Mystery at the Old Mill (An Eve Mallow Mystery Book 4) by Clare Chase – a #BookReview – #cozy mystery

“…a huge flock of widgeon rose to the sky, changing its shape like a dense collection of iron filings pulled by a magnet.” 

Book Blurb:

When the calm of Saxford St Peter is disrupted by a deadly fire at the Old Mill, amateur sleuth Eve Mallow finds herself investigating a most surprising mystery!

Mystery at the Old Mill by Clare ChaseEveryone in Saxford St Peter is desperate to know more about Harry Tennant, the newcomer who owns the Old Mill. He usually keeps himself to himself, but he’s finally invited the villagers round for drinks, and Eve Mallow isn’t the only one looking forward to having some questions answered.

But two days before the party, a terrible fire sweeps through the mill, and Harry is found dead. When Eve passes the burned remains of his beautiful house, she can’t resist the call to investigate. Especially when it turns out quiet, charming Harry was living a double life as the famous advice writer Pippa Longford. Eve has to wonder what revelations were contained in the letters he received… and whether one of them was worth killing for.

Accompanied by her reliable dachshund sidekick Gus, Eve starts digging. She soon realises Harry was at the centre of a web of lives – and lies. There’s an uncle desperate to inherit, two women who thought they were his one and only, not to mention everyone who shared their darkest secrets with him. Was one of those strangers much closer to home than Harry knew? And can Eve untangle the truth before she finds herself face to face with a killer?

My Review:

My second excursion into an Eve Mallow mystery. I did enjoy Book 1, Mystery on Hidden Lane, which as the first of the series developed the character of Eve apparently as by Book 4, there is little further fleshing of Eve as there is of Gus, her companion Dachshund.

I was intrigued in Book 1 by the idea of a freelance obituary writer, an easy cover for her sleuthing activities when something happens. In this entry to the series—the death of a man living in the Old Mill in Saxton St Peter, Suffolk village.

Mystery at the Old Mill by Clare ChaseThe victim, Harry Tennant, is an “agony aunt,” that is, an advice columnist. Unfortunately, he is passed off as a woman, and very few knew that he is actually Pippy Longford. And fewer still that the local citizens of the community were writing to someone right there in their midst. Interesting premise!

Harry is not a nice man. (“He’d fought bullying by becoming a bully”…and it worked for him.) Heaven knows he has lots of advice—for everyone—about everything. His columns are not always helpful—but, hey, that’s what sells. When his old mill burns down with him in it, it is established that it wasn’t accidental.

I’m not quite sure what to think about Book 4. Obviously, I missed Books 2 and 3, but Book 4 does not redux the character of Eve sufficiently, other than she is still working with her BFF, Viv in her tea shop. Eve takes to discussing the threads of the case with Gus, who eyes her appropriately depending whether or not he gets to go on her interviews.

I had difficulty getting into the rather drawn out plot, well-plotted though it was, just a bit slow for me and my attention lagged more than once. Who knew Tennant’s alter-ego and who was it who might have been harmed by a juicy tidbit he was set to announce at the open house he’d planned to reveal the night following his death?

His isn’t the only body to fall by the wayside in the ensuing investigation and there are a number of red herrings. Eve had a way of seriously ticking off her interviewees, curtailing any further discussion. Several possible perps rise to the top of the list and the atmosphere becomes tense.

Seems the more obvious suspects are too obvious and in the end, the conclusion is enlightening as well as surprising. In the meantime, I enjoyed the little tidbits about the frigid location by the North Sea and the country lanes with their very colorful names: i.e., Blind Eye Lane, Haunted Lane, Old Yard Lane. If you are a fan of the author, I’d suggest you begin this series with Book 1, as I felt a bit lost in Book 4. Must have missed something and perhaps would not function as a standalone.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five of Five 3 1/2 stars

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Detective Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Christian Suspense
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B08CBHCRSG

Print Length: 317 pages
Publication Date: To be released December 7, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Clare Chase - authorThe Author: Clare Chase writes classic mysteries. Her aim is to take readers away from it all via some armchair sleuthing in atmospheric locations.

Her debut novel was shortlisted for Novelicious’s Undiscovered Award, as well as an EPIC award post-publication, and was chosen as a Debut of the Month by LoveReading. Murder on the Marshes (Tara Thorpe 1) was shortlisted for an International Thriller Writers award.

Like her heroines, Clare is fascinated by people and what makes them tick. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked in settings as diverse as Littlehey Prison and the University of Cambridge, in her home city. She’s lived everywhere from the house of a lord to a slug-infested flat and finds the mid-terrace she currently occupies a good happy medium.

As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.

You can find Clare’s website and blog at http://www.clarechase.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint October Reviews Recap—If November is Upon Us, Can December Be Far Behind?

Rosepoint Reviews-October Recap

Yes, I’m one of those who enjoy decorating for the season, Trick or Treaters or not. This time of year, the flowers are Mums (which I’ve never been crazy for), but they do add a pretty colorful bloom to the front yard. Inside the house, a critical look at the bedroom filled with fifty year old furniture (bought in Taiwan), and my standard burgundy colors. Sooo, old school. Still I do love the color, so went to work doing a slight redecorating of the bedroom—changed things up a bit in the living room. How many of you have tried those Himalayan salt bulbs? Maybe I’m the only one—but hey, they are orange—a good color for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Halloween

So yes, November is upon us. The garden is gone, the only thing left one sad-looking butternut squash (don’t tell my husband).

Still fighting with the block and classic editor, finally found (well hidden) the old classic editor. One of my posts kept switching back and forth between the two and I’m still congratulating myself for not kicking in the monitor. (Not the monitor’s fault.) I don’t think I’m the only one with “block” issues. After one of my complaints to the happiness engineer, his reply was basically, “get used to it.” Maybe if we all rose en masse?

There was a mix of fifteen books reviewed, blitzed, or toured in October, shared between the CE and I. If you missed any reviews, just click on the links below the graphic.

     The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves  Watch Her Vanish by Ellery A Kane  Blood Money by Chris Riedel     Murder at an Irish Christmas by Carlene O'Connor  Deadly Weapon

Leap by Michael C Grumley   Silent Bite by David Rosenfelt  Bending the Paw by Diane Kelly  Wolf Pack vs The Bitterroots - #audiobooks  Mainely Power by Matt Cost

Mordecai’s Ashes by Alana Crane
Without a Brew by Ellie Alexander
I Jonathan by George WB Scott (a CE review)
The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves (audiobook)
Hiding Cracked Glass By James J. Cudney
Watch Her Vanish by Ellery A Kane
Blood Money by Chris Riedel
Come Marching Home by Hazel West
Murder at an Irish Christmas by Carlene O’Connor
Deadly Weapon by Mark Nolan (a CE review)
Leap by Michael C Grumley (a CE review)
Silent Bite by David Rosenfelt
Bending the Paw by Diane Kelly (a CE review)
Wolf Pack vs The Bitterroots by C J Box (audiobooks)
Mainely Power by Matt Cost

Only four of these were from NetGalley (yeah, I can’t believe it myself). It would seem most were author review requests or audiobooks.

So my Challenges?

  1. Audiobooks – (Stenographer level 10-15) completed at 20 (so far)
  2. Historical Fiction – Renaissance Reader level of 10—completed
  3. Goodreads—Revised goal of 160—now at 139—just over 10 books/month remaining for the year. Even that’s a push with the way things are going. Must be having too much fun somewhere…Time to buckle down!
  4. NetGalley – Four, giving me 73—2, count’m, 2 short—achievable

Have I learned anything about taking on too many challenges? Nah—but may have to seriously consider which ones are attainable next year before signing up. Have you had to revise your challenges?

Coming up: Time to start going through my 4.5-5 star books for the months to date to wheedle out my ten favorites. I know many of you note your monthly favorites as you go along—makes it easier the end of the year! Contemplating making changes next year? Maybe a new theme? New feature? Drop an old feature? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

In the meantime, lovely readers and authors, take care, stay safe. (And I thought I was thrilled to see the end of 2019. Who could have predicted 2020?)

Autumn Rosepoint

And, as always, thank you for your likes and comments!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

So, You Need an Escape – #GuestPost by Randy Overbeck – author Crimson at Cape May

Guest Post by Dr Randy Overbeck

I am thrilled to present today author Dr. Randy Overbeck, author of Blood on the Chesapeake, Book 1 of The Haunted Shores Mysteries. I participated in a book blitz for the book on July 23, 2020, my spot on a book tour and was very taken with the description of the paranormal mystery published April 10, 2019. So when I got an invitation to read and review Crimson at Cape May, I was happy for the opportunity—and loved it! I posted that review on September 13, 2020. The narrative captured my imagination sending me to the delightful coastal touristy town of Cape May and I jumped on the internet to scour pictures—so beautiful—so Victorian—and I so wanted to go there! So, of course, when he offered this guest post, I was delighted to accept. Let me introduce you to Dr. Overbeck’s thoughts about “getting away.”

Cape May from the sea
Cape May from the sea. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Dr. Overbeck

Right about now—seven long months into this pandemic, still not able to do much and smack dab in the middle of an ugly election season—could you use a getaway? Have you had to restrain your impulse to throw something at the TV during the latest Coronavirus update or when another negative political ad comes on? Couldn’t you just picture yourself on a sun-drenched beach, toes in the warm sand and a frosty drink on your hand? Or maybe sailing across blue green waters, waves lapping peacefully at the sides of your sailboat with the shoreline around you exploding with color?

I’m right there with you!

That’s why, when I decided to write my new series, the Haunted Shores Mysteries, I decided to set each story in a great getaway location. But not just any getaway. I mean, everyone knows about places like Hilton Head or Malibu or Daytona Beach. For my stories, I was searching for unique, even unforgettable locations that I could introduce readers to, places that would leave a lasting impression.

For me, my first choice was obvious since it’s been a favorite destination of ours for years. The setting for BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE is, well, the Chesapeake Bay. Or to be more precise, the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, which I believe is one of the undiscovered gems in the country.

Thousands of miles of undulating shoreline, some of the best seafood you’ll ever eat, and sunsets over the water that would melt your sheltered, hardened heart. Not to mention the scene of variegated foliage covering she shores that can match even peak autumn in New Hampshire. If you close your eyes, you might be able to picture yourself in the middle of the Bay aboard a two-masted sailboat, rocking gently on the waters. Or you could just let my novel take you there.

Don’t you wish you were standing on the deck of that sailboat right now? Well, you can almost.

Here’s a brief excerpt from BLOOD.

blood on the shesapeakeA few stray clouds chased each other across an azure sky which turned the water to an aquamarine. A light breeze filled the two white and gold sails and stirred the water, creating only small waves which rocked the sloop gently. Across the horizon, a few white sails punctured the beautiful blue that wrapped around them. Gusts of wind filled the two triangle sails and flapped the four-square Maryland flag at the rear. Along the rock-strewn shoreline, charming Cap Cods with Adirondack chairs in front competed with two-story Colonials wearing their white clapboard siding and green sloped roofs like their Sunday best.

Cape May

For the second entry in my series, I went for something quite different, but just as intriguing in its own way. CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY is set in a quintessential resort community, with expansive white sand beaches for the sun-worshipper, a famous getaway for more than 150 years. With over a hundred unique Victorian houses and mansions—think “the painted ladies”—lining the shore and filling the streets of this quant town and you have a setting and a sight unmatched anywhere in the U.S.

Cape May

And, the fact that the town is the most haunted seaport on the Eastern Seacoast made it a no-brainer for the setting for my second narrative. A few pages into this novel and I promise you’ll forget the present doldrums of Covid-19 and find yourself in another place and time, one you’ll enjoy.

Here’s a brief excerpt from Crimson.

They crossed at the light, and Darrell took in the sight ahead of them—a near perfect, expansive sandy beach edged by crystal blue water that seemed to stretch on forever, merging with a perfect azure sky. Smudges of white dotted the heavenly canvas, and small curls of white-topped breakers were sprinkled along the waters farther out. Quiet waves gurgled up upon the sand before leaking back into the watery expanse. Throw in the meticulous architecture of all those Victorian mansions and B & B’s and you have resort few places could match.

Cape May

Of course, my novels are far more than mere escape reads. Both include a cold-case murder mystery, a haunting ghost story and a bit of romance, all with some unforgettable characters. And each novel tackles a serious social problem, BLOOD confronting racial injustice and CRIMSON exposing the horrors of human trafficking. But don’t let all that fool you. Both entries in the series will transport you to a much better place and time than the here and now. (insert cover art for both books) Perhaps, one of the Amazon reviewers put it best:

“Was your vacation canceled this year? I know ours was put on the back burner, but I can recommend a great get-away that won’t cost much. Read the book Blood on the Chesapeake: A Cold Case Murder Mystery. It’s a vacation to a beautiful seashore with characters you’ll love and some you’ll hate. Of course, everyone wants a vacation with a happy ending, and I won’t spoil the book for you, but you’ll smile about the ending after you put it down.”—Tami A, an Amazon reviewer

If you haven’t had the chance to discover either, click any of the links below to grab your copy and escape the present.

Here are just a few things reviewers and readers are saying about these ★★★★★ and award winning novels.

  • “It’s a ghost/mystery story filled with suspense and action. The plot is so engrossing it had me hooked from the very first page.” ★★★★★—Nana’s Reviews, Greece
  • “Overbeck’s pace is spot on and makes for a thoroughly engaging and quick read… A Gold Award Winner!” ★★★★★—Literary Titan
  • “An absolutely chilling ghost story wrapped around an even scarier piece of history – or perhaps it’s the other way around. Recommended. BEST BOOK!” ★★★★★—Chanticleer Reviews and Media
  • “This book was riveting and full of mystery, romance, and suspense. I could not put this book down once I was past the first chapter. I would find myself reading late into the night telling myself “just one more chapter”- just one more chapter would turn into 50 or 60 pages. Excellent book with a hint of history lessons to enrich our lives.”—An Amazon reviewer
  • “Thrilling! Haunting! Convincing! Loved it as much, if not more, than “Blood on the Chesapeake!” Began reading the book on Monday and finished it at midnight on Tuesday!”—an Amazon reviewer

Purchase Links

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

BookBub

Goodreads

Author LinksRandy Overbeck

randyoverbeck@authorrandyoverbeck.com

www.authorrandyoverbeck.com

@OverbeckRandy

FB: Author Randy Overbeck

BIO

Dr Randy Overbeck - authorDr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, writer and speaker who has earned recognition in the Midwest and beyond. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.

©2020

Deadly Weapon (Jake Wolfe Book 5) by Mark Nolan – a #BookReview #thrillerbooks

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”—Carl Jung

Book Blurb:

Deadly WeaponIn Alaska, a lethal threat is unearthed from the frozen ground. Near Maui, a shipwrecked submarine holds a frightening secret, and on the California coast, war veteran Jake Wolfe races against time to uncover a conspiracy.

When a master plan emerges that has the potential not only to threaten Jake’s city, but to kill off targeted populations around the world, Jake embarks on a desperate search-and-destroy mission in order to protect the lives of everyone he knows and cares for. His target? A group of rogue operatives planning mass murder.

With assassins on his trail, and the clock ticking, Jake must trace the path that will finally bring him face-to-face with the psychopathic genius who wants to remake the world.

Deadly Weapon is part of a series, but may be read as a stand-alone novel.

My Thoughts

This is Book 5 of the Jake Wolfe series and how many have I read? ALL OF THEM. I just love the duo of Jake and Cody—well, Cody maybe a little more—but these two are beyond engaging. Intelligent, fast, cunning, capable, but tender and hot at the same time—and that’s just the dog! There is something overwhelming in the attraction of Jake—perhaps that “animal magnetism.” (snicker, snicker)

In this series entry, Jake’s Alaskan holiday is interrupted by a call to action and he’s swept up and away to a mission not wholly successful…it will continue back home in the Bay Area of California. He is living gratis in Sausalito on the yacht Far Niente thanks to a buddy across the pond for a year. Damn, I get such pangs when he gets to describing the Pacific, that wonderful all pervading salt water open ocean air atmosphere. “He felt the need for some vitamin sea.”

Anyway, it’s a nasty consortium of people (working towards a one-world totalitarian oligarachy) bent on eliminating certain populations around the globe. The mission will be undertaken in fits and starts as they gain intel. Jake (Jukebox) is a Marine combat veteran, but not out of the “above top secret” classification that has pulled him in before on classified missions. Highly trained, athletic, weapons ready, and deadly, he takes Cody without question of his orders.

“Sometimes I think the hardest part of war is coming home.”

So much intelligence here, both in weapons, locations, and personnel, it’s scary—hard to separate fact from fiction except that this narrative barrels through heart-stopping action (okay—some over-the-top action even) that has you groaning at the odds and cheering at the accomplishments. (Reference to the U-505 submarine on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago—I’ve seen it—OMG!) Page-turning, non-stop action that includes many of his previous Marine buddies (also back to civilian life), including his best buddy Terrell Hayes (Grinds), SFPD Homicide Detective. This plot is just a little close to current global events and difficult to put down.

Deadly WeaponThe author’s writing style has evolved, relaxed a bit in Book 5, becoming more graphic, letting that ole testosterone fly, and having Jake speaking more brazenly—irreverent—and I blinked several times, but even so, the well-plotted novel is descriptive, immersive, and prose laden. There is the thread of a romance between Jake and Sarah, a veterinarian, but it weaves that thread carefully through the outline, allows the plot to naturally progress to a conclusion that has you craving Book 6.

Yes, it’s a series, and you don’t have to start at Book 1, this can work as a standalone, but you’d be missing out on a lot of fun. You’ll have no problem getting to know these series characters and fall in love with that dog as well. Full of suspense, take your blood pressure medication, as this action-thriller will have you hanging by a nail. Wildly entertaining, tales with fascinating bits of information slipped in before you realize you are learning something, wonderful strong studly characters (man and dog). This one is for you and it’s out now.

(Links to my reviews for series books 1-4 below in the author bio.) 

FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

His Thoughts

Clandestine operations are not for the faint of heart. Jake Wolfe is never really on vacation. His summer getaway is interrupted by a frantic call and a helicopter taking him to a remote Inuit village. Salmon fishing and an escape with his wartime K-9 survivor dog Cody, is curtailed. Can they stop a diabolical group of billionaires from getting their hands on an active strain of the deadly 1918-19 flu virus? They have dug up a body containing the virus buried in an old Inuit graveyard.

Controlling the world population through germ warfare has been attempted throughout history. The number of potential fatalities from this flu strain is staggering to consider. Can the perpetrators be stopped before developing a massive biological weapon? Mark Nolan examines this issue with his usual masterful storytelling capability. I would never want to be in Jakes’ or his dogs’ shoes.

Cody, a decorated war dog and hero, accompanies Jake on most elements of the case. His tracking and identification capabilities are integral to solving most cases. Time is always a key factor in stopping those who would do great harm to our nation. Cody has the rank of sergeant in the Marine Corp while Jake is a corporal. Cody will warm up to anyone given instructions to do so. Casual petting without being invited to do so can result in loss of body parts.

This is my second book by Mark Nolan and I enjoy his writing style, although he portrays the world as a place with few hidden safe spots. Jake continually looks for reasons why the Feds and his handler can locate him so quickly, which adds spice to the stories. CE Williams

I find the use of some of the weapons to be extremely graphic and frightening. As a normal citizen I’d rather not know some of these facts. I find the stories engaging, although I lost a little sleep over this novel. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Action-Thrillers. 5 stars CE Williams

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Medical Thrillers, Financial Thrillers, Sea Adventures Fiction
ASIN : B08BFCV7GR
Print Length: 308 pages
Publication Date: August 31, 2020
Source: Author Request

Title Link: Amazon

Mark Nolan - authorThe Author: Mark Nolan was born near the sea shore and has enjoyed boating, fishing, scuba diving and exploring in Florida, Mexico, California, Hawaii, etc. If you like dogs, boats, ocean beaches, and action movies … you’ll probably enjoy reading Mark’s books.

Mark’s books in order: 1. Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie. 2. Vigilante Assassin. 3. Killer Lawyer. 4. San Diego Dead. 5. Deadly Weapon. 6. Key West Dead.

Subscribe to Mark Nolan’s reader newsletter for updates, specials, and to be notified when a new book is available. Please visit marknolan.com.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Cover Reveal – Come Marching Home by Hazel West #CoverReveal Pre-Order Goody Info

Today I am thrilled to present the cover reveal for Come Marching Home by Hazel West.

What’s it all about?

Book Blurb

“It’s like, for them, life just went on, and then we drop back into it and we don’t fit anymore. Like they’ve already figured out how to survive without us and we’re just here, in the way, until we can figure out how to get our old lives back. But we’re not the same people, and probably never will be.”

After being away for over a year, Alfonse Keller has returned from the trenches on Teuton’s western front, fighting in the war that’s broken out against the Steppes. He should feel relieved now that’s he’s back in his own village in the care of his brother Ernst, but he’s not. It seems like nothing has changed except for him, like he’s a traveler from a different world.

When Alfonse left to join the army, he was a natural magician making a name for himself, but after a tragic incident resulting in the death of his friend, and his own crippling injury, he no longer has the ability to use magic.

Suffering from constant nightmares and revisited trauma, Alfonse can’t get the trenches out of his head. Ernst tries to help, but he doesn’t really understand either. How can he, when Alfonse doesn’t really understand himself? He feels like a phantom, standing on the outskirts of a life he’ll never live again.

As Ernst tries to do everything he can for his brother, he can’t help but feel like Alfonse is slipping away, that maybe part of him never left the trenches at all. But how can he save his brother when Alf refuses to let anyone in?

Book Details

Publication Date: October 13, 2020
Print Length: 279 pages
ASIN: B08K8SNKD8
Language: English

Author Links

Blog: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com

Goodreads Author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5289626.Hazel_B_West

Twitter: https://twitter.com/artfulscribbler

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/modern_bard67/

Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/hazelwest

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08K8SNKD8?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420

Release Date: October 13th

Pre-Order Info

If you pre-order Come Marching Home or just order a copy of it by the end of October (extending because the paperback won’t be available for preorder) you can email the receipt of your purchase to sirwilliamssquire@gmail.com with your address and Hazel will send you a goodie pack!

Goodies:

-A bookmark

-A sticker with art by H.S.J. Williams @h.s.j._williams

-A playlist curated by Hazel

-And if you order the paperback, you will get a signed bookplate

I will be posting a full review on Thursday, October 15, 2020.

2020 V Williams

Rosepoint September Reviews Recap—Ouch! It’s October! (And I’m Not Ready.)

What happened to summer? We here in NWI are being plunged into a premature cold start to autumn.

The trees are turning colors and dropping leaves. I’m not a cold weather person and this portends an early and hard winter. NOT a fan. The garden, late starting, underperforming, and just plain embarrassing this year is no longer trying to fake being a vegetable garden, but the mums are beginning to look good in the flower bed. Hum bug.

I’m finally getting used to the old, old WordPress editor and had forgotten how archaic it was, but it’s either that or unrelenting blocks—blocks for text, blocks for pictures, blah, blah, blah. When I looked in vain for indents and symbols (including the copyright symbol I use at the bottom of my posts), I was told, Indents and symbols are not yet available in the block editor, but it’s being worked on all the time with new features being added on a regular basis.” HUH? They’re not kidding. Anyone else having a problem with their new block editor? Did they ever get indents or symbols added? Between the two, I’ll opt for archaic editor.

There was a mix of seventeen books reviewed, blitzed, or toured in September. If you missed any of the reviews, just click on the links below the graphic.

 As the Stars Fall by Steve N Lee  Song for a Lost Kingdom by Steve Moretti The German client by Bruno Marchio Murder Ballad Blues by Lynda McDaniel Final Second by John Ryder Crimson at Cape May by Randy Overbeck One Good Deed by David Baldacci One by One by Ruth Ware Act of Revenge by John Bishop MD The Body from the Past by Judi Lynn Netflix vs Audiobook - Call the Midwife Watch Her Vanish by Ellery A Kane Back Bay Blues by Peter Colt

The Ninth Passage by Dale O Cloninger (a RABT book tour)
As the Stars Fall by Steve N Lee (author request)
Song for a Lost Kingdom by Steve Moretti (a CE review for Digital Reads Book Tours)
The German Client by Bruno Morchio (a CE review – publisher’s request)
Murder Ballad Blues by Lynda McDaniel (author request)
A Girl Like You by Michelle Cox (for iRead Book Tours – audiobook)
Final Second by John Ryder
Crimson at Cape May by Randy Overbeck MD (author request)
The House of the Setting Son by Nancy Cole Silverman
One Good Deed by David Baldacci (audiobook)
One by One by Ruth Ware
Act of Revenge by John Bishop MD
The Body from the Past by Judi Lynn
Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth (Netflix series-audiobook)
Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder by Tina Kashian
Watch Her Vanish by Ellery A Kane (a CE review)
Back Bay Blues by Peter Colt

Only seven of the above are from NetGalley, while another four were author requests, and the three audiobooks are from my library.

Goal AchievedThe challenges: I surpassed my Audiobooks challenge of 15 (Stenographer level 10-15) now at 18. Also achieved 11 for my Renaissance Reader level of 10 in the Historical Challenge. (I didn’t add Call the Midwife.)

climbing out of hole in the wallNetGalley: Seven this month giving me 69 towards my goal of 75. That should be doable.

Goodreads goals—Mercy! I was three behind my goal of 170 when I realized I’d have to revise my goal for the year to 160 as it was becoming obvious that’d be more of a push than I could accomplish. I’m climbing out of a hole but getting there!

Which of the above have you read? On your TBR?

How are you doing with your challenges? Have you had to revise any? Achieved some? Catch up with my challenges here.

In the meantime, fellow bloggers, authors, and lovely readers, take care, stay safe. Once again I’m hoping that wherever you are, you and your situation is getting better and that you remain successful in staying healthy.

And, as always, thank you, I so appreciate your likes and comments!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Murder Ballad Blues: A Mystery (Appalachian Mountain Mysteries Book 4) by Lynda McDaniel – a #BookReview #thriller #tuesdaybookblog

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars Five Stars

This is the fourth novel—a standalone novel—in the Appalachian Mountain Mysteries series. 

Book Blurb:

Murder Ballad Blues by Lynda McDanielLaurel Falls, N.C. 2005  A mysterious death in the North Carolina mountains. Then a second. By the third, the FBI finally gets involved. Trouble is, they’re looking in all the wrong places.

Abit Bradshaw has a theory, but of course the FBI doesn’t take him seriously. When he teams up with musicologist Wallis Harding, bluegrass music becomes more than something to practice and perform. It’s key to finding the serial killer.

Della Kincaid, a former crime reporter in Washington, D.C., can’t seem to escape her past. Now living in the small town of Laurel Falls, she’s busy investigating a fraud case that gets darker at every turn. She’s about to give up when a secretive whistleblower pulls her in again—and back to D.C.

Abit and Della team up once again to convince the FBI to help them with both their crime investigations.

Will Abit and Wallis discover the killer’s pattern … before he strikes again?

Can Della make sense of the whistleblower’s clues before the fraud case is closed for good?

You’ll love this suspenseful mystery because everyone longs to find justice in this crazy world. 

My Review:

Murder Ballad Blues by Lynda McDanielYou know I don’t often read a book straight through, but this one wouldn’t allow a lot of interruptions. Once again I was drawn into the characters, so richly described and developed. The main character is Abit Bradshaw, his POV, until we begin to alternate between his and that of Della Kinkaid, her POV. My heart aches for Abit, now a man—married to Fiona, “queen of the Irish gypsies” with a boy of their own. But he will fortunately never receive the sole-crushing emotional (and physical) abuse his own father meted out to him. He was “a bit slow” and that stuck at his school, his family, the town. And his name became Abit.

The mountains of North Carolina and the Appalachians have a reputation for being an enclave unto itself. Tight, suspicious. Abit was taken under wing, however, by those who saw more in him–a school more appropriate. It was discovered he had beautiful latent talents all his own. For one, he and his wife now play prominently in a bluegrass band they call the Rollin’ Ramblers.

Della is an ex-DC journalist, now writing a small column with a pen name and can’t help but notice the thread to a crime taking place under their noses. Additionally, their little corner of the world has recently experienced two murders and Abit begins to notice something. These things nagging at him, refuses to let go until he is totally, thoroughly wrapped up in what appears a diabolical serial killer. A lot of the music of the Appalachians came from Scotland and Ireland and one such became bluegrass. Tying the mystery to old folk ballads and numerology is brilliant.

The author skillfully assumes the dialect of the area, that particular form of speech, and seamlessly added the Cockney of a visiting Englishman. Dastardly things are afoot. The well-plotted storyline never misses a beat between the POVs and the active investigations, raising the blood pressure, tension, and urge to help. It’s immersive, engaging and leads to a satisfying conclusion without pages of explanation.

I previously read A Life for a Life and was hooked by these characters, most especially Abit—completely sympathetic. As an ARC member, I received an early copy for my honest review. I thoroughly enjoy this series, the author’s sense of humor, prose, and little pieces of fascinating locale and premise trivia. Unique and wholly recommended.

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Serial Killer Thrillers, Murder Thrillers, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Lynda McDaniel Books

  • ASIN : B08BG61CVC

Print Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: To be released September 15, 2020
Source: Publisher and Author Request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 

Lynda McDaniel - author
Lynda McDaniel

The Author: [Lynda McDaniel] I love writing page-turners–both fiction and nonfiction. And I love helping others to do the same, living into their dreams of writing books. I believe my success comes down to a respect for my readers and clients. I know I’m easily bored, so I work hard to engage and inspire my readers.

After all, we’re all busy these days, and I want to deliver value–whether that’s a gripping mystery filled with memorable characters or books on writing that give you the tools to write your own fiction and nonfiction. Both make me happy.

I got my start as a writer in the most unlikely place–a town of 200 people in the mountains of North Carolina. But living there changed my life in so many positive ways. Decades later, I realized that everything I value today, I was introduced to there. My Appalachian Mountain Mysteries–“A Life for a Life,” “The Roads to Damascus,” “Welcome the Little Children”–pay homage to the people of Appalachia who taught me so much. And to Mollie the Wonder Dog, who plays a role in both “The Roads to Damascus” (aka Millie) and in “Welcome the Little Children (as Millie and Mollie).

To keep up to date with Abit, Della, and the gang (and receive a free novelette that pulls back the curtain on Abit’s and Della’s lives before they met in Laurel Falls), head over to http://www.LyndaMcDanielBooks.com. No spam, no pestering, just the free novelette, a 12-part serialized preview of my upcoming Book Four (via my blog), and special offers/updates.

Over the years, I’ve written more than 1,200 articles for major magazines, hundreds of newsletters and blogs. I’m proudest of the 18 books I’ve written. My nonfiction books include “Words at Work,” which I wrote straight from my heart, a much-needed response to all the questions and concerns people have about writing today. (It won top honors from the National Best Books Awards.) I’ve also written two Amazon Bestselling Books: “How Not to Sound Stupid When You Write” and “Write Your Book Now!” (with Virginia McCullough).

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, but I’ve lived all over this country–from the Midwest to the Deep South to Appalachia to the Mid-Atlantic to the Pacific Northwest. Whew! I finally settled in Santa Rosa, California, a place that reflects the values I learned while living in the mountains of North Carolina, all those years ago.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint August Reviews Recap—Hello September!

Rosepoint Reviews Recap

There are glimmers of hope now in the fight against CoVid and hoping for a breakthrough before winter hits may not be as impossible as it seemed even a month ago.

We here in NWI are just beginning to harvest a few vegetables from our garden although many starts have been eaten by the bunnies and deer and the tomatoes have never really gotten started with just a few now beginning to ripen sufficient to eat. BUT! The squash, OMG, is the cockroach of the plant world. No water, no prob; no sun, no prob, searing daytime temps, no prob. And then the cucumbers have given us sufficient numbers to start making pickles. Mainly sticking to dill as sweet pickles can be a pain and I’m remembering all the reasons I quit doing this stuff!

I’m definitely enjoying just a little of the respite that the reviews from the CE has given me—at least enough to put up dill pickles and take a day off to celebrate our 58th Wedding Anniversary tomorrow! Doesn’t seem possible…

But in the meantime, WordPress has been warning us for some time about changing up their editor again to yet another block format, which I thought previously had gotten dumped for being a bigger pain than canning pickles. Got stuck with trying to work a review through the ever encumbersome blocks and discovered several items I routinely use are missing. That little review took over four hours and it still ended up a mess with missing links, symbols, and indents. Sorry, ya’all!

Of course, the complaint went straight to the “Happiness Engineers” who once again explained how much time it was going to save me. Where I used to write up my posts and reviews in my old Word 2003 program and then copy/paste now requires building blocks and hunting for stuff that used to be intuitive. UGH!

I did, however, manage to post fourteen reviews despite the switchover. Also posted were a number of spotlights, book tours, blitzes, non-fiction, cozy mysteries, literary fiction, animal fiction, thrillers, and military fiction.

One Night in Drake Mansion by Channing Whitaker Paws and Order by V M Burns Save Her Soul by Lisa Regan The heart beats in time - Song for a Lost Kingdom, Book III Hawthorn Woods by Patrick Canning The Night Drop by Ian D Wright An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson a Longmire Mystery Penned In by Lynn Cahoon Walks with Sam by David W Berner Flash Point: The Final Conspiracy by Thomas A Whitmire and Jacob O Miller The Sun Down Motel by Simone St James Trick or Thief by D E Haggerty

One Night in Drake Mansion by Channing Whitaker
Flash Point by Thomas A Whitmire and Jacob D Miller (a CE 5* review)
Paw and Order by V M Burns
Save Her Soul by Lisa Regan
Finding Home by Corinne Joy Brown and Ginny McDonald (Beautifully illustrated children’s book)
Song for a Lost Kingdom by Steve Moretti (blog tour)
Hawthorn Woods by Patrick Canning (my 5* review—author request)
The Night Drop by Ian D Wright (a CE review—author request)
TV Netflix Series vs Audiobook-Walt Longmire Mysteries by Craig Johnson
Penned In by Lynn Cahoon
Front Line by Jessica James (a CE 5* review)
The Spiritual Adventures of Russell the Dog by Trisha Watson
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St James (library audiobook)
Walks with Sam by David W Berner (non-fiction-meditation)
Trick or Thief by D E Haggerty

Many of the above are from NetGalley or BookBub, author requests, and the audiobooks are from my library.

The challenges: I made my Audiobooks challenge goal–15 (Stenographer level 10-15) and achieved 10 for my Renaissance Reader level in the Historical Challenge. It would appear to me there is no longer a working challenge for Mr. Linky for either July or August. Oh well.

NetGalley: Only four giving me 62 towards my goal of 75, but I think I can manage that one.

Goodreads goals—Mercy! Three behind with 110 and at this point in serious jeopardy of failing the year’s goal of 170—yikes! I may have to give that one some edit thought.

How are you doing with your challenges? Which ones did you try? Achieving some of your goals yet? Did you also read any of those listed above? Agree with my/our assessment? I may still go back and look at the Murder Mystery Bingo challenge—there will be time during the winter months. Maybe.

In the meantime, blogger buddies, authors, and lovely readers, take care, stay safe. Once again I’m hoping that wherever you are, you and your situation has at least stabilized and that you remain successful in staying healthy. 

And, as always, thank you, I so appreciate your likes and comments!

©2020 V Williams

Rosepoint July Reviews Recap–Hello Hot August Nights!

Rosepoint Reviews - July Recap

Here’s hoping that wherever you are in this world, you are yours are successfully handling this extended global pandemic.

Statistics are not looking good for this CoVid thing, now projecting to intensify this winter into next August before there is a vaccine. Granted, in our area we’ve become just a bit more lax in our shopping while still wearing mask and gloves, but limiting shopping mainly to groceries. Seems as soon as something gets opened, it manifests a confirmed case of the stuff and closes back up. We’ve yet to really discern the line between real and padded stats.

Raccoon on treeThe gardens are doing okay with the rain but not with the wildlife. Either the deer or the bunnies have eaten the corn and beans and this year decided they like tomatoes. Beets, lettuce, kale, carrots, and swiss chard are eaten to the ground and the raccoons and squirrels are cleaning out the bird feeder. Squash and cucumbers are everywhere and I’m giving it away–go figure. (Where’s a raccoon when you need one?)

Okay, between mowing, weeding, and cultivating, I’ve read some amazing books this month, a number from my favorite go-to authors. The CE has stepped up again reading the action-adventure, military novels. There seem to be a spate of WWII books coming out again. I did a post on a Netflix series versus the audiobooks and want to follow up with several more in that vein as well, securing books from my local library–still closed–but doing just fine with online borrowing. Hopefully, I can get them read in two weeks! (Link below to my reviews.)

Exit Strategy by Jen J Danna (a CE review)
Muzzled by David Rosenfelt
Out of Her Mind by T R Ragan
A Mother’s Lie by Jo Crow (a CE review)
Goodnight Moo by Mollie Cox Bryan
The Atlantis Stone by Alex Lukeman
Storm Rising by Sara Driscoll
Lineage Most Lethal by S C Perkins
The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis (a CE review)
Playing Nice by J P Delaney
Hanging Falls by Margaret Mizushima
The Hooligans by P T Deutermann (a CE review)
TV Netflix Series vs Audiobooks (Virgin River) by Robyn Carr
Night Shift by Annelise Ryan

Many of the above are from NetGalley or BookBub, and audiobooks are from my library. I’m beginning to discover free books from Audible.

The challenges: Audiobooks, almost at Stenographer level 10-15–I have 13. Eleven towards my NetGalley count giving me 58 in a challenge of 75. I need one more to achieve 10 for my Renaissance Reader level in the Historical Challenge and still at a loss as to how to upload to Mr. Linky on that one. Goodreads–I’m now four books behind schedule at 95 of 170 or 55% of that challenge.

Because the Murder Mystery Bingo Challenge became so overwhelming, I jumped at the Summer Bingo! Challenge created by Lynne at Fictionophile and won the first Bingo! I’m one of those who never win, but I’ll happily accept virtual as a win. The contest started on the first of June and will continue through August. SIMPLE and fun! If I can do this one, so can you! Fun Cards! To follow my progress on all the challenges, click on my Reading Challenges page.

I was invited to join the Vine Voice at Amazon and I’m thinking that and $5 would buy me a cuppa, maybe not at Starbucks, but hoping that would give me another small boost to credibility. Wish I had a badge for that, but alas, authors, you’ll have to be happy with that little designation next to my review now. Yay me.

In the meantime, blogger buddies, authors, and readers, take care, stay safe. I so appreciate your likes and connects!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Raccoon photo attribute: Deposit Photos

TV Netflix Series vs Audiobook – The Virgin River Series – by Robyn Carr — What Happened?

…The romances and friendships of this small California town from #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr. Now a Netflix Original Series!”

Noting the series is based on Robyn Carr’s books, I went searching and listened to three (well, almost) audiobooks. They were definitely not the saccharine-based Hallmark narrative I was expecting.

TV Series vs Audiobook--What Happened? 

The Netflix Series  

“Searching for a fresh start, a nurse practitioner moves from LA to a remote northerrn California town and is surprised by what–and who–she finds.”

Season one of the Virgin River released in 2019 starring Alexandra Breckenridge, Martin Henderson, and Tim Matheson. Promised a second season of a ten-episode run tentatively assumed to release around August but has not yet been scheduled. There is, however, rumors of a third season in the offing.*

As my followers know, I’m not big on romance–don’t generally read them unless it’s a glimmer in a mystery, historical fiction, or action thriller of some kind. But this Netflix series, yes, although a romance, is contained within a gorgeous mountainous location that hits several of my nostalgia buttons. Whether or not I could actually live there isn’t the issue. So scenic, so quiet, so bucolic–and oh, so closed. Like trying to penetrate an Appalachian village where the newcomer has been established over twenty years. Still, it conjures the hunting, the fishing, the fresh smell of the redwoods and the hidden odor of illegal pot farms. (Okay, now I’ve gone too far. You can’t smell anything over the redwoods.)

We loved it, the CE and I, binge-watching until the entire season was quickly consumed (you can’t watch just one). The characters are very likable, even the ones thought not supposed to be, although I have a tendency to think the male and female leads are more than a few years apart in age. The town busy-body is OCD in all things Virgin River and she’s great in the part. And the surprise? (Or maybe not–since he created the character in The Heart of Dixie.) The old town doctor–slow to relinquish the reins–much less to a nurse/midwife. Is this a rip-off the HOD? I don’t think so–this being so atmospheric, with well-developed characters, albeit locale oriented. And granted, I never watched The Heart of Dixie, so you tell me.

But is this really Robyn Carr? Based on her books, It’s obviously rewritten for a wider audience and adapted to episode limitations. Carr says of the experience:

“… there’s a lot going on, a lot of adventure. It’s contemporary, and it deals with a lot of military and ex-military people. And it’s a small town that’s so isolated and remote that they really have to depend on each other. It’s a landscape and a setting that demands something of the characters. it’s not an easy place to live.”

 

 The Audiobooks

 Book Blurb of Whispering Rock:

Virgin River became a safe haven for Sacramento prosecutor Brie Sheridan after she nearly lost her life at the hands of a crazed criminal. Though tough and courageous, she has some fears she can’t escape—but now she has someone who wants to show her just what it means to trust again.

A decorated marine reservist, LAPD officer Mike Valenzuela was badly wounded in the line of duty. When he agrees to become Virgin River’s first cop, he does so knowing it’s time he settled down. Twice divorced and the lover of too many women, he secretly longs for the kind of commitment and happiness his marine buddies have found—a woman who can tie up his heart forever.

Mike will do anything to help Brie free herself from painful memories. Passionate, strong and gentle, he vows to give back to her what she’s so selflessly given him—her heart, and with it, a new beginning.

Book Blurb of A Virgin River Christmas

Last Christmas Marcie Sullivan said a final goodbye to her husband, Bobby. This Christmas she’s come to Virgin River to find the man who saved his life and gave her three more years to love him.

Fellow marine Ian Buchanan dragged Bobby’s shattered body onto a medical transport in Fallujah four years ago, then disappeared as soon as their unit arrived stateside. Since then, Marcie’s letters to Ian have gone unanswered.

Marcie tracks Ian to the tiny mountain town of Virgin River and finds a man as wounded emotionally as Bobby was physically. But she is not easily scared off. As Marcie pushes her way into his rugged and reclusive life, she discovers a sweet but damaged soul beneath a rough exterior.

Ian doesn’t know what to make of the determined young widow who forces him to look into the painful past and, what’s worse, the uncertain future. But it is, after all, a season of miracles and maybe, just maybe, it’s time to banish the ghosts and open his heart.

Overview Impression

Both blurbs attracted my attention, sounding like an interesting and plausible plot device and made me want to hear more. And boy howdy did I get an ear full. I also listened to a newer one out (the two above very early releases of his series) of a standalone called Sunrise on Half Moon Bay.

These multi-plotted books carry the MCs as well as the current focus of the book characters which varies widely and can include some very sensitive topics–not my fav.

The women appear needy, hormonal, and selfish; the men all willing to provide just want they needed (wink, wink), and they certainly seem to need a lot of that. This went beyond romance straight to sex and some of it more graphic than I was willing to listen to. Too much going on, rehashing and overhashing, sappy men, horny women, terrible histories made forgettable by moving to Virgin River and then succeeding with perfect lives and pregnancy. (Gag me) At one point I just shut off my audiobook and started something else. This series as written by Robyn Carr is just not for me. (Sorry–not sorry)

Book Details:

Whispering Rock by Robyn CarrWhispering Rock Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher:  Recorded Books – Audible
Whispering Rock – ASIN: B002IFLWNY
Listening Length: 11 hrs 39 mins
Narrator: Thérèse Plummer
Publication Date: July 21, 2009
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Whispering Rock
Whispering Rock Goodreads Link

A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr - audiobookA Virgin River Christmas Genre: Holiday Fiction, Holiday Romance
Publisher:  Recorded Books – Audible
A Virgin River Christmas – ASIN: B004NNG2HU:
Listening Length: 9 hrs 10 mins
Narrator: Thérèse Plummer
Publication Date: February 14, 2011
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: A Virgin River Christmas
A Virgin River Christmas Goodreads Link

Robyn Carr - authorThe Author: Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, eleven-time #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost sixty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River Series. The fifth novel (THE COUNTRY GUESTHOUSE) in her fan-favorite series, Sullivan’s Crossing, will be released in January 2020. Robyn’s latest women’s fiction novel (released May 2019), THE VIEW FROM ALAMEDA ISLAND, appeared on four bestseller lists: New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly and Wall Street Journal. Robyn is a recipient of the Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award 2016 and in 2017, VIRGIN RIVER was named one of the HarperCollins 200 Iconic Books of the past 200 years. Netflix has taken notice of Robyn’s success and is producing a 10-episode series based on her fan-favorite bestselling Virgin River Series. The Netflix series will be released in late 2019. Robyn lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr’s website at http://www.RobynCarr.com.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

*What’s on Netflix

Carr quote by Rachael Ellenbogan at ibtimes.com

Rosepoint June Reviews Recap–Hello July!

Rosepoint Reviews - June Recap

No longer the shelter-at-home orders, we have opened to Phase 3 in the NWI area. Still looking at the statistics, however, I’m not overly anxious to run out for any fun shopping any time soon and still condense my shopping to once a week for necessary groceries. It’s not very rewarding but at least both the CE and I remain CoVid free.

Stay Smart, Safe, Home

You’d think with all this mandated house time, I’d have more reading time than usual, but not at this time of year when finally the cattle guard opens and I can run to the back 40 for some serious grass, flower, and veggie time with my gardens. Finally, the year I decide I buy rain barrels to preserve some of the rain we get, we’ve had more than our normal share and I’ve had to dump more water than actually use on thirsty plants. So far, the earthworms are at risk of drowning and the birds are ecstatic.

Seventeen books in June! Most largely due to some massive help from the CE and rain. A variety of cozy mysteries, historical fiction, thrillers, sci-fi, and escapism action-adventure. Links listed below are my reviews.

In My Attic by Lena Hanson
The Pearl of York by Tony Morgan (5* histfic-author req-read with the CE)
Act of Deception by John Bishop MD
Snowed Under by Mary Feliz
The Mockingbird’s Song by Wanda E Brunstetter
January River by Bernard Jan (author request-buddy read with the CE)
Legacy of Lies by Robert Bailey
The Nutcracker Conspiracy by Lauren Carr (audiobook)
A Fatal Fiction by Kaitlyn Dunnit
Grave Consequences by Lena Gregory
Dangerous Pursuits by Jo Bannister
The Secret of Dunhaven Castle by Nellie H Steele (author request-buddy read)
Newgate’s Knocker by Greg Peterson (a CE 5* author request)
Speakeasy by A M Dunnewin
The Defense of Exeter Station by Thom Bedford (a CE review)
The Incredible Key West-Caribbean Race by Michael Reisig (fav author 5*)
The Finders by Jeffrey R Burton

Many of the above from NetGalley, an audiobook for blog tours, and the CE either read or participated in five reviews. There were several author requests including one from Michael Reisig who really outdid himself this year with an entirely different concept in his Key West series with the Ultimate Scavenger Hunt. SOOO fun! It’s on special sale right now for the Kindle edition at only $.99 and your chance for an introduction to his exciting, humorous, and unique novels. (No, I’m not getting a cut.)  In fact, I was introduced to a new author (to me) in June that I’m particularly excited about and of course it would be a K-9 series. My first review in July will be another favorite author, Amanda Hughes and her Bold Women series, this one of the early 20th Century, coming on Friday, July 3.

Summer Bingo!The challenges: (seriously?) Audiobooks, at the low end of Stenographer 10-15–I have 11. Eight towards my NetGalley count giving me 47 in a challenge of 75. I need two more to achieve 10 for my Renaissance Reader level in the Historical Challenge. Goodreads–I’m now one book behind schedule at 83 of 170 or 49% of that challenge. Because the Murder Mystery Bingo Challenge became so overwhelming, I jumped at the Summer Bingo! Challenge created by Lynne at Fictionophile. The contest started on the first of June and will continue through August. You’ll need to check her rules and get your card. SIMPLE and fun! Even I can do this one! To follow my progress, click on the Reading Challenges page.

Since writing the recap last month, seems conditions have only changed for the worse. Such a dark, tragic period in our country and around the globe. I hope that wherever you are, you continue to stay safe in the face of CoVid19 and are still coping successfully. I’m forever grateful for your likes and comments and always look forward to your posts!

Stay safe!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint Reviews May Recap–Hello June!

Rosepoint Reviews - May Recap

My claim to fame in May will be that I mastered the instructions for creating a mask out of one of the CE’s pair of cotton socks. No sewing, no pipe cleaners, no rubber string around the ears. There are apparently a number of different and unique varieties of no-sew masks and at least I can breathe with this one (which probably tells me how effective it is). I do not have, however, any denim or canvas, in my remnant box supposedly the most effective DIY mask material. Perhaps you’ve created your own designer mask and if it’s a no-sew version, I’m always open to suggestions.

May is normally the month here in NWI where we sun-starved and chilly folks are ready to grab the shovel and seeds. But it’s been a very slow spring and we’ve literally gone from jackets to tank tops in a couple days–and back again. I did get some seeds in and for Mother’s Day treated to our local nurseries that have opened in limited capacity, so what didn’t manage to cling to the soil that last rain deluge was augmented with a few 2″ starts. Since putting Handsome Husband on a vegetarian diet, we are eating a LOT of veggies and salads around here.

I’ll be happy with fifteen reviews in May, four of which were contributed by that Vicarious Blogger, the CE. You’d think all that help would free me up for more reading, but nay. I spent the time trying to save the garden–several times–hence the time to listen to those audiobooks!

Forgiveness Falls by Kate James
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen (Audiobook-5 Stars!)
Out of the Red and Into the Black by Shane S Ahalt Sr (A CE Review)
The Secret of Bones by Kylie Logan
Sucker Punch by Jim Carroll (A CE 5-star review)
Curse of the Ninth by Ruthie Marlenée (Author Request Literary Historical)
What You Don’t See by Tracy Clark
Murder by Perfection by Lauren Carr (Audiobook Blog Tour)
Yes Please by Amy Poehler (Audiobook)
Bones of the Innocent by John A Connell (A CE 5-star Review)
An Unequal Defense by Chad Zunker
Kelegeen by Eileen O’Finlan (Literary Historical)
Bossypants by Tina Fey (Audiobook–loved it–5 stars)
Killing Time by Suzanne Trauth (Blog Tour and Giveaway)
Departure by Joseph Reid (A CE Review)

Not all procured from NetGalley, the audiobooks from my local lending library, except the one for the blog tour.

Progress on the challenges: Audiobooks, NetGalley, Historical, and Goodreads–two books behind schedule at 68 of 170. 40%. I’ll have to talk to the man about stepping up his pace! To follow my progress, click on the Reading Challenges page.

Such a dark, tragic period in our country right now and around the world. I hope that wherever you are, you continue to stay safe in the face of CoVid19 and are finding creative ways to cope. Working in my garden(s) and your likes and comments always make my day. And always, thank you new followers!

Stay safe!

Stay Smart, Safe, Home

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Celebrity Book Clubs – Will One of These (Five) Spark Your Interest?

celebrity book clubs

Book Clubs! In particular, virtual book clubs are gaining in popularity thanks to pioneers of the idea such as Oprah Winfrey who made it smart to read again. Coupled with today’s technology and social media, it’s easy to get a line on your next favorite read. With so many influencers out there, where do you go for suggestions or inspiration? What’s trending?

Oprah Winfrey

May pick – Hidden Valley Road

Hidden Valley Road by Robert KolkerOprah’s Book Club is currently reading Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker. This is the true story of a midcentury American family whose six children out of twelve were diagnosed with schizophrenia leading to in-depth DNA genetic research.

The undisputed original celebrity book club that dominated the idea started when Oprah Winfrey began showcasing her book of the month on her wildly successful Oprah Winfrey Show in 1996. Certainly ahead of her time, Oprah selected more than 70 books before officially naming it in 2012. She introduced the book and then featured an interview with the author, boosting sales and the writing career of many authors. Follow Oprah’s club picks at her Instagram account.
Photo – John Phillips / Getty Images file

Reese Witherspoon

May pick – The Henna Artist

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi is a vivid story, “rich and complex.” Read about Lakshmi’s journey from an abusive marriage to popular henna artist in Jaipur.

Rapidly pushing the growing popularity of celebrity book clubs is Reese Witherspoon who started her book club in October of 2015. Reese tends to pick a book with a woman “at the center of the story.” Her book club is active, lively, and begs conversation and participation. She hit social media across Twitter and Instagram, as well as her website, Hello-Sunshine, and has been racking up the fans and followers. I followed.

Emma Roberts

May pick – The Book of V

The Book of V by Anna Solomon

The Book of V by Anna Solomon is also a Good Morning America Book Club pick. (From the Amazon blurb)In Anna Solomon’s The Book of V., three characters’ riveting stories overlap and ultimately collide, illuminating how women’s lives have and have not changed over thousands of years.”

Actress Emma Roberts and her friend Karah Preisss started their book club they called Belletrist. Their book choices are generally written by women and include both fiction and nonfiction choices. They also share photos, videos and interviews with authors. Find Emma Roberts on Instagram.
Photo attribution – Today

Jenna Bush Hager

May pick – All Adults Here 

All Adults Here by Emma Straub

All Adults Here by Emma Straub is also a Today Show #ReadWithJenna Book Club pick. (From the Amazon Blurb) “Emma Straub’s unique alchemy of wisdom, humor, and insight come together in a deeply satisfying story about adult siblings, aging parents, high school boyfriends, middle school mean girls, the lifelong effects of birth order, and all the other things that follow us into adulthood, whether we like them to or not.”

Not an early riser, the Today show is not one I watch. However, the article from NBC.Com notes that Ms. Hager posts videos explaining the book and her reasons for choosing each book of the month. She also posts inspirational quotes from the authors. Catch personable Jenna on Instagram and Twitter. I found this one online at my library. Both ebooks and audiobooks have holds. I’ll take whichever one comes first.
Photo – NBC NewsWire / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

⇒⇒⇓

Andrew Luck - retired Colts quarter-backAndrew Luck

May picks:

Buford The Little Bighorn by Bill PeetRookie pick – Buford The Little Big Horn by Bill Peet

Buford’s giant horns cause him all sorts of problems and even force him to leave his mountainside home, but eventually they make him a hero on the ski slopes.

Veterans pick – The Last Palace: Europe‘s Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House by Norman Eisen (Historical non-fiction) The Last Palace by Norman Eisen

A sweeping yet intimate narrative about the last hundred years of turbulent European history, as seen through one of Mitteleuropa’s greatest houses—and the lives of its occupants.

There are men who host book clubs as well, not all are women, and one is a retired football player.

You might have suspected this is also something I don’t watch. Even so, you might know the name of Andrew Luck, “NFL’s unofficial librarian.” The idea came about after an interview in February 2015. Hosts Roger Bennett and Michael Davies “brought up the idea of the Andrew Luck Book Club.” The Wall Street Journal picked it up and soon his mother noticed the hashtag #ALBookClub. He recommends two books for his team of readers, one for the younger crowd (Rookies) and the other for experienced readers (Veterans). Find Andrew Luck at Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
Photo attribute: Wikipedia

Fan Girl of a Celebrity? Following a book club I didn’t find?

Of course, the October 23, 2019 article from which much of this information was gleaned also cited a couple other celebrities which, when I tried to follow the link, either said was inactive or that someone else had taken the helm (Sarah Jessica Parker). I can imagine it would not be easy to continue a book club and have a high-powered career at the same time since I’m retired and find the blog consumes much of my waking hours and won’t be walking any red carpets soon. Also, while several of the above have attractive, interactive sites, they have thousands following them and in turn have followed back less than one-half of one percent. Still, it might be fun…

Has this interested you in checking out their May picks? Following? Will you read one of the above recommended books? I liked the looks (and synopsis) of All Adults Here by Emma Straub. Let me know which one you choose!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Additional info or photo attributes: Eonline.com news

May #TBR – Audiobooks, Indie Authors, Blog Tours, and NetGalley

Is All This Sheltering-in-Place Getting to Me?

I may have gone a bit overboard on scheduling book reviews and failing to leave sufficient time to get my gardens growing. Many of these looked too good to pass up, however, and as always, a wide variety of genres; cozies, literary fiction, legal thrillers, military adventures. I already started the month off with a ghost story, Forgiveness Falls, if you missed it.

May NetGalley Books

(Goodreads links of the above:)

The Secret of Bones
An Unequal Defense
Streel
What You Don’t See
Sucker Punch
Departure (a CE review)
Killing Time

May audiobooks, author requests, and Blog Tours

AudiobooksOMG–have you heard or read about Where the Crawdad’s Sing? This audiobook is phenomenal–beyond gripping. Good thing for earbuds, I listened to it into the night. Absolutely amazing, a #mustread or better yet, the audiobook. The narrator plunks you in the middle of the marsh with Kya. My review tomorrow, Tuesday, May 5th. Audible review of Murder by Perfection by Lauren Carr for iRead Book Tours.

Author Requests:

Out of the Red and into the Black (a CE review)

Curse of the Ninth

Blog Tours:

Kelegeen (Great Escapes)

Killing Time (NetGalley-Great Escapes)

I have high hopes for this schedule. Have you read any of these? Does one of them grab you? Can you guess which one is being made into a movie?

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint April Reviews Recap–We’re All #InThisTogether–or Maybe Not

A Message of Solidarity–perhaps not for the most vulnerable.

Rosepoint Reviews - April Recap

An unprecedented start to a new decade will be one everyone will remember, now more than sixty thousand deaths in the US alone with one million-plus infected. People are pointing fingers, there are conspiracy theories, false news, and wacky remedies published daily. So many people to be thankful for besides the obvious medical personnel. Bless them for manning the registers at the grocery store and keeping our gas pumps pumping. I’m loving the new and creative ways people are finding alternatives (homemade masks–hopefully with proper filter materials), finding a remedy for shortages, and providing new ideas for keeping some modicum of commerce out there. My fear is that the get-it-now-society is becoming impatient and desperate when we still have some distance to go.

Stay Smart, Safe, Home

April may have heralded spring for the happy folks south, but not here. My impatience tends to push thoughts of gardening, again the flower bed, vegetable garden, and fairy garden. The latter is still a swamp. But early bulbs are bringing some cheerful color to the front yard. Hoping to get a start on the vegetable bed the first week of May with temps in the 50s.

Sixteen reviews this month–not all mine–I’m happy to say, the CE is continuing to provide his thoughts on genres I wouldn’t normally read. This month, I read cozy mysteries, a legal thriller, historical thrillers, a paranormal, and a police procedural. Then Dugoni’s latest, to be released in September. If I get a Robert Dugoni suspense thriller, it tends to land on top of the TBR stack. And this one certainly did not disappoint–may be his best yet!

The Missing Sister by Elle Mar
A Reasonable Doubt by Phillip Margolin
The Age of Witches by Louisa Morgan
A Blind Eye by Jane Gorman (a CE review–a political thriller)
In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn
Mystery in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron
Privateers by Charlie Newton
This Magic Marmot by Sharon Pape
Watching Glass Shatter by James J Cudney (Audiobook)
Running Out of Road by Daniel Friedman
Black Velvet by Steven Henry
Final Judgment by Marcia Clark (shared review with the CE)
Winter Takes All by ML Erdahl (Audiobook)
Between the Cracks by Carmela Cattuti
The Dead Don’t Sleep by Steven Max Russo (a CE review-a military thriller)
The Last Agent by Robert Dugoni

I had a wide variety of digital offerings from author requests, NetGalley downloads, my local lending library, and two audiobooks. I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, narrated by Cassandra Campbell and published by Penguin Audio in 2018. Ms. Campbell is amazing! This was apparently A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick and a Number one New York Times Best-Selling Phenomenon. My review on May 5th. It is, indeed, phenomenal.

My challenges continue to fall behind. I’m getting sidetracked with other activities and I continue to play with graphics, learning something new every month both on my (VERY old) limited student edition of Photoshop as well as Canva. While I appreciate the basic (free) range of Canva (the background in the above CoVid19 pic is from Canva.com), there are times when it’s too simple and I finish it up on Photoshop. In any case, I’m always working on the Reading Challenges page, if you’re joyfully tracking my progress.

I seem to be getting into the habit of scheduling on the fly and started penciling books in so that if need be, can be moved around. Generally, I go by publishing or release date, trying to conform to publisher’s requests regarding public reviews more than 30 days in advance of release. Do you schedule according to those approval preferences? I’m still tweaking May, let alone June but I see many NG books are now being offered with release dates in 2021. That’s some serious lead time and I’m not sure how to handle those.

I previously noted the propensity for seeing the same protagonist’s (or main support character’s) name in successive books. This month I had two with the name of “Mo.” I’d have never bet on THAT one! Something else I’ve run up against time and again is the lack of true “trigger warnings” in book blurbs. I want to know about language, gratuitous sex (or otherwise), and graphic violence. I don’t want to “see” it if it turns my stomach. Anyone else have a problem with inadequately described blurbs?

Welcome to those who joined me in April and thank you to my established followers as always. I appreciate your continued support and may you stay safe wherever you are!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint March Reviews Recap–For Better or Worse–April Is Upon Us

Rosepoint Reviews-March recap

Who could have guessed that in one short month from the February Recap, we’d be in the middle of a global pandemic and the fight for our collective lives? From the end of January to finally assessing the severity of exactly what we in this nation were facing changed the heralding of spring not with trumpets and flower buds but with bagpipes and the strains of Amazing Grace. It’s been a sad month and we are promised worse in April. The sheltering-in-place has reduced commerce to panic purchases and hospitals to erecting temporary tents housing medical equipment with patients in parking lots. It’s sad and beyond frightening.

Stay: Smart, Safe, Home

March started Reading Ireland Month and although all St Patrick’s Day celebrations were canceled, I did manage seven Irish related posts, including Irish authors as well as plot locations in Ireland. Reviews for Rosepoint Pub in March totaled thirteen (as always the links are below the grid):

Dear Ringer by Annelise Ryan
Murder in an Irish Cottage by Carlene O’Connor (a Reading Ireland entry)
Sockeye by Michael F Tevlin (a Reading Ireland entry and CE review)
Irish Car Bomb by Steven Henry (a Reading Ireland entry)
One Good Dog by Susan Wilson (an audiobook)
When All is Said by Anne Griffin (a Reading Ireland entry)
A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy (a Reading Ireland entry)
The Wolf in Winter by John Connolly (a Reading Ireland entry)
Past Deeds by Carolyn Arnold
Problem Child by Victoria Helen Stone
Uncharted Waters by Scott MacKenzie (a CE review)
Beyond the Moon by Catherine Taylor (a CE review)
The Body in the Apartment by Judi Lynn

I had a wide variety of digital offerings from author requests, NetGalley downloads, my local lending library, and two spotlights as well as an audiobook. And I’m proud to say this old dog learned how to download gifted Audible books which I’ll be reviewing in April. I won a Giveaway that James J Cudney of This is My Truth Now ran and he introduced me to the idea. (Thank you, Jay!) I posted a spotlight for him this month here.

Of course, the book club meetings for March were canceled. Also included in the Reading Ireland Month challenge was the recommendation of one of my favorite podcasters, especially for all things Celtic, the Celtfather himself, Marc Gunn.  I hope you’ve had a chance to download and enjoy the amazing variety of artists included in his podcasts.

The CE continues to read and review as well, some as tandem reviews with my own, just as many independently. He has claimed quite a few favorable comments and Nina of The Cozy Pages dubbed him a vicarious blogger. Boy, I loved that, thanked Nina, and asked if I couldn’t use it. Having enthusiastically agreed, we’ll now be calling him CE, The Vicarious Blogger, rather than my associate reviewer. (He likes his new title as well.) Nina writes a delightfully sweet blog, her “homage to cozy mysteries” and if you haven’t discovered her page yet, here’s your chance!

My challenges get ever more challenging, one of which has fallen well behind. I’ve caught up my Reading Challenges page, however, if you’d like to see my progress. Three books behind in Goodreads, generally on target for the rest with the exception of the Murder Mystery Bingo Reading Challenge. NOT easy!

Thank you as always to those who joined me in March as well as my established followers. May you stay safe wherever you are!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Small CoVid19 graphic attribute: semiwiki.com

It’s March and We Truly Need a Saint Now – #readingirelandmonth2020

March! Reading Ireland Month

Guess I wasn’t successful trying to fend off the cold the CE got on the shuttle to the VA Hospital in Chicago in early March. While he’s mostly over his, I’ve just begun. (Yes, it’s just a cold.) The Corona Virus did kill St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this year, including the dying green of the Chicago River as well as the parade. And with the CE’s new vegetarian diet, no corned beef and cabbage for us either. The state lockdown has most restaurants closed, and I couldn’t even go out for a birthday dinner. (grumble grumble) Thinking we’ll have to have a make-up bash in June.

But–it is March and I’m participating in the Reading Ireland Month for 2020. I’ve posted a number of book reviews either by Irish authors or those books with an Irish setting. Last year, I spotlighted Stanley McShane’s book Cocos Island Treasure, a fictionalized story of his sailing trip to a favorite pirate haven (tropic island of the Pacific Ocean) of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in an attempt to find the “Loot of Lima.”

In 2016, “two park rangers (off the coast of Costa Rica) were patrolling a national park* after a recent storm when they uncovered five wooden chests, among other treasures.  This find is one of the most extensive in modern times. The treasure consisted of gold and silver coins, ingots, jewelry, candlesticks and religious items.  Historians believe that the entire collection is worth about 200 million dollars.

The vocal music background on the book trailer for Cocos Island Treasure is provided by Marc Gunn, self-proclaimed Irish and Celtic Music celtfather. In addition to his albums, he offers a delightful podcast which was available for download on iTunes. I think, however, my favorite album is “Happy Songs of Death.” Otherwise, check him out here.

I highlight six of the manuscripts I published for Patrick J Rose on the “Books by Stanley McShane page. This year, I thought I’d include a poem from Sole Survivor published in 2017, an anthology, collection of short story adventures and poems. The book also includes the story of the recovery of the painting the author used to illustrate his retelling of the sinking of the Marguerite. His poems include laments to his years of trading penny stocks (another book, Hot Air Promotions) as well as anguished cries of love lost.

In Friendship’s Name

Must we say farewell dear heart?
Must we part in bitter sorrow?
Time alone shall tell dear heart
Of the anguish on the morrow.

Tho’ memory brings to me regret
My love remains the same
And I through life could ne’er forget
If we part in friendship’s name.

Once my world was full of gladness
Life was full of song.
The only joy I’ve known dear heart
I treasured all day long.

Now my world is full of sadness
Life’s no longer sweet!
The only joy I’ve known dear heart
You banish at my feet.

As friends we met, as friends we part
I would have dearer grown
As hand in hand and heart to heart
I would you were my own.

Tho’ memory brings to me regret
My love remains the same
And I through life could ne’er forget
If we part in friendship’s name.

As we globally continue to fight this horrible biological catastrophe, my wish for you and yours is to stay safe. Sláinte!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

*The park was closed to treasure hunting exploration in the 1970s.

Reading Ireland Month 2020 – My List and Cathy’s Not-to-Miss All Things Irish Celebration!

I’m participating in #readingirelandmonth2020 this year (as I did last) and have put together a list of the books I’ll be reviewing along with their links to Amazon.

Reading Ireland 2020

The books may be about Ireland, have an Irish protagonist, or be written either by an Irish author or author with Irish roots. Most books on my list have already been released. We in the States celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with parades, pub specials, and corned beef and cabbage. In “Chicago-land” (of which we are a part), they literally turn the Chicago River green.

Chicago River

Cathy at 746 Books is hosting again this year and you may want to check her website to see her theme schedule. Additionally, she’ll be hosting a giveaway each week and sharing posts on her Facebook page. She has a monster list of 100 books you can peruse and a collection of recommendations. Be sure to use her hashtags #readingirelandmonth20 and #begorrathon20.

Reading Ireland Month

I’ll add in a poem written by my grandfather, Patrick J Rose (aka Stanley McShane) who (as far as we can tell) hailed from Cork along with a link to my favorite Irish podcaster, the Celtfather. So here is my schedule of books so far:

1.      Murder in an Irish Cottage (An Irish Village Mystery Book 5) by Carlene O’Connor – Fairy tale fantasy to be reviewed on Friday, March 6

2.      Sockeye by Michael F Tevlin Literary Fiction will be reviewed on March 8 by the CE.

3.      Irish Car Bomb by Steven Henry (An Erin O’Reilly K-9 Mysteries Book 2) Police Procedurals Review by the CE and me on March 10

4.      When All is Said by Anne Griffin British and Irish Contemporary Fiction Review on Friday, March 13

5.      A Week in Winter by Anne Binchy British and Irish Contemporary Fiction Review on March 15

6.      The Wolf in Winter: A Charlie Parker Thriller by John Connolly Private Investigator Mystery Review on March 17

I’m excited about the books again this year that includes new authors (to me), as well as two I reviewed last year ( Carlene O’Connor and John Connolly).

Have you read any of the above? Which ones? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Chicago River Photo Attribute: NBC Chicago

Rosepoint February Reviews Recap–HELLO March!!

Rosepoint Reviews - February Recap

I am still catching up on all the audiobooks I listened to in January, so posted two in February, one more still from David Rosenfelt that I’ll share in March. Of course March starts Reading Ireland Month and I’ve got several lined up already. If you haven’t already registered your participation in that challenge, now is the time to do it! I’ve added the badge with the link, so plunge head first into the green.

I certainly had a variety of reads in February, from mysticism to beautiful literary fiction. I reviewed three audiobooks by the same author (Rosenfelt), neither of which were my favorite series (Andy Carpenter)–one starting a new series (The K Team). The CE reviewed two novels, one an author request that he really enjoyed by Michael McLellan. While most were from NetGalley, I sampled two local book groups in February, one in Crown Point, and thinking I might just stay with the one in my own “township,” a new start up. It sounds like the director will be amenable to molding it in a unique format and I’m all for that! So in all, fourteen books for the month as follows:

Statue of Limitations by Kate Collins
Fade to Black by David Rosenfelt (David Brock series audiobook)
The Master’s Apprentice by Oliver Pötzsch (CE review)
In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael McLellan (CE review)
Bitter Alpine by Mary Daheim
Anne and Louis by Rozsa Gaston
The Angel’s Trumpet by James Musgrave
The Lost Boys of London by Mary Lawrence
Black and Blue by David Rosenfelt (David Brock series audiobook)
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (Third Monday Book Club selection)
Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico
The K Team by David Rosenfelt (new series)
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Fiction Addiction Book Club selection)
Thief River Falls by Brian Freeman

March

I’ve done some scrambling to try and keep up with the reading challenges, five until next month when Reading Ireland Month kicks in. I’ll bring back John Connolly from last year reading The Wolf in Winter this year and I’ll be reading Book 2 written by an Irish American writing about an Irish police woman in New York City with her K-9 partner (did you really think I’d read all month without one about a dog?) called Irish Car Bomb (an Erin O’Reilly K-9 Mystery) by Steven Henry. Don’t ask me why I started the series with Book 2–I have no clue, but it might have been this quote I noted in the blurb: If it weren’t for the Irish, New York wouldn’t have a police force. On the other hand, it might not need one.” And don’t forget to tag your posts with her hashtags #readingirelandmonth20 or #begorrathon20.

Otherwise, I’m pretty much behind on everything, including my NetGalley challenge. Thank heaven I only chose to try for Stenographer, 10-15 audiobooks! I think I’ll be able to make that one.

Thank you as always to those who have just joined me and those who continue to read and support this blog with your comments. You have no idea how much those are appreciated!

2020 V Williams V Williams

March photo background attribute: Canva.com

Rosepoint January Reviews Recap–HELLO February!!

Rosepoint Reviews-January Recap

January definitely got off to a rocky start with the hospitalization of the CE (my co-reviewer) for almost a week again in the VA Hospital, Jesse Brown, in Chicago. I must say, they have an extraordinary collection of medical staff, caring and attentive, and he’s home again–safe. Not the first time with this issue has forced me to reassess our diet. I’ve been reducing his meat consumption. Apparently not enough. Old school, I was always taught the plate was divided meat, vegetable, carbohydrate, salad or fruit. Not anymore. I’m learning to cook vegetarian. And it’s not easy. If you have some favorite go-to, possibly easy, quick vegetarian meals, I’d LOVE the suggestions!

Anyway, on the shuttle to the Chicago VA Hospital, I had lots of time to listen to audiobooks! And I listened to several but didn’t have time for reviews (except these two). I’ll spread the rest into February (and beyond–I have lots of them!).

January Book Reviews

Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine
The Lost Treasure by J M Kelly
A Criminal Justice by William L Myers Jr
A Cry in the Night by Kerry Wilkinson
Ice by Kevin Tinto (A CE review)
The Dog Who Danced by Susan Wilson (Audiobook)
The Poison of War by Jennifer Leeper (CE Review–novella)
A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan (Audiobook)
Gabby by Barby Keel
A Field Guide to Homicide by Lynn Cahoon
Mystery on Hidden Lane by Clare Chase

Did you check the Reading Challenges page I updated to include all the 2020 challenges? Of the above, eight were from NetGalley, two audiobooks, one historical fiction. (I also granted two author requests.) Actually, I was able to fill in a couple spots on the Bingo card and I started the other three. At twelve, I’m just a tad behind on my Goodreads challenge–read–haven’t completed the reviews, but I’m still playing catch-up.

 I certainly hope you had a healthy and happy January. Welcome to February!

Goodbye January, welcome February

Thank you as always to those who are new to this site and those who continue to read and support this blog with your comments.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Goodbye January gif courtesy of PixMix

Six Fun, Fast, and Easy Challenges for 2020 (Wink, Wink)

Six Fun, Fast, and Easy Challenges for 2020

(Cause, what, you don’t need more work?)

Yes, I know, I know–late to the party again. And these won’t be anything new for you if you participate in challenges, but after I dropped the Alphabet Challenge, I went a little overboard and signed up with a new one–and then another new one. Last count is six. What have I done?! My white knight, as previously noted, has come to the rescue with a few reads and reviews of his own. Even if the same book, we often have differing opinions.

  1. Let’s start with the Audiobook Challenge since I’m learning to love these for errands, working around the house, and exercising. It would seem there is more time for listening than reading and I’ve apparently hit a slump in reading lately. Easy to sign up, if you haven’t already. Pick your level listener of the eight listed. I chose Stenographer, 10-15.
  2. GoodreadsI know y’all are already doing this one. Watch the Goodreads widget in the right column for progress. (I’ve set the bar at 200 since my associate reviewer is included in this count.)
  3. Historical FictionYou read a few or more historical fiction. Right? Well, here is your chance to post your reads for posterity. Again, choose your level from one of six. I chose Renaissance Reader, 10. Don’t forget to add the tag: #2020HistFicReadingChallenge
  4. Murder Mystery Bingo Reading Challenge -Thinking this would not be a challenge, forgetting I read a wide variety of genres; not just all murder mysteries. My cards are pretty bare but it’s only January. Still, there are four cards: Weapons, Crime Scenes, Clues and Clichés, and Red Herrings. Everybody loves Bingo. Right? Check it out. (I see fellow blogger Tari of Cuddle Up With a Cozy Mystery already has two cards!)
  5. The NGEW2020 Challenge keeps a count of your NetGalley or Edelweiss novels. Go ahead, choose a goal. If you need to, you can always add or subtract. (Life has its little interruptions.) I’m going for 75 again–and that WAS a challenge. Always use the hashtag: #NGEW2020 (and my associate reviewer is included in this count.)
  6. Reading IrelandReading Ireland Month occurs in March (of course), and I won’t have that link or banner until posted this year. Check out my post from last year here.

Several of these include the MrLinky widget to upload your links and keep you honest. Also, I’ve updated my Reading Challenges page (it’s all clean and bright) laying out all the above challenges and adding a few details, but for all the instructions, you may wish to link directly to the challenge. (I’ve also listed these linked challenges in the right-hand widget column.)

Going into the weekend, hope yours is special and IF you have time, look at a few challenges to liven up your reading year! I’d love to hear which ones you are doing or how many of these you are doing. Or drop me a comment with “NONE.”

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Bucket’s Brigade (A Charley Field Victorian Mystery Book 2) by Gary Blackwood – a #BookReview #historicalfiction

First Book Review of the Year!

Bucket's Brigade by Gary BlackwoodBook Blurb:

The dauntless Inspector Charley Field, protagonist of “Bucket’s List” and inspiration for Dickens’ Inspector Bucket, is relishing the newfound success of his private enquiry agency. But success isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Instead of the minor-league mysteries he’s accustomed to–lost dogs and fake accident victims and such–he’s begun to attract some cases that are very high profile . . . not to mention dangerous.

For example, there’s the matter of Alfred Twickham, only son of railroad magnate Sir Roger Twickham. Kidnapped as a child and given up for dead, Alfred has struggled for decades to survive in the gold fields of Australia. Now he’s resurfaced in London, determined to claim his inheritance. Charley is asked to investigate the man by his friend Miss Treville, the young and attractive newspaper reporter, who claims that Alfred is an impostor and an all-round unpleasant bloke. And it begins to look as if she’s right—especially when she mysteriously disappears.

As Charley tries desperately to find her and to get the goods on Alfred, he’s sidetracked by several other troublemakers: a theatre manager who steals plays from authors (including the soon-to-be-famous Wilkie Collins); a philandering husband with a gypsy girlfriend; and an acid-throwing villain who preys on prostitutes and actresses. To make matters worse, Charley’s wife has become hooked on McMunn’s Elixir, a patent medicine that consists largely of opium.

Many of the secondary characters from the first novel make a return appearance in “Bucket’s Brigade”: the naive but eager Constable Mull; the former counterfeiter known as The Scarecrow; the alluring but untrustworthy Julia Fairweather; the winsome orphan, Audrey–and, of course, the Great Man himself, Mr. Dickens.

My Thoughts

My first review of the year and it’s a historical fiction novel! And a douzy at that! I can’t imagine the time spent on research, but it shows.

Bucket's Brigade by Gary BlackwoodThis one gets right back into the Dickensonian era, that famous English author of the Victorian times. The former Inspector Charley Field is no longer an Inspector but head of his own private inquiry agency. He was dealing with penny-ante stuff which has now escalated into more challenging cases. And these are as widely varied as he could hope for. But are they all solvable?

Charley Field is indefinable, somewhat middle-aged, and a former pugilist. Not like he’s gotten soft, more like he’s just slowed somewhat. What we do know is that he’s in a marriage now more convenient than lusty and that he cultivated a range of contacts very helpful in his former official position. His reputation exceeds him and he doesn’t mind still being thought an inspector.

This is not the dedicated kind of mystery you might expect, but a list of pointed investigations that will keep him and his (new) associate busy, some of which pay better than others. And the stilted ole English vernacular is rather off-putting–at first. Then, for some unfathomable reason, becomes delightful and a full smorgasbord of Victorian words, sayings, habits, along with an immersive peek into Victorian London, right down to the moral attitude of the period. Charley’s alter ego, Inspector Bucket (of Dickens fame), often rules the moment. Some of the sporting activities were…GROSS (rat-baiting??!)

At conclusion, does the wily PI put more checks in the win column than the “List of Wrongdoers Who Got Away?” Ooh, there are several in that column, including the person who peddled that elixir to his wife. The dialogue is a hoot, give it a chance. The characters are not wholly fleshed. I suspect we’ll learn more in Book 3, but Charley Field is a delightful and interesting, engaging protagonist and leads a well-plotted multi-layered mystery that is sure to keep your interest. My only problem was the uneven formatting.

I received this digital download directly from the author and enjoyed the read. Recommended for any who enjoys historical fiction in a complex and unusual presentation of jargon. Among the prose, it’ll bring you a few chuckles and memorable terms and phrases along with some history. (Thinking I won’t soon forget that slap-bang was an original term for what sounds to me like fast food. Loved it!)

His Thoughts

Crime is rampant in the late 1800s in England. Former police inspector Charlie Field opens a detective agency after leaving the police force. He is approached by young and attractive damsels in distress. They need his help to ally suspicions concerning their relationships. Add in an acid throwing maniac and you have the makings of a very entertaining novel.

Widows, some very young, are left with fortunes by older and recently deceased husbands. A remarkable group of miscreants attempt to separate them from their inheritance. One is a long-lost son who has come back from Australia to claim his birthright. Having left home at an early age it is hard to prove his actual identity.

This author handles these and a myriad of other situations in a very entertaining manner. The attempt at writing as if from a different era made parts of the book a bit tedious, however, that was overcome with a very intricate plot. It is fun to read. 4 stars CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mystery
ASIN: B0813XMJN2
Print Length: 342 pages
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Bucket’s Brigade

+Add to Goodreads
 Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5-stars

Gary Blackwood - authorThe Author: Gary Blackwood has published 35 novels and nonfiction books for young readers and most notably The Shakespeare Stealer (Dutton) which was on the American Library Association’s list of Notable Books and Best Books for Young Adults and has been translated into numerous other languages. He only recently crossed over into adult books with Bucket’s List, the first Charley Field mystery.  I’m also a widely produced playwright.  I grew up in Pennsylvania and moved around a lot before setting down on the beautiful North Shore of Nova Scotia.

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Welcome 2020 (Good Riddance 2019) and Happy New Year to You All!

Welcome 2020

I am so thrilled you are here to celebrate the beginning of a new year with me and hoping yours gets off to a wonderful start with exciting events in your future. I am not sorry to see 2019 gone (or the decade), which was one of turmoil for us. I’m sure twenty-twenty will kick off better times, a fresh start, hopeful beginnings. For you too!

My December, as yours, was fast and furious! But I did manage thirteen reviews among a spotlight and related posts.

Rosepoint Reviews for December

If you missed any of my full reviews, just click the link below. I reviewed twelve books in December, two were audiobooks (from my library via OverDrive), some are part of a series, many of those from NetGalley.

A Cold Trail by Robert Dugoni
Verse and Vengeance by Amanda Flower
No Man’s Land by Sara Driscoll
The Other People by C J Tudor
Two Good Dogs by Susan Wilson (audiobook)
Christmas on the Home Front by Roland Moore (TV series Land Girls)
Hands Up by Stephen Clark (author request)
Bookmarked for Murder by V M Burns
The Dog on the Acropolis by Mark Tedesco
The Ghost of Christmas Past by Angie Fox
Sealed Off by Barbara Ross
The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by David Rosenfelt (audiobook)
Shattered Justice by Susan Furlong (posted December 31st)

Since I’ve bumped up against a number of series now that I can’t wait to get back to, I’ve determined to look for additional books (also from my library) in either digital or print form, and I’m planning on a later post to delineate my favorites, a few of which turned out to on NetFlix. How great is that?

Challenges!

Are y’all into challenges? I’ve normally participated in three: the Goodreads Challenge, the NetGalley Challenge, and the Alphabet Challenge. This year I apparently lost all sense of reality and signed up for five (or not):

Audiobook – I’m signing up for Stenographer level–10-15 (Got my cheapy earbuds all charged.)
Goodreads – I’ll be staying with 170
Historical Fiction – I should be comfortable with 10 books–Renaissance Reader
NetGalley  – I’ll be going for Gold-50. (I attained my 200 [reviews] badge!) 
Reading Ireland – 10 (Links to 2019 challenge)
and Bingo (one card?) This is the Murder Mystery Bingo Reading Challenge

Bingo? Really? Is that the equivalent of the Alphabet Challenge (where I always missed Q, X, and Z)? Still, this is the time of year to start looking around to join the challenge of your choice and there are some very fun challenges out there! Most reading challenges run from Jan 1 – Dec 31. Lynne at Fictionophile posted a master list of challenges. You might want to check it out here.

Goodreads Year in BooksHere are a few results from my 2019 Goodreads Challenge:

I read 49,236 pages across 171 books

AVERAGE LENGTH
287 pages

MOST POPULAR64,261
people also readThe Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
The Turn of the Key
by Ruth Ware


Across the River by Richard Bruce Snodgrass
LEAST POPULAR
0 people also read
Across the River by Richard Bruce Snodgrass

 

 

clink glassesHere is hoping all who read this has a happy and healthy New Year! And, as always, thank you! I appreciate your follows and comments!

V Williams    martini glass

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