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”

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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

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