One by One by Ruth Ware – a #BookReview – Thriller & Suspense

“Her scent trails after her like an oil slick.” 

Book Blurb:

One by One by Ruth WareGetting snowed in at a luxurious, rustic ski chalet high in the French Alps doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world. Especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a full-service chef and housekeeper, a cozy fire to keep you warm, and others to keep you company. Unless that company happens to be eight coworkers…each with something to gain, something to lose, and something to hide.

When the cofounder of Snoop, a trendy London-based tech startup, organizes a weeklong trip for the team in the French Alps, it starts out as a corporate retreat like any other: PowerPoint presentations and strategy sessions broken up by mandatory bonding on the slopes. But as soon as one shareholder upends the agenda by pushing a lucrative but contentious buyout offer, tensions simmer and loyalties are tested. The storm brewing inside the chalet is no match for the one outside, however, and a devastating avalanche leaves the group cut off from all access to the outside world. Even worse, one Snooper hadn’t made it back from the slopes when the avalanche hit.

As each hour passes without any sign of rescue, panic mounts, the chalet grows colder, and the group dwindles further…one by one.

My Review:

Faithful to the end, when I reviewed The Turn of the Key I promised to read another of Ms Ware’s books. She is currently running #2 in the hit parade for psychological literary fiction on Amazon. She is an international bestselling author. I feel like a spawning salmon who’s decided she’s had enough of jumping fish ladders and wants to retreat back to the Pacific.

One by One by Ruth WareI’ve read perhaps three other novels recently with roughly the same premise, albeit slightly different settings. In One by One, a group of tech execs arrive at an exclusive French Ski Chalet to do a little bonding, some brainstorming, and decision-making on company direction. Of course it’s roughly divided equally with the tipping vote in the hands of a former employee, Liz, a mousy little thing who becomes one of the two POVs.

They are to go skiing, even in the face of a very nasty French winter snowstorm, and it sounds very Squaw Valley worthy. The tension is palpable. When the avalanche occurs, it’s a douzy, wreaking havoc on the chalet, cutting them off from services and utilities. And when they count noses, realize one of them didn’t make it down the mountain back to the chalet in time.

There are two resort workers, the chef Danny, and Erin the other POV who is the resort guest interface. Each chapter is headed according to their Snoop stats, but I’ve yet to discern a real value gleaned from those facts. Certainly sounds like a more invasive personal information source than Facebook but I’m still scratching my head over why I’d care what anyone else is currently listening to.

The tech company personnel are mainly entitled brats of wealthy families who turn demeaning eyes to both Danny and Erin. No way you’d really care what happens to them and when nine becomes eight becomes seven—do you really care? For that matter, I couldn’t rustle up a sympathetic bone for Liz the mouse either. Erin is okay and I’d extend her a hearty hoo rah, but I won’t be shedding a sympathetic tear. And the language? The novel would be half as long if it weren’t for four letter words.

The narrations of Liz and Erin tend to overlap just a tad where one leaves off and the other takes up the storyline. The killer becomes a bit obvious. The conclusion ramps up the tension but adds disbelief to the superhuman feats of Erin. Whoa! She did what with what? And then the novel inexplicably continues. I thought it finished! Wasn’t that the end? It was for me.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary advance, uncorrected reader’s proof of this book from publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Literary Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Literary Fiction, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press

  • ASIN : B084G9Z5C3

Print Length: 383 pages
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five of Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

Ruth Ware - authorThe Author: Ruth Ware is an international number one bestseller. Her thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game and The Death of Mrs Westaway have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including the Sunday Times and New York Times, and she is published in more than 40 languages. She lives on the south coast of England, with her family.

Visit http://www.ruthware.com to find out more, or find her on facebook or twitter as @RuthWareWriter

©2020 V Williams V Williams

One Good Deed by David Baldacci – An #Audiobook Review – Action & Suspense

Book Blurb:

The number one New York Times best-selling author David Baldacci introduces an unforgettable new character: Archer, a straight-talking former World War II soldier fresh out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit. 

One Good Deed by David BaldacciIt’s 1949. When war veteran Aloysius Archer is released from Carderock Prison, he is sent to Poca City on parole with a short list of do’s and a much longer list of don’ts: do report regularly to his parole officer, don’t go to bars, certainly don’t drink alcohol, do get a job – and don’t ever associate with loose women. 

The small town quickly proves more complicated and dangerous than Archer’s years serving in the war or his time in jail. Within a single night, his search for gainful employment – and a stiff drink – leads him to a local bar, where he is hired for what seems like a simple job: to collect a debt owed to a powerful local businessman, Hank Pittleman. 

Soon Archer discovers that recovering the debt won’t be so easy. The indebted man has a furious grudge against Hank and refuses to pay; Hank’s clever mistress has her own designs on Archer; and both Hank and Archer’s stern parole officer, Miss Crabtree, are keeping a sharp eye on him.  

When a murder takes place right under Archer’s nose, police suspicions rise against the ex-convict, and Archer realizes that the crime could send him right back to prison…if he doesn’t use every skill in his arsenal to track down the real killer.

My Review:

The year is 1949. Aloysius Archer is an Army veteran who has just been released from Carderock Prison. The parole board sent him to Poca City—located somewhere in the southwest I’d guess by the description of wind and sand.

First thing he is supposed to do is check in with his parole agent and get himself established, beginning with a job. His parole officer hands him a full list of do’s and don’ts—mostly don’ts—including booze, bars, and broads. (Hey, it’s 1949—the manner of speech was different then…and this is classic 40s noir.) Of course, the first thing he does is head to the local dive. He might not be looking for trouble, but trouble finds him.

One Good Deed by David BaldacciThe writing style is third person, short and unemotional. It’s impersonal—distant. Not an old TV black and white version of Friday, and definitely on the other side of the law, but close. Archer doesn’t speak a lot of himself but rather his observations. They are jaded, fashioned from the war and his term in prison for a crime of which he was innocent. And there are a lot of observations—telling—not showing.

Still, there is this “job” he’s had dumped into his lap. It’ll mean $100 and also keep him from having to do the job he was to be assigned (which will be described later and enough to turn your stomach). He goes about the investigation-collection cautiously, intelligently, during which we learn a great deal more about the support characters. By learning about the support characters and his interaction with them, we get to know more about Archer. The man. The Army veteran. The ex-con.

There is some rough language, although the reader is not accosted with the liberal use of the F-word like sometimes happens today. There is no sexual content—though it’s implied. It’s a slow burn and for some reason, keeps the reader (or listener) engaged. Like listening in on the neighbors on the other side of paper-thin walls. Gees!

There are some real mean men—a rather realistic, crude, and rude reality check to the way it was back then. The suspense continues to build and the whole storyline goes into a pre-conclusion with both barrels (over and under). Then, just as quickly, like a dispassionate epilogue, pulls all the loose threads together.

I don’t know what I expected. The narrator did an excellent job of keeping his narrative low-key, forcing you to listen to the story and the dialogue. This is a well known author. I’ve certainly seen and recognized the name. Perhaps this is a departure of his normal writing style. I wouldn’t know. This is entertaining but is Book 1 of the series and unless there is an Archer Book 2, may be the first and last. I will say, however, that even were it not, I would sample another of Baldacci’s novels. I’ve got to see if this is his normal writing style.

Book Details:

Genre: Action, Thriller & Suspense Fiction, Historical Fiction, Action, Adventure Fiction
Publisher: Hachette Audio
ASIN: B07STDLH47
 Print Length: 464 pages
Listening Length: 11 hrs, 41 min.
Narrator: Edoardo Ballerini
Publication Date: July 23, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: One Good Deed [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

David Baldacci - authorThe Author: David Baldacci has been writing since childhood, when his mother gave him a lined notebook in which to write down his stories. (Much later, when David thanked her for being the spark that ignited his writing career, she revealed that she’d given him the notebook to keep him quiet, “because every mom needs a break now and then.”)

David published his first novel, ABSOLUTE POWER, in 1996. A feature film followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 41 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers and several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into over 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries, with 150 million copies sold worldwide. David has also published seven novels for younger readers.

David received his Bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, after which he practiced law in Washington, D.C.

David is also the cofounder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across the United States.

David and his family live in Virginia.

Edoardo Ballerini
Edoardo Ballerini – Photo courtesy Wikipedia

The Narrator: (From his website) Edoardo Ballerini is a two time winner of the Audiobook Publishers Association’s Best Male Narrator Audie Award (2013, Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter; 2019, Watchers by Dean Koontz). He has recorded nearly 300 titles, from classic works by Tolstoy, Dante, Kafka, Whitman and Camus, to best-sellers by James Patterson and David Baldacci, and spiritual titles by The Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hahn.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The House of the Setting Son: A Misty Dawn Mystery (Misty Dawn Mysteries Book 3) by Nancy Cole Silverman – a #BookReview – #ghostmysteries

“…the former “Hollywood Psychic to the Stars”… 

Book Blurb:

The House of the Setting SonWhen Misty Dawn, the former “Hollywood Psychic to the Stars,” receives a phone call in the middle of the night, she knows it can’t be good news. Dorine Witherspoon, an actress and former client is in town for the opening of her touring musical and tells Misty the show’s leading lady, Cassie Marx, has disappeared, and the understudy had to go on for her on Opening Night! Misty immediately suspects foul play and when she and Wilson, Misty’s psychic shade, arrive at the theater the next morning, they discover LAPD’s Detective Cesar Romero meeting with the cast and crew. Events on both sides of the veil take a dark turn when Romero asks Misty off the case, and Wilson appears out of his depth with ghosts who want nothing to do with him. Death, close calls, and forces on both sides of the veil threaten to undo Misty and destroy her relationship with Wilson unless she can find Cassie and restore order to the show.

My Review:

Wow, I loved and cover and really wanted to love the book as I enjoy psychic ghost stories. You know I do. But I must have some level of veracity and this falls short.

The House of the Setting Son by Nancy Cole SilvermanMy first experience with the author and the series and I’m still getting used to some of the terminology used for ghosty or psychic stories. I think this is the first time I’ve ran across the term “shade” as it is used for a ghost who is caught behind the veil but not allowed to cross over. In this instance, that’s Wilson. Wilson is just a little TOO over-the-top handy on this side of the veil if he is capable of driving a car. Uh huh…

I like the location of LA/Hollywood and the premise of the old theatre that is going to celebrate one last hurrah—the run of My Fair Lady. Unfortunately, the aging star is murdered and the younger sister—far the better woman for the part—is missing and assumed the perpetrator. A little too obvious, that one. The theatre, with it’s old history, has it’s own ghosts and Wilson manages to get into a hassle with the theatre’s resident ghost.

I also like that Misty, the co-(living)protagonist is a mature person with a plausible history of being a psychic to the stars—and there is some name-dropping here with a well-known politician’s wife who did indeed engage her own. While she coordinates with the LA police, they are reluctant to return the favor.

There is a number of possible perps, some interesting support characters, and the buzz and excitement of the lights and cast, but the thought of the car winding it’s way through LA without a visible driver is just a bit much for me. The conclusion is not really a surprise, and this one may have resolved Wilson’s cross-over. Of course, this is rumored the last in the series, although there is now the specter of a romance between Misty and an ex.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Psychic Mysteries, Ghost Mysteries, Cozy Mystery

  • ASIN : B08F65LCBJ

Print Length: 305 pages
Publication Date: September 4, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 Rosepoint Publishing: Three of Five Stars three stars

Nancy Cole Silverman - author
Nancy Cole Silverman

The Author: After twenty-five years in news and talk radio, Silverman retired to write fiction. In addition to her short stories, Silverman has two series with Henery Press, THE CAROL CHILDS MYSTERIES, featuring a single-mom whose day-job as a radio reporter often leads to long nights as a crime-solver, and the MISTY DAWN MYSTERIES, centered on an aging Hollywood Psychic to the Stars, who supplements her readings working as a consultant to LAPD and the FBI. Silverman lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a thoroughly pampered standard poodle.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Crimson at Cape May (The Haunted Shores Mysteries Book 2) by Randy Overbeck – a #BookReview – #ghoststories

“Cape May: the country’s most haunted seaport.”

 Book Blurb:

Crimson at Cape May by Randy OverbeckNo matter how far you run, you can never really escape a haunted past.

Darrell Henshaw—teacher, coach, and paranormal sensitive—learned this lesson the hard way. Now, with his job gone and few options, he heads for Cape May to coach a summer football camp. The resort town, with gorgeous beaches, rich history and famous Victorian mansions, might just be the getaway he needs. Only, no one told him Cape May is the most haunted seaport on the East Coast.

When a resident ghost, the Haunted Bride, stalks Darrell, begging for his help, he can’t refuse, and joins forces with Cassie, another sensitive. As Darrell and the street-wise teen investigate the bride’s death, they uncover something far more sinister than a murder. Can Darrell and Cassie expose those behind the crimes before they end up becoming the next victims?

My Review:

Crimson at Cape May by Randy OverbeckWhen I participated in a blog blitz for the author’s book titled Blood on the Chesapeake, I was intrigued by the premise. Something about ghost stories pulls me in and I wasn’t disappointed with this—his second in the series. I suppose you might begin with Book 1 as it would explain about Darrell’s history—but I read this as a standlone and had no problem catching on pretty quickly that this was an unusual educator.

Darrell Henshaw is first a history teacher, and coach, and then a paranormal sensitive. He’s been asked to assist the coach at a summer football camp in Cape May. Oh my goodness…a quarter of the way into the book I was looking at pictures of the beautiful beach resort community and wondering how quickly I could make the trip to the East Coast. Sooo atmospheric. (I’m a big fan of the coast anyway—the Pacific though.) However, Cape May, with it’s history, Victorian Mansions, and no end of ghostly stories catches up to Darrell in a hurry. And the Haunted Bride is a douzy.

Darrell is an interesting protagonist. He has his foibles—for one, he’s OCD—and he’d lost his job back in Wilshire when he backed off defending himself in order that two of his player’s would keep their scholarships. So he grabbed this opportunity, leaving behind the bewildering state of affairs connected with his frame up and his sweetie, Erin, although she’ll soon join him.

It doesn’t take long before he sees a ghost—and she is very persistent. Then he meets Cassie. Cassie believes he might have the same powers of perception as she. And she’s seen the same persistent ghost. The Haunted Bride has found her conduits, unwitting and unwilling as though they may be, but she won’t let up.

Darrell is a personality I’d have a problem with in real life. He doesn’t scream romantic partner to me, but he can be endearing, sincere, and just as persistent. He must or he’ll just keep getting that ghost, cropping up where he least expects.

Erin is patient, understanding, kind, and still a bit skeptical of his visions, but is beginning to show interest—actually encouraging. She is feminine and motherly and seems to instantly know how to calm Cassie—pursue her visions. Cassie is a Goth, would be homeless except for the crib she’s sharing with a guy in exchange for favors. And she has contacts. They know where to get the good stuff and they share. The nervous interest in her character goes from cautious to compassion.

The well-plotted storyline keeps a steady pace through two-thirds of the book and then gradually ups the ante, adds tension, grit, drops more pieces of the puzzle then explodes. When the dust settles, all is right with the world. The main characters will go on to Book 3 and I’ll be looking for them there.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and these are my honest, unbiased thoughts. NB: CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY recently won its first national award, the Gold Award from  Literary Titan.

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Book Details:

Genre: Ghost Fiction, Ghost Mysteries, Mysteries
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press Inc

  • ASIN : B089P2PG1B

Print Length: 308 pages
Publication Date: July 20, 2020
Source: Direct Author Request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Randy Overbeck - authorThe Author: Dr. Randy Overbeck is a veteran educator who has served children as a teacher, a college professor and school leader. During his more than three decades of experience, his responsibilities have ranged from senior prom advisor to superintendent and he has lived the roles of many of the characters in his fiction.  A tireless advocate for literacy instruction, Dr. Overbeck has won state and national awards for his work and has also served on numerous state and national educational boards.

An accomplished writer for more than two decades, he has been published in trade journals, professional texts and newspapers. His first novel, LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND, published by Heroic Teacher Press, is a thriller about a terrorist takeover of a high school and the teacher who defeats the terrorists. The work earned rave reviews and was named the 2011 Silver Award for Thriller of the Year from ReadersFavorite.com. His newest work, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE, released in 2019, has also garnered five-star reviews and won a national award, the Gold Award from Literary Titan.

When he is not writing, Dr. Overbeck is often in demand as a speaker to groups, large and small. His speaking experiences run the gamut from delivering a keynote at a national conference to a participant in a federal policy debate on education. During the past several years, he has shared his tribute, “Teachers–the Real American Heroes” with more than 150 clubs and organizations, introducing audiences across the country to his first novel, LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND. Currently, Dr. Overbeck is sharing his newest presentation, “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” a fun and intriguing talk about the role of ghosts in our culture, and introducing audiences to his ghost story/mystery, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE.

A member of the Mystery Writers of America, he 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, Midwest Writers’ Workshop and Killer Nashville.

Dr. Overbeck is married to Cathy, his wife and partner for more than 40 years, and they have three grown children–settled in three different states across the country–as well as seven grandchildren, whom he loves to spoil. For him, time not devoted to writing and speaking is spent traveling to visit family and other favorite spots around the US.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Final Second: A completely unputdownable action thriller (A Grant Fletcher Thriller Book 2) by John Ryder – a #BookReview Suspense Action Fiction

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Sometimes it takes a stranger to find a killer…

Final Second by John RyderIn a small farming town in rural Wisconsin—where generations of families have lived in peace for decades—no one expects trouble to come calling.

But then a farmer’s beautiful young wife is found brutally murdered, with a chilling calling card that suggests she’s just the first victim of a serial killer. And the FBI elect not to send one of their own. Instead they send a stranger to town—former Royal Marine turned mercenary, Grant Fletcher. And they’re giving him no choice. Find the killer. Because we know what you’ve done.

With the threat of the executioner’s chair hanging over him, Fletcher finds himself in an impossible situation—and a race against time. Catch a murderer whose killings are escalating with every day that passes. Or face certain death…

His Review:

Action packed suspense thriller centered around remote dairy ranches. working independently, Grant Fletcher is called in to help identify the killer of a FBI agents’ childhood friend. The agent is involved in a major case and cannot be directly involved at the onset. The killer is flaunting his kills by numbering each one. Her friend is #1.

Final Second by John RyderGrant is on a short leash from the police on a possible murder charge himself. A mysterious person far above the FBI agents’ paygrade is pulling the strings. The local police department is poorly staffed and it is doubtful  they will be able to find the killer. Grant has the specter of a trial over his head and going to prison, so he is given little support from the FBI while dodging the local police department.

The author, John Ryder, skillfully builds suspense while throwing in a few red herrings to salt the suspense. Aggravatingly, the local police department keeps getting in the well. An inkling of the reason for the murders begins to become apparent but the suspense builds after each new murder. Can Grant Fletcher find the killer before he is charged and arrested in his separate case? By number five, Grant’s time is running out and is looking at a deadline of next Monday.

The killings are centered in a particular area. His friend, Special Agent Zoey Quadrado, joins him near the end of the book as he narrows in on the killer. The killer has become brazen and does not care about the age of his targets, just the outcome. Hunting this killer becomes extremely dangerous as both Grant and Zoey become targets. CE Williams

The tale is fast moving and readers will need to set aside time to complete the book. It can cause insomnia! 5 stars-CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense Action Fiction, Crime Action Fiction, Crime Action & Adventure
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B08B8ZRJ92

Print Length: 341 pages
Publication Date: October 5, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Final Second [Amazon]

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©2020 C E Williams – V Williams V Williams

The German Client: A Bacci Pagano Investigation #6 by Bruno Morchio – a #BookReview – International Mystery & Crime

Bestselling Italian author Bruno Morchio releases his debut for English readers. 

Book Blurb:

The German ClientPrivate investigator Bacci Pagano can’t resist taking the bait when his new client dangles a check with too many zeros. He should have known that where there’s bait, there’s always a hook. 

In a hospital corridor, private investigator Bacci Pagano is keeping watch over Jasmìne Kilamba. If she lives, her testimony will shatter a  notorious human trafficking ring. Seemingly out of nowhere, he is approached by an elderly German named Kurt Hessen who is searching for his Italian half-brother. Despite his better judgment, Pagano accepts the job.  So many things, good and evil, happened when the Nazis occupied Genoa in 1944, what did it matter now? But it matters very much to someone and Pagano finds himself plunged into a world of old secrets and new lies in this wartime thriller where the bill for the sins of the past has come due . . . with interest. 

Originally published in Italian as Rossoamaro, The German Client elegantly intertwines a wartime thriller about Nazi-occupied Genoa with the gritty realism of Pagano’s current investigation in what La Repubblica called “a masterful tale.”

Nominated for a National Book Award, The German Client spent five weeks on the Corriere della Sera best seller list and won the Azzeccagarbugli Prize for Best Mystery. 

His Review:

A WWII mystery wrapped up in a modern-day saga. Italy is in the latter days of the war and has been demoted from a German Ally to an occupied country with the Germans refusing to withdraw. Italy and its’ people are forced to assist the Third Reich in any way they can. The characters are well developed and the collaborators are feared and hated by the average populace. Check-points are manned with German military who have very itchy trigger fingers.

The German client by Bruno MarchioKurt Hessen is a late war baby who is suffering from a terminal disease. He is looking for a brother he did not know he had. Detective Pagano is hired by Kurt to find this long-lost brother. Apparently, there is a sizable family inheritance that should go to the only surviving son of Mr. Hessen. Should the brother not be found, the money will go back to the state.

The author skillfully weaves the story through two time periods. It is masterfully done and I found myself appreciating the drama between a young Italian girl and an older German officer. Weaving the nearly 65 year split between the end of the war and current day adds to the mystery. The topper is the fact that the last name of the young girl is not known to the detective. Detective Pagano refuses the assignment outright but the dying man is insistent. He grudgingly takes on the task.

A real eye-opener is the continued mistrust of the protagonists and the former members of the resistance. In 1944 the war for Italy was coming to an end. The Germans were not going to retreat quietly. Secrets of the resistance and the partisans are raw wounds that carry forth to this day. Because of the animosity there is no real assistance from the population to help solve the mystery. Every bit of information is dragged out from those that remember. Many simply refuse to discuss the case or the time period.

The ending is a surprise that I did not see coming! The flow of the story reminds me of a taffy pull. Just when you think you have an inkling of an outcome the author skillfully changes direction. The ending is totally unexpected. The destruction of cities and industries by the Allied bombing made me sympathetic to the plight of the Italians.

CE WilliamsThe only quibble I had was the continuous use of places existing during WWII with no map or way to identify the locality.  I suggest that anyone with a desire to learn history and feel the pain of war on the civilian population read this book. It is emotive and you will not be disappointed. Thanks to Chiara from Kazabo Publishing for my complementary copy. These are my honest and unbiased opinions. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery & Crime, War Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Kazabo Publishing

  • ASIN : B082LZL7WG

Print Length: 204 pages
Publication Date: February 17, 2020
Source: Publisher request
Title Links: The German Client [Amazon]

Also find the book at these locations:

Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Add to Goodreads Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Bruno Marchio - authorThe Author: Bacci Pagano, “the noir detective with the heart of gold,” is Bruno’s signature creation. Bacci is an Italian institution. Featured in over 15 novels, Vanity Fair called Pagano, “one of Italy’s most beloved characters.” In the words of one major Italian newspaper, “Bacci Pagano is a fixture in the Italian imagination. One grows fond of Bacci. After reading a few of these novels, you find you can no longer do without him.”

Bruno Morchio lives in Genoa, Italy, where he worked as a psychologist. He has won two literary prizes for the mystery genre, the Azzeccagarbugli and the Lomellina in Giallo Prizes, and was a finalist for the Bancarella, the Scerbanenco and the Romiti Prizes.

FACEBOOKhttps://www.facebook.com/bruno.morchio

AUTHOR WEBSITEwww.brunomorchio.com

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Song for a Lost Kingdom The Prequel: A Kingdom is Lost, a Song is Born by Steve Moretti – #BookReview @Shalini_G26 @morettisteve

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

The Prequel to a time-travel historical fantasy series powered by a mysterious 18th century cello that bridges the divide of time between two passionate women who live for their music and find their lives and loves forever intertwined.

A kingdom is lost. A song is born.

Song for a Lost Kingdom by Steve MorettiWhen the Union with England is accepted by the Scottish Parliament on 16 January 1707, many swear they will never accept the loss of their fiercely independent nation. The ones who seek to preserve a lost kingdom divide families and destroy lives in the process.

The consequences ripple through time until a generation later, Katharine Carnegie is lost for words to complete her symphonic masterpiece in 1745. The Jacobite rebellion is sweeping across Scotland, pitting her two brothers against each other, with her caught between them.

Meanwhile in 2003, Adeena Stuart, a rebellious teenage cellist and composer in Canada, is frightened by the visions of her visiting grandmother from Scotland. Somehow they connect Adeena to Katharine’s uncompleted song from the 18th century.

In the Prequel to the highly acclaimed Song for a Lost Kingdom novel and audiobook series, the origins of the story and the characters unfold in dramatic fashion. The prequel also includes the first two chapters of SFLK Book I, Music is Not Bound by Time.

Get swept away by this time slip adventure powered by music.

 His Review:

Song for a Lost Kingdom by Steve MorettiCould music be a generational tether for future generations? This Prequal explores that question with tantalizing clarity. The early 18th century is embroiled in conflict between England and Scotland. The Scots do not want to become part of the British Empire but some opportunists see it as a way to grab lands and property. Included in those is Katharine’s older brother who is made a member of Parliament and becomes the owner of the family castle and grounds called Kinnaird. He is also made a Captain in the British army and fights his own countrymen to cement his future.

Chased from her childhood home her only thread is her music. Katharine is drawn by the notes and scores and feels safest when she is playing or composing. As she leaves her childhood behind, she is drawn deeper into the mystic of the music and its’ connection to the strife gripping her country. Siding with her older brother slips her into complicity with England and abandons her own needs and desires. She is more loyal to Scotland and loses herself in composing.

Three centuries later another young lady named Margaret after her aunt is struggling with music and her future in composing. She too plays the cello and finds comfort in the chords and compositions. At times she is in a world of her own as she plays. Auditioning with a major orchestra is a tentative step to a new career. Can she accomplish her life’s goal and wish?

CE WilliamsThe juxtaposition of the two celloists is not lost but is the spice that pulls the story together. Remember this is a “Prequal” and is only an appetizer to the complete novel. Yes, I admit to being hooked. I would like to read the whole story and see how the connection is completed between the two family members!

The musical thread is enticing in its’ simplicity. Without actually meeting and speaking with each other can the two women cement a generational bond? 5 stars – CE Williams

Add to Goodreads 

Steve Moretti - author
Steve Moretti

The Author: I have always been drawn to passion and creativity in all its forms. I am equally fascinated by the mechanics of the universe and the characters of history. I have a special affection for the power of music which I believe is the universal language of human emotion.My writing journey started in journalism, public relations and advertising then continued into software development (yes that involves writing)! Now am I a full-time author, finishing up Book III in my Song for a Lost Kingdom trilogy, which also includes a novella Prequel.

Audiobook versions of all the books in this series are on the way, including the Prequel which is now available.

I grew up in London, Ontario (Canada) and also lived in Pompano Beach, Florida as a teenager. I moved to Ottawa and attended Carleton University many years ago and now live just south of the city with my wife, daughter and four dogs with attitude.

I look forward to your feedback. Visit my website stevemoretti.ca for the latest news, or email me at steve@stevemoretti.ca anytime!

BOOK DETAILS

Genre: Time Travel Science Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Fantasy Short Reads
Publisher: DWA Media

  • ASIN : B07YLBG1RM

 Print Length: 65 pages
Publication Date: September 29, 2019
Source: Book Tour @DigitalReads

SOCIAL MEDIA DETAILS

Website: http://www.stevemoretti.ca
FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/stevemoretti.ca/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/moretti.steven/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/morettisteve
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/steve-moretti
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steve-moretti-61884ab/
Medium: https://medium.com/@stevenmoretti
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18201107.Steve_Moretti
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Steve-Moretti/e/B07DX4H6Z3

BOOK LINKS

Amazon USA: https://www.amazon.com/Song-Lost-Kingdom-Book-III-ebook/dp/B08BR2S6N9/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Song-Lost-Kingdom-Book-III-ebook/dp/B08BR2S6N9/

We posted a Book Blitz for Book 3 (The Heart Beats in Time)  in August here but this prequel will give you a good jump start to the series if you didn’t start with #3. In any case, you’ll find this an intriguing and compelling read. Enjoy! Digital Reads Blog Tour of The Defense of Exeter Station

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Digital Reads Blog Tours. These are my honest thoughts.

©CE Williams – 2020 V Williams V Williams

As the Stars Fall: A Book for Dog Lovers by Steve N Lee- a #BookReview

“…puppies changed into adult dogs and children changed into adult people. Those were both change and not-change.”

 Book Blurb:

A desperate dog. A scarred girl. A bond nothing can break.

As the Stars Fall by Steve N LeeWhen a young girl suffering with her own tragedy comes across an injured young dog, she can’t resist helping him. Both having braved the worst the world had to throw at them, the pair quickly form an unbreakable bond. They picture their future as an endless stream of adventures filled with love, laughter, and good times.

But life has one last cruel trick to play…

At one moment heart-warming, the next heart-breaking, this is the story of a devoted dog’s roller coaster journey to be the one thing every good dog dreams of being – a best friend. Through a touching tale, As The Stars Fall explores how compassion can make us whole again and friendship can heal even the most broken of hearts.

My Review:

A dog story narrated in the POV of the dog, this isn’t your average Marley. The puppy is living is an alley with his mom and siblings when his nose and curiosity forces him out exploring while they nap. It’s a fortuitous outing as his mother and brothers are captured in his absence. He’s still a bit young to be on his own, but he’s pretty sure if he just stays there, they’ll return. There’s only one problem—the really big, bad hound–and competition for food won’t be easy.

Dog has witnessed others being walked by their person but can’t conceive he’ll have the same privilege, until a little girl discovers him whimpering in a box and talks her father into taking him home. Dog has had a traumatic run in with the hound and he’s in no condition to argue his being taken from his home.

Mia, however, has experienced her own severe trauma and desperately seizes the opportunity to shower the alley puppy with care, love, and attention. She is as sympathetic a character as Kai and both easy to invest in. During his recovery, Dog becomes Kai and bonds with Mia who shares and showers him with all her emotions.

The setting is beautiful and easy to picture. Mia thrives and begins to come to terms with her own recent past as Kai becomes a proper household and devoted pet. Some time passes with the changing of seasons and with Mia and her dad who comprise the pack, until…something goes very, very wrong.

As the Stars Fall by Steve N LeeThe storyline pushes the ebb and flow of happy times with the tragedies, wrenching emotions, and the drive to read a happy ending. Kai is a smart dog; he uses his nose—and his nose is never wrong. He’s confronted the puzzles of living with humans and has solved many of them to his satisfaction. Facing inexplicable events then, he uses his instincts to solve this problem.

There is fear and confusion, adaptation, discipline (he can wait—he’s learned to do that), loyalty and attachment. There are times when Kai’s logic causes chuckles and others exasperation. Come on—he’s a dog! You want to push the story—there are a dozen ways this could go from here. But it doesn’t. It’s relentless. And proceeds to heart in your throat scenes you don’t wish to see.

It took me awhile to understand that “hacking” was meant to convey laughing, while “happy teeth” definitely explained it all. And I had a small problem with Mia being so independent at her age. But are you ready to get into the mind and reasoning of a dog? This is probably as close as you’ll come and you’ll love it. It may provide some enlightening moments. Recommended as a fast, deeply engaging read.

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Teen & Young Adult Emotions & Feelings Nonfiction eBooks, Miscellaneous Animal Care & Pets eBooks, Teen & Young Adult Nature & the Natural World Fiction eBooks

  • ASIN : B0868X2L3P 

Print Length: 254 pages
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Source: Direct author request

Title Link(s):
Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Author Links:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0868X2L3P

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/as-the-stars-fall-steve-n-lee/1136738212

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/as-the-stars-fall

https://books.apple.com/us/book/as-the-stars-fall/id1504483395

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Steve_N_Lee_As_The_Stars_Fall?id=08vYDwAAQBAJ

***

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0868X2L3P

http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0868X2L3P

https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0868X2L3P

Rosepoint Publishing: Four Point Five of Five Stars 4 1/4 stars

The Steve N Lee - authorAuthor: Thriller writer Steve N. Lee
* cage-dived with great white sharks
* speaks 10 languages
* studied Tae Kwon Do to black belt level
* has visited 58 countries
* worked with Patrick Stewart of X-Men fame
* hand-fed a wild orangutan in a rainforest
* played guitar in a rock band
* is a certified SCUBA diver
* sparred with a monk at a Shaolin temple
* drove at 100 mph on Bonneville Salt Flats
* watched a turtle lay eggs on a moonlit beach
* explored Macchu Picchu, Pompeii, and the Great Wall of China
* has two cats.

Does Steve write damn good books?
When he lives such a rich, action-packed life, what do you think?

If you love pulse-pounding action and dark, flawed heroes, you’ll love Steve’s series because he wrote it for thriller lovers just like you!

Angel of Darkness Series action-packed revenge vigilante thrillers Steve N Lee

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Trick or Thief: A Humorous culinary Cozy Mystery Short Read (Death by Cupcake) by D E Haggerty #BlogTour #BookReview #cozymystery

I am so delighted to provide a review for you today at my blog stop for Trick or Thief by D E Haggerty on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Trick or Thief by DE Haggerty

Book Details

Trick or Thief: A Humorous Culinary Cozy Mystery Short Read (Death by Cupcake)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Independently Published
Digital – 120 pages
ASIN: B0878QF5V9

Book Blurb

A little haunting sounds like innocent fun until a ghost plunders your stockroom.

Kristie is convinced ghosts don’t exist until food starts disappearing without a trace from the Youth Center storage. There are zero clues as to who’s been inside the building. The security guard hasn’t seen a thing, and the security tapes are mysteriously blank. When the ghost widens his hocus-pocus to include Kristie’s office, the gals of Callie’s Cakes jump in to find the culprit before Kristie can get in a whole mess of spooky trouble. 

Will the gals of Callie’s Cakes expose the ghost before Kristie’s facility is destroyed? 

Cupcakes not included, although recipes for all the delicious cupcakes Anna bakes are.

My Review

Trick or Thief by D E HaggertyMy first short read by the author and this the sixth of the series.  Callie and Anna and co-owners of Callie’s Cakes. They specialize in beautiful and very tasty cupcakes and are the two best friends of Kristie Larson who took over management of the local youth center.

Kristie likes to think she is the more sane of the three, but Callie is a also a bit on the reticent side, following Anna who tends to leap into whatever situation is confronting them at the moment and at the moment that would be the mysterious thefts at the youth center. Who would steal bread and peanut butter at 4 am? More than once?  

It is approaching Halloween and Kristie has plans for the kids, but Anna and Callie are all in the investigation of the penny ante thefts. Then it starts getting more serious and Anna and Callie have to become more subtle in their plans if they are to keep their activities a secret from their police detective significant others. Kristie’s guy, Tyler, is a fireman and working odd hours, so she reluctantly goes with the plans of “Lucy and Ethel.”

They do manage to solve the mystery and no one gets maimed or murdered and the narrative stays light-hearted, humorous, and well-fed. Lots of cupcake recipes following the conclusion.

A fast, easy read, a promised romance, and clean mystery (no filters needed here). I received the digital download for the blog tour and these are my unbiased opinions.

+Add to Goodreads 

D E HaggertyAbout The Author: D.E. Haggerty is actually just plain old Dena, but she thinks using initials makes her sound sophisticated and maybe even grown up. She was born and raised in the U.S. but considers herself a Dutchie and not only because it sounds way cooler. After a stint in the U.S. Army, she escaped the US to join her husband in Holland. She fled Holland over ten years ago when she couldn’t stand the idea of being a lawyer for one single second more. Turns out Bed & Breakfast owner in Germany didn’t do it for her either. When the hubby got a job in Istanbul, she jumped ship and decided to give this whole writer thing a go. She’s now back in Holland, which she considers home. Sorry, Mom.

Author links

Website: http://dehaggerty.wordpress.com

Blog: https://dehaggerty.wordpress.com/category/mymusings/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dehaggerty

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7210211.D_E_Haggerty

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/D.E.-Haggerty/e/B00ECQBURU/

Newsletter signup: https://mailchi.mp/027b2768aa1c/newsletter-sign-up-for-a-writers-life-by-de-haggerty

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

Bookbub author page: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/d-e-haggerty

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/d-e-haggerty-4b49a29/

Purchase Link – Amazon

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

Tour Participants:

August 20 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 20 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

August 21 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW

August 21 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

August 22 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 23 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, GUEST POST

August 24 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 25 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

August 25 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

August 26 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT

August 27 – Books to the Ceiling  – GUEST POST

August 28 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

August 28 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

August 29 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

August 30 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

August 30 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

August 31 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 1 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT

September 1 – ebook addicts – REVIEW

September 1 – Reading Authors Network – SPOTLIGHT

September 2 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – RECIPE

September 2 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Magic Once Removed by James Kirst – Book Blitz for RABT Book Tours and PR #paranormalsuspense

I am excited to present to you today a book blitz for Magic Once Removed by James Kirst for RABT Book Tours and PR.

Paranormal Suspense

Published: June 2020

Publisher: World Castle Publishing

 

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

 

Down on his luck, former police detective turned private investigator Peter
Cunningham thought the beautiful Abigail Mitchell was just another crazy
client. Now he’s entangled in an ancient conspiracy that dates back to
the Salem Witch Trials, a far cry from the simple assault case the woman
wanted him to solve.

His budding romance with the witch Abigail will have to be put aside as he
travels the Pacific Northwest with estranged friend and former partner Kelly
Martinez to discover who these people are and their goals.

A coin, a five-year-old case, the Malleus Maleficarum, televangelist and
motivational speaker Tony O’Stein, Pope Innocent VIII, and a secret
society all tie back to a tragedy from Peter’s childhood and he will
need to figure out what it all means and a solution.

Though many witches live amongst us, they are also part of a secret society
but their clandestine organization seems to have been discovered which has
led to a new wave of persecution. Internal tensions were already high and
the attacks have only exasperated the issues. Peter must expose the members
of the conspiracy and thwart their nefarious plans before an even bigger
tragedy strikes.

 

About the Author

James Kirst lives in the Evergreen State in a humble little abode within
the forested city of Dupont. There, he earned his Master’s Degree at
the University of Washington. Commuting up north to Tacoma, he has worked as
a senior programmer and software development lead for almost ten
years.

With a borderline obsessive interest in the paranormal, James has conducted
an intensive study on the subject. To that end, he has visited some of the
most haunted places in the United States including Salem, the LaLaurie
Mansion of New Orleans, and his personal favorite, the Shanghai Tunnels of
Portland, Oregon.

As an avid fan of mystery both in fiction and in real life, he has done
extensive research into police procedurals, the machinations of detective
work, and life as a private investigator.

A big sports fan, James is sure to either be watching or participating in
one when not writing about or educating himself in one of the aforementioned
subjects. In fact, he has won multiple championships in bowling and
slow-pitch softball and has made several appearances as a softball All-Star
where he was given the privilege of playing in Cheney Stadium. He is still
seeking that elusive kickball title, however.

Contact Links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Promo Link

 

Purchase Links

Amazon

B&N

Kobo

iBooks

Smashwords

IndieBound

RABT Book Tours & PR
©2020

Walks with Sam: A Man, A Dog, and a Season of Awakening by David W. Berner – a #BookReview

Happy Publication Day!

 Book Blurb:

Walks with Sam by David W BernerA man, his dog, and a long walk can lead to unexpected discoveries. In the tradition of many literary walkers, David W. Berner sets out on foot hoping to reexamine his life, look back and forward, and most importantly, through the help of his young dog, Sam, try to find harmony in new beginnings and the uncertainties of the present. In a series of chapters, each dedicated to one walk during a summer of hiking, the author finds that it is his beloved pet that allows him to awaken to a new spirit of mindfulness, finding beauty, wonder, and comfort in the ordinary, and to see a life, a neighborhood, and even a country with brand new eyes. ‘With gentle humor and brilliant musings, both past and present, Walks With Sam has the charm and the innate truthfulness that some find in a work of art, a daily quest tinged with wonder and mystery with each forward step.’ L.B.Johnson, author of The Book of Barkley.

My Review:

This non-fiction narrative relates deeply contemplative walks with Sam, the author’s doggy-doodle, a scruffy-haired 40 pound going on two year old enthusiastic female dog.

Walks with SamShe loves the walks so consistently provided by Mr. Berner. He has taken a sabbatical from his college position to reflect, regroup, and reinvest in himself and the world of this amazing canine who teaches him with each walk to live in the moment. Forced to slow and enjoy the neighborhood, noting all the nuances that he’s previously breezed by, his focus is now on the minutiae gone unnoticed and now a full on profound and enlightening discovery.

The author has chronicled each walk beginning early spring through the summer and in each proceeds to have heart-to-hearts with his loyal canine buddy. He waxes poetic, he turns philosophical, he turns the mundane into prose. He can go to extraordinary lengths to explain himself to the dog, who in turn grins and wags her tail. While he imagines her thoughtful comments and retorts in reply, I can’t imagine she’s hearing anything more than blah, blah, blah, treat, blah, blah, blah, good girl.

Who gets the most out of these walks?

Dog or dog walker?

The walks are not always in his quiet suburban Chicago neighborhood. He and his wife spend some time in Iowa, house/doggy sitting with Franco, a male. But each walk serves up a lesson and tries to make a point—not all succeed. I am, however, reminded that it is the dog’s walk and there is no reward for the human who wants to hurry. It serves only to discover what the author actually believes in—what is important to him.

The walks are leisurely and the author manages to find mysticism in the most simple of experiences—confronting a doe with her fawns, the jealousy of Sam when he pays attention to another dog, or his repeated attempts at training with a special treat. I found it interesting, however, that both his current canine and that of his previous, had their names shortened to the more common male form—Sam and Mike (Michelle, a yellow Lab).

An interesting narrative that goes beyond anthropomorphic discussion, I discovered two common experiences—one, that Sam obviously knows (after she’s been groomed) that she’s pretty—“I am so pretty. And I smell absolutely fantastic…” (How many times have I witnessed this with our Bichon?) And while his communication with Sam tends to morph into long-winded attempts at conversation, his wife’s stays on a canine level (i.e., commands), which is the same in our house. My assumption is you can’t reason with a two year old, be it human or canine.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Meditation, Nature, Pets, Non-Fiction
Publisher: Roundfire Books
 ISBN : 1789044987
ASIN : B08F2Y2Y9X
Print Length: 169 pages
Publication Date: Releasing today, August 28, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 Rosepoint Publishing: Three Point Five of Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

David W Berner - authorThe Author: David W. Berner is the award-winning author of A WELL-RESPECTED MAN, OCTOBER SONG, ACCIDENTAL LESSONS, ANY ROAD WILL TAKE YOU THERE, THERE’S A HAMSTER IN THE DASHBOARD, NIGHT RADIO, and the memoir THE CONSEQUENCE OF STARS. He has been honored and won awards from the prestigious Society of Midland Authors and the Chicago Writers Association. David has also been the Writer-in-Residence at both the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando, FL and at the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Home in Oak Park, IL.

David moved from Pittsburgh to Chicago to work as a radio reporter and news anchor for CBS Radio and later pursued a career as a writer and educator. His first book ACCIDENTAL LESSONS is about his year teaching in one of the Chicago area’s most troubled school districts. The book won the Golden Dragonfly Grand Prize for Literature and has been called a “beautiful, elegantly written book” by award-winning author Thomas E. Kennedy, and “a terrific memoir” by Rick Kogan (Chicago Tribune and WGN Radio). ANY ROAD WILL TAKE YOU THERE–a 2013 Book of the Year from the Chicago Writers Association–is the author’s story of a cross-country road trip with his sons and the revelations of fatherhood. The memoir has been called “heartwarming and heartbreaking” and “a five-star wonderful read.” His novel, A WELL-RESPECTED MAN was a 2019 honoree in the fiction category of The Society of Midland Authors Awards.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Front Line: A Domestic Spy Espionage Terrorism Thriller (Phantom Force Tactical Book 3) by Jessica James – a #BookReview

A domestic-military thriller review by the CE.

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Special operators work against the clock to stop a radical extremist from detonating a dirty bomb during a Monday night football game near Washington, DC. in this award-winning domestic terrorism thriller.

Phantom Force Tactical’s Nicholas “Colt” Colton thought the radical extremist he captured years ago was locked away for good. Unfortunately, a new classified mission reveals that the threat is still very real, and corruption within the U.S. government runs deep.

Task Force 2 agent Josephine “Joey” Summers has been working her own angle, trying to figure out where the terrorist leader will strike next. She’s come up with a very plausible—and terrifying—theory, but doesn’t know who she can trust. After teaming up with a retired Navy SEAL, she discovers the plot is even bigger than she’d imagined—and the consequences much more alarming.

When the stakes are this high, promises must be kept. And when thousands of people could die, sacrifices must be made. Only by letting go of their pasts will they have any hope of stopping the chaos. But courage and commitment—plus a pledge—fuse to create an outcome that is both unpredictable and unimaginable.

All books in this series can stand alone.

His Review:

This is a fast-moving framework for espionage at the highest level. Jessica James has written a quick moving tale of treason at the highest level of government. Former Navy Seal Nicholas Colton is working with an off the books’ agency called Phantom Force. Working directly with the President and carrying the highest security clearance available, Nick helps to defuse a well devised terrorist plot.

Josephine is a chance encounter who turns into a valuable asset in the enterprise. Both Nick and Josephine are widowed and do not want to be involved or hurt again. The author handles this relationship with understanding and comfort.

Government intelligence sometimes gets in its’ own way. A highly placed foreign operative whose goal is chaos at a major sporting event that would foul a major metropolitan area adds to the plot.

Highly placed government officials want to bring down the United States and teach it a lesson for interfering in other countries business. A dirty bomb may be the way to cause this catastrophe. Can Nick and his team accomplish this task? The novel could be a playbook for the current situation in Washington. Can Nick and his group stop the plot to cause a major international event similar to the bombing of the twin towers? Infiltrators at the highest level of the US government are involved in planning and executing the plot.

CE WilliamsThe overall book is a fast read and very satisfying. I feel the author may have had some of these experiences herself. She handles the entire situation with sympathy and understanding. I appreciated the slow and tentative road to intimacy in this novel. Rather, it is two adults getting to know each other while both are reeling from past experiences and that is refreshing. Read and enjoy! 5 stars CE Williams 

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

Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thriller, Military Thriller, Terrorism Thriller
Publisher: Patriot Press
ASIN: B06WD4YPH1
Print Length: 340 pages
Publication Date: March 27, 2017
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Front Line [Amazon]
Find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Add to Goodreads Jessica JamesThe Author: Jessica James award-winning novels are inspired by her love of the land, her belief in everlasting love, and her curiosity about the past. She enjoys transporting readers back in time with complex characters and stories that stir deep emotion.

By weaving the principles of courage, devotion, and dedication into each book, James attempts to honor the unsung heroes of the American military–past and present–and to convey the magnitude of their sacrifice and service. Her novels appeal to both men and women and are featured in library collections all over the United States including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.

James is a four-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and has won more than a dozen other literary awards, including a Readers’ Favorite International Book Award and a Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of America.

Get your choice of one of two books when you sign up for her newsletter (or get them both, if you can’t decide). The first one is From the Heart: Love Stories and Letters from the Civil War. The other is a bestselling romantic suspense novel Protecting Ashley. Sign up today!

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Penned In (A Farm-to-Fork Mystery) by Lynn Cahoon a #BookReview #cozymystery

“’Should we wake up the others?’ Felicia glanced around the table. The remaining guards looked shell shocked.”

Book Blurb:

Angie Turner, chef at Idaho’s finest farm-to-table restaurant, has organized a team-building event at a haunted prison, only to find a real-life murderer in their midst. . . .
 
Contented employees make for a successful restaurant, which is why the County Seat’s crew goes on a quarterly out-of-office meeting. This time, the location is the Old Idaho Penitentiary near the Boise Foothills, a prison brimming with ghostly lore. The lock-in features actors role-playing as guards, fascinating prison stories . . . and an unscripted murder.
 
Who sentenced one of the faux guards to a very authentic death? Angie, her boyfriend, and the County Seat gang are locked in with a killer—excellent motivation for a little sleuthing. Between ghostly apparitions and flesh-and-blood suspects, Angie’s plate is full, but will her luck, and her life, hold out until the gates reopen at dawn?

My Review:

Yes, I love when a book location is one of my old stomping grounds and in particular this spine-chilling old penitentiary in the foothills of Boise. My WOW® motobuddies and I took the years’ ride-in-mascot to the prison for some very special shots of the facility with the mascot (and us in prison stripes).

In this Halloween themed novella, Angie Turner and her County Seat restaurant crew have scheduled a 24 hr stay in the haunted prison as a team-building exercise. (Sorry—no way would I want to be locked in that place overnight, particularly with no cell phone. So many stories about that place and it does give off creepy vibes.)

Anyway, in addition to the team, there are four “guards” (actors) as well as other guests. Angie is allowed to include Dom, her trusty St Bernard. It’s a cozy. Someone is gonna die. And it’s a prison after all…

I’m not sure how much team building actually got done, although we got to be privy to some support character personalities and their work together as they solved the whodunit. The fun part (for me) was the paranormal element—that of the story of a female ghost (so many stories there). The ghost and Angie communed and Angie (with the help of her crew) followed the clues. There can’t be that many suspects—right? But it won’t be as easy as you think to solve.

This is a great setting for a Halloween mystery. It’s has some interesting characters and the mystery moves along. A fast read and fun cozy.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Two-Hour Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Short Reads, Fiction Short Reads

Publisher: Lyrical Press

ASIN: B07ZPKM799

Print Length: 92 pages

Publication Date: August 4, 2020

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars

The Author: Get a free story at http://www.lynncahoon.com.

Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. She also pens the Cat Latimer series available in mass https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Cahoon/e/B0082PWOAO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0market paperback. And, because she can’t help telling stories, she also writes the Farm to Fork series. Romance novels are published under the pen name, Lynn Collins. She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and three fur kids. Sign up for her newsletter at http://www.lynncahoon.com

(C) 2020 V Williams

NB: This is the first post using WP’s new block editor. I voted it down last time. Apparently, I do not have that choice this time. So, it being rather crude, it’s obvious there’s a learning curve and not easy for this old dog. Please forgive.

TV Netflix Series vs Audiobook – Walt Longmire Mysteries – by Craig Johnson

“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact”
Sherlock Holmes

Longmire audiobook vs Netflix blog banner

Wahoo! One of my favorite Netflix series and lots of audiobooks (as well as ebooks) at my local well stocked library. We binged right through the Longmire series, even trying to discipline ourselves to three episodes per night, so of course when I discovered the audiobooks at my library I grabbed the first that wasn’t on a waiting list. And whadda know, it’s about bike week—Sturgis! (which, coincidentally, was last week). I doubt there is few around the globe that hasn’t heard of Sturgis, and no, that’s one rally I didn’t go to (just a little too nutsy for me), although that is me on my Kawi in the background of the blog banner getting ready to pull off the road.

An Obvious Fact-Book Blurb:

In the 12th novel in the New York Times best-selling Longmire series, Walt, Henry, and Vic discover much more than they bargained for when they are called in to investigate a hit-and-run accident near Devils Tower involving a young motorcyclist.

In the midst of the largest motorcycle rally in the world, a young biker is run off the road and ends up in critical condition. When Sheriff Walt Longmire and his good friend, Henry Standing Bear, are called to Hulett, Wyoming – the nearest town to America’s first national monument, Devils Tower – to investigate, things start getting complicated. As competing biker gangs; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; a military-grade vehicle donated to the tiny local police force by a wealthy entrepreneur; and Lola, the real-life femme fatale and namesake for Henry’s ’59 Thunderbird (and, by extension, Walt’s granddaughter) come into play, it rapidly becomes clear that there is more to get to the bottom of at this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally than a bike accident. After all, in the words of Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Adventures of Sherlock Holmes the Bear won’t stop quoting, “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact”.

Audiobook

An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson a Longmire Mystery

This is Book 12, so while the protagonist or his major support characters are not wholly fleshed, they don’t need to be—they are whittled out of casual remarks, innuendo, description. Walt Longmire is the sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. The wild west. Two other main characters, Henry Standing Bear (Native American) and Vic (Victoria Moretti), his (female) deputy—a Philadelphia transplant. Walt is often accompanied by Dog, (of dubious parentage) who needs no further description. Walt’s daughter is not notably featured in this episode.

Walt received a call from another county about a motorcyclist run off the road near Devil’s Tower and his mother shows up to ask again for Walt’s help. The mother is Lola, the mother for whom Henry named his classic T-Bird. Yes, it’s “the” Lola.

Unsurprisingly, it won’t be a simple hit-and-run and while the young man languishes in the hospital not expected to recover, Walt soon discovers bad-ass motorcycle gangs and multitudes of despicable conspiracies.

I love the scenes, so beautifully laid out you can smell the landscape, and the banter between Walt and (Henry Standing) Bear and his undersheriff, who by the way, is a great deal more profane than she appears on Netflix. Also appreciated the motorcycle lingo; been awhile since I’ve participated. Almost non-stop action, the multi-plotted storyline getting more complex with fast-turning pages. I love the tidbits of knowledge about the area, the people and culture and in this case, of course, motorcycles.

The narrator, George Guidall, did one heckava outstanding job creating a down-to-earth narrative and understated conversational quality to the written words. He wasn’t just reading it. He made it come alive. It’s drugs, money, and mayhem and I can’t wait to tear into the next episode that becomes available. 4.5/5 stars

Netflix Longmire Series

Walt Longmire of the Netflix series by Craig JohnsonI loved this series of the modern Western crime scene. The TV drama series began on A&E but was picked up by Netflix and developed by John Coveny and Hunt Baldwin somewhere around the fourth season. It ran for six seasons and is still streaming on Netflix after the sixth season ended in 2017. Popular? Oh, yes…what is not to love?

Despite amazing viewership numbers, A&E felt that the demographic was primarily older Americans—the horror of it all! Thanks to a huge fan uproar (think Star Wars), it was picked up by Netflix.

The cast is perfect: Australian Robert Taylor as Walt, Katee Sackhoff as Vic, and American Filipino Lou Diamond Phillips as Henry. Also, it was filmed in New Mexico (not Wyoming). While it doesn’t follow each book of Johnson’s series per se, there is crime fiction we’ve come to expect including bank robberies, murder investigations, and prominently featured conflicts with the local Cheyenne Indian reservation.

The series became so popular they began a yearly July festival in Buffalo (WY). (Absaroka County is fictional), according to Wide Open Country.

If there was a revival, Season 7, I’d be tuning in. Hollywood version Americana but well written and immensely engaging and entertaining. 5 enthusiastic stars

Overall Impression

I don’t think you can go wrong with either the Netflix series and that outstanding cast, gripping installments, and immersive episodes or the books. (Of course, I’m among that older demographic that had A&E dumping it.) While the audiobooks, the character Vic being more profane, might alienate a few of that older demographic, the descriptive storyline, natural and often humorous dialogue, and the narrator’s excellent delivery make it a winner. I’m a solid fan looking for my next audiobook. Wholly recommended.

Rosepoint Publishing recommended

Book Details:

Genre: Native American Literature, Western Fiction
Publisher: Recorded Books
ASIN: B01K23ZXCE
Listening Length: 7 hrs 50 min
Narrator: George Guidall
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: An Obvious Fact [Amazon]
 

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Craig Johnson - authorThe Author: Craig Johnson is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve Walt Longmire mystery novels, which are the basis for Longmire, the hit Netflix original drama. The Cold Dish won Le Prix du Polar Nouvel Observateur/Bibliobs. Death Without Company, the Wyoming Historical Association’s Book of the Year, won France’s Le Prix 813, and Another Man’s Moccasins was the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award Winner and the Mountains & Plains Book of the Year. The Dark Horse, the fifth in the series, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and Junkyard Dogs won The Watson Award for a mystery novel with the best sidekick. Hell Is Empty, selected by Library Journal as the Best Mystery of the Year, was a New York Times best seller, as was As the Crow Flies, which won the Rocky for the best crime novel typifying the western United States. A Serpent’s Tooth opened as a New York Times bestseller as did Any Other Name and Wait for Signs, Johnson’s collection of short stories. Spirit of Steamboat was selected by the State Library as the inaugural One Book Wyoming and included visits to sixty-three libraries. Johnson lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five.

George Guidall - audiobook narratorThe Narrator: George Guidall is a prolific audiobook narrator and theatre actor. As of November 2014, he had recorded over 1,270 audiobooks, which was believed to be the record at the time. Wikipedia

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The Night Drop by Ian D Wright – A #BookReview – #historicalthrillers #TuesdayBookBlog

“The remote marshland villagers did not want them, but if their mission failed, the Allies could lose the war!”

A book review by the CE.

Book Blurb:

A WW2 Historical thriller – Resistance in the Marshlands

The Night Drop by Ian D WrightThe summer of 1943 and Jack Ross, a talented young recruit to the British special forces, was flown into a marshland village near St-Omer, France, along with Roland Keene, an Irish-American volunteer to the British forces. Their mission was to find out how successful the Allied bombing raids had been on the massive V2 flying bomb installations, which had been built under a giant concrete dome near St-Omer. The Nazi V2 project could have had a devastating effect on England and changed the future of the war.

Jack and Roland joined with the local Resistance cell and quickly established a good working relationship. But incidents occur that point to a mole in the ranks. Two feuding brothers, one in the Resistance, the other with the Partisans, make identifying the traitor almost impossible.

Jack’s primary source of information was Sofia, a young girl who was one of the most active members of the group. She was brave, smart and tireless, and Jack found himself falling in love.

Twenty years later, in 1965, and one of the suspects decides to go back to the village to clear his name. His arrival immediately triggers a murder. Two investigative journalists agreed to help Jack tackle the job of finding the real mole but find themselves in a battle with a group of fanatical Nazi sympathisers.

His Review:

Investigating war crimes can be dangerous business. Jack Ross goes back to the place where he was dropped during the height of WW II. The year is 1965 and he is assisting Steve, an investigative journalist and his wife Emily to write an account of the area during Nazi occupation in 1943. Working on the story becomes fraught with danger as the story develops.

The Night Drop by Ian D WrightRetrospectively I have often wondered what the world would have been like if the Nazis had prevailed. This book paints a picture of grudges that develop even within families during a war. Do you side with the occupiers who have your country under marshal law or fight in a resistance that tries to overthrow your occupiers? During such conflicts there will always be winners and losers.

During times of war, food is always hard to get. Helping the enemy may provide some food or other assistance that otherwise would be unavailable. Occupied France was no exception. Jack Ross is parachuted behind enemy lines to find the location of V-2 rocket launch sites and get that information back to the British. His mother was French and his father English and his spoken French sounds like a native.

Sofia is a young teenage girl who can get around the occupied area on a bicycle. She is almost invisible and therefore able to gather information. Jack joins the resistance and she becomes very helpful in obtaining updates on the location of the launch facilities and also a production factory. Every day is fraught with danger as the British start bombing the facility and begin to suspect a mole is giving secret information to the enemy.

The Audomorais Marshes in France are poorly defended and the Nazi troops are spread thin. However, who is actually loyal to whom? As the invasion nears and the attacks on the rocket facility increase, the Nazis look for the leak. Brothers with a long running feud are highlighted. One of the brothers is grabbed and executed by the Nazis. His contact was Jacks’ wife Sophie. Suddenly she becomes a target for the German occupiers.

Who is the mole who identified Sophie and thereby Jack? The invasion is about two months away and suddenly they must go underground. Later in 1965 they are trying to solve the riddle of who the mole might have been. Anyone harboring allied pilots or servicemen are summarily shot upon identification and capture.

CE WilliamsThe list of suspects included the local butcher, the parish priest and the feuding brother. Unraveling the answer is an integral part of this well-developed novel. One of the suspects is found hanging in a tree and danger is rampant, even in 1965! I found the book keeping me up nights with my search for the answer. History buffs and WW II aficionados will find this read compelling. My only quibble was that the thread between the war and 1965 was at times scattered and elusive. 4/5 stars CE Williams

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

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Thrillers, Historical British Fiction, Military Thrillers
ASIN: B086JZDY8K
Print Length: 251 pages
Publication Date: March 29, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: The Night Drop [Amazon]

Ian D Wright - author
Ian D Wright

The Author: My passion for writing goes back to a Christmas present I received when I was seven years old. It was a John Bull printing outfit that inspired me to produce a newspaper for my family to read. By the time I finished the first edition, several weeks had passed, and the stories were long-forgotten events.

I was encouraged at school by my English teacher, and he suggested that I should write a newsletter about school activities. It was handwritten and pinned to the notice board. The encouraging words he wrote on my school report then enabled me to get of job in the publicity department of a large engineering company. This introduced me to the luxury of the typewriter, which I still think is an amazing invention.

As the years went by, I happily wrote anything that I was given; brochure copy, advertisements, press releases, speeches for other people, scripts for industrial films, videos, and copy for websites. In 1988 I started my own media company, which I ran until retiring a few years ago.

My only venture into fiction was in my early twenties writing teen romance stories for Jackie magazine. It was just a part-time addition to my real work, but it taught me how to build characters in as few words as possible and how enjoyable writing fiction can be. I always promised myself that when I had the time, I would return to fiction again. Just over two years ago, I started on my first novel, Murders of Consequence, which was followed by Murders of Necessity and Murders of Misfortune. They are all available in eBook and paperback on Amazon.

All three books are set in the nineteen-sixties when the UK was going through a significant transformation of social outlook. Young people were making their views known in fashion, music, attitudes, and public protests about the many different causes that concerned them. The reasons were not frivolous; all they were asking was for nuclear disarmament and world peace.

I live in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, with my wife Sheilah, who is editor, proof-reader, and critic of my work. We are both avid readers, enjoying mainly thrillers.
I also love music, particularly jazz. When I was young, I played tenor sax in a rock/blues band, and more recently, Sheilah and I formed a Jazz duo to raise money for charity. We both enjoy traveling, watching cricket, and football.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Hawthorn Woods by Patrick Canning – a #BookReview – #Mystery #Thriller

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Hawthorn Woods by Patrick CanningSeeking to rediscover herself after a divorce, a detective-minded woman embarks on solving the small mysteries of a Midwest neighborhood, only to learn the secrets hidden there are more horrifying than she could have ever imagined.

Summer, 1989. Reeling from a catastrophic divorce, Francine Haddix flees San Francisco for a two week stay at her sister’s house in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. The quaint neighborhood of shady trees and friendly neighbors seems like the perfect place for her to sort through her pain and move on with her life.

But Francine quickly discovers the “idyllic” neighborhood is hiding a number of disturbing mysteries. Behind every door and window there’s marital strife, simmering grudges, and a secret so terrible, someone will kill to keep it quiet.

Francine rewrites her prescription from relaxation to investigation. If she can remember how to trust herself, she might discover what’s hidden in Hawthorn Woods. She might even be able to believe the future can be good again, assuming she stays alive long enough to be in it…

My Review:

Well, here I go again with one of Patrick Canning’s books. This author writes such off-the-wall stuff you know going in it’ll be a ride. The question is just how crazy will this roller-coaster be? Answer: Subtle, confounding, twisty, and who can you trust?

Hawthorn Woods by Patrick CanningFrancine is reeling from a devastating divorce in 1989 in San Francisco when her sister Ellie suggests a child/housesitting stay at her home in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois while they take a European vacation. It certainly looks benign enough, quaint, friendly, and attractive. A nice getaway when she needs one.

A bon voyage-welcome party turns a bit ugly, however, when one of the guests throws a drink in Francine’s face. True, you never know what goes on behind closed doors and there are certainly enough neighbors here to offer a variety of single and married, tempers, secrets, and fears. Her sister’s best friend Laura Jean is a strong ally and there are a number of interesting support characters. When Francine discovers the death of Brownie (a goat), she decides it’s time to start investigating the neighbors more deeply.

And what a smorgasbord of characters there are! You are not meant to like them all. Hers is not the only temporary stay in the hood and it is Bruno that brings a special light to Francine’s eyes as they collaborate together in his own secret research.

Francine is fragile and easy to invest in; Bruno a history teacher smothered in cliché right up to his bow tie and brown corduroy trousers and I really liked them both. Obvious red herrings, teenage boy, nasty HOA lady, ex-Marine. It’s a slow burn but weirdly compelling. What IS going on here? Are you confused yet?

The conclusion brings a shock you never saw coming and a head-shaking surprise you can’t compute. Yes, yes, you knew the one answer, but… I loved the little questionnaire questions her ex left with her at the beginning of each chapter setting your nerves to jangling and the tension rising.

“In most marriages, one or both partners are unhappy. [x] True [ ] False.
“I often think: ‘I wish I were a child again.’ [x]True [ ] False.
“I am so touchy on some subjects that I can’t talk about them. [x] True [ ] False.

The author’s writing style is beguiling, clever, and wily fun. Keep reading and watch his mind twist you in the wind. I’ve read one of his books before, The Colonel and the Bee back in July, 2018 and if I didn’t recognize that signature…um, just wait…of his, I wouldn’t know it was the same author–and I really enjoyed that one. This is a suspense thriller that leaves you shaking your head, just shy of a book hangover. A mystery thriller you shouldn’t miss. Totally recommended.

Rosepoint recommended

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

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuths, Women Sleuths
ASIN: B08CS2RK9S
Print Length: 283 pages
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Source: Direct author request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Patrick Canning - authorThe Author: Patrick Canning was born in Wisconsin, grew up in Illinois, and now lives in California with his dog, Hank.

He is primarily focused on turning coffee into words, words into money, money back into coffee.

Find him at patrickcanningbooks.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Finding Home by Corinne Joy Brown and Ginny McDonald – #BookTour – #BookReview for iRead Book Tours #Giveaway

I am so thrilled to be part of the book tour for Finding Home by Corinne Joy Brown and Ginny McDonald. This is a delightful and beautifully illustrated book for young and old alike. Do you like horses? You will love this book!

Join us for this tour from August 3 to August 21, 2020!Book Details:

Book Title:  FINDING HOME by Corinne Joy Brown and Ginny McDonald

Category:  Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12),  130 pages

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher:  Loose Cayuse Productions

Release date:   June 2019

Content Rating:  G. There are no expletives, sex scenes or bad language anywhere.

“Born in the flatlands of Rock Springs, Wyoming, newborn mustang Pahaska
tells the heart-wrenching story of her separation from her mother and
the wild horse herd she was born into. Captured by strangers, her entire
world has disintegrated. Penned in the filthy, manure-filled confines
of a horse hauler’s trailer, her life is changed forever. Finding Home, a
2020 Spur Finalist for Juvenile Fiction, is a brilliantly written story
about the adoption of the mustang “Curly Girl” by a teen who has always
dreamed of having her own horse. Ginny McDonald’s illustrations convey
fine detail and emotion in the images of the horses, bringing each one
to life. This heart-warming tale will appeal to those with a love for
animals.” – Joni Franks, RoundUp Magazine, Western Writers of America“This beautifully written and illustrated book will appeal to any animal
loving young reader. Differences (equine and otherwise) are applauded,
working through complicated human relationships, a philosophical, well
balanced approach to difficult issues (wild horse roundups), and
positive animal training techniques are included in this educational,
riveting new book!” – Nancy Sachs, Director Platte Valley Pony Club

“To see the world through the eyes of a newborn filly as she grows into
adulthood, or an excited young girl in search of her first horse, is a
treasure found in Corinne Joy Brown’s novel Finding Home, a
story of loss and recovery told in a brilliant way. The illustrations by
Ginny McDonald help to refine the wonderful writing which places the
reader squarely in the experience of Curly Girl and Jesse, her adopter. Finding Home
is a wonderful story for our time, in consideration of the wild horses
whose freedom is threatened across the West and the people who adopt the
captured ones into loving homes.” – James A. Holmes CEO and Executive Director, Cherokee Ranch and Castle Foundation

Book Description:

 

For every girl or boy who owns a horse, or wished they did, Finding
Home brings all the drama and beauty of America’s wild horses to the
middle-grade reader.A coming-of-age story and a tale about friendship, trust and
understanding, both horse and owner have powerful lessons to learn.
Together, young Jesse Nolan from Colorado and her wild mustang, Curly
Girl, rounded up in Wyoming, discover what it means to rely on oneself,
as well as those who love you most.

My Thoughts:

This is such a sweet story of the strong love of horses and the dedication that it takes to actually owning and caring for a young animal with a mind of it’s own. Told through the POV of Jesse Nolan as well as the thoughts of Curly Girl, a young mare with unusually curly hair and mane, she is one of the wild Mustangs of Wyoming. Both have a lot to learn, although Jesse shows remarkable dedication and maturity for a young teen. It’s a heavy responsibility for one so young.

The story includes information about the wild horses that particularly roam the northwestern region of the US, including the Mustangs. It brought to mind one of the rides we took the year we decided to head north into Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. On a lonely ribbon of road out in nowhere, we became aware of a group of horses riding parallel with us on the other side of the road. Fascinated, we pulled over to watch them and discovered to our delight the herd, as a unit, also stopped to watch us. When we resumed out ride, so did they. So beautiful.

Jesse and her estranged family work out the care for the little filly, realizing the loneliness and fear she is experiencing having been separated from her mother and wild herd. It’s not easy and there’s a learning curve on both sides, human and equine, but not just for Jesse—her family as well. It’s a lovely tale of friendship and trust, learning to accept and work together, love and family.

A sweet story and the illustrations are just wonderful: emotional, loving, and lend sooo much to the story. It is easy to see the love and dedication of these magnificent animals.

I received this beautiful book for the book tour and so appreciate the opportunity to read and review. Wholly recommended for the young set as well as the young in heart.

Buy the Book:

Finding Home

Amazon ~ B&N

Meet the Authors:

Ginny McDonald is an award-winning, professional Colorado
illustrator and a longtime advocate for wild horses. She is the adopter
of an American Curly mare, and more recently, a second mustang named
“Lil Bit”. Ginny’s skill in the use of Prismacolor pencils brings this
story to life with rich detail and heartfelt emotion.

  
Denver native Corinne Joy Brown is a multi-published,
award-winning Colorado author, magazine editor and freelance writer
focused on the West .” Recent publications include “Young Rider”,
“Cowboys & Indians,” and “Working Ranch.” She’s also been a horse
owner most of her life. Corinne is committed to teaching the next
generation about the power of horses to teach and heal. “Finding Home”
is her eighth book.Connect with the author: Website ~ Facebook 

 
Tour Schedule:Aug 3 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway

Aug 3 – Corinne Rodrigues | Booksnista – book spotlight / giveaway

Aug 4 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway

Aug 4 – Splashes of Joy – book review / guest post / author interview / giveaway

Aug 5 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway

Aug 5 – My Journey Back – book review / author interview / giveaway

Aug 6 – I’d Rather Be At The Beach – book review

Aug 7 –T’s Stuff – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

Aug 7 – Books for Books – book spotlight

Aug 10 – Reading Authors Nework – book review / giveaway

Aug 11 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

Aug 11 – Priya’s Lit Blog – book review / giveaway

Aug 12 – Older & Smarter? – book review

Aug 12 – Read and Review – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Aug 13 – A Mama’s Corner Of the World – book review / giveaway

Aug 13 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway

Aug 14 – Rosepoint Publishing – book review / giveaway

Aug 14 – Writer with Wanderlust – book review / guest post / giveaway

Aug 17 – authors.ace – book review

Aug 18 – Bound 4 Escape – book review / giveaway

Aug 18 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – book spotlight

Aug 19 – Krisha’s Cozy Corner – book review / guest post / giveaway

Aug 19 – Library of Clean Reads – book review / giveaway

Aug 20 – My Reading Journey – book review / guest post / giveaway

Aug 20 – Pen Possessed – book review / giveaway

Aug 21 – Svetlanas reads and views – book review

 

Enter the Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

©2020 VWilliams V Williams

Save Her Soul (Detective Josie Quinn Book 9) by Lisa Regan – a #BookReview – Police Procedural

“An absolutely unputdownable crime thriller and mystery novel.”

Book Blurb:

Save Her Soul by Lisa ReganJosie flinches as she takes in the faded blue sports jacket wrapped around the girl they just pulled from the water. Josie knew someone who’d once owned that jacket. He had died in her arms five years ago.

Heavy rain pours on the small town of Denton causing the riverbanks to break and the body of a young girl to float quietly to the surface. With no crime scene to examine, the odds are against Detective Josie Quinn and her team. Mercifully, the victim’s body is perfectly preserved, right down to the baseball patch on the jacket she was wearing. Josie can’t hide her devastation—her dead ex-husband, Ray, owned one just like it.

Following the trail back to her high school, Josie identifies the girl as Beverly Urban, a troubled student rumored to have been dating Ray before she left town for good. It looks like a tragic accident until the autopsy reveals a bullet in her head and the heart-breaking secret she was keeping.

Josie visits the salon where Beverly’s mother used to work, believing she was at the heart of a terrible scandal around the time her daughter’s life was taken. With the Denton wives remaining tight-lipped, Josie’s only hope is a secret meet-up with a terrified woman willing to talk. But she is murdered moments before giving Josie crucial information. It’s clear that someone is prepared to keep on killing to stop the truth from getting out.

Digging deep into memories of her own past with Ray is the only advantage Josie has on this twisted killer… but at what cost?

Another jaw-dropping crime thriller from an Amazon, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author that will have you absolutely gripped from page one. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Robert Dugoni and Rachel Caine.

My Review:

The ninth book in the series, Save Her Soul ramps up the drama with Detective Josie Quinn and her partner, Detective Gretchen Palmer. The little town of Denton PA is flooding. Rain has been relentless and out on a raft performing rescue efforts finds an old woman whose home is being wept away in the flooding waters. A body, wrapped in a tarp, pops up shortly behind her.

Save Her Soul by Lisa ReganThe body turns out to be an old classmate of Josie’s. But worse, the body is wearing Josie’s high school boyfriend/ex-husband’s (now deceased) letterman jacket. A cold case no one knew was a case thinking the girl and her mother had moved—vanished. Beverly was a bully living with a disabled mother with whom she’d been known to have major disagreements.

If the weather isn’t bad enough, Josie takes on the cold case, anxious to know the relationship between the girl, Beverly, and her ex, Ray. Score one for Josie, I appreciated the way she went about the investigation, with help from the team, but occasional flashbacks to her high school years without preamble would have me going back a page or two to get some continuity.

As the storyline increased in complexity, so too did details about Josie’s childhood increase—elevating her from damaged protagonist to almost basket-case levels dealing with one revelation after another that threw more than one-two punches. What a tangled web this one becomes!

The readers get to know more about her partner, her grandmother, her new boyfriend (live-in), Noah. I’m warming up to Noah; love Misty and her son. Enjoyed the writer’s style more so than the first book I read in the series, The Bones She Buried (that review here). The plot is fast-paced with twists and red herrings, weeding out minutiae, but always making progress to the climax. But the climax doesn’t conclude the story. There is still more complications behind that one with one final and soul-crushing surprise. I loved the built-in shock-block giving rise to blood pressure, anticipation, and adrenaline:

“…like the blinking of an eye. Blink. Marisol’s finger depressed the trigger. Blink. The concussive boom of a gunshot shook the air around them. Blink. Gretchen lunged toward Connie. Blink. Josie fired at Marisol. Blink. Another crack blistered through the air. Blink…”

While I seriously enjoyed the mystery and the characterizations of the rich ladies’ clique and their thoroughly catty and believable dialogue, I’m also seriously tired of the damaged protagonist trope and (if/then) continue to worry about the state of mind of our detectives. Also, the clichés have me rolling my eyes. Pul-leeze don’t hit me with another “let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding.”

While I may get tired of the oft and over-used clichés and tropes, I’ll come back every time to good writing style and intriguing characters. Not wholly investing in Josie won’t keep me from being engaged in the next one. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review an advance copy of this one.

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Organized Crime Thrillers, Serial Killer Thrillers, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B0891453FH
Print Length: 379 pages
Publication Date: To be released August 12, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Lisa Regan - authorThe Author: Join Lisa’s mailing list to get news about new releases –> https://tinyurl.com/skzufbs
Facebook –> https://www.facebook.com/LisaReganCrimeAuthor/
Website –> https://lisaregan.com/
Instagram –> https://www.instagram.com/lisareganauthor/
Twitter –> https://twitter.com/Lisalregan

Lisa Regan is the USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Detective Josie Quinn series as well as several other crime fiction titles. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Education degree from Bloomsburg University. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, daughter, and Boston Terrier named Mr. Phillip.

Find out more at her website: http://www.lisaregan.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Paw and Order (A Dog Club Mystery Book 4) by V M Burns – a #BookReview #cozymystery

Book Blurb:

Dog-loving divorcée and amateur sleuth Lilly Echosby is not the only one who wants her new foster poodle. Some are willing to kill to have him . . .
Paws and Order by V M Burns
Lilly’s best pal Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson has done it again! She’s convinced eccentric poodle-loving billionaire Archibald Lowry to sponsor a grand fundraiser for the Eastern Tennessee Poodle Rescue. Tragically, it’s too late to rescue Lowry, who is murdered at the event. His pet poodle is now orphaned, so Dixie begs Lilly to foster the adorable pup. Of course, she already has a poodle—her beloved Aggie, named after Agatha Christie. Fortunately, Aggie seems to like the new addition to the family, whom Lilly renames Rex, after her second favorite mystery author, Rex Stout.

But she’s barely welcomed Rex into her home when there’s an attempted poodle-nabbing, foiled with Aggie’s help. As desperate characters try to get their hands on the canine cutie, Lilly turns to Dixie’s dog training class to help her sort through a litter of suspects. Ultimately, she may have to unleash Rex as bait to collar the killer . . .

My Review:

Paws and Order by V M BurnsLillie Ann Echosby moved from Indiana to a new life in Chattanooga,TN. She became involved in a local poodle rescue having one of her own she calls Aggie (after Agatha Christie). She’s a little thing but feisty and full of heart and personality. Lillie is thrilled to be hosting an event for the local poodle rescue at the museum where she’s employed when a tiny poodle shuts down the event after he leads the curious back to his murdered owner, who it turns out is the billionaire sponsor for the event. Lillie is asked to foster the little thing until they can square away the details of the deceased. Of course, Lillie falls in love with him and promptly renames him Rex (after Rex Stout).

The two canines get along just fine but there are ensuing attempts to dognap Rex. In the meantime, Lillie’s daughter Stephanie comes for an impromptu visit. Lillie has a cadre of great friends and support that lend a sleuthing effort to solve the canine caper, and the reader is introduced to both Stephanie and Lillie’s romantic interest, Joe and Red, both in law enforcement.

Lillie is a great character surrounded by additional strong support characters, including Dixie, dog show judge and trainer and owner of a dog castle RV, and there are interesting tidbits of dog speak, which I always enjoy.

My first experience with this series, albeit not the author, and the storyline moves at a cozy pace while including the mystery with the appealing friend associates. There are details that bother me, including whipping around  in an RV for errands (at 6-7 mpg) and the conclusion that I found a bit contrived wrapping up a few loose threads but not all.

Receiving this digital ARC download from the publisher and NetGalley did not affect my opinion of the book or the content and this is my honest opinion. Recommended for all who enjoy cozy mysteries, especially including dogs.

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Culinary, Cozy Craft and Hobby Mysteries
Publisher: Lyrical Press
ASIN: B07ZPK3DCJ
Print Length: 225 pages
Publication Date: To be released August 11, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo 

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars

The Author: V.M. Burns was born and raise in the Midwestern United States. She received a Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, a Master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Seton Hill University. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Dog Writers Association of America, Thriller Writers International and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. She is the secretary of her local chapter of Sisters in Crime (The East Tennessee Smoking Guns) and the Education Grants Coordinator for the national Sisters in Crime. She currently resides in the warmer area of the U.S. with her two poodles. Readers can visit her website at http://www.vmburns.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Flash Point: The Final Conspiracy by Thomas A Whitmire and Jacob D Miller – A #BookReview – Political Fiction

“Everybody knows there is a conspiracy.” It is the story for our times.

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb: 

“Everybody knows there is a conspiracy.”

Flash Point: The Final Conspiracy by Thomas A Whitmire and Jacob O MillerFlash Point is a timely conspiracy suspense/thriller that takes a deep dive into the zeitgeist, examining conspiracy-culture, media manipulation, encroaching authoritarianism, and historic cycles—all in service to a fun and compelling storyline. Here’s the setup:

“Conspiracy enthusiast and vigilante media activist Eric Anderson lands an inside job with a shady southern Senator. When national tragedy catapults him into the spotlight, Eric’s very beliefs, motivations, and ambitions are called into question as he navigates competing power players, manipulative propaganda, and sinister tendrils of the deep state. Along the way he encounters a mysterious homeless man whose prophetic insights help Eric confront the forces seeking to silence them both forever.”

FLASH POINT: THE FINAL CONSPIRACY holds a mirror to the national psyche and issues a provocative challenge: Who really runs the show? What choices remain in these unprecedented times? How can we know what needs to be done?

It is the story for our times.

His Review:

Can the masses be manipulated so cunningly? Senator Shelby Lamb, the long-time Georgia U.S. Senator, seemed to think so. Winning at politics means being in the public eye at all times. Winning also means keeping federal funds coming into your state. Senator Lamb was a master of both.

Flash Point: The Final Conspiracy by Thomas A Whitmire and Jacob O MillerThis novel is almost a playbook for the events occurring with the Covid-19 Pandemic controls being put into place. Stop large gatherings of people and restrict transportation and movement. Recognizing this in the current political arena sent chills down my spine. Add to that the large-scale rioting by a small portion of the population and you have a receipt for disaster. Another method is a massacre in a mall killing many people and wounding even more.

The two main protagonists in this book, Eric Anderson and Phil Kappa, are using social media to expose this manipulation by the senator. The philosophy of “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” is one of the senator’s primary tactics. He hires Eric to prepare election videos for his upcoming campaign. Eric sees this as his opportunity to expose the senator while expanding his web site’s popularity.

Freedom of religion is a basic tenet and foundation of our constitution. By shutting down church groups to no more than 50 people, using social distancing and other germ control measures, you reduce the number of people who will discuss and figure out your measures.

Free speech is tangentially restricted by reducing the right of free assembly. This is used to fine tune the flow of rhetoric in the direction you want it to flow. It is used effectively in the story. Social media is controlled by restricting the information that can be put on the internet and restricting or taking down this information as soon as it is posted. Another common method is simply pulling the plug on the device posting information you do not want disseminated.

This novel made me think of the tactics currently being used by both political parties to sway voters and drive the outcome in the coming election. Eric is hired by the senator who then keeps him very close. Realizing the situation, Eric enlists the help of two friends to get the word out of the senator’s objectives and tactics.

The 2020 election is a prime example of the methodology utilized to affect the outcome of the next Presidential Election. Curtailing religious freedom, vilifying the statements of protestors, and even the President and restricting freedom of movement are currently being employed. Many very newsworthy events are not being reported upon because these events do not fan discontent.

CE WilliamsI applaud the authors for their analysis of the way society is manipulated. This book could work as their primer to educate those they wish to employ to further their goals. I suggest that everybody become aware of these methodologies and recognize them for what they are. The end result is a book well thought out and written.

We received this digital download directly from the authors and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review this hard-hitting debut novel. Perfect timing and totally recommended. Bravo! CE Williams 

Book Details:

Genre: Metaphysical Fiction, Metaphysical and Visionary Fiction, Political Fiction Thriller
ASIN: B08BTFSKV9
Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: June 20, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Flash Point: The Final Conspiracy [Amazon]

Find the book at these additional locations:

Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Thomas A Whitmire - authorThe Authors: THOMAS A. WHITMIRE is a media producer, teacher, and mystic. Current alchemical endeavors involve exploring the interrelationship of spiritual development, economics, institutional culture, and multifocal healing. He often lives in North Carolina.

Growing up on a Christmas tree farm in South Carolina, I never felt that my life was typical. After my parents sold the farm, I entered a footloose phase, roaming to Italy, South Korea, and Philadelphia, before ending up back in North Carolina. In the intervening years, interests have been myriad, but the wellspring areas are mysticism and metaphysics, media production (video, audio, writing), poetry, economics, history, travel, healing, and education.

Creative expressions cycle between music and writing, although at this point I have developed writing to a larger degree. Looking back, I see that writing runs in my family, and I fondly recall sprawling stories dating back to my third-grade teacher, who inspired me. My first novel, Flash Point: The Final Conspiracy, is really just a fusion of my interest areas, tapped into the same vein of storytelling that got me going all those years ago. Future writing most likely will trend toward non-fiction, including relationship books, mysticism, healing, mindfulness, and travel.

My overarching goal is to provoke and stimulate our spiritual awakening and personal/social healing. I hope my writings can contribute in some small way. Regardless, it’s all holographic. In the meantime, enjoy the read!

Jacob D Miller - authorJACOB D. MILLER is an intuitive data scientist and stalwart badass, devourer of knowledge, seeker after wisdom, husband, father, mentor, and lover of humanity for and despite all its glories and its flaws. He pursues his myriad interests from his family homestead in South Carolina. –This text refers to the paperback edition.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

One Night in Drake Mansion (Skeptic Detective Book 1) by Channing Whitaker – a #BookReview – Ghost Thriller

“Apophenia is a psychological phenomenon in which human beings tend to interpret random stimuli as being significant.”

Book Blurb:

A haunted mansion turned reality TV set. Now, which of the contestants will scream the truth first?

One Night in Drake Mansion by Channing WhitakerAmateur sleuth Harlan Holt only believes in cold hard facts. So when he’s cast for a supernatural reality show, he’s determined to disprove an 80-year-old spooky mystery and demystify the other contestant’s ghostly superstitions. And soon Holt is pitched into the rundown residence where a mysterious immortal magician is rumored to roam…

Along with a psychic, a ghost hunter, and a Hollywood scream queen, he sets off in search of clues in the race to unravel the decades-old murder. But when objects start flying across the room and he nearly gets killed, even Holt struggles for a scientific explanation of the strange phenomena.

Can Holt solve the case before the house claims another victim?

One Night in Drake Mansion is the first book in the intriguing Skeptic Detective mystery series. If you like good old-fashioned whodunits, clever heroes, and unpredictable twists and turns, then you’ll love Channing Whitaker’s original tale. 

My Review:

Well, we’ve all done the ghost mysteries in the old, abandoned, and haunted mansion. But not like this. This one comes complete with lights, camera, action!

This is one of those that don’t necessarily hook you from page one–must have patience. The “skeptic detective” is protagonist Ph.D. candidate Harlan Holt. He is all about science and for him, everything has a reasonable scientific explanation. He is closely acquainted with Genevieve (Vieve), an aspiring medical student.

One Night in Drake Mansion by Channing WhitakerThe premise, however, is not just about spending the night in a haunted house. It’s a reality TV show with crews, trucks, equipment, lights, and sound following every nuance of the contestants all hoping to win at least a portion of the promised million dollars. There is also an actress, a paranormal investigator, and a medium.

The Vinton Drake family of five and their guest Malvern Kamrar, a renowned magician all disappear one evening without a trace. There have been unexplained activities at the site for more than eighty years including sounds and sightings of apparitions in the upper windows of the mansion. In addition to surviving the night, they are hoping to uncover the real story of the disappearance and in this quest has Drake’s journal which may help provide some answers.

It doesn’t take long for Harlan to begin his investigation, poking into all the rooms. It rings so true of those old movies where the assembled gather in candlelight to provide their own field of expertise and exchange intel. The support characters are more two-dimensional but provide an acerbic wit and depth to the gathering offering theories based on their experiences.

ghost image by ClipArtNot just ghost hunting (WHO yah gonna call…), but POV switches to the crew manager and discussions of technology while filming, zooming in on-camera one or whichever is closest to the action. Remember, first it’s a reality TV show–ratings are where it’s at. Second–if they can figure out whether there are reasonable explanations for the manifestations that’s fine, but really, wouldn’t they rather have something sensational? RATINGS, people! And oh yes, things go way beyond your simple ghost hunting, haunted mansion storyline. Complex, tension-filled, things start happening. Is there a scientific explanation or is it really haunted?

The author is quite the storyteller and the well-plotted narrative complicated, multi-layered. You’ll never guess in a million years the conclusion. Wow, I just had to shake my head. I did NOT see that happening or even begin to fathom the double-whammy coming at me. I think the author had a chuckle or two knowing what he got over the reader. ACK! But I did have a quibble or two–the protagonist, while better developed–could not engage with either him or Vieve and must admit to having my attention flag a few times. Then–it heated up…

So completely unique and the first in the series that I can imagine is quite compelling. If you enjoy ghost stories, paranormal mysteries, you’ll likely enjoy this one. We received from Amazon with no expectation of a review and this is my honest opinion. Recommended.

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Book Details:

Genre: Ghost Mysteries, Paranormal Suspense, Ghost Thriller
Publisher: Off Speed Press
ASIN: B07DP7HDZ1
Print Length: 294 pages
Publication Date: June 11, 2018
Source: Free from Amazon
Title Link: One Night in Drake Mansion

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Channing Whitaker - authorThe Author: Channing Whitaker is a novelist, screenwriter, and filmmaker originally hailing from Centerville, Iowa. An alum of Indian Hills Community College, Channing went on to study cinema, screenwriting, literature, and mathematics at the University of Iowa. His college years were also spent tending bar and in bar security, which he considers a valuable study of humanity, and an indispensable supplement to his formal education.

Post graduation, Channing began his career in the production of television news, independent films, and commercial videos, as well as writing for websites, corporate media, and advertising. His career has taken Channing from Iowa to Texas, Alaska, Oklahoma, and to California where he currently resides.

Channing is a fan of many media forms and genres. He considers himself a storyteller foremost and works in multiple media and genres himself. Channing’s artistic influences include Trevanian, Gene Roddenberry, Kurt Vonnegut, Jim Jarmusch, and Robert Altman, though he credits his late father, a psychology professor, with profoundly impacting his approach to the deep, conflicted, and multifaceted characters which drive his stories.

In his home life, Channing is a father of two, a sports lover, and a real-life space exploration enthusiast.

Channing is among a small subset of writers who are also dyslexic. He considers learning to overcome the challenges of this diagnosis to have aided him in persevering amid the rejection-filled, uncertain, and competitive fields of writing and screenwriting.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Night Shift (A Helping Hands Mystery Book 2) by Annelise Ryan – a #BookReview

“The awesome and mighty power of dog love at work.”

Book Blurb:

Night Shift by Annelise RyanWhen social worker Hildy Schneider commits to an after-hours side job, she finds herself drawn into the darker side of small-town Sorenson, Wisconsin—and the twisted mind of an unnamed killer . . .   Strange things have been happening since Hildy started moonlighting with local police, but a desperate late-night call involving a former patient from Sorenson General Hospital tops the list. Although Danny Hildebrand has been tormented by hallucinations for years, he swears he’s being haunted for real by the victim of a grisly murder . . .   The rambling ghost story seems like another delusion. But after a body turns up in a neglected farmhouse crawling with secrets, Hildy and the magnetic Detective Bob Richmond rush to explain Danny’s knowledge of the incident. As the crime-solving partners unwittingly grow closer while examining a series of eerie leads, they realize that surviving past sunrise means shedding light on a criminal willing to do whatever it takes to stay in the shadows . . . 

My Review:

I do appreciate humor included in a novel, especially a cozy, where no one should take too seriously the serious stuff. It’s not meant to be dark and this narrative stays rather on the light side due in part to MC Hildy Schneider. She’s a social worker newly committing to a second job (maybe I missed why, but the usual is m o n e y) with the Sorenson Police Department. At any rate, there were several details missed in her job description when she signed on, one of which is that as a trial program with the police called Helping Hands, she’ll ride along with the night shift cop.

This could be a good thing using golden retriever Roscoe, a trained therapy dog, and her general experience with the hospital where she’s based as the social worker.

Night Shift by Annelise RyanHer first night sees a homicide victim that manages to tie into one of her patients with schizophrenia who is obviously off his meds. Something is really wrong here–she knows he wouldn’t have done the deed–meds or no.

The author has peppered in a variety of damaged and unusual support characters along with the usual–one of my favs is PJ, the (autistic) teen who walks Roscoe. I’m still trying to make heads or tails of Detective Bob Richmond, but that’s a thread that will be further explored in the next series entry. The sense of humor manifests with some weirdly funny analogies producing a soft chuckle or two.

“…his room has all the ambience of a medieval dungeon and one neon yellow pillow isn’t going to fix that. That pillow is like a random piece of corn in the middle of a giant turd.”

WHOA!

“He might be a cam bolt shy of being fully assembled.”

The mystery is not that difficult and the perp is rather obvious early on with the motive by mid-book. Some twists meant to throw the reader off-track, don’t. The storyline is easy to follow and the characters add depth and a little fun to the narrative.

However, another damaged protagonist, while quite engaging is getting tiresome. There are repeats of conversations (wait…didn’t I just read that?) and commonly repeated descriptions.

The very real problem of a possible conflict of interest pops up that might lead to an in-depth discussion of which job comes first, takes precedent, and where should her allegiance lie? A situation that will surely force a resolution.

I’ve read this author before in one of her other series (Dead Ringer review here), thought I’d try this one. I tripped over a few quibbles, but basically enjoyed a well-plotted and easy-paced cozy read with characters I grew to invest in. Recommended.

Receiving this digital download free from the publisher and NetGalley did not affect my opinion of the book or the content and this is my honest opinion.

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Medical Thrillers
Publisher: Kensington Books
ASIN: B07ZPLB14V
Print Length: 266 pages
Publication Date: July 28, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Annelise Ryan - authorThe Author: Annelise Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Mattie Winston mystery series and a pseudonym for Beth Amos, who also writes the Mack’s Bar Mystery series under the pseudonym Allyson K. Abbott. Beth is a real life emergency room RN living in Wisconsin. She believes laughter is the best medicine, and with the Mattie Winston series she is hoping to “medicate” the masses.

For more Mattie Winston fun and to keep up with the latest news, visit http://www.mattiewinston.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

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

The Hooligans (P T Deutermann WWII Novels) by P T Deutermann – a #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

Happy Release Day!

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars Five Stars

A Review by the CE.

A gripping and authentic World War II naval adventure by a master storyteller

The Hooligans by P T DeutermannThe Hooligans fictionalizes the little-known but remarkable exploits of “The Hooligan Navy” that fought in the Pacific theatre of World War II. Loosely-organized in fast moving squadrons, PT (patrol torpedo) boats were the pesky nemesis of the formidable Japanese navy, dubbed “the mosquito fleet” and “devil boats” for their daring raids against warships, tankers, and transport ships.

After the Pearl Harbor raid plunges America into war, young surgical resident Lincoln Anderson enlists in the Navy medical corps. His first deployment comes in August 1942 at Guadalcanal, when after a brutal sea battle and the landing of Marines on the island, Anderson finds himself triaging hundreds of casualties under relentless Japanese air and land attacks.

But with the navy short of doctors, soon Anderson is transferred to serve aboard a PT boat. From Guadalcanal to the Solomon Islands to the climactic, tide-turning battle of Leyte Gulf, Anderson and the crew members of his boat confront submarines and surface ships, are attacked from air by the dreaded Kawanishi flying boats, and hunted by destroyers. In the end, Anderson must lead a division of boats in a seemingly-impossible mission against a Japanese battleship formation—and learn the true nature of his character.

Informed by P. T. Deutermann’s own experience as a commander of a patrol gunboat in Vietnam, The Hooligans is first-rate military adventure fiction.

His Review:

The Solomon Islands are a very strategic point between Australia and the Japanese islands. Placed there to protect the shipping lanes to Australia was a small fleet of PT boats and contingents of the US Nary and Marine’s as well as US Army. Doctor Eric Andersen is attached to this flotilla for the purpose of giving support to the medical needs of the detachment. He is a fourth-year surgical resident who joins after Pearl Harbor. This puts him in poor stead with his superior officers who feel he should not be doing any type of surgeries. Problem is that during war time avoiding surgery is simply not an option.

The Hooligans by P T DeutermannGuadalcanal is one of the islands in the Solomon Island archipelago and the fighting and casualties were horrendous. Doctor Andersen is thrust into this melee. His ability as a surgeon is quickly learned in these field hospitals. He quickly attains the reputation of being a “Superman” when dealing with catastrophic bodily injuries. He even does some artery relocations! The brass in more traditional hospital situations are aggravated by this skill.

The description and miserable facilities in the field hospitals is colorfully documented. Bomb shelters are constructed by U.S. Navy Seabees in record time. Japanese bombers called “Bettys” continually harass the entire staff of PT sailors. The PT’s attack during the night under cover of darkness and continually harass Japanese troop ship movements and disrupt their supply chains. The boats also supply defense and anti-aircraft batteries to protect our shipping and logistics in the area. The Japanese are tenacious fighters and every inch of real estate taken is with blood and sacrifice.

As each island is finally liberated from the Japanese, the ports and bases inch slowly northward. The skippers of the PT boats soon learn the value of their attached doctor. Throughout this book the flavor of war is everywhere. People 1500 miles away from the actual theater of action think they “know” how the war should be fought. The preponderance of arm chair fleet operators reminds me of my navy days. They were only slightly less aggravating than the enemy. Logistics and supply resources are usually controlled by these bureaucrats who haven’t even seen combat.

As the Japanese are pushed back from this island chain, the casualties mount and experiential learning takes over. HM1 and other enlisted personnel soon become strategic to the survival of the wounded. Dr. Andersen recognizes their abilities and utilizes them to the best of his ability. Comical relief is added with the presence of military scrounges whose mission is to keep the detachment supplied, particularly with medical equipment. Their exploits are enlightening and certainly devious. Requisitions in military theaters can go terribly slow and actually halt operations. The black market and bartering certainly bypass this backlog.

CE WilliamsThe relentless progress to Japan through Okinawa and Taiwan is fairly accurately portrayed. I recommend it as entertaining and enlightening reading for anyone who is a history buff. Understanding how some of the bunkers were built and the speed and efficiency of the navy’s Seabees is worth reading the book for. Enjoy the experience.

We received this uncorrected digital galley from the publisher through NetGalley and the receipt of the copy gratis does not affect my opinion of the book or the content. These are my honest opinions and I’m happy to highly recommend. 5 stars C.E. Williams

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, Historical Thrillers
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
ASIN: B0818Q5Y8G
Print Length: 298 pages
Publication Date: Happy Release Day! July 28, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

P T Deutermann - authorThe Author: Peter Deutermann was born in Boston in 1941. His father was in the Navy, so he subsequently lived all over the United States and also in Argentina. He graduated from the naval academy in 1963 and served in the navy for 26 years, rising to the rank of Captain. While in the navy, he published one textbook on naval operations and several professional articles in navy-oriented journals. He held three commands: a Swiftboat in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, a guided missile destroyer in the Atlantic Fleet, and a destroyer squadron based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. His last tour of duty was as the division director for chemical, biological, and radiological weapons arms control negotiations on the staff of the Joint Chiefs in Washington, DC.

He retired from active duty in 1989 and began his fiction-writing career. He has published twenty novels since 1992, all with St. Martins Press, including the just-released World War II navy novel, entitled The Commodore, and the Washington thriller, The Red Swan. He has completed his 21st novel, entitled The Iceman, a World War II navy submarine story, scheduled for publication in August, 2018. See all the books on his website at http://www.ptdeutermann.com

In addition to a BS in naval engineering, Mr. Deutermann holds an MA in public administration from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He is also a Member of the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. He is married and has two children. Mr. Deutermann and his wife of 50 years live in Rockingham County, in the Piedmont of North Carolina, on their family pony farm.

©2020 CE Willkiams – V Williams V Williams

Hanging Falls: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery by Margaret Mizushima – a #BookReview

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars Five Stars

Book Blurb:

Hanging Falls by Margaret MizushimaMurder stalks the rugged Colorado high country–and sends Mattie Cobb on a quest to uncover the darkest secrets from her past in the sixth gripping installment of Margaret Mizushima’s Timber Creek K-9 mysteries

A deluge has flooded the high ground near Hanging Falls–but heavy rains aren’t the only menace descending on Timber Creek. While on a scouting mission to pinpoint trail damage, officer Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo stumble upon a body floating at the edge of a lake. Robo catches human scent, which leads to an enigmatic forest-dweller who quickly becomes suspect number one.

With help from veterinarian Cole Walker, Mattie identifies the victim, and discovers an odd religious cult whose dress and manners harken back to the 19th century. As the list of suspects grows, an unexpected visit from members of Mattie’s long-lost family sheds new light on her childhood as they help Mattie piece together details of the fateful night when she was abducted at age two.

The tangled threads of the investigation and family dynamics begin to intertwine–but darkness threatens to claim a new victim before Mattie and Robo can track down the killers.

My Review:

Not content to wait closer to release, I had to jump to my new Mizushima book. I am always so delighted by each in the wonderful series that features the awesome GSD Robo, a well-trained service dog. Always a late bloomer, I discovered the series at Book 3, read each since, and really enjoyed them all.

Hanging Falls by Margaret MizushimaThe K-9 series features Robo as a brilliantly, intuitive service animal–the stories do not breach anthropomorphic levels–they stay authentic. Robo is a large powerful animal and is treated with respect while carefully kept to his manners. His handler, Mattie Cobb works with local law enforcement and in this narrative finds a DB (dead body) washed downstream and caught in a tree snag off the trail in the flood of the high country she and wildlife manager, Glenna Dalton, are scouting. The wild mountains of Colorado and Timber Creek are dangerous and unpredictable, but this is obviously a homicide.

Mizushima’s books always run a strong sub-plot and this story dealing with the issue of family pushes her backstory to the foreground. Her own family was torn apart resulting in an abusive childhood and many unanswered questions. She is carefully cultivating a relationship with the local veterinarian, Cole Walker, and his family that appears to be progressing.

Investigating the death of the young man on the mountain, they discover a new “family” that has moved to their area, a cult. There is a subsequent death which Mattie and Robo also discover and all leads continue to swerve back to the cult where there appears to harbor a smoldering discontent. Cole is introduced to the members through a visit to investigate a split hoof on one of their farm animals where he notes a girl about his oldest child’s age with her own beautiful GSD.

While the team continues to investigate the two deaths, obviously related at this point, they begin to ferret out more and more details and discover a new vet in the area tied to a pharmaceutical rep adding an additional layer to the mystery.

In the meantime, Mattie has been contacted by her long-lost sister and nervously awaits a visit by Julia and her grandmother. As she was raised in the foster care system, she is hoping to finally answer questions about her abduction and the disappearance of her mother. Oh, yes, this is a thread that will weigh heavily in the next episode.

Meanwhile, the duo-protagonists, Mattie and Robo, bring the mystery to a successful but nail-biting conclusion. I love that dog. My review of Hunting Hour here, Burning Ridge here, and Tracking Game here. Each can work as a standalone, but you might wish to catch up on this remarkable series and go back to Book 1. Which one did I love best? The one I was then reading.

Receiving this digital download free from the publisher and NetGalley did not affect my opinion of the book and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review. Anyone who enjoys a good mystery with an immersive, atmospheric setting, impressive animals, and their skillful handlers will find this series fully engaging and entertaining.

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth, Traditional Detective Fiction
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
ASIN: B082H2KD9H
Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: To be released September 8, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Pre-Order Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Margaret Mizushima - authorThe Author: Margaret Mizushima is the author of the award-winning and internationally published Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. Active within the writing community, Margaret serves as president for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, was elected the 2019-2020 Writer of the Year by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and is also a member of Northern Colorado Writers and Sisters in Crime. She lives in Colorado on a small ranch with her veterinarian husband where they raised two daughters and a multitude of animals. She can be found on Facebook/AuthorMargaretMizushima, Twitter @margmizu, Instagram at margmizu, and her website at http://www.margaretmizushima.com.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Playing Nice by JP Delaney – a #BookReview – Psychological Thriller

“People said it took a village to raise a child, but I didn’t even have a cul-de-sac.”

Book Blurb:

Playing Nice by JP DelaneyPete Riley answers the door one morning and lets in a parent’s worst nightmare. On his doorstep is Miles Lambert, a stranger who breaks the devastating news that Pete’s son, Theo, isn’t actually his son—he is the Lamberts’, switched at birth by an understaffed hospital while their real son was sent home with Miles and his wife, Lucy. For Pete, his partner Maddie, and the little boy they’ve been raising for the past two years, life will never be the same again.

The two families, reeling from the shock, take comfort in shared good intentions, eagerly entwining their very different lives in the hope of becoming one unconventional modern family. But a plan to sue the hospital triggers an official investigation that unearths some disturbing questions about the night their children were switched. How much can they trust the other parents—or even each other? What secrets are hidden behind the Lamberts’ glossy front door? Stretched to the breaking point, Pete and Maddie discover they will each stop at nothing to keep their family safe.

They are done playing nice.

My Review:

Dang but I do pick a douzy when I try a new (to me) author and this book had me spinning. The premise is that two babies are swapped at birth, both preemies, both showing up at a time when the hospital is short-staffed. It could happen…haven’t we heard of that happening?

Playing Nice by JP DelaneyJournalist Pete Riley and his partner Maddie get that rude awakening one morning when Miles Lambert and his wife Lucy show up at their door to explain the situation and seek an amicable solution. But swap them back? It’s been two years. How could they?

Talk about a shock! It takes a toll, has them both reeling. Theo is not their son?

Pete is Theo’s stay-at-home dad, his major caregiver. Maddie has the better paying position. The Lamberts on the other hand appear very well off. Have provided extremely well for their son David, who has been determined to be “slow.” Maddie and Pete had been cautioned that under the circumstances of their son’s birth, he may have sustained some brain damage. And Theo is not the easiest child–now a terrible two–gave it the name and is having problems adjusting to his nursery care situation exhibiting some aggression towards another child who wants to take his toy.

The Lambert’s boy is painfully slow, quiet, and fortunately, Lucy has help with him in the form of a nanny while Miles goes off to his high paying position. While their initial meetings appear to be successful and the couples have made what seem a mutual agreement, Miles begins to push boundaries and there are times when that harmonious ambiance begins to slip, the environment turns icy, and they are soon embroiled in a lawsuit that goes from contentious to a living hell.

This is one of those books that hooks you at the outset, sets you on a crash course with two POVs (Pete’s and Maddies) and Court Case Numbers and Exhibits. Just when you don’t think it could get any worse, it does. The high-powered legal team hired by Miles, the attorney procured by Pete and Maddie by taking out a second mortgage each interpreting the law until the reader is so bewildered the situation looks impossible.

“…the psychopathic spectrum–that is, they score low on tests for remorse, conscience, and moral judgment, and high for fearlessness, quick thinking, and cold-bloodedness.”

Interesting little tidbits of tidy information laid so quietly and carefully, perhaps you didn’t notice in the avalanche of emotions of the DNA finding–perhaps you skipped right over it, huh! No, not the part about proving the parents…and then there were the arguments of nature vs nurture.

All the characters exhibit some flaws, Peter being almost dangerously easy and naive; Miles just dangerous. Nor is Lucy or Maddie particularly devoid of their little secrets, one of which I’d suspected but clouded for me just a tad following the conclusion. The climax has the reader holding their breath and reading faster, dripping with sweat. There is tension, wildly crazy legal ramifications, twists, turns, and the exhausting parental turmoil caused in dealing with “special” children.

Receiving this digital download free from the publisher and NetGalley did not affect my opinion of the book or the content and I fully appreciated the opportunity to read and review this novel. Totally recommended.

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Genre: Psychological Thriller, Psychological Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books

  • ISBN-10:0593213335
  • ISBN-13:978-0593213339
  • ASIN: B0818Q3JWK

Print Length: 418 pages
Publication Date: To be released July 28, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Pre-Order Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo
 

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

JP Delaney - authorThe Author: JP Delaney is a pseudonym for a British writer of psychological suspense who has previously written best-selling fiction under other names. THE GIRL BEFORE was an instant New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller and was published in over 40 countries. The follow-up, BELIEVE ME, was also an international bestseller. THE PERFECT WIFE will be published summer 2019. For more information, go to http://www.jpdelaney.co.uk or follow @jpdelaneywriter on Facebook.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis – a #BookReview #literaryfiction #TuesdayBookBlog

“Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother.”

A review by the CE.

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars Five Stars

Book Blurb:

In nationally bestselling author Fiona Davis’s latest historical novel, a series of book thefts roils the iconic New York Public Library, leaving two generations of strong-willed women to pick up the pieces.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona DavisIt’s 1913, and on the surface, Laura Lyons couldn’t ask for more out of life—her husband is the superintendent of the New York Public Library, allowing their family to live in an apartment within the grand building, and they are blessed with two children. But headstrong, passionate Laura wants more, and when she takes a leap of faith and applies to the Columbia Journalism School, her world is cracked wide open. As her studies take her all over the city, she is drawn to Greenwich Village’s new bohemia, where she discovers the Heterodoxy Club—a radical, all-female group in which women are encouraged to loudly share their opinions on suffrage, birth control, and women’s rights. Soon, Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother. But when valuable books are stolen back at the library, threatening the home and institution she loves, she’s forced to confront her shifting priorities head on . . . and may just lose everything in the process.

Eighty years later, in 1993, Sadie Donovan struggles with the legacy of her grandmother, the famous essayist Laura Lyons, especially after she’s wrangled her dream job as a curator at the New York Public Library. But the job quickly becomes a nightmare when rare manuscripts, notes, and books for the exhibit Sadie’s running begin disappearing from the library’s famous Berg Collection. Determined to save both the exhibit and her career, the typically risk-adverse Sadie teams up with a private security expert to uncover the culprit. However, things unexpectedly become personal when the investigation leads Sadie to some unwelcome truths about her own family heritage—truths that shed new light on the biggest tragedy in the library’s history.

His Review:

This book is a romp through the changing morays of women in America during the early and last decade of the 20th century. The story takes place in the marble confines of the New York Public Library.  The building superintendent, Jack Lyons, and his wife Laura were resident caretakers of the building and as such at the time made their home in the library.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona DavisThe struggle for the right to vote and the development of women as independent members of society was just beginning. Jack sees himself as a writer who will produce a great American novel and thereby produce a good income for his family. Every spare minute of his day not working for the library was spent in that endeavor. Laura is given the position of curator of the Berg Collection of early books by such luminaries as Poe and Whitman, while being expected to raise the children and do all of the chores of keeping their home. Laura wants to write as well.

New York saw a large increase in the population in the second decade of the century; primarily poor and struggling immigrants. Disease was particularly cruel during that time period and wages extremely low. A year at Columbia School of Journalism including books and tuition was $170. Laura receives a scholarship for one term or $85.00. Now in addition to being a curator and family matriarch, she becomes a student. Meanwhile, her husband used any time available to “write” his novel.

The male students were given assignments to review trials or the mayor’s speeches. The females were sent to cover neighborhood conditions. Hardly the same interest in the topics. Laura meets one of the new social workers, Dr. Amelia Parker, a no-nonsense large woman who takes no guff from anyone. She is teaching immigrant women how to care for their children. She takes Laura under her wing and introduces her to the Heterodoxy Club. The group is scorned by society and the topic cannot be written about but is the topic assigned for her master’s thesis.

Her granddaughter Sadie Donovan is hired at the library to do basically the same tasks as her grandmother so many years before, without her grandmother’s yoke of family and husband. Books disappear during both ladies’ tenures and they are suspected of being the thieves. The author skillfully intermingles the two lives drawing parallels nearly a century apart. Both women are fighting the upward battle of emancipation.

CE WilliamsThe dual plots move along smoothly and my interest was held throughout. I became sympathetic to the plight of both of the women and their crass treatment in general during the time period. Success for any woman seemed to require the overcoming of societal morays and prejudices along with reduced pay and increased responsibility. This is a fulfilling novel, well written and paced with empathetic characters and a joy to read.  5 stars CE Williams

Receiving this digital download free from the publisher and NetGalley did not affect my opinion of the book or the content and this is my honest opinion. Highly Recommended.

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical Literary Fiction, Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Literary Fiction
Publisher: Dutton
ISBN: 1524744611
ASIN: B081M7TFWS
Print Length: 365 pages
Publication Date: To be released August 4, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Pre-Order Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Fiona Davis - authorThe Author: Fiona Davis is the nationally bestselling author of historical novels set in iconic New York City buildings, including THE CHELSEA GIRLS and THE ADDRESS. She began her career in New York City as an actress, working on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater. After getting a master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School, she fell in love with writing, leapfrogging from editor to freelance journalist before finally settling down to write fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages and she’s based in New York City.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Lineage Most Lethal: An Ancestry Detective Mystery Book 2 by S C Perkins – a #BookReview #mystery

Book Blurb:

Lineage Most Lethal by S C PerkinsIn S. C. Perkins’s Lineage Most Lethal, the captivating second mystery in the Ancestry Detective series, Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster grapples with a mystery rooted in World War II and espionage.

It’s the week before New Year’s Eve and genealogist Lucy Lancaster is ready to mix work and play at the beautiful Hotel Sutton, enjoying herself while finalizing the presentation for her latest client, hotel heiress Pippa Sutton.

Freshly arrived at the hotel—and determined not to think about Special Agent Ben Turner, who went radio silent on her after one date—Lucy is stopped in her tracks when a strange man comes staggering toward her. She barely has time to notice his weak, sweaty appearance before he presses a classic Montblanc pen onto her hand, gasps, “Keep them safe,” and collapses at her feet, dead.

When Lucy shows the fountain pen to her grandfather, an avid collector and World War II veteran, she’s in for another shock. Not only does Grandpa recognize the Montblanc, he also reveals a secret: he was an Allied spy during the war and the pen is both a message regarding one of his wartime missions and the key to reading a microdot left by the dead man.

On the microdot is a series of ciphers, some decrypted to form names. Could they be the descendants of Grandpa’s fellow spies? When two from the list end up murdered—including the chef at the Hotel Sutton—and Grandpa’s life is put in jeopardy, Lucy’s sure she’s right. And with Lucy’s and Pippa’s names possibly on the list, too, she’s got to uncover the past to protect those in the present.

With a secret Allied mission, old grievances, and traitors hiding behind every corner, Lucy must use her research skills to trace the list’s World War II ancestors and connect the dots to find a killer in their midst—a killer who’s determined to make sure some lineages end once and for all.

My Review:

How unique is a genealogist in a cozy mystery? And it works! Certainly a unique concept with an apparently strong female protagonist, no skeletons in her family closet!

Lineage Most Lethal by S C PerkinsLucy Lancaster has been hired by Pippa Sutton, a young woman assuming leadership of her flagship cozy hotel business. Lucy will bring together the extended family to present the genealogical history of the Sutton family concluding with a detailed video presentation including interviews with family members and their memories.

Upon her arrival, however, a man hands her an object as he collapses at her feet with a plea to “keep them safe.” When she recovers the object from the hotel’s dog, a pen, she recognizes it as a very special and valuable antique and notifies her grandfather to have a look at it. Almost immediately, he makes a trip to her location to work with her regarding a highly classified and long buried World War II mission.

Well, nothing is simple and this just got very complex, very quickly.

The location in Austin and the restored hotel itself is very picturesque. There are multiple characters, each with their own agenda and sometimes it seems that only Pippa is genuine. Lucy’s grandfather, George Lancaster, with whom she’s always had a special bond, sits her down to tell her about a spy ring he worked with. First, the two must decipher a code called “pigpen cipher” (apparently a well-known code easily searched on the WWW). There is information on search registries, who can request, how long certain searches remain private, as well as hints on search services.

It is a well-plotted narrative with puzzle pieces gradually being drawn into the picture as they find another name, additional murders (off page), with a pleasing pace. Lucy has a pseudo-romance who disappears in a mini-sub-plot and Lucy’s two best friends (and office colleagues) are introduced.

Most of us have that innate curiosity to figure out how we got here. I’ve worked at it, hitting a wall with my own grandfather (yes–that one, Stanley McShane–quite the enigma), so this is all fascinating stuff to me. I found Lucy just a tad annoying, but loved how she so quickly caught on to nuances and I gradually warmed up to her. The conclusion wrapped up all the ends, though seemed just a bit verbose, the antagonist being apparent fairly early. This was easily read as a standalone and was quite engaging and entertaining.

Receiving this digital download free from the publisher and NetGalley did not affect my opinion of the book or the content and this is my honest opinion. As a cozy, I expected a recipe or two for those luscious Tex-Mex dishes described. Alas, not to be. Recommended for any who enjoys a good mystery on the lighter side.

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Amateur Sleuth
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: 1250750075
ASIN: B0818PMLHF
Print Length: 344 pages
Publication Date: To be released July 21, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo
 

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

S C Perkins - authorThe Author: S.C. Perkins is a fifth-generation Texan who grew up hearing fascinating stories of her ancestry and eating lots of great Tex-Mex, both of which inspired the plot of her debut mystery novel. Murder Once Removed was the winner of the 2017 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery competition. She resides in Houston and, when she’s not writing or working at her day job, she’s likely outside in the sun, on the beach, or riding horses.

Find S.C. at http://www.scperkins.com or on social media at @SCPerkinsWriter

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Storm Rising (An F.B.I. K-9 Novel Book 3) by Sara Driscoll – a #BookReview #animalfiction

A shared review with the CE.

Book Blurb:

Storm Rising by Sara DriscollFBI Special Agent Meg Jennings and her search-and-rescue K-9 companion confront the fury of nature—and the more dangerous nature of man . . .

In the wake of a devastating hurricane, Special Agent Meg Jennings and her Labrador, Hawk—invaluable members of the FBI’s Human Scent Evidence Team—have been deployed to Virginia Beach. Amid debris and the buried cries for help, the most alarming discovery is yet to come—a teenage girl hiding in the Great Dismal Swamp.

Her name is Emma—a disheveled runaway lost to the sordid underbelly of a Virginia sex-trafficking ring. Its leader has disappeared in the chaos—along with other victims. Meg joins forces with Special Agent Walter Van Cleave and uncovers a vast network of abuse rooted in some of the most influential powers in Virginia. Now as Meg’s investigation digs deeper, she’s making some very dangerous enemies. And one by one, they’re coming out of the storm to stop her.  

My Thoughts

I really enjoy the relationship that the author of this series has created for her protagonist Meg and her K-9 Search and Rescue black lab, Hawk and while Meg has a human male in her life, she has a story to tell with her searches. In Book 3, Hurricane Cole has barreled down on Virginia Beach and there has been the usual number of persons refusing to leave, thinking they can weather the storm.

The setting is chaotic with the coastal town a shambles, too many buildings at waters edge, and the storm surge stories high. They are sent in to find persons stranded or hidden in debris and as luck would have it, her favorite firefighter/paramedic, Todd, is also being sent in to supplement the personnel already in place but over-extended. They do what they can, but in a matter of a few days the mission goes from search for life to recovery of bodies–difficult for a search and rescue animal.

It is when Meg and Todd are driving toward the largest navy base in the world that Todd spots a van, half-hidden in water, muck, mud, and ravaged bushes and trees.   Apparently, there were survivors from the van–but where are they now? Hawk finds one girl, badly injured and left, however, it is obvious she didn’t get there on her own. Hawk continues the search until he finds a young woman and the team discovers the purpose of the van and the focus of the mission suddenly changes.

As always, there are teachable moments, which for me adds fascinating information regarding the terrain and training of these magnificent canines and their handlers. There are also descriptions of the Great Dismal Swamp, a huge retreat left natural with no lack of some serious wildlife, including alligators.

The dialogue is so natural, you can hear the teenager’s refusal dripping with contempt rather than trust anyone, especially an adult, but specifically men who have thus far only exploited and kept her captive. The human/dog connection, however, is palpable and becomes the necessary tool that Meg can use to reach her.

The K-9 stories always catch my eye. I read and reviewed No Man’s Land late last year (Sara Driscoll) and Exit Strategy (Jen J Danna) last month, the first of a new series. The author has a riveting writing style that hooks from the beginning and builds tension through the satisfying conclusion. The only quibble I had with this novel was that the dog wasn’t used through the climax. These stories, however, are fast-paced, well-plotted and atmospheric. Regardless of which pen name she uses, you can’t go wrong. 4.5 stars/5

I received this digital download through Amazon’s digital book loans with no expectation of a review. These are our honest opinions. Highly recommended!

His Thoughts 

Storm Rising by Sara DriscollWhat secrets does the aftermath of a hurricane hold? Sara Driscoll explores the saga of Meg Jennings and her partner Hawk. Entering the hardest hit areas of devastation they look for possible survivors. Entwined in the search are the reasons why some people do not evacuate as required by law enforcement. Some people stay behind to burglarize homes and businesses left unprotected during the evacuation.

A chance sighting of a stranded vehicle leads to a second expose of crime during the storm. Hawk and Meg assist a fire and rescue team member in exploring the vehicle. Evidence of some who were able to get out of the vehicle leads to a very interesting part of this novel.

Sara’s storytelling is always first-rate and shows the depth of her abilities in her craft. Attention to detail and explanation as to how and why some of the procedures are followed is woven into the narrative. After a few hours, the “rescue” efforts become “retrieval” and identification efforts.

The mental toll that this sort of effort requires is evident on both Meg and her K-9 partner Hawk. The reward of finding someone alive in those situations is energizing for both the handler and the dog. The depth of training and trust between the handler and the animal is mesmerizing! Sara handles it with authenticity and faithfulness.

As the story develops a different area of discovery ensues. From a simple search and rescue operation, we are thrust into a whole other world. I found this both enlightening and disturbing. Following Meg into the entire enterprise left me enlightened and angry. The world exposed was cruel and disgusting.

CE WilliamsIt is not the journey through life that is the sum and substance of our existence but rather the end result. Some people seem to feel that there will be no repercussions of a heinous life and go about their business amassing a fortune on the backs of the innocent. The author shows that those people need to be stopped because the resultant greed can lead to great suffering. 5 stars – CE Williams

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Book Details:

Genre: Conspiracy Thrillers, Animal Fiction, Political Thrillers & Suspense
Publisher: Pinnacle Books
ASIN: B07WXJNH3B
ISBN: 1496704452
Print Length: 306 pages
Publication Date: August 17, 2019
Source: Publisher and Amazon Book Loans

Title Link(s):
Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Rosepoint Publishing: 4.75 stars of Five Four and three-quarters stars of five

Jen J Danna - authorThe Author: [Sara Driscoll] A scientist specializing in infectious diseases, Jen J. Danna works as part of a dynamic research group at a cutting-edge Canadian university. However, her true passion lies in indulging her love of the mysterious through her writing.

With Ann Vanderlaan, she writes two series. Under Danna and Vanderlaan, they craft suspenseful crime fiction with a realistic scientific edge. Their five Abbott and Lowell Forensic Mysteries include DEAD, WITHOUT A STONE TO TELL IT; NO ONE SEES ME ‘TILL I FALL; A FLAME IN THE WIND OF DEATH; TWO PARTS BLOODY MURDER; and LAMENT THE COMMON BONES.

Under the joint pseudonym of Sara Driscoll, they write the FBI K-9s mysteries series, starring search-and-rescue team Meg Jennings and her black lab, Hawk. The series includes LONE WOLF, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE, and STORM RISING. The fourth book in the series, NO MAN’S LAND, will release in December 2019.

Jen is also the author of the upcoming NYPD Negotiators thriller series, with the first book, EXIT STRATEGY, releasing in August 2020.

Jen lives near Toronto, Ontario with her husband, two daughters, and three rescued cats, and is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada. You can reach her through the contact page on her website or by email at jenjdanna@gmail.com.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Goodnight Moo (A Buttermilk Creek Mystery Book 2) by Mollie Cox Bryan – a #BookReview – #cozymystery

“… when a mysterious tractor accident looks suspiciously like murder, Brynn suspects someone is up to no-gouda.”

Book Blurb:

Goodnight Moo by Mollie Cox BryanWelcome to Shenandoah Springs, Virginia, the bucolic small town where Brynn MacAlister keeps cows, churns cheeses—and is sharper than the ripest cheddar when it comes to solving mysteries . . .   With a foster cow in her corral and a new calf on the way, Brynn MacAlister has a lot on her plate. Especially since her micro-dairy farm is hosting the first annual cheesemakers contest at this year’s summer fair. A relative newcomer, Brynn’s hoping the contest becomes a tradition, bonding her even more strongly to the community. But when a mysterious tractor accident looks suspiciously like murder, Brynn suspects someone is up to no-gouda . . .   Some folks say the lead suspect was just defending his underage daughter from a suitor more mature than a vintage provolone, but Brynn isn’t buying it. Especially when another dead body turns up and Brynn’s top cheesemaker falls under suspicion. It’s enough to make a girl bluer than her best Stilton. But not enough to stop Brynn from getting to the bottom of things. What she discovers is the small town harbors some pretty unsavory characters. And the closer Brynn gets to the killer, the deeper she gets into danger . .

My Review:

Having read Book 1 of the series, I snatched this one up when it became available as an ARC as I really enjoyed the rural farm setting and the animals. In Book 1, protagonist Brynn MacAlister moved to the bucolic Shenandoah Springs property with funds from her grandmother’s passing. Buttermilk Creek Farm includes the main house, guest house, and barns with three resident Red Devon dairy cows, Petunia, Marigold, and Buttercup. Unfortunately, Petunia gave birth to a stillborn calf and went into an extended mourning period. Now one of the other cows is pregnant.

Goodnight Moo by Mollie Cox BryanWes stayed to live with her in the guest house after his grandmother died in a fire in an adjacent property and brought with him youthful skills and enthusiasm as well as being media savvy. There is a resident kitty in the main house and Freckles, the dog, was a rescue from one of the main support characters, the local vet, Schuyler. This time Schuyler arrives with a Highland cow, orphaned when his elderly owner passed away. Brynn promises to “foster” the cow until the vet can find a forever home, but you know what will happen with that one.

They are excited about the county fair in which Brynn has organized a cheese competition until an accident on a local farm turns out to be one of murder. The owner’s tractor went all AI on him and it ran over a summer worker. He is the first person of interest but then Wes takes the honor when it appears his gun is involved in a second murder. Now it gets nasty, with Wes being Pakistani, taking on racist overtones. Ransom ware begins to hit after Brynn has a severe accident of her own and the cheese competition turns real blue.

Brynn’s sister, Becky comes to help her after she’s out of the hospital and there is strong support to help with the cows. But what is going on in the community? Small town, southern attitudes harbor sides she hadn’t previously seen and she’s determined to clear Wes even as his father and brother come to his aid as well. She and Becky have a loving, supportive relationship, and Jewel the Highland cow while terribly shy is slowly becoming acclimated.

Sifting through the twists and red herrings, it’s still hard to grapple with who might be behind all the mayhem. Is it all even connected? While they keep negating the role that Chelsea plays as a sixteen-year-old, she certainly isn’t an innocent. And while she presents one major theme, the racist theme falls heavily throughout the narrative.

“There was nothing worse than the disappointment in people who turned out not to be who you thought they were.”

I really enjoy Brynn, the support characters, and the appealing locale. Brynn is compassionate and fiercely loyal. She has an affinity for the animals that is a delight and her passionate approach to artisan cheeses and the farm to table movement is inspiring. My quibble would be the rehashing and overhashing of the major plot points. There is a darker overtone to this well-plotted novel with topical arguments behind the main plot (mostly resolved in conclusion) that I found a bit disturbing. And, of course, there are a number of recipes which have appeal. A strong mystery, engaging characters, and only periodic sagging in pace, recommended as a fun, cozy mystery. Looking forward to Book 3.

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Genre: Amateur Sleuth, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Kensington Books
ASIN: B082WRM3L6
Print Length: 290 pages
Publication Date: To be released August 25, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Mollie Cox Bryan - authorThe Author: Mollie Cox Bryan writes cozy mysteries with edge and romances with slow, sweet burn. The first book in her new mystery series, “Cora Crafts Mysteries.” is DEATH AMONG THE DOILIES, which was selected as “Fresh Fiction Not to Miss” and is a 2017 Finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award. The second book, NO CHARM INTENDED, was named a Summer 2017 Top 10 Beach Read by Woman’s World. She also wrote the Agatha-award nominated Cumberland Creek Mysteries. Several of the books in that series were short-listed for the Virginia Library People’s Choice Award. She’s also penned a historical fiction: MEMORY OF LIGHT: AN AFTERMATH OF GETTYSBURG and historical romance: TEMPTING WILL MCGLASHEN. She makes her home at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, Va.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

A Mother’s Lie by Jo Crow – a #BookReview by the Vicarious Blogger

” When her child’s life is at stake, a mother will do anything to save him.”

“A shocking psychological thriller with a breathtaking twist that will keep you up at night.”

Book Blurb:

A Mother's Lie by Jo CrowClara McNair is running out of time to save her son, James. When the two-year-old is diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, only an experimental treatment can save his life. She desperately needs money to pay for the surgery, but she’ll have to travel back to the site of her darkest memories to get it.

Clara has escaped the demons of her youth—or so she thinks. It’s been ten years since the mysterious disappearance of her parents. Widely suspected of murdering her mother and father, Clara fled west to start a new life. Now, a documentary film crew is offering cold, hard cash—enough to pay for James’s treatment—in exchange for the sordid secrets of her past.

With no other choice but to delve into a long-ago tragedy, Clara must unravel the lies surrounding that terrible night. Facing hostile gossip, Clara is fighting to clear her name and learn the truth about what really happened. But how far will she go into the dark to save her son—and herself?

NOTE: Books in the ‘Secrets of Suburbia’ Series can be read as standalones, but are linked by common themes of motherhood, suburbia not being as safe as you think, and how the perfect, sanitized version of life that people often show is far from the truth. Gripping stories with shocking twists just a click away.

His Thoughts:

Keep your friends close and your enemy closer. Sometimes the two are difficult to differentiate. Jo Crow has written a story reminiscent of Town Without Pity. The town, Hickory Hills, North Carolina, seems to fit the title of a town without pity. Everywhere the protagonist Clair McNair goes she is met with anger and hatred. I found it difficult to understand why a town would be so aggressive towards a young mother.

A Mother's Lie by Jo CrowClair has a young son with a rare disease that can only be treated with an experimental drug. The cost is very expensive and the only way to get enough money to afford the treatment is by doing a documentary about the death of her parents. Returning to Hickory Hills after ten years, the disgust for her is palatable. She has a high school friend named Amanda who stands by her and helps watch her son while she assists in filming the documentary that will provide funds for the treatment.

The local detective Elkins has concluded that she is the killer of her parents and his job is to prove it. He is vitriolic and has no compassion for a young woman who he “knows” has killed her parents. The killing was done in a particularly brutal manner. Remarkably, some of the bones show up behind a shed on her father’s property after she returns to town. It would seem the detective should have questioned this as the place the bones were found was thoroughly searched ten years ago.

Questioning the investigative procedures of Detective Elkins and his blatant disregard for proper forensics rankled me. I confess I took an immediate dislike for this character and his methodology.  Events continue to happen to Claire through the entire book that surely would have made a good detective question why. However, this author skillfully avoided the issue and let the detective doggedly pursue his pre-ascertained verdict.

Twists and turns build suspense throughout this tale. Jo Crow masterfully exposes a surprising end plot. Who was causing all of the turmoil and danger for Claire? Meanwhile, her son is getting sicker every day and she needs to rely upon her few friends to allow her to make the documentary. CE Williams

A twist at the end is a classic maneuver totally unexpected! Read this well-crafted novel and discover the duplicity at the climax. The book builds tension and will not disappoint! C.E. Williams Free from Bookbub

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 Book Details:

Genre: Vigilante Justice Thrillers, Suspense Action Fiction, Women’s Crime Fiction

  • ISBN-10:1979295425
  • ISBN-13:978-1979295420
  • ASIN: B077VVN43Z

Print Length: 442 pages
Publication Date: December 1, 2017
Source: BookBub
Title Link: A Mother’s Lie [Amazon]

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Jo Crow - authorThe Author: Jo Crow gave ten years of her life to the corporate world of finance, rising to be one of the youngest VPs around. She carved writing time into her commute to the city, but never shared her stories, assuming they were too dark for any publishing house. But when a nosy publishing exec read the initial pages of her latest story over her shoulder, his albeit unsolicited advice made her think twice.

A month later, she took the leap, quit her job, and sat down for weeks with pen to paper. The words for her first manuscript just flew from her. Now she spends her days reading and writing, dreaming up new ideas for domestic noir fans, and drawing from her own experiences in the cut-throat commercial sector.

Not one to look back, Jo is all in, and can’t wait for her next book to begin.

Visit http://www.JoCrow.com to join her mailing list.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Out of Her Mind (Sawyer Brooks Book 2) by T R Ragan – a #BookReview – #psychologicalthriller

Book Blurb:

Out of Her Mind by T R RaganA string of copycat crimes leads a reporter down a terrifying path in a heart-stopping thriller by New York Times bestselling author T.R. Ragan.

Crime reporter Sawyer Brooks still grieves for the family she and her two sisters never had. Raised in a house of horrors, they continue to fight through the trauma—releasing their rage by seeking justice for those who are just as vulnerable as they were.

When a little girl’s bones are unearthed in Sacramento’s Land Park and twelve-year-old Riley Addison disappears, solving these cases becomes an obsession for Sawyer—one that puts her job at risk. Yet she can’t turn back, and the deeper Sawyer’s investigation goes, the darker it gets. A psychopath is on the loose and has been trolling Sacramento for years—hiding in plain sight behind a motherly facade.

The more Sawyer persists, the closer she gets to a disturbing place reminiscent of her own terrorized childhood. With time running out, Sawyer will risk anything to save Riley from the dark. But the killer will do anything to keep her there.

My Review:

Out of Her Mind by T R RaganSawyer Brooks is one of three sisters, all of whom had a singularly abusive childhood. She is still dealing with touch issues among others, but has made a reputation for herself as being a focused investigative crime reporter for the Sacramento Independent. In this issue, her sister Aria joins in the investigation of a missing girl from the area, which they quickly ascertain is one of several over the years. Riley Addison is around eleven and not a runaway.

In a sub-plot apparently brought forward from Book 1, there is a female vigilante group dubbed the “Black Wigs” operating in the Sacramento area caught on video. The group is targeting men accused of sexual crimes. Unfortunately, they’ve had a few problems executing their plans that would appear is beginning to cause a serious rift between the five members. Nevertheless, they proceed with the next target.

Dialogue is taut and leading. Forget trying to solve it yourself. Just enjoy the storyline and let it take you where you need to go–with a few little twists along the way. Sawyer is a damaged protagonist. She has depth, a pit bull when she’s doggedly trying to uncover the story, but she has additional issues. She can be impatient and compulsive. It’s good she has a supportive boss because the local police detective can’t work on hunches. He wants proof and is increasingly tired of her unsolicited input.

Short chapters, each of which ramps up the tension until it becomes stressful. You can’t put it down NOW! Can she find the little girl before it’s too late? The antagonist is certifiable. The loose threads she holds are becoming frayed with the little girl’s attitude.

I have to admit–I didn’t catch Book 1 of this series. (I know you’re surprised to see that.) I have, however, read two of her Jessie Cole series. (See links below.) Of course, I recognized the author, but was also attracted by this book’s locale–we lived there over forty years. The author’s dark writing style will get into your head and twist. Her novels are compelling, tight, well-plotted, and fast-paced. I love strong, independent, and intelligent female protagonists and if I had a quibble, it would be the (trigger warning) abusive background. Again. Still, it’s a narrative that doesn’t slow, doesn’t disappoint, and sets you up for Book 3 of a scheduled trilogy. I must know how those two themes being forwarded will pan out.

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Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Vigilante Justice, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ISBN: 1542093902
ASIN: B084FVY89J
Print Length: 285 pages
Publication Date: November 22, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

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

T R Ragan - authorThe Author: T.R. Ragan (Theresa Ragan) has sold over three million books and is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling mystery and thriller author.

Readers interested in signing up for a monthly newsletter or getting their name in a TR RAGAN book should check out her website at http://www.trragan.com

Facebook * Twitter * Instagram: @trraganauthor

LIZZY GARDNER SERIES
Abducted
Dead Weight
A Dark Mind
Obsessed
Almost Dead
Evil Never Dies

FAITH MCMANN TRILOGY
Furious
Outrage
Wrath

JESSIE COLE SERIES
Her Last Day (My 4.5 star review here)
Deadly Recall
Deranged
Buried Deep (My 5 star review here)

SAWYER BROOKS SERIES
Don’t Make a Sound – 6/20
Out of Her Mind – 11/20

©2020 V Williams V Williams