fueled by fumes from a Ford F-250 and a reason to live. But from an exclusive club in Chicago to a seedy commune in the Rockies, a series of disastrous choices sends Oliver spiraling further from his goal and deeper into danger. It’s a journey that could all end in redemption or a hail of bullets. And either’s okay by him. 

My Review:

Perhaps Clint Eastwood is now too old to play the part of 72-year-old Oliver Cross, but he could have played the brooding, caustic, cantankerous man so believably that these pages would have quivered with the excitement. There were sooo many times I pictured him in this part, seeing Oliver as Clint has always been, the quintessential masculine hero who would triumph even at his own expense.

Oliver is a remnant of the ’68 Chicago Viet Nam anti-war demonstrations that have come to blows which actually introduces him to Helen, who will become the love of his life. Oliver is the product of a wealthy family, first-year law student, destined to become one of the good ole boys following in his father’s footsteps where the name Cross means wealth and power. But two things happen that will totally change the course of his life: He meets Helen and his brother, a soldier in ‘Nam dies a hero. Continue reading “Freedom Road by William Lashner – a #BookReview”

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A Life for a Life by Lynda McDaniel – a #BookReview

A Life for a Life by Lynda McDanielTitle: A Life for a Life: A Mystery Novel (Appalachian Mountain Mystery Book 1)

Genre: Literature and Fiction, Mystery, Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Lynda McDaniel Books

Print Length: 341 pages

Publication Date: August 15, 2016

ISBN: 0997780800

ASIN: B01KGVUREG

Source: Direct Author Request

Title and Cover: A Life for a LifeSimple cover–subtle subject suggestion

Book Blurb:

One mysterious death. One lazy sheriff. Two seekers of truth.

Della Kincaid escaped to the mountains of N.C. to get away from it all. Didn’t work. She discovers a dead woman in the wilderness and gets embroiled in the investigation. The sheriff says suicide; Kincaid says murder. As a former reporter in Washington, D.C., she knows how to chase the truth. Without her usual sources, she turns to an offbeat cast of characters—friends, forger, former husband, and new neighbor Abit Bradshaw, a challenged boy who’s spent the first 16 years of his life plagued by small-town bullies and family lies. They team up to search for answers to the possible murder—and to make peace with their own lives. 

A Life for a Life is the first book in Lynda McDaniel’s internationally acclaimed Appalachian Mountain Mysteries series. Reviewers have compared her work to To Kill a Mockingbird and her storytelling style to that of Fannie Flagg. If you like page-turning dramas without over-the-top violence—but packed with suspense and character-driven stories—you’ll love this series. Continue reading “A Life for a Life by Lynda McDaniel – a #BookReview”

Book Review – Bella Toscana by Nanette Littlestone #BookBlogger #AmReading

Shalini has risen to new heights in her reviews, delivering some awesome prose herself. This a beautiful book regarding past lives. I’ve had that feeling–I think most do–admit it or not. Keep up the super work, Shalini!

Shalini's Books & Reviews

Read this book if you believe in the eternity of the soul and power of love

Read this book if you love the flow of the words beating to the strange rhythm of the era past

Read this book if you believe in the past lives and strength of the soul

Read this book if your mind is open to the ancient mysteries of this earth

Read this book if you want your heart to move to the dance of nature

Read this book if you believe in soul mates…

Toscana, on the night of her 50th birthday had a vivid dream of being with her one true love. A trip to Italy for the Chocolate Festival without her husband and a chance meeting with history professor Flynn had her discovering herself and the one for whom her heart beat in the past life and the present.

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Flower Friday: Hibiscus #FlowerFriday #Hibiscus

Love her beautiful posts on Flower Friday!

ReadRantRock&Roll

ff

I discovered Flower Friday while visiting Lorilin@Bugbugbooks. I decided to start sharing some flower pictures from our gardens along with some information about them. Please check out Lorilin’s blog if you haven’t already for book reviews and more!

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Metal Detecting in the UK

We here in the states love metal detecting and I’m sure there are as many hidden treasures to find across the pond as in “the colonies.” Of course, one of our favorites is gold!

Writing and Rhythm

My very good friend, Steve, organises and runs Metal Detecting holidays here in the beautiful county of Norfolk, in the UK.

20190118_182145

Here, he talks about it to our local newspaper.

Steve talks to the EDP

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Just What I Always Wanted by Nancy Roman – a #BookReview

Just What I Always Wanted by Nancy RomanTitle: Just What I Always Wanted by Nancy Roman

Genre: Literary Fiction, Humor and Satire

Publication Date: August 8, 2014

ASIN: B00MJLN2SA

Print Length: 381 pages

Source: Free offering promo from author

Title and Cover: Just What I Always WantedGreat portrait catches attention

Book Blurb:

Cynthia Breault needs a new life.
She’s not miserable. She’s bored. Bored with her safe monotonous job; bored with her cautious loneliness.
Thanks to an unexpected financial windfall, Cynthia opts for early retirement at fifty, hoping to find a new passion. Soon, she thinks she’s found it – in the form of a failing boutique abandoned by its mysterious owner. And the shop is not the only thing the proprietor has deserted. There’s a very nice husband left behind as well.
It’s perfect.
Until Cynthia meets Shannon Miller. Shannon is fourteen, a tough and defiant casualty of the foster care system. And she’s pregnant.
Irresistibly drawn to this foul-mouthed, sarcastic, but vulnerable teenager, Cynthia rediscovers long-buried memories.
Suddenly the store seems unimportant. And hoping she can explain to the new man in her life – eventually, anyway – Cynthia takes the leap.
She offers Shannon a deal. With strings attached.
If they both get what they want, does it matter that their scheme is just slightly illegal?

My Review

Back when I started my blog, with absolutely no clue what I was doing (and that is still a topic for discussion), I found the blog, Not Quite Old. I could so identify and followed Nancy Roman immediately and lo and behold she was also writing and publishing a book. (I was trying to publish my grandfather’s manuscripts at the time.) I really enjoyed her contemplative writing style and thought if I ever had the money, I’d buy her debut novel which came out in 2014. Noticing she put it on a special freebie just after the first of this year, I jumped on it. I just knew it would be good. (Also recommended to my associate reviewer and his thoughts are below.) Was I right?

Oh yeah. Continue reading “Just What I Always Wanted by Nancy Roman – a #BookReview”

Would You Like a Reblog? Leave a Link — Dream Big, Dream Often

Whoop!

Well, saw this and just loved the banner. Then thought–a reblog? Been awhile, so I’ll give it a try. Perhaps you would try as well!

 

An observation of the world around me intended to provoke thought in you.

It has been a while since I have done this, but with a new year comes new posts.  If you would like me to reblog your post YOU must do 2 simple things:

  1. Reblog this thread post to your readers
  2. Then leave a link to your post in the comments.  Please keep in mind I only reblog Blog posts.  I do not promote non-blog links or blogs who are selling wares.

via Would You Like a Reblog? Leave a Link — Dream Big, Dream Often

Killer Lawyer by Mark Nolan – a #BookReview

Killer Lawyer by Mark NolanTitle: Killer Lawyer (Jake Wolfe Book 3) by Mark Nolan

Genre: Thriller and Suspense, Assassinations

Publication Date: December 19, 2018

Print Length: 420 pages

ASIN: B07L5GLJQ1

Source: Direct Author Request

Title and Cover: Killer Lawyer – Series cover

Book Blurb:

Attorney by day, assassin by night. Jake Wolfe is a young lawyer who leads a secret life. Trained by the CIA, he now wants peace and quiet, practicing law and living on a boat with his war dog. But when his city is shocked by a serial killer and he’s framed for the murder of a friend, Jake must race against time to find the killer before he strikes again.

Drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse; at every step Jake and his loved ones are being hunted by the clever, twisted madman. As the city is gripped in fear of the seemingly random shootings that could strike anybody, Jake investigates and uncovers ominous clues until a shocking reversal of fortune changes everything.

With the clock ticking and lives at stake, will Jake be able to find and stop the killer in time, or will he become the next victim?

Buckle up for a wild ride as Jake Wolfe and his exceptionally intelligent dog, Cody, return to action in this page-turning thriller in Mark Nolan’s bestselling series that has earned thousands of 5-star ratings on Amazon and Goodreads. Continue reading “Killer Lawyer by Mark Nolan – a #BookReview”

A Literal Mess by J C Kenney #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

A Literal Mess by J C Kenney

I am super delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for A Literal Mess by J C Kenney on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Book Details

 A Literal Mess (An Allie Cobb Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Lyrical Underground (January 8, 2019)
Print Length: 196 pages
ASIN: B07C6T6X41

Book Blurb

The first book in a new series featuring Allie Cobb brings the New York literary agent back to her Hoosier home town where a mysterious death keeps everyone on spoiler alert . . .

Allie Cobb left home for the literary circles of Manhattan to make her name out from under the shadow of her legendary father. Now his death brings her and her rescue cat Ursula back to the southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek, population: 3,216. But a tragic new chapter hits the presses when the body of her father’s hard-drinking, #1 bestselling client is found under the historic town bridge. The local police suspect foul play and their prime candidate for murder is the author’s daughter—Allie’s longtime friend.

Determined to clear her bestie, Allie goes into fact-checking amateur detective mode while trying to ignore the usual rumormongers. Those with means, motive, and opportunity include the vic’s ex-wife, his rejected girlfriend, the mayor, and a rival agent trying to mooch clients. With a rugged genealogist distracting her and the imminent Fall Festival about to send tourists descending on their once-peaceful hamlet, Allie needs to stay alive long enough to get a read on a killer ready to close the book on a new victim: Allie . . .

My Review

A Literal Mess by J C KenneyYes! A cozy with a NYC literary agent as the protagonist, groomed as a solid book lover promoter by her beloved father! Her father, a literary agent and her mentor with a large contingent of strong clients, has passed away without Allie Cobb being able to return to Rushing Creek, Indiana prior to his passing. She is overwhelmed with emotion, fighting guilt at not being home in time, and nauseated at the thought of facing her siblings and mother who was in attendance those last painful months.

But he’d left her a powerful legacy, that love of books. Books, authors, their editors and agents. And it’s an intricate network of people with whom Allie must now work to help shut down her father’s agency, as she’d promised her mother. She is heartbroken, and the story begins with strong emotions, planting a sentimental tie between the characters who one by one gently intrude in the grieving process as they are fleshed. Her best friend, Sloane Winchester, lends her shoulder to cry on, but before Allie can get through the funeral for her own father, Sloane’s father is found–murdered.

First, you have to understand that it’s a small town in Indiana. A very small town. Anyone from a small town knows that everyone knows everyone and their business. The Police Chief happens to be her sister’s ex. Growing up, she was never terribly close to her older sister, Rachel, who now has twin boys and the boy’s father appeared to be a bully. Allie, however, has several things going for her. First, she has made a name for herself in the literary world of New York, can stand on her own, and she “short persons syndrome.” Oh, and also, she enjoys the fine art of kickboxing. Her sister’s ex doesn’t scare her. But she has promised Sloane she would help to solve her father’s murder and in for a penny, in for a pound. (Sorry, old clichés are a no-no, I’m aware of that, but couldn’t help myself.)

Whether this is a female protagonist that exhibits aggressive tendencies due to being crafted by a male author, or it’s a subtle expression of her implied New York background and stature, this little lady is no shrinking violet when facing the suspects on her list. She is an in your face, “did you kill Thornwell” kind of gal. She is purposeful and methodical as she works through the possible suspects and there are a few twists and red herrings, leaving no down time. Working with a Police Chief who is slightly beyond his element is pushing disbelief, but is explained plausibly. Then she goes back to her mother’s home and dissolves into her grief and doubt and leans heavily on Ursi, her kitty, for moral support. Both Ursula and Sammy, Brent’s golden retriever, add a welcoming and lightening animal contribution to the well-plotted storyline.

Loved the author’s characterization of the mid-west rural Indiana location and the people preparing for the “fall leaf peeping” festival, the chocolate shop, the winery. Allie feels that tug, the nostalgia for the community feeling (something she was missing in New York), and Brent, the shy guy in the library installing a genealogy center. The question is tearing at her, New York is waiting, but…

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley for this blog tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read this debut from the author and the first in his series. It’s a thoroughly engaging beginning and I can’t wait to see where he takes these characters. Book 2 in the series, A Genuine Fix, is due to release on July, 2019. Recommended as a unique and enjoyable cozy platform, easy escapist fun.

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Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win this very special Amazon gift card in this Rafflecopter giveaway

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5 of five stars

About the Author

J C Kenney - authorJ.C. Kenney grew up in a household filled with books by legends Agatha Christie and Lilian Jackson Braun, among many others, so it was no surprise when he found himself writing mystery stories. When he’s not writing, you can find him following IndyCar racing or listening to music. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, two sons, and a cat who is the inspiration for Ursula in the Allie Cobb Mysteries.

Author Links

Website – https://www.jckenney.com;

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JCKenney1;

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JCKenney1;

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/JCKenney;

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/j.c.kenney/

Purchase links

Amazon –  Apple –  Google –   Kobo –  Nook

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

January 9 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

January 9 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

January 10 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

January 10 – Carstairs Considers – REVIEW

January 10 – CelticLady Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 11 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 11 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

January 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

January 12 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 12 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 13 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

January 13 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

January 13 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT Great Escapes Book Tours 

Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Steamed Open by Barbara Ross #BlogTour #Spotlight #Giveaway

Steamed Open by Barbara Ross

I am so delighted today to provide a spotlight for you at my blog stop for Steamed Open by Barbara Ross on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. If you haven’t had the chance to read a Maine Clambake Mystery, now is your chance! Can you taste it?

Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Steamed Open (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Kensington (December 18, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1496717945
ISBN-13: 978-1496717948
Digital ASIN: B07BV3RCDG

Book Blurb

Steamed Open by Barbara RossIt’s summertime in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and the clamming is easy—or it was until a mysterious new neighbor blocks access to the beach, cutting off the Snowden Family Clambake’s supply. Julia Snowden is just one of many townspeople angered by Bartholomew Frick’s decision. But which one of them was angry enough to kill?

Beachcombers, lighthouse buffs, and clammers are outraged after Frick puts up a gate in front of his newly inherited mansion. When Julia urges him to reconsider, she’s the last to see him alive—except the person who stabs him in the neck with a clam rake. As she pores through a long list of suspects, Julia meets disgruntled employees, rival heirs, and a pair of tourists determined to visit every lighthouse in America. They all have secrets, and Julia will have to work fast to expose the guilty party—or see this season’s clam harvest dry up for good.

Add to Goodreads

Giveaway

Enter the Giveaway for your chance to win one of three (3) Print Copies of Steamed Open (A Maine Clambake Mystery) by Barbara Ross in this Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Barbara RossBarbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. The first book in the series, Clammed Up was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel, the RT Book Reviews, Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Amateur Sleuth and was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She is co-editor/co-publisher of Level Best Books, which produces anthologies of crime stories by New England authors. She writes at her home overlooking the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Barbara blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Maine Crime Writers. Readers can visit her website at MaineClambakeMysteries.com.

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N  – Kobo 

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

January 7 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

January 7 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 7 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

January 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews -REVIEW

January 8 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 9 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW

January 9 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

January 9 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – My Journey Back-The Journey Back – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – Valerie’s Musings – GUEST POST

January 10 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 11 – Rosepoint Publishing – SPOTLIGHT

January 11 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

January 11 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

January 12 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT  

January 12 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

January 12 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 13 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

January 13 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT Great Escapes Book Tours

 Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to spotlight this cozy mystery!

©2019 V Williams V Williams

And the Winner is…2018 Goodreads Choice Awards

Goodreads Choice Awards 2018The Best Books of 2018 as announced by the 10th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards are “the only major book awards decided by readers.” There were 5,027,741 votes gathered from three voting rounds for 21 categories. Winners were recently announced. Did any of your choices make the grade? 

The Outsider by Stephen KingBecause I read a majority of the Mystery and Thriller genre, that is the first category I checked out and was astounded to see a total of 328,570 votes of which 62,170 votes went to category winner The Outsider by Stephen King. He also won the category in 2016 for End of Watch and came in second in 2015 with Finders Keepers and number one in 2014 for Mr. Mercedes.

Apparently, it is possible to win against Mr. King in the category as proven in 2015. I thought, however, Mr. King was a horror writer and yes, he also took a number one spot in that category with Elevation. That would be his eighth Goodreads Choice Award.

The Woman in the Window by A J Finn

Number two winner in the Mystery and Thriller category is The Woman in the Window by A J Finn at 55,003.

 

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

Number three winner is Lethal White by Robert Galbraith at 39,2987 who also trailed at #3 right behind Stephen King in 2015 and a winner before that in 2014 with The Silkworm. Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkkanen

Number four winner is The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen at 26,711 votes.

Indianapolis by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic

Another book that caught my eye is Indianapolis, No. 18 with 1,105 votes in the History and Biography category. I mention that as it came in No. 1 for Best History Book of 2018 on Amazon. This was also a 2016 movie with Nicholas Cage,  USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage, based on a true story of the worst sea disaster in U.S. naval history.

 

By the way, The Woman in the Window was also named Best Mystery and Thriller of 2018 on Amazon.

How many of these winners had I read?

Zero, Nada, Ništa, Nula

Was I living under a rock or busy reading cozy mysteries? I saw two of the books above listed on NetGalley during the year. I coulda, woulda, shoulda, and didn’t. Evidently, I need to start paying more attention. But Robert Galbraith? How many of you also knew that was from the pen of J. K. Rowling?

How did you fare? Any of your winners here? I appreciate your heads’ up suggestions. Obviously I need them.

©2019 V Williams V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday – Moon Signs by Helen Haught Fanick

#throwbackthursday-winter

Renee began the #ThrowbackThursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. I’ve gathered up some old reads and reviews from Goodreads to share with you–a good book never gets old. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).

This week I am highlighting Helen Haught Fanick, another terrific, prolific author who wrote Moon Signs (Moon Mystery #1), which I reviewed on Goodreads. This novel was published on October 6, 2011 and now has five in the series with a new one to be added this year. She consistently runs approximately 4-5 stars for any of her books sold on Amazon.

Originally posted July 2, 2015

Moon Signs by Helen Haught FanickBook Blurb:

Retirement is a time for knitting, gardening, and an occasional quiet lunch with friends, according to Kathleen Williamson. Her sister Andrea has an altogether different point of view. When the sisters go to the Canaan Valley to search for paintings mentioned in a document found in an old hotel once owned by their grandparents—paintings that might be Monets—Andrea immediately becomes involved in tracking down a murderer. Kathleen would much rather be looking for the paintings, but she goes along with Andrea, since the victim was their hotel-keeper, murdered just down the hall from their room. The question is: Does the murder have something to do with the elusive paintings?

There are many clues and many suspects, including hotel staff, valley residents, and the mysterious foreigners who come from the Eastern Seaboard for skiing. There are also many types of danger—icy roads, sub-zero temperatures, and a killer who doesn’t care how many people die in the attempt to make sure the right ones do.

Add to GoodreadsMy Review:

Taking a short break from their retirement, two sisters (a widow and never married school teacher) go on a search for possible Monet paintings acquired by their grandparents who owned and decorated a West Virginia ski resort hotel. Their niece works out of the lodge as a ski instructor and is in love with the male co-owner whose recalcitrant “sister” is found in unfortunate circumstances very early into the plot.

I enjoyed several aspects of the book in that the protagonists were intelligent, mature senior women, Kathleen (the narrator) being the widow with a slightly dependent affinity while her take charge, level-headed former school teacher sibling, Andrea, charges full steam into the mystery leaving the discovery of the Monet paintings one of the sub-themes. She is definitely on the nosy side. Also enjoyed was the interaction of the sisters–found to be pretty plausible. There is a second fatality, but we are spared the gory details as well as the mushy romance between the niece and her struggling lover.

They eventually fit in the painting search, discuss whether or not the moon position had anything to do with the doin’s, and include a moody teenager among the characters. Leveled for a senior sensibility, interesting deviation from the usual testosterone driven, four-letter mentality, it’s a cozy mystery and although well-plotted tends to take it slow and easy. I downloaded the free ebook from BookBub and liked it. Would recommend to those who enjoy a mystery with a different but trending, emerging protagonist focus.

About the Author:

Helen Haught Fanick - authorHelen Haught Fanick is a member of a family of writers. Her mother was the author of many children’s stories and articles. A brother is a well-known newspaper editor who has won more than twenty national awards. Another brother writes short stories, and his wife is the author of a memoir. And even closer to home, her son, Ben Rehder, is the author of two popular series–the Blanco County Mysteries and the Roy Ballard Mysteries.

Helen is currently working on the sixth novel in her Moon Mystery Series. These books are set in West Virginia, Helen’s home state, and the novel in progress takes place in the beautiful Canaan Valley. Watch for Blue Moon, Black Heart in 2019. And if you’re not familiar with the Moon Mysteries, check out Moon Signs–it’s free for Kindle.

You can reach Helen through her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Author

More Throwback Thursday Blogs

Renee at Its Book Talk

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Rebecca at The Book Whisperer

Lynne at Fictionophile

Sam at Clues and Reviews

Holly B at Dressedtoread

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Annie at The Misstery

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

Laurie at Cozy Nook Books

Ann Marie at LItWitWineDine

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Cathy at Between the Lines

Amy at Novel Gossip

Diana at A Haven for Booklovers

©2019 V Williams V Williams

The Lost Traveller by Sheila Connolly – a #BookReview

The Lost Traveller by Sheila ConnollyTitle: The Lost Traveller (County Cork Mystery Book 7) by Sheila Connolly

Genre: Mystery, Amateur Sleuths

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: January 8, 2019

  • ISBN-10:1683318900
  • ISBN-13:978-1683318903
  • ASIN: B07D2J14S8

Print Length: 336 pages

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Lost TravellerNice cover, title is misleading

My Review:

It’s amazing how often I manage to bumble into two books in a row that not only deal with (sorta) the same subject, but use many of the same names or locations as well. My last two books dealt with the Irish and particularly the last one with Travellers. I’d read Furlong’s first book, my introduction to the subject, and didn’t realize this one also used that spelling, indicating that particular group of Irish citizens who set themselves apart many generations ago. But I saw “County Cork.” YES! I was in.

No, I wasn’t.

This promised to be a great read. I was enthused, excited. Look at the cover. Pretty, huh? But that is also misleading, certainly doesn’t bear accurately the description of the bridge in the book. And this is the seventh in the series. Hopefully, there was lots of character development in the previous six. In this one, not so much.

The Lost Traveller by Sheila ConnollyProtagonist Maura (popular name) Donovan inherited old, established Sullivan’s pub in the little village of Leap, Ireland (West Cork). She is from Boston, possibly middle-twenties. She neither knows how to cook, peruse the internet, or craft an attractive setting. She also inherited a small cottage with the pub and except for getting her own mattress, has done little else to remodel or decorate.

The first portion of the narrative looked to be making good on the implied promise. She discovers a body, the mystery begins. We get to learn somewhat of the main characters, Rose, a seventeen-year-old student, and Mick, resident bar-keep. I think he is supposed to be a romantic interest, but wouldn’t have my interest, Irish brogue or not. The support characters, some old time bar patrons such as Billy, or friends such as Bridget and Gillian add interest, and there is Garda Sean Murphy who sounds far more appealing than Mick. Dialogue is stilted, meant to convey an Irish accent.

But Maura, poor Maura, descends into a muddled, befuddled American mess. She is actually a little embarrassing. Let Rose do it. Rose will know what to do. Let Rose run the pub. Let Rose create a website and set up the internet. (Rose is 17 going on 34.) Maura needs to figure out who was the victim, why he was dumped on her property, and where oh where can she find more employees to help with all that beautiful June summery tourist traffic. Should she create a kitchen and let Rose cook? (Cause she can’t.) Can she keep Rose long enough to turn her into the pub cook? No problem, she has rooms upstairs. Rose will want to live above the pub for convenience–easier to get to school and work.

The Travellers? They play a very small part in the overall plotline (and they are not lost). Maura is busy jumping from one theory to another regarding the murder, working herself into a dither when she isn’t wringing her hands over the employee/kitchen situation. The whole situation is recited over and over. The conclusion comes in as confirmation of her theories, quietly and rather as an anticlimax. Not all ends are tied, but oh well.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley and appreciate the opportunity to read and review. I did enjoy to an extent, but would also suggest obtaining a better editor. These are just my impressions–you may have an entirely different view. Many do. 😘

Rosepoint Publishing:  Two point Three of Five Stars Two point Five of Five Stars

Book Blurb:

Boston expat Maura Donovan came to Ireland to honor her grandmother’s last wish, but she never expected to stay in provincial County Cork—much less to inherit a house and a pub, Sullivan’s, in the small village of Leap. After a year-long struggle to stay in the black, Sullivan’s is finally thriving, and Maura has even brought back traditional Irish music to the pub. With a crop of new friends and a budding relationship with handsome Mick Nolan, Maura’s life seems rosier than ever—but even in Ireland, you can’t always trust your luck. 

It begins with Maura’s discovery of a body in the ravine behind the pub. And then, the Irish gardaí reveal that the victim’s face has been battered beyond recognition. Who is the faceless victim? Who wanted him dead? And why was his body dumped in the backyard of Sullivan’s Pub? Even after the dead man is finally given a name, nobody admits to knowing him. In the tight-knit world of Leap, no one is talking—and now it’s up to Maura to uncover the dark secrets that lurk beneath the seemingly quiet town.

Laced with warm Irish charm, a delightful small-town setting, and a colorful cast of characters, New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly’s seventh County Cork mystery, The Lost Traveller, conspires to delight.

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Sheila Connolly - authorThe Author: After collecting too many degrees and exploring careers ranging from art historian to investment banker to professional genealogist, Sheila Connolly began writing in 2001, and has now published over thirty traditional mysteries, including several New York Times bestsellers.

Her series include the Orchard Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), the Museum Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), The County Cork Mysteries (Crooked Lane Books), the Relatively Dead Mysteries (Beyond the Page Press), and beginning in 2018, The Victorian Village Mysteries from St. Martin’s Press. Her first full-length, standalone ebook, Once She Knew, was published in October 2012.

Connolly has also published a variety of short stories: “Size Matters” appeared in the 2010 Level Best Anthology, Thin Ice; “Called Home,” a short prequel to the Orchard series, was published by Beyond the Page in 2011; and “Dead Letters,” an e-story featuring the main characters from the Museum series, will be published by Berkley Prime Crime in February 2012. Beyond the Page also published “The Rising of the Moon,” and another Level Best anthology includes “Kept in the Dark,” which was nominated for both an Agatha award and an Anthony award for 2013.

She is passionate about genealogy, both American and Irish, and is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She is also an Irish citizen and owns a cottage in West Cork. She lives in a too-big Victorian in southeastern Massachusetts with her husband and three cats. Find out more about her at her website, http://www.sheilaconnolly.com

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Fractured Truth by Susan Furlong – a #BookReview

Fractured Truth by Susan Furlong

My First #fivestar Read of the Year

Title: Fractured Truth (A Bone Gap Travellers Novel Book 2)

Genre: Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Animals

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: December 18, 2018

Print Length: 288 pages

  • ISBN-10:1496711696
  • ISBN-13:978-1496711694
  • ASIN: B07BVDNVC9

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Fractured Truth – February snow in the mountains

Book Blurb:

When the mutilated remains of a young woman are found in an Appalachian Mountain cave, newly sworn-in deputy sheriff Brynn Callahan is forced to track down a killer driven by twisted motives . . .  

Not long after donning the uniform of the McCreary County Sheriff’s department in Bone Gap, Tennessee, ex-Marine Brynn Callahan faces her first official homicide. On a cold February morning, a lone cross-country skier stumbles across the mutilated body of a young woman. Sent to investigate, Brynn is shocked when she recognizes the victim as a fellow Traveller, Maura Keene.

Maura held a solid standing both within the Travellers’ insular community and among the settled townspeople—a fact that makes her murder all the more disturbing to Brynn, who also straddles the two worlds.  After her trained K-9, Wilco, digs up human bones, and then a scrap of paper scrawled with arcane Latin phrases is uncovered, Brynn finds evidence leading her to question those closest to her—and closing the case becomes a deeply personal matter.

While trying to suppress local superstitions and prejudices, Brynn discovers that Maura was keeping a dangerous secret. And as the bones Wilco found are analyzed by forensics, Brynn harbors the troubling suspicion that she knows who they belong to. Still struggling with PTSD, Brynn must put her career on the line and her life at risk to find justice for a woman not unlike herself—haunted by her past, and caught in a vicious cycle she may never
escape . . .
  Continue reading “Fractured Truth by Susan Furlong – a #BookReview”

The Homecoming of Bubbles O’Leary by Jean Grainger – a #BookReview

The Homecoming of Bubbles O'Leary by Jean GraingerTitle: The Homecoming of Bubbles O’Leary (The Tour Series Book 4) by Jean Grainger

Genre: Literature & Fiction, Irish, Sagas

Publication Date: December 24, 2018

  • ISBN-10:1792633327
  • ISBN-13:978-1792633324
  • ASIN: B07MD964MJ

Print Length: 332

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: The Homecoming of Bubbles O’LearyPerfect Old World depiction

Book Blurb:

A luxury stay in an Irish castle, a handsome, experienced tour guide, and a secret that has never been revealed. Life as manager of the magnificent resort of Castle Dysert on Ireland’s wild Atlantic coast is never dull, and Conor O’Shea’s life to date has taught him to be prepared for the unexpected. Even he however, is not ready for the gang from Bubbles O’Leary’s bar in New York. A motley crew, from spinster sisters of a certain age, to exhausted social workers, they are all in Ireland for one reason. The fact that this bunch of unusual people arrive during Ireland’s biggest matchmaking festival just adds to the intrigue. But is everyone who they say they are? Are all their motives pure? Conor is ready to do his best to show the visitors his beloved Ireland, but his personal life takes a devastating turn and he finds himself torn, unsure how to proceed. Is the past best left there, or is there redemption to be found in opening old wounds? Wise and witty, heart-warming and deeply satisfying, Jean Grainger takes us once more on an unforgettable trip to the Emerald Isle.

My Review:

The Homecoming of Bubbles O'Leary by Jean GraingerThe author must have kissed that Blarney Stone more than once!  She can spin such a fable as to keep you glued to the pages, peeking inside the personalities of each of the characters and their stories. Of course, Conor is back, the protagonist who began as a tour guide and now operates Castle Dysert. He married Ana and they had twin boys, now eight years old. The tale is told of Bubbles O’Leary and his bar and immense humanity in New York; how he loved, respected, and regaled his patrons of accounts of his childhood in Ireland. And when he passes away unexpectedly, his closest friends vow to take him home to Dingle. He has cemented a special place in the hearts of each person.

The well-plotted saga begins to lay out a deeply entwined narrative of the individuals who undertake to return him home to Ireland, just when Conor is dealing with crushing family drama, but it is he who they must have to lead their memorial group. Each support character has his/her own story which contributes to the tours they take from the Castle, enjoying the sights. The characters are well developed and engaging.

There is an underlying sinister current that manifests later into the book that adds a mystery to what is an accounting of confronting serious illness, estrangements, lost and new love, and forgiveness. There is humor, the yarn flows easily, the prose so beautiful, the action realistic. You can picture the group in a loving circle with Bubbles’ ashes–an emotional farewell set with the awesome backdrop of the sun setting into the North Atlantic, soft strains of “Danny Boy” in the salty breeze.

I’ve read most of the books Ms. Grainger has published and I must say each has been totally engrossing, engaging, and enlightening. I believe my first book was gleaned through BookBub and noting she lived in Cork, wrote her immediately to ask a couple questions regarding one of the few hints dropped in my grandfather’s books regarding his origins. I’ve been a fan of hers since and loved each new book.

As Ms. Grainger notes, “if she had any Irish in her; she must have to explain the connection she felt with Ireland.” What is the draw? I don’t know, but the author delights the reader whether or not with remote Irish origins in her generous descriptions of the land, the origins, food, ancient artifacts, and sayings. Easy explanations and helpful pronunciations eliminate any off-putting of local colloquialisms and customs and adds to the enjoyment of the story.

I was allowed early ebook download of this novel by the author and greatly appreciated (as always!) the opportunity to read and review. Recommended to any who enjoy a thoroughly entertaining and emotional literary fiction.

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5 of five stars

Jean Grainger - authorThe Author:

JEAN GRAINGER – SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.

Jean Grainger's Author Circle Novel of ExcellenceWINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

‘Warm and wise, reading a Jean Grainger novel is like sitting in the kitchen of a friend. Her authentic writing welcomes you into the heart of Ireland.’ Kate Kerrigan, NYT Bestselling Author.

‘In the same magical tradition as classic Irish storytellers, Maeve Binchy and Frank McCourt, Jean Grainger transports the reader into a world where the characters not only come alive, but become friends, who stay with you long after you’ve closed the last page. I have no doubt that Jean Grainger will be considered one of the finest historical novelists of our time.’ Roberta Kagan, Bestselling author of ‘All My Love, Detrick’ series.

[See her full author bio on Amazon.] I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 150 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dog, a chi-chon called Scrappy-Do.

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years.

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint #BookReviews – December Recap – Welcome to 2019!

Rosepoint Reviews - Recap - Welcome 2019

Welcome 2019 and Happy New Year to You All!

So thrilled you are here to celebrate the beginning of a new year with me and hoping yours gets off to a wonderful start with excitement for things to come.

My December, as yours, was fast and furious. I got in some great reads, however, including cozies, a children’s book, literary fiction, a domestic thriller, and a sci-fi for a total of ten book reviews, as well as a couple spotlights.

My book reviews for December:

If you missed any of my full reviews, just click the link below.

Dec 2 – A Midwinter’s Tail by Bethany Blake

Dec 4 – Violet Tendencies by Kate Dyer-Seeley

Dec 7 – The Kooky Kids’ Club by Robbie Yates

Dec 9 – Tandem Demise by Duffy Brown

Dec 14- Quantum Marlowe by Glenn Lazar Roberts

Dec 16- Chasing the Blue Sky by Will Lowrey

Dec 23- The Water Tower Club by B K Mayo

Dec 25- Oh Holy Fright by Teresa Trent

Dec 28- Justice Gone by N. Lombardi, Jr 

Dec  31- Live and Let Pie by Ellie Alexander

I found new authors to follow and learned another lesson, that of trying a different series by the same author of a series you are not wholly thrilled with. I’ll mention Ellie Alexander, as I reviewed one of her Sloan Krause Mystery series, The Pint of No Return, and loved it. Guess I’m just not that into baking, but I know there are plenty readers out there who would love her Bakeshop Mystery series. You can’t go wrong with the children’s book, The Kooky Kids’ Club, while reading went serious (big time) with both The Water Tower Club and Justice Gone. (Raising awareness.)

If you joined a Goodreads Challenge, this is the fun time of year where they take all your stats and feed them back to you in interesting little chunks.

my year in books
According to Goodreads Stats

A Book With No Pictures by Brent Jones

Goodreads Totals Stats

(My Longest Book didn’t fare well. Most Popular was a book my associate read!)

My Shortest Book – 27 pages – by Brent Jones A Book With No Pictures

Goodreads Highest RatingHighest Rated on Goodreads – Yes, same book!

This little book really packs a punch and the success obviously acknowledged by more than myself. Take a look at your Goodreads stats. Mine have been skewed because of the contributions from my husband, which after some investigation discovered I couldn’t separate because we established one account on Amazon years ago which has now locked in our email addresses. And have you signed up for your Goodreads Challenge for 2019? Now’s the time!

Clink cocktail glassesMartini glassHere is hoping all who read and support my blog have a happy and healthy New Year! And, as always, thank you! I appreciate your participation and comments! ©2018 (signing out) V Williams V Williams

Live and Let Pie by Ellie Alexander – a #BookReview

Title: Live and Let Pie (A Bakeshop Mystery Book 9 ) by Ellie Alexander

Genre: Cozy, Culinary, Mystery, Amateur Sleuth

Publisher: St Martin’s Paperbacks

Printed pages: 304

Publication Date: Happy Publication Day, New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

  • ISBN-10:1250159393
  • ISBN-13:978-1250159397
  • ASIN: B07DNBH26W

Title and Cover: Live and Let Pie – Pie theme cover

Book Blurb:

Live and Let Pie by Ellie AlexanderLife is sweet once you step into Torte, everybody’s favorite small-town bakeshop. But what happens when it becomes the scene of a crime?

The heat is on for pastry chef, family business operator, and unlikely sleuth Jules Capshaw. Just when she thought she could enjoy some time away from the kitchen, Jules manages to discover a skull during a picnic by the lake. As if unearthing remains that may be connected to a missing-persons case from the 1960s isn’t enough on her plate, Jules must contend with the unsolved matter of her own marriage while her estranged husband Carlos sails the open seas, awaiting a verdict. Then there’s Jules’s bitter landlord Edgar, who is intent on making a sweet deal on a vacant lot down the block from Torte—until he turns up dead. If only Jules could find a recipe that would let her bake her cake and eat it, too… Continue reading “Live and Let Pie by Ellie Alexander – a #BookReview”

Welcome to My Top Ten Favorite Reads of 2018

My Favorite Reads of 2018

So many wonderful books this year it was near to impossible to narrow down this list to my Top Ten Favorite Reads. Obviously, a heroic effort, as I can list many more than ten at 4.5 stars or better and judging from your likes and comments, were books you recognized and appreciated too! They appear in no particular order below. I am combining the two Dean Koontz’s books as they are part of the same series and came in within several months of each other. (I’m a sucker for the Jane Hawk series.)

Frosty's toyThe books wend their way over a broad range of genre’s and once again, I’ve found some amazing books in a genre that stretched the reading chops. Among my favorites are psychological thrillers, literary fiction, humorous novels, cozy mysteries, and (what you say??) doggie stories! (Well, I guess no surprise there.) These are books that feed your soul, provide food for thought or chuckles that are share-worthy. I found so many delightful little passages, I began to share them in my Quick Quotes.

Once again, I leaned heavily on NetGalley for new reads as well as accepted a number of author requests and beta reads. I signed up for the NetGalley Challenge on a platinum level (75 books) and according to my count (and my Reading Challenge page) nailed that one. I fell short on the Alphabet Challenge, however, failing to find an “X”.  Found some great new authors that I’ll want to follow as well as continue with a few of my favs which I’d rabidly follow any time they present a new offering.

Follow the link in the title to explore my full review as well as additional links from the books and the link on the cover to the purchase link at Amazon. You’ve probably read your share of these same books and I’d love to hear which ones you also loved that are included in your favorite reads list of the year.

Five Stars of Five Rating 5 starsA Dog's Way Home by W Bruce Cameron

A Dog’s Way HomeLiterature & Fiction, Family Life It’s a dog story–I’ll love it. And written by acclaimed and sympathetic author of canine narratives, W Bruce Cameron, you know it will be excellent.

The Crooked StaircaseLiterature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense The Dean Koontz Jane Hawk series has it all and is very popular. I’m dialed in and looking forward to the next (and final?) installment.

The Forbidden Door by Dean KoontzThe Forbidden Door – See comments above for the Jane Hawk series. If you haven’t checked it out, may want to begin with book 1, but in any case, these can work as standalone gripping thrillers.

Ray vs The Meaning of Life Literature and fiction Ray vs the Meaning of life by Michael F. StewartThis is one of those annoyingly great narratives, full of laughs and outrageous situations, but one that packs quite the moral punch. A new author for me but one I’ll continue to follow!

A Pirate’s Road to Key WestA Pirate's Road to Key West by Michael ReisigAction/adventure, historical fiction The Hole in the Coral Wall Gang always does the right thing. Fast-paced non-stop action. One of my favorite authors and apparently yours too!

4.5 of five stars 4.5 stars

The Last Homecoming The Last Homecoming by Dan ChabotLiterature & Fiction, Contemporary Fiction Christmas-time story of a poignant look at a house that stayed in the hearts of the last four generations of its occupants.

Lethal in Old LaceLethal in Old Lace by Duffy BrownCozy mystery Written by one of my new favorite authors, quirky characters and Old Southern charm and locale.

Dirty Who?Mystery, thriller and suspense Dirty Who? by Jerry KennealyStep back into the crime noir genre and enjoy this Dirty Harry kind of guy as he goes about solving the crime.

The Colonel and the BeeThe Colonel and the Bee by Patrick CanningLiterature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, Action & Adventure with more than a little fantasy. What a wild and wonderful ride this was! Fun, fast-paced, amazing characters. (Think Around the World in 80 Days.)

Burning Ridge Burning Ridge by Margaret MizushimaMystery, Thriller & Suspense Written by Margaret Mizushima spotlights our K-9 partners and this one is a solid, riveting tale in this successful canine series.

The Long Paw of the LawThe Long Paw of the Law by Diane KellyThriller & Suspense, Cozy, Animals, Police Procedural How can you go wrong with a canine crime-solving companion in a topical well-plotted narrative.

Which of the above did you read? Did I miss something fantastic this year that you’d love to tell me about? Do you have a suggestion (book or author) for my 2019 reads?

Happy New Year!

Have a safe and Happy New Year’s Eve and a healthy, successful 2019!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi, Jr – a #BookReview

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi JrTitle: Justice Gone by N Lombardi, Jr

Genre: #Literature & Fiction, #Crime, #Thriller

Publisher: Roundfire Books

Publication Date: To be released February 22, 2019

  • ISBN-10:1785358766
  • ISBN-13:978-1785358760

Source: Author, Publisher, and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Justice GoneJustice is Blind

Book Blurb:

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down. A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase. Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers get there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture. Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge? Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr Tessa Thorpe, wrapped in the divisive issues of modern American society including police brutality and disenfranchised returning war veterans. N Lombardi Jr. is the author of compelling and heartfelt novel The Plain of Jars. Continue reading “Justice Gone by N. Lombardi, Jr – a #BookReview”

Oh Holy Fright by Teresa Trent – a #BookReview

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, to all my Favorite Readers–You!

Christmas review-Oh Holy Fright by Teresa Trent

Title: Oh Holy Fright by Teresa Trent

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Women’s Fiction, Women Sleuths

ASIN: B07JFNSC11

Publication Date: October 31, 2018

Page Length: 255 pages

Source: BookBub

Title and Cover: Oh Holy Fright-That cover will get you

Book Blurb:

It’s Christmas in Pecan Bayou, Texas. Join Betsy (aka The Happy Hinter) for a good old small-town Christmas complete with Christmas carols, over the top light displays, delicious food, loving friends and…a Christmas Creeper. One of the residents of Pecan Bayou has a secret and you’d better lock the door because that isn’t Santa out there or even a stray elf. Enjoy spending Christmas with the town and family you’ve come to know in the Pecan Bayou Series. Recipes and helpful hints included!

My Review:

Oh Holy Fright by Teresa TrentCute cozy with a curious concept! Yay, another cozy with an atypical plot! Betsy Livingston, the local paper’s “Happy Hinter” of rural, small-town Pecan Bayou, Texas is preparing for Christmas with her blended family. (Another plus, unusual family setting, low-key on the romance angle and sexual tension.) Part of her extended family also includes a neurologically handicapped family member, everyone is preparing for Christmas, contending with an off-key, ear-splitting soloist in the choir, and confronting a Christmas Creeper.

Unfortunately, a beloved mailman is murdered in the street which may implicate her aunt Maggie as she recently armed herself against the intruder. In the middle of it all, an instant Christmas store hawking super sales on coveted technical or electronic gift items, including Play Stations, and have her boys on a Christmas campaign.

There are enough threads here to keep you busier than a one-armed paper-hanger, yet the well-plotted mystery dragged somewhat for me. I appreciated the focus on the family situation since that scenario is quite common as well as the sympathetic and sensitive handling of Down’s Syndrome, Danny, whose sweet character was well developed. There is humor in the strangest situations and that was another takeaway, also appreciated.

What had me scratching my head was the obtuseness of the characters, including (once again) the local constabulary. Some of this stuff is pretty obvious so there are few surprises. The narrative examines reverse mortgages and the financial plight of the elderly, as well as offspring with drug problems and exes, the push to get the little ones out to sell subscriptions, scammers, and counterfeit money.

This is book 8 of the series, but I felt could easily work as a standalone as we see enough fleshing to understand the major characters and those who have reoccurring roles. We received this free download through BookBub and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. I say “we” as I thought it might be one my associate reviewer would also enjoy. (His review appeared on Goodreads, November 28, 2018, I’ve since combined.)

His Review: C.E. Williams - Associate Reviewer

Combining small-town drama with mystery and suspense makes this read a hoot. A bit of Nancy Drew meets Perry Mason. Predictable but with some good belly laughs along the way. CE Williams 4/5 stars

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars Four of Five Stars

Teresa Trent - authorThe Author: Teresa Trent writes the Piney Woods and the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series from Houston, Texas where she loves the people and even the weather. Teresa includes Danny, a character with Down Syndrome in her Pecan Bayou family and in real life is the mother of an adult son with Down Syndrome/PDD. Creating the character of Danny and all of the other inhabitants of Pecan Bayou has been a joy for her. Even though she lives in the big city, her writing is influenced by all of the interesting people she finds in small towns and the sense of family that is woven through them all. ©2018 V Williams V Williams

The Water Tower Club by B K Mayo – a #BookReview

Title: The Water Tower Club by B K MayoThe Water Tower Club by B K Mayo

Genre: Literature & Fiction, Family Life

Publisher: Fir Valley Press

Publication Date: To be released January 15, 2019

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

274 pages

  • ISBN-10:0981588441
  • ISBN-13:978-0981588445

Title and Cover: The Water Tower Club – Cover conveys plot focus

Book Blurb:

The day after graduating from high school, Darryl Coombs fled his hometown of Grotin, Kansas, hoping to put the memories of his nightmarish childhood behind him forever. His only regret–he’d had to leave his beloved little sister, Libby, behind. Now, ten years later, Libby’s arrest on a charge of attempted murder has Darryl reluctantly returning to his childhood home. He is desperate to save his sister from prison, but first he must survive the descent into the rabbit hole of his past.

When his efforts to exonerate Libby expose a devil’s bargain so hideous as to be unthinkable, Darryl unwittingly takes action that leads to deadly consequences.

Beautifully written, artfully conceived, charged with moral complexity, this book will leave you wanting more from BK Mayo! Continue reading “The Water Tower Club by B K Mayo – a #BookReview”

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56–HELLO Friday!

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

In October I began participating in Book Beginnings who is hosted by Gillian at Rose City Readers. Every Friday you have the opportunity to share the first sentence of the book you are currently reading. Include the title of the book and the author’s name. You may wish to share your impression of the book to date as well. Also please share your post with Mister Linky on her blog site. This week I am spotlighting Oh Holy Fright by Teresa Trent.

“What would possess Joe Nelson to give the Christmas solo to a woman who sings like a washing machine full of rocks?”

(And because there is a natural tie-in to The Friday 56, it is common to combine the two.)

The only rules are for participation in The Friday 56 is to grab a book, any book or the one you are #currentlyreading, turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader, and find a sentence (or a few, but don’t spoil it!), post it, and then add your post URL to the Linky on the host site Freda’s Voice – there yah go! How’s that for easy!

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56

Friday 56:

Ruby spun around in front of me. “I know you’re looking at my jacket, Betsy. Like it?”

The white fur of the jacket was lustrous. I would never have bought it for myself, and I also thought it was more suited for a woman much younger than Ruby. She was running the risk of looking like the famous abominable snowman from the claymation version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. “Very nice,” was all I could manage to say.

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So what am I thinking?

Nice to get into a slightly unusual scenario for a cozy mystery! I can relate to a choir member hurting your ears since I was part of several choirs for more than fifteen years. And there is always one…

This review is scheduled for Christmas Day. Don’t you just love that cover?

©2018 V Williams V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday – Breakthrough by Michael C Grumley

#ThrowbackThursday - Christmas time

Renee began the #ThrowbackThursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).

This week I am highlighting Michael C Grumley, another terrific, prolific author who wrote Breakthrough, which I reviewed on Goodreads. This novel was published on March 6, 2013 and has more than 8,000 reviews on Amazon labeled technothriller-sci-fi, action and adventure, conspiracies. This is book #1 in the series, now numbering four.

Originally posted July 27, 2016

Breakthrough by Michael C GrumleyBook Blurb:

ONE OF THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS IN HUMAN HISTORY. A SECRET THAT WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO BE FOUND. AND A CRISIS THAT CANNOT BE STOPPED.

Deep in the Caribbean Sea, a nuclear submarine is forced to suddenly abort its mission under mysterious circumstances. Strange facts begin to emerge that lead naval investigator, John Clay, to a small group of marine biologists who are quietly on the verge of making history.

With the help of a powerful computer system, Alison Shaw and her team are preparing to translate the first two-way conversation with the planet’s second smartest species. But the team discovers much more from their dolphins than they ever expected when a secret object is revealed on the ocean floor. One that was never supposed to be found.

Alison was sure she would never trust the military again. However, when an unknown group immediately becomes interested in her work, Alison realizes John Clay may be the only person she can trust. Together they must piece together a dangerous puzzle, and the most frightening piece, is the trembling in Antarctica.

To make matters worse, someone from the inside is trying to stop them. Now time is running out…and our understanding of the world is about to change forever.

Add to Goodreads

My Review:

Love it when I come across a plot that you haven’t read 80 times before. “Breakthrough” by Michael C. Grumley gives us a new one, I believe. There are multi-concepts here (mash in military, tsunamis, and aliens), and they lead to a pretty suspenseful tale that moves along pretty well in this fast-paced book. Throw in one of the planet’s smartest animals (dolphins), add a LOT of sci-fi, some real technology and juxtapose some wild imagination. So you’ll have to push past some disbelief, but this is a sci-fi begging fantasy, right? So just enjoy the ride into entertainment and let your mind veg.

The characters in each scenario work pretty well and for the most part are pretty believable. How well they interact with the characters from the opposing scenarios create the tension or clash and explode (literally) into the climax. One you can’t imagine could have a good ending.

Most reviews (and the blurb) covered the plotline, so I’ll just mention that I enjoyed the dolphins albeit small portion of the plot. What bothered me most towards the climax was the transitions (or complete lack thereof) from one scene to another, the abrupt ending, and the seemingly impossible survival of several of the main characters (there was just no way). Still, a noble debut effort and fun fantasy. A free download from BookBub and appreciated the opportunity for the read and review. Recommended for light-hearted sci-fi fantasy fans.

Michael C Grumley - authorAbout the Author: For years, Michael Grumley dreamed of writing thrillers the way he thought they should be written; complex, multi-genre stories with unique plots that ‘move’. Enter BREAKTHROUGH, AMID THE SHADOWS, and THROUGH THE FOG: all deeply human stories with endings you will never see coming.

Michael C. Grumley lives in Northern California with his wife and two young daughters where he works in the Information Technology field. He’s an avid reader, runner and most of all father. He dotes on his girls every chance he gets. His website is http://www.michaelgrumley.com and his email address is michael@michaelgrumley.com ASIN: B00BVFM04C

More Throwback Thursday Blogs 

Renee at Its Book Talk

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Rebecca at The Book Whisperer

Lynne at Fictionophile

Sam at Clues and Reviews

Holly B at Dressedtoread

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Annie at The Misstery

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

Laurie at Cozy Nook Books

Ann Marie at LItWitWineDine

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Cathy at Between the Lines

Amy at Novel Gossip

Diana at A Haven for Booklovers

Check out the other #ThrowbackThursday bloggers and see what they are highlighting today! Did you read Breakthrough? Agree with my review?

©2018 V Williams V Williams

To Fetch A Thief by Teresa Inge, Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, and Rosemary Shomaker #BlogTour #Spotlight

Welcome to the spotlight at my blog stop for To Fetch A Thief by Teresa Inge, Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, and Rosemary Shomaker on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.

To Fetch a Thief by Teresa Inge, Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, and Rosemary Shomaker

Book Details

To Fetch A Thief
Cozy Mystery Anthology
Light, humorous, dog-themed mysteries.
Bay Breeze Publishing, LLC (November 8, 2018)
• Number of Pages 274  

Book Blurb 

To Fetch a Thief by Teresa Inge, Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, and Rosemary ShomakerTo Fetch a Thief, the first Mutt Mysteries collection, features four novellas that have gone to the dogs. In this howlingly good read, canine companions help their owners solve crimes and right wrongs. These sleuths may be furry and low to the ground, but their keen senses are on high alert when it comes to sniffing out clues and digging up the truth. Make no bones about it, these pup heroes will steal your heart as they conquer ruff villains.

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About the Author (s)

Teresa Inge - authorTeresa Inge grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Today, she doesn’t carry a rod like her idol, but she hotrods. She is president of Sister’s in Crime Mystery by the Sea Chapter and author of short mysteries in Virginia is for Mysteries and 50 Shades of Cabernet.

Website: www.teresainge.com
Connect with Teresa on Facebook, and Twitter

Heather Weidner - authorHeather Weidner, a member of SinC – Central Virginia and Guppies, is the author of the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, Secret Lives and Private Eyes and The Tulip Shirt Murders. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series and 50 Shades of Cabernet. Heather lives in Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers, Disney and Riley. She’s been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. Some of her life experience comes from being a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, IT manager, and cop’s kid. She blogs at Pens, Paws, and Claws.

Website and Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com

Pens, Paws, and Claws Website and Blog: http://penspawsandclaws.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherWeidner1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherWeidnerAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heather_mystery_writer/

Jayne Ormerod - authorJayne Ormerod grew up in a small Ohio town then went on to a small-town Ohio college. Upon earning her degree in accountancy, she became a CIA (that’s not a sexy spy thing, but a Certified Internal Auditor.) She married a naval officer and off they sailed to see the world. After nineteen moves, they, along with their two rescue dogs Tiller and Scout, have settled into a cozy cottage by the sea. Jayne is the author of the Blonds at the Beach Mysteries, The Blond Leading the Blond, and Blond Luck. She has contributed seven short mysteries to various anthologies to include joining with the other To Fetch a Thief authors in Virginia is for Mysteries, Volumes I and II, and 50 Shades of Cabernet.

Website: www.JayneOrmerod.com

Blog: www.JayneOrmerod.blogspot.com

Rosemary Shomaker - authorRosemary Shomaker writes about the unexpected in everyday life. She’s the woman you don’t notice in the grocery store or at church but whom you do notice at estate sales and wandering vacant lots. In all these places she’s collecting story ideas. Rosemary writes women’s fiction, paranormal, and mystery short stories, and she’s taking her first steps toward longer fiction, so stay tuned. She’s an urban planner by education, a government policy analyst by trade, and a fiction writer at heart. Rosemary credits Sisters in Crime with developing her craft and applauds the organization’s mission of promoting the ongoing advancement, recognition, and professional development of women crime writers.

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8121853.Rosemary_Shomaker

More Links:

Website: http://muttmysteries.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MuttMysteries

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MuttMysteries1

Amazon: Purchase Link

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

December 10 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST

December 10 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 10 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 11 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 11 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 12 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

December 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 13 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

December 13 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 14 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

December 15 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 15 – Varietats – REVIEW

December 16 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

December 16 – Lori’s Reading Corner – GUEST POST

December 17 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

December 17 – The Book’s the Thing – GUEST POST

December 18 – Rosepoint Publishing – SPOTLIGHT

December 18 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 19 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

December 19 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

December 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE – DOG TREAT

December 20 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST

December 20 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

December 20 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

December 21 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 21 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 21 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours 

Thank you to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to present this spotlight!

 

 

Chasing the Blue Sky by Will Lowrey – a #BookReview

Chasing the Blue Sky by Will LowreyTitle: Chasing the Blue Sky by Will Lowrey

Genre: Animal Care and Pets, Animal Rights, Dogs

Publisher: Lomack Publishing

Publication Date: November 3, 2018

  • ISBN-10:173293990X
  • ISBN-13:978-1732939905
  • ASIN: B07K5MM6WJ
  • Print Length: 191 pages
  • Source: Author Request

Title and Cover: Chasing the Blue SkyImmensely appealing cover instantly tells the story

Book Blurb:

In the sweltering heat of a Clay County summer, a chained dog gives birth to a spirited, black puppy named Toby. Taken from his mother’s side at just a few weeks old, Toby soon wins the love of an adoring family. But just as quickly, he finds himself struggling to survive in the unforgiving world of the county animal shelter.

But he’s not alone – a motley cast of homeless dogs and a devoted pair of shelter workers will give anything to make sure Toby makes it out alive.

Chasing the Blue Sky is the compelling, emotional story of one dog’s journey to find his place in the great big world.    Continue reading “Chasing the Blue Sky by Will Lowrey – a #BookReview”