#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

Series Sampler-What’s Your Pleasure? Crime Thriller or Sci-Fi-Fantasy

#AmReading - series

OMG, it’s not often I get in depth in a single series, let alone two!

This time, however, I began The Afton Morrison series with #1 and glad I did! This one is just plain hardcore.  I am now reading #2, See You Soon, Afton by Brent Jones. While there are some series in which the individual novels could function as a standalone, these two series, as widely different as they are, should both begin with numero uno, number one. Fortunately, it’s not too late into this series to start reading number one as the author plans to release number two August 7, 2018.

See You Soon, Afton #2 Afton Morrison series

I will be presenting my review of See You Soon, Afton on Friday, July 27, 2018, and I’ll warn you up front, this series is not for the faint of heart, tender ears, or PG eyes–it is definitely “R” rated. Amazon classifies as mystery, thriller, and suspense. The thing about Brent’s books–despite the delayed gratification is that there is generally a surprising, often shocking, moral to the story–and the reading is worth it. If you missed my review of Go Home, Afton, number one in the series, you can find it here, or see it on Amazon here.

See You Soon, Afton – Book Blurb:

Somebody is watching. Somebody is always watching.

A teenage girl in Wakefield has been abducted, and tracking her down not only tests Afton’s moral limits, but threatens her freedom and her life.

Suspected of murder by local police, and under the watch of a menacing figure in the shadows, Afton’s search and rescue effort unravels dark secrets from her own past. Familial secrets her mother took to the grave, more than a decade ago.

See You Soon, Afton is the second of four parts in a new serial thriller by author Brent Jones. Packed with grit and action, The Afton Morrison Series delves into a world of moral ambiguity, delivering audiences an unlikely heroine in the form of a disturbed vigilante murderess.

Add to Goodreads

Thank heavens I had a little help with this one–the C.E. taking the helm at the sci-fi police procedural techno-thriller, The Invisible Mind – Murder by Munchausen #3 by M.T. Bass . OOH! That’s a mouthful, huh? Seems I have a habit of coming into a series at #3 or even #7–it’s happened before. Amazon classifies it as sci-fi-fantasy and cyberpunk, and I’ll just mention here that it is definitely some hardcore science. Electron Alley plans to release the novel on August 25, 2018.

The Invisible Mind-Murder by Munchausen #3

The C.E. was asked as a condition of the book review for Sage’s Blog Tours that he read number one and two prior to reading number three, which is the subject of the book tour. That was quite the undertaking! I will be presenting the C.E.’s review of The Invisible Mind on Sunday, July 29, 2018.

The Invisible Mind – Book Blurb:

A police procedural thriller ripped from future headlines!

Now unleashed, the “Baron” is resurrecting history’s notorious serial killers, giving them a second life in the bodies of hacked and reprogrammed Personal Assistant Androids, then turning them loose to terrorize the city.  While detectives Jake and Maddie of the police department’s Artificial Crimes Unit scramble to stop the carnage with the Baron’s arrest, the cyberpunk head of the Counter IT Section, Q, struggles to de-encrypt his mad scheme to infect world data centers with a virus that represents a collective consciousness of evil.

Add to Goodreads

I’ve argued the whole series or standalone novels before, and will just point out that the Afton Morrison series are novellas. You can whip through them–just possibly not late at night, alone, quiet. Or maybe quiet is good–you’ll want to be able to hear.

Tired of reading your same-o-same-o? Look into one of these. They are not one of your average cozy mysteries. You’ll thank me (or not).

©2018 V Williams V Williams

#AmReading – The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz

#AmReading The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Dean Koontz and his book The Crooked Staircase: A Jane Hawk Novel (this is the third in the series). I received a digital download via Random House Publishing-Ballantine and NetGalley. The book will be released on May 8, 2018. Amazon classifies the novel as a mystery, thriller & suspense, and is 512 mostly hair-raising pages.

I will be presenting my review on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.

Book Blurb:

Jane Hawk knows she may be living on borrowed time. But as long as she’s breathing, she’ll never cease her one-woman war against the terrifying conspiracy that threatens the freedom—and free will—of millions. Battling the strange epidemic of murder-suicides that claimed Jane’s husband, and is escalating across the country, has made the rogue FBI agent a wanted fugitive, relentlessly hunted not only by the government but by the secret cabal behind the plot. Deploying every resource their malign nexus of power and technology commands, Jane’s enemies are determined to see her dead . . . or make her wish she was.

Jane’s ruthless pursuers can’t stop her from drawing a bead on her prey: a cunning man with connections in high places, a twisted soul of unspeakable depths with an army of professional killers on call. Propelled by her righteous fury and implacable insistence on justice, Jane will make her way from southern Southern California to the snow-swept slopes of Lake Tahoe to confront head-on the lethal forces arrayed against her. But nothing can prepare her for the chilling truth that awaits when she descends the crooked staircase to the dark and dreadful place where her long nightmare was born.

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

(From Amazon Author page, but there is much more on Goodreads)

Dean Koontz - authorDean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirits of their goldens, Trixie and Anna. ©2018 V Williams V Williams

#AmReading – A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron

#amreading-A Dog's Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting W. Bruce Cameron and his book A Dog’s Way Home. I received this download from NetGalley. The book was released on May 9, 2017, by Forge Books. Amazon classifies the novel as animal and family life and is only 333 pages.

I will be presenting my review soon! You may recognize that author’s name. He wrote A Dog’s Purpose which was recently released as a major motion picture. In the meantime (from Amazon), here is the

Book Blurb:

Lucas Ray is shocked when an adorable puppy jumps out of an abandoned building and into his arms. Though the apartment he shares with his mother, a disabled veteran, doesn’t allow dogs, Lucas can’t resist taking Bella home.

Bella is inexplicably drawn to Lucas, even if she doesn’t understand the necessity of games like No Barks. As it becomes more difficult to hide her from the neighbors, Lucas begins to sneak Bella into the VA where he works. There, Bella brings joy and comfort where it is needed most.

After Bella is picked up by Animal Control because pit bulls are banned in Denver, Lucas has no choice but to send her to a foster home until he can figure out what to do. But Bella, distraught at the separation, doesn’t plan to wait. With four hundred miles of dangerous Colorado wilderness between her and her person, Bella sets off on a seemingly impossible and completely unforgettable adventure home.

A classic story of unwavering loyalty and incredible devotion, A Dog’s Way Home is a beautifully told, charming tale that explores the unbreakable bond between us and our pets. This fantastic and exhilarating journey of the heart is in the same tradition as the beloved bestseller, A Dog’s Purpose. 

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

(From Amazon Author page)

W. Bruce Cameron - authorBruce Cameron is the New York Times bestselling author of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, The Dog Master, and the A Dog’s Purpose series. In 2011 he was named Columnist of the Year by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. He lives in California.

(From Goodreads) I’ve always loved dogs, which puts me in a unique category along with what, maybe two or three billion people?

W Bruce Cameron - authorWhat’s not to love about an animal who will sit in your living room all day long, waiting for you to get home, and even if you need to work late and then stop for a stress-relieving beverage on your way home, when you unlock that front door, is absolutely overjoyed to see you? How could you not adore an animal who senses when your day is not going well and tries to cheer you up by dumping a sodden tennis ball in your lap? Read his full Goodreads author story here. ©2018 V Williams V Williams

#AmReading – For the Love of Ireland by Judy Leslie

#AmReading - for The Love of Ireland by Judy Leslie

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Judy Leslie and her book For the Love of Ireland. I received a free download. The book was released on April 2, 2013, by CreateSpace. Amazon classifies the novel as literature and fiction, historical fiction, Irish and is 318 pages.

I will be presenting my review on Sunday,  March 11, 2018, and can tell you that so far I’m finding this historical fiction (about a real turn-of-the-century Chicago couple) eye-opening and compelling. In the meantime (from Amazon), here is the

Book Blurb:

Margaret Sullivan dines with politicians, rebels, and spies. She is an admired journalist with the Chicago Tribune publishing under a male nom de plume. Her unscrupulous husband is a prominent attorney and power broker with aspirations of his own. They are well-connected members of Chicago’s 1880’s Irish elite.

On her trip to Ireland to do research for a book she is writing, Margaret meets a charming one-armed Irish rebel named Michael and finds herself attracted to him and his ideas for liberating Ireland.

While traveling through the stone-walled back roads of the island, Margaret sees for herself how the poor are treated. She breaks her vow never to get involved, and soon questions if she can ever go back to her old superficial life in Chicago again. Overcome with her new found emotions and strong desire to help, Margaret finds herself easily convinced by Mrs. Delia Parnell that women can be just as crucial in the fight for Ireland’s independence as men.

Back home in Chicago Margaret publishes articles hoping to gain support in America for Michael’s cause. That is until he is arrested. Desperate, she turns to her jealous, devious husband for help…but he has a hidden agenda of his own.

Torn between her career as a journalist and compassion for those overseas, she finds herself trapped by her own aspirations. Soon things spin out of control both at home and abroad, and Margaret has to decide how much she is willing to sacrifice for Michael and her love for Ireland.

For The Love of Ireland is a historical novel of love and loyalty, deception and honesty. It is about women fighting against traditional roles and gender discrimination during the 1880s. For The Love of Ireland is a work of fiction woven around actual events of the Irish Land League, a Chicago couple and the covert activities of the Clan na Gael.

About the Author

Judy Leslie - author (Judy Leslie from Amazon Author Page)When I walked into the Antique shop in the historic town of Bellingham, Washington at the age of 21, I had no idea that I would soon become its owner and would be surrounded by things I knew nothing about. I researched everything from grandma’s collectibles to old tables and chairs. I quickly learned that there was a story attached to every object no matter how trivial it may seem to the average person. Old wedding gifts, items saved and sacrificed for, mementos, useful and frivolous objects, all filled my shelves.

I lived in the back of the shop with my cat Betty and cooked on an old wood stove that I fed with Presto Logs. In the evenings, I would sit in a creaky painted rocker, and scavenge through old black and white photographs and letters, pondering the lives of these long gone relatives. Did they know someday a stranger would be pawing their personal belongings, I wondered? I tried piecing an image together of what life must have been like when these items were new. Were these people happy back then? Had life turned out for them as planned?

When people came into my shop we would swap stories about old uncle’s Joe’s or aunt Gertrude’s hand-me-down trinkets and what they might be worth to someone that wanted that ‘junk’. Then I would remind them that perhaps they held some value that couldn’t be bought. Like a child’s first pair of ice skates or a set of hand embroidered tea towels made as a gift by a spinster losing her sight. Once I stirred their imagination they looked around my shop with fresh eyes and became curious about the objects surrounding them.

I would share what I had learned about whatever they were attracted to and soon they would be walking out the door with their new treasure. It was the story they bought, the article was just evidence of the legend. So, it only made sense that someday I would become a historical fiction writer.

Now, many years later with the shop long gone and countless writing classes under my belt, I’m researching the internet and locating out-of-print publications to find secrets about the past. Instead of antiques, I collect fragments of news articles about the lives of real people most have forgotten. I love doing the detective work and unwinding the threads of these various characters from long ago and weaving them back together again in a new version of their story.

My novel, For the Love of Ireland, evolved from information I discovered about a Chicago couple and their connection to Ireland’s Land League, and the secret activities of the Irish-American organization the Clan na Gael. If you would like to know more about my novel For The Love of Ireland, please go to http://www.for-the-love-of-ireland.com. There you can read about the real people my story characters are based on. ©2018 V Williams V Williams

#AmReading – Night Moves: An Alex Delaware Novel (#33) by Jonathan Kellerman

#AmReading - Night Moves by Jonathan Kellerman

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Jonathan Kellerman and his book Night Moves. I received this download from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine Books and #NetGalley. The book will be released on February 13, 2018. Amazon classifies the novel as a mystery, thriller & suspense, and crime and is 416 pages.

I will be presenting my review on February 13, 2018. In the meantime (from Amazon), here is the

Book Blurb:

Even with all his years of experience, LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis knows there are crimes his skill and savvy cannot solve alone. That’s when he calls on brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware to read between the lines, where the darkest motives lurk. And if ever the good doctor’s insight is needed, it’s at the scene of a murder as baffling as it is brutal.

There’s no spilled blood, no evidence of a struggle, and, thanks to the victim’s missing face and hands, no immediate means of identification. And no telling why the disfigured corpse of a stranger has appeared in an upscale L.A. family’s home. Chet Corvin, his wife, and their two teenage children are certain the John Doe is unknown to them. Despite that, their cooperation seems guarded. And that’s more than Milo and Alex can elicit from the Corvins’ creepy next-door neighbor—a notorious cartoonist with a warped sense of humor and a seriously antisocial attitude.

As the investigation ensues, it becomes clear that this well-to-do suburban enclave has its share of curious eyes, suspicious minds, and loose lips. And as Milo tightens the screws on potential persons of interest—and Alex tries to breach the barriers that guard their deepest secrets—a strangling web of corrupted love, cold-blooded greed, and shattered trust is exposed. Though the grass may be greener on these privileged streets, there’s enough dirt below the surface to bury a multitude of sins. Including the deadliest.

About the Author: (From Amazon Author page)

Jonathan Kellerman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than three dozen bestselling crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher’s Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, Twisted, True Detectives, and The Murderer’s Daughter. With his wife, bestselling novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored Double Homicide and Capital Crimes. With his son, bestselling novelist Jesse Kellerman, he co-authored The Golem of Hollywood and The Golem of Paris. He is also the author of two children’s books and numerous nonfiction works, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children and With Strings Attached: The Art and Beauty of Vintage Guitars. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. Jonathan and Faye Kellerman live in California, New Mexico, and New York. ©2018 V Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

#AmReading – The Yanks Are Starving: A Novel of the Bonus Army by Glen Craney

#AmReading - The Yanks Are Starving by Glen Craney

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Glen Craney and his book The Yanks Are Starving. This was a direct review request received from the author at a time my TBR was redlining but it sounded really good! Not wishing to miss a worthy book, I asked my ever intrepid hubby, the CE (newly installed associate reviewer), if he’d please, please, please read it for me. It wasn’t a hard sell after I read the blurb to him. Thinking this just might be a great collaboration, I’ll be bringing him back from time to time to read and review books that I think he might like. This book was released on December 5, 2013, by Brigid’s Fire Press. Amazon classifies the novel a History, Military, Regiments, Military History (WWI), and Veterans and is (ahem!) 563 pages. Continue reading “#AmReading – The Yanks Are Starving: A Novel of the Bonus Army by Glen Craney”