Brain Exercises for Seniors (The Puzzler Series Book 14) by Jenny Patterson & The Puzzler

Many thanks goes to Meredith, Assistant Editor at Old Town Publishing for mailing this beautiful book to me.

Brain Exercises for Seniors by Jenny Patterson and The Puzzler

Book Blurb:

Keep your mind young and improve your memory with this enjoyable, relaxing workout for mind and brain.

Experts around world tell us that exercising the brain with challenging puzzles helps keep our mental processes younger and sharper. 

The improvements these create in cognitive ability can change lives.

Individuals of all ages need to keep learning new things, exploring challenges, and solving puzzles to stay young, alert, and at their mental best.

The large print and easy-to-read formatting in this book make it perfect for seniors and for anyone wanting to avoid the eye-strain of the small type found in most such books. 

Types of puzzles include:

  • Crosswords
  • Word Search
  • Word Fit
  • Sudoku
  • Jumbles
  • Trivia

Buy this book for yourself, a family member, or friend.  You’re never too young or too old to start your mental exercise program.

FUN LARGE-TYPE CHALLENGES

 My Review:

You don’t have to be a senior to fully enjoy this puzzle book chocked full of fun and memory-enhancing puzzles. And anyone who appreciates LARGE print will appreciate the sans-serif font (SOOO easy to read) and easily execute puzzles without the problem of first over-coming tiny print.

As noted above, there are several different kinds of popular puzzles, including Sudoku and Crosswords. The Introduction explains that the puzzles are designed to “exercise” the brain and mind, helping to keep the thought processes younger. It’s a wonderfully fun way to meet new challenges and stretch cognitive ability.

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There are twenty puzzles in each game, except Tough Trivia which has 62 questions to really get you thinking! (Did you ever know some of this stuff?) The Word Search Puzzles are titled with fun hints such as Dogs, Rivers, and Clothes. The Word Fit Puzzles are also printed by theme such as One Word Movies, Flower Power, Songs About Women, Great Car Names, and 15 Shades of Green (who knew there were that many?). My favorite? Books With One Word Titles, of course!

Located at the back of the book are the Solutions to all the puzzles–but test yourself first! (No cheating–that won’t give you the exercise you need.) Go ahead and tell me, “What is the most popular drink in the world that does not contain alcohol?” (Trivia question #10.) Guess or research, but I’m sure that one will end in further discussion.

I was granted this book from the publisher for an honest read and review and these are my unbiased opinions. With Christmas coming, this book will make a great gift for any with sight or eye problems, seniors working on memory retention, and those looking for hours of absorbing and engaging mind challenge.

Book Details:

Genre: Senior Travel Guides
Publisher: Old Town Publishing

  • ISBN-10:1796664081
  • ISBN-13:978-1796664089

Print Length: 164 pages
Publication Date: February 13, 2019
Source: Publisher
Title Link: Brain Exercises for Seniors
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Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars – 4.5-stars

Jenny Patterson - authorThe Authors: Jenny Patterson has loved solving word puzzles since she was a young girl working on crosswords with her English teacher mom. Never traveling without a puzzle book, she met The Puzzler on a flight to Australia. He was working on a Sudoku. Together they shared their love of these types of challenges and the rest, as they say, is history. Now, with over a dozen books to their credit, Jenny and The Puzzler continue to work steadily on creating Sudoku and word puzzles for the enjoyment of kids and adults.

Before her puzzle-making career, Jenny worked developing curriculum for a prestigious private school in Los Angeles. An important part of her job was ensuring the gradient approach to the child’s education, ensuring each level could be mastered before the student went on to the next. By cultivating this high level of confidence and certainty the school graduated students prepared to succeed in this fast-moving and complicated world.

With her close friend, Toni, she wrote twp children’s joke books that were published by New York publishing house, Price, Stern, and Sloan. These books offered lots of laughs to young kids throughout the United States and other English speaking countries throughout the world.

The Puzzler - authorThe puzzler has always been a little shy about his puzzle-making obsession – hence the pen name. As a young child he wasn’t satisfied with putting together puzzles, but insisted on making his own out of construction paper. Later, after mastering such challenges as learning the alphabet and writing words, he began creating word searches and very, very simple crosswords.

He met Jenny on a flight to Australia. He was working on a Sudoku and she a crossword. Together they shared their love of these types of challenges and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now, with over a dozen books to their credit, Jenny and The Puzzler continue to work steadily on creating Sudoku and word puzzles for the enjoyment of kids and adults.

©2019 V Williams V Williams

#TBR – November #amreading #crime #cozy #historicalfiction #literaryfiction #mystery #non-fiction #pawsome

My Short Stack for November!

Short Stack for November

Good Morning Thursday Readers! I’m excited about the review line up I have for the rest of the month and thought I’d share. It’s a full list of varied genres, so hang on–my short stack may turn into a full menu!

Titles are links to Amazon. Covers are links to Goodreads. 

Brain Exercises for Seniors
Brain Exercises for SeniorsStart tomorrow with my only Non-Fiction November–a puzzle book specifically created for seniors–LARGE print, puzzles designed to work the old cerebrum. Look at that gorgeous cover–and that’s just the beginning. (Print only) Tune in tomorrow for more info.

Fan Mail
Book Blurb:
Fan MailLocal celebrity news anchor Gloria Morning is used to receiving declarations of love and praise in her weekly fan letters, but when a Lake Tahoe doctor is murdered and she gets an anonymous note telling her it was done for her glory, her appreciation turns to panic. Unsure of where else to turn, she enlists the help of novice private investigator Aspen Adams. No sooner does Aspen begin digging into who sent the macabre note than another murder occurs, followed by another note, and she soon realizes she’s up against a ruthless and deranged killer.

Working with scant clues and a puzzling array of potential suspects, Aspen is determined to unearth the elusive connection between the victims and her client. But as the body count grows and the murderer remains a mystery to both her and the police, Aspen discovers she’s gotten closer to the killer than she ever imagined, and now she must risk everything she holds dear to stop the killings, including her own life . . .
Currently available for request from NetGalley

The Dog I Loved
The Dog I LovedBook Blurb:
After spending years in prison for a crime she didn’t intend to commit, Rose Collins is suddenly free. Someone who knows about the good work she has done—training therapy dogs while serving time—has arranged for her early release. This mysterious benefactor has even set her up with a job in the coastal Massachusetts community of Gloucester, on the edge of Dogtown, a place of legend and, for the first time since Rosie’s whole world came crashing down, hope. There she works to rebuild her life with the help of Shadow, a stray dog who appears one rainy night and refuses to leave Rose’s side.

Meghan Custer is a wheelchair-bound war veteran who used to be hopeless, too. Living at home with her devoted but stifling parents felt a lot like being in prison, in fact. But ever since she was matched with a service dog named Shark, who was trained in a puppy-to-prisoner rehabilitation program, Meghan has a brand new outlook. Finally, she can live on her own. Go to work. And maybe, with Shark by her side, even find love again.

Two strong women on a journey toward independence whose paths collide in extraordinary ways. Two dogs who somehow manage to save them both. A tale of survival and a testament to the human spirit, The Dog I Loved is an emotional and inspiring novel that no reader will soon forget.
Currently available for request from NetGalley

From Wild to Mild
(It’s not true I’ll only read doggy books–sometimes they just work out that way.
From Wild to MildBook Blurb:
Eight-week-old Australian Shepherd Kaya is kidnapped by a nasty coyote to be food for his mate and puppies. Instead, the loving mother raises Kaya with her own pups. But as hard as she tries, Kaya can’t completely fit in—she can’t kill prey or stay awake for night hunts. Why can’t she make herself a true coyote? Constantly criticized by her coyote father, Kaya finds support in her new mother and siblings. She also figures out how to contribute through teamwork with her brother and sister. Trapped by a dog rescue, Kaya re-enters the human world and learns the differences between how dogs and coyotes live. When freed to roam again, does she return to her forest freedom—or remain with her farm family? Can Kaya forever straddle between the Wild and the Mild?

Storm of Secrets
This is Book 2 of the Haunted Bluffs Mystery series. I read Book 1 and jumped on this. (Just a hint of paranormal.)
Storm of SecretsBook Blurb:
A powerful storm descends upon Cape Cod’s Whale Rock at the peak of tourist season–and the weekend Cassandra Mitchell’s and Daniel Benjamin’s wedding is set to take place at The Bluffs, the magnificent Victorian mansion Cassie inherited from her family. In the wake of the storm’s destruction, three-year-old Lucas Kleister goes missing–and the body of small-time drug dealer Lee Chambers is found in a restaurant dumpster. Now, the WRPD are faced with a murder to solve, a missing child to find, and the aftermath of one of the worst storms in recent memory.

While aiding with the clean-up and helping the displaced, Cassie has been receiving cryptic messages from the spirits of her great-grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, the original residents of The Bluffs. At first, the messages are benign, but soon, they begin to point to something more sinister. As Cassie works to decipher their meaning, the specter of a mysterious local legend surfaces. The tale of Barnacle Boy–and what happened to him during another destructive storm decades earlier–will weave through the desperate search to find Lucas and the identity of the killer.
Currently available for request from NetGalley – Blog Tour with Dolly Cas

Mercy Road
Mercy RoadBook Blurb:
In 1917, after Arlene Favier’s home burns to the ground, taking her father with it, she must find a way to support her mother and younger brother. If she doesn’t succeed, they will all be impoverished. Job opportunities are scarce, but then a daring possibility arises: the American Women’s Hospital needs ambulance drivers to join a trailblazing, all-female team of doctors and nurses bound for war-torn France.

On the front lines, Arlene and her fellow ambulance drivers work day and night to aid injured soldiers and civilians. In between dangerous ambulance runs, Arlene reunites with a childhood friend, Jimmy Tucker, now a soldier, who opens her heart like no one before. But she has also caught the attention of Felix Brohammer, a charismatic army captain who harbors a dark, treacherous secret.

To expose Brohammer means risking her family’s future and the promise of love. Arlene must make a choice: stay in the safety of silence or take the greatest chance of her life.
Read Now on NetGalley

Paw of the Jungle
Paw of the JungleBook Blurb:
AT THE ZOO
The weather is beautiful, work is slow, and her canine colleague could use a walk. What better day for Megan to take Brigit to the Fort Worth Zoo, where they can let loose and witness the law and order of nature unfold? But what begins as a fun field trip turns serious when a pair of rare hyacinth macaws named Fabiana and Fernando goes missing. Is the new custodian, a gentle soul who happens to be an ex-convict, to blame? Or is something far more sinister afoot?

AND ON THE HUNT
The birds are worth thousands of dollars, and the list of people on the premises who might have stolen them is long. Soon other animals start disappearing. . .and Megan and Brigit have their hands and paws full of suspects. But when a rare black rhino is taken from the zoo, presumably for its black-market-friendly horn, time is of the essence. Can Megan and Brigit find out who’s behind the mystery—before they too become prey?

Currently available for request from NetGalley

Scarlet Fever
Scarlet FeverBook Blurb:
Frigid February air has settled into the bones of the Blue Ridge Mountains, making for a slow foxhunting season, though “Sister” Jane Arnold’s enthusiasm is not so easily deterred. With the winter chill come tweed coats, blazing fireplaces—and perhaps another to share the warmth with, as the bold hunting scarlets worn by the men in Sister Jane’s hunting club make the hearts of women flutter—until someone’s stops entirely.

Harry Dunbar, a member of the Jefferson Hunt club with a penchant for antique furniture, is found with his skull cracked at the bottom of the stairs to a local store. There are no telltale signs of foul play—save for the priceless (and stolen) Erté fox ring in his pocket. Sister and her hounds set out to uncover the truth: was this simply an accident—a case of bad luck—or something much more sinister?

Steeped in the deep traditions of Virginia horse country and featuring a colorful cast of characters both two- and four-legged, Scarlet Fever is another spirited mystery from Rita Mae Brown.
Blog Tour with Dolly Cas

The Memories We Hide
Recommended by my good blogger buddy Shalini over at Shalini’s Books and Reviews
The Memories We HideBook Blurb:
When Laura returns home ten years after the death of her childhood sweetheart Ryan Taylor, her past begins to unravel and memories she’d long pushed aside begin to resurface. Having trouble reconciling truth and memory, Laura reconnects with childhood friend Tom, to try and find closure, but Tom has issues of his own. Not only is he faced with the threat of losing his farm, but he is also hiding a secret that could change everything for them both.

Will Laura and Tom find the answers they need to move forward, or will they discover that memories can’t always be trusted?
Read Now on NetGalley 

What do you think? Have you already read one of these or have I enticed you into adding them on your #tbr?

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Attributes: Short Stack photo from Canva.com

October Reviews Recap–HELLO November!! – What? Noooo #rosepointpub #bookreviewers

Holy Moses, another very fast year and I assume if October was my daughter’s birthday and Halloween yesterday, then Thanksgiving will steamroller right over us and we’re staring at Christmas and New Year’s. Already? YES! And I’m excited for 2020. It’s got to be good!

Rosepoint Reviews-October Recap

We were thrilled to host our ole Navy buddies who rode out on their trike to North Carolina for a rally, thence to Pennsylvania from whence they originally hailed to visit relatives and friends–and then to Indiana for a very welcome visit to us. SOO good to see them again, doing well, enjoying retirement, and riding that beautiful trike…but uh…gulp…in October in Chicagoland?

Studebaker Museum, South Bend, Indiana
Thanks to Kitra for her artistic rendering of the pic taken of us in a Studebaker Commander at the Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana.

We had a great time before they felt the weather pressure to push on back home to Texas, where they were still enjoying 70+-degree weather. (And I must say, they did indeed time it right, as it turned ugly shortly after they left. Yes, Halloween snow!)

Still managed some book reviews while they were here, though woefully slow responding to your likes, comments, and new blog posts and I apologize for that. I did manage (between myself and the CE) to produce eleven reviews, several a collaborative effort. The list below the pic links to our reviews.

Portal to Murder by Alison Lingwood – (won a print copy!)
Haunted House Ghost by James J Cudney
Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Heather Day Gilbert
Yellowhead Blues by R E Donald (a CE review)
Here Comes Santa Paws by Laurien Berenson
Janis by Holly George Warren
Molded 4 Murder by J C Eaton (reviewed by myself and the CE)
Rescued by David Rosenfelt (audiobook)
Tracking Game by Margaret Mizushima
Dogs Don’t Lie by Lisa Shay (reviewed by myself and the CE)
Bad Memory by Lisa Gray

Obviously, I had way too much fun with my gardens this summer, as I over-goaled myself and calculating, realized I wasn’t going to make the 200 earlier set with Goodreads. That was an off-the-wall guestimate assuming the CE’s additional reviews. But that didn’t happen when he started reading the same books! So I’ve had to cut that back, revised to 175. Of that, so far, 143 read for 82%. Thinking that is doable (it’d better be). The Alphabet Challenge–no. Always stuck for the same letters, I believe this will be my last Alphabet Challenge. The NetGalley Challenge, hmmm. I struggled last year to achieve the 75 goal and set the same goal for this year. So far, my count shows 64 as I stopped concentrating on NetGalley books, reviewing with a couple new blog tours.

I’m looking forward to some great books in November and I’ll be providing a sneak peek into those shortly. Also, it’s time I started tackling favorites, looking at 4.5-5 stars to whittle down my ten favs for the year. I found that very difficult to do last year and don’t expect less this year. Do you keep a tally during the year? Already know which ones will hit the top of your list?

Once again, I appreciate each and every one of you for the new follows and those who continue to look in on my post efforts and if you have book suggestions or post ideas for me, I’d love to hear them!

©2019 V Williams V Williams

#tbr – Janis: Her Life and Music by Holly George-Warren

I am thrilled to have been granted this book from Simon & Schuster through NetGalley.

#tbr - Janis: Her Life and Music

Janis: Her Life and Music by Holly George-Warren

Book Blurb:

Longlisted for the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence

Janis by Holly George-WarrenThis blazingly intimate biography of Janis Joplin establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was.

Janis Joplin’s first transgressive act was to be a white girl who gained an early sense of the power of the blues, music you could only find on obscure records and in roadhouses along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast. But even before that, she stood out in her conservative oil town. She was a tomboy who was also intellectually curious and artistic. By the time she reached high school, she had drawn the scorn of her peers for her embrace of the Beats and her racially progressive views. Her parents doted on her in many ways, but were ultimately put off by her repeated acts of defiance.

Janis Joplin has passed into legend as a brash, impassioned soul doomed by the pain that produced one of the most extraordinary voices in rock history. But in these pages, Holly George-Warren provides a revelatory and deeply satisfying portrait of a woman who wasn’t all about suffering. Janis was a perfectionist: a passionate, erudite musician who was born with talent but also worked exceptionally hard to develop it. She was a woman who pushed the boundaries of gender and sexuality long before it was socially acceptable. She was a sensitive seeker who wanted to marry and settle down—but couldn’t, or wouldn’t. She was a Texan who yearned to flee Texas but could never quite get away—even after becoming a countercultural icon in San Francisco.

Written by one of the most highly regarded chroniclers of American music history, and based on unprecedented access to Janis Joplin’s family, friends, band mates, archives, and long-lost interviews, Janis is a complex, rewarding portrait of a remarkable artist finally getting her due.

This book will be released October 22, 2019 and is a beautiful, biting, and honest biographical portrayal of this early rock and blues female trailblazing icon. Her life cut far too soon by booze and drugs, Janis in her short time on top of the charts made herself a classic.

+Add to Goodreads

My review on Thursday, Oct 17, good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

Rosepoint #BookReviews – September Recap Wrap-Up – #rosepointpub

Oh groan, summer is gone and while I know many of you expressed the thought that this is your favorite time of year, I’m sad to see summer and warm temps giving way to cool mornings and unpredictable weather patterns. (Okay, more unpredictable than usual.)

Rosepoint Reviews - September Recap

We had enough T-storms and rain to flood my fairy slash swamp garden and everything is still pretty soggy albeit back to 80+ degree temps. That won’t last long.

Swamp garden boat

Decanted Truths by Melanie FordeSeems I’m still struggling to keep up and most of the time lag behind getting reviews, posts, and social media out. I was shocked yesterday to discover that Melanie Forde who wrote Decanted Truths republished her cover with a quote from my review posted May 24. What a thrill and honor and I sincerely hope she does well as it was one I heartily recommended and enjoyed so much. If you missed the review, you can read it here.

I went hunting for blog hosts I could work with and signed up with several. Having noted those genres I will not read or review, was then rather surprised to find notices for those anyway. I’ve had to cut severely the number of author requests–most don’t check my submission page and likewise send requests for books not on my accepted lists.

Along with book blasts and a review by my intrepid associate, the CE, I reviewed ten in September. Nor do I expect that to increase much in October as our old Navy buddies will be stopping to visit from Texas doing a general friends and family tour. I’ve been getting the house ready and doing some spring cleaning (I told you I was slow and yes, I warned them about the weather in Indiana in October.) Really though, some great September books as noted below.

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

29 Seconds by T M Logan

Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Bryon

The House of Five Fortunes by Amanda Hughes (5 Stars)

Dachshund Through the Snow by David Rosenfelt (5 star audiobook–and a new favorite)

Good Morning, Bellingham by Marina Raydun

Beyond a Reasonable Stout by Ellie Alexander (5 Stars)

The Garden Club Murder by Amy Patricia Meade

Christmas Cow Bells by Mollie Cox Bryan (Book 1-new series)

Trials and Tribulations by Jean Grainger ) 5 Stars)

Noting several 5 star books there, I know what you’re thinking–the ole girl’s gettin’ easy. Nope! Just that several of my favorites came up and they never let me down. I still have another audiobook to review from David Rosenfelt–the Andy Carpenter series narrated by Grover Gardner is just outstanding.

Because I’ve been recommending some of my reads to the CE, he is not reading as many BookBub books and his count is down, so my Goodreads Challenge has some significant catching up to do. I have some super books coming up in October, including book tours and blitzes. Really looking forward to the Tracking Game by Margaret Mizushima. Love her Timber Creek K-9 series!

And, some of you may have noticed I was nearing the 2,000 mark of blog followers. Before I could acknowledge 1,999, however, I awoke to the following total of 2,052, give or take. I’m waiting now to see how much is the “take.” In the meantime, however, I’ll celebrate 2,000+ followers and gratefully thank each of you for the new follows and those who continue to look in on my post and review efforts. If you have book suggestions or ideas for me, I’d love to hear them!

2000+ Followers!

Thank you!

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Trials and Tribulations – The Robinswood Story Book 3 by Jean Grainger – a #BookReview

This is me–a blubbering mess–and you know I don’t easily admit to tears from reading a book.

Five of Five Stars 5-stars

Book Blurb:

Trials and Tribulations by Jean GraingerRobinswood Estate, County Waterford, 1950

Three sisters, the three men that love them, and a house that could consume them all.

Assuming their roles as the new Lord and Lady Kenefick and returning to Robinswood with the plan to drag it back from the brink of dereliction, is taking its toll on Kate and Sam. With a young family to raise, a very limited budget and only Kate’s parents to help, the task seems insurmountable.

Kate’s eldest sister Eve and her husband Bartley have found happiness in each other after some dark years, but when a face from the past appears, it seems that everything they have worked so hard to create is threatened.

Aisling, the middle sister, is being evasive and the family suspect something is very wrong. On the face of it, she has it all, a lovely husband, a comfortable house and a supportive family, but she is in deep trouble, and nobody can even guess at the real reason why. 

Meanwhile Lady Lillian, Sam’s sister, is useless and arrogant, refusing to accept that things have changed and that her title is not going to get her what she wants, least of all from her husband Beau.

In the midst of it all Dermot and Isabella Murphy try their best to maintain a life and a home for their family, but the trials and tribulations of life at Robinswood might just tear them all apart. .

My Review:

Ms. Grainger has exceeded herself as the supreme storyteller of the Irish, whether or not she’s ever kissed the Blarney Stone, which btw, as I understand it, is not all that far from Cork, from whence she hails. This book grabs you from the beginning and takes you through highs and lows ending in a thrilling conclusion containing not one but two twists that take your breath away.

Trials and Tribulations by Jean GraingerIt’s easy to love these characters, all hard-working, driven, and pulling together to make a success of Robinswood. What’s not to love? The writing style is easy, descriptive, and sensitive, wrenching from even the hardened reviewer emotive sighs. The continuation of the story of the Kenefick and Murphy families (and their reversal of roles) drives this well-plotted domestic drama.

There is a lot going on in this one and I wish I could skim without spoilers, but this is one you have to read for yourself to appreciate. Kate (the wife of Sam), while the youngest of the three (Murphy) sisters, seem to have taken on the job of coordinating the management and has fallen severely short of manpower with the illness of her mother that also affects her dad. She is at her wits end, needs help, and sending up distress signals hasn’t seemed to work. Lady Lillian (and the former lady of the manor), is still more liability than asset. “Lillian was as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike…”

Outhouse There are guests to attend, meals to prepare, fields, animals, and outhouses to convert to much-needed labor housing. (In America we use that term for a structure meant to describe a relief station with no plumbing.) Eve’s husband Bartley, who is a seventh son of a seventh son and a former traveller (or tinker) is working with Beau (Lillian’s husband), and Mark (Aisley’s husband). There is a complex layer of little side dramas, pregnancies, and conflicts. One of the conflicts becomes deadly and leads to another whole drama affecting the entire tribe.

Character and locale driven, this storyline is immersive, including engaging characters you come to care about, whether empathetic or annoying. You might well wish to begin with the first in this series to fully understand where this book begins. The narrative can function fine as a standalone with simple references to a previous relationship. Grainger invokes some fine Irish humor and the dialogue is natural. The evolution of Lillian was one I didn’t expect, and I LOVED the conclusion. While I had a suspicion of the final twist, it was the journey to that moment that had you holding your breath in disbelief. Okay, Ms. Grainger, you put one over on us and I know you are very busy snickering about it. I loved the new character Hannah, my heart ached for Bartley, and soared with Beau.

I was given this digital download as an advance to those special few in hopes of a review and these are my own opinions. This is the best one yet; could also have been titled tragedy and triumph. Highly recommended. You can’t go wrong here, folks. Trust me.

Book Details:

Genre: 20th Century Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Historical Irish Fiction

  • ASIN: B07XGFMB15

Print Length: 331 pages
Publication Date: To be released October 1, 2019
Source: Author Request
Title Link: Trials and Tribulations

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Jean Grainger - authorThe Author: JEAN GRAINGER, USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.

WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

Hello and thanks for taking time out to check out my page. If you’re wondering what you’re getting with my books then think of the late great Maeve Binchy but sometimes with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 150 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dog, a chi-chon called Scrappy-Do.

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose…The fourth Conor O’Shea book is called The Homecoming of Bubbles O’Leary and features a group of friends taking their friend Bubbles home to Ireland from New York, on last time.

My first World War 2 novel, ‘So Much Owed’ is a family saga based in Ireland following the Buckley family of Dunderrig House. The story opens in the trenches of WW1 at the end of the war and moves to tranquil West Cork. As the next generation of the Buckley family find themselves embroiled once again in war, the action moves from Ireland to wartime Belfast, from occupied France to the inner sanctum of German society in neutral Dublin. The history of the period was my academic specialty so I’m delighted to be able to use it in a work of fiction.

I released a second WW2 book, called ‘What Once Was True’ earlier this year and so far people seem to really like it. Its set in a big old house, and based on the lives of the two families that live there, The Keneficks that own it and the Murphys that work for them.

Shadow of a Century, is set in New York in 2015 as well as in Dublin during the events of Easter Week 1916, where Irish men and women fought valiantly to rid our island of British Imperialism. While not my academic specialty, I loved researching this book. My husband, most fortunately for me is an expert on this era and so I didn’t have to go too far for assistance. The story features three very strong women, united through a battered old flag. Its essentially a love story, but with a bit of intrigue thrown in for good measure.

Under Heaven’s Shining Stars, was published in 2016 and is set in my home city of Cork. My next book, What Once Was True, tells the story of a big old house in Co Waterford during WW2. Two families live there, the impoverished Keneficks who own it and the hard-working Murphys who work for them. Life has remained unchanged for centuries but when war comes, it means everything changes and people have to question what once was true. This book was selected by Bookbub readers as in the top 19 Historical Fiction books of 2018. The sequel to this, Return to Robinswood, continues the story. (See my review here.)

My latest book, The Star and the Shamrock is about two little German Jewish children who find themselves on the Kindertransport out of Berlin. They end up in Northern Ireland and it was a real labour of love. The research was harrowing at times, but I hope I’ve done justice to the stories of so many children who escaped the Nazi terror, often never again to see their parents. This is a book of hope in dark times, of the enduring power of love and the incredible resilience of the human spirit.

Many of the people who have reviewed my books have said that you get to know the characters and really become attached to them, that’s wonderful for me to hear because that’s how I feel about them too. I grew up on Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell and I aspired to being like them. If you buy one of my books I’m very grateful and I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or even if you don’t, please take the time to post a review. Writing is a source of constant contentment to me and I am so fortunate to have the time and the inclination to do it, but to read a review written by a reader really does make my day.

***Truncated in the interest of space–please see her entire bio here.

Cartoon outhouse attribution: clipartmag.com (Thank you)

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan HigginsBook Blurb:

Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.

When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her–until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley.

So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?

My Review:

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan HigginsThis book for some unfathomable reason is classified as comedic drama, among the others I’ve listed below. Humorous? No. Raw, emotional, dramatic, yes. The primary or main character here is Emma London, a 35-year-old single mother booted from Genevieve London’s (her grandmother) home when she divulged that she was (at 18) pregnant. She had been dumped on her grandmother’s doorstep after her father who lost his wife to suicide determined he could no longer care for her and her grandmother fed, clothed, and fostered her for ten years–sans love.

Fortunately, Emma could go to Pops and he would take her in, helping with the baby and providing a roof over her head while she struggled through school eventually becoming a therapist. The daughter she bore, Riley, became the light of her life, her ever-driving force, and she determined to be the best mother ever. She has, however, been left with a monumental school tab and now faced with her daughter looking at her last year of high school and college is struggling with the specter of her education as well.

After seventeen years with no communication from Genevieve, Emma suddenly gets a call that she is dying and would like to see Emma again and meet her great-granddaughter. Emma had an extremely contentious relationship with the extremely-rich Genevieve and normally would have nothing to do with her again, except that Genevieve sweetens the pot by offering to pay for Riley’s college expenses–if they’ll only stay for the summer at Sheerwater (pretentious mansion) so Genevieve won’t have to die alone.

Told in the POV of Emma, Genevieve, Riley, and Miller (a neighbor), it is Miller with whom I most invested. He is desperately sad, exhausted, and emotionally engaging. He lost his wife to childbirth and now the three-year-old rules with an iron fist. He’s beyond wit’s end. I also greatly appreciated a couple of the support characters, one being her grandfather, Pops, who decides he’ll accompany Emma and Riley in the move to the Long Island Sound in Connecticut in spite of his active contempt for Genevieve. Genevieve lost her beloved Sheppard, her oldest son, and a year later her husband; and she hasn’t gotten over it and is still bitter.

Genevieve is spiteful, nasty, loveless, and spares no one her thoughtless barbs. Emma disappointed her and she doesn’t miss a chance to say so. Riley, at sixteen, is almost syrupy sweet, too perfect to be a real sixteen year old and bounces in to charm Genevieve. There are many peripheral characters, including Emma’s dad, and Riley’s baby-daddy, Jason.

The author’s writing style hooks the reader almost immediately. It’s contemporary dialogue easily believable, sometimes profound and emotive. I found Emma on the neurotic side (perhaps that is understandable) but at times seemed to need therapy herself. I could almost buy the relationship between mother and daughter, they only have each other and Pops, but still, it slid over the top a few times. It seemed the most genuine is Miller and he is also the most sympathetic.

It’s a study in family dynamics, the little each member actually knows where the other is coming from, particularly separated by generations. Back story into each character at times lent another peek and allowed character growth, though first impressions usually remained about the strength (or lack thereof) of the person and twists or red herrings didn’t change where this storyline would venture. It is the how or why that keeps the reader gripped and turning pages. Why, why? Yeah…you know why. All along you knew why.

If you appreciate the fabric that holds families together, in spite of the warts, the secrets, tragedies, or perhaps because of the tragedies, you’ll appreciate this powerful narrative. While you may think it’s predictable, you’ll appreciate the artful way Higgins weaves her tale in and out as well as the satisfying conclusion, laying everything softly to rest–er…so to speak.

I received this beautiful print book from a Giveaway I won at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction with no expectation of a review. These are my own opinions and mostly, I loved it. You can connect with her also at #stephlvsbooks. Thank you again, Steph! I’ve become a Kristan Higgins fan and will look for additional books from the author.

Book Details:

Genre: Mother’s and Children’s Fiction, Contemporary Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Berkley

  • ISBN-10:045148942X
  • ISBN-13:978-0451489425
  • ASIN: B07KDWT4PY

Print Length: 448 pages
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Source: Giveaway at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction
Title Link: Life and Other Inconveniences

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Kristan Higgins - authorThe Author: Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of 19 novels, which have been translated into more than two dozen languages and sold millions of copies worldwide. Her books have received dozens of awards and accolades, including starred reviews from Kirkus, The New York Journal of Books, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, People and Booklist. If you want to keep up with Kristan’s new releases and get a free short story, sign up for her mailing list at http://www.kristanhiggins.com.

Her books regularly appear on the lists for best novels of the year. Kristan is also a cohost of the Crappy Friends podcast, which discusses the often complex dynamics of female friendships, with her friend and fellow writer, Joss Dey.

The proud descendant of a butcher and a laundress, Kristan lives in Connecticut with her heroic firefighter husband. They own several badly behaved pets and are often visited by their entertaining and long-lashed children.

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint #BookReviews – August Recap Wrap-Up – #rosepointpub

Rosepoint Reviews - August Recap

Welcome to September! August alternately had some very hot days tempered with cool but an alarmingly little amount of rain. We normally don’t water in NWI, relying on rain. This year I had to water my tomatoes which ended up looking puny and unhappy anyway. And my fairy garden turned swamp garden became so dry the soil was cracking. Still, you can see it doesn’t look much like a desert garden either! It is, however, a work-in-progress. (Yes, the leaves are already beginning to fall.)

Fairy-Swamp Garden

Spending so much time outdoors this time of year, I struggled with getting reviews posted. Perhaps you’ll remember I tried for one from Berkley that was declined and then WON Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristen Higgins from Stephanie at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction. (Or find her at #stephlvsbooks.) Holy smokes that is one riveting read! My associate reviewer, the intrepid CE, read The Plain of Jars by N. Lombardi Jr. which he absolutely loved and gave a glowing five-star review.

In spite of the time spent on my withering gardens, my count of books read in August totaled eleven, which included a biography, thrillers, historical reads, mysteries, and a humorous, LOL-worthy book by Worthen. Review links are listed below the pics.

The Hallows by Victor Methos
The White Feather Killer by R N Morris
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe 
In the Line of Fire by R J Noonan
Desolate Shores by Daryl Wood Gerber
Bark of Night by David Rosenfelt (an Audiobook)
Grateful American by Gary Sinise
Thicker Than Water by Johnny Worthen
The Firefly Witch by Amanda Hughes
Hot Shot by Fern Michaels

Still lagging on my Goodreads Challenge, hoping to catch that up come fall. However, going some time between giveaways and winning, I actually won a second book in the same month–now waiting to receive from across the pond Portal to Murder by Alison Lingwood from Kerry at Chat About Books. Excited? You betcha! You may remember I posted an article about Goodreads Giveaways simultaneously offered on NetGalley. Never win anything? Have you tried recently? Keep trying–someone wins.

I see many of the same books being reviewed by you and always love to read your comments. Was Rewind your favorite of the month? Did you also read one of the above? What were your thoughts on it? (Hard to beat Gary Sinise’s book.) Have one you’d like to recommend? Is it a thriller?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and like my posts and leave those comments and welcome to my new followers!

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56 – Rose City Reader and Freda’s Voice

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56–HOPE EVERYONE IS HAVING A MOST EXCELLENT TGIF!

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

Every Friday you have the opportunity to share the first sentence of the book you are currently reading. I started participating in Book Beginnings last October. It is hosted by Gillian at Rose City Readers. You can too! Just include the title of the book and the author’s name. You may wish to share your impression of the book to date as well. Also please share your post with Mister Linky on her blog site. This week I am spotlighting Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins.

Rose City Reader

Chapter 1 – Emma – “‘You don’t have a brain tumor,'” said my best friend, who, conveniently, was also a neurologist..”

(And because there is a natural tie-in to Freda’s Voice, it is common to combine the two.)

The only rules for participation in Freda’s Voice is to grab a book, any book or the one you are #currentlyreading, turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader, and find a sentence (or a few, but don’t spoil it!), post it, and then add your post URL to the Linky on the host site Freda’s Voice – and there yah go! How’s that for easy!

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56

 

Friday 56:

Chapter 6 – Genevieve – “It was Friday, and Friday meant cocktails with the Jameson and Smiths, my neighbors, and Miller. Donelle was once again complaining of a swollen toe, so it was I who made the drinks. I suppose I didn’t mind. No one could make a better martini than I could, either, so really, the ‘swelling’ served us all well.”

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So what am I thinking?

Told in multiple POVs, this contemporary women’s fiction (also listed as women’s humorous fiction) did start humorously with an educated therapist (Emma) an admitted hypodrondriac. Not satisfied, however, to read into every nuance of her own body, she is also totally in her daughter’s head constantly measuring her thoughts, agonizing over her effectiveness as a mother. She immediately comes off as neurotic–she’s a therapist(?). Her grandmother (Genevieve) is a piece of work. (So far I see Emma losing.) This novel is absolutely riveting.

Did you read this author’s NY Times bestselling book Good Luck With That?

Or have you already beat me to this one? Did you love it? Am I right? (Wait…no, don’t tell me.)

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Yes! Tomorrow is August 9th–a Special Day for #BookLovers Everywhere

Why? Because it is National Book Lovers Day! There are so many ways to celebrate and enjoy #BookLoversDay.

Love Your Library

I’ll be posting a book tour review for The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs (The Physick Book 2) by Katherine Howe and I must say it’s different and I’m really enjoying.

Reading and writing reviews has virtually replaced working on sales and promo. Back when I was still working on marketing the manuscripts I published for my grandfather, I joined the Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup in Phoenix. Laura Orsini leads the dynamic group and at one meeting introduced a guest from New York who mentioned a unique book share idea called BookCrossing. She said if I’d choose a book, get a BCID number, she’d take it back to New York and leave it somewhere appropriate where it’d be sure to be picked up. (Location is important, of course.)

I LOVED the idea that the book might travel out of New York to who knew where, each new owner registering the book along the way according to the instructions on the little card left with the book. From the website: “BookCrossing is the act of releasing your books ‘into the wild’ for a stranger to find, or via ‘controlled release’ to another BookCrossing member, and tracking where they go via journal entries from around the world.” Of the idea, the New York Times said, “if you love your books, let them go” and the San Francisco Chronicle said, “a modern-day message in a bottle.”

BookCrossing card

Lucky Joe by Stanley McShaneWell, I chose Lucky Joe (BCID: 365-13531083) and registered the book in August 2015, then waited with bated breath for someone to log in to the website and enter the identity number. She notified me she’d left it on a bench in Central Park, New York City, and sent me a pic of it. Thrilled! So I waited and waited…and waited…and finally forgot about it thinking someone picked it up alright–probably to use as TP.

It wasn’t until I thought of it now and signed into the website to see whatever happened to it that I discovered the problem. After I registered the book, it was up to me to get back in and mark it as released! Oh groan!! Reading the stats that are recorded, it goes somewhat like this:

  • Books registered
  • Released in the wild (duh)
  • Controlled releases
  • Releases caught
  • Controlled releases caught
  • Books found (etc.)

UGH! Now seeing that, I’m thinking, why not try it again? Pick a different book? Hopefully, you’ve learned something today along with myself. (Don’t make the same mistake I did.)

1 journaler for this copy…

Journal Entry 1 by smcshane from GoodyearArizona USA on Tuesday, August 11, 2015

This book has been registered and is ready to travel! This could be a great adventure–watch for progress.

The promo and marketing journey is extensive (and exhausting). A giant learning curve that I am still negotiating (obviously).

So I must ask: What unique ideas have you tried for marketing your books? Have you ever seen this before? Let me know in your comments, please.

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Rosepoint #BookReviews – July Recap Wrap-Up – #rosepointpub

Rosepoint Reviews - July Recap

Goodbye hot and steamy July! Hello August–also hot and steamy (but tomato harvest time if I can get the possums and bunnies to stay out of my garden). I had an absolutely amazing abundance of tomatoes last year and discovered the art of drying cherry tomatoes–fruit candy! So good! Will be no such thing this year. On the bright side, hubby finished my swamp boat for the (formerly “fairy”) swamp garden and I have it nestled against the wharf. So cute, but now the scale is off with the boat shed against the monster maple tree and will have to build a larger size with the current shed front performing an entry door type function. Yes, it’s getting sillier and sillier, but it’s a senior thing, what can I say?

But I did get some reading in, between working the three gardens, house maintenance, and decorating projects. I also went on another quest of upping book requests and answering in a timely basis blogger buddy posts. Yes! I finally managed to get my website set so I receive your new posts and I’m thrilled. Hopefully now I can respond in a more timely fashion and see what you are currently working on–instead of retroactive.

One review from the CE this month, Medellín Acapulco Cold (a book tour), one spotlight, a book tour, an audiobook, and a number from NetGalley. I also wrote a couple book-related posts including the finding of a Goodreads Giveaways also available on NetGalley. Of the six Giveaways I listed, one hit movie trailers the very next day and was advertising #1 Bestseller (in Animal Fiction) The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein elsewhere. (Have you seen them? It’s even sandwiched between Words With Friends games.) I was declined for the download of the other one catching a lot of attention, Life and Other Inconveniences. Berkeley (not the first time declined). According to what I was reading in the Being Declined group on NetGalley in Goodreads, many others were writing back asking for a second chance and I jumped on it–apparently to no avail. No communication from them yet. Darn…I’ll have to see the movie! 😃

So only a count of eight in July. (I’m so embarrassed.) These were all terrific reads and I can recommend any–from thrillers to humorous fiction. I got real lucky (or better in my selection) this month!

Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard

The Great American Cheese War by Paul Flower

The Unlucky Ones by Kerry Wilkinson

The Road Home by Richard Paul Evans (Audiobook)

Let’s Fake a Deal by Sherry Harris

The Secret Cove in Croatia by Julie Caplin

Finding Billie Romano by Jean Grainger

You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman

My Goodreads Challenge is now lagging with seven books behind schedule–but fall and winter is a-comin’! The NetGalley Challenge, likewise, while a bit slow may still have a chance at 60 out of 75. Last month, trying to get more from NetGalley on my TBR, I requested eleven books and am happy to report receiving nine. Janis by Holly George-Warren Two have had no response but at least not declined. Of the additional eight requested in July, I’m sad to say, only four were approved, including Janis (and excited about that one!), but have had no response for three and was declined for Life and Other Inconveniences as mentioned above (maybe I’ll win it on Goodreads).

July definitely had an interesting mix of genres but all were great books with strong nudges to five stars.

I love it when you hook into a book I’ve reviewed, and I’m always looking toward your reviews to steer me into noteworthy reads. Which of the above are on your TBR–did you agree with my assessment?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and like my posts and leave those comments. They are SOOO appreciated!

©2019 V Williams Blog author

You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman – a #BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

You've Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman

Book Details

You’ve Been Volunteered: A Class Mom Novel
Humorous Fiction
2nd in Series
Henry Holt and Co. (July 23, 2019)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1250301858
ISBN-13: 978-1250301857
Digital ASIN: B07HLZH7BH

Book Blurb

In the eagerly anticipated follow-up to Laurie Gelman’s “irreverent and hilarious” (The New York Post) hit Class Mom, brash, lovable Jen Dixon is back with a new class and her work cut out for her

If you’ve ever been a room parent or school volunteer, Jen Dixon is your hero. She says what every class mom is really thinking, whether in her notoriously frank emails or standup-worthy interactions with the micromanaging PTA President and the gamut of difficult parents. Luckily, she has the charm and wit to get away with it—most of the time. Jen is sassier than ever but dealing with a whole new set of challenges, in the world of parental politics and at home.

She’s been roped into room-parenting yet again, for her son Max’s third grade class, but as her husband buries himself in work, her older daughters navigate adulthood, and Jen’s own aging parents start to need some parenting themselves, Jen gets pulled in more directions than any one mom, or superhero, can handle.

Refreshingly down-to-earth and brimming with warmth, Dixon’s next chapter will keep you turning the pages to find out what’s really going on under the veneer of polite parent interactions, and have you laughing along with her the whole way.

My Review

You've Been Volunteered by Laurie GelmanOh My Stars! Guess I expected a good read when I saw the title as well as the book cover and it definitely exceeded my expectations! Judging from the reception the novel has received and is happily shared by many, MANY moms out there who have ever had to deal with those “volunteered” class assignments, we’ve all had similar experiences but were never capable of putting it in quite these amusing terms.

And does Jen Dixon ever voice her opinions! In hilarious notes and emails to the parents of her classroom of which she is performing class mom function. It’s a system of communication and liaison between parents and teacher through a mediator facilitator–the class mom. If that isn’t enough duty for an early fifty-something mom of a precocious third grade, eight-year-old going on snarky 14, she has additionally been volunteered for safety patrol coordinator. Oh the joy of it all! You’ve heard the term “herding cats?”

Her over-the-top emails were termed “stand-up worthy” and I’d say Huzzah to that and then some! Jen Dixon’s communications are laced with irreverent, impatient, sassy, sarcastic just saying it like it is pleas for participation in the various class events throughout the year.

Jen is not just dealing with her over the innocent, cute stage offspring, however, as she’s still square in the middle of both her young adult daughters, one of whom is roaming Europe with a band (she can SOOO identify!), the other appearing to have boyfriend problems, and parents who are beginning to reverse the parent/child role. Been there, done that. It’s called the “sandwich years” and keeps you in the middle between both issues for some time, not to mention those duties at home which also lead to some hilarious LOL lines. I think my favorite, however, was the girl’s night out where she left a sick child with her husband and his constant texts asking the location of thermometers, soup, and fever reducers. Yes! It’s the same in other households–I feel so much better…

A couple of witticisms: [her son] “was only doing what I would have done if it was acceptable adult behavior.”

“Ron is obviously looking for a little jeans-around-the-ankle action.”

“How’s that for lipstick on a pig.”

The novel is peppered with comical prose, wise-crack sayings, one-liners, and those thoughts that come from a history with people you know and love (or tolerate). But it also touches on thought-provoking issues such as pregnancy, the aging process and serious illness, finances, and close friends.

While this was the second in the Class Mom series, it can easily be read as a standalone as you get enough well-developed characters to understand and appreciate both the first person and all her support characters, both at home, at school, old buddies and new. Now I must go back and find Class Mom (book 1).

I was given this digital download for this blog tour and was thrilled to provide a read and review and these are my own opinions. Totally recommended–had a bad day? You need this.

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Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win one of (3) Print Copies – You’ve Been Volunteered: A Class Mom Novel by Laurie Gelman U.S. Only in this Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Laurie Gelman - authorLaurie Gelman was born and raised in the Great White North. She spent twenty-five years as a broadcaster in both Canada and the United States before trying her hand at writing novels. The author of Class Mom, Laurie has appeared on Live With Ryan and Kelly, Watch What Happens Live, and The Talk, among others. She lives in New York City with her husband, Michael Gelman, and two teenage daughters.

Author Links – Twitter: @lauriemgelman     Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lauriegelman/

Purchase Links – Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Kobo – IndieBound – Google Play 

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

Tour Participants:

July 22 – Books Direct -SPOTLIGHT

July 23 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 24 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

July 25 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

July 26 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

July 27 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

July 28 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

July 29 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

July 29 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT

July 30 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

July 31 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

August 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  

August 2 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2019 V Williams Blog author

#ComingSoon – #romance #occult #cozy Looking For Some New Reading Ideas?

Amazing the way we choose the books we’ll read and how often, more than not, we choose because of the cover or the title. So I admit it, these three spoke to me, one way or another.

#comingsoon

The Secret Cove in Croatia (Romantic Escapes, Book 5) by Julie Caplin is a romance. Gasp! I know what you are thinking! Rosepoint doesn’t do romance. And normally that would be correct, except in this instance, Croatia is in the title. In 1995 we received an exchange student for his senior year of high school–from Croatia. (His country was at war and he promptly asked if he could stay. Now we call him our Croatian son.) So okay, I am #currentlyreading this one just released July 19th and will review on Friday, July 26th.

Book Blurb:

The Secret Cove in Croatia by Julie CaplinSail away to beautiful Croatia for summer sun, sparkling turquoise seas and a will-they-won’t-they romance you won’t be able to put down!

When no-nonsense, down-to-earth Maddie Wilcox is offered the chance to work on a luxury yacht for the summer, she can’t say no. Yes she’ll be waiting on the posh guests… But island-hopping around the Adriatic sea will more than make up for it – especially when Nick, her best friend Nina’s brother, is one of them.

Sparks fly when they meet onboard and Maddie can’t believe self-entitled jerk Nick is really related to Nina. But in a secret, picture-perfect cove, away from the real world, Maddie and Nick discover they might have more in common than they realise…

The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe is an occult fiction/literary saga. Ooh, sounds witchy, huh? I couldn’t resist. Something about that premise just grabs me. And behold that cover! Do you like it, too? It actually released June 25th, but I’m reading for a book tour and will review on my blog date August 9th.

Book Blurb:

The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine HoweConnie Goodwin is an expert on America’s fractured past with witchcraft. A young, tenure-track professor in Boston, she’s earned career success by studying the history of magic in colonial America—especially women’s home recipes and medicines—and by exposing society’s threats against women fluent in those skills. But beyond her studies, Connie harbors a secret: She is the direct descendant of a woman tried as a witch in Salem, an ancestor whose abilities were far more magical than the historical record shows.

When a hint from her mother and clues from her research lead Connie to the shocking realization that her partner’s life is in danger, she must race to solve the mystery behind a hundreds’-years-long deadly curse.

Flashing back through American history to the lives of certain supernaturally gifted women, The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs affectingly reveals not only the special bond that unites one particular matriarchal line, but also explores the many challenges to women’s survival across the decades—and the risks some women are forced to take to protect what they love most.

The Garden Club Murder (A Tish Tarragon Mystery Book 2) by Amy Patricia Meade is a cozy culinary mystery and I admit it, I saw that dog and my heart melted–it’s a Bichon Frise. I knew that because I have one. No way could my sweet Frosty be despised, so obviously this antagonist totally messed up with his puppy training techniques.

Book Blurb:

The Garden Club Murder by Amy Patricia MeadeLiterary caterer Letitia ‘Tish’ Tarragon is preparing her English Secret Garden-themed luncheon for Coleton Creek’s annual garden club awards, but when she is taken on a tour of some of the top contenders with the garden club’s president, Jim Ainsley, Tish is surprised at how seriously the residents take the awards – and how desperate they are to win.

Wealthy, retired businessman Sloane Shackleford has won the coveted best garden category five years in a row, but he and his Bichon Frise, Biscuit, are universally despised. When Sloane’s bludgeoned body is discovered in his pristine garden, Tish soon learns that he was disliked for reasons that go beyond his green fingers. Have the hotly contested awards brought out a competitive and murderous streak in one of the residents?

One of these appeal to you as well? If you’ve already read one, let me know what you think. So far I’m enjoying the romantic storyline in Croatia, but this one’s an exception. I still don’t do romance.

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Goodreads Giveaways – Can You Find them on NetGalley?

Goodreads Giveaways - NetGalley

The good news is that there is a remarkable number of crossovers from Giveaways on Goodreads to those being offered by publishers on NetGalley for the mere promise of a review.

The bad news is that I could not search for five-star books I could recommend from any that I read and reviewed recently.  (My opinion, of course.) Oh, and the other bad news, I could not find a filter that would allow me to search for books other than (mainly) US. Apologies to my friends and readers across the pond, perhaps you get different listings?

There were some listed US and Canada. But actually, there were few filters, although you can search for Kindle format books. Why would they be limited to US? As you no doubt know, Giveaway books are listed as Featured, Ending Soon, Most Requested, or Recently Listed. Most of the books listed below appear on the Most Requested list…26 pages long. No filter for genres either and the following are mixed.

There are approximately 22 per page, although perhaps there is also a filter to increase per page views that I didn’t see. The last two appearing here were not found on NetGalley, but they are also by bestselling authors, the last of which will appear on the silver screens releasing August 9, 2019.

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

The Last Widow (Will Trent, #9)

by Karin Slaughter (Goodreads Author)

Print copy, US, Giveaway ends August 10, 2019

Release date: Aug 20, 2019

The highly-anticipated new Will Trent novel by #1 internationally bestselling author Karin Slaughter.

Also available for request on NetGalley from Harper Collins Publishers

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

Life and Other Inconveniences
by Kristan Higgins (Goodreads Author)

Print copy, US, Giveaway ends August 5, 2019

Release date: Aug 06, 2019

From the New York Times bestselling author of Good Luck with That comes a new novel about a blue-blood grandmother and her black-sheep granddaughter who discover they are truly two sides of the same coin.

Also available for request on NetGalley from Harper Collins Publishers

Blue Moon by Lee Child

Blue Moon (Jack Reacher, #24)
by Lee Child (Goodreads Author)

Print copy, US, Giveaway ends August 9, 2019 Listed among “Most Requested”

Release date: Oct 29, 2019

In the next highly anticipated installment of Lee Child’s acclaimed suspense series, Jack Reacher comes to the aid of an elderly couple . . . and confronts his most dangerous opponents yet.

Also available for request on NetGalley from Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Olive, Again
by Elizabeth Strout (Goodreads Author)

Print copy, US, Giveaway Ends July 29, 2019

Release date: Oct 15, 2019

Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment…

Also available for request on NetGalley from Random House Publishing Group

Water Lily Dance by Michelle Muriel

Water Lily Dance
by Michelle Muriel (Goodreads Author)

Print copy, US, Giveaway ends August 12, 2019

Release date: Aug 20, 2019

*SIGNED HARDCOVER BOOK EARLY COPIES OF WATER LILY DANCE FROM MICHELLE MURIEL BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF ESSIE’S ROSES*

Obsession. Rivalry. Revolution. Three brave women. Three centuries. One Paris.
The lives and secrets of three women, centuries apart, intersect at the artist Claude Monet’s garden in this emotional, imaginative portrait of loss, love, and second chances.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the Rain
by Garth Stein (Goodreads Author)

Print copy, US, Giveaway ends August 11, 2019

Release date: July 30, 2019

Based on the best-selling novel by Garth Stein, THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN is a heartfelt tale narrated by a witty and philosophical dog named Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner).

The Art of Racing in the Rain – In theaters August 9th!

Have you tried for a Goodreads Giveaway recently? How do you search? (I could use some hints!) I couldn’t resist Kristan Higgins book (above). Or, maybe Harper Collins and NetGalley will grant me a copy!

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Rosepoint #BookReviews – June Recap – #rosepointpub

Goodbye June. Hello steamy July! Here in the US, the month of firecrackers and BBQ (and some would say beer). If you’re not in America, you can toast to our health. (Heaven knows we need it!)

Rosepoint Reviews - June Recap 

It always concerns me when I see what was a fawn (now a wayward teenage deer) wondering around carelessly by herself. Now I know why! Today the doe with her new baby was spotted scarfing up mulberries down by my fairy garden. The fawn still had all her spots. So cute. And fortunately, neither mother nor baby checked out my veggie garden. Well, they are too late anyway–the bunnies got the fresh, tender edibles while somehow avoiding the kale. I’d have gladly traded them the kale for the Swiss chard!

Still concentrating on outside activities, the three “gardens,” fairy, veggie, and flower bed along with inside projects, I did manage to get in eleven reviews. Several author requests, one for Sage’s Book Tours, several for Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, books from NetGalley, and one audiobook. If you missed any of these reviews, please see the links below.

Those were some great books, including several with my five stars! Links to the June reviews:

Pysanky Promise – Cathy Witbeck

Murder She Uncovered – Peg Cochran

Sam Wick Rapid Thriller series – Chase Austin

The Alchemist of Lost Souls – Mary Lawrence

When Sally Comes Marching Home – Richard Milton

Across the River – Richard Snodgrass

The Image Seeker – Amanda Hughes

A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook by Richie Billing

Mistaken Identity Crisis – James J Cudney

The Hiding Place – CJ Tudor

Digging Up History – Sheila Connolly

My Goodreads Challenge is on track. The NetGalley Challenge, however, is definitely OFF track. In a desperate frenzy to get somewhat back ON track, I went to NetGalley and requested eleven books, received two on “Read Now” (Rewind and Fatal Cajun Festival) and placed Denali by Ben Moon on their Wish list. Any chance of getting that one? Here are the two I’ll be starting now:

 

Of the eight remaining requested, received today approval for three, Tracking Game, 29 Seconds, and A Cold Trail. Hopefully,  if all are accepted for download, it won’t blow me out of the 80 percentile! Do you see something here you’ve read?

 

Awaiting request approval:

July is, once again, an eclectic mix of genres that include everything from a cozy mystery to thrillers. Of course, these won’t all be July reads, the #tbr is spread over several months with two of these releasing in November and one in 2020. I received four notices of “Loans” available from my library audiobook requests and, slammed, managed to get through two before the other two fell off the list and back into the library. I posted the audiobook review for The Hidden Place  (see link above) and just finished another called The Road Home by Richard Paul Evans. And guess what? It’s the third in the series. But it is excellent! I’ll be reviewing that one shortly.

One short note with WordPress, again (or still), most of the bloggers I follow have to be refollowed every time I visit. I’m not sure how this happens and last time I corrected worked for two days before it reverted. I do like hearing from all of you and will continue to try and find you and refollow.

As always, please share with me your ideas for great reads and thank you so much for taking the time to read and like my posts and leave those comments. They are SOOO appreciated!

©2019 V Williams Blog author

NYT Bestsellers and Bestselling Authors – Literary Genius or Luck?

NYT Bestseller banner

How many of the books you read are designated NYT bestsellers? What does it take to reach that lofty title?

NYT Bestselling authors and books

Can you name the last book and author you read with that title splashed across the top of their book? I’m sure you can! I see “bestselling author” quite often as well as “bestseller.” And many of my favorite authors can boast that label. But a New York Times Bestseller identification is not easily won, kept, or replaced by a second from the same author. There is a complicated science to the whole thing (but you knew there would be!), as noted in the article posted by Allie Nicodemo on April 6, 2018. (Thank you, Allie)

It makes sense that all the hype of a book should start generating interest months prior to release date because all the excitement generated should hopefully last more than ten weeks, after which she quotes researchers found a precipitous drop in interest.

New York Times Bestseller badge The vast majority are sold within the first few weeks according to her source, Northeastern network scientist Albert-László Barabási (Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science and Distinguished Professor of Physics and director the Center for Complex Network Research.) But it doesn’t end there. From the early sales record, they can develop a model that will predict how many copies a book will sell. Which can either be extremely exciting or highly depressing, huh!

And they maintain,  

“If you don’t have that momentum properly orchestrated for the book, you may sell lots of copies, but you will not make the list.” 

The numbers obviously change with the season (or the month), wherein a book released in February with as few as 3,000 sales may make the list while a December release (with shopping and gifts in consideration) may take as many as 10,000 copies to make the same list. Here’s where you can look at December releases and realize just how brave those authors are! Generates a whole new respect, right?! Chosen well (a publishing downtimeand that can include the DAY as well as the month), in order to hit the NYT bestseller list at least 5,000 copies during a one-week period is minimum. WHOA! (I’ve written before that I noticed a majority of the books I request on NetGalley are consistently released on a Tuesday.)

Not surprising that many fiction authors are consistently bestsellers, while non-fiction not so much. Further, there appears to be somewhat of a gender balance writing fiction as opposed to non-fiction.

The most popular genre in fiction books:

Suspense/Thrillers

The most popular genre in non-fiction:

Biography/Autobiography/Memoir

(Yup, and I fall smack-dab into the middle of both of those!)

But wait, are these real sales or a popularity contest? There is a big difference in the various bestselling lists, NY Times, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, and The Wall Street Journal. Are they tracking sales through established book outlets or selecting books with rabid interest; not sales. (Does that explain how Fifty Shades of Grey managed to get off the ground?) While the method may include sales figures, it is a source of controversy whether it or not it also includes, and/or how much of, other data and well as use of their own guidelines (which they won’t disclose). It is considered “editorial content.”

I’ve had the good fortune since discovering NetGalley of downloading a number of NYT bestsellers and bestselling authors (see books below) merely for the implied promise of a read and review. And speaking of editorial content, the books are also listed on Goodreads, a source of impartial reviews, possibly more so than Amazon. Of course, that is another subject for discussion on which I posted and invite your comments.

My NYT bestselling authors

The take-away regardless of which list you use as a guide for your choice of reading content is that you should exercise your own healthy skepticism.  Yes, I’m releasing this post on a Tuesday, but no, I have no expectations.

So, do you notice that little designation and buy or request with confidence? Do you have a recent new favorite? I’d love to hear it!

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Goodreads books:

Watching You

Change Your Brain Change our Life

The Death of Mrs. Westaway

The Woman in the Window

My NYT reviews:

The Night Window

Murder in the Reading Room

Buried Deep

The Eighth Sister

Dark Hollow

NYT Bestseller badge by Sqfreepapers.com

Murder She Uncovered by Peg Cochran #BlogTour #BookReview

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Murder She Uncovered by Peg Cochran on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.

Murder She Uncovered

Book Details

Murder, She Uncovered (Murder, She Reported Series)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Alibi (May 28, 2019)
Print Length ~230 Pages
Digital ASIN: B07H1X2RT9

Book Blurb

An intrepid 1930s Manhattan socialite uncovers deadly secrets during an assignment to the Hamptons in this riveting historical cozy mystery for readers of Victoria Thompson, Anne Perry, and Rhys Bowen.

Westhampton, 1938. To the dismay of her well-to-do family, Elizabeth “Biz” Adams is quickly establishing herself as a seasoned photographer over at the Daily Trumpet. Growing more confident in her decision to pursue a career, Elizabeth is thrilled when she and her reporter sidekick, Ralph Kaminsky, are sent to Long Island to cover the story of a young maid found dead in one of the glamourous summer homes in the devastating aftermath of the Great New England Hurricane—also known as the Long Island Express.

At first it’s assumed that the young woman was caught in the terrible storm, but when a suspicious wound is found on the side of her head, the police suspect murder. The maid’s death becomes even more tragic when it’s discovered she was pregnant, and with Elizabeth and Kaminsky at the scene of the crime, the Daily Trumpet scoops all the other papers in town.

The young woman’s boyfriend emerges as the likeliest suspect. But as Elizabeth follows the story, she begins to wonder whether someone in the household of the maid’s employers might be responsible—someone who’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth about the baby’s paternity hidden. . . .

My Review

Murder, She Uncovered by Peg CochranHow fun is that? A historical cozy mystery! And you know what? I really enjoyed it! This is book 2 of the Murder, She Reported series, but I had no problem reading as a standalone as the characters come alive from page one eighty-one years ago–back in 1938–actually.

Elizabeth Adams is seeking some independence from her well-to-do Manhattan lifestyle and went to work for a local newspaper. When she had the chance, she immediately jumped into the realm of the journalist photographer for her seasoned reporter partner, Ralph Kaminsky. He’s become a great mentor and it’s been a learning curve but one she accepts with enthusiasm.

Following a hurricane on Long Island, she and her partner are sent to cover the mysterious death of a young maid of one of the resident’s wealthy homeowners. While there was certainly death and destruction due to the hurricane, the young woman exhibits a wound that would not have been caused by the deadly storm. Unfortunately, the young woman is also found to have been pregnant.

The character of Kaminsky does indeed sound right out of the 30s, chain smoker, and is sweating getting the next scoop to keep his job. Elizabeth (Biz) exhibits all the characteristics (though I wouldn’t know from experience) of the wealthy class who survived the Great Depression and is used to the finer things. It also means she’s a bit on the naive side, innocent to the world out there, and even worse–working in a male-dominated world. (HORRORS!) She is also learning to navigate the good-ole-boy network and is keen on making her mark. Of course, that just wasn’t done then–she should be reeling in a fiancé by now, planning parties, shopping for the latest fashions, and keeping to her station in life; not hob-nobbing with the rabble.

Being back in the 30s is an examination of our recent history, the mores then dividing class, and a country confronting issues never dreamed about ten years previous–trousers on a woman?? It’s a fun romp in the time and tide of the country when censorship was definitely more lax and women were just awakening to the opportunities that extended beyond the kitchen and babies. Elizabeth is a great character, still dodging her family and their judgment but discovering she is capable and can decide for herself whether or not the (wealthy) man groomed for her would be her choice (or not). And that was my only niggle–the comfort in her lifestyle, money, meals, and domestic help. It’s still too easy for her to slip back into that monied zone.

I was given this download by the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. This cozy is a different and thoroughly enjoyable experience and I’m looking forward to seeing more in this series. Recommended for those who read cozies, but would prefer one with a unique premise in a different time and culture.

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

Peg Cochran - author

Mystery writing lets Peg Cochran indulge her curiosity under the guise of “work” (aka research). As a kid, she read the entire set of children’s encyclopedias her parents gave her and has been known to read the dictionary. She put pen to paper at age seven when she wrote plays and forced her cousins to perform them at Christmas dinner. She switched to mysteries when she discovered the perfect hiding place for a body down the street from her house.

When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, cooking, spoiling her granddaughter and checking her books’ stats on Amazon.

A former Jersey girl, Peg now resides in Michigan with her husband and Westhighland white terrier, Reg. She is the author of the Sweet Nothings Lingerie series (written as Meg London), the Gourmet De-Lite series, the Lucille series, the Cranberry Cove series,   and the Farmer’s Daughter series.

Author Links:  

Website – http://www.pegcochran.com/

Newsletter Sign Up –  http://www.pegcochran.com/newsletter-signup.html

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/@pegcochran

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5352603.Peg_Cochran

BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/peg-cochran

Purchase Links:

Amazon    B&N   Kobo

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

Tour Participants:

May 28 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 28 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

May 29 – ❧Defining Ways❧ – SPOTLIGHT

May 29 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

May 29 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

May 30 – The Cozy Pages – REVIEW

May 30 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

May 31 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

May 31 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW

June 1 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST

June 1 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

June 3 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

June 3 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 4 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

June 4 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 5 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

June 5 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

June 5 – 4covert2overt ☼ A Place In The Spotlight ☼ – SPOTLIGHT

June 6 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

June 6 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW

June 7 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

June 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 8 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

June 8 – Kelly P’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT

June 9 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

June 9 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 10 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

June 10 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Rosepoint Publishing – May Recap – #rosepointpub

Rosepoint Reviews-May Recap

NO! Just when I thought we’d seen the last of the white stuff, looking out my kitchen window this morning, I see fluffy little white balls landing on the roof next door and a check of my backyard saw equal measures of white decorating the green. Snow? (Not that it couldn’t happen!) But no…cotton blowing in the wind from the cottonwood trees that line the back road and surround the ponds which are prolific here in the rust belt. If not natural, the ponds are man-made. (All the better to hatch mosquitoes and while not Texas size, certainly hungry enough to really be a nuisance.) I think I’ve actually witnessed them licking the “Off” off! Like the over-priced tick medication bought from the vet to prevent ticks on the dog that still comes home with busy little black dots looking for a way through that heavy Bichon fur coat to find a permanent home (and some did).

Important to become a nose breather this time of year, as opening your mouth to take a nice deep breath may result in ingesting nature’s air balls. I mention this just so you understand how heroic my forthcoming flower, veggie, and fairy garden is. With all the rain we’ve had, the soil is so saturated it’s difficult to plant anything other than water lilies. Ah, well, life in NWI (northwest Indiana).

SO enough with the excuses, I did read and review some books and plugged several in I hadn’t previously scheduled. My woeful tally for the month of May–eight. (Goodreads link on the book covers. My review links below.)

Like Lions by Brian Panowich Prologue to Murder by Lauren Elliott The Night Window by Dean Koontz The Lost Road to Key West by Michael Reisig Decanted Truths: An Irish-American Novel by Melanie Forde The Star and the Shamrock by Jean Grainger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like Lions by Brian Panowich

Prologue to Murder by Lauren Elliott

The Night Window by Dean Koontz

The Lost Road to Key West by Michael Reisig

The Going Back Portal by Connie Lacy

Decanted Truths by Melanie Forde

Impeccable Petunia by Katie Christine

The Star and the Shamrock by Jean Grainger

My Goodreads Challenge is at 82/200–hoping by the end of June will represent half-way through the challenge. The Alphabet Challenge is stalled–same old letters (anyone have a V, X, Y, or Z they can recommend?) and the NetGalley Challenge is not quite halfway. Several of the above were author requests.

June promises to be an eclectic mix of genres that includes a children’s book from Sage’s Reading Room, cozy mystery and historical fiction book tours from Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, more author requests (and a short series) as well as independent choices from NetGalley. I’m always looking for recommendations for suspense-thrillers! (Especially with titles starting with the above noted V, X, Y, or Z letters!) Never a shortage of book choices through these links! AND, I’ve requested several audiobooks from my local library (waiting lists), 2019 releases, and will be looking for your suggestions there as well. I’m thinking if I can’t read while gardening, I can certainly listen!

Having problems with the WP format again! It has reverted to the old, old format, or the choice of block. I no longer see the link for the one I was using and this one is AWFUL. Being forced to upgrade–gotta be…

As always, please share with me your ideas for great reads and thank you so much for taking the time to note your likes and comments to my posts and reviews. They are SOOO appreciated!

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Preview – The Star and the Shamrock – by Jean Grainger

The USA Today Bestselling Irish author Jean Grainger is releasing her new book this week and you won’t want to miss it!

The Star and the Shamrock by Jean Grainger

Book Blurb

Ariella Bannon has no choice: she must put her precious children, Liesl and Erich, on that train or allow them to become prey for the Nazis. 

Berlin 1939. 

When her husband doesn’t come home one day, Ariella realises that the only way she can ensure her children’s safety is to avail of the Kindertransport, but can she bear to let them go?

A thousand miles away, Elizabeth Klein has closed herself off from the world. Losing her husband on the last day of the Great War, and her child months later, she cannot, will not, love again. It hurts too much.

But she is all Liesl and Erich Bannon have.

Thrown together in the wild countryside of Northern Ireland, Elizabeth and the Bannon children discover that life in the country is anything but tranquil. Danger and intrigue lurk everywhere, and some people are not what they seem.

From the streets of wartime Berlin, to the bombed out city of Liverpool, and finally resting in the lush valleys of the Ards Penisula, The Star and The Shamrock from USA Today bestselling author Jean Grainger, is unputdownable.

Prologue

Belfast, 1938

The gloomy interior of the bar, with its dark wood booths and frosted glass, suited the meeting perfectly. Though there were a handful of other customers, it was impossible to see them clearly. Outside on Donegal Square, people went about their business, oblivious to the tall man who entered the pub just after lunchtime. Luckily, the barman was distracted with a drunk female customer and served him absentmindedly. He took his drink, sat at the back in a booth as arranged and waited. His contact was late. He checked his watch once more, deciding to give the person ten more minutes. After that, he’d have to assume something had gone wrong.
He had no idea who he was meeting; it was safer that way, everything on a need-to-know basis. He felt a frisson of excitement – it felt good to actually be doing something, and he was ideally placed to make this work. The idea was his and he was proud of it. That should make those in control sit up and take notice.
War was surely now inevitable, no matter what bit of paper old Chamberlain brought back from Munich. If the Brits believed the peace in our time that he promised was on the cards, they’d believe anything. He smiled.
He tried to focus on the newspaper he’d carried in with him, but his mind wandered into the realm of conjecture once more, as it had ever since he’d had the call. If Germany could be given whatever assistance they needed to subjugate Great Britain – and his position within the IRA meant they could offer that and more – then the Germans would have to make good on their promise. A United Ireland at last. It was all he wanted.
He checked his watch again. Five minutes more, that was all he would stay. It was too dangerous otherwise.
His eyes scanned the racing pages, unseeing. Then a ping as the pub door opened. Someone entered, got a drink and approached his seat. He didn’t look up until he heard the agreed-upon code phrase. He raised his eyes, and their gazes met.
He did a double take. Whatever or whomever he was expecting, it wasn’t this.

Stay tuned for my review and all the book details and links of The Star and the Shamrock!

Blog author

The Lost Road to Key West by Michael Reisig – a #BookReview

The Lost Road to Key West by Michael ReisigTitle: The Lost Road to Key West (Book 10) by Michael Reisig

Genre: Men’s Adventures, Action-Adventure, Travel Adventure

Publisher: Clear Creek Press

ASIN: B07RV2KFZT

Print Length: 230 pages

Publication Date: May 13, 2019

Source: Author request

Title Link: The Lost Road to Key West

Book Blurb:

The novel you’re about to read is a work of fiction. But the premise of this story is true – it actually happened. If you enjoy tales of lost treasures, wild adventures, ancient civilizations, and governments that sometimes bury truths, you’re going to like this one.
M.R.
In one of the most incredible plots Michael Reisig has ever created, he blends modern history and an ancient Egyptian chronicle to forge a story that is based on actual, but nearly unbelievable facts. What if, at the turn of the 20th century, two intrepid explorers actually discovered the ruins of an ancient Egyptian city inside the towering walls of the Grand Canyon? What if those explorers were killed, their discovery hidden, and the artifacts they unearthed (along with the chronicles of one of the most remarkable sea-faring, and culture-founding accounts in history) were stolen, and hidden in the basement of one of America’s major historical institutions? 
If you’re looking for a white-knuckle adventure of courage, extraordinary friendships, and “complicated” love affairs, all woven around contemporary and ancient historical accounts, this is the book! So, put on your boots, buckle up, and follow Kansas Stamps and Will Bell into the adventure of a lifetime, or two. 

My Review:                                                                                                     

The Lost Road to Key West by Michael ReisigI always love the outlandish sense of adventure of these two guys, long time buddies, Kansas Stamps and Will Bell. If they can’t find it, you know it will find them and you can bet your book that with a new episode you will have something even more wild and crazy than before. The entertainment comes in the way that author Michael Reisig weaves the adventure where truth lies–then he has a little fun with it. Somewhere, somehow, Reisig finds (for the most part) completely unknown myths or fables and wraps his artistic fiction around it. So let the fun begin.

The Key West series Book 10 actually keeps us within the United States and within our own Grand Canyon. And it is grand–immense actually–with a river 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep it is mind-boggling beautiful, mysterious, and treacherous. Rather than Key West, Mexico, or South America, the author has found another astounding legend to key on. Or is this merely a legend? Don’t all legends begin with some truth, some kernel that is handed down through time?

Was it just a way to sell newspapers, or did the April 5, 1909 edition of the Arizona Gazette recount the actual discovery of a monstrous city-sized cavern that contained artifacts of…Egypt? Nah, couldn’t be. Right? But there were two men who disappeared shortly after relaying their story to the paper that killed evidence of it almost immediately. And the Smithsonian denied ever having had anything to do with Professor S. A. Jordan and G. E. Kinkaid. True, the entrance to the cavern would have changed a great deal in the several millennia following the initial settlement. The entry to the cave system is now 1500 feet down the side of the shear cliff into the canyon wall. Speculation was that it would have originally been river level. But don’t take my word for it. This is fascinating stuff, folks!

Here are the boys with Crazy Eddie and Tax and Jing. We’ve come to love the two offspring of Kansas and Will and in this installment Jing has saved the life of a baby Osprey who she has undertaken to tame and train and will become as valuable as the canines. Kansas still has his beloved dog, Shadow, and they’ve run across Dax, another old buddy who has his canine companion, Smoke. Dax **knew** a guy and he told his story to Kansas and Will. Uh oh.

The guys go into this one light, leaving the Hole in the Coral Wall Gang to their current endeavors. The author always throws in remarkable support characters to augment our main characters and this time it is Connor O’Connor. (If you couldn’t guess, an Irishman.) He has also been hunting for the entrance to the cavern and together they pool info and resources. O’Connor has a monkey and a donkey. Even with the circus, they are a formidable group against the baddies.

Reisig waxes poetic as he recounts sayings of their favorite rastamon, Rufus, and the narrative moves between disbelief and “what ifs.” Three things more or less real (you decide): (1) The Hopi insist they evolved from the “Inner World,” (2) we know that the Cherokee have DNA markers associated with the Berbers (native Egyptians), and (3) many of the areas around the north side of the canyon have Egyptian names, i.e., Isis Temple, Tower of Set, Tower of Ra. Well, it certainly opens the door for some lively discussion, huh?

This installment doesn’t come to a screeching halt like the others sliding in sideways in a haze of dust, sweat, and tears. The conclusion was quiet and somewhat reflective. The series is escapist amusement; sexist, engaging, entertaining, and always a celebration of that exuberant free-wheeling post-Vietnam era, music, booze, and adrenalin. (Ever heard the term “Go fly a bike?” The flyboys returning home had to have another outlet…) But his novels never fail to leave you with fascinating venues or myths to research. This one was a mind-blowing douzy that I (obviously) had a lot of fun with!

While this is Book 10 of The Road to Key West series, each book can be read as a standalone. I received this ebook as a beta-read and later an ARC from the author in hopes of a read and review and these are my own opinions. Recommended as men’s adventures, buddy adventures, and travel adventures full of laugh and scratch.

Rosepoint Recommended

Four point Five of Five Stars Four point Five of Five Stars

 

Michael Reisig - authorThe Author: Michael Reisig has been writing professionally for 20 years. He is a former Caribbean adventurer turned newspaper editor, award-winning columnist, and best-selling novelist. After high school and college in Florida, he relocated to the Florida Keys. He established a commercial diving business, got his pilot’s license, and traveled extensively throughout the southern hemisphere, diving, treasure hunting, and adventuring.

Reisig claims he has been thrown out of more countries in the Caribbean Basin that most people ever visit, and he admits that a great many of the situations and the characters in his novels are authentic – but nothing makes a great read like experience…

He now lives in the mountains of Arkansas, where he hunts and fishes, and writes, but he still escapes to the Caribbean for an occasional adventure.

©2019 V Williams Blog author

 

Rosepoint #BookReviews – April Recap

rosepoint-reviews-april-rec

April proved a whirlwind of follow-up doctor appointments for hubby at the VA. Somehow, somewhere along the line I got behind and seemed no amount of reading or writing would catch me up. I’m taking a hard look at my schedule again, as I did once before when I eliminated one post per week. With spring (supposed to be here–someone forgot to tell Mother Nature!) and visions of flower, veggie, and fairy gardens in my near future, something will have to give. Also, there is spring cleaning an equally harsh look at the bland (read boring) interior design here that just screams for some pop. Well, cleaning first. I haven’t decorated this home quite as wildly as I did the last and then there is the problem of my favorite color now being outdated.

So, how did April finally fare in the end? Fourteen reviews, a massive mix of genres, most of which were downloaded through NetGalley.

Lessons from Lucy by Dave Barry

In Pieces by Sally Field

Murder in Tranquility Park by J D Griffo

The Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni

Restaurant Weeks Are Murder by Libby Klein

Buried Deep by T R Ragan

Murder at the Marina by Janet Finsilver

Magickal Mystery Lore by Sharon Pape

Darwin‘s Cipher by M A Rothman

Doublespeak by Alisa Smith

The Family Lie by Jake Cross

The Body in the Wetlands by Judi Lynn

Lance: A Spirit Unbroken by Walter Stoffel

Murder in the Reading Room by Ellery Adams

Just in case there isn’t enough going on, I’ve added a summer class to the schedule, which is to begin June 10th. It’s not like we have a prolonged summer here in NWI, so I’ll no doubt be back to a somewhat normal schedule come October. In the meantime, my Goodreads Challenge is ahead by a few books, the Alphabet Challenge woefully behind, and the NetGalley Challenge somewhere in the middle.

May will be an easy month with only five NetGalley books (SO FAR–and that depends on rain or the lack thereof), one author request on the Calendar: Like LionsPrologue to MurderThe Night Window by Dean Koontz, The Going Back Portal by Connie Lacey – book tour, Murder by the Seabook tour, Impeccable Petuniaauthor request

You can always see what I have coming up next with my little widget box in the upper right corner. Last month I asked if anyone else was doing the WP block battle? Apparently you were and most agreed with my assessment. Many of the comments regarding the block template were negative. Fortunately, they answered my question and, I swear I didn’t see the link before, got it reversed to my original format.

Now the next conundrum, this one being wrestled by Fictionophile as well as myself. The awful advertisements that appear on my site MUST go. I’m suddenly plagued with them at the top, in the middle, and last thing at my sign off. Got to find enough money to upgrade JUST enough to get rid of those very embarrassing and extremely disruptive ads. You might check in on Lynne if you can help with her questions as well: Will people who have linked to my blog…still be able to use the same links they always did, OR, will they all have to change their links?

AND Will my theme and graphics transfer over smoothly to the new site?

Happy Reading! As always, please share with me your recommendations for great reads and thank you so much for taking the time to post your likes and comments. They are SOOO appreciated!

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Rosepoint #BookReviews – March Recap

Rosepoint Reviews - March Recap

No Fooling–It’s Already April!

My Aunt Margaret said,Struggling with technology is one of the running jokes foisted on seniors and it would appear, based on some truth. Change is not easy for us! Just beginning to get fairly capable with the “classic” format on WordPress, accidentally bumbled into the new and (ahem!!) improved “block” style format. It looks like a blank page and for the life of me could not figure out where my usual toolbar options were now located. Trying to beat a deadline for a blog tour, I was stuck, messing with blocks and no clue how to proceed.

WordPress used to have online help, those savvy sisters that would pop up in a chat box (remember that?) and ask how they could help–and they always did! Now it “flies” through the great blue sky and you’re lucky to get help in two or three days (one request for help took a week and I no longer cared). But is this rant really over? No. I’d love to know how many others using WP really use or like the new block system. Is it truly just me or did it just add additional steps to a formerly easy format? Okay, now I’m off the soapbox–temporarily, at least.

March…well, March as you know was (for me) Reading Ireland Month and I did have a good time with that (using the old, classic format, of course.)

I found some amazing books and one very eye-opening hard-core Irish slang that definitely forced my tolerance level for F-words, sexual innuendo, and dialogue that previously would have had me saying, out loud, “nanny, nanny, nanny” through the naughty parts. That book was so full of them, I’d have been hoarse and had to be content with just thinking it. Gees–but it was a good book–how does that compute? I’d read another, revving up my nanny, nanny, nanny ahead of time, now that I know what I’m in for.

Of the eleven reviews, seven were Irish authors and/or stories, as well as the interview with author Amanda Hughes (sweet lady). These included a couple of cozy mysteries, historical fiction, literary fiction, as well as police procedural noted above.

 

Murder in an Irish Pub by Carlene O’Connor

One Feta in the Grave by Tina Kashian

Reinventing Hillwilla by Melanie Forde

Return to Robinswood by Jean Grainer

Treading the Uneven Road by L M Brown

Interview with author Amanda Hughes

The Secret Place by Tana French

Cocos Island Treasure by Stanley McShane

The Bones She Buried by Lisa Regan

Widow Creek by Sarah Margolis Pearce

Pinot Red or Dead by J C Eaton

2019 Goodreads Reading ChallengeI added to my challenges, but as always finding it difficult to discover book titles that don’t start with the same letters used many times before. At 53 of 200, it would appear my Goodreads Challenge is just about on target. More cozy mysteries coming up as well as literary fiction and thrillers. Working on another beta read for one of my favorite authors and trying to expand my graphics crops for Instagram, on which I’m still devoting too much time.

Anyone else doing the WP block battle? As always, please share with me your recommendations for great reads and thank you so much for taking the time to post your likes and comments. They are SOOO appreciated!

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Cocos Island Treasure by Stanley McShane – a #BookReview

It’s March and I’m participating in the Reading Ireland Month for 2019. This one is an action-adventure fiction by Irish author and artist Stanley McShane. He was my grandfather and you can read about the discovery of his manuscripts, paintings, and poems in my “About Us” page here.

March!

 Title: Cocos Island Treasure by Stanley McShane

Genre: Sea Adventures, Historical Fiction

Publisher: Rosepoint Publishing

  • ASIN: B007D58KZC
  • ISBN-10: 1468177338
  • ISBN-13: 978-1468177336
  • Print Length: 204 pages

Publication Date: October 8, 2012

Title Link: Cocos Island Treasure

Book Blurb:

Cocos Island Treasure by Stanley McShaneWhere did those rasty, barbaric theft-driven pirates bury their treasures in the 17th and 18th Centuries? Perhaps just a little south of the main South Sea shipping lane in a secluded harbor where a short paddle through shark-infested waters to the steamy, fetid jungle island could yield fresh water, food, and gold! Turn-of-the-20th Century fortune hunters from the schooner, Bessie, hunt where only ghosts inhabit–or are they all merely apparitions? Captain Dan was ready to retire until he gained access to a secret cipher–one that he felt sure was authentic enough to reap him millions and willing to risk one more salty adventure to seek the insanely rich treasures of Cocos Island.

Editorial Reviews:

“This book has it all, adventure, mystery and a touch of romance.” – Catmarie

“Cocos Island Treasure is an old school nautical adventure. This work is a window into the by-gone era where maps that detailed the bounty of famous pirate treasure was indeed plausable.” – S Mellen

“Not my usual subject of interest, but a recent documentary on Blackbeard peaked my interest. The author really seems to know his stuff about the subject, and the island itself.” – mpytlikhusb

“I haven’t read a good pirate novel since I read the Sea Wolf as a teenager. Cocos Island Treasure was even more interesting because it is a true story.” – Terry W Sprouse

“It was quite a trip to go back in time, not only considering the setting of the story, but the book’s birth three decades ago. A cross between Stevenson’s Treasure Island…full of the language of the day.” – N Lombardi Jr. author Justice Gone

My Review:

My grandfather wrote this book back in the late 1920s. My mother can remember him tapping out the manuscript with his two index fingers on an old Underwood–older, I’m sure, than the one I use for my logo. While I may be a bit prejudiced, I rated it a five star because I know he was there, walked that beach (Chatham Bay), climbed through those jungles and did his best not to disappear in the many bogs and crevices. (He later noted in a letter what a fun little trip it was!)

The author described this island down to the gnat’s eyeball. Since I’ve researched the island, I’ve found descriptions echoing his down to the wild pigs that were brought to the island and allowed to go feral. He wrote the manuscript over 90 years ago, turning his sailing adventure into a novel affirming the well-known rumors or stories of all the pirate treasures buried on the island, including the “Loot of Lima.” The treasure stolen by Captain William Thompson, commander of the Mary Dear, was purportedly the largest treasure ever hidden by pirates. So many stories abound regarding the captain and whether or not he survived. More stories published regarding whether or not the treasure was found. That treasure, however, was not the only one to be buried on the island by pirates. (The island is now closed to tourists or treasure hunters.)

It’s a fun, quick read and takes you back almost a century to sail on the schooner, Bessie. The book was written using sailing jargon and colloquialisms of the day and was kept faithful to his original manuscript. The narrative, however, remembers another famous pirate, Edward Davis. (It is said that he was one of the earliest buccaneers to have buried treasure on Cocos Island where he anchored in Chatham Bay as well. Cocos Island is approximately 340 miles southwest of Costa Rica.)

There were two additional sea adventures published, one describing the gruesome art of whaling in Lucky Joe and another after his year-long fishing experience out of Grimsby, England he called Sons of the Sea.

It is the anthology published in 2015, Sole Survivor, in which I pulled together several of his short stories, introduction to Lucky Joe, paintings, and poems. With the possible exception of Cocos Island Treasure, all are available in both paperback and ebook, now for free through Kindle Unlimited. (Busters of Bitter River is available only in ebook form.)

Add to Goodreads

Patrick John (Stanley McShane) Rose

See the amazing story of the painting that provides an updated cover version of Sole Survivor here. (Three of the above covers were provided by his paintings.)

The Author: Stanley McShane is the pen name of Patrick John Rose and the author of one novel published during his lifetime in 1936, “Bitter River Ranch” by Phoenix Press. Patrick was born in 1872 aboard his father’s vessel, the Marguerite, and was the sole survivor when she sank. He sailed as a captain aboard his own ship until some time after the turn of the 20th century, whereupon he caught Alaskan gold fever and ventured north. It was in the late 1920’s/early 30’s that he eventually settled down to write about all of his adventures–both land and sea. “Cocos Island Treasure,” “Sons of the Sea,” “Lucky Joe,” and “Hot Air Promotions” were published posthumously through Rosepoint Publishing by his granddaughter. An eBook historical western novella was published in May, 2014 called “Busters of Bitter River.” McShane’s short stories, poems, and paintings were gathered in a fiction adventure anthology called “Sole Survivor” in 2015.

The vocal music background on the book trailer is provided by Marc Gunn, self-proclaimed Irish and Celtic Music celtfather. In addition to his albums, he offers a delightful podcast which was available for download on iTunes. Otherwise, check him out here.

My grandfather had an unusual writing style, often filled with slang, sailing terms, and sensitivities (or lack thereof) of his day. Have you attempted to publish one of your ancestor’s manuscripts? I’d love to hear about your journey!

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Return to Robinswood by Jean Grainger – a #BookReview

It’s March and I’m participating in the Reading Ireland Month for 2019. This one is historical fiction by popularly acclaimed author Jean Grainger. Jean is a USA Today Bestselling Author and was selected by BookBub readers in the top 19 of historical fiction books AND is the winner of the 2016 Author’s Circle Historical Novel of Excellence.

March!

Return to Robinswood by Jean GraingerTitle: Return to Robinswood: An Irish family saga. (The Robinswood Story Book 2) by Jean Grainger

Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, British and Irish

Print Length: 289 pages

Publication Date: February 19, 2019

  • ISBN-10:1797471155
  • ISBN-13:978-1797471150
  • ASIN: B07NVN3G7L

Source: Direct author request

Title Link: Return to Robinswood

Book Blurb:

One Irish house, two very different families, and a war that changed everything.

Robinswood Estate, County Waterford, Ireland. 1946.

Years of neglect and abandonment have left the family seat of the Keneficks almost derelict, but the new Lord Kenefick and his charming young wife Kate, are determined to breathe life into the old house once more.

The war is over and they have survived, so now they must set about making a bright future for themselves and their family. But the shadows of the past are ever lurking, and there are many who are not willing to see the new Lady Kenefick as anything more than the housekeeper’s daughter.

Kate’s family, the Murphys, find themselves once more, inextricably entwined with both the Keneficks and Robinswood, but this time everything is different. Or at least they hope it is.

The legacy of the war cannot be erased, and the events of those fateful years will not be forgotten. Can Robinswood provide a haven for those who need it, or are the scars of the past too deep? Continue reading “Return to Robinswood by Jean Grainger – a #BookReview”

Reading Ireland Month 2019 – Here Are the Links You Need!

I’m participating in Reading Ireland Month 2019 this year and have put together a list of the books I’ll be reviewing along with an author interview.

Reading Ireland Month 2019

The books may be about Ireland, have an Irish protagonist, or be written either by an Irish author or author with Irish roots. Thanks to my grandfather (author Stanley McShane), I can claim a very small portion of the Irish roots. We in the colonies celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with parades, pub specials, and corned beef and cabbage. In “Chicago-land”, they literally turn the Chicago River green.

Chicago River ready for St. Patrick's Day
Chicago River ready for St. Patrick’s Day.

Cathy at 746 Books is theming her posts this year, and you may want to check her website to see how she’ll break that down. Additionally, she’ll be hosting a giveaway each week and sharing posts on her Facebook page. She has a monster list of 100 books you can peruse and a collection of recommendations of which I’ve found several in my local library. I chose one and my associate reviewer also chose one. They both exceed 450 pages. (I’ve been reading cozy mysteries at an average of 345 pages each! Gulp!)

March Reads

So here is my schedule so far:

1          Murder in an Irish Pub – Carlene O’Connor – #cozy mystery read and reviewed on March 3 here.

2          Reinventing Hillwilla – Melanie Forde – #literary fiction read and reviewed on March 8 here.

3          Return to Robinswood – Jean Grainger – March 12 – Irish #histfic

4          Treading the Uneven Road – Lorna Brown – March 15  – short stories

5          Amanda Hughes – Interview – March 17 – #histfic-Bold Women series

6          Dark Hollow by John Donnelly – March 19 – #crime

7          The Secret Place – Tana French – March 22 – Police procedural

8          Cocos Island Treasure – Stanley McShane – March 24 – Action/sea adventure

My eyes are crossing in anticipation, but I know these will be some great reads and worth it! Cocos Island Treasure is one me dear ole grandfather wrote, don’t ye know. From County Cork, he claimed to kiss the Blarney Stone and judging from some of his stories, I’d guess maybe more than once! Thinking I may revisit Cocos Island and up-to-date just a bit. Or not. He wrote it over 90 years ago. What do you think? Leave it alone and authentic or smooth the edges (wink wink).

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

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Rosepoint #BookReviews – February Recap

Rosepoint Reviews - February Recap

Welcome March!

If it’s March, can spring be lurking around the corner? Unfortunately, not in our part of the world, where we are a mere hour from the windy city, Chicago. The area in northwest Indiana (NWI) is looking pretty frigid for another two weeks (at least). Fortunately, being an hour from Jesse Brown Medical Center, the VA Hospital in Chicago, my hubby has access to some pretty amazing care and was a beneficiary of those medical wizards again this week. Either we’ve been exceptionally lucky with the care he has received, or they are all really that good. (Thank heaven and a shout out to the personnel–thank you!)

Fractured Truth by Susan FurlongFreedom Road by William LashnerFebruary, of course, a short month anyway, definitely saw a decrease in my blog activity. I’d decided the first of the year that there was no way I could continue to keep the pace I was trying for with any degree of quality content. So, I’ve cut my target posts to three days a week (Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday) unless something unusual crops up that demands attention. Busier than a one-armed paper-hanger, I didn’t get a recap out for January, although there were some very worthy five star reads: Fractured Truth by Susan Furlong and Freedom Road by William Lashner. And the luck continues with some remarkable books in February (see my listing below).

March signals the month to highlight Irish authors and novels and I have a number of books lined up already, as well as an interview, and those will be highlighted at an early date.

My book reviews for February:

(If you missed any of my full reviews, just click the link below.)

 

Feb 1  – The Second Wife by Sheryl Browne

Feb 3  – The Gun Also Rises by Sherry Harris

Feb 5  – The Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman

Feb 8  – Murders and Metaphors by Amanda Flower

Feb 10- Ratman and Robin by K.A. Bolton

Feb 12- The Puppy Who Knew Too Much by V.M. Burns

Feb 15- The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

Feb 17- Something Red, Something Dead by Eva Gates

Feb 19- A Killer’s Alibi by William L. Myers, Jr.

Feb 22- Dead Memories by Angela Marsons

Feb 24- Open Carry by Marc Cameron

Feb 27- Final Exam by Carol J Perry

The Beantown Girls was an exceptional five star read–highly recommended! Finding no feasible way to separate my husband’s reviews from mine, I doubled my Goodreads Challenge to 200, which should amply cover the 100 I hope to read. (Sitting in a hospital can get you reading time, but zero internet or review time.)

2019 Reading Challenge - Goodreads

If you’ve wondered about why I use the cell phone to showcase the book cover, it’s because that indicates either a download from NetGalley or directly from an author request. Otherwise, a blog tour includes the tour banner and identifies the book tour operator. (You can view the two upcoming shortly in the widget column on the right.)

Also, I keep a running list of all the books attributed to my NetGalley and Alphabet challenges on my Reading Challenges page and I’ve started a list of my favorite reads of 4.5 stars or better that I’ll post mid-year. It’s not too late to participate in a reading challenge and there is a challenge out there for everyone!

As always, please share your recommendations for great reads with me and thank you so much for being a part of this blog and for taking the time to post your likes and comments. They are SOOO appreciated!

©2019 V Williams V Williams

 

#ComingSoon – New Thrillers, Suspense, and Historical Fiction

 

Coming Soon!

Coming Soon – My reviews For These Exciting Books!

So thrilled to score some great books from NetGalley for reading this month. While none of the following are Valentine themed (I don’t do romance), these three are ringing my chimes for thrillers and historical novels. The links will take you to the Amazon listing, the thumbnails to the Goodreads post. Check them out!

A Killer's Alibi by William L. Myers, Jr.A Killer’s Alibi (Philadelphia Legal) by William L Myers, Jr.

Thriller and Suspense

Print Length: 426 pages

To be Released: February 19, 2019

For attorney Mick McFarland, the evidence is damning. And so are the family secrets in this twisty legal thriller from the Amazon Charts bestselling author of A Criminal Defense.

When crime lord Jimmy Nunzio is caught, knife in hand, over the body of his daughter’s lover and his own archenemy, he turns to Mick McFarland to take up his defense. Usually the courtroom puppeteer, McFarland quickly finds himself at the end of Nunzio’s strings. Struggling to find grounds for a not-guilty verdict on behalf of a well-known killer, Mick is hamstrung by Nunzio’s refusal to tell him what really happened.

On the other side of the law, Mick’s wife, Piper, is working to free Darlene Dowd, a young woman sentenced to life in prison for her abusive father’s violent death. But the jury that convicted Darlene heard only part of the truth, and Piper will do anything to reveal the rest and prove Darlene’s innocence.

As Mick finds himself in the middle of a mob war, Piper delves deeper into Darlene’s past. Both will discover dark secrets that link these fathers and daughters—some that protect, some that destroy, and some that can’t stay hidden forever. No matter the risk.

(I read An Engineered Injustice and thoroughly enjoyed–really looking forward to starting this entry in his series.)

Open Carry by Marc CameronOpen Carry (An Arliss Cutter Novel Book 1) by Marc Cameron

Thriller and Suspense

Print Length: 304 pages

To be Released: February 26, 2019

Law enforcement veteran Marc Cameron brings an explosive authenticity to this powerful new U.S. Marshal series. Arliss Cutter is a hero for our times. And his hunt for justice cuts straight to the bone. . . .

U.S. Marshal Arliss Cutter is a born tracker. Raised in the Florida swamplands, he honed his skills in the military, fought in the Middle East, and worked three field positions for Marshal Services. When it comes to tracking someone down—or taking someone out—Cutter’s the best. But his newest assignment is taking him out of his comfort zone to southeast Alaska. Cold, dark, uninhabited forests often shrouded in fog. And it’s the kind of case that makes his blood run cold . . . the shocking murder of a Tlingit Indian girl.

But the murder is just the beginning. Now, three people have disappeared on Prince of Wales Island. Two are crew members of the reality TV show, Fishwives. Cutter’s job is to find the bodies, examine the crew’s footage for clues, and track down the men who killed them. But it won’t be easy, because the whole town is hiding secrets, every trail is a dead end—and the hunter becomes the hunted . . .

The Beantown Girls by Jane HealeyThe Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

Literary Fiction – Historical

Print Length: 366 pages

Released: February 5, 2019

A novel of love, courage, and danger unfolds as World War II’s brightest heroines—the best of friends—take on the front lines.

1944: Fiona Denning has her entire future planned out. She’ll work in city hall, marry her fiancé when he returns from the war, and settle down in the Boston suburbs. But when her fiancé is reported missing after being shot down in Germany, Fiona’s long-held plans are shattered.

Determined to learn her fiancé’s fate, Fiona leaves Boston to volunteer overseas as a Red Cross Clubmobile girl, recruiting her two best friends to come along. There’s the outspoken Viviana, who is more than happy to quit her secretarial job for a taste of adventure. Then there’s Dottie, a shy music teacher whose melodious talents are sure to bring heart and hope to the boys on the front lines.

Chosen for their inner strength and outer charm, the trio isn’t prepared for the daunting challenges of war. But through it all come new friendships and romances, unforeseen dangers, and unexpected dreams. As the three friends begin to understand the real reasons they all came to the front, their courage and camaraderie will see them through some of the best and worst times of their lives.

©2019 V Williams V Williams

The Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman – a #BookReview

The Wedding Guest by Jonathan KellermanTitle: The Wedding Guest-An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman

Genre: Mystery, Thriller and Suspense

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: HAPPY RELEASE DAY! February 5, 2019

Print Length: 371 pages

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

ASIN: B07CWF85NK

Title and Cover: The Wedding Guest – (I prefer the other cover)

Book Blurb:

Psychologist Alex Delaware and detective Milo Sturgis unravel a shocking crime at a raucous wedding reception in this gripping psychological thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense.

LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis is a fine homicide detective, but when he needs to get into the mind of a killer, he leans on the expertise of his best friend, the brilliant psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware. While Sturgis has a knack for piecing together the details of a crime, Delaware can decipher the darkest intents driving the most vicious of perpetrators. And there’s no better place for the doctor’s analytical skills to shine than a rowdy hall full of young men and women intoxicated on life and lust . . . and suddenly faced with the specter of death.

Summoned to a run-down former strip joint, Delaware and Sturgis find themselves crashing a wild Saints and Sinners–themed wedding reception. But they’re not the only uninvited guests. A horrified bridesmaid has discovered the body of a young woman, dressed to impress in pricey haute couture and accessorized with a grisly red slash around her neck. What’s missing is any means of identification, or a single partygoer who recognizes the victim. The baffled bride is convinced the stranger snuck in to sabotage her big day—and the groom is sure it’s all a dreadful mistake. But Delaware and Sturgis have a hundred guests to question, and a sneaking suspicion that the motive for murder is personal. Now they must separate the sinners from the saints, the true from the false, and the secrets from those keeping them. The party’s over—and the hunt for whoever killed it is on. Continue reading “The Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman – a #BookReview”

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: This Week’s Topic is Rainbow Colors

Cee's Fun Foto Challenge

Create a Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge (CFFC) Post

Cee at Cee’s Photography hosts a weekly Fun Foto Challenge. Each week she presents a specific theme.  The weekly photo runs from Tuesday through Monday. You can always check her page to see a list of upcoming challenges. Fun and interesting topics! Feel free to go through your photo archives to ascertain which photos fill the current week’s challenge or grab your camera (or in my case, my cell phone) and take a new photo!

To Create a CFFC Post:

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos and post, title your blog post “Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge” or “CFFC”
  3. Remember to follow her blog to get your weekly reminders and see her weekly examples (which are gorgeous, by the way!).

(She will usually respond to your entry on your blog, rather than her page.)

Feel free to use her fun banner from her challenge page. (I’ve used her banner with a slight addition of my own.)

This week’s challenge is Rainbow Colors (must have four colors). As there is no specific topic, I’ve chosen some of my more popular Insta/Bookstagrams. Obviously I love bright colors!! Check out her website and get creative. Then link your photo(s) to the comment box on her website!

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

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Instagram-Bookstagram Fun Depends on Your Phone–Any Help Here?

#TBR

I’ve mentioned on this blog before how much I enjoy photos, especially doggy and gorgeous landscape shots and that I love working on graphics, particularly in relation to the books I’m reviewing. Many times a neat book cover will grab me and I can’t wait to “play” with it. (HOPE that is okay!!)

To that end, I discovered Instagram, and behind that, Bookstagram. Yeah, I know. Millions of people discovered it long before now and let’s face it, a free account is not going to get the glitz and glamour of a business account, but it has provided more fun than a new canvas and oils–until now.

#TBR - Freedom Road

Sprint socked it to us again and we finally gave up. Can’t afford them anymore and went hunting for an inexpensive (read: cheap) cell phone carrier. There are several who advertise “senior specials.” Uh huh…Trying to change cell phone carriers is almost as difficult as buying a car. Perhaps more so. With tons of cell phones out there, it boils down to…hmm…anything that doesn’t require half the social security check. We went to see about Consumer Cellular and learned for the first time about locked and unlocked cell phones. My old cell phone (emphasis on old) was a Samsung Galaxy S5 (Android). Easy, intuitive, and fairly fast, the only downside being the camera. Not the best. But it’s a great phone! And I could use the Later app to schedule my Instagram/Bookstagrams. But even unlocked, my trusty Galaxy could not be interfaced with the new carrier (T-Mobile).

Now I have a “basic” phone (read: really cheap). An LG K30, it’s still an Android. Ever heard of this thing? It doesn’t like Instagram (it freezes) and absolutely refuses to open Later. I’ve scoured the internet for any information on it as granted I hate switching phones; it takes me forever to learn to use a new device and thought it might be my fault.

I can still view some of my favorite blogger/bookstagrammers, however, and love to see how so many talented artists put together gorgeous and engaging book photos. Here are just a few:

Lynne at http://www.instagram.com/fictionophile56https://www.instagram.com/p/BtBHJ2xHoYv/

Shalini at http://www.instagram.com/shalini_g26 – https://www.instagram.com/p/BtGmZ4BH4U8/

Lorilin at http://www.instagram.com/thebugbughttps://www.instagram.com/p/BtDnKvAnvzf/

Jessica at http://www.instagram.com/oddandbookishhttps://www.instagram.com/p/BtGmvCknT4g/

Betty at http://www.instagram.com/ thegeekybibliophile – https://www.instagram.com/p/BtDnKvAnvzf/

Holly at http://www.instagram.com/ hollysdressedtoread – https://www.instagram.com/p/BtDnKvAnvzf/

Dee at http://www.instagram.com/deesradreadshttps://www.instagram.com/p/BtHfayVHrK5/

http://www.instagram.com/book.inspectorhttps://www.instagram.com/p/BtHC_H6Hle2/

Amy at http://www.instagram.com/novelgossiphttps://www.instagram.com/p/BtEDp_inPTK/

Nicole at http://www.instagram.com/thebookwormdrinkethhttps://www.instagram.com/p/BsgcCuLnpK2/

Ava at http://www.instagram.com/noveldeelights

(Don’t ask me why that last copy/paste worked and the others didn’t. I’ve no clue.) Obviously, I love looking at so many fantastic, original pieces of art woven into the beauty of book covers. There must be a way to get Later to work, or failing that, is there another scheduling program for Instagram?

Any ideas or suggestions would be more than welcome! Thank you!!

©2019 V Williams V Williams