Malice by Jennifer Jaynes – a #BookReview

Malice by Jennifer JaynesTitle: Malice by Jennifer Jaynes

Genre: Psychological Thrillers, Murder, Women’s Fiction Contemporary

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: Happy Publication Day! September 25, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Malice – Dark subject matter

Book Blurb: The perfect life becomes the perfect nightmare in a twisting novel of psychological suspense from #1 USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Jaynes…

Dr. Daniel Winters is living a fairy-tale life. He has a beachfront home in Malibu, a career as a respected pediatrician at a thriving Los Angeles practice, and a gorgeous new wife, Mia. For a man whose past was rife with mental illness, addiction, and thoughts of suicide, it seems too good to be true.

Then Daniel learns that a fellow pediatrician and his family were found slaughtered in their home. It’s just the first chip in the facade of Daniel’s perfect life. Little by little, everything starts to fall away. At work, his career becomes at risk when he’s asked to remain silent about a dangerous new drug. At home, Mia has gone from an affectionate newlywed to a mysterious woman carefully hiding secrets—and possibly a lover.

Then, another doctor is found dead, and as Mia’s behavior becomes increasingly suspicious, Daniel begins to wonder: Is paranoia getting the best of him…or has his fairy-tale life become a nightmare worse than he could have ever imagined? Continue reading “Malice by Jennifer Jaynes – a #BookReview”

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#TBR – What’s Up Next? Crypto-Currency and Crime – or Is That Redundant?

#TBR

Just a little respite from the cozies to get into some serious, intelligent reading. I’m as ignorant of crypto-currency as I am of the Amazon algorithms, but thinking I’d tackle that subject downloaded The Enigma Source by Charles V Breakfield and Roxanne E Burkey from NetGalley. Holy Moly Batman, what have I gotten myself into!? Because the blurb is almost as long as the book, I’ll just mention that so far I am greatly enjoying a very intriguing, intricate, and solid technothriller. The Enigma Sourcce by Breakfield and Burkey

The world is almost ready for fiat currency to be replaced by a superior digital currency.  The trouble is, which one and who will own it? The R-Group is back and trying to guide the players to a safe destination in the complex world of cryptocurrency.  The Global Bank has tasked Tonya to find and hire a cryptologist to create a new global cryptocurrency, though sometimes it seems she may not be up to the task. Along the way it appears she is the one getting played.

If you’ve heard the term and wondered what is going on with our greenbacks, you might tap into this, the tenth (yeah–the 10th!!–it’s possible I’ve missed something important in the first nine! Gees, always late to the party...) The Enigma Series Book 10 released August 11, 2018. Check it out.

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Malice by Jennifer JaynesAnd I was ready for a rollicking good psychological thriller again and chose Malice by Jennifer Jaynes also from NetGalley. This one will release on September 25th, which means I’ll have to switch books temporarily.

The perfect life becomes the perfect nightmare in a twisting novel of psychological suspense from #1 USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Jaynes…

Dr. Daniel Winters is living a fairy-tale life. He has a beachfront home in Malibu, a career as a respected pediatrician at a thriving Los Angeles practice, and a gorgeous new wife, Mia. For a man whose past was rife with mental illness, addiction, and thoughts of suicide, it seems too good to be true.

This little ditty has already gotten 85 reviews on Goodreads at 4.62 stars. That’s pretty good for Goodreads and I’m looking forward to tearing into it.

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High Crimes by Libby Fischer HellmannAnd just in case I haven’t had enough on the thriller side of political conspiracies, I also downloaded from NetGalley High Crimes by Libby Fischer Hellman, the Georgia Davis PI Series Book 5. Oh good grief! When will I learn to start with Book 1? This one will be released on November 10, 2018. From the blurb…

How do you solve a murder when there are 42,000 suspects? 
That’s the task facing Chicago PI Georgia Davis, hired to hunt down those ultimately responsible for the assassination of Resistance leader Dena Baldwin at a demonstration fourteen months after the 2016 election. The gunman, on a nearby hotel rooftop, dies within minutes of the shooting.  As Georgia sifts through Dena’s 42,000 Facebook followers, she discovers that unknown enemies hiding behind fake profiles have infiltrated the group… 

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Reviews upcoming. After that, I’ll be ready to tackle those cozies I have lined up beginning in October. I’ll get back to you on those. Stay tuned…

©2018 V Williams V Williams

In Cold Chocolate by Dorothy St. James #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

In Cold Chocolate

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for In Cold Chocolate: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery by Dorothy St. James on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down the page to enter the Giveaway for your chance to win this delectable treat!

Book Details

In Cold Chocolate: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (September 11, 2018)
Hardcover: 350 Pages
ISBN-10: 1683317432
ISBN-13: 978-1683317432
Digital ASIN: B078M3N9TC

Book Blurb

In Dorothy St. James’s third delectable Southern Chocolate Shop mystery, a new batch of chocolate and troubles of the heart cause a string of disasters for the Chocolate Box’s new owner, Charity Penn.

The vintage seaside town of Camellia Beach, South Carolina seems like the perfect place for romance with its quiet beach and its decadent chocolate shop that serves the world’s richest dark chocolates. The Chocolate Box’s owner, Charity Penn, falls even further under the island’s moonlit spell as she joins Althea Bays and the rest of the turtle watch team to witness a new generation of baby sea turtles hatch and make their way into the wide ocean.

Before the babies arrive, gunshots ring out in the night. Cassidy Jones, the local Casanova, is found dead in the sand with his lover Jody Dalton—the same woman who has vowed to destroy the Chocolate Box—holding the gun. It’s an obvious crime of passion, or so everyone believes. But when Jody’s young son pleads with Penn to bring his mother back to him, she can’t say no. She dives headfirst into a chocolate swirl of truth and lies and must pick through an assortment of likely (and sometimes unsavory) suspects before it’s too late for Penn and for those she loves in Dorothy St. James’s third rich installment of the Southern Chocolate Shop mysteries, In Cold Chocolate.

My Review

In Cold Chocolate by Dorothy St. JamesCamellia Beach, SC is definitely heating up. It’s August and the baby sea turtle nests are set to start hatching under the watchful eyes of the local sea turtle rescue volunteers. Charity Penn, owner of the Chocolate Box, is excited to join her best buddy, Althea, to watch for the hatching. Unfortunately, they end up in the crossfire of some deadly shooting, wounding Penn, and sending Jody Dalton to jail for the murder of Cassidy Jones. Jody is caught, dead to rights (so to speak) with not one but two smoking guns. Open and shut case, right? Sure looks that way, but Jody is the mother of Gavin, the son of her new heartthrob, Harley Dalton, and she promises Gavin she’ll have her mother out of jail before school starts. Uh oh…

Okay, this is the third in the series but could be viewed as a standalone as there was enough fleshing of the protagonist to learn who she is. Harley just a little less so. It’s one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone else’s business and not all the townspeople are strong supporters of Ms. Penn. Her heritage has been called to question and she is currently in a legal fight to settle once and for all the inheritance from her grandmother(?) Mabel which included the Chocolate Box.

In the meantime, Penn has poured her heart and soul into learning the business and remodeling, rehabbing, the building. She is building a strong and faithful customer base and has introduced a few new ideas to the shop, which apparently also allows coffee drinks. Her grandmother (if she is truly that) had a partner,  Bertie Bays, Althea’s mother and Penns roommate, who is valiantly trying to teach Penn the recipes for the exceptional Amar chocolate beans they use for their delicious dark confections.

Granted, there is a lot going on in this narrative, and some of it slows the well-plotted mystery. The victim is someone so despised that most of the town is probably happy to see him gone and doesn’t really care who is responsible. Harley and his son share the apartment upstairs next door to Penn and Bertie and Harley is also the attorney representing Penn.

There are a number of minor or support characters who round out the population of this small coastal town with a proximity to Charleston. The scenes are described well-enabling visions of the seaside community and the information on the sea turtles interesting. There is a sub-subplot going on with her little insecure five-pound black, brown, and white snappy papillon she was given by her ex that needs a LOT of training and all the training seems to include a box load of treats. (Seems to me half the time the dog is being rewarded for bad behavior, but he does make some successful progress through the novel.)

What appeared to be annoying on the surface, that of a 37-year-old woman abandoned as a child, damaged and flawed protagonist, raised by uncaring and abusive adults, who is constantly battling negative thoughts serves as an epiphany when you finally get inside her head for that ah ha comprehending moment. Maybe she is justified in being who she is! There were sympathetic characters and nasty relatives. Lots of little hints and it wasn’t too hard to figure out the antagonist. As the twists hit, as they inevitably must, they fly in the face of what you expected and actually were a surprise, including the big one at the conclusion–most satisfying.

There is some lag in the middle, and a surprising number of edit misses including missing words (or duplicates) and sentence structure problems. I was given this download by the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for any who love small town southern-based cozies, chocolates (including recipes), dogs, and the saga of the sea turtles.

 Giveaway

Click on the link to sign up for your chance to win one (1) Delicious 12-piece Godiva Patisserie Truffle Chocolate Flight (US Only) in this special  Rafflecopter giveaway 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars Four of Five Stars

Dorothy St. James - author

Mystery author Dorothy St. James was raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on the outskirts of Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, a neurotic dog, and a fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.

Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn’t as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.

* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: “amazing”, “perfect”, “filled with emotion”, and “lined with danger.”

Author Links:

Website: www.dorothystjames.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/dorothystjames

Twitter: www.twitter.com/dorothymcfalls

Purchase Links:

Indie Bound    Amazon      Kobo      Google Play      Barnes & Noble      BookBub

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

Tour Participants:

September 12 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

September 12 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 12 – Writing Pearls – REVIEW

September 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 13 – Island Confidential – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 14 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

September 14 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Community Bookstop – SPOTLIGHT

September 16 – Readeropolis – RECIPE

September 16 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

September 17 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 17 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – RECIPE

September 18 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

September 18 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 19 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

September 19 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

September 20 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

September 20 – Mysteries with Character – RECIPE

September 21 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

September 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 21 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

September 22 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 22 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

September 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

September 23 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 24 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

September 24 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 24 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 24 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

September 25 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

September 25 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

September 25 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT Great Escapes Book Tours 

Thanks to the publisher, NetGalley, and Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery! ©2018 V Williams V Williams

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Vibrant Colors

Cee's Fun Foto Challenge2

Cee at Cee’s Photography hosts a weekly Fun Foto Challenge. This week’s challenge is vibrant colors. Can’t you have fun with this one!! The challenge is basically self-explanatory. If you have a photo you’d like to submit, click on her website and check it out. It’s a very simple procedure. Have fun.  Let’s see how creative you can be on this challenge then link your photo(s) to the comment box of her website!

I have some vibrant color photos, the tree, part of their early Halloween decorations, taken as recently as last month at the Albanese Candy Outlet Store in Merrillville IN. Obviously, hubby and I were having some fun in the hall of mirrors at the Science Museum in Chicago.

 

 

 

Please check out Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge to learn more of what this challenge is about! 

©2018 V Williams

Lackbeard – a Children’s Fantasy Pirate Adventure #BookReview

Lackbeard by Cody B Stewart and Adam RockeTitle: Lackbeard by Cody B Stewart and Adam Rocke

Genre: Children’s Fantasy Adventure, Pirate Adventure

Publisher: Common Deer Press

ASIN: B07GBDN9FB

Publication Date: To be released December 3, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Print Length: 172 pages

Title and Cover: Lackbeard – Pirate map–perfect

Book Blurb:

All they wanted was their forever homes. But when a motley group of orphans steals an ancient artifact from the Golden Age of Piracy and a treasure map drawn in blood, what they get is an epic adventure.

(Goodreads) Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts. Calico Jack. Henry Morgan. You think those are the fearsomest pirates ever to sail the seven seas? That’s because you haven’t yet had the great misfortune to stumble upon Captain Lackbeard and his crew of mismatched misfits. if the Captain is yet challenged in the fine art of facial hair development? And who cares that he’s only eleven years old? Adventure, chums. That’s what our hero is after. Or at least that’s what he thinks he’s after… until real adventure finds him.

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My Review: pirate

Is it just a charming book cover that attracted my attention because of the pirate adventure book I published for my grandfather called Cocos Island Treasure? What can I say? I’m attracted to books about pirates, never mind this one is geared for the 8+ year crowd. It’s fun.

Carter Humbolt is eleven years old and he’s a die-hard pirates fan–not a ball club–the folklore, sword, and yo ho ho kind of pirates. All of his beloved earthly possessions are pirate books, artifacts, trinkets. He walks the walk and talks the talk. Now he just needs the treasure. He talks his older brother Brad into being a reluctant buccaneer and off they go to heist an artifact from a local museum. Unfortunately, he and his cohorts are caught, but he and his brother do not have parents to take them home and deliver appropriate discipline. He is returned to an orphanage where it is determined that he and his brother will be split up. (Or maybe not.)

New escapees Carter and a cadre of orphans steal a fifty-eight-foot Rossborough Ketch (as I said–suspend your disbelief–kids will lap this up). Captain Carter Lackbeard and his crew set out for Eleuthera. (Yes, it’s a real island in the Bahamas archipelago known for pink sand beaches. *Wikipedia.) Carter found a map, you see. The kids confront real pirates and “heave to” during a storm but manage to reach the island and are soon in search of treasure. In the meantime, I began to roll this flick through my mind, and could picture Cruella de Vil in the part of the orphanage school mistress.

Remember now–this is a novel for middle schoolers–so just park your disbelief and try to remember those years in which you could crawl into your head and be the hero, lead the way against the odds, discover new heights, catch the crooks, and find the treasure of your dreams. Nothing is impossible.

Carter is the stalwart brother ready to tackle anything (holding back a few niggles of concern for his fellow orphans) while Brad weighs heavily having been left the burden of protecting and watching over Carter. The characters are varied and add texture and believability to a story of the mix expected of this age range of children suddenly left without families. There are the antagonists, badder than bad, bent on returning the orphans back into “the system,” but you know somewhere along the line, their hearts may melt just a little. Support characters add depth to the romp.

“We rich?” “No, just dirty.”

This little story keeps you engaged right to conclusion–it’s short–doesn’t take long and the climax is exactly as you’d have it. My only problem was with the edit misses which I assume will be cleaned by the time this little ditty releases. Sometimes you just have to relinquish the heavy stuff, even the cozies, and enjoy a romp into juvenile unreality. Recommended for anyone who would enjoy a fantasy trip to hunt for hidden treasure and read it to your kids (or yourself). I was given this download by the publisher and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review.

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars Four of Five Stars

Cody B Stewart - authorThe AuthorCody B. Stewart was born in the Adirondacks, in Upstate New York. His love of stories began in those mountains as he vanquished trolls, fought in the American Revolution and discovered his latent mutant powers. Stories have continued to consume his life, but he now plucks them out of his head and puts them down on paper in the form of novels and comic books. He left the Adirondacks to grow into a man, did so, and has since returned with a wonderfully supportive wife and two sons.

 

Adam Rocke Slutsky never met an adventure he didn’t love. From swimming with great white sharks without a cage, to jumping out of a plane without a parachute, Adam’s adrenaline junkie tendencies play a major role in his writing. Throw in a secondary degree in CryptoZoology, and it’s anyone’s guess where Adam’s literary travels will take him.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Read and Gone – a #BookReview #BookTour #Giveaway

Read and Gone by Allison Brook

 

I am delighted today to present a review at my blog stop for Read and Gone, A Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down the page to find and enter the Giveaway!

Book Details

Title: Read and Gone (A Haunted Library Mystery) by Allison Brooke

Read and Gone: A Haunted Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (September 11, 2018)

Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683317340
Digital ASIN: B078M7MXGR

Book Blurb

Twenty million dollars’ worth of missing gems bring Carrie Singleton’s long-lost and larcenous dad back into her life and it’s up to Carrie to clear his name.

A devoted dad is as precious as diamonds, but Carrie Singleton wouldn’t know since her dad Jim’s been on the lam most of her life. In an unusual family reunion, she finds Jim breaking into her cottage in the middle of the night. The fun really starts when he begs her to help him recover his half of a twenty-million-dollar gem heist he pulled off with the local jeweler, Benton Parr. When she refuses, Jim takes off again.

Carrie finds her father again behind bars for the recent murder of Benton Parr. Who made the connection? Unbeknownst to her, Carrie’s boyfriend Dylan, an insurance investigator, has been searching for the gems. Determined to find the jewels herself, she starts examining every facet of Parr’s life. She turns up a treasure trove of suspects, one of whom bashes her on the head as she’s searching the victim’s country cabin.

Retreating to the quiet confines of the library where she works, Carrie watches as Smokey Joe, the resident cat, paws at a hole in the wall. Is he after the library’s ghost Evelyn, or something shinier?

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My Review

Read and Gone by Allison BrookCarrie Singleton just celebrated her 30th birthday and is feeling pretty good about herself being back in a small town near her favorite great-aunt Harriet and uncle, a boyfriend, Dylan, who also functions as her landlord for her comfortable little cottage, and a peach of a new job with the local Clover Ridge CT Library where she is now head of Programs and Events. She has a kitty, Smoky Joe, who adopted her and a ghost named Evelyn Havers, who haunts the library and is only visible to herself and her young cousin. It’s that time before Christmas when the grey skies turn to snow and the streets and storefronts are decorated with lights and themes, and joyous Christmas jingles emanate from public speaker systems.

However, as she is often heard to think–it can’t last forever–and doesn’t with the return of her erstwhile, long-absent father, Jim, last in line to ever receive a father-of-the-year award. The man, a thief who has spent a stint in the slammer, would like his daughter to help him retrieve the jewels he and an accomplice stole some time back. Who wouldn’t welcome him back? Almost immediately, he is found beaten and ends up in the hospital, creating a conundrum for Carrie, aka Carolinda, aka Caro. She agrees to let him stay at her cottage until he is on his feet again (while looking for the jewels of course).

There were a number of things I enjoyed about this book. The library, the small town feel with the happy Christmas spirit, her loving relationship with her aunt and uncle and boyfriend. Smoky Joe, the kitty, who became a self-proclaimed library cat that functioned much the same as a therapy dog, especially with the older patrons. The paranormal inclusion of Evelyn, the ghost with the never-ending wardrobe and personal hair stylist was fun and bounced in and out of the story adding interest. The search is on (sorta) for the gems and meanwhile the first victim shows up. At least it shouldn’t be too difficult to prove it wasn’t her daddy–he was likewise occupied.

However, there were some rubs. First, I didn’t see a well-developed protagonist. Assumed she was fleshed in book 1–this one wasn’t, nor the boyfriend, who was one hour being a sleaze being noisily denounced, the next loverboy. There were times when the 30-year-old reverted to 15. The library sounds more like a city library with lots of employees and all kinds of events and programs (that had me wondering what kind of budget they had) then small town stacks. The cat? Smoky Joe scratches on her office door to be allowed in to eat–and that is where his litter box is also located. Then she grabs her lunch meal break of the day. (Did she open some windows? Why is the litter box in her office(?)–gag.) And the library coffee shop has mice? Where is the local health department?

The plot moves along at a typical cozy pace and does keep engagement. I liked most of the characters but couldn’t get into Carrie’s shoes and the mystery, the antagonist, was pretty obvious early on. Still, it is entertaining for those who appreciate the cozy mystery genre, felines with their felonies, and amateur women sleuths and I appreciated the opportunity to read and review.

 Giveaway

Click on the link to sign up for your chance to win one (1) Print Copy of Read and Gone: A Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook Rafflecopter giveaway

Allison Brook - author

Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime.

Author Links:

Website: http://www.marilynlevinson.com

My Amazon page: http://amzn.to/K6Md1O

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.levinson.10?ref=ts&fref=ts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/161602.Marilyn_Levinson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarilynLevinson

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/marilev/

Purchase Links:

Amazon   B&N  BookBub

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

Tour Participants:

September 11 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

September 11 – Varietats – SPOTLIGHT

September 11 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 12 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 12 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

September 12 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 13 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

September 13 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 13 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – REVIEW

September 14 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

September 14 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

September 14 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Reading Authors – REVIEW

September 15 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 16 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

September 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

September 17 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

September 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

September 17 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 18 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

September 18 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

September 18 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 19 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

September 19 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW  

September 19 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 20 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

September 20 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Malice at the Manor – a #BookReview

Malice at the Manor by J Marshall GordonTitle: Malice at the Manor (Penny Summers Mystery Book 2) by J. Marshall Gordon

Genre: Mystery, Women’s Fiction, Woman Sleuth, Private Investigations

Publisher: Taylor & Seale Publishing

Publication Date: April 27, 2018

Source: Happy Book Reviews and author

Title and Cover: Malice at the Manor – Beautiful cover conveys subject background

Book Blurb: Penny Summers bones up on Renaissance garden design until she finds a dead docent and finds herself up to her tramp stamp unraveling a Civil War battle flag scam.

In North Carolina where “The Recent Unpleasantness” between the North and the South is still romanticized, the problem of a dead docent in a famous garden leads ex-Navy public affairs officer Penny Summers to a Civil War battle flag scam, a deadly reenactment, and a search for a man in black. With the help of Kalea, an eleven-year-old C.S.I.-wannabe, and Aaron, her handsome Navy friend working undercover, Penny discovers more than she bargained for. She thinks if she had studied psychology, it might have turned out differently. Probably not.

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(This was a publicist request that I thought both the C.E. and I might enjoy and review together–you’ll note the CE often holds a different opinion although many times generously so.)

My Review:

I must confess that this is the first quasi-cozy whose protagonist is a Master Gardener/landscape designer. Ex-Navy Penny Summers enrolls in Madison Lerrimore’s residential design course in Maryland which leads to a visit with the instructor to North Carolina.

The author does a masterful job of interlacing fact with fiction, the names in our recent history, and fascinating locations in this country’s civil war including the little-known site of a short skirmish in Asheville, NC. I must say, it incites interest in visiting civil war sites and some of these gorgeous old southern mansions and their gardens. This one, whether or not fictional, sounded fascinating enough to warrant a closer inspection (especially if the bridges where the public would be allowed are unsafe).

This is actually the second in the series. Among the recurring major characters are her Aunt Zelma and Navy sweetie, Aaron Hunt. In this narrative, Penny gets to know her instructor on a personal level, including Madison’s daughter, Kalea, a precocious eleven-year-old and Madison’s partner. The author includes a touch of paranormal with his first-person Penny who often hears her “Grandpa Jack” making comments in her ear, and her great-aunt Zelma is said to have “second sight.” Additionally, backstory is added to Penny’s own childhood that appears to have some impact on current events.

It doesn’t take long before Penny is stumbling across a docent face down in a creek bed who turns out to be a relative of Madison which unintentionally opens a can of worms. The multi-layered plot forks off with absorbing peek into history, Madison’s twisted tale, and Aunt Zelma’s hosting prowess with food and the ever-present chardonnay. And there is always “money” as motive in civil war memorabilia. Penny concocts an idea to wheedle out the antagonist using her sweetie, soon to be lover, and manages to pull off a coup at the conclusion with the help of local law enforcement and Henderson County detective, Coleen Jackson.

The description of the gardens and associated local plant species was interesting, the civil war history interesting, and the sights and flavors of the south interesting. However, there were times when Kalea appeared to be smarter than the adults who were supervising her, and the growing romance between Penny and Aaron was just annoying unnecessary. The characters were not wholly engaging although the narrative moved at a nice pace, and the dialogue (except for exaggerated southern drawl) believable.

On the whole, a relatively quiet conclusion, albeit without a complete resolution to all questions. The antagonist seems apparent and as they note, “Maybe the how will suggest the why. And then the who will become obvious.” 4/5 stars [V Williams] V Williams Continue reading “Malice at the Manor – a #BookReview”

#ThrowbackThursday – The 10th Cycle by JC Ryan

The 10th Cycle by JC Ryan

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 JC Ryan, another terrific, prolific author who wrote The 10th Cycle: A Thriller. This novel was published on July 22, 2014 and is the first of seven in the Rossler Foundation Mystery series of technothrillers. He has written other series as well as standalones. He consistently runs approximately 4+ stars for any of his books sold on Amazon.

This book was recently downloaded as a freebie from BookBub and read by associate reviewer, the C E. It is his review that follows.

Book Blurb:

The truth about human history is about to be revealed. . . But will we be allowed to know it?

For thousands of years the truth about human history has intentionally been suppressed and exploited.

For decades scholars have been saying that the truth about human history will be found inside the Great Pyramid of Giza, but up till now no one has ever been able to find it. Those who tried have been ridiculed and persecuted.

Will Daniel Rossler and Dr. Sarah Clarke be allowed to uncover the real and true message? As they come closer to the truth, skepticism out of the academic community is replaced by evil and malicious adversaries, dumping them into a very hostile world where violence, deceit and duplicity become their daily companions. The mysterious Orion Society with its deranged and psychopathic members, the CIA, the Marines, the Mossad and even the President of the United States become involved. Not all of them have good intentions.

THE TENTH CYCLE is a full-length novel, a provocative technothriller about human history, conspiracies and an ancient society with power and money that will stop at nothing to reach their sinister goals.

 Add to Goodreads Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – The 10th Cycle by JC Ryan”

Cast No Shadow: A Short Story #Review

Cast No Shadow: A Short Story by Brandon DraganTitle: Cast No Shadow: A Short Story by Brandon Dragan

Genre: Literature & Fiction, Short Stories, Westerns(?)

Print Length: 65 pages

Publication Date: June 22, 2018

Source: Direct author request

ASIN: B07DHB437Q

Title and Cover: Cast No ShadowSuper cover reflects the timbre of the book

Dark and disturbing, this short story packs a wallop. Set in an early ’80s Texas locale, a Vietnam vet lives with his wife and nine-year-old son. He has a cadre of his military buddies close by and is together engaged in an unusual activity, creatively borne of a passionate love of country, military comrades, and the state of their world upon return with the brutal knowledge left by their collective/respective war experience.

First, you should know the dialogue is written in the style of Cormac McCarthy, a tribute by the author to McCathy’s particular style of writing. Dragan’s own style is clipped and adult or child appropriate and while the absence of quotation marks on dialogue is present, it quickly becomes part of the natural story progression and doesn’t cause a lot of tripping. The narrative is written in first person account, which lends you a strong masculine sensitivity to his personal backstory. (There are, of course, many words considered seaman worthy and the reader should also be aware of some adult activity.)

That said, there is an obvious love between protagonist Beau Moreland and his wife Annabelle and their son. He has been honest with his wife and she is aware of his “extracurricular” activities, sans specific details. His son loves to play ball and he is careful to interact with him in practice and attend games.

His after-hours activities involve members of his ex-troop who feel the need to pursue a fight against an inexorable and deadly activity despoiling their population. They will take a stand where justice fails. The author has an interesting descriptive manner and the short narrative doesn’t need to be broken up into chapters, but engages you immediately. You need no commercial breaks to march through to the heart-stopping conclusion.

This is not the first vigilante offering I’ve read of late but is certainly one of the most powerful and again seems to offer up the opinion that this form of justice may come at too great an extreme cost. Is it still wrong if you are trying to right a wrong?

This is a well-paced short story, devastating, haunting, and heartrending. The poignant love and lesson a father bestow to his child takes on epic proportions. This is a conclusion you can’t see coming, like a ninja in the night, it’s a black warrior, and it leaves you crying NOOO…(take it back!). But there are no do-overs, only unanswered questions.

I received this download from the author and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. It is one that leaves an impression on your heart and a chill down your arms.

(Crap! Can we get a new ending? Please?)

Recommended for those who appreciate short stories, literature and fiction, thrillers, crime fiction, and vigilante justice.

Add to Goodreads

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

The Author: Brandon Dragan grew up in New Jersey, just miles from the Lincoln Tunnel.

At eighteen he left home to attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

He draws on a wide range of influences—from literature to history, to philosophy—to craft meaningful and often surprising narratives that challenge the status quo and reach for a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.

Brandon and his wife Jami live in the Nashville area with their two daughters, Natalie and Brooklyn.

He enjoys road cycling and is an avid supporter of Arsenal Football Club.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

A Borrowing of Bones – a #BookReview

A Borrowing of Bones by Paula MunierTitle: A Borrowing of Bones (Mercy and Elvis Mysteries) by Paula Munier

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Animal, Police Procedurals

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press-Minotaur Books

Publication Date: To be released Tuesday, September 11, 2018 

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: A Borrowing of BonesI still maintain that if it has a dog on the cover, it has to be good.

Grief and guilt are the ghosts that haunt you when you survive what others do not….”

Retired MP and Afghanistan vet Mercy Carr and the Belgian Malinois she brought home after a six-month battle to retrieve the highly trained ex-bomb-sniffing dog, Elvis, are living a quiet life. Mercy exercises the high energy canine early every morning continuing a bonding regime from his former handler and her deceased fiancé Martinez. That is, until this morning when the dog suddenly darts into the dense underbrush and alerts to a baby. Continue reading “A Borrowing of Bones – a #BookReview”

Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery by Melinda Mullet #BookTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Deadly Dram by Melinda Mullet

I am thrilled today to provide a review at my blog stop for Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery by Melinda Mullet on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down the page to find and enter the Giveaway!

Book Details

Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Alibi (September 4, 2018)
Print Length 300 pages
ASIN: B079R3PW46

Book Blurb

Distillery owner Abigail Logan discovers that high spirits are no match for a cold-blooded killer as the Whisky Business Mystery series puts a fatal twist on stiff competition.

It’s been a year since globe-trotting photojournalist Abi Logan inherited Abbey Glen, a whisky distillery in the heart of the Scottish countryside. To her surprise, the village of Balfour already feels like home, and her new business partner, Grant MacEwan, continues to be too charming to resist. But Abi has a history of relationship disasters, so she struggles to avoid an ill-fated romance with Grant. Steering clear is hard enough on a day-to-day basis, but when the two head off to a whisky industry competition together, Abi panics. Five-star resort, four glorious days of nonstop whisky tasting, and a fatally attractive Scotsman—what could possibly go wrong?

The night before the award presentations, with foreign and domestic whisky makers at one anothers’ throats, two judges are found dead under mysterious circumstances. What started with three dream-come-true nominations for Abby Glen’s whisky soon turns into a nightmare for Abi. With a killer on the loose, she must call on her investigative skills to stop another murder—before she gets taken out of the running herself.

My Review

I love it when I get to be introduced into a whole new exotic industry in a lovely country, beautiful setting, and some hardy but oft-times inebriated characters! Blame all that whisky tasting! deadly dram-cover

Ex-photojournalist Abigail Logan inherited Abbey Glen, a Scottish whisky distillery, just a year ago but is beginning to feel right at home in Balfour and a solid part of the team that includes Cam Lewis, the distiller, and her handsome co-owner/partner, Grant MacEwen. Although she finds Grant enormously attractive, Abi has tried to keep the relationship strictly professional, as she has not been real successful in the romance department and fortunately, the romance aspect is kept low-key. The duo must have been successful somewhere, however, as they’ve just enjoyed nominations for the annual Golden Quaich Awards, including possibly the top award. Even better, the competition and judging takes place at a huge posh Scottish five-star resort, and in addition to Grant and Cam, she will be allowed to include her Wheaton terrier, Liam, as it is a dog-friendly hotel. Additionally, she’ll room with her best friend from university days, Patrick Cooke.

It becomes obvious at the outset that there is a rift at the Scottish Whisky competition having been diluted with distiller entrants outside of Scotland. She’s a lone woman (for awhile) in a male-dominated industry, whom she calls “the Barley Boys,” and it doesn’t take long before it’s obvious the camp is divided between the nationalists and the globalists. So when the first victim, a judge who openly welcomed the foreign competition is found dead of poisoning, the immediate red herring becomes those who would oppose competition outside of Scotland. Enter Detective Inspector Ian Michaelson with whom she has apparently clashed in previous series entries. This time he is short on manpower and enlists her unofficial aid.

Here is an author who labels her characters in triplets as well as detailed descriptions…”melancholy, speculative, and independent,” “intense, calculating, and sturdy,” “pliable, shortsighted, and impressionable,” “fiery, flamboyant, and intractable,” and so on. The problem I had was the pace of the mystery, only increasing somewhat following the second murder. (As in…. slowww) Abi is not a character that kept me engaged and Grant just seemed–remote and one-dimensional. While Liam was an occasional fresh breath (or doggy breath) of air, breaking up the narrative occasionally with undisciplined canine antics, I decried the offer so often to allow him tasting the whisky along with the humans who should have known better. (And to her credit, the author offers a dedicated pet-alcohol warning disclosure following the conclusion. And plates of sausage? No, no, and just no.) The well-developed plot eventually escalates into a possible warning to Abi putting Grant in the hospital.

Following the hand-wringing bouts of evaluation, re-evaluation, theory–more theory, and possible scenarios, the plot gains some speed and blindsides you with a conclusion you may only have suspicioned. (But in my defense, thought she had her culprit; mystery solved.) So the unsuspected twist was fun. (And that’ll teach me/you for becoming complacent!)

Overall, an interesting romp in Scotland with a truly Scottish world renown libation. I enjoyed getting to know the industry better. Third in the Whisky Business Mystery series, perhaps my lack of empathy for the characters was that it was my first experience with the author and the series. It might help if you start with the first in the series and not treat this one as a standalone.

Add to Goodreads

Giveaway

Click this link for your chance to win one of two (2) eCopies of Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery by Melinda Mullet in this Rafflecopter Giveaway and good Luck! 

About the Author

Melinda Mullet - authorMelinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.

Author Links: 

Webpage – http://melindamullet.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mulletmysteries/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/mulletmysteries

Purchase Links:

Amazon  B&N    Kobo   Google Play  BookBub

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

Tour Participants:

September 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 4 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 5 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

September 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

September 6 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 6 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 7 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

September 7 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

September 8 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 8 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

September 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

September 9 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

September 10 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW, GUEST POST

September 10 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 11 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 11 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT  

September 12 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW

September 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

September 13 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

September 14 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

September 14 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Varietats – REVIEW

September 16 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  

September 16 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW

September 17 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW, GUEST POST  

September 17 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday – Deer Season (Ray Elkins Thriller series) by Aaron Standler

#ThrowbackThursday-Deer Season

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 Aaron Standler, another prolific author who wrote Deer Season #3 in his Ray Elkins Thriller series. (He has written other series as well.) This novel was published by Writers and Editors LLC on July 1, 2009. He consistently runs approximately 3.5-4 stars for any of his books sold on Amazon.

I posted a review of Shelf Ice by this author in January 2014. Shelf Ice is #4 in the series. See that review here. That was back when I was gleaning free books from BookBub and also downloaded Deer Season as my hubby was a hunter and thought he’d enjoy. Apparently, the author has written nine in the series. The C.E. read this book and his review follows. Winter is knocking on our doors, changing the direction of the wind, and the smell of dry leaves permeate the air perhaps earlier in Michigan and parts of the north than the midwest and sunny south and west. Are you ready for some cooler temps?

Book Blurb:

It’s late November along the shores of northern Lake Michigan. Deer season has been open for a few days and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. A local TV anchorwomen is returning home from an early morning yoga class with her young twin daughters. She stops at the end of her drive and climbs out of her car to collect the mail from the box. As she turns back toward her vehicle, the bullet from a high caliber weapon tears through her chest. In this third book in this series, Sheriff Ray Elkins confronts both the dark history of his own department and powerful and wealthy adversaries who try to control the direction and reach of his investigation.

 Add to Goodreads Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – Deer Season (Ray Elkins Thriller series) by Aaron Standler”

Nice Try, Afton – a #BookReview

Nice Try, Afton by Brent Jones

Title: Nice Try, Afton (Afton Morrison Series Book 3) by Brent Jones

Genre: Thriller, Crime Fiction, Vigilante Justice

Novella: 111 Pages

Publication Date: To be released September 17, 2018

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: Nice Try, Afton – Love these beautiful covers

With Wakefield smothering in the smoky haze from recent arsons and oppressive humidity from the recent downpour in the summer heat, Afton scrambled to avoid detection by the National Guard seeking a meeting with her nemesis. The dramatic conclusion to book 2 left the town in smoldering shambles and Afton’s unintentional cohorts, including her brother Chris and his girlfriend Tia, Jared, and Kim, extremely vulnerable. Afton makes a last-ditch effort to cloak her companions and perhaps divert the familial revelation divulged in book 2.

Discussing the brutal assault in the open with companions accidentally involved didn’t do much to clear the air or formulate a plan. But one thing is sure–they must move. Afton and brother Chris go on a search, hoping to track down that familial connection. They discover, however, that Tia’s expected safe haven was insufficient to provide the protection they thought was proffered.

In an ever-increasing tangle of deception, misdirection, and twists, the narrative continues to stump and perplex the reader. Can there be any solution to this dark plot involving a protagonist professed vigilante murderess? Is she too heinous to actually become empathetic or are we beginning to see the emergence of contrived misconception here. There appears some kind of evolution in a psyche long forged by birth and later circumstances.

As I’ve mentioned before, Jones delivers his unlikely protagonist in intense and raw dialogue, adult situations, and language. It is a novella of nail-biting hard-core suspense and you won’t get to breathe until Book 4 is done and won. These characters pit each other in good vs evil and we’ve yet to see their true colors as they continue to evolve.

Author Brent Jones calls his series an abstract of “moral ambiguity.” Indeed! A puzzling contradiction. See my review of the second in the series, See You Soon, Afton and Go Home, Afton (#1) here. It’s a series, and really, you can’t and shouldn’t see book 3 as a standalone. Go back and begin with Go Home, Afton. (These are short–you’ll catch up!)

The Afton Morrison Series by Brent Jones

I was sent this ebook novella download by the author and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. You should begin with book 1 to get the complete fleshing of Afton. This series is recommended for any who enjoy a dark plot, graphic situations, crime, adrenaline-inducing action, mystery, and suspense.

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars Four of Five Stars

author Brent JonesThe Author: From bad checks to bathroom graffiti, Brent Jones has always been drawn to writing. He won a national creative writing competition at the age of fourteen, although he can’t recall what the story was about. Seventeen years later, he gave up his career to pursue creative writing full-time.

Jones writes from his home in Fort Erie, Canada. He’s happily married, a bearded cyclist, a mediocre guitarist, and the proud owner of two dogs with a God complex. Subscribe to his newsletter (AuthorBrentJones.com) or follow him on social media (@AuthorBrentJ) for updates.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

The Forbidden Door – a #BookReview – #greatreads

The Forbidden Door by Dean KoontzTitle: The Forbidden Door (A Jane Hawk Novel) Book 4 by Dean Koontz

Genre: Currently #60 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Suspense

Publisher: Bantam – Random House LLC

Publication Date: To be released September 11, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Forbidden DoorCompelling colors, interesting face, same model as book covers 2 and 3(?) but I don’t see here a vision of the “real” Jane Hawk.

Okay, yes, I didn’t read book 1 but I did read books 2 and 3 and I must say if Book 2 hooked you, Book 3 stayed the course, Book 4 absolutely cements you into Hawk’s boots. They are kick-ass boots worn by a quick-witted, intelligent ex-FBI agent gone rogue. She’s mad.

Not mad, furious.

She’s tough, intuitive, and on an urgent mission as book 3 ended with a call from her son, Travis…his guardians are missing. Continue reading “The Forbidden Door – a #BookReview – #greatreads”

Rosepoint #BookReviews – August Recap

dog days header

50th Anniversary QuiltSo great to welcome our Navy buddies in August and must admit Northwest Indiana was exceedingly cooperative with beautiful, comfortable temps. As always, Kitra was a dynamo, bundle of energy who helped me get in and FINALLY put together the 50th Anniversary quilt that sister-in-law Ann’et made for us in 2012. Yes! Can you say “winter project?” Ted made his world-class ceviche (yum!) and he and the CE shared their old Navy stories (again) and quite a number of new ones! I posted a pic of the two of them trying to sink a sub at the Science Museum in Chicago. Kitra baked a new favorite–biscotti–and the boys put together a couple flower boxes for the fairy garden!

Catching up has taken the better part of a week; the blog, reading and reviews, social media, my veggie and fairy garden. Oh my goodness! The tomatoes!! Kitra got in and froze a bunch of them for me–they’ll make a great addition to stews and soups. (Never tried freezing them before, so we HOPE they’ll work well!) When the fairy garden doesn’t look quite so desolate, I’ll take another pic to share (discovered another downed snag today).

SO!  What I read before they arrived is pretty much it for August, although I was able to get in some great reads.

Aug 3 – Knot My Sister’s Keeper by Mary Marks

Aug 7 – Death Over Easy (A Country Store Mystery #5) by Maddie Day 

Aug 12 – Midnight Snacks are Murder by Libby Klein

Aug 14 – Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette

Aug 21 – Burning Ridge – a #BookReview by Margaret Mizushima

Aug 28 – Samhain Secrets – a #BookReview by Jennifer David Hesse

The Forbidden Door by Dean KoontzNice Try, AftonAll of the above were downloaded from NetGalley and/or were book tours. In the meantime, I #AmReading The Forbidden Door by Dean Koontz (number 4 of 5) and will be posting my review this Sunday, September 2nd. I read and reviewed The Crooked Staircase (#3) here and The Whispering Room (2) here. Following on Tuesday, the 4th, my review of Nice Try, Afton by Brent Jones. That is the third of four in his Afton Morrison series and will release September 17th. Be aware that this gritty series profiles protagonist Afton Morrison in a frank assault of adult situations and language. Author Brent Jones paints an abstract of “moral ambiguity.” Dark and disturbing, crime fiction, vigilante justice–Afton style. I reviewed the second in the series, See You Soon, Afton in July and Go Home, Afton (#1) here.

I have a line up of cozies scheduled for September (book tours), as well as my fav (thrillers), and as always Throwback Thursdays, Cee’s Fun Fotos, or other features as captures my attention.

Hope this summer is going well for all of you: Blue Skies, Easy Breezes, Green Gardens, and nothing but GOOD books coming your way!

A big thank to all my new followers and as always so appreciate you who continue to read and comment! Thank you!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Tag – This Is My Genre Book Tag

This is My Genre Book Tag

I was tagged by Shalini at BOOKS, REVIEWS ET AL BY SHALINI to participate in the This Is My Genre Book Tag! Thank you so much! If you haven’t followed Shalini yet, you owe it to yourself to check out her blog and enjoy the biting wit and wisdom she bestows in her reviews, posts, and interviews.

The Rules

  • Answer the questions
  • Tag as many people as you want

The Questions

What is your favorite genre?

I don’t think I can pin that down to one genre. I tend to read all over the board. However, I do love thrillers, psychological thrillers, mysteries, suspense, crime, police procedurals, yadda, yadda, yadda…hey, I list all that, including genres I won’t normally read on my “Submission” page.

Who is your favorite author from that genre?

The Forbidden Door by Dean KoontzArgh! Well, that could change, but right now I’m reading book 4 of the Jane Hawk series, The Forbidden Door, by Dean Koontz. Gees, can that man write!! (And, btw, I’ll be reviewing his book this Sunday, September 2nd, which is also my 56th anniversary with the CE. How the man has hung in this long is beyond me.)

What is it about that genre that keeps pulling you back?

Are you kidding? The nail-biting, edge of your seat, can’t put it down to fix a meal or go to the bathroom, glued to the page reading. These books leave you spent at the finish line and looking for the next one. They are the “crack” of books. And like Lay’s Potato Chips, you can’t read just one.

What is the book that started your love for the genre?

Blood Orchids by Toby NealUh huh, at my age, I can’t remember that far back. When I told my son I was reading a Dean Koontz book, he mentioned that Koontz wrote horror. (He knows I wouldn’t read that.) But I was hooked. Years ago I discovered Toby Neal and her Lei Crime series. After reading Blood Orchids, yeah, I was hooked.

If you have to recommend one book from your favorite genre to a non-reader–that genre, what book would you choose and why?

Just Add Salt by Jinx SchwartzYeah, no. I don’t generally recommend books, although I discovered that I had no problem recommending books to my recent visitor–an avid reader (who seems to prefer books of more than 300 pages). She also reads a fairly wide variety of genres. I introduced her to Toby Neal and Jinx Schwartz. If you don’t know that latter name, Jinx writes the kitschy Hetta Coffey Mysteries. I got started with her books because she writes sea stories (and you know where that interest stemmed from).

Why do you read?

I’ve always read. Books have the power to transport you to exotic places, exercise super powers, teach, empower, and write. Which I also wanted to do!

I tag –

Mischenko

Carla

And many of you don’t do tags, so anyone else who wants to do this tag, please do! I’d loved to read your answers!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Samhain Secrets – a #BookReview

Samhain Secrets by Jennifer David Hesse

Title: Samhain Secrets (A Wiccan Wheel Mystery) Book 4 by Jennifer David Hesse

Genre: Currently #1202 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Holidays

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: Happy release date! August 28, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Samhain Secrets – Love that book cover and the requisite black cat

Here is your chance to peek into the life of a modern day witch, or in this case a Wiccan, and learn something about this spiritual culture practice in a delightful cozy mystery setting. Protagonist Keli Milanni is a serious practitioner. There is only one problem: She was raised Catholic and has not divulged that split to family.

Spells, incantations, calls to spirits, tarot cards, and sisterhood. Keli weaves the practice into the quest to find the person who murdered her aunt, Josephine O’Malley, an estranged free spirit of the family who chose to leave the nest early, only tapping connections inconsistently with no notice and disappearing just as quickly. It’s a fun romp into the paranormal side of life that strikes a few of those loosely held superstitions many of us are loathe to admit. Continue reading “Samhain Secrets – a #BookReview”

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Music, Guitar, Men, Candid, Plate

Cee's Fun Foto Challenge2

Cee at Cee’s Photography hosts a weekly Fun Foto Challenge. This week’s challenge is pretty diverse: music, guitar, cafe, jewelry, plates, sofa, men, candid. 

It’s been a whirlwind two weeks with our special houseguests from Texas–old and dear Navy buddies. (Our hubbies served together in Taiwan many years ago.) I slacked off on social media, but starting with this post hope to get caught up. (Give me a few days, please.) In the meantime, I did have fun with this week’s challenge. After singing in formal choir and gospel choirs, I landed in the Gospel Jubilee in Idaho. We had SO much fun and the musicians were incredibly talented. Go ahead, guess where I am in this picture!

Music – Guitar

Gospel Jubilee

Gospell Jubilee

 

 

Maybe this one is better? Now guess again!

 

 

Men – Candid

Loved this pic of my hubby (seated) and his buddy at the Science Museum last week in Chicago!

Men, candid shots

Plate(s)

Plates and bowls

Plate

Could not resist taking a pic of this plate served at a restaurant in San Diego–too pretty to eat!

This challenge is basically self-explanatory. If you have a photo you’d like to submit, click on her website and check it out. It’s a very simple procedure. Have fun.  Let’s see how creative you can be on this challenge then link your photo(s) to the comment box of her website!

Please check out Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge to learn more of what this challenge is about!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday – Riptide: a Florida Panhandle Mystery #2 by Michaela Thompson

#ThrowbackThursday-Riptide

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 Michaela Thompson, another terrific, prolific author who wrote Riptide: a Florida Panhandle Mystery, which I reviewed on Goodreads and received through free download from BookBub. This novel was published by booksBnimble on March 5, 2014. She consistently runs approximately 3.5-4 stars for any of her books sold on Amazon.

Originally posted October 22, 2016

Book Blurb:

As intricate as a fisherman’s net, Riptide fairly writhes with sinister delights—family secrets, family feuds, lost family fortunes, betrayals, puzzles, sunken treasure… and murder, of course. With a bit of illicit romance and treachery thrown in for seasoning. This rife atmosphere swirls around New York artist Isabel Anders, who’s summoned home to tiny St. Elmo, Florida to deal with an emergency: the aunt who raised her has been brutally—and mysteriously—injured.

Isabel arrives to find the family mansion in ruins, her aunt living in a trailer, and, dangerous as a cottonmouth, the lover she left at sixteen just where he used to be. Waiting for her. Except now he’s got a grudge against her, a secret of his own, and some unsavory companions. Just when Isabel’s aunt seems to be getting better (but before she’s able to talk again) she dies just as mysteriously as she was injured. Suspecting murder, Isabel quickly ties her aunt’s death to another.

But to find the killer, she has to hack her way through a small-town jungle of intrigue and several generations of interrelated secrets, producing hours of pulse-pounding delight for the confirmed puzzle fan.

WHO WILL LIKE IT: Fans of Laura Lippman, Kate Atkinson, intelligent cozies like those by G.M. Malliett, Elizabeth Zelvin, and Gillian Roberts, British puzzlemeisters like the great Dorothy L. Sayers herself, all BBC mysteries, and of course, Michaela Thompson’s own Hurricane Season.

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My Review:

RiptideSo the story doesn’t move with the speed of a hurricane, but there is a slow building of character, setting, and backstory to clarify the reason for Isabel to reluctantly return to Cape St. Elmo and to an aunt that raised her with an iron fist.

Protagonist Isabel is a New York artist whose idea of love is an uncomplicated romp in the hay with an older French gentleman or a former high school sweetheart who she had left without so much as a kiss goodbye. Isabel is not a character that elicits a lot of empathy, though the plot does develop some side characters with enough sympathy to fill the void. Kimmie Dee seems to be the typical kid, and it’s obvious she still loves her dad, though he’s not exactly a rocket scientist. Former high school sweetheart isn’t one either and he is unhappy…just plain unhappy, so he is easy…just…easy.

The dialogue reflecting the intellect of the various characters takes on an interesting hue. Her hapless aunt, Merriam, has done the best she could and though no love lost, leaves Isabel knowing her death wasn’t a natural one. The antagonist was perhaps obvious, though certainly not the one we wanted to be the villain.

A treasure hunt begins rather early, and weaves in and out of the story, but it leaves a dissatisfying climax and a disappointing solution to characters that were hoped would fare better. A somewhat quirky, disquieting venture; but generates enough interest to keep turning pages. Mystery, treasure, and amateur sleuths, but you can’t really call it a cozy. Any redeeming qualities in the protagonist? hmm…I can’t think of any.

About the Author:

Michaela Thompson - author (Michaela Thompson) I’ve written seven mystery-suspense novels, set in wide-ranging locales: Hurricane Season and Riptide explore the beaches and swamps of the Florida Panhandle, where I grew up; Paper Phoenix features a romance between a disillusioned divorcee and a much younger crusading journalist in 70’s San Francisco; a failure analyst chases private demons to India in Fault Tree; a group of friends plays a deadly game at the Venice Carnival in Venetian Mask; and Magic Mirror and A Temporary Ghost recount the dangerous adventures of freelance journalist Georgia Lee Maxwell, who moves to France with her cat on a whim and ends up solving murders in Paris and Provence. All are now available as e-books.

I’ve been a mystery fan my entire life. I love the form because it’s endlessly flexible, yet the structure is always there.

I live in New York City, but spend significant time in the Florida Panhandle. My novels were originally published under the name Mickey Friedman.

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

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Burning Ridge – a #BookReview

Burning Ridge - a Timber Creek K-9 Mystery by Margaret Mizushima

Title: Burning Ridge (A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery) by Margaret Mizushima

Genre: Currently #204 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Traditional

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: To be released September 11, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Burning Ridge – Cover depicts K-9 major character

Burning Ridge comprises #4 in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series and the second I’ve had the privilege to receive through download from the publisher and NetGalley. Protagonist Deputy Mattie Cobb is a handler for regal German Shepherd police K-9 Robo who has been trained for specialty assignments in search and rescue in the remote and rugged Colorado mountains. Continue reading “Burning Ridge – a #BookReview”