Mitzy Moon Mysteries Books 2 and 3 by Trixie Silvertale – #BookReview – #paranormalcozymystery

Mitzy Moon Mysteries Books 1-3 by Trixie Silvertale

“Welcome to Pin Cherry Harbor where Mitzy Moon serves up the guilty!

“Mitzy Moon Mysteries revolve around Mitzy’s blossoming psychic powers and her uncanny amateur sleuthing skills in Pin Cherry Harbor (a fictional town on the shores of a great lake in almost-Canada).
“A wonderful cast of supporting characters, including an entitled feline and a skilled alchemist, help uncover clues and solve cases.”

Tattoos & Clues-Book 2

Book Blurb:

A beachside stroll. A deadly discovery. Will this psychic sleuth swim or sink?
Mitzy wishes she could turn a blind third-eye to her hit-or-miss powers. Instead, while taking her fiendish feline for a walk, they make a stomach-churning find on shore. Despite her loss of appetite, she can’t help but get a closer look at the unique ink etched into the corpse…

Before she can track down the killer, Mitzy must sweet-talk her way off the sexy sheriff’s suspect list. And once again her meddling Ghost-ma is dying to interfere with the case. But when the trail leads to dangerous smugglers who shoot first and don’t ask questions, she could end up in over her head…

Can Mitzy uncover the truth, or will hers be the next body to float to the surface?

My Review:

An interesting second book went right into the Mitzy as a suspect thing (again—one of my least favorites), although obviously no reason in the world she would be. It does, however, promote the “Sheriff Too Hot To Handle” Erick who steadfastly refuses to recognize Mitzy as anything but an interloper.

Tattoos & Clues by Trixie SilvertaleThe “Ghost-ma” is a major support character as is Silas, Mitzy’s attorney (also an alchemist) and an old friend of her recently deceased grandmother. Mitzy was an orphan after her mother died and she spent the remainder of her childhood in foster homes. The experienced honed a street-smart, independent, and savvy early twenty-something who was shocked to discover she had a father, much less a grandmother. She left Sedona, Arizona, without a backward glance and is beginning to earn a reputation in the fictitious far northern village of Pin Cherry Harbor.

Okay, enjoyed it, some further character development of both main and support characters as well as the people of the village. Twiggy, the eccentric bookstore manager and Odell, owner of Myrtle’s Diner, are beginning to come to the fore. There are characters here everyone can identify with, including the latter, and of course, Odell strongly reminds me of that old TV show with Linda Lavin and Vic Tayback as the fry cook, in “Alice.”

There is enough growth that it leaves you wanting to read Book 3 and that’s where the whole series really takes on a life of its own.

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Ghost Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mystery
Publisher: Sittin’ On A Goldmine Productions LLC
ASIN: B07YR6RSSH
Print Length: 286 pages
Publication Date: November 19, 2019
Source: Local Library

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

Wings & Broken Things

Book Blurb:

A crime with no eyewitness. A determined psychic sleuth. Will her search for clues take her where angels fear to tread?

Mitzy Moon is eager to test her expanding abilities. She’d love to look into the hit-and-run that struck down her favorite veterinarian while everyone was at the Yuletide Extravaganza. But before she can suss out a single tip, the advances of a charming green-eyed stranger offer a dangerous distraction…

Desperate to put her investigation back on track, she goes undercover at the high school and lands on the wrong side of the law by lunch. And her “get out of jail free” card comes with the help of her meddling Grams, an interfering feline, and her alchemically inclined attorney. But when a curse puts her powers on the fritz, she may not be able to save everyone…

Can Mitzy juggle dating and sleuthing, or will a hex knock off more than her halo?

My Review:

Love this series already, the lightheartedness and sense of humor, great characters, and Pyewacket—not your average kitty!

Also delighted to read of the Swedish background (influence), since that is where my grandmother’s people are located (six miles from the North Sea actually). (My mother was very blonde although my grandmother was redheaded.)

Glögg–Swedish – means ‘to burn or mull’ which then evolved to become ‘glowing-hot wine’, and glögg by the late 1800s.

Wings & Broken Things by Trixie SilvertaleIt is through her Ghost-ma and now Silas as well that she is discovering she has “gifts” of which she was previously unaware. The problem is the discovery of just which gifts and how to use or interpret them. Quite possibly there are those out there with unusual gifts of their own that have a history with her grandmother. Oops.

In this novel, Mitzy will seek to find the person responsible for the hit-and-run of the surviving favorite town veterinarian and a missing angel statue. No bodies, not a lot of blood, but the introduction of a new and interesting character that might provide the dreaded romantic triangle.

Book 3 works heavily on character development and advances the series into the must-read category. It’s an easy read, although I’d love to get my hands on an audiobook. Books 2 and 3 further atmospherics but with a quantum leap in main character Mitzy. I’m loving the way she is being introduced to the paranormal possibilities but do tire of the trip and falls. Lots of quotables, snarky dialogue, and sense of humor keep the well-paced storyline spellbound. (Pun intended.)

“Questions are free; answers could cost you.”

I received a physical copy of the hefty compilation of Books 1, 2, and 3 from an inter-library exchange that in no way influenced this review. I’d previously read Book 1, Fries and Alibis, gleaned from a promo in October that totally fired my imagination and set up an affection for Pyewacket. But I couldn’t stop there and went on the hunt for Book 2. Glad I ended up with Book 3 as well for the character development. Those first three of the series sealed an amazing cast of characters, seated her position as owner of the bookstore, and created a salty air north Atlantic atmospheric village setting in “almost Canada” that’ll carry me through the rest (I think). Prolific author, now there are 21 in this series and I’ve already put in a request for another two. (If you’re a fan of audiobooks, they are available and my first choice.)

I’m a fan of paranormal mysteries and this pushes a number of buttons on my must have for a cozy. I could possibly do with a little less of the dreaded romance triangle and skinny jeans, but the dialogue (geared for a younger crowd), characters, and Pyewacket is endlessly entertaining. If you haven’t already discovered this author and series, I’d heartily recommend as too much fun! Trust me.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Ghost Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mystery
Publisher: Sittin’ On A Goldmine Productions LLC
ISBN: ‎ 0999875833
ASIN: B07ZK32Q69
Print Length: 286 pages
Publication Date: December 13, 2019
Source: Local Library 

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

 

Trixie Silvertale - authorThe Author: USA TODAY Bestselling author Trixie Silvertale grew up reading an endless supply of Lilian Jackson Braun, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew novels. She loves the amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries and is obsessed with all things paranormal. Those two passions unite in her Mitzy Moon Mysteries, and she’s thrilled to write them and share them with you.

When she’s not consumed by writing, she bakes to fuel her creative engine and tends to her herb garden.

Visit her online at:
http://www.TrixieSilvertale.com
Instagram @trixiesilvertale

©2022 V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday

Fries and Alibis: Paranormal Cozy Mystery by Trixie Silvertale – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Mitzy Moon Mysteries Book 1

Book Blurb:

A gift that’s too good to be true. A murder she didn’t commit. A barista in a latte trouble…

Fries and Alibis by Trixie SilvertaleMitzy Moon believes she’s an orphan, so she’s dumbstruck when a special delivery to her low-rent apartment reveals a family. But her shock turns to awe when she discovers her grandmother left her a fortune and a bookshop of rare tomes brimming with magic.

No sooner does she set foot in the quirky village of Pin Cherry Harbor to claim her inheritance, than the handsome sheriff catches her standing over a corpse. Desperate to prove her innocence, she’s forced to accept help from her granny’s entitled cat and a spirit from beyond the grave.

Can Mitzy and her otherworldly helpers uncover the real killer before the long, sexy arm of the law hauls her to jail?

Fries and Alibis is the first book in the hilarious paranormal cozy mystery series, Mitzy Moon Mysteries. If you like amateur sleuths, small town intrigue, and a dash of the supernatural, then you’ll love Trixie Silvertale’s twisty whodunit.

My Review:

For Mizithra Moon (Mitzy), an early twenty-somethings circumstances couldn’t get much worse. She’s a barista behind on her rent and not eating well. She was orphaned young and bounced from one foster parent to another. She’s learned to tough it out—she’s had to—(“…corollary to the first rule of foster care: never show weakness)” but present circumstances are really getting on her nerves.

When she gets the word that she’s inherited a bookshop (AND money!) from a grandmother she didn’t know she had, it’s hard to believe but doesn’t take a second to pack her few items and hit the road for Pin Cherry Harbor. She’s learned to keep it light.

Fries and Alibis by Trixie SilvertalePin Cherry Harbor will introduce Mitzy to a whole cadre of characters—most of which the reader will love: Silas the attorney, Odell the owner of Myrtle’s Diner, Twiggy the bookstore “manager,” Pyewacket the caracal (her grandmother’s pet), and shockingly enough, her said deceased grandmother (Ghost-ma). Yes, of course, there is the touch of romance, “Sheriff Too Hot To Handle” Erick.

dance “…leave room for the holy spirit” respectable partners hold.”

Yes, I love the cat—well, sorta kitty—an African lynx. Mitzy is the quintessential feisty female, keeps her thoughts and emotions buried, sketchy history. The town description, location, and people all evoke that great small homey town vibe. Good people, iffy climate location at the northern end of the Great Lakes.

I’m a fan of paranormal mysteries and I don’t think this is a typical cozy. Local law enforcement immediately tags her as a suspect in a murder though—really? Scratching my head trying to find one real reason they’d even look at her twice. I also had a little problem believing the character of Mitzy could so quickly love her long-lost dad, though maybe that’s good as it provides a subplot.

The snarky, snappy dialogue was at times a little over the top—geared toward a younger audience—and I quickly tired of her skinny jeans. With that said, I enjoyed the character-driven well-paced narrative. There was a fascination with the storyline that kept this reader reading and looking for the next in the series following the expected conclusion.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Ghost Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mystery
Publisher: Sittin’ On A Goldmine Publications LLC
ISBN: ‎1734022108
ASIN: B07XB6MG8G
Print Length: 302 pages
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Source: Author and Publisher

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

 

Trixie Silvertale - authorThe Author: USA TODAY Bestselling author Trixie Silvertale grew up reading an endless supply of Lilian Jackson Braun, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew novels. She loves the amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries and is obsessed with all things paranormal. Those two passions unite in her Mitzy Moon Mysteries, and she’s thrilled to write them and share them with you.

When she’s not consumed by writing, she bakes to fuel her creative engine and tends to her herb garden.

Visit her online at: www:TrixieSilvertale.com

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

Deadly Spirits by Mary Miley – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Deadly Spirits by Mary Miley

(A Mystic’s Accomplice mystery Book 3)

Book Blurb:

Medium’s assistant – and reluctant sleuth – Maddie Pastore is shocked when her long-lost sister is accused of murder, in this twisty, atmospheric mystery set in 1920s Chicago.

Deadly Spirits by Mary MileySummer, 1924. Young widow Maddie Pastore has been working for fraudulent spiritual medium Madame Carlotta for nearly a year – if ‘work’ you could call it. Investigating Carlotta’s clients, and attending seances as her shill, keeps Maddie and her young son Tommy fed and clothed, and she’s grown to love the kind, well-meaning spiritualist like family.

Still, Maddie – estranged from her abusive parents for over a decade – can’t help but wonder what fates befell her brothers and sisters. So when she lucks into two free tickets to a glamorous Chicago speakeasy and recognizes the star performer as her pretty little sister Sophie, she’s beyond delighted.

But before Maddie can meet with Sophie again, the telephone rings. It’s Sophie’s husband, calling in a panic to tell her that his wife is locked in the Cook County jail, charged with first-degree murder . . .

Enter a dark and deadly world of seances and speakeasies, populated by fake mediums, sultry singers and dangerous mobsters! An ideal pick for readers who enjoy glitzy Jazz Age mysteries with feisty female sleuths.

My Review:

What a pleasant surprise this turned out to be! I was sucked in because of the blurb and the cover and thought it would be one I’d like. And it is! It’s the wild and wooly early 1920s, a decade that can provide endless stories.

Maddie Pastore is the MC, a young widow working for spiritual medium Madame Carlotta for bed and board. Handy that Madam Carlotta loves Maddie’s fourteen-month-old son. She attends Madame Carlotta’s séances as a shill, but her real purpose is to research upcoming clients so she can feed info to Freddie who helps with “enhancements” to solidify the experience.

Maddie scores free tickets to a Chicago speakeasy and discovers the star performer is her own baby sister from a large abusive family where siblings scattered like the wind as soon as they could. But before she and Sophie really have a reunion and catch up, she is notified by Sophie’s husband that she’s in Cook County jail charged with first-degree murder.

Deadly Spirits by Mary MileyYou can’t scratch much of the surface of Chicago’s history without confronting the mobsters who populated the back streets and unfortunately Maddie has a bit of experience with that as it was what got her husband killed.

So here’s what I liked about the story: There’s history here, real history, lots of well-known names, the Chicago mystic, and iconic architecture. Lots of fascinating tidbits you might not have known about the area and the time. (Reversing the flow of the Chicago River, for heaven’s sake! Yeah, I’m still new to the area.)

In between working on finding a way out of jail for the sister she’s sure is innocent, she is given the names of new clients to investigate and these are interesting side stories uniquely fabricated into the narrative seamlessly. Her method of investigation is remarkable, not unlike a person searching ancestry info—sources readily (or not so) available to scour.

I like the characters, both the main characters and the support characters, most well fleshed, and the female detective (apparently drawn from history) a hoot, but I thought the baby might have been a little good to be true.

I had just a little problem with the climax (wondering about survivability) and the conclusion that pushed boundaries a bit. Otherwise, although this is the third in the series (and sorry now I missed the first two!), it can easily be read as a standalone. It’s gripping, evenly fast-paced, and has me ready to read the next.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Historical Mystery
Publisher: Severn House
ASIN: B09XGRP2TK
Print Length: 259 pages
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

 

Mary Miley - authorThe Author: [Mary Miley] I’m an Army brat who has lived in Virginia most of my adult life. I received my BA and MA in history from the College of William and Mary and taught American history and museum studies at Virginia Commonwealth University for thirteen years. I am the author of 200 magazine articles, most on history, travel, and business topics, and a dozen nonfiction books. The Impersonator (2013) was my first foray into fiction–and it won the national Mystery Writers of America award for Best First Crime Novel! Three others in the series followed: Silent Murders (2014), Renting Silence (2016), and Murder in Disguise (2017). More recently, my new Roaring Twenties series debuted in the U.S. in 2021. The Mystic’s Accomplice is set in Chicago and features violent gangsters, fraudulent Spiritualists, and a single mom with a new baby. Its sequel, Spirits and Smoke, was released early in 2022 and the third, Deadly Spirits, is scheduled for a fall debut. For me, the Roaring Twenties is the America’s most fascinating decade and the perfect setting for both my mystery series.

When I’m not writing or plotting, I spend a good deal of time at Valley Road Vineyards in Afton, VA, a winery that my husband and I own with 4 other couples. Last year we planted another 6 1/2 acres of vines and introduced several new wines–my favorite is the viognier. Already this year I’ve spent 3 days on the bottling assembly line, doing strenuous intellectual work like loading full bottles into cases and standing on a ladder to feed corks into the hopper. Visit us at Valley Road there in person or at http://www.valleyroadwines.com.
http://www.marymileytheobald.com
http://www.pinterest.com/mmtheobald/the-mystics-accomplice

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookblog banner

The Art of the Decoy (A Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery) by Trish Esden – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

“Open by chance or appointment.”

Book Blurb:

After her mother is sent to prison for art forgery, Edie Brown returns to Northern Vermont to rebuild her family’s fine art and antiques business. She’s certain she can do it now that her mother is gone. After all, butting heads with her mom over bad business practices was what drove Edie away three years ago, including a screwup that landed Edie on probation for selling stolen property.

The Art of the Decoy by Trish EsdenWhen Edie scores a job appraising a waterfowl decoy collection at a hoarder’s farmhouse, she’s determined to take advantage of the situation to rebuild the business’s tarnished reputation and dwindling coffers. In lieu of payment, Edie intends to cherry-pick an exceptional decoy carved by the client’s renowned Quebecoise folk artist ancestors. Only the tables turn when the collection vanishes.

Accused of the theft, Edie’s terrified that the fallout will destroy the business and land her in prison next to her mom. Desperate, she digs into the underbelly of the local antiques and art world. When Edie uncovers a possible link between the decoy theft and a deadly robbery at a Quebec museum, she longs to ask her ex-probation officer, and ex-lover, for help. But she suspects his recent interest in rekindling their romance may hide a darker motive.

With the help of her eccentric uncle Tuck and Kala, their enigmatic new employee, Edie must risk all she holds dear to expose the thieves and recover the decoys before the FBI’s Art Crime Team or the ruthless thieves themselves catch up with her.

My Review:

Protagonist Edie Brown has grown up in the family’s fine art and antiques business. Unfortunately, her mother landed in the slammer for art forgery, implicating Edie in the process for which Edie paid with probation for selling said property.

Now she is back in Northern Vermont to take over the business with a little help from uncle Tuck. In the meantime, Tuck has hired an employee, Kala, a computer whiz and otherwise smart dynamo—perfect addition to the faltering business.  When she is approached with a waterfowl decoy that may be the tip of an iceberg, Edie sees a huge possibility in scoring a collection from a hoarder’s farmhouse with hopes of securing lucrative auctioning rights.

“For me, researching folk art was like setting a beagle free in a park full of squirrels.”

The Art of the Decoy by Trish EsdenBut Edie may get a taste of the business that she had failed to perceive when her mother got into trouble. The art and antiquing community holds those who would turn a multi-million dollar find into underworld funds without interest in the beauty or history of the exquisite folk art carving.

Edie definitely gets in over her head as she fails to ignore warnings, including one from an ex-lover (who she’d love to make a current lover). While I had a few problems getting into Edie’s head, I appreciated several other main characters including Kala and Shane. There is more than one antagonist, a murder off page, the craft of antiquing, and descriptions of the area and proximity to Canada.

For a debut novel and the first in the series, the author appears to have set up quite the storyline as well as several remarkable characters. Definitely a good start and an interesting introduction to the world of buying, trading, pricing and selling of antiques. The well-plotted narrative, however, tends to sag a bit and do a repeat of motives, slowing the pace. It might have kept a heightened interest by fewer repeats and a bit more fleshing of Edie. Also, going forward, I’ll be interested to see where the relationship with Shane goes, as well as additional background into Kala’s character.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts. Currently on pre-order.

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Small Town & Rural Fiction, Traditional Detective Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
ASIN: B098PXZNDF
Print Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: April 5, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

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

 

Trish Esden - authorThe Author: Trish Esden loves museums, gardens, wilderness, dogs and birds, in various order depending on the day. She lives in Northern Vermont where she deals antiques with her husband, a profession she’s been involved with since her teens. Don’t ask what her favorite type of antique is. She loves hunting down old bottles and rusty barn junk as much as she enjoys fine art and furnishings. Trish is the author of the Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery series.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Coming Soon – My reviews for these Exciting Books currently on the #TBR

#comingsoon - my December reads

So many great books on tap this month, I singled out just six to highlight upcoming books on my #TBR.

While there doesn’t appear to be Christmas books on this list, you may still find just the book you are looking for (including two audiobooks) in this wide variety of genres. I’m including a short (in most cases, excerpt) blurb and the cover links will take you to the Amazon listing. Check them out!

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

Apples Never Fall by Liane MoriartyDomestic Thrillers, Suspense, Family Life Fiction

Listening Length: 18 hrs 3 mins

Released: September 14, 2021

From Liane Moriarty, the number one New York Times best-selling author of Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers, comes Apples Never Fall, an audiobook that looks at marriage, siblings, and how the people we love the most can hurt us the deepest.

The Delaney family love one another dearly – it’s just that sometimes they want to murder each other….

If your mother was missing, would you tell the police? Even if the most obvious suspect was your father?

This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings.

A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt and Company

I finished this audiobook a week ago. I can understand why this was a (final) nominee for Mystery and Thriller in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2021. My review on Thursday, Dec. 16.

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The Great Witch of Brittany: A Novel by Louisa Morgan

The Great Witch of Brittany by Louisa MorganHistorical Fantasy, Magical Realism, Women’s Fantasy Fiction

Print Length: 446 pages

To be Released: February 15, 2022

Return to the world of A Secret History of Witches with the bewitching tale of Ursule Orchière and her discovery of magical abilities that will not only change the course of her life but every generation that comes after her. 

Brittany, 1762

There hasn’t been a witch born in the Orchière clan for generations. According to the elders, that line is dead, leaving the clan vulnerable to the whims of superstitious villagers and the prejudices of fearmongering bishops.

A tale of magic and fate, triumph and heartbreak, and the powerful bonds between mothers and daughters unfolds in the late 1700s in this spellbinding novel from master storyteller, Louisa Morgan.

The author weaves a hypnotic tale of the arts in the seventeenth century. I greatly enjoyed A Secret History of Witches and in April, 2020, The Age of Witches, and I’m excited to jump into her new book to be released early next year—currently on pre-order. My review scheduled for Dec 19.

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Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door (A Jane Darrowfield Mystery Book 2) by Barbara Ross

Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door by Barbara RossCozy Craft & Hobby Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries

Print Length: 250 pages

To be Released: December 28, 2021

Jane Darrowfield is using her retirement years to work as a professional busybody, with most of her business coming from her West Cambridge, Massachusetts, community. This time her client is right next door . . .
Megan, who’s purchased the house next to Jane’s, needs some help from her snooping neighbor. Megan’s been having blackouts, hearing voices—and feeling like someone’s following her. Are these symptoms of an illness—or signs that she’s in danger?

I enjoy the author’s Maine Clambake Mystery series including this year Shucked Apart, and Professional Busybody Book 1 of this new series in an audiobook. Enjoyable, easy, fun, and fast reading. My review scheduled for Dec 24.

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Targeted (Bob Lee Swagger Novel Book 12) by Stephen Hunter

Targeted by Stephen HunterAssassination Thrillers, Political Thrillers & Suspense

Print Length: 384 pages

To be Released: January 18, 2022

After his successful takedown of a dangerous terrorist, Bob Lee Swagger learns that no good deed goes unpunished. Summoned to court by the United States Congress, Swagger is accused of reckless endangerment by a hardheaded anti-gun congresswoman. But what begins as political posturing soon turns deadly when the auditorium where the committee is being held is attacked…

A CE review scheduled for tomorrow, Dec 10.

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The Last House on the Street: A Novel by Diane Chamberlain

The Last House on the Street by Diane ChamberlainWomen’s Historical Fiction, Mothers & Children Fiction, Family Life Fiction

Print Length: 346 pages

To be Released: January 11, 2022

A community’s past sins rise to the surface in New York Times bestselling author Diane Chamberlain’s The Last House on the Street when two women, a generation apart, find themselves bound by tragedy and an unsolved, decades-old mystery.

Two women. Two stories. Both on a collision course with the truth–no matter what that truth may bring to light–in Diane Chamberlain’s riveting, powerful novel about the search for justice.

My review scheduled for Dec 12

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The American Agent: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear

The American Agent by Jacqueline WinspearWorld War II Historical Fiction, Traditional Detective Mysteries, Women Sleuth Mysteries

Listening Length: 11 hrs 2 mins

Beloved heroine Maisie Dobbs, “one of the great fictional heroines” (Parade), investigates the mysterious murder of an American war correspondent in London during the Blitz in a pause-resisting tale of love and war, terror and survival.

When Catherine Saxon, an American correspondent reporting on the war in Europe, is found murdered in her London digs, news of her death is concealed by British authorities. Serving as a linchpin between Scotland Yard and the Secret Service, Robert MacFarlane pays a visit to Maisie Dobbs, seeking her help. He is accompanied by an agent from the US Department of Justice – Mark Scott, the American who helped Maisie get out of Hitler’s Munich in 1938. MacFarlane asks Maisie to work with Scott to uncover the truth about Saxon’s death.

Fresh from a raving review of the audiobook by a blogger buddy, I discovered a copy in my wonderful, well-stocked local library. My review on Dec 30.

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See any here that you’ve either read or will want to read? Winners all, NYTimes bestselling authors several, favorite authors, and stories you don’t want to miss. I can highly recommend both audiobooks mentioned above and I know Ms. Morgan’s book will have my head swimming in fantasy soon. I can’t wait.

©2021 V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

Autumn reading time

The Secret Staircase: A Mystery (Victorian Village Mysteries Book 3) by Sheila Connolly – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

From New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly, The Secret Staircase is the third Victorian Village Mystery, which finds Kate Hamilton discovering a long-dead body in a hidden staircase.

The Secret Staircase by Sheila ConnollyKate Hamilton is feeling good about her plans to recreate Asheboro, Maryland as the Victorian village it once was. The town is finally on her side, and the finances are coming together.

Kate’s first goal is to renovate the Barton Mansion on the outskirts of town. Luckily, it’s been well maintained in the century since the wealthy Henry Barton lived and died there. The only substantial change she’s planning is to update the original kitchen so that it can be used to cater events in the building. But when the contractor gets started, he discovers a hidden staircase that had been walled in years earlier. And as Kate’s luck would have it, in the stairwell is a body.

After her initial shock wears off, Kate is relieved when the autopsy reveals that the man had died around 1880. Unfortunately, it also reveals that his was not a natural death—he was murdered. And serious questions remain: who was he and what was he doing there?

Kate begins a hunt to identify the man and figure out what he was doing at the Barton Mansion. But when a second body is found—this time from the present day—Kate realizes that real dangers lie in digging up the past…

His Review:

A forgotten estate on a large parcel of land has been designated a historical landmark. Kate Hamilton is a city girl who has come back to her home town of Asheboro to make a tourist attraction of the Henry and Mary Barton mansion and grounds. Local donors and the Mid-Atlantic Power Company have provided funds for the renovation and refurbishing. Overall, the “bones” of the property are sound.

The Secret Staircase by Sheila ConnollyThe property was last lived in over 110 years ago and was basically locked and abandoned. Henry Barton had left an endowment to maintain the property and the grounds. One of the town mayors absconded with the money and the property has fallen on hard times. Kate loves her hometown of Asheboro and sets out to recreate the properties grandeur and opulence. She will work on the physical property and her good friend Carroll Peterson will research the history of the property and the family that lived there.

Henry and Mary Barton were the only couple to occupy the mansion. There is little record of them in the community although Henry was a captain of industry in the town, helping to employ most of its’ residents. First a shovel company and then a lighting factory soon gave the community a robust economy. Mary and Henry were reclusive and not much is known about them. Kate and Carroll set out to change that and develop a tourist attraction to help revitalize the community.

Sheila Connolly develops her characters well and attaches mystery and drama to the story. A hidden staircase is found behind a false wall in the kitchen and the drama blossoms. A hundred plus year old mummified corpse is found inside the staircase and the mystery begins to unfold. CE Williams

This story takes you on a rollercoaster ride of historical secrets. How did the body get there and who was the victim? Can the answers be found and the mansion turned into a city attraction? Read the story and see if you are satisfied by the outcome. 5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions. The book is set to release next Tuesday. [Note: I’ve read two other novels by this author, each in a different series: Digging Up History, and The Lost Traveller but wasn’t quite as thrilled as was the CE with this one.]

Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Amateur Sleuths, Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: ‎ 1250135907
ASIN: B0818PKLL1
Print Length: 299 pages
Publication Date: August 24, 2021Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Secret Staircase [Amazon] 
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Sheila Connolly - author
Sheila Connolly

The Author: After collecting too many degrees and exploring careers ranging from art historian to investment banker to professional genealogist, Sheila Connolly began writing in 2001, and has now published over thirty traditional mysteries, including several New York Times bestsellers.

Her series include the Orchard Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), the Museum Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), The County Cork Mysteries (Crooked Lane Books), the Relatively Dead Mysteries (Beyond the Page Press), and beginning in 2018, The Victorian Village Mysteries from St. Martin’s Press.

Her first full-length, standalone ebook, Once She Knew, was published in October 2012.

Connolly has also published a variety of short stories: “Size Matters” appeared in the 2010 Level Best Anthology, Thin Ice; “Called Home,” a short prequel to the Orchard series, was published by Beyond the Page in 2011; and “Dead Letters,” an e-story featuring the main characters from the Museum series, will be published by Berkley Prime Crime in February 2012. Beyond the Page also published “The Rising of the Moon,” and another Level Best anthology includes “Kept in the Dark,” which was nominated for both an Agatha award and an Anthony award for 2013.

She is passionate about genealogy, both American and Irish, and is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She is also an Irish citizen and owns a cottage in West Cork.

She lives in a too-big Victorian in southeastern Massachusetts with her husband and three cats. Find out more about her at her website, http://www.sheilaconnolly.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams – V Williams

Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody by Barbara Ross – An #Audiobook – #amateursleuth

Yahoo! Book one of a new series!

#audiobook - Jane Darrowfield Professional Busybody

Book Blurb:

Jane Darrowfield is a year into her retirement, and she’s already traveled and planted a garden. She’s organized her photos, her recipes, and her spices. The statistics suggest she has at least a few more decades ahead of her, so she better find something to do….  

After Jane helps a friend with a sticky personal problem, word starts to spread around her bridge club – and then around all of West Cambridge, Massachusetts – that she’s the go-to girl for situations that need discreet fixing. Soon she has her first paid assignment – the director of a 55-and-over condo community needs her to de-escalate hostilities among the residents. As Jane discovers after moving in for her undercover assignment, the mature set can be as immature as any high schoolers, and war is breaking out between cliques.   

It seems she might make some progress – until one of the aging “popular kids” is bludgeoned to death with a golf club. And though the automatic sprinklers have washed away much of the evidence, Jane’s on course to find out whodunit….

My Review:

As a big fan of author Barbara Ross and her Maine Clambake Mysteries series, I was delighted to see an audiobook for her new series, Jane Darrowfield. Jane is a widow, retired, and has done all those things women save for retirement. Now at odds but finding a niche with her intelligent guidance in a number of “discreet” situations, Jane is cultivating a “fixer” rep.

Of course, being a senior myself, it’s fun to see a growing influence in the “senior sleuth” genre. And a strong, independent, and intelligent woman to boot, she represents a new face to the cozy sleuthing genre as well.

Jane Darrowfield, Professional BusybodyIn this first entry, we are introduced to Jane as she attempts to discern and solve the problem at an over 55 condo community—amenities to die for—apparently. A well paid assignment that requires her to move to a temporary unit, it doesn’t take long to realize she’s landed back in high school, including the cliques (groan), the jocks (read golfers), and a motorcycle gang.

Jane has an easy personable way of infiltrating and begins to realize what she is up against when one of the popular boys is found murdered on the golf course. In the meantime, we are introduced to her new (maybe) boyfriend Harry (if he’ll just back off the protective male attitude a bit) and Detective Alvarez. I had to agree with Jane about Harry (for awhile—then began rooting for him) and he and Det. Alvarez are great support characters.

While Jane may be a bit more difficult to warm to, walk in her shoes, or identify with, all three are shaping up to produce some good chemistry in characters that are engaging.

The author has a wonderful subtle way of building up the suspense, providing clues and twists. The conclusion throws the well-plotted pace into high gear and I must admit that although I’d given the ultimate perp some thought had toyed with dismissing that one too.

On the whole, a lively novel that builds suspense, keeps engagement, and is highly entertaining. Nice to have a senior portrayed as a person still very capable, physically as well as mentally. A great start to a new series!

FTC Disclosure: I downloaded the audiobook from my locally well stocked library and greatly enjoyed the narrator as well as the storyline.

Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Mysteries, Women Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher:  Audible Books
ASIN: B08BF53LH5
Listening Length: 6 hrs 29 mins
Narrator: Traci Odom
Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody [Amazon] 

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

Barbara Ross - authorThe Author: Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries and the Jane Darrowfield Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at http://www.barbararossauthor.com

Traci Odom - narratorThe Narrator: Traci Odom, American-born actor and voice artist with 150+ titles narrates under her name, as well as Tieran Wilder for erotica and wild romance. She loves working closely with her authors and publishers and delights in inviting listeners into her worlds of romance, witchcraft, devilry and love. Check out my pseudonym website at www.tieranwilder.com. Accents: American English, British English, Irish, Midwest, New York, Russian, Italian

©2021 V Williams

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