This Land is No Stranger: A Nordic Mystery Thriller by Sarah Hollister and Gil Reavill – A #BookReview – #nordicnoir

Book Blurb:

This Land is No Stranger by Sarah Hollister and Gil ReavillWith a career that is spiraling out of control and a nasty drug habit that has taken her to rock bottom, NYC detective Veronika Brand is looking for a way out. When a call from Sweden interrupts her personal chaos, the foreign tongue of her distant Swedish relatives pulls her across the Atlantic with the lure of adventure and escape. But what she finds is far from the idyllic picture her grandmother painted. Instead of long languid summers basking in the midnight sun, she unearths secrets long since buried in the frozen ground.

In Krister Hammar, a local Sami land rights lawyer, she thinks she has found a kindred spirit. But when they stumble upon a brutal murder scene in a manor house owned by the rivals of her family, she starts questioning his truth. She finds herself being moved like a chess piece between the desolate region of Härjedalen in the north and the steely-cold streets of Stockholm, scrambling to find the links between her family history, a trail of missing Roma girls, and a series of vicious murders. In unfamiliar territory on the wrong side of the law, Veronika has her sights set only on the beast that preys on the wicked. Will she be able to see past the lure of the northern lights to the dark secrets that threaten to destroy her?

[Note: I chose this novel as my maternal grandmother was 100% Swedish having immigrated to Minnesota, one of the many “sons.” I thought I’d give some time to the Swedish side as I always seem to favor the Irish side, i.e. Reading Ireland Month—March, coming up. Hubby found the ebook first, however, and got a bit of culture shock. It is, after all, described as Nordic noir or Scanoir and does tend to run dark. As Donna Moreau (author of Waiting Wives mentioned), “it is an intriguing family saga intertwined with the …mysterious Roma people.” Aware of the impact of the Irish Travelers in Ireland, the Romani people are not  genetically related and represent a much larger population in Sweden*. A surprising revelation.]

His Review:

Revenge is a dish best served cold! Can an eighty year old crime between families continue to this day? The tale of the Hatfields and McCoys compares closely with the ongoing animosity between the Dalgren and Voss families. Veronika Brand is the granddaughter of the Dalgren family and is invited back to Sweden to attend a family reunion for her 95 year old relative.

This Land is No Stranger by Sarah Hollister and Gil ReavillIn 1940 when the Nazi’s occupied Sweden, her ancestors began printing pro-Nazi propaganda after the country is occupied. A splinter group led by the family Voss decides to stop the paper by burning down the printing establishment. They are not aware that some of the Dalgrens are asleep in the apartment over the printing shop. The death of the Dalgrens in the fire starts the feud between the Dalgrens and Voss’.

The Voss family is very wealthy, ruthless and are involved in many nefarious endeavors including prostitution and slavery. They have the power. A vengeful Dalgren family is hardly a problem. The Voss family also owns and operates the largest trucking firm in Europe. Young Romani girls are kidnapped or otherwise drawn into a world of sex slavery and poor diets. They finally die from poor nutrition and continual sexual brutality from customers who use them in total depravity.

The inter-familial war of revenge is continual and brutal. Veronika Brand is a former New York detective who becomes embroiled in the conflict. Brutal murders and lack of any social responsibility drove me to the conclusion that this may not be a future vacation destination. Cruelty and death are portrayed as an integral part of the psyche of the northern Swedish families. There seemed to be no division between the young and old regarding a more innocent mind set.

CE WilliamsThe narrative is well written although exhausting to read. Continual brutal murder and total disregard for human life with wicked visuals of red snow were excessive. The ending, however, was satisfying and surprising! I kept wondering why a well-trained New York detective would stay in such a toxic environment! The conclusion explained a lot.  4 stars-CE Williams 

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

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Kidnapping Thrillers, International Mystery & Crime
Publisher: LYS
Print Length: 302 pages
Publication Date: March 11, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: This Land is No Stranger [Amazon]
Also find the book at this locations:
Barnes and Noble 

Add to Goodreads

 

Sarah Hollister - authorThe Authors: Sarah Hollister is an American writer and playwright, living the Scandinavian reality on one of the 24,000 islands in the Swedish archipelago near Stockholm. Her plays Sisters’ Dance and Relevant Truth have been produced in New York City, and she is a member of the Dramatikerförbund (Sweden’s drama guild), which awarded her residences at the Henning Mankell House in northern Sweden. She is a founding member of the Stockholm Writers Festival.

Gil Reavill - authorA New York-based author, screenwriter and journalist, Gil Reavill often writes about crime, both in fiction, with the 13 series of thrillers (13 Hollywood Apes, 13 Stolen Girls, 13 Under the Wire) and non-fiction, with Mafia Summit and Aftermath, Inc. Reavill also co-wrote the screenplay for the corrupt-cop feature film, Dirty, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. While growing up in Wisconsin, in the American Upper Midwest, I was surrounded with Nordic immigrant culture, Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish communities. Later on, I discovered Henning Mankell, Karin Fossum, and, especially, Peter Hoeg’s Smilla’s Sense of Snow. I was interested in the cross-fertilization of American and Scandinavian crime fiction, the trans-Atlantic influences flowing both ways. –This text refers to the hardcover edition.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

*Swedish Romani info obtained from Wikipedia.

Ghosts of the Past: The Search for a Lost WWII Art Collection Worth Killing for by Mark Downer – A #BookReview – #crimeaction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Ghosts of the Past by Mark DownerIn the spring of 1945, on the eve of the Allied victory in war-torn Europe, an unmarked German transport plane crash lands deep in the rugged Swiss Alps, and with it is buried one of the greatest single collections of World War II stolen artwork never recovered. Lying undisturbed in its rocky tomb for over half a century, a family member’s deathbed disclosure and war memorabilia hold the key to the existence and dormant location of this incredible treasure. Subsequently, one man’s quest to locate the crash site is unwittingly exposed, and the race to recover the find of a lifetime becomes a fast-paced, action-packed adventure that weaves together an eclectic cast of characters in an international web of intrigue, murder, mystery, and surprise.

American advertising executive Matt Ferguson, determined to track down his great uncle’s mysterious legacy, enlists the help of a beautiful art expert, Courtney Lewis. They immediately become embroiled in a local murder investigation that draws them together to save not only a piece of history but ultimately their lives. Pursuing them is a cold-blooded killer and his henchmen, representing the past and present generations of the German Nazi party, and also gangsters dispatched by a multi-millionaire South American boss, whose passion is acquiring art by any means necessary. As Ferguson and Lewis struggle and maneuver to stay one step ahead of their pursuers, their relationship swells through ups and downs of trust, mistrust, mutual attraction, deception, and, finally, shared mission.

The dogged persistence of a city homicide detective determined to solve a triple murder, and his ability to knit together an international police effort as the scope of his investigation explodes, are the last component affecting the thrill of the chaotic chase and the excitement of the climax.

His Review:

As World War II comes to a close, two flyers from Germany are engaged to make a special flight to Switzerland by none other than Hermann Goering! This starts a saga of immense value and hair-raising discovery. Mark Downer creates a narrative with the efficiency of a master fly fisherman. Information from a dying uncle sets Matt Ferguson on the quest of a lifetime.

Ghosts of the Past by Mark DownerAn immense treasure of purloined art is hidden away in the mountains of Switzerland. Not by design but by a fortuitous accident as the treasure is being flown to Switzerland by two young shanghaied German Luftwaffe pilots. The transportation of art objects is at the personal bequest of Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering himself. A chance meetup with a US fighter pilot results in a crash landing of the German plane prior to arriving at the airport in Switzerland. The plane and its’ crew remain in hiding sitting out the rest of the second world war.

The quest begins at the dying bed of Max Hignite, the German pilot in question. His nephew, Matt Ferguson, is given a map drawn on the back of the cargo manifest by Max. Two pieces of art are in Max’s safe and are authenticated by assistant curator Courtney Lewis and her contacts at the Speed Art Museum. The two small paintings are valued and insured at $4,000,000. Courtney and Matt set out to find the treasure and have it distributed to the rightful family owners. The problem is that the curators who helped verify the authenticity of the paintings are interested in the rest of the shipment and as Matt and Courtney begin the quest, they start an international conspiracy to obtain the balance of the valuable cargo.

Ghosts of the Past by Mark Downer
(See NB below)

Matt and Courtney are not well versed in clandestine operations. They are followed by some very rich and powerful individuals who want to control the artifacts. They are followed discretely by operatives whose sole purpose is to gain ultimate control of the entire cargo. Keeping the two of them alive is not really a concern to the criminal element wanting to own the cargo.

Mark Downer has put together a quick engaging read with a number of twists and turns that are very entertaining. The book took center stage in my daily activities until I finished it. You will find the story well-plotted and paced although at times predictable. I highly recommend it for a quick and satisfying read! 5 stars – CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Action Fiction, Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Fiction, Crime Action & Adventure
Publisher: Old Stone Press (2nd edition)
Print Length: 287 pages
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Ghosts of the Past [Amazon] (Second Edition)
Also find the book at this location (See NB below):
Barnes and Noble (First Edition)
 

Add to Goodreads

The Author: (Barnes & Noble) Mark Downer was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. After graduating from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Journalism, he has spent the last 30 years in executive level marketing, sales and management. He currently owns and operates a transportation and logistics company in Louisville, where he resides with his wife and three children. Ghosts of the Past is first novel.

NB: This novel was originally published in 2014 under the same name.

An Eye for an Eye (Detective Kate Young Book 1) by Carol Wyer – A #BookReview – #murder

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars 5 stars 

Book Blurb:

A killer running rings around the police. A detective spiralling out of control.

An Eye for an Eye by Carol WyerDI Kate Young is on leave. She’s the force’s best detective, but her bosses know she’s under pressure, on medication and overcoming trauma. So after her bad judgement call leads to a narrowly averted public disaster, they’re sure all she needs is a rest.

But when Staffordshire Police summon her back to work on a murder case, it’s a harder, more suspicious Kate Young who returns. With a new ruthlessness, she sets about tracking down a clinical, calculating serial killer who is torturing victims and leaving clues to taunt the police. Spurred on by her reporter husband, Young begins to suspect that the murderer might be closer than she ever imagined.

As she works to uncover the truth, Young unravels a network of secrets and lies, with even those closest to her having something to hide. But with her own competence—and her grip on reality—called into question, can she unmask the killer before they strike again?

His Review:

Catching someone who is involved in the police investigation is extremely difficult. Add a supervisor who continually places roadblocks in your way and a recent tragedy in your life, and you have Kate Young at the starting line. How can she overcome the trauma of the love of her life being lost in a train tragedy and physical problems? She is called back early to head-up an investigation into gruesome murders.

An Eye for an Eye by Carol WyerCarol Wyer weaves a net of intricate knots and unexpected turns leading to a completely different ending than one would expect. Young refugees escaping a poverty ridden childhood are forced into sexual servitude. A young African male saves every penny to come to England and a new start, only to be forced into a terrible life of sexual debauchery!

Kate is just getting over the loss of her life partner on an outbound London train. She is mentally frail and her supervisor decides to pull her into the investigation despite being under a doctors’ care. The team, including the forensic officers and other investigators, are trying to find out who murdered a prominent citizen. The trail seems to indicate someone very high up in the police department.

CE WilliamsAs a reader I became aggravated that the lead investigator is being pulled so many different ways. However, the investigation took a very short period of time compared to what is seen in most crime movies. Can Kate keep her team together and bring the perpetrator to justice? A number of red herrings leads to dead ends with police supervisors clamoring for results. I had to finish this book. CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Serial Killers, Murder
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Print Length: 426 pages
Publication Date: February 1, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: An Eye for an Eye [Amazon]
Also find the book at this location:
Barnes and Noble
 

Add to Goodreads

 

Carol Wyer-authorThe Author: USA Today bestselling author and winner of The People’s Book Prize Award, Carol Wyer‘s crime novels have sold over 800,000 copies and been translated into nine languages.

A move from humour to the ‘dark side’ in 2017, saw the introduction of popular DI Robyn Carter in Little Girl Lost and proved that Carol had found her true niche.

February 2021 saw the release of the first in the much-anticipated new series, featuring DI Kate Young. An Eye For An Eye was chosen as a Kindle First Reads and became the #1 bestselling book on Amazon UK and Amazon Australia. The second book, A Cut For A Cut, will be released on June 24th.

Carol has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’, featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and the Huffington Post. She’s also been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ”Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’ and on BBC Breakfast television.

She currently lives on a windy hill in rural Staffordshire with her husband Mr. Grumpy… who is very, very grumpy.

When she is not plotting devious murders, she can be found performing her comedy routine, Smile While You Still Have Teeth.

To learn more, go to http://www.carolwyer.co.uk, subscribe to her YouTube channel, or follow her on Twitter: @carolewyer

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Mainely Fear (A Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery Book 2) by Matt Cost – A #BookReview – Private Investigator Mysteries

Book Blurb:

“I want you to find out who is responsible for ruining his life and I want them to pay for it.”
Mainely Fear by Matt CostThis is the desire of Latricia Jones as she hires Goff Langdon to investigate her son’s arrest for burglary, vandalism, and possibly hate crimes.
Langdon is a laid back, slacker detective, happy with his work, friends, and way of life in the town of Brunswick, Maine. To complement his income in Brunswick’s scarce private detective market, Langdon also owns and operates a mystery bookstore named after his trusted companion, Coffee Dog.
He was on the fast track to success. And then something happened.
Jamal Jones is an eighteen-year-old rising star attending a post-grad prep school in central Maine to bring his grades up so he can play college basketball at the D1 level. Then he is arrested for crimes that his mother knows he committed, but not why. She’s sure someone has put him up to it, the behavior so unlike him as to be unthinkable, especially since Jamal was on the verge of beginning a better life. Latricia wants Langdon to track down those responsible for her son’s sudden turn from grace, and she wants them to pay.

His Review:

Can a frantic mother get justice and help for her son? A promising basketball career hangs in the balance. But the wisdom of the streets is: keep you mouth shut! Goff Langdon is engaged to “see what you can do for my son.” Always easier when the person you are trying to help actually wants the help.

Mainely Fear by Matt CostCentered in the middle of a Maine ice-storm, Jamal and two of his fellow students are captured with a van full of loot from burgled and vandalized houses. At six feet seven inches his mother can no longer put her son over her knee. This single mother has been working two jobs to keep him in a good prep school and a roof over their heads.

Latricia Jones is at her wits end. All that she had dreamed of, hoped for and worked for was going up in smoke. Can Goff Langdon help her? Why are the burglars being so destructive? Langdon with his group of crony detectives sets out to solve these questions.

Coffee dog is a comic relief character who is everywhere in the story. He will beg or steal from anyone not paying attention. He is also very friendly and engages everyone with a sawmill tail and doleful eyes. The rest of Langdon’s cadre are a very eclectic group of characters. A subplot takes a tragic turn.

Home is not a happy place for Langdon and his wife nor his right-hand person Chabal and her husband. The Langdon family has a young daughter who is the apple of everyone’s eye. This makes for a very difficult decision looming on the horizon.

This story is gripping, has a number of many interesting turns and is a pleasure to read.  I found the book engaging and entertaining. 4.5/5 stars CE Williams (Author request)

Book 3, Mainely Money, is set to release March 2021. Book 1, Mainely Power was reviewed in October of 2020. FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest opinions.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Private Investigator Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Encircle Publications
ISBN : 1645990966

ASIN : B08KY6KJG2

Print Length: 302 pages
Publication Date: December 4, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Mainely Fear [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble

Add to Goodreads

Matt Cost - author

 

 

The Author: Matt Cost–I write. That’s what I do.

 

 

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Hunting the Hangman by Howard Linskey – A #BookReview – #warfiction – #TBT

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Hunting the Hangman by Howard LinskeyWith a plot that echoes The Day of the Jackal and The Eagle Has Landed, Hunting the Hangman is a thrilling tale of courage, resilience and betrayal that reads like a classic World War II thriller. In 1942 two men, trained by the British SOE, parachuted back into their native Czechoslovakia with one sole objective: to kill the man ruling their homeland. Jan Kubis and Josef Gabcik risked everything for their country. Their attempt on Reinhard Heydrich’s life was one of the single most dramatic events of World War II, and had horrific consequences for thousands of innocent people. Heydrich was a man so evil even fellow SS officers referred to him as the “Blond Beast.” In Prague, he was known as the Hangman. Hitler, who dubbed him “The Man with the Iron Heart,” considered Heydrich his heir, and entrusted him with the implementation of the “Final Solution” to the Jewish “problem:” the systematic murder of 11 million people.

His Review:

The Third Reich is in control of the majority of Europe. Nazi general Reinhard Heydrich is the Reich’s Protector of Prague and all of Czechoslovakia; a cold -blooded killer who considers every Czech to be a sub-human. He is considered directly in line to govern if Hitler is killed.

Members of the Czech army in exile, Josef Gabcik and Jan Kubis are being trained to go back into their country and wipe out this menace. Early in 1942 this is a very dangerous mission and is calculated to be almost a suicide endeavor. The odds of returning from the mission are extremely low. These brave men volunteer to give something back to their home country.

Hunting the Hangman by Howard LinskeyThis book shows the efficiency of the German SS and security forces.  The killing and destruction of entire villages is one of their fear tactics. Adapted from some of the tactics of the Romans, the object is to completely remove the village leaving no stone or brick upon another. Follow this up with plowing and removing any detritus and the end result is a bare field where once a thriving village stood.

Training Strategic Operation agents was a brutal and unforgiving exercise. The object was to create someone who would accomplish his/her mission or die trying. There is no excuse when the price of failure is complete physical suffering and then death. Many of the captured were so savagely mutilated that their identity was difficult to establish.

General Heydrich was a methodical, sadistic and egocentric commander. He had no patience for those who could not complete his commands. When Germans were killed by foreign operatives the retribution was sometimes a hundred to one. In some areas entire villages were taken out and killed; men, women and children! No one was left to relate the reason for the entire destruction of the village!

The arrogance and personal feeling of invincibility of General Heydrich was his ultimate undoing. But can the SOE assassins complete the mission and survive? This author has done an excellent job of supplying the answer. The weakest link in any capture of a clandestine operator will often become the undoing of the entire group. This superbly written novel shows the lengths that patriots will go to in order to help attain freedom for their countrymen. I couldn’t stop reading! 5 stars – CE Willliams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Military Historical Fiction, War Fiction
Publisher: No Exit; First Edition
ISBN : 1843449501
ASIN : B088F26YSF
Print Length: 321 pages
Publication Date: May 25, 2017
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Hunting the Hangman [Amazon]

Also find the book at these locations:

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Kobo

Add to Goodreads

Howard Linskey - authorThe Author: [Howard Linskey-Goodreads] A bit about me and my books. I am an author with Penguin Random House. My latest book, ‘Alice Teale Is Missing’ features detectives Beth Winter and Lucas Black, as they work together to investigate the mysterious disappearance of seventeen-year-old-Alice.

I am also the author of a series of books set in the north east of England, featuring journalists Tom Carney & Helen Norton with detective Ian Bradshaw, who all appear in ‘The Chosen Ones’, ‘The Search’, ‘Behind Dead Eyes’ and ‘No Name Lane’.

I don’t only write crime fiction though. My two historical novels are set in WW2. ‘Hunting the Hangman’ tells the true story of the assassination of Nazi General, Reinhard Heydrich, and ‘Ungentlemanly Warfare’ is a novel featuring SOE agents, Harry Walsh and Emma Stirling and OSS agent, Sam Cooper. They are published in the UK (No Exit) and are coming to the US thanks to Kensington Books.

My earlier novels, the David Blake books, have been optioned for TV by Harry Potter producer, David Barron. The Times newspaper voted ‘The Drop’ one of its Top Five Thrillers of the Year and ‘The Damage’ one of its Top Summer Reads. Both books broke into the top five Amazon Kindle chart.

I’m honoured to be the ghost writer of ‘Surviving Hell’ which tells the true story of former Para, Nick Dunn, one of the Chennai Six, who were wrongfully imprisoned in India for years, having committed no crime.

On a far lighter note, I am also the writer behind ‘The Little Book Of Pintfulness’ a mindfulness spoof, which comprehensively proves that life is just better with beer. Please read responsibly.

Prior to becoming a full-time author, I led a series of different lives with a number of jobs, including barman, journalist, catering manager and marketing manager for a celebrity chef, as well as in a variety of sales and account management roles. I can confirm that writing books definitely beats working for a living.

I started writing many moons ago and was first published in the Newcastle United football fanzine, ‘The Mag’. I then became a journalist and wrote for regional newspapers. I have also written for magazines and web sites and was once the English Premier League football correspondent for a Malaysian magazine. I’ve stopped all of that nonsense now, preferring to make up stuff instead and call myself an author.

I’m originally from Ferryhill in County Durham but, like most of the people I grew up with, I left the north east in search of work and never quite made it back. I am now settled in Hertfordshire with my lovely wife Alison and wonderful daughter Erin.

I’m still a long-suffering Newcastle United fan and can only assume that Mike Ashley is a punishment inflicted upon us for all of the crimes we committed in our past lives.

I am represented by the best Literary Agent in the UK, Phil Patterson at Marjacq. Sandra Sawicka looks after my foreign rights there. If you are Brad Pitt and you wish to play David Blake in a movie then Leah Middleton takes care of Film and TV rights:

Marjacq Scripts Ltd
The Space
235 High Holborn
London WC1V 7LE

+44 (0) 20 7935 9499
F +44 (0) 20 7935 9115
enquiries@marjacq.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams the CE and I

Unnatural (Erica Rosen MD Trilogy Book 1) by Deven Greene – A #BookReview – #medicalthriller

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Unnatural by Deven GreeneDr. Erica Rosen is perplexed when she sees a young Chinese girl with blue eyes in her San Francisco pediatrics clinic. The girl’s mother, Ting, is secretive, and Erica suspects she has entered the country illegally. Later, Erica encounters Ting’s son and discovers he has an unusual mutation. Erica learns that Ting’s children underwent embryonic stem cell gene editing as part of a secret Chinese government-run program.

The Chinese government wants to murder Ting’s son to prevent others from learning about his unusual mutation and the secret gene-editing program. At Ting’s urging, Erica heads to China to expose the program and rescue the infant Ting was forced to leave behind, all while attempting to evade the watchful eye of the Chinese government. 

His Review:

Could world sports dominance be an offshoot of gene manipulation? Deven Greene explores the concept in this spell-binding tale of international intrigue and romance! This book sweeps you away into a world of excessive national pride and the attempt at world domination in the sports’ world. Adolph Hitlers’ attempts at creating world class athletes to dominate the Olympics were tame compared to this tale.

Unnatural by Deven GreeneTing, a diminutive Asian female and her son/daughter Wing Shu are in the room for a physical exam for kindergarten. Dr. Erica Rosen is struck by the impossible; this Chinese child has blue eyes! This is genetically impossible! A lack of any health history or history of vaccinations begins a very engaging tale of genetics, gene manipulation and seemingly science fictional intrigue. Read the first chapter and you are hooked by this book.

Deven has simplified some of the scientific jargon to make it understandable for someone who has not had genetics classes. Gene splicing and correction of DNA (Desoxyribonucleic Acid) family traits that cause diseases or maladies in later life are replaced with gene sequences that do not have these traits! Imagine the way a child would look with more muscle mass, stronger bones, perfect complexion and optimum height and weight. Add a body extremely adept at utilizing oxygen and nutrients. The ability to run long distances without fatigue! The possibilities are endless and mind-blowing!

China is a country with a large system of facial recognition cameras in most major cities and a cadre of police and governmental officials tasked with controlling the population and eliminating dissidents. With technology utilized throughout the country to control the population and their opportunities for advancement, how can a foreigner get into the country and explore the newest technology. A very difficult task indeed for a non-native visitor.

Dr. Rosen undertakes the task of visiting China to find a missing child and unravel the ongoing research into gene technology. Once in country she learns quickly that you cannot trust anyone. People loyal to the communist regime will go to any lengths to protect the technology and states’ secrets. Can a lost child be rescued and the state secrets be unraveled? This read demands time set aside as the action is fast paced, well plotted and very engaging. 5 Stars – CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Medical Thrillers, Crime Thrillers, Suspense Thrillers, Genetic Engineering Science Fiction eBooks

  • ISBN-10 : 1684336082
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1684336081
  • ASIN : B08Q35H24G

Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Print Length: 292 pages
Publication Date: January 7, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Unnatural [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble

Add to Goodreads

The Author: Fiction writer Deven Greene lives in the San Francisco Bay area. Ever since childhood, the author has been interested in science. After working as a biochemist, Deven went back to school and became a pathologist. When writing fiction, the author usually incorporates elements of medicine or science. Deven has penned several short stories. Unnatural, Erica Rosen MD Trilogy Book 1 is the first novel the author has published. The two sequels are in the works.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams the CE and I

Lie If You Can: A Mystery of the Mind Novel by Greg Peterson – A #BookReview – Neuroscience

Book Blurb:

Lie If You Can by Greg PetersonJulie Swanson is a single, hardworking professor, admired by her University of Minnesota students. She awakes in a hospital following a brutal beating and begins to experience strange déjà vu-like sensations. She seeks answers from renown neuroscientist Karl Undset who compares her unusual episodes to a well-established scientific condition known as dual processing. Her injury has resulted in a new ability to sense elevated autonomic indicators present in certain voice patterns, those that change under stress. She’s processing these indicators in the same way a polygraph detects elevated levels of blood pressure, skin conductivity, and heart rate. Julie, in effect, has become a lie detector. She and her brain surgeon become romantically involved and together they devise a plan to use her ‘sixth sense’ to find her attacker.

His Review:

Julie returns home from teaching her class at the university. Bending into her car she grabs for her purse and tennis racket. That is the last thing she can recall before waking in a hospital room. Doctor Art Tyler is asking how she feels. The answer is evident by the terrible bruising and abrasions on her head and face. She has no idea how it happened.

A good Samaritan neighbor called the ambulance which rushed Julie to the hospital. Without the call it would have become a murder investigation instead of a follow-up to a brutal mugging. Police get involved and are helpful but their case load is heavy and an assault is not highest on their priority list. As the investigation proceeds the case quickly is relegated to a back burner. The prospect for a satisfactory outcome looks dim.

Lie If You Can by Greg PetersonThis is how Greg Peterson opens this novel. Muggings and brutal attacks often come out of the blue with no warning. One does not usually expect this in your own driveway. Trauma often causes amnesia and Julie is its’ victim. Trying to expose the reason takes an extreme effort, but the loss of her memory is not the only change, and both she and Dr. Tyler gradually become aware of another interesting neuro-change.

Julie and Dr. Tyler have an attractive chemistry but having a doctor/patient relationship keeps the relationship at arms’ length. The author does an admirable job of building the sexual tension between the two. During the investigation there is also a continuing angst that is fun to follow.

The investigation itself is a great parallel plot in this story. The doctor and patient take some of the investigation into their own hands. A drug dealer enters the picture and begins to look like a very viable suspect. Can the duo get to the bottom of a very brutal attack in Julie’s own drive-way?

The relationship grows between the doctor and Julie as the two work together and the sexual tension between the two increases. The doctor moves in slow motion despite the fact there is obviously an attraction between them. As a reader I wanted to be able to step up and slap him alongside the head. Wake-up doc! However, I do not want to give a spoiler to this well-crafted novel.

The novel reached a mid-point but not a full conclusion. I hoped their relationship would continue to grow satisfactorily, but it seems this may have ended rather abruptly. The outcome is satisfying and aggravating at the same time. I previously read Newgate’s Knocker, the author’s debut novel. While well-plotted and paced, his sophomore novel didn’t quite complete the storyline for me. 4.5/5 stars – CE Williams

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

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

Book Details:

Genre: Neuroscience, Occult Unexplained Mysteries
ASIN : B08QLXLZML
Print Length: 219 pages
Publication Date: December 13, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Lie If You Can [Amazon]

 

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Greg W Peterson - author - Newgate's KnockerThe Author: Greg Peterson is a prior naval aviator, commercial airline pilot, and air traffic control specialist. He holds nearly every fixed wing flight certificate available and is a certified ground and instrument instructor. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Technology from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.

Although Mr. Peterson has been published in a number of professional magazines. “Newgate’s Knocker” is his first full-length novel. The story is fictional, however you may find it interesting that the historical background of the main character, Mac Macintyre is based on Mr. Peterson’s real life, and most of the aviation sequences are also taken from his flying experiences.

Greg Peterson is certified in seven different categories by the International Code Council and has owned and operated a professional residential home inspection company since 1999. His home inspection report supplement provides a comprehensive explanation of many common concerns reported in most home inspections. His home inspection supplement, “Your Home Inspected-An Addendum For Residential Home Inspection Reports” can be purchased in Kindle, paperback or CD form. He can be contacted by email at: gregpeterson@comcast.net

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

A Tip for the Hangman: a Novel by Allison Epstein – A #BookReview – Assassination Thrillers

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars 

Book Blurb:

Christopher Marlowe, a brilliant aspiring playwright, is pulled into the duplicitous world of international espionage on behalf of Queen Elizabeth I. A many-layered historical thriller combining state secrets, intrigue, and romance.

A Trip for the Hangman by Allison EpsteinEngland, 1585. In Kit Marlowe’s last year at Cambridge, he receives an unexpected visitor: Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, who has come with an unorthodox career opportunity. Her Majesty’s spies are in need of new recruits, and Kit’s flexible moral compass has drawn their attention. Kit, a scholarship student without money or prospects, accepts the offer, and after his training the game is on. Kit is dispatched to the chilly manor where Mary, Queen of Scots is under house arrest, to act as a servant in her household and keep his ear to the ground for a Catholic plot to put Mary on the throne.

While observing Mary, Kit learns more than he bargained for. The ripple effects of his service to the Crown are far-reaching and leave Kit a changed man. But there are benefits as well. The salary he earns through his spywork allows him to mount his first play, and over the following years, he becomes the toast of London’s raucous theater scene. But when Kit finds himself reluctantly drawn back into the uncertain world of espionage, conspiracy, and high treason, he realizes everything he’s worked so hard to attain–including the trust of the man he loves–could vanish before his very eyes.

Pairing modern language with period detail, Allison Epstein brings Elizabeth’s privy council, Marlowe’s lovable theater troupe, and the squalor of sixteenth-century London to vivid, teeming life as Kit wends his way behind the scenes of some of Tudor history’s most memorable moments. At the center of the action is Kit himself–an irrepressible, irreverent force of nature. Thrillingly written, full of poetry and danger, A Tip for the Hangman brings an unforgettable protagonist to new life, and makes a centuries-old story feel utterly contemporary.

His Review:

Christopher (Kit) Marlowe lived in a time of great intrigue and strife. The throne of England was contested by Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth the First. These cousins both had genealogical claims to the throne. A cobblers’ son attending Cambridge irritated those of means. Intelligence should have not have been the sole criterion for admittance to this austere college and certainly not with a scholarship to afford the tuition.

A Tip for the Hangman by Allison EpsteinKit had another problem, a lack of total subservience to the aristocracy. His humble beginnings were always a thorn of contention and a spear of disdain. As Kit is finishing his Masters’ he is approached by one of the heads of Queen Elizabeth’s spy service. His task was to unravel an intricate series of messages between Mary Queen of Scots and her supporters. Kit had shown himself very adept at breaking foreign syphers.

Christopher Marlowe is also a very prolific playwright. He is thrust into the under-belly of London society to uncover plots against the Queen. Tangled webs of deceit and subterfuge complicate his life and endanger him wherever he goes. Forces beyond his control continue to press him to decipher and expose the potential usurper to the throne. Getting into the good graces and trust of Queen Mary is one of his assignments. He succeeds and Mary is exposed and beheaded.

Kit’s life is complicated by his love for another man, Tom Watson. Love like most other vices tends to skew a persons’ logic. Rather than escape a very dangerous situation love draws them back like a moth to a flame. Others within the Queen’s cadre of spies all vie for the control and top of the heap. Poisonings and daggers in the middle of the night are often the reward for hard and diligent work.

This author has pulled together a very believable narrative with predictable ends. Caring for Kit and his relationships are destroyed by the expectation of the outcome of his labors. The beheading of Mary Queen of Scots and the deaths of many of the spymasters begin to point towards a tragic conclusion. Once one begins to read the book you must see it through to its’ conclusion.

I recommend this book to any history buff. The narrative paints a very pathetic picture of England during the latter part of the sixteenth century. The smells and the religious turmoil caused by a king who wanted to divorce his wife are sad. Beheadings are a common occurrence and hanging is rampant. It is textbook for reasons that people immigrated from the old world to the new world. Enjoy! 5 stars – C.E. Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts. Currently on pre-order.

Book Details:

Genre: Assassination Thrillers, Historical Thrillers
Publisher: Doubleday

  • ASIN : B088F26YSF

Print Length: 384 pages
Publication Date: To be released February 9, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: A Tip for the Hangman
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Allison Epstein - authorThe Author: Allison Epstein is a Michigan native, current Chicagoan, and hopefully someday the owner of a New England lighthouse. She holds an MFA in fiction from Northwestern University and a BA in creative writing from the University of Michigan. Allison works as a marketing copywriter at an agency serving not-for-profit clients. Two of her greatest joys in life are Broadway musicals and puns that get her thrown out of the group chat.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

The Burning Girls: A Novel by C J Tudor – A #BookReview – British Horror Fiction

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars 

Book Blurb:

The Burning Girls by C J TudorAn unconventional vicar must exorcise the dark past of a remote village haunted by death and disappearances in this explosive and unsettling thriller from the acclaimed author of The Chalk Man.

A dark history lingers in Chapel Croft. Five hundred years ago, Protestant martyrs were betrayed—then burned. Thirty years ago, two teenage girls disappeared without a trace. And a few weeks ago, the vicar of the local parish hanged himself in the nave of the church.

Reverend Jack Brooks, a single parent with a fourteen-year-old daughter and a heavy conscience, arrives in the village hoping for a fresh start. Instead, Jack finds a town rife with conspiracies and secrets, and is greeted with a strange welcome package: an exorcism kit and a note that warns, “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known.”

The more Jack and daughter, Flo, explore the town and get to know its strange denizens, the deeper they are drawn into the age-old rifts, mysteries, and suspicions. And when Flo begins to see specters of girls ablaze, it becomes apparent there are ghosts here that refuse to be laid to rest.

Uncovering the truth can be deadly in a village with a bloody past, where everyone has something to hide and no one trusts an outsider.

His Review:

A nice safe position to be placed in for a young priest, a vicar in a small hamlet outside of Nottingham. You would think so but this turns out to not be the case. Jack (Jacqueline) Brooks has been sent to Castle Croft to replace a former priest. She was moved from Nottingham under suspicious circumstances.

The Burning Girls by C J TudorOnce a year, the hamlet celebrates a special day to honor the memory of eight missing women burned at the stake during Queen Mary’s purge of Protestants from 1553 to 1558.  The martyrs are represented by twig figures which are set ablaze during the celebration.

May 24, 1990 (two) fifteen year-old girls disappear from the area. Half-hearted searches turn up nothing and the community considers them runaways. The mystery continues but the search ceases. Legends abound and this close-knit community goes on with its’ business. Tough place to become the new Vicar, particularly for a female priest.

The characters are well developed and believable. Jack has been blessed with a fifteen year old daughter named Flo. Mother and daughter have a tumultuous relationship very much like many teenage girls and their parents today. Flo is a fairly free spirit and is not the least bit happy with coming to this hamlet from Nottingham and leaving all of her friends.

Integrating into a small close- knit hamlet is a struggle at best! Jack has a very difficult integration because of her sex and the cloistered community. The paupers’ wage of a vicar certainly does not help. The town folk are not impressed by the new vicar and throw at her problems and roadblocks at every turn. Set in their ways they are not amenable to change and a new spiritual leader.

There is no part of this book that moves slow! I am reminded of the young girls who go into the barn in the “Chainsaw Massacre.” You would think they would learn from some of the gruesome stories and tales of killings in those places. And the grave yard outside of the chapel at Chapel Croft adds the macabre to the setting. A rational person would avoid the location like a plague. The locals guard all of the towns’ secrets jealously. A dark and chilling suspense thriller nee horror. Can the vicar solve the mystery of the disappearance of the girls? 5 stars – CE Williams

My other half read or listened to The Other People and The Hiding Place. It was my turn at a Tudor book. Currently on pre-order. FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Kathleen Quinlan of Ballantine Books-Random House through NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: British Horror Fiction, Ghost Suspense, Horror Suspense
Publisher: Ballantine Books

  • ASIN : B087PMPD5S

Print Length: 352 pages
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Source: Publisher and Netgalley
Title Link: The Burning Girls [Amazon]
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C J Tudor - authorThe Author: C. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner and young daughter.

She left school at sixteen and has had a variety of jobs over the years, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter and voiceover.

In the early nineties, she fell into a job as a television presenter for a show on Channel 4 called Moviewatch. Although a terrible presenter, she got to interview acting legends such as Sigourney Weaver, Michael Douglas, Emma Thompson and Robin Williams. She also annoyed Tim Robbins by asking a question about Susan Sarandon’s breasts and was extremely flattered when Robert Downey Junior showed her his chest.

While writing the Chalk Man she ran a dog-walking business, walking over twenty dogs a week as well as looking after her little girl.

She’s been writing since she was a child but only knuckled down to it properly in her thirties. Her English teacher once told her that if she ‘did not become Prime Minister or a best-selling author’ he would be ‘very disappointed.’

The Chalk Man was inspired by a tub of chalks a friend bought for her daughter’s second birthday. One afternoon they drew chalk figures all over the driveway. Later that night she opened the back door to be confronted by weird stick men everywhere. In the dark, they looked incredibly sinister. She called to her partner: ‘These chalk men look really creepy in the dark . . .’

She is never knowingly over-dressed. She has never owned a handbag and the last time she wore heels (twelve years ago) she broke a tooth.

She loves The Killers, Foo Fighters and Frank Turner. Her favourite venue is Rock City.

Her favourite films are Ghostbusters and The Lost Boys. Her favourite authors are Stephen King, Michael Marshall and Harlan Coben.

She is SO glad she was a teenager in the eighties.

She firmly believes that there are no finer meals than takeaway pizza and champagne, or chips with curry sauce after a night out.

Everyone calls her Caz.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

Fatal Divisions (A Hank Worth Mystery Book 4) by Claire Booth – A #BookReview – #policeprocedural

Book Blurb:

Family secrets and internal police politics cause trouble for Sheriff Hank Worth and his Chief Deputy Sheila Turley in this compelling mystery.

Fatal Divisions by Claire BoothHank Worth has always been committed to his job as Branson sheriff, so getting him to take a break is difficult. But to everyone’s surprise he agrees to take time off after a grueling case and visit a friend in Columbia, Missouri, leaving Chief Deputy Sheila Turley in charge. She quickly launches reforms that create an uproar, and things deteriorate even further when an elderly man is found brutally murdered in his home.

As Sheila struggles for control of the investigation and her insubordinate deputies, Hank is not relaxing as promised. His Aunt Fin is worried her husband is responsible for the disappearance of one of his employees, and Hank agrees to investigate.

The search for the missing woman leads to a tangle of deceit that Hank is determined to unravel . . . no matter the impact on his family.

His Review:

Sheriff Hank Worth was past exhausted. His wife was trying to get the old work horse to take a break. His department was way over budget and the county commissioners were complaining. His second in command was a no-nonsense female who was trying to develop a better work schedule and eliminate large cost overruns. The rest of the department hated her guts!

Fatal Divisions by Claire BoothFinally, Hank is maneuvered into a weeks’ getaway with an old college buddy. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief. But the buddy has a case he is working on as well and there is no rest for Hank. Meanwhile Sheila, his second in command, was going to fix all of the budgetary problems caused by sandbagging employees. Predictable of course the old timers rebelled and a sickout begins.

Mail mounting up in a mailbox causes the postman to call a deputy to check on one of his postal customers. Upon entering the house, a grizzly murder is discovered. The first suspect is the mans’ estranged sun. Dual plots spin from there. Claire Booth crafts this yarn with the best of them.

She is very adept at keeping the reader off balance with dual plots clouding the development of the investigations. Strong women are replete throughout the tale and men seem to be cast as the weaker sex. A fun approach to the investigations but also a bit unsettling. The ending justifies the means, however, and a surprise leads to a totally unlikely perpetrator. Then the development of the characters becomes crystal clear.

Pick up this book and enjoy a ride with Claire Booth available now. She doesn’t disappoint in her development of a tale. 4.5/5 stars – CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest and unbiased opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Small Town & Rural Fiction, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Severn House Publishers; Main edition

  • ASIN : B08MQ61BH2

Print Length: 240 pages
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Fatal Divisions [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:
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Kobo

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

Claire Booth - authorThe Author: Claire Booth spent more than a decade as a daily newspaper reporter, much of it covering crimes so convoluted and strange they seemed more like fiction than reality. Eventually, she had enough of the real world and decided to write novels instead. Her Sheriff Hank Worth mystery series takes place in Branson, Missouri, where small-town Ozark politics and big-city country music tourism clash in, yes, strange and convoluted ways. Her latest, A Deadly Turn, is available now.

For more about Claire, her books, and some of the true crimes she’s covered, please visit http://www.clairebooth.com.

©CE Williams – V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

And the Devil Walks Away by Kevin R Doyle- A #BookReview – Police Procedural

Book Blurb:

And the Devil Walks Away by Kevin R DoyleFrom the author of THE GROUP, comes another riveting mystery…

A disgraced ex-cop is hired by a convicted serial killer to dig up information not to absolve him of his crimes but to in fact prove that he committed more murders than the authorities know of. He is attempting to bargain for a reduced sentence by providing information of his previous killings, but in another state another man, who the original killer has never met, is taking credit for his crimes.

His Review:

Was it her fault? Former detective Helen Lipscolmb has been ostracized! Someone has to take the fall and it certainly won’t be the brass. Yes, the raid attempt went south and her partner as well as a couple of other officers were killed. Was she really to blame because of poor planning and execution? Try getting a job with that reputation!

And the Devil Walks Away by Kevin R DoyleA very high-priced attorney needs help on a case. Someone who has a tarnished reputation will do nicely.  Helen is a perfect choice! The job is a very interesting twist of a criminal mind. What she is asked to do is prove that a serial killer actually killed victims claimed by another. Yes, prove him guilty of additional crimes, not prove his innocence.

Mr. Doyle weaves a very entertaining and engrossing novel of manipulation, death and deceit. Very quickly I began having sympathy for Helen and her situation. Every place she looks the local law enforcement is against her. They do not want help on their cases and certainly do not want her interference on cases they have already solved.

Helen needs money and the client is offering big money for her help. He is really pissed that someone would take credit for crimes that he has committed. A billionaire sitting in jail convicted of a storied criminal past and on death row wants answers. Will the proof that he is in fact the killer of deaths claimed by another give him an extended stay in prison instead of a quick execution? The twists in this book are entertaining and very revealing.

CE WilliamsThe reader should enjoy anything Kevin r. Doyle has written. His books are easy to read and keep interest and attention throughout the endeavor. Enjoy! 5 stars – C.E. Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural, Women Sleuths
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing

  • ASIN : B08CY76L37

Print Length: 483 pages
Publication Date: November 10, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: And the Devil Walks Away [Amazon]
Find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Add to GoodreadsRosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Kevin R Doyle - authorThe Author: A high-school teacher, former college instructor and fiction writer living in Missouri, Kevin R. Doyle is the author of two crime novels, The Group and When You Have to Go There, published by MuseItUp Publications, and one horror novel, The Litter, published by Night to Dawn Magazine and Books. Next year will see the release of the first book in his Sam Quinton mystery series, Squatter’s Rights, by Coffeetown Press. He has also had numerous short horror stories published in small press magazines. Doyle teaches junior and senior English at a high school in Missouri and can be found at facebook.com/kevindoylefiction.

©2020 C E Williams – V Williams V Williams

The Sky Worshipers by F M Deemyad – A #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars 

a CE review

Book Blurb:

In the year 1398 A.D., Lady Goharshad and her husband, King Shahrokh, come across an ancient manuscript in the ruins of Karakorum, the Mongol capital. The manuscript chronicles the era of Mongol invasions with entries by three princesses from China, Persia, and Poland who are captured and brought to the Mongol court. 

The Sky Worshipers by FM DeemyadAfter being stolen from her family at the Tangut Emperor’s coronation, Princess Chaka, the Emperor’s youngest daughter is left with no choice but to marry Genghis Khan. Thus, the Tangut join Genghis as allies. She is the first to secretly chronicle the historical events of her time, and in doing so she has the help of an African eunuch by the name of Baako who brings her news from the war front.

Princess Reyhan is the witty granddaughter of the last Seljuk King in Persia. She is kidnapped by Ogodei, Genghis’s son and heir, who falls in love with her. The romance does not last long, however, since a Mongol beauty wins Ogodei’s heart, and Reyhan is sidelined. Reyhan continues the tradition of recording the events in secret, turning her entries into tales.

During the Mongol invasion of Poland and Hungary, Princess Krisztina, niece to Henry the Pious, is taken as a prisoner of war by the Mongols. Reyhan learns about Krisztina’s predicament through Baako and asks Hulagu, Genghis’s grandson, to help free her. Krisztina has a difficult time adjusting to life in Mongolia, and at one point she attempts to run away but is unsuccessful. When the child she is bearing is stillborn, the Mongol court shuns her. She is able to return to her homeland in old age but comes back to Karakorum and writes her final entry in the journal.

Through beautiful language and powerful storytelling, this fact-based historical novel lays bare the once far-reaching and uncompromising Mongol empire. It shows readers the hidden perspectives of the captive, conquered, and voiceless. It brings to light the tremendous but forgotten influence of Genghis Khan and his progeny, while asking readers to reconsider the destruction and suffering of the past on which the future is built.

 His Review:

(A novel of Mongol Conquest)

Expansion of the Mongol Empire as told through the eyes of a hopeless romantic! (me) My reading of this tale reminded me of Arabian Nights and Alibaba and the Forty Thieves. Ms. Deemyad sees this period through the eyes of the women who were married to Genghis Kahn and his offspring. Told from a woman’s point of view makes the overall tale a tender and heart-breaking story of the time.

The Sky Worshipers by F M DeemyadGreed and the desire to improve the lives of his people was one of the hallmarks of Genghis Kahn’s military exploits. Europe during the 12th to 14th centuries was a contrast in those that had and those that were destitute–the majority of the population falling into the latter category. It is postulated that 10% of the people of this planet can trace genes back to Genghis Kahn and his offspring.

Sky worship was the primary belief system of the Mongols. Lightning storms and frequent rains were the norm in the areas they controlled. However, Genghis Kahn showed real compassion towards other cultures by not forcing his religion upon the lands he conquered. Certainly, this is not the case with most of the other cultures in the world. Muslims having anger towards Christians who have fostered a hate of the Jews because of the death of Christ are but a few examples.

The building of large mosques and cathedrals are examples of the tolerance shown by the Mongols to their conquered lands. Today’s inter-religious conflicts could learn from this example. The laws imposed by the Mongols on the conquered are another story. Talking back or having a different point of view or suggestion for an upcoming campaign could result in the death of the person bold enough to suggest an opinion other than that of the current ruler.

This book and its’ writer immerse the reader in the culture and events of the time. Hoping that some of the more compassionate characters will survive leads to disappointment. The strongest in the Mongolian culture were the survivors. Young ladies of privilege and comfort stolen from their families and forced to marry warlords were the norm. Yet some of them came to know and respect the kidnappers that changed their lives forever.

CE WilliamsWrapping the book up in the mystique of a secret historical document chronicled by these very abductees added credence to the overall dynamic. I can whole heartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants to follow the exploits of the Mongols in both Asia and Europe. It’s a well-plotted, paced narrative with sympathetic characters. Currently on pre-order. 5 stars – C.E. Williams 

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley through Colin Mustful at History Through Fiction. These are my honest thoughts. 

Book Details:

Genre: Military Historical Fiction, War Fiction
Publisher: History Through Fiction

  • ASIN : B08K3LXPPV

Print Length: 332 pages
Publication Date: To be released March 2, 2021
Source: Publisher through NetGalley
Title Link: The Sky Worshipers [Amazon]
Find the book at these locations:
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Kobo

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F M Deemyad - authorThe Author: [F M Deemyad] Author of Historical Novels/Short Story Writer/Memoir Writer/Johns Hopkins Graduate/MFA in Writing/Maryland Writers’ Association + Authors Guild Member. (The Sky Worshipers is her debut novel.) Find her on twitter.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Big Kibble: The Hidden Dangers of the Pet Food Industry and How to Do Better by Our Dogs by Shawn Buckley and Dr Oscar Chavez – A #BookReview – #NonFictionNovember

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars5 stars

Big Kibble by Sawn Buckley

a CE review

Book Blurb:

A big, inside look at the shocking lack of regulation within the pet food industry, and how readers can dramatically improve the quality of their dogs’ lives through diet.

What’s really going into commercial dog food? The answer is horrifying.

Big Kibble is big business: $75 billion globally. A handful of multi-national corporations dominate the industry and together own as many as 80% of all brands. This comes as a surprise to most people, but what’s even more shocking is how lax the regulations and guidelines are around these products. The guidelines―or lack thereof―for pet food allow producers to include ever-cheaper ingredients, and create ever-larger earnings. For example, “legal” ingredients in kibble include poultry feces, saw dust, expired food, and diseased meat, among other horrors. Many vets still don’t know that kibble is not the best food for dogs because Big Kibble funds the nutrition research. So far, these corporations have been able to cut corners and still market and promote feed-grade food as if it were healthful and beneficial―until now.

Just as you are what you eat, so is your dog. Once you stop feeding your dog the junk that’s in kibble or cans, you have taken the first steps to improving your dog’s health, behavior and happiness.

You know the unsavory side of Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. Now Shawn Buckley, Dr. Oscar Chavez, and Wendy Paris explain all you need to know about unsavory Big Kibble―and offer a brighter path forward for you and your pet.

His Review:

All of a sudden she was jerking and stumbling on our walks! She would inexplicably walk in front of me. She is our 14 (almost 15) year old Bichon Frise named Frosty. Did she have a heart attack or get some poison out in the yard? My wife and I worried about her tremors which appeared to be getting worse and went on a crusade to find out what was going on.

Big Kibble by Shawn BuckleyI looked at the dog treats I was giving her after her potty break walks. One of the easiest and her favorites was a very popular brand we’d often shared with her. After I stopped them, she seemed to improve. We took her to the vet who said, “she is in great shape and very well-toned for a dog her age,” and he found no immediate neurological cause.  How would a popular dog treat cause such a dramatic event?

My wife is a book blogger and between us we review about 160 books a year. One of the most recent books is “Big Kibble.” The authors discuss the very thing that seemed to happen to Frosty. Could there have been some kind of poison or substance in the expensive brand of the dry kibble that caused Frosty to begin to have violent tremor episodes?

There are interesting animal feed discussions, feed regulation discussions, tragic dog stories and  happy dog stories. Fresh ingredients to safely allow and those “not for dogs.”

This book will open your eyes to the dilemma that is the problem of choosing healthy dog food. The book writers are interested in keeping your dog healthy and also in keeping their own business growing.

The companies supplying the majority of the pet feed (not food–there is a major difference in regulations) in the country are a monopoly. So successful companies with thriving brand identity are bought out by these large corporate behemoths who have a very sophisticated monitoring system to watchdog their market shares. According to the authors, such upstarts as Blue were bought up when they intruded into the cash flow profits of these conglomerates.

Learning the pitfalls of such disclosures as “Made in America” (not necessarily) and “whole natural ingredients” (doubtful) makes me angry. We shop for the best and try to give our dogs the healthiest (“for small active senior dogs”). We want our fur babies bright-eyed and happy. Companies putting profits before our animals are being exposed, their sources exposed, their ingredient list exposed.

CE WilliamsMy wife has been topping Frosty’s kibble with portions of meat mixtures separated from our meals for some time. We are extremely careful about her treats and monitor them. My takeaway from the book: prepare your own food for your four legged friends and lose the big corporate poison brokers. Five stars – CE Williams

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

 Book Details:

Genre: Pet Food & Nutrition, Dog Care
Publisher: St Martin’s Press

    • ISBN-10 : 1250260051
    • ISBN-13 : 978-1250260055
    • ASIN : B084M1PWLR
    • Print Length: 320 pages

Publication Date: To be released December 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Big Kibble [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Shawn Buckley - author
Shawn Buckley – author

 

 

 

The Author: Shawn Buckley (No bios)

 

 

 

 

©2020 C E Williams – V Williams – V Williams

Bending the Paw (A Paw Enforcement Novel Book 9) by Diane Kelly – A #BookReview – #cozymystery – #TuesdayBookBlog

Happy Publication Day!

Book Blurb:

A MURDER WITHOUT A BODY IS LIKE A DOG WITHOUT A BONE
Bending the Paw by Diane KellyA bloodbath is a shocking new challenge for Megan and Brigit when Detective Audrey Jackson calls them to the scene of what could only be a brutal murder. But the one thing the nightmarish scene is missing is a victim. The frantic homeowner’s husband is gone, seemingly without a trace—and so is the money he was holding. Has a vicious killer committed what might just be the perfect crime?

Meanwhile, it’s hailing cats and dogs all over Fort Worth, and roofing contractors have descended on the city in droves. With plenty of damage and continuing storms, work delays are building up like so much runoff, but Megan is suspicious that one roofer may be a scam artist. Determined to leash every lawbreaker she and her K-9 partner find, Megan is building a case for prosecution, all while Brigit has her nose to the ground for a murderer…

His Review:

Can a person live with a loss of over 2 quarts of blood? Diane Kelly has written a very interesting novel around this question. Medical science explains that a person will expire with this amount of blood loss. Megan Luz and her K-9 partner are called to a grizzly scene where there is blood everywhere but no body present! The K-9 partners’ name is Bridgit and she begins to examine the scene to see if she can identify where the victim could possibly be.

Bending the Paw by Diane KellyDiane Kelly has presented this tale from three and sometimes 4 perspectives, the perpetrator, the detective, the dog and the aspiring detective, Megan Luz. The trail ends near the garage where the body was supposedly loaded into the back of a car for disposal. Switch to the perpetrator and his attempts to hide the body and evidence and the plot thickens.

Very little evidence is available as to what type of weapon was used to slash the victim and cause all of the blood loss. With very little evidence to go on the case stands on the brink of being put into an unsolved cubbyhole. Meanwhile other crimes in the Fort Worth area are happening which keep our beat K-9 duo occupied. Weather related storm damage and the need for repair acts as a magnet for all unscrupulous individuals to harvest money from other peoples misfortune.

Megan responds quickly to the needs of the lead detective, Ms. Jackson, whenever called. Most crimes can be solved with the assistance of a highly trained police dog. Diane Kelly writes from the perspective of the dog and at times it is very enlightening. Working on one case confuses the animal who recognizes a possible scent of the criminal in the other crime. Yes, the answer can be as plain as the nose on your face, particularly if you are a dog!

CE WilliamsThe conclusion is very entertaining and I did not expect it. Dogged police work (pun intended) helped to solve the case. Again, the actual ending was totally unexpected. I highly recommend this book to those who would like to learn some interesting police procedures while being totally entertained. 5 stars – CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Sara Beth Haring of St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Animal Mysteries, Police Procedurals
Publisher: St Martin’s Paperbacks

    • ISBN-10 : 1250197392
    • ISBN-13 : 978-1250197399
    • ASIN : B084M1NGYF

Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: Happy Release Day! October 27, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Bending the Paw [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:

Barnes and Noble | Kobo

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Diane Kelly - authorThe Author: A former tax advisor, Diane Kelly inadvertently worked with white-collar criminals. Not surprisingly, Diane decided self-employment would be a good idea. Her fingers hit the keyboard and thus began her Death and Taxes romantic mystery series. A graduate of her hometown’s Citizen Police Academy, Diane Kelly also writes the hilarious K-9 cop Paw Enforcement series and the new House Flipper cozy mystery series. Look for her moonshine series debut in June 2021!

Be the first to receive book news by signing up for Diane’s newsletter at http://www.dianekelly.com/ “Like” Diane on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/dianekellybooks. Follow her on Instagram at dianekellybooks and on Twitter @dianekellybooks.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Leap by Michael C Grumley (Breakthrough Book2) – A #BookReview #technothriller

Book Blurb:

ONE OF THE GREATEST BREAKTHROUGHS IN HUMAN HISTORY.
AN ACHIEVEMENT THAT STUNNED THE ENTIRE WORLD.
AND IT WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING.

Leap by Michael C GrumleyFacing the cold, clear glass, Alison Shaw stared nervously into the giant seawater tank.
It was just one year ago that she and her team of marine biologists had stunned the world with their incredible breakthrough. And now, they were about to do it again.

But an ocean away, something strange was unfolding. Along a lonely coast in South America, an experimental Russian submarine, long thought to have been dismantled, has suddenly resurfaced. And the U.S. Navy has taken notice, sending officers John Clay and Steve Caesare to investigate.

The sub has been studying a group of unmarked soldiers. Disappearing into the jungle each night beneath the cover of darkness. Something has been discovered…something big.

And it’s about to fall into the wrong hands. Unless Alison Shaw and her team can find something that no one else can.

His Review:

Search for the Fountain of Youth meets interspecies communications. Michael Grumley mixes scientific speculation with current world reality. Many years ago my communications class explained that we transmit information 60% by facial expression and 40% by words. As with most academia this was abridged to be 55/38/7. That is 55% of our communications is body language, 38% voice tone and 7% actual words. This was postulated by Mr. Mehrabian in 1967. I find that if anything can be confused, the academic world will do it.

Leap by Michael C GrumleyThis book is very entertaining when using the above ratios and consider inter-species communications. What if you cannot see the animal before it charges or leaps or is trying to warn you? A rattlesnake shaking its’ tail is a complete communication without necessarily a visual component, but I digress. One main feature in this tale is a new communications device called IMIS. Dolphins communicate with various sounds and clicks and this IMIS system when aimed directly at the creatures translates these sounds into a kind of abbreviated language like pig-Latin. The complete sentences are not there and yet the researchers and the animals communicate.

A concurrent plot is a Chinese war ship parked in the harbor of Georgetown, Guyana. A US Naval research ship and the dolphins are sent to investigate. Under the cover of darkness, the Chinese are harvesting something from the jungles of Guyana. A very rich man wants to find out why one of the monkeys in his “nature retreat to protect animals” has lived to be nearly one hundred years old. The animal is observed trying to untie the netting in the forest compound to free his fellow animals. When they try to capture the animal, he escapes and the team, including IMIS, are hired to help find him. He is a Capuchin Monkey and the “humanitarian” wants to find out how he is living so long.

When arriving near the Georgetown harbor an old Russian submarine is detected. There is some very innovative equipment on the sub which seems to eliminate its’ navigational footprint. Putting these factors together, the US Navy becomes involved in trying to figure out what is happening. Why would a Chinese naval warship be in Caribbean waters? Both questions became a part of a very entertaining plot.

CE WilliamsThe outcome is surprising and also very entertaining. A modicum of science fiction adds to the overall plot and the ending is satisfying. This accomplished author includes a gateway to another segment and an additional novel. The villain is really just a man getting older and is too rich to want to leave this life. He theorizes there must be a genetic anomaly that will lead from his drinking of the fountain of youth. With enough money to make his dream a possible reality he sets out to find the secret. Read the book and see if he was successful. 4.5/5 stars CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Sea Adventures, Techno-thrillers

ASIN : B00LXRJICK
Print Length: 486 pagesPublication Date: July 14, 2014
Source: BookBub
Title Link: Leap

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

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

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

He is currently working on the next Breakthrough story.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

The Mockingbird’s Song by Wanda E Brunstetter (Amish Greenhouse Mysteries Book 2) – a #BookReview

“Where Is the Hope in Grief for a Young Amish Widow?”

Book Blurb: The Mockingbird's Song

Sylvia has been nearly paralyzed with grief and anxiety since the tragic death of her husband, father, and brother in a traffic accident. She tries to help in the family’s greenhouse while caring for her two young children, but she prefers not to have to deal with customers. Her mother’s own grief causes her to hover over her children and grandchildren, and Sylvia seeks a diversion. She takes up birdwatching and soon meets an Amish man who teaches her about local birds. But Sylvia’s mother doesn’t trust Dennis Weaver, and as the relationship sours, mysterious attacks on the greenhouse start up again.

His Review:

The Mockingbird's SongThe mysteries of the Amish Community are well developed in this story. I found the interplay between the family dynamic and hierarchy intriguing and illuminating. The loss of three primary males in one family left a gaping hole in the lives of the characters. The author develops a very colorful portrayal of a family grieving for the lost members and the adjustments that are necessary to survive.

Sylvia Beiler is a young mother left with two small children to raise and a husband to grieve. My understanding of the support of each other by the family was greatly enhanced. I found the Amish culture to be solid and a bit enviable. Close-knit families are by and large gone from the American way of life.

A humorous character, Virginia, is a lonely neighbor across the street, who spies on the Amish family and their greenhouse. She is battling with separation anxiety as she didn’t want to leave Chicago when her husband relocates. She loses her neighborhood anchor and only friend. Virginia is pathetic and her prejudice at times entertaining, disliking the Amish and wishes to return to Chicago. She is basically lost in her current environment and very unhappy. She is aware of vandalism at the greenhouse but has not been able to see the perpetrators.

The narrative illuminates the problem with closed communities and the difficulties that members of the community face as they travel life’s highway. The Amish are usually patriarchal in nature but with the death of three primary male members, the role is transferred to the matriarch. It is sadly intriguing to watch the interaction of the family members and their methods of coping with each other. One of the things I found captivating was the quest by younger adults to please their elders.

Bird watching and coming of age add spice to the story. I would have enjoyed a more descriptive account of the wedding ceremony of the Amish. A young engaged couple seemed to enjoy more of a standing in the family dynamic than some older members which I found a bit strange. CE Williams

The overall story was satisfying and illuminating and I recommend it for reading. While it is not fast-paced, the overall book is very enlightening. Our thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for our review copy. Available on pre-order now. 4/5 stars C.E. Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Amish & Mennonite Fiction, Amish Romance, Christian Mystery & Suspense Romance
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

  • ISBN-10:1643522310
  • ISBN-13:978-1643522319
  • ASIN: B085LYZMDN

Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: To be released August 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title: The Mockingbird’s Song
Pre-order the book at these locations:

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Wanda E Brunstetter - authorThe Author: Wanda Brunstetter is an award-winning romance novelist who has led millions of readers to lose their heart in the Amish life. She is the author of almost 90 books with more than 10 million copies sold. Many of her books have landed on the top bestseller lists, including the New York Times, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, CBA, ECPA, and CBD. Wanda is considered one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre, and her work has been covered by national publications, including Time Magazine and USA Today.

Wanda’s fascination with the Amish culture developed when she met her husband, Richard, who grew up in a Mennonite church, and whose family has a Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. Meeting her new Mennonite sister-in-laws caused Wanda to yearn for the simpler life. In their travels, she and her husband have become close friends with many Amish people across America. Wanda’s desire to explore their culture increased when she discovered that her great-great grandparents were part of the Anabaptist faith.

All of Wanda’s novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Many of her books are well-read and trusted by the Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.

Wanda’s primary attraction to the Amish is their desire to live a devout Christian life that strives to honor God, work hard, and maintain close family ties. Whenever she visits her Amish friends, Wanda finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties, which is in stark contrast to the chaos and busyness that plagues so many modern “Englishers.” Time and time again, Wanda loses her heart in the Amish life, and she hopes her readers will, too. For more information, visit: http://www.WandaBrunstetter.com

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael McLellan – a #BookReview

A Review by the CE of this gripping and powerfully written historical novel.

In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael A McLellanBook Blurb:

Born into slavery, Henry’s young life is spent working in tobacco drying sheds on Missouri plantations. Freed at the onset of the Civil War, he’s alone, starving, and on the run from Confederate militiamen.

Five years later, Clara Hanfield, the daughter of a powerful New York shipping magnate, escapes her tyrannical father and travels west in pursuit of John Elliot, the man she loves. John, a U.S. Army lieutenant, was sent to the Dakota Territory where he discovers a government conspiracy to incite an all-out war with the Indians; a war meant to finally eliminate them as an obstacle to the westward expansion.

Henry finds himself caught in the middle.

Aided by Clara, John, and his native ally, Standing Elk, Henry must battle hatred, greed, and the ghosts of his past during this turbulent and troubling time in American history.

His Review:

In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael A McLellanBeing awarded your freedom papers did not make you free!  Marauders often caught young freed slaves, destroyed their papers and sold them back into slavery. The culprits were depraved and vicious in the treatment of the liberated.

Henry is born into slavery but given his freedom by his former master. He is not illiterate and some of his crimes include being able to read and write. His childhood sweetheart is attempting to escape with him but is caught and ultimately killed by the marauders. Heartbroken, Henry continues to head north in an attempt to escape their net.

The Native Americans of the Dakota territories are portrayed much more humane and sympathetic than the post Civil War population of middle America. Henry’s life is saved by these people and ultimately learns their language and ways of life. He becomes a scout for the US Army because of his ability to liaison and speak many languages.

Clara Hanfield and John Elliot, are a young couple in love trying to create a life together in the wild west. He has been shipped off, however, by Clara’s father from the military academy at West Point to Fort Laramie. Money and power have always separated lovers as well as the classes. Clara’s father is despotic and determined that his daughter not continue a relationship with John and seeks to destroy the relationship. Her father tries to send her to Pennsylvania. She convinces her escort instead to take her to out west to find John.

Eventually, all paths cross and John takes a sympathetic tack for the Indians he has comes to respect. Henry is intelligent and educated and is immensely empathetic. The storyline is immersive, capturing the emotions and ramping up the tension to the heartrending and poignant conclusion. CE Williams

We received this beautiful book from the author with the expectation of a review and these are my own opinions. I would read another by this author and this one is highly recommended. 5/5 Stars CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Fiction, African Historical Fiction, War and Military Action Historical  Fiction

  • ISBN-10:1096423510
  • ISBN-13:978-1096423515
  • ASIN: B07RB7RHJW

Print Length: 269 pages
Publication Date: April 29, 2019
Source: Direct Author Request
Title Link: In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree
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Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars 5-stars

Michael A McLellan - authorThe Author: Michael‘s love of books began with Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle when he was seven-years-old. Later influenced by the works of John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Stephen King, James Baldwin, and Cormac McCarthy, Michael developed his style of storytelling. A self-proclaimed blue-collar writer, he draws on his experiences and observations to bring relevant and compelling topics to life.

Michael lives in Northern California and when he’s not writing, he can usually be found wandering around the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges.

His body of work includes the 2014 novel After and Again, the 2015 novel American Flowers, and the 2017 novel, In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree, as well as various shorts and essays.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

The Master’s Apprentice (A Re-Telling of the Faust Legend) by Oliver Pötzsch – a #BookReview #historicalfantasy

A review by the CE of Book 1 in a new series of #renaissancehistoricalfiction

The Master's Apprentice by Oliver PotzschBook Blurb:

A young man’s destined quest becomes a dance with the devil in a mesmerizing retelling of the Faust legend by the bestselling author of the Hangman’s Daughter Tales series.

It’s the fifteenth century and only heretics are curious about the universe.

Germany, 1494. Born under a rare alignment of the stars, Johann Georg Gerlach, “the lucky one” to his mother—is fated for greatness. But Johann’s studies and wonder at the sky have made him suspect. Especially in wake of the child disappearances that have left the God-fearing locals trembling and his one true love trapped in terrified catatonia. Her only words: “I have seen the devil…”

Banished from Knittlingen as cursed, Johann crosses paths with Tonio del Moravia. The traveling fortune-teller and master of the arcane arts recognizes something extraordinary in the wanderer. Taking Johann under his wing, Tonio promises a new world of knowledge and sensations. But with it comes a sinister web of deception and a chilling prophecy.

The stars are set to align again. Now Johann must draw on the skills of his apprenticeship to solve the dark mystery that grips his village in fear and the deepening mystery of his own destiny.

His Review:

The Master's Apprentice by Oliver PotzschJohann Georg was born as a result of a triste between his beautiful mother and a stranger. His father hated him. His mother called him Faustus (the lucky one) born under a lucky star. His father despised him and gave him no fatherly love. At eight years he meets our villain, Tonio, and his life is forever cursed by this devil personified.

Oliver Pötzsch has captured the essence of life in the middle ages and the turmoil that was Europe. His translation of the writing regarding Faust is laudable. His translator, Lisa Reinhardt, makes the German language come to life in English.

Europe is a cesspool of intrigue and disease. How anyone survived is totally a mystery. Devil worship abounds and the church with its’ Inquisitors does it’s best to stamp out any but the “true religion.” Johann is blessed with a great mind and tremendously inquisitive instinct. The devil knows that he will be a great addition to his earthly realm.

CE WilliamsCannibalism and vampires have nothing on this story! Become engrossed in a life of struggle, travel which is near impossible, and villains of the first magnitude. Weep with the characters in this story as they overcome enormous hardships to they struggle through life. Does good always triumph over evil? Dive into this narrative and seek the answer. CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Renaissance Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Historical Mystery
Publisher: Amazon Crossing

  • ISBN-10:1542009987
  • ISBN-13:978-1542009980
  • ASIN: B07WGDKKYC

Print Length: 475+ pages
Publication Date: To be released April 28, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Master’s Apprentice
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Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5-stars

Oliver Potzsch - authorThe Author: (Amazon) Oliver Pötzsch, born in 1970, has worked for years as a scriptwriter for Bavarian television. He himself is a descendant of one of Bavaria’s leading dynasties of executioners. He lives in Munich with his family. Photo © Dominik Parzinger.

(Goodreads) Oliver Pötzsch is a German writer and filmmaker. After high school he attended the German School of Journalism in Munich from 1992 to 1997. He then worked for Radio Bavaria. In addition to his professional activities in radio and television, Pötzsch researched his family history. He is a descendant of the Kuisle, from the 16th to the 19th Century a famous dynasty of executioners in Schongau.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

The Poison of War by Jennifer Leeper – a CE #BookReview – Two-Hour #mysterythriller

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5-stars

The Poison of War by Jennifer LeeperBook Blurb:

Two Mexican drug smugglers are murdered on Native American soil and the only clues left behind are two single arrowheads in this compelling page-turner of tribal secrets and distrust at the border.

When detective Frank Silva of the Tohono O’odham Nation arrived at the scene of the crime he immediately feared his investigation would require him to turn inward—to his own people—in search of the killer.

A complex web of lies, love and intrigue in the heart of the reservation pulls readers into a place and time in limbo straddling the U.S.-Mexican border which is struggling to retain its heritage and independence.

Two maverick detectives form an intriguing team trusting each other with not only their lives, but with the fate of the Tohono O’odham Nation in the crime mystery.

The Poison of War, from award-winning author Jennifer Leeper, highlights the Tohono O’odham reservation’s evolving struggle against Mexican cartels and their friction with border agents who hold the line stretching across the middle of the reservation.

The novella’s setting of the American Southwest, particularly on a Native American reservation, and the style and cultural background of the detective protagonist draw resemblances to Tony Hillerman’s works including Dance Hall of the Dead and The Blessing Way.

For fans of Leeper’s work and fortuitous newcomers, The Poison of War is a stunning tale that highlights timely issues of the U.S.-Mexico border, immigration, drug trafficking and the reservation culture of the Tohono O’odham tribe.

His Review:

The Poison of War by Jennifer LeeperSolving two murders with old technology in the desert southwest is not easy. The native people in this area have lived here for centuries. There were no borders that defined their nation until recently. Jennifer pulls together the problem of drug running across native ancestral lands with no regard to the culture and the people who live there.

Frank Silva is a half-breed who is charged with protecting the land and solving a double murder.
A defunct “Indian Casino” is a beacon for the transfer of illegal drugs. The drug runners are ruthless.

In a land of cacti and wildflowers where does the detective begin? Jennifer pulls the narrative together in a very exciting way. Even footprints do not show up in this desolate landscape. And yet the crime has to be solved.
The result is a masterfully devised series of steps taken to finally find the killer. The narrative is fast-moving and never drags. It is a mystery lovers’ handbook for solving crime in the most desolate areas in the Southwest United States.

We received this digital download from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I can heartily recommend.

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Book Details:

Genre: Native American Literature, Two-Hour Mystery-Thriller-Suspense, Vigilante Justice
Publisher: Prensa Press

  • ISBN-10:1733240209
  • ISBN-13:978-1733240208
  • ASIN: B081BB1HRK

Print Length: 67 pages
Publication Date: November 19, 2019
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Poison of War

Jennifer Leeper - authorThe Author: Jennifer Leeper is an award-winning fiction author whose previous or forthcoming publications credits include Independent Ink Magazine, The Stone Hobo, Poiesis, Every Day Fiction, Aphelion Webzine, Heater Magazine, Cowboy Jamboree, The New Engagement, Alaska Quarterly Review, Falling Star Magazine and The Liguorian. She has had works published by J. Burrage Publications, Hen House Press, Inwood Indiana Press, Alternating Current Press, Barking Rain Press, Whispering Prairie Press, and Spider Road Press.
Ms. Leeper’s novella, The Poison of War, published through Prensa Press, spotlights the landscape of the American Southwest and Native American culture through this murder mystery that brings to the fore timely issues of the U.S.-Mexico border, immigration, drug trafficking and the reservation culture of the Tohono O’odham tribe of southern Arizona. The region carries special meaning for Ms. Leeper as she lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a child and even though she currently lives in Kansas City, the spirit of the Southwest region continues to shape her writing.

CE Williams - co-reviewer

The Plain of Jars by N. Lombardi Jr. – a #BookReview

The Plain of Jars by N. Lombardi Jr.

Five of Five Stars Five stars

Title: The Plain of Jars by N. Lombardi Jr.

Genre: Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, US Historical Fiction, Crime Action Fiction

Publisher: Roundfire Books

  • ISBN-10:1780996705
  • ISBN-13:978-1780996707
  • ASIN: B00CPL2P46

 Print Length: 670 pages

Publication Date: (Reprint edition) May 31, 2013

Source: Author request

Title Link: The Plain of Jars

Book Blurb:

What would you do if you found that the bones and ashes you were given by the Air Force were not the remains of your loved one? Dorothy Kozeny, a 64-year-old widow from a small town in Ohio, after getting no answers from the relevant authorities, decides the only thing to do is to go to Laos herself to search for the truth concerning her son’s fate. In 1990, accompanied by a trusted Laotian called Kampeng, Dorothy travels deep into the mountains of rural Laos, attempting to trace her son’s path through inhospitable terrain, an unforgettable trek that provides her with a rewarding, often humorous, and at times frustrating, cross-cultural experience. All clues lead her to a mysterious figure, an alleged CIA operative left over from the war, living in a remote and hostile area deep in the jungle. The second part of the book traces the life of this enigmatic character hiding in Laos, the two main characters linked through Dorothy’s son.

The Plain of Jars by N. Lombardi JrMy Review:

This is an extremely gripping saga about a young lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, well written, and difficult to put down. Those of us who were drafted during that time can relate to this tale. Why Vietnam? The question was on everyone’s mind at the time of the war and still mystifies me today. What did our country want in Vietnam that over 57,000 U.S. military died and hundreds of thousands were maimed and injured for life?

Hidden in the records of the military are many soldiers who could not return to this country for various infractions against the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  Dropping bombs from 35,000 feet makes the carnage and tedium of war seem far removed from the pilot, but when you are on the ground, the war and the effect of the bombing are all too real.

War was not declared against the Hmong, Laotians, Cambodians or others swept up in the melee. Lt. Andrew Kozeny was shot down in a bombing run in an F105. He experienced first-hand the devastation inflicted on the poor peasants trying to wrestle a living from the humid valleys. A young girl died in his arms, having no idea why the bombs were being dropped on their rural area nor why they were dying. Getting back to his unit he was re-assigned to fly the newer F111. This machine could drop many more bombs and rain destruction where ever it flew, but his memory of the young death was an ever-present confliction in the cockpit.

Lt. Kozeny could not let this vehicle of destruction kill more innocents. He scuttled the jet and wound up hiding in the jungle and evading capture. The Vietnamese would like to capture him but a C.I.A. death squad was sent to eliminate the young airman and his knowledge. This story is all too real and disappointing.

The report of his death was greatly exaggerated and some ashes were delivered home as “his remains.”  However, his mother discovers the ashes are not his and decides to fly to Southeast Asia to find out what happened to her son. This story is the result of that search. The U.S. government and C.I.A. are put into a very different light by this book. One can only be exasperated by the effect of a war none of our generation wanted or embraced. The pain caused thousands to pound home the mantra that “freedom isn’t free.”

Read this book and experience the frustration that affected an entire generation, the mood of the people and plan some time to complete the book because you will not want to put it down. Associate Reviewer - C E Williams

I received this digital download from the author in exchange for an unbiased opinion and in my opinion would garner 6 stars if that were available. Wholly recommended to anyone who enjoys intrigue, secrets, conspiracy, action, military history, emotional tension and turmoil, and redemption. Have I left anything out? C.E. Williams

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N. Lombardi Jr - authorThe Author: N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc. http://plainofjars.net

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone, was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

©2019 C.E.Williams

Solomon vs Lord by Paul Levine – a #BookReview

Solomon vs Lord by Paul LevineTitle: Solomon vs Lord (Solomon vs Lord Legal Thrillers Book 1) by Paul Levine

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Legal Thriller, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Satire, General Humor

Publisher: Nittany Valley Productions, Inc.

Publication Date: March 6, 2014

578 pages

ASIN:B007RTS9VE

Source: BookBub

Title and Cover: Solomon vs Lord – Legal thriller–tilt!

Book Blurb:

“LEGAL THRILLERS SHOULDN’T BE THIS MUCH FUN!”

Victoria Lord follows all the rules…
Steve Solomon makes up his own…
Defending a murder trial, they’ll either end up in ruin, in jail…or in bed.

Steve Solomon is the sharpest lawyer to barely graduate from law school. Victoria Lord toils for an ambitious D.A., before Solomon gets her fired. Thrown together, they defend a sexy young widow charged with killing her kinky husband in Miami’s steamiest trial of the century.

“Hiaasen meets Grisham in the court of last retort. A sexy, wacky, wonderful thriller with humor and heart.” – Harlan Coben

***My associate reviewer has been fully engaged in reading the free offerings from BookBub, many of which have been outstandingly delightful, resulting in laugh out loud passages and recitations to me. As this one seemed exceptional, I asked that he provide a review even though the book published in 2014 could constitute a proper Throwback Thursday offering. (The author released Bum Deal, the 13th and final book in the Jake Lassiter series, in June. ) 

The C.E.’s Review:

Levine’s writing is comical and engaging from the beginning.

Stephan Solomon is a rogue lawyer working against a rookie prosecutor. The abrasive repartee between Steph and Victoria Lord is immediately humorous and engaging and quickly builds into an excellent story. Solomon has a number of rules he has created for his practice. Rule #1 When the law doesn’t work, work the law.

Victoria was at the top of her class in law school and prepares well and documents everything. His lackadaisical style aggravates her immensely when she is trying to do everything by the book while Solomon as the defense lawyer is nearly impossible. They wind up in jail for getting into a scuffle in court which results in a contempt charge. Steph wants to “tutor” her in the finer elements of jurisprudence. His motto is, “A lawyer who’s afraid of jail is like a surgeon who is afraid of blood.”

In the first offering of the series, these two find themselves on opposing tables in court. She is a rookie state’s attorney and as opposites attract while offering friction, he’s smitten and thinking she’d be a great partner (in more ways than one).  Lord has other ideas (and guys) and isn’t ready to give up either. It’s not long before a trophy wife ends up in trouble with Lord pushing to take her case and Solomon rushing to help.

The banter and sexual tension between the two is not a new stratagem and the dialogue often goes from funny to silly, but the well-plotted story grabs and holds interest and doesn’t flag as it develops a sub-plot. Solomon is well developed, showing a multi-dimensional personality as he cares for his nephew. Victoria Lord is well educated but still very naive.

C.E. Williams - Associate ReviewerThe characters have been compared to Hepburn and Tracy and the story is fun and fast-paced; hard to put down. I highly recommend it.

Free eBook provided to me by BookBub. C. E. Williams

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars of Five Rating

Paul Levine - authorThe Author:

(Bio truncated from Amazon) Eleven of [Paul] Levine‘s thrillers have hit Number One bestseller status on Amazon in their genres, and in June 2015, he was the Number One bestselling author on Amazon Kindle.

BUM RAP was a Number One bestseller out of six million books in the Amazon Kindle Store. The setup: Lassiter has had it with sleazy clients, shifty prosecutors, and a legal system out of whack. He’s about to hang up his shingle when Victoria Lord calls. Solomon has been arrested for murder. What’s worse: the only person who can clear him has disappeared. Now it’s up to Lassiter and Lord to track down the witness–a stunning Bar girl–before she’s roped in by the feds…or eliminated by the Russian mob.

Levine’s first novel, TO SPEAK FOR THE DEAD, introduced the world to Jake Lassiter, an NFL linebacker turned hard-nosed lawyer. Lassiter has been described by Booklist as “one of the most entertaining series characters in contemporary crime fiction.”

Levine’s other series features squabbling lawyers – and lovers – Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord, who duel in and out of court. The Chicago Sun-Times praised “Solomon vs. Lord” as “remarkably fresh and original with characters you can’t help loving and sparkling dialogue that echoes the Hepburn-Tracy screwball comedies. A hilarious, touching and entertaining twist on the legal thriller.”

Levine has won the John D. MacDonald fiction award and has been nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Macavity, the International Thriller Writers Award, the Shamus Award, and the James Thurber Humor Prize. A graduate of Penn State and the University of Miami School of Law, he was a trial lawyer before becoming a full-time novelist. He divides his time between Santa Barbara, CA and Miami.

Here is a list of Levine’s novels that have hit Number One bestseller status on Amazon in their genres:

LEGAL THRILLERS: “To Speak for the Dead,” “Solomon vs. Lord,” “Fool Me Twice,” “Illegal,” and “Bum Rap.”

MYSTERIES: State vs. Lassiter, The Deep Blue Alibi, Kill All the Lawyers and Mortal Sin.

SERIAL KILLERS and INTERNATIONAL CRIME: Night Vision.

HARD-BOILED MYSTERIES: Mortal Sin.

ORGANIZED CRIME THRILLERS and SPORTS FICTION: Paydirt.

The “Solomon vs. Lord” series:

Solomon vs. Lord
The Deep Blue Alibi
Kill All the Lawyers
Habeas Porpoise (previously titled Trial & Error)

OTHER ENDEAVORS: Paul wrote 21 episodes of the TV series “JAG” and co-created the Supreme Court drama “First Monday,” both on CBS.

More info at http://www.paul-levine.com
Follow Paul @Jake_Lassiter
Visit Paul’s updated Facebook Author Page for the latest news: https://www.facebook.com/PaulLevine

(From Goodreads) NEW and available in print, e-book and audio editions: Paul Levine’s latest legal thriller, BUM DEAL, debuted June 2018.

©2018

Malice at the Manor – a #BookReview

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

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

Publisher: Taylor & Seale Publishing

Publication Date: April 27, 2018

Source: Happy Book Reviews and author

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

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

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

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

My Review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

#ThrowbackThursday – The Dying Hour by Rick Mofina – a #BookReview

#ThrowbackThursday - The Dying Hour by Rick Mofina

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

This week I am highlighting Rick Mofina, another terrific, prolific author who wrote The Dying Hour. Today’s review is written by the C.E., my intrepid associate reviewer. I love that he is usually up for a variety of genre and this one took him by surprise. Yeah, knew it would! 😏   (This was his first Mofina.) I’ve read several before and last posted a review of Cold Fear for Throwback Thursday on February 8, 2018. This novel was published by Carrick Publishing on April 8, 2015. Mofina consistently runs approximately 4.5-5 stars for any of his books sold on Amazon.

Book Blurb:

The Dying Hour introduces Jason Wade, a rookie crime reporter with The Seattle Mirror, a loner who grew up in the shadow of a brewery in one of the city’s blue-collar neighborhoods. At The Seattle Mirror, he is competing for the single full-time job being offered through the paper’s intense intern program. But unlike the program’s other young reporters, who attended big name schools and worked at other big metro dailies, Wade put himself through community college, and lacked the same experience. 

Wade struggles with his haunting past as he pursues the story of Karen Harding, a college student whose car was found abandoned on a lonely stretch of highway in the Pacific Northwest. How could this beloved young woman with the altruistic nature simply vanish?

Wade battles mounting odds and cut-throat competition to unearth the truth behind Karen Harding’s disturbing case. Her disappearance is a story he cannot give up, never realizing the toll it could exact from him. The Dying Hour is a bone-chilling, mesmerizing page-turner that introduces readers to an all-too-human young hero who journeys into the darkest regions of the human heart to confront a nightmare. 

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Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – The Dying Hour by Rick Mofina – a #BookReview”

The Invisible Mind by M. T. Bass #BlogTour #BookReview

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you by the C.E. at my blog stop for The Invisible Mind by M. T. Bass on Sage’s Blog Tours.

The Invisible Mind-Murder by Munchausen #3 by M.T. Bass

Book Details

Title: The Invisible Mind: Murder by Munchausen #3 Future Crime Mysteries: A Sci-Fi Police Procedural Techno-Thriller

      • Print Length: 212 pages
      • Publisher: Electron Alley Corporation
      • Publication Date: August 25, 2018
      • Language: English
      • ASIN:B07DFF75L3

     

    • ISBN-10: 194626606X
    • ISBN-13: 978-1946266064

    Book Blurb

    A police procedural sci-fi thriller ripped from future headlines!

    Now unleashed, the “Baron” is resurrecting history’s notorious serial killers, giving them a second life in the bodies of hacked and reprogrammed Personal Assistant Androids, then turning them loose to terrorize the city. While detectives Jake and Maddie of the police department’s Artificial Crimes Unit scramble to stop the carnage with the Baron’s arrest, the cyberpunk head of the Counter IT Section, Q, struggles to de-encrypt his mad scheme to infect world data centers with a virus that represents a collective cyber unconsciousness of evil. Continue reading “The Invisible Mind by M. T. Bass #BlogTour #BookReview”

The Colonel and the Bee – a #BookReview

The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick CanningTitle: The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning

Genre: Currently #4792 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, Action & Adventure

Publisher: Evolved Publishing LLC

Publication Date: June 1, 2018

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: The Colonel and the Bee-Love that cover

Hoo-boy is this one a douzy! This novel was so much fun I couldn’t keep it to myself and shared with the C.E., whose review will follow mine. The novel hit all my buttons: unique, intriguing, adventurous, historical, surprisingly sharp (and young) female protagonist coupled with the swash-buckling theatrics of a male co-protagonist and absolute non-stop action. First, wrap your head around a  four-story house-sized balloon, and if that doesn’t set your imagination reeling, nothing will. (Think steampunk!)

Beatrix is a barely teenaged female acrobat in a 19th-century European traveling circus held captive owing her age by an abusive ringleader. The dashing and mysterious English Colonel James Bacchus attends the same private showing where she performs and she contrives to join him in a getaway following his ellicit treatise with the wife of their exclusive estate’s host. With the Oxford Starladder (the Ox) the colonel is in pursuit of a heinous criminal as he drifts across the continent in search of a precious jewel, the Blue Star Sphinx, which value in turn has attracted the warring factions of two families. (Think Hatfields and McCoys)

With every additional description of the Ox, I badly wanted to climb aboard and explore each and every crevice, descend the spiral stars, partake of the gourmet meals presented by the colonel, and peak into the horticultural room where the fresh vegetables were grown. What a delightful imaginative fantasy–but one that seemed within grasp it was made so real. The rich nineteenth-century dialogue, $50 words, and formal English prose was a delight but I was many times grateful for the built-in dictionary of my Kindle. Continue reading “The Colonel and the Bee – a #BookReview”

The Other Vietnam War by Marc Cullison #BlogTour #BookReview

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you by the C.E.  at my blog stop for The Other Vietnam War: A Helicopter Pilot’s Life in Vietnam by Marc Cullison on Sage’s Blog Tours.

Book Details

  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Imzadi Publishing, LLC
  • Publication Date: May 10, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • ISBN-10: 0990846539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0990846536
  • ASIN: B00XI1T7F2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank – #242 in Kindle eBooks, Biographies & Memoirs, Historical, Military & Wars, Vietnam War

Book Blurb

The Other Vietnam WarEach of us who served in Vietnam was the guy next door, the average Joe, not a hero. The boy who might date your daughter or sister. The young man who might mow your yard. In Vietnam, we weren’t out to be heroes. We just did our jobs.

For a helicopter pilot, each day was like all the others. You flew the mission and never stopped to think that it might be your last. You didn’t think about the bullet holes in the helicopter, the cracks in the tail boom, or about any of it until night, lying in bed when you couldn’t think of anything else.

The Other Vietnam War is the story of the introduction to a new country, a backward culture, the perils of a combat zone, and the effects on a young lieutenant fresh out of flight school. It does not labor the reader with pages of white-knuckle adventures, as so many other fine books about the Vietnam War do. It instead focuses on the internal battle each soldier fought with himself to make sense of where he was, why he was there, and if he was good enough.

The administrative duties of Commissioned officers, while tame compared to the exploits of valiant pilots who wrote about them, caused a deep introspection into life and its value in an enigmatic place like Vietnam. Aside from the fear, excitement, deliverance, and denial that each pilot faced, the inner battle he fought with himself took its toll. Some of us thought we’d find glory. But many of us discovered there is no glory in war.

My Review

The talk in the lunch room was of a place called Bietnam or some such. Never heard of it. However, the US Congress in its infinite wisdom was getting us involved and nobody knew why.

The draft was reinstated and the young son’s of WW II veterans were on the chopping block. Some ran and some stayed. The author spells out the calamity facing a generation that did not endorse or embrace a “conflict” halfway around the world. Marc Cullison faced many of the same conflicted reactions that most of us felt. Why do I want to join the military and fight in a place that has no direct impact on my country? Mr. Cullison explains, “the Vietnam war was a tragedy, a shallow and profane act of war as any war is.”  We were not threatened nor did we have anything to fear from Southeast Asia!  Why did we have to get involved and escalate into that part of the world?

Four years of being a helicopter pilot in Vietnam was what his pledge to honor and serve elicited, and Marc examines his thoughts and feelings as he served his tour. This memoir does not describe so much of the actual air battles as it does the result of war on the men who served. As I read his account I was reminded of some of my own service-related experiences during the same time. Away from home for the better part of four years, I served in countries that I had never aspired to visit. But orders were cut, oaths were taken, and we were sent into the melee.

Like Marc, I served because I had promised to uphold and defend our Constitution and way of life. After boot camp, it was painfully obvious that the orders from “my superiors” were not necessarily superior. My specialty did not send me “in country” to face the trials that Marc witnessed, but the periphery.

Marc says, “when you sign up for military service, you are supposed to be ready to defend your country and even die for it.” It’s a time of terror in equal portions of boredom and excessive moments of retrospection and the author shares his insights in equal measure. (One of my orders was to return to a base in the mountains of Taiwan in a stage two typhoon alert as the mountain roared with the sound of a hundred freight trains and downed electrical lines crossed the roadway.) The futility of the experience upon our return to the states with people spitting on us and calling us baby killers really pissed me off.  There were people in wheelchairs with missing body parts and blind and deaf who had had no choice in their deployment and our citizens waited at the airports to shame us.) I can understand where Marc is coming from. However, living in the orient taught me one thing. Most people simply want to live their lives and go about raising their families.

The book is often graphically profane, but I agree with the author that it frankly reflects an honest look at the legions of men sent to defend their spot in the jungle. It may also serve as a valuable education, particularly for those who are considering joining the military. The services are a valid way to serve our country; contribution seals loyalty and provides a window into the wheels of management. (Avoiding the draft was not then an option, but neither is it the responsibility of the young citizens of our nation to help bolster the coffers of the corporations that profit and proliferate the development of weapons of war.)

I highly recommend this book as a means of understanding the conflict that persons of that generation faced during that extremely divisive time. Certainly, I would serve again, and after 9/11 tried to re-enlist because our country had been attacked. Read this book and experience the futility that most wars can be.

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars of Five Rating

About the Author

Marc CullisonMarc Cullison is a baby-boomer who grew up in an era when education was everything and duty to country was a responsibility. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering at Oklahoma State University, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve Corps of Engineers through the ROTC program. During his four-year tour of duty, he served as helicopter pilot with the 129th Assault Helicopter Company in II Corps, Vietnam, in 1971. He returned from overseas to an assignment as a military assistant to the resident engineer at Kaw Dam and Reservoir near Ponca City, Oklahoma, where he met the woman he would marry there. After two years in Ponca City, he was honorably discharged and returned to Oklahoma State where he received a master’s degree in architectural engineering and honed his technical skills as a professional structural engineer. Then into quality control at a manufacturing plant which led him into computer programming. His most recent career was a math and science instructor at Connors State College in Warner and Muskogee, Oklahoma, from which he retired in 2014. He lives with his wife in a self-built log house near Sallisaw. Sage's Blog Tours

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and thanks to Sage’s Blog Tours for the opportunity to read and review this novel!

©2018 C.E. Williams the CE

6 Life Changing Energy Healing Methods – a #BookReview

6 Life Changing Energy Healing Methods by John O'DwyerTitle: 6 Life Changing Energy Healing Methods: How to Release Emotional Stress, Pain and Illness by John O’Dwyer

Genre: Currently #1761 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Nonfiction, Self-Help, Stress Management

Publisher: Chi Choices LLC

Publication Date: December 3, 2016

Source: Direct author request – Non-Fiction alternative medicine self-help read and reviewed by the Associate Reviewer

Title and Cover: Six Life Changing Energy Healing MethodsVery simple brightly colored cover

Bullet Synopsis:

·         How would you like to be able to heal yourself of day-to-day pain and emotional stress in your life when no one else can—not even your doctor?  Continue reading “6 Life Changing Energy Healing Methods – a #BookReview”

Area 51: Redemption – a #BookReview

Area 51 - Redemption by Bob MayerTitle: Area 51: Redemption (Book 10 of 11) by NY Times Bestseller Bob Mayer

Genre: Currently #174 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, War & Military

Publication Date: April 24, 2018

Source: Won a copy on a Goodreads Giveaway!

Title and Cover: Area 51: Redemption – Cover continues the dynamite series covers

Area 51: Redemption is a continuation of the series regarding alien direction and population on earth and how their presence affected the human race through the millennia, leaving only the most subtle of reminders of their possible existence on the planet. In this, the tenth of the series, Mike Turcotte, is back as the ex-Special Forces officer who helped free the earth of the Airlia while winning WWIII. But Turcotte kept a secret–far worse than that of the Airlia domination.

(From the Amazon book blurb: “The continuation of the series that has sold over 2 million copies, screenplay written by the man who penned Alien, Total Recall and produced Minority Report and is Cool Gus approved. This book will be followed by Area 51: Invasion on 14 July 2018.”)

You would be correct in that if this is a sci-fi, I probably had my associate reviewer read and contribute his review to mine. Also, as always, I’ll post his review here first. Continue reading “Area 51: Redemption – a #BookReview”

Hatshepsut: The Pharaoh Queen of Egypt – a #BookReview

Hatshepsut: The Pharaoh-Queen of Egypt by in60LearningTitle: Hatshepsut: The Pharaoh Queen of Egypt

Genre: Currently #22 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Biographies & Memoirs, Historical, Middle East (One hour, 58 pages)

Publisher: in60Learning

Publication Date: February 3, 2018

Source: Amazon Digital Services and Direct Request by Tyler of in60Learning

Title and Cover: Hatshepsut: The Pharaoh Queen of Egypt – Cover conveys non-fiction material

We were contacted by Tyler of in60Learning with an inquiry regarding reading and reviewing their new concept non-fiction short stories in a quick and easy read 60-minute format. On their “title listing” page, they appear to have twenty-four titles, three of which are audio, the balance in a mix of Kindle and paperbook format. The titles run from biographies to histories with titles releasing from the middle of January 2018 through March. Many more are expected.

Titles include Marilyn Monroe: The Defiant Broad Disguised as a Dumb Blond (BiographyIn60, six reviews at 4.5 average stars) to Alexander the Great: Student of Aristotle, Descendent of Heroes (BiographyIn60 nineteen reviews at 4.5 average stars). The C.E. chose this one as well as Illinois Native Americans: A 9,000 Year Civilization. See that review here.

In60Learning introduces themselves thusly:

“Get Smarter in just 60  minutes with in60Learning. Concise and elegantly written non-fiction books and audiobooks help you learn the core subject matter in 20% of the time that it takes to read a typical book. Life is short, so explore a multitude of fascinating historical, biographical, scientific, political, and financial topics in only an hour each.”

Book Blurb:

When Pharaoh Thutmose II died, he left an heir far too young to rule Egypt. His widow Hatshepsut stepped up to take his place. For at least the next 20 years, Hatshepsut ruled as Pharaoh King of Egypt in an era of prosperous growth and peace. When she died, her nephew Thutmose III attempted to smear her good name and wipe her memory from history. However, despite his efforts, his aunt Hatshepsut holds the title of most famous native Egyptian woman to ever rule as pharaoh; she also retains a legacy as one of the most successful female leaders in early history. Continue reading “Hatshepsut: The Pharaoh Queen of Egypt – a #BookReview”

Illinois Native Americans – a #BookReview

Illinois Native Americans - A 9,000 Year CivilizationTitle: Illinois Native Americans: A 9,000 Year Civilization

Genre: Currently #14 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle Short Reads, One hour (33-43 pages), History

Publisher: in60Learning

Publication Date: February 3, 2018

Source: Amazon Digital Services and Direct Request by publisher

Title and Cover: Illinois Native Americans – Cover denotes non-fiction material (uh oh–are you up for that?)

We were contacted by Tyler of in60Learning with an inquiry regarding reading and reviewing their new concept non-fiction novels in a down and dirty read and learn in a 60 minutes format. On their “title listing” page, they appear to have twenty-four titles, three of which are audio, the balance in Kindle format. The titles run from biographies to histories with titles releasing from the middle of January 2018 through March

Titles include Alexander the Great: Student of Aristotle, Descendant of Heroes (with 19 reviews and 4.5 average stars and apparently contains footnotes) to The Mexican-American War: A Divisive Expansion (with six reviews and 4.4 average stars). The C.E. chose this one as well as Hatshepsut The Pharaoh Queen of Egypt, which will be reviewed tomorrow.

In60Learning introduces themselves thusly:

“Get Smarter in just 60  minutes with in60Learning. Concise and elegantly written non-fiction books and audiobooks help you learn the core subject matter in 20% of the time that it takes to read a typical book. Life is short, so explore a multitude of fascinating historical, biographical, scientific, political, and financial topics in only an hour each.” Continue reading “Illinois Native Americans – a #BookReview”

The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle – a #BookReview

The Tortilla Curtain by T C Boyle-eBook coverTitle: The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle

Genre: Currently #27 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, Satire, and #62 in Contemporary Fiction, Urban

Publisher: Penguin Books

Publication Date: September 1, 1996

Source: Free download BookBub

Title and Cover: The Tortilla CurtaineBook cover attracted my attention (prefer it to the paperback version below)–thought it would interest hubby–this is his review.

This book has been around more than twenty years and certainly long enough that there are more than sufficient synopses. So at this point, I must assume the literary crowd is familiar with the setting in the beautiful but fragile ecology of the Topanga Canyon of Southern California. This scenario situates two couples on a course designed to slap your senses into a new mindset. The classic style Greek pathos novel grasps the very soul of society and squeezes so tightly I came close to declaring a DNF more than once. No getting around it–this is a very difficult book. Continue reading “The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle – a #BookReview”

The Telltale Tattoo – a #BookReview

the-telltale-tattoo-cell-smTitle: The Telltale Tattoo by John L. DeBoer

Genre: Currently #9027 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Thrillers, Crime

Publisher: Solstice Publishing

Publication Date: January 29, 2018

Source: Author Request

Title and Cover: The Telltale Tattoo – Cover depicts jungle terrain

John L. DeBoer writes in the legendary style of Mickie Spillane. The plot is pocked with quick action that includes a contrast between law enforcement and gangsters and the hero or protagonist is a gumshoe named Clay Archer. Continue reading “The Telltale Tattoo – a #BookReview”