March Rosepoint Reviews Recap—Hello April—and Spring Snow Showers!

 

We certainly aren’t clear of snow forecasts (have one for tonight). Spring doesn’t happen here as early as the southern states and it’s still plenty cold. March is usually a celebration, however, in that it is Reading Ireland Month, Women’s History Month, and my birthday. A huge surprise in store for me this year when our son and Croatian son joined forces to get me a new cell phone. OMG!! I haven’t had time to play with it yet, but already so jazzed with the amazing colors, photos, and speed. Maybe it’ll read my books for me now!

The CE and I read nine books for #readingirelandmonth21 and I read two for #womenshistorymonth.

We posted seventeen book reviews for March, which included ARCs from NetGalley as well as author requests and my audiobooks from our local library.

The Shortest Day (shortest book – #begorrathon21 *)

The Pull of the Stars *

Murder in an Irish Bookshop *

Long Island Iced Tina

A Matter of Life and Death

Lying in Wait *

Dead Even

The Castilions

First Love *

Normal People *

Last Port of Call *

Vagabond Wind

Alley Katz *

The Chain *

The Cotillion Brigade (longest book)

Search for Her

The Hiding Place *

I hit 97,000 views in the month of March, still working toward my goal of 3,000 followers with a ways to go. My schedule has become overwhelming, however, and I’m thinking of taking a breather by exclusively posting reviews from the CE in a concentrated effort to clear the backlog of his reads.

March and April filled up fast and I’ll be laying out a new plan shortly to post reviews. (The CE reads faster than I for sure!) Despite my backlog of his books, I’m still running at 94% on NetGalley and well ahead of my 175 book goal on Goodreads.

Four books for the Audiobook challenge, bringing the total to 12 for a goal of between 20-30—Binge Listener.

Historical Fiction – Four books in March and two considered for Women’s Historical Month.

NetGalleyNine additional books in March bringing my total to 27 in a goal of 75.

You can check out my challenges progress by clicking on my Reading Challenges page.

Please let me know if you’ve read one of the above listed books or put them on your TBR and I’m always open to title suggestions.

Apologies to my readers for the awkward format of this post. WP is having fun with me again and has refused my access to the “classic” word editor (again!) I don’t do “blocks” well.

As always, welcome to my new followers—and those who continue to support the blog through your participation, likes, and comments. You help me grow and keep me going. Thank you!

(c) V Williams

The Hiding Place: A Mercy Carr Mystery by Paula Munier – #BookReview – #readingirelandmonth21 – Cozy Animal Mystery

The Hiding Place by Paula Munier

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

“…she said a silent prayer to St Roch. The patron saint of dogs.”

Book Blurb:

Mercy and Elvis are back in The Hiding Place, the most enthralling entry yet in USA Today bestselling Paula Munier’s award-winning Mercy Carr mystery series. When the man who killed her grandfather breaks out of prison and comes after her grandmother, Mercy must unearth the long-buried scandals that threaten to tear her family apart. And she may have to do it without her beloved canine partner Elvis, if his former handler has his way….

Some people take their secrets with them to the grave. Others leave them behind on their deathbeds, riddles for the survivors to solve.

When her late grandfather’s dying deputy calls Mercy to his side, she and Elvis inherit the cold case that haunted him—and may have killed him. But finding Beth Kilgore 20 years after she disappeared is more than a lost cause. It’s a Pandora’s box releasing a rain of evil on the very people Mercy and Elvis hold most dear.

The timing couldn’t be worse when the man who murdered her grandfather escapes from prison and a fellow Army vet turns up claiming that Elvis is his dog, not hers. With her grandmother Patience gone missing, and Elvis’s future uncertain, Mercy faces the prospect of losing her most treasured allies, the only ones she believes truly love and understand her.

She needs help, and that means forgiving Vermont Game Warden Troy Warner long enough to enlist his aid. With time running out for Patience, Mercy and Elvis must team up with Troy and his search-and-rescue dog Susie Bear to unravel the secrets of the past and save her grandmother—before it’s too late.

Once again, Paula Munier crafts a terrific mystery thriller filled with intrigue, action, resilient characters, the mountains of Vermont, and two amazing dogs.

My Review:

Even as an adult I still gravitate heavily to dog stories, albeit a stronger more aggressive type than Lassie. This is the story of Elvis, a military trained, sharp as a tack, fierce, loyal, and gorgeous Belgian Malinois. Okay, the story includes Elvis, who is the canine protagonist, but I like him best.

The Hiding Place by Paula MunierThe third in the series examines parallel storylines, each complex and just as gripping: the mystery—which involves more than one active case as well as a cold case, and the entry of the prior owner/handler of Elvis seeking to retrieve his dog. He is another Army vet, original owner of Elvis and Mercy is adamant she won’t turn the dog over to be a support animal in Missouri.

Mercy’s grandfather’s deputy is dying and requests her presence to hand over a cold case in which he was involved and couldn’t shake. There is also the news that the person responsible for her grandfather’s death has escaped from prison. It would appear he is headed back to Vermont and that her grandmother might be in danger. Her grandmother doesn’t appear to be worried and doesn’t bestow additional reasons why or why not.

Mercy had a falling out with Troy Warner and Book 3 catches up the reasons for the break. Tensions still run high between them—although they are forced to work together on some cases, including the suspicious death of a game employee following a juvenile moose. Troy has a search and rescue dog, Susie Bear, a lovable Newfie.

As a veteran herself, Mercy is still working through her return to civil life, enjoying her grandmother Patience, and smoothing the contentious relationship with her mother.

It is a well-plotted and fast-paced narrative, never sagging in the middle, while she whittles away at clues and interviews, often times involving Troy.

The immersion into a winter in Vermont is frost-laden and beautifully described sufficient to see your breath and chill the bones. There are stunning descriptions of snow storms and cabins deep enough in the woods accessible only by snowmobiles. As several of the threads began to appear linked, pieces of the puzzle gradually fall into place.

I correctly surmised what happened to the abuse victim, and the author does a good job of unraveling all the clues, making sense of the chronology. I really enjoyed the strong inclusion of the working canines, as well as the cats, and the sensible resolution of the ownership question of Elvis.

I read Book 1, The Borrowing of Bones, and greatly enjoyed it. Somehow I missed Book 2, but was thoroughly engaged and entertained in this uncorrected digital galley received from the publisher through NetGalley. Assuming my quibbles regarding this novel, including several contradictions, the clarification of her income (she isn’t K9 police—so who pays her?), and one glaring error regarding ticks (they don’t jump), is correctly edited, I enjoyed this entry more than the first. I’m looking forward to Book 4 and can wholly recommend this to any who enjoy a canine/location driven mystery, interesting and complex male/female protagonist team, and the beauty of Vermont and their distinctive Yankee spirit.

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Book Details:

Genre: Small Town & Rural Fiction, Cozy Animal Mystery, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Minotaur Books

ISBN : 1250153077
ASIN : B08BYDK2DV

Print Length: 326 pages
Publication Date: Happy Release Day! March 30, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Paula Munier - authorThe Author: PAULA MUNIER is a literary agent and the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Mercy Carr mysteries. A BORROWING OF BONES, the first in the series, was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and was recently named the Dog Writers Association of America’s Dogwise Book of the Year. The second, BLIND SEARCH, pubbed in November 2019. The third, THE HIDING PLACE, will debut in March 2021.

Paula was inspired to write the series by the hero working dogs she met through Mission K9 Rescue, her own rescues, Newfoundland/retriever mix Bear, Great Pyrenees/Australian cattle dog mix Bliss, and Malinois mix Blondie, and a lifelong passion for crime fiction.

Paula also written three popular books on writing: PLOT PERFECT, THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO BEGINNINGS, and WRITING WITH QUIET HANDS, as well as the acclaimed memoir FIXING FREDDIE: A True Story of a Boy, a Mom, and a Very, Very Bad Beagle, and HAPPIER EVERY DAY: Simple ways to bring more peace, contentment and joy into your life.

She lives in New England with her family, her three rescue dogs, and a rescue torbie tabby named Ursula.

©2021 V Williams

The Chain by Adrian McKinty – #Audiobook Review – #readingirelandmonth21 – #TBT

The Chain by Adrian McKinty

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Book Blurb:

It’s something parents do every morning: Rachel Klein drops her daughter at the bus stop and heads into her day. But a cell phone call from an unknown number changes everything: it’s a woman on the line, informing her that she has Kylie bound and gagged in her back seat, and the only way Rachel will see her again is to follow her instructions exactly: pay a ransom, and find another child to abduct. This is no ordinary kidnapping: the caller is a mother herself, whose son has been taken, and if Rachel doesn’t do as she’s told, the boy will die.  “You are not the first. And you will certainly not be the last.” Rachel is now part of The Chain, an unending and ingenious scheme that turns victims into criminals — and is making someone else very rich in the process. The rules are simple, the moral challenges impossible; find the money fast, find your victim , and then commit a horrible act you’d have thought yourself incapable of just twenty-four hours ago. But what the masterminds behind The Chain know is that parents will do anything for their children. It turns out that kidnapping is only the beginning.

My Review:

Somehow I feel like I was tricked into listening to this audiobook by a beloved author and then just before I clicked on my speaker, the author got switched. Reading the reviews, everyone loves McKinty’s Sean Duffy series. Of course, I weighed in for Reading Ireland Reviews and this was not anything like I expected.

The Chain by Adrian McKintyThe premise here, of course, is the kidnapping of a thirteen year old girl, Kylie. Rachel Klein, the mother, however, is not a monied person, and in fact a single mother with a history of cancer. It doesn’t make sense she’d have been the target of a kidnapper—can you really get blood out of a turnip? Apparently so.

In this case, it’s a terrifyingly unique ransom. Not just the money—no—she has now been inducted into the “chain.” Her daughter can only survive by her abducting another child and jumping through the hoops as she’s done. And the chain can’t be broken. Remember all the admonitions when you got a chain letter? Terrible things would befall those who didn’t keep it going. Talk about a rock and a hard place!

There are subsequent parents as Rachel works to free her own daughter. Can the daughter be returned unscathed? What must something like this do to a child? There is the obvious exposition of laying one’s life open on social media. Gees, TOO EASY! Just pick someone. Or maybe not. Must be the right family, the right child to insure the chain continues.

Rachel becomes a mamma bear and will countenance no less in the other mothers or families. But mothers and families are different. And Rachel can’t do it alone—she brings in a brother-in-law, former Marine. He waxes strong and dependent with his own physical problems.

The plot gradually reveals in small dollops those behind the chain. But at this point even the parents have been forced into acts they’d have never dreamed of doing. The narrative goes darker and stretches disbelief. Are any of the characters sympathetic now?

A thriller at the beginning, a suspense, not a lot of sagging, but tilts in the end to disbelief. Still, I’m intrigued enough that I’ll try this author’s main series as this is apparently a standalone and veers substantially from his norm.

Book Details:

Genre: Kidnapping Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers, Crime Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher:  Mulholland Books – Hachette Audio

  • ASIN: ASIN : B07K6HCYPY

 Print Length: 369 pages
Listening Length: 10 hrs 9 mins
Narrator: January LaVoy
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Chain [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Adrian McKinty - authorThe Author: Adrian McKinty is an Edgar Award winning crime novelist from Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Adrian studied philosophy at Oxford University on a full scholarship. In the early 90’s he emigrated to New York City where he worked in bars, building sites and bookstores for seven years before moving to Denver, Colorado to become a high school English teacher. He lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and two children.

His first crime novel Dead I Well May Be was shortlisted for the 2004 Dagger Award and was optioned by Universal Pictures. He has written a dozen novels since then. He has won the Edgar Award, the Ned Kelly Award, the Barry Award, the Audie Award and the Anthony Award. He has been shortlisted for the Dagger Award, Theakston Crime Novel of the Year Award and the Prix du Meilleurs Polar.

 

January LaVoy - narrator, actressThe Narrator: January LaVoy is an Atlanta-based actress, best known for her role as Noelle Ortiz-Stubbs on the long-running ABC daytime drama ONE LIFE TO LIVE.  She has appeared on and Off-Broadway, in regional theaters across the country, and guest starred on several prime time network series, including Elementary, Blue Bloods, and N0S4A2. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, and is a full-time faculty member in the Department of Theater and Dance at Emory University.

©2021 V Williams

Alley Katz (Dev Haskell-Private Investigator Book 27) by Mike Faricy – #BookReview – #noir #readingirelandmonth21

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars Five Stars

Book Blurb:

Alley Katz by Mike FaricyDev Haskell is running late for dinner at his girlfriends house when he rear ends a car in the parking lot. Small world, the car is driven by a Dev’s former high school English teacher. . In lieu of paying for damages Dev agrees to work Tuesday and Thursday evenings helping kids with homework. From there he ends up searching for an art forger with ties to local crime lord, Tubby Gustafson.

Along the way he’s beat up by a petit woman in a thong, searches for a missing boy… Oh, and he sets a homeless kid on a career path.

Another hilariously delightful Dev Haskell tale.

A wonderful read to remind you that, actually, your life is pretty good!

As always, Morton, Dev’s Golden Retriever, provides a dose of sanity. 

His Review:

Alley Katz by Mike FaricyDev Haskell is a brow beaten gumshoe! Two fat mobsters push him around like an unwanted relative at a family gathering. Who would want to hire Mr. Milk Toast? This is a perfect primer for anyone who aspires to be a private detective.

Taylor Cummins is a young man who cannot get away from a toxic childhood quick enough. He is discovered in a locked school attempting to keep from freezing to death in a cold Minnesota winter. Dev’s delinquent school years have prepared him and he is enlisted to assist with students who are ne’re-do-wells!

The story develops well and a relationship of convenience develops into a feel-good story of overcoming a difficult childhood. Taylor is a gifted artist who is totally unknown. Dev meets him as a school counselor and takes him under his wing. He helps to pull Taylor out of his shell with the help of Annette, an art curator. She recognizes the potential in Taylor.

Mike Faricy has put together a fun read and two very believable characters. The book is a tad short but certainly does not disappoint. The ending is satisfying if not a little fanciful. Read this novel and enjoy the experience. 5 stars- CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Noir Crime, Private Investor Mysteries

  • ASIN : B08P7ZBHRX

Print Length: 265 pages
Publication Date: December 27 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Author request-Alley Katz [Amazon]

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Mike Faricy - authorThe Author: Mike Faricy was awarded the 2016 IACM Silver Award for Best Mystery Author. His books have held the #1 slot in the Kindle Store in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and India. Mike Faricy was listed as the IACM Author of the Month for April 2018. His Dev Haskell tale, The Office, was a finalist for the 2018 Minnesota Book Awards and the 2018 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award. He was awarded the Crime Masters of America Poison Cup Award in January of 2019. His Dev Haskell tale, Star Struck, was a mystery finalist for the 2019 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award.

The Dirty Lowdown called Mike Faricy America’s hottest new mystery writer.
Robert Carraher referred to him as Minnesota’s Master of the Bizarre.
Crime Scene referred to him as the next Carl Hiaasen.
Crime Capers said; “Open at your own risk, you won’t put him down.”
UnderCover wrote; “This guy is nuts and one hell of a lot of fun.”
The Irish Gazette referred to; “The laugh a minute storylines of Faricy’s deliciously engaging worlds.”

Mike’s Dev Haskell series books are stand-alone, they can be read in any order. His Corridor Man series was initially written under the pseudonym Nick James and should be read in order. His Jack Dillon Dublin Tales series was originally written under the pseudonym, Patrick Emmett. His Hotshot series are standalone tales that can be read in any order. Faricy’s novels are filled with the sort of oddballs we’re all curious about, but wisely prefer to keep at a distance. His characters serve not so much as an example as they do a warning. None of them will be saving the world from terrorism, international banking conspiracies or coups to take over the government. Rather, Faricy’s characters inhabit a world just below the surface of polite society. The circumstances they find themselves in are usually due to their own bad decisions, but then bad decisions make for interesting stories.

Reminiscent of the late Robert B. Parker, Faricy’s tightly woven Dev Haskell series is penned with a delightful sense of humor and even some romance. Entertainment is the name of the game as back-slapping, corner-cutting, babe magnet Dev Haskell interacts with such quirky characters as ice cream mogul Mr. Swirlee, The D’Angelo brothers, local crime lord Tubby Gustafson, ‘Fat Freddie’ Zimmerman, former NFL tight end Luscious Dixon, exotic dancer Swindle Lawless, and gorgeous Heidi Bauer. The Dev Haskell novels can be read in any order.

Faricy’s Corridor Man series was originally released under the pen name Nick James. The series is a bit more gritty than the Dev Haskell series and a lot more violent. Disbarred attorney Bobby Custer makes his way back into the legal game. He’s neurotic, psychotic, psychopathic, narcissistic, greedy, unprincipled and . . . always charming.

Faricy’s Jack Dillon Dublin Tales series was originally released under the pen name Patrick Emmett. US Marshal Jack Dillon is sent to Dublin to escort a prisoner back to the US. Things don’t go exactly as planned and trouble ensues. Dillon becomes permanently stationed in Dublin, just to get him out of his boss’s hair. Things take an entertaining turn from there, think of a cross between Dev Haskell and James Bond.

Faricy’s Hotshot series are zany, delightfully entertaining standalone crime tales.
Enjoy the reads!

Originally from Saint Paul, Minnesota, Faricy still spends six months of the year in the saintly city as well as six months in Dublin, Ireland. Thanks for taking the time and be sure to tell 2-300 of your closest friends.

Mike’s Links:

Visit Mike on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MikeFaricyBooks
Visit Dev Haskell’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/DevHaskell
Email Mike” mikefaricyauthor@gmail.com
Follow Mike on Twitter @mikefaricybooks
Mike’s web site; http://www.mikefaricybooks.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Murder in an Irish Bookshop (An Irish Village Mystery Book 7) by Carlene O’Connor – a #BookReview – #cozymystery

“…in a murder inquiry everyone needs to be treated guilty until proven innocent.”

MY Third CONTRIBUTION TO THE #BEGORRAHTHON.

Book Blurb:

Murder in an Irish Bookshop by Carlene O'ConnorBetween training the new town garda and trying to set a wedding date with her fiancé, Macdara Flannery, Siobhán O’Sullivan is feeling a bit overwhelmed. She’s looking forward to visiting the new bookshop and curling up with an exciting novel—only to discover the shelves contain nothing but Literature with a capital L. The owner not only refuses to stock romances, mysteries, and science fiction, but won’t even let customers enter his store unless they can quote James Joyce or Sean Hennessey.  

Despite the owner deliberately limiting his clientele, he’s hosting a reading and autographing event featuring up and coming Irish writers who will be taking up residency in Kilbane for a month. Among them is indie author Deirdre Walsh, who spends more time complaining about the unfairness of the publishing industry and megastar bestsellers instead of her own creative works, causing a heated debate among the writers. She seems to have a particular distaste for the novels of Nessa Lamb.

Then Deirdre’s body is found the next day in the back of the store—with pages torn from Nessa’s books stuffed in her mouth. Now, Siobhán must uncover which of Kilbane’s literary guests took Deirdre’s criticisms so personally they’d engage in foul play.

My Review:

I do enjoy this series with protagonist Garda Siobhan O’Sullivan in the small village of Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland. Book 7 has the little town all excited over the opening of a new bookshop and as the owners have been rather private about it, pushed the buzz to a new level. Unfortunately, opening day finds a body near the bookshop, a real buzz kill…followed later by a second inside the shop during a storm blackout.

The new bookshop owners Padraig and Oran McCarthy had invited a host of well-known writers as well as an agent to help celebrate the opening, and now they as well as several of the townspeople are suspects as well.

Murder in an Irish Bookshop by Carlene O'ConnorGarda O’Sullivan is partnered with her betrothed, Detective Sergeant Macdara Flannery, as well as a new recruit, on hand to observe and learn. The investigation is as twisted as the manner of death—a new one to me. That is, not the agent, but the method of application—very unique! Lots of secrets, revealed in bits and pieces along with the red herrings.

Siobhan is part of the O’Sullivan Six, brothers and sisters in her care who are gradually growing up even as Siobhan turns another birthday—an important one. Maybe it’s time to set the date with Mac, but theirs is a very laid back relationship and she doesn’t seem to be feeling that biological clock ticking away quite yet. They do have a good working relationship but she’s still a bit of a mystery to me. I like the character of Mac, and what little I’ve gleaned of her siblings, though there is not a lot of development of the support characters, including those of the village.

That Irish sense of humor shines through in the prose, the dialogue, while the descriptions of the weather and the village paint a somewhat dreary picture. I’m cheered when she gets out her little pink Vespa—a sunny day. The back and forth between Siobhan and Mac and the identical twins Emma and Eileen Curley is a hoot as is the discussion of “No crying in the baseball,” and the side knowledge of books, authors, and writing styles shines throughout the book in little quotes and clues. I snickered every time I read about John Butler, owner of Butler’s Undertaker, Lounge, and Pub. At least you didn’t have to go very far…snort.

The mystery is not a hard one to solve, but as always, it’s the ride not the destination and these are always a fun ride. I also read Books 4, 5, and 6, Murder in an Irish Pub, Murder in an Irish Cottage, and Murder at an Irish Christmas and have enjoyed them all. Always an enlightening peek into life in Kilbane, atmospheric and entertaining.

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

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Craft & Hobby Mysteries, International Mystery & Crime
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B089NDHR36

Print Length: 258 Pages
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Carlene O'Connor - authorThe Author: Carlene O’Connor comes from a long line of Irish storytellers. Her great-grandmother emigrated from Ireland to America during the Troubles, and the stories have been flowing ever since. Of all the places across the pond she’s wandered, she fell most in love with a walled town in County Limerick and was inspired to create the town of Kilbane, County Cork. Carlene currently divides her time between New York and the Emerald Isle.

http://www.carleneoconnor.com

2021 V Williams