Legacy of Lies: A Legal Thriller (Bocephus Haynes Book 1) by Robert Bailey – a #BookReview

“To be respected was wonderful, but to be feared was divine.”

Book Blurb:

Legacy of Lies by Robert BaileyA small-town attorney takes on prejudice and corruption in this powerful legal thriller.

Small-town lawyer Bocephus Haynes comes home late one night to find District Attorney General Helen Lewis waiting for him. Her ex-husband has just been killed. She’s about to be arrested for his murder. And she wants Bo to represent her.

There’s a lot working against them. Just before his death, Helen’s ex-husband threatened to reveal a dark secret from her past. Bo has been in a tailspin since his wife’s death. What’s more, his whole life has been defined by a crime committed against his family, and he continues to face prejudice as the only African American litigator in Pulaski, Tennessee.

Bo’s back is against the wall, and Helen resigns herself to a dismal fate—but a stunning discovery throws everything into chaos. There’s a chance for justice, but to achieve it, the cost might be too much for Bo to bear. 

My Review:

HooBoy! I blindly stepped into this one with no warning!. A new author, new series for me, and although perhaps the series for you as well, apparently a spin-off of a previously successful series.

Legacy of Lies by Robert BaileyMain character Helen Evangeline Lewis is the General (district attorney general of the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit), Tennessee. Helen loves that designation, revels in it, and she does her utmost to maintain that level of fear and respect. But now she finds herself on the other side and begs protagonist Bocephus Hayes to represent her in the alleged murder of her ex-husband. Bo has been through a triple whammy, the loss of his wife, his children, his practice as one of Pulaski’s premier defensive attorneys. He’s been slumming it–at a total loss–devastated and can’t seem to pull himself back from the brink…until something Helen says stirs him to action.

There are references to characters from a previous series and this series continues with a few of those support characters, family of Bo, the General’s office, persons of the court, and baddies everywhere, generally in positions of power. Having been an extremely successful prosecutor, the General keeps secrets from Bo and sends him out for discovery.

You have to give it to author Bailey for putting together a suspenseful, emotional well-plotted and fast-paced legal thriller. Short chapters keep you flipping pages as Bo continues to recreate his team and wrest tidbits. Helen, after all, has as many detractors as fans. It won’t be easy.

It’s apparent there are layers to the plot lending Helen’s secrets potent causes of PTSD, conspiracies with a separate case with which she was working, and Bo’s racially charged background. Bo, a big African American who might have gone pro NFL had he not blown out his knee, is a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom as well. The reader almost gets a three-dimensional character here though I assume there will be more to come after this set up of a new series. I liked the characters of Chief Deputy Sheriff Frances Storm and Sheriff Hank Springfield.

But there is a triple-whammy in store for the reader as well as the courtroom revs up for the defense and Helen, herself, is called to testify. You’ve heard that old adage, “never ask a question to which you don’t know the answer?” (Or something close to that.) Boy does the prosecutor make that mistake! And then the author isn’t through as there are several more twists, one designed to knock the breath out of you. The conclusion has surprises, one on top of the other until the great reveal that turns into one big shock. Still, how is this all this possible? Hmmm…It’s complex, entertaining, and immensely engaging. And that ending? Surely that’ll produce a HUH! And you can’t say it wasn’t a fun ride.

I received this digital download from the publisher and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Looks like I have a new legal thriller author I’ll be following and I’m looking forward to Book 2 in this series. Recommended.

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Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5-stars

Book Details:

Genre: Conspiracy Thrillers, Legal Thrillers
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ASIN: B07YKTYZJ6
Print Length: 329 pages
Publication Date: June 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s): Legacy of Lies [Amazon] 

Robert Bailey - authorThe Author: Robert Bailey is the bestselling author of the McMurtrie and Drake Legal Thrillers series, which includes The Final Reckoning, The Last Trial, Between Black and White, and The Professor. The first two novels in the series were Beverly Hills Book Awards legal thriller of the year winners, and Between Black and White was a finalist for the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year.

For the past nineteen years, Bailey has been a civil defense trial lawyer in his hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, where he lives with his wife and three children. For more information, please visit http://www.robertbaileybooks.com.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

January River by Bernard Jan – a #BookReview

Five friends. One dog. One river carrying a secret.

A shared review experience with the CE.

Book Blurb:

January RiverWhen one of their friends goes missing, everything comes crashing down for the small group of childhood friends in the small town of Greenfield. Ethan takes it hard. Then he loses his dog, his only consolation.

Hoping to start anew, Ethan leaves Greenfield and moves to New York City. Far from the ghosts of his childhood and the river that gives and takes life. There he finds his one true love and builds a career as a bestselling author.

But how long will Ethan’s happiness last as doubts creep back into him and shatter his reality? And will his reconciliation with the past come at too great a price?

All rivers carry their secrets, but not every river keeps its secret forever.

My Review:

Growing up in a 70s rural town in the panhandle of Nebraska, Ethan, his brother Will, and their friends enjoy a languid summer, playing in the river and dreaming of crafting a raft. It was an innocent time of fields and farms, bucolic setting, pines, and exchanges of goals and secrets. When Ethan finds a golden retriever, near death, he enlists the help of his buddy’s dad, a vet, and helps to ensure the beautiful animal escape death. There are obvious indications of abuse.

January River by Bernard JanYears later, there are tragic occurrences that drive Ethan to New York to join his brother where he naively discovers a wildly different type of life. But Will is a nomad who loves the ocean and leaves his apartment in the care of Ethan. Ethan gains a job and begins to cement a future, working, writing, and meeting a woman who will become his wife.

A storyteller, Jan fills his literary fiction with deeply felt philosophical prose while continuing to try to come to terms with his past. Reconciliation in the present, while seeking relief of the grief from his past and the beautiful community in which he spent a carefree boyhood until that disastrous summer.

There are themes of heartbreak, love, evil, redemption, and finally, reconciliation. Jan steps up his details but misses a few threads that the reader might have wanted to know whether resolved. There were occasional song titles that fit with the melancholy and the timeline of the narrative covered some twenty-five years. While the author did a heroic job of translating from Croatian to English, there were a few missed edits (was it adopted–or stepson?) and simple contradictions.

We were contacted directly by the author requesting an honest review in exchange for a gift copy of his novel and we appreciated the opportunity which in no way swayed our opinions. Recommended to those who enjoy a circumspect peek in mid-west America 70s to 90s, the love of dogs, and the literary drama of life. 4 stars

His review:

This coming of age novel is staged around a western Nebraska town. The author captures the essence of being a young boy in a farm community. Being the “little brother” Ethan is following an older brother in a bucolic setting of rivers and grain fields and quiet summer days. He gets to explore life and nature. He finds a near-death dog that he rescues and nurtures back to health. Their bond becomes inseparable.

Losing one member of his childhood gang haunts him throughout the book. His older brother is a beacon to him throughout life without being a guide. The relationship of the boys and parents is well developed and appreciated. The family has a well-developed business and an opportunity for either or both boys to inherit a profitable business.

Life has many twists and turns and Bernard Jan has captured the emotional essence. Many parents have witnessed the castle of their expectations for their offspring evaporate when the child develops his own interests. Peppered within life are many divergent trails and opportunities. The author captured the feel of those forks in the road.

Ethan follows his older brother Willy to New York. The serendipitous change of environment is indeed a path that draws Ethan from his youth. He works as a waiter in a restaurant and gets to be a key part of the business. He tends to be a recluse but is drawn out by a love interest. His dynamic of life changes. CE Williams

I was amazed at the awesome translation of this book from Croatian into other languages including English. I am grateful for the excellent work the team of editors accomplished. I highly recommend this book to animal lovers and those who appreciate a good “coming of age” novel. True to life the road is curving and bumpy and an excellent escape. 4 stars – CE Williams

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 Book Details:

Genre: Pet Dogs, Friendship Fiction, Family Relationship, Animal Fiction, City Life Fiction

  • ISBN-10:9535958151
  • ISBN-13:978-9535958154
  • ASIN: B086LJJC8V

Print Length: 235 pages
Publication Date: April 3, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link(s): January River

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 Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Bernard Jan - authorThe Author: “There is no greater joy than to share what you love with those who appreciate it.”–Bernard Jan

My pen name is Bernard Jan. I am a novelist and a poet from Croatia, and I have released three books in English.

“A World Without Color” is a true story of the last three days I spent with my cat, while “Look for Me Under the Rainbow” in a unique and gentle way sheds light on the plight of harp seal pups in Canada. It warms the heart of all readers concerned about our planet and its treasures. “January River” is a heartwarming cross-genre novel about five friends, one dog, and one river carrying a secret.

My first two books were written at the beginning of the war in Croatia in 1991 amidst air alerts and illusory attempts when I wanted to believe and think that life is normal, that everything is all right with the world. I have published five novels, two novellas, and one book of poems in Croatian. Four of my books, including the book of poems, were translated into English.

My passion for music and entertainment resulted in my becoming a partner of Tom’s Music Place, which was established in 2009 by my friend Thomas Carley Jr., whose objective was to raise the respect of music.

My desire to help others came to the fore during my years advocating environmental protection and advocacy of animal rights. I did volunteering work for the refugees, because suffering does not know any borders. When it comes within your reach in your home, you simply have to do something. As part of my animal advocacy activities, it has been a great honor and pleasure to translate “Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust” by Charles Patterson into Croatian.

For more information, visit my website https://www.bernardjan.com.

Twitter https://twitter.com/BernardJanWorld
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LinkedIn https://hr.linkedin.com/in/bernard-jan-197a50112
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YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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

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

Book Blurb: The Mockingbird's Song

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

His Review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Details:

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

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

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

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4-stars

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

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

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

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

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Snowed Under (A Maggie McDonald Mystery Book 6) by Mary Feliz – a #BookReview – #cozymystery

Happy Release Day!

Book Blurb:

Snowed Under by Mary FelizWhen professional organizer Maggie McDonald finds a body in a snowdrift outside her friend’s ski cabin, she must plow through the clues to find a cold-blooded killer . . .

Lake Tahoe in February is beautiful, but Maggie can’t see a thing as she drives through a blinding blizzard with her friend Tess Olmos and their dogs, golden retriever Belle and German shepherd Mozart.Maggie has offered her professional decluttering skills to help Tess tidy up her late husband’s cabin in preparation to sell. She also plans to get in some skiing when her husband Max and their boys join them later in the week.

What she doesn’t plan on is finding a boot in a snowdrift attached to a corpse. The frozen stiff turns out to be Tess’s neighbor, Dev Bailey, who disappeared two months ago. His widow Leslie expresses grief, but Maggie can’t help but wonder if it’s a snow job. As more suspects start to pile up, things go downhill fast, and Maggie must keep her cool to solve the murder before the killer takes a powder . .

My Review:

My first experience with the author and the series included dogs (and if you follow my blog, you know I can’t resist a book with doggy characters) and gorgeous Lake Tahoe–such a soft spot in my heart for Lake Tahoe–so many happy memories there. But winter in Tahoe? Oh yes, can be extremely treacherous.

Snowed Under by Mary FelizThis entry to the series has protagonist Maggie making a trip to Tahoe with her good friend Tess Olmos in February as Maggie will take on years of accumulation in Tess’s family cabin in preparation for a future sale to finance Tess’s son’s college expenses and her change of profession. Maggie is a professional organizer and this will be a getaway trip for her with her family following later for a ski vacation. Should be perfect! But, oops! The weather can turn on a dime in the High Sierras. The blizzard from hell hits them on their way over Donner Summit (no doubt you’ve heard that well-know story before–the Donner Party?) and it’s all they can do to make it to the cabin safely.

Leaving the car where it doesn’t belong in the turnaround, the first trip out of the cabin in the morning to trek back to the car has Maggie discovering a DB (that’s dead body in cop-speak). Unfortunately, the husband of one of Tess’s neighbors took his dog out just after Christmas and never returned. It sends Tess reeling as she lost her husband just 18 months previous and is part of the reason she’s selling. Between the weather and the unnerving discovery, organizing, cleaning, and clearing gets put on the back burner.

Maggie begins to meet the neighbors from the cul-de-sac snoop to the family of the deceased, all just struggling to survive the latest spate of storms crippling the mountains and their lives. The conditions are extreme, between the loss of power and heat, high winds, and plummeting temperatures, everyone hunkers down. Descriptions of the mountains and hillside homes create an appropriate frigid scene. Maggie’s dog, Belle, and Tess’s dog, Mozart, along with neighbors dogs lend added dimension to the cozy, if not freezing atmosphere.

Perhaps this is one of those series in which you should have started with Book 1. I found myself lost, especially in the first third of the book understanding the characters. There seemed contradictions in description, causing a stumble, awkward scenes, and dialogue. Maggie begins her surreptitious interviews of the neighbors and discovers there may have been more than one possible suspect. Chief Quinn Petit seems to welcome the help even as the plot takes some twists which will have you suspending disbelief. Visit from friends back home (under extreme conditions?) and a sudden introduction to the perp in the conclusion was rather contrived and somewhat a disappointment for me.

I received this digital download from the publisher and NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read for a review. If you’ve followed the series, you may very well appreciate this entry, enjoy the cozy mystery.

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Lyrical Press

  • ISBN-10:1516105311
  • ISBN-13:978-1516105311
  • ASIN: B07WBY669T

Print Length: 227 pages
Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s): Snowed Under

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 Rosepoint Publishing: Three-point Five of Five Stars 3.5-stars

Mary Feliz - authorThe Author: Mary Feliz writes the Maggie McDonald Mysteries featuring a Silicon Valley professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever. She attends organizing conferences in her character’s stead, but Maggie’s skills leave her in the dust. Her first book, ADDRESS TO DIE FOR, received a Kirkus Star and was named a Best Book of 2017 by Kirkus Reviews. Suspense Magazine selected CLIFF HANGER as a Best Book of 2019. A Certified California Naturalist, Mary enjoys sharing the beauty of her state’s natural world with readers.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Act of Deception: A Medical Thriller (A Doc Brady Mystery Book 2) by John Bishop MD – a #BookReview – #Medical Fiction

Medical malpractice lawsuits–Big, Big Bucks

Book Blurb:

Act of Deception by John Bishop MDIs it medical malpractice, or is the attorney just another ambulance chaser?

It’s 1995, and Houston orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jim Bob Brady has been sued for medical malpractice; a mysterious infection caused a knee replacement to end up as an amputation. Donovan Shaw, a ruthless plaintiff’s attorney, has taken the case and doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that he and Brady share a number of friends. “It’s not personal!” Shaw says. But it feels personal—especially when Shaw threatens, “I will do anything, and I mean anything, to win the case, even if I have to destroy you and that pretty wife of yours. I will stop at nothing. You remember that!”

And Brady isn’t the only one in his practice being sued. How is Shaw getting his inside information? Can the patients afford to say no to filing lawsuits, even if the claims aren’t valid? Through a series of twists and turns, and with the support of his wife Mary Louise and their professional investigator son J. J, Brady once again doggedly goes into “sleuth mode” to get to the truth of the matter—even after his life is put in jeopardy. Will he survive, only to find himself at the mercy of the wild and wooly Houston court system? Is this whole mess his fault? Or is there an act of deception involved? 

My Review:

Act of Deception by John Bishop MDDr James Robert Brady, Jim Bob to you Southerners, is a valued orthopedic Houston surgeon with a reputation for excellent work when he discovers himself being sued by one of his patients. William (Billy) Jones had his right leg amputated above the knee after a deadly infection sets in five months following Dr Brady’s original knee replacement. He’d previously had infections that Dr Brady treated with apparent success and is shocked to see him back with further complications.

The storyline examines the murky world of malpractice lawsuits, the difference between barratry and solicitation, ambulance chasers sometimes involved, and the insurance company’s role in the escalating problems of insurance coverage and medical-legal support.

Feeling with absolute certainty that he did everything according to the book and as his colleagues concurred at the time, he now seems to be faced with the uphill battle of proving his lack of culpability in the tragic resulting surgery to Mr. Jones. Not that he’s being hung out to dry all by his lonesome, but everyone soon begins to advocate his settling. Just make it go away.

Nope!

Won’t do it.

Something is off.

Brady’s reputation has taken years to build. This would destroy him. Moreover, with the hospital facing increasing expenses and several other doctors facing lawsuits, their group and his affiliated hospital are facing a crisis. They go to trial.

Plaintiff’s lawyer is a sleaze, the kind of attorney who gives the profession a bad rap. But he’s good. He’s very, very good. Moreover, his investigator is a despot. He is bad news; very, very bad. Dr. Brady collaborates with his sleuthing son, engages any help he can find, and desperately searches for the missing connection.

The author introduces a number of well-fleshed support characters, both protagonists and antagonists. Jim Bob is well-developed, also a musician of some note, given dimensions in his personal as well as professional life. An unexpected twist occurs which momentarily knocks the plot off the rails, but much occurs off-stage and quickly brings you back up to speed. It is a well-paced and plotted story into the reveal, which hands the reader one last little twist.

There are sufficient medical explanations and terminology to convince the reader of the expertise of the author and between that and the insight into the world of medical insurance and malpractice lawsuits, quite the eye-opener. I liked the way the courtroom scenes unfolded (loved the judge!) and the doctor’s theory advanced into the satisfying conclusion.

I received this digital download from the publisher and NetGalley in the expectation of an honest review and appreciated the opportunity to read Book 2 of the series. I’ll be interested to see what develops in Book 3. Recommended.

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 Book Details:

Genre: Medical Fiction, Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Mantid Press

  • ISBN-10:1734251123
  • ISBN-13:978-1734251128
  • ASIN: B087HHY69X

Print Length: 276 pages
Publication Date: June 10, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s): Act of Deception (on Pre-Order Now at)

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 Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4-stars

John Bishop - authorThe Author: [John Bishop MD] Lost for over 20 years, Act of Murder is the first rediscovered novel in a new medical thriller series set in the changing environment of medicine in the mid-1990s. Bishop’s sense of humor and surprising wit create a story of medical miscreants capable of murder, mayhem, and greed. His 30 years as a practicing orthopedic surgeon give the reader a unique glimpse into the medical world with all its problems, intricacies and complexities, while at the same time revealing the compassion and dedication of most health care professionals.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The Pearl of York, Treason and Plot by Tony Morgan – a #BookReview – #HistoricalFiction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars Five Stars

Book Blurb:

The Pearl of York by Tony MorganThe gripping new historical novel set in atmospheric Tudor York.
Winner of the Coffee Pot Book Club Highly Recommended award – “A heartbreaking book that grabs you from the first page and does not let you go until the last full-stop. I cannot praise this book enough. It was absolutely brilliant from beginning to end. This is an example of Historical Fiction at its most exquisite.”

When Margaret Clitherow is arrested for illegally harbouring Catholic priests, her friends, led by a youthful Guy Fawkes, face a race against time to save her from the gallows. As events unfold, their lives, and our history, change forever.

What events could persuade a happily married woman to become a martyr or transform a young man into a terrorist?

My Thoughts

Guy Fawkes didn’t set out to be an explosive expert, nor Mistress Margaret Clitherow a martyr. Nor did either begin life as a Catholic, but life, experience, and events have a way of unfolding an inexorable path down which we seem to be drawn. This storyline doesn’t focus on Guy Fawkes and his later exploits that eventually got him caught but it is while he is being tortured that he reverts to the narration of his life to divert himself from the pain to the path that diverged with Mistress Clitherow.

In Tudor York, England is in the midst of a major change of reigning churches and seeing a dissolution from the Roman Catholic Church and the Papists. It has now become a treasonable offense to remain Catholic and suddenly those who practice the “old religion” must do so in privacy, careful not to reveal their true allegiance. AND, anyone caught harboring a priest or the religious were quickly brought up on the same stiff penalties as those caught performing Mass.

In a well-researched and plotted account of the story of St. Margaret Clitherow, the author weaves a plausible account of young Guy being expelled from school for fighting with the town bully and the discovery of his mother sneaking out to Mass held in a deeply secreted space under and behind the residence of Margaret Clitherow. She has a reputation for kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity. Her husband is the neighborhood butcher, a Protestant, and elevated in social standing. But one night, after Guy accompanies his mother to Mass, the house is raided and one of the two priests is caught. Not long after, Mistress Clitherow is also arrested.

The trial being a sham, not difficult to imagine she’ll be sentenced to death. The form of her punishment, however, is said to be shaped by how she’ll plea. And she does not. Will not. She is caught between a rock and a hard place. Anything she admits to would only trickle down and cause untold suffering to not only her family but many others as well. In addition, she will not denounce her Catholic faith, revert to the Church of England. She appears to have no equitable way to save her own life and resolutely resigns herself to a death she didn’t realize would be quite such a horrendous, hideous, extremely torturous way to die. Still, she has no real choice. It seems beyond reason that humans could devise such a brutal execution.

The author has done a tremendous job of bringing a stinging history to light and creating a plausible explanation for her sacrifice as well as the lasting effects her death and the later death of Guy’s own family has on the course his life will take. Fawkes’s life left an indelible mark in the history of England as well.

If I had any quibbles, it was the subtle changes of Guy’s retrospective to his current circumstances on the rack. Utterly engaging tale of suspicion, betrayal, brutality, survival, and faith. Deeply emotional and sympathetic characters, barbaric instruments, descriptions of Tudor streets vibrant with the sounds and fetid smells of crowded city life. Thoroughly entertaining, captivating prose.

“Abundance of knowledge does not teach men to be wise.”

“Mistress Clitherow…she’s a pearl inside this monstrous oyster.”

We received this digital download from the author in the expectation of a review and these are our own opinions. Wholly recommended.

His Thoughts

The Pearl of York by Tony MorganThis author opened my eyes to the reason for western migration to the Americas in the 17th century. The Reformation period developed large schisms within the European countries. The Church of England was replacing the Roman Catholic Church and it became a treasonable offense to remain Catholic. Trials were held throughout Great Britain for those who practiced the old faith or harbored priests. Priests that did not renounce their faith were subjected to terrible pain and ultimately killed.

Mistress Margaret Clitherow is one of these unfortunates. She resided in York and was held in great esteem by the local populace. However, she was caught attending clandestine Catholic masses. It would have been easy to save her own life, simply renounce her faith and embrace the Protestant Church of England. For a staunch catholic this would mean saving her life but going to hell. She is a young and affable lady caught in a martyr’s quandary. She will not give up her faith.

The main character, young Guy Fawkes, is determined to save her. He and a local priest as well as a Protestant minister set out to accomplish that task. The fervor within the area is to trap and bring to justice those who have not renounced their faith.

Some of the methods for punishing the holdouts are particularly gruesome.

Priests who are caught were usually hung, drawn and quartered. The spectacle was available for the entertainment of the population. Trying to rescue those who practiced the faith was also a treasonable event.

This book is well written and mesmerizing in the telling. I wondered how Martin Luther and the others who began the Reformation must have felt. The tithes received by the church would be kept in the countries who altered their faith. The faithful paid the ultimate price for the changes to the faith and the dissolution of the Roman Catholic faith in the various countries. CE Williams

I highly recommend this book to those who cherish their faith and embrace the sacrifice made by those who suffered the ultimate for their beliefs. This author captures the sentiment of the period in the telling. 5 stars CE Williams

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller
ASIN: B0852P7RPV
Print Length: 237 pages
Publication Date: March 1, 2020
Source: Direct Author Request
Title Link(s): The Pearl of York [Amazon]

Tony Morgan - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Tony Morgan is a Welsh author living in Yorkshire in the UK, near to the birth place of Guy Fawkes.

His books have been described as a perfect read for lovers of the works of C.J. Sansom and S. J. Parris and anyone interested in how historic events have shaped our own times.

In addition to writing novels, Tony gives history on topics such as Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot and the life of Margaret Clitherow.

[Find Tony Morgan on his website here.]

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

The Thorny Rose Mysteries by Lauren Carr – #Audiobook Tour – #Giveaway

Yahoo! I get to present Spotlights, Excerpts, and a Giveaway for IRead Book Tours. 

“The plot was original, fresh and fast-paced in spite of the
“traditional elements” employed which can normally be found in any other
thriller of this genre. The USP of this story would be its
unpredictability. When you think you have it all guessed up, the plot
would change its course keeping you hooked. There were a lot of suspense
twists and turns that kept the momentum up. Needless to say, the
writing was simply perfect. One thing that writer needs to be lauded for
is the humor she inculcated in the book. Minus those humorous parts,
the book would have been one serious read.” – Reviewer: Book and Ink

Join us for this tour from May 4 to Jun 5, 2020!

KILL AND RUN by Lauren Carr

 

Book Details:

Book Title: Kill and Run by Lauren Carr

Series: Thorny Rose Mystery Series (Volume 1)

Category:  Adult fiction, 422 pages

Genre:  Murder Mystery

Publisher:  Acorn Book Services

Release date:  September, 2015

Format available for review:  audible (download code), ebook (mobi, ePub, PDF)

Tour dates:  May 4 to Jun 5, 2020

Content Rating: PG (mild violence and sexual suggestion)

Book Description:

Five women with seemingly nothing in common are found brutally murdered
in a townhome outside Washington, DC. Among the many questions
surrounding the massacre is what had brought these apparent strangers
together only to be killed.

Taking on his first official murder case, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton,
USN, believes that if he can uncover the thread connecting the victims,
then he can find their murderer.

The case takes an unexpected turn when Murphy discovers that one of the
victims has a connection to his stepmother, Homicide Detective Cameron
Gates. One wintry night, over a dozen years before, her first husband, a
Pennsylvania State trooper, had been run down while working a night
shift on the turnpike.

In this first installment of the Thorny Rose Mysteries, the Lovers in
Crime join newlyweds Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to shift
through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives of the
Thorny Rose uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning
killer?

“Mysteries, murder, danger, and memories that threatens their
lives keeps the action and suspense at a high level and even when the
answers are found, it left me wanting more.” – Review by Sherry Fundin of Fundinmental

Book Description:After ten months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton
are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in
their new home, everything appears to be perfect … except in the middle
of the night when, in the darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep
secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out
at Murphy.

When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her
latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may
have witnessed the murder of a family while visiting family at the
winery near-by, and suppressed the memory.

Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims,
Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker,
a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a
community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an
end to the Thorny Rose couple?

 Buy the Book:  

Audible ~
Amazon

Add to Goodreads

Murder by Perfection is a wonderful read and a perfect to
escape from the challenges of a busy day. Danger, intrigue, humor, and
love all take their turn in this tale which will keep you reading into
the wee hours.” Review by Marilyn R. Wilson, Olio by Marilyn

 Book Description:

Beware: Perfection has a dark side!Frustrated with their busy schedules, Murphy Thornton and Jessica
Faraday attempt to find togetherness by scheduling a weekly date night.
The last thing Jessica Faraday expected for her date night was to take a
couple’s gourmet cooking course at the Stepford Kitchen Studio, owned
by Chef Natalie Stepford―the model of perfection in looks, home, and
business.

When Natalie ends up dead and Murphy goes missing, the Thorny Rose
detectives must peel back the layers of Natalie Stepford’s life to
discover that the pursuit of perfection can be deadly.

Enjoy this latest Thorny Rose Mystery! Coming soon to Audible!
“Wow – this is one INCREDIBLE novel that I could not put down.
It had me  on the edge of my seat and I can honestly say that I never
saw the end coming. It was full of suspense, action but also humour
(done in a way  that only Lauren can accomplish).”
5-Star Review of THE NUTCRACKER CONSPIRACY by Working Mommy Journal

THE NUTCRACKER CONSPIRACY by Lauren Carr

 

Book Details:Book TitleThe Nutcracker Conspiracy (A Thorny Rose Mystery #4) by Lauren Carr

Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  388 pages

Genre:  Mystery

Publisher:  Acorn Book Services

Release date:   January 30, 2020

Format available for review:  audible (download code), mobi, epub, PDF

Tour dates: May 4 to Jun 5, 2020

Content Rating:  PG-13 (Lauren Carr’s books are murder mysteries,
so there are murders involved. Occasionally, a murder will happen on
stage. There is sexual content, but always behind closed doors. Some
mild swearing (a hell or a damn few and far between). No F-bombs!

Book Description:Three years ago, the nation gasped in horror when the President of the
United States barely escaped an assassination attempt that left two
dead—the vice president’s wife and the attempted assassin.  Even after
numerous investigations proved otherwise, conspiracy theorists argue
that the assassin was acting on orders from the CIA, FBI, and every
federal agency within a hundred miles of the capital.

Aspiring Author Dean Conway is the last person Lieutenant Commander
Murphy Thornton wants to spend his Saturday afternoon when they end up
at the same wedding reception table. While their wives tend to
bridesmaid duties, Murphy is trapped listening to Dean’s latest
work-in-project—completing the manuscript of an investigative journalist
who’d disappeared months earlier.

“She was number twelve,” Dean says.

“Twelve?” Murphy asks.

“Twelve witnesses connected to or investigating The Nutcracker shooting have died either in an accident or suicide.”

Two days later, Dean dies suddenly―but not before sending a text message to Murphy:

“13”

 

Meet the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international
best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson
Cold Case, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across
three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike
rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include
mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and
humor.

A popular speaker, Lauren is also
the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead
Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German
Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram

Tour Schedule:
May 4 – Hall Ways Blog – series spotlight / giveaway

May 4 – She Just Loves Books – series spotlight / giveaway

May 4 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – series spotlight / giveaway

May 4 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review of Kill and Run / giveaway

May 4 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – audiobook review of Kill and Run

May 5 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – audiobook review of A Fine Year for Murder

May 6 – Buried Under Books – audiobook review of Kill and Run / giveaway

May 6 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – audiobook review of Murder by Perfection

May 7 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway

May 8 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway

May 11 – Locks, Hooks and Books – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway

May 11 – Jazzy Book Reviews – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway

May 11 – Merlot Et mots –series spotlight / giveaway

May 12 – Laura’s Interests – series spotlight / giveaway

May 12 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway

May 13 – Bookish Quest – audiobook review of Kill and Run / giveaway

May 13 – Blooming with Books – audiobook review of Kill and Run / giveaway

May 13 – Lamon Reviews – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway

May 14 – Buried Under Books – audiobook review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway

May 15 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – series spotlight

May 19 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway

May 19 – Rosepoint Publishing – audiobook review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway

May 20 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway

May 20 – Bookish Quest – audiobook review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway

May 20 – Blooming with Books – audiobook review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway

May 21 – Books for Books – audiobook review of Murder by Perfection

May 21 – La libreria di Beppe – series spotlight / giveaway

May 22 – fundinmental – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway

May 25 – Buried Under Books – audiobook review of Murder By Perfection / giveaway

May 25 – T’s Stuff – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway

May 26 – Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews – series spotlight / giveaway

May 27 – Bookish Quest – audiobook review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway

May  27 – Blooming with Books – audiobook review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway

May 27 – Books for Books – series spotlight

May 28 – Bookish Quest – series spotlight / author interview/ giveaway

May 29 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – series spotlight / guest post

Jun 1 – Thoughts in Progress – series spotlight / giveaway

Jun 2 – Svetlana’s reads and views – series spotlight

Jun 2 – Kristin’s Novel Café – series spotlight

Jun 3 – Buried Under Books – series spotlight / giveaway

Jun 3 – Blooming with Books – series spotlight / giveaway

Jun 4 – Rosepoint Publishing – series spotlight / giveaway

Jun 4 –Splashes of Joy – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway

Jun 5 – The avid reader – series spotlight/giveaway

 

Enter the Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

In My Attic (A Magical Misfits Mystery Book 1) by Lina Hansen – a #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

In My Attic by Lina HansenSometimes all it takes is murder to discover who you truly are.
Grammar school teacher Myrtle Coldron has no patience to spare for Aunt Eve’s Wiccan shenanigans. Myrtle ignores auntie’s frantic plea for help—only to learn she has crashed from the attic to her death. The circumstances are suspicious; murder is on the cards. Riddled with guilt, Myrtle returns to the Witch’s Retreat, Eve’s beloved Bed and Breakfast, to sleuth for the truth.

No such luck.

The sleepy, historic village sheltering the B+B also hides a mystery. Soon enough, Myrtle is besieged by a zany posse of suspects, nightly visitors in the attic, threatening notes—and a zombie primula with a mind of its own.

Somebody is out to get her, and it will take all her skills—including those she doesn’t care for—to keep Myrtle alive.

My Review:

Myrtle Coldron has to return to Avebury and her aunt’s B&B when she is notified of the former Wiccan’s passing. Her aunt had tried to call for her help, but Myrtle wouldn’t return the call. The local police close the case marking the death accidental but now her death appears to be very suspicious, she feels even worse and vows to learn the truth.

In My Attic by Lina HansenHer aunt’s B&B called the Witch’s Retreat has only a few guests at the moment and she has the aid of Eve Coldron’s housekeepers-pseudo managers to keep things in order. The aunt had taken her in after the tragic death of her parents. Her cousin, Daisy, Eve’s heir apparent, is not the most reliable and Myrtle will stay to help make arrangements and coordinate with the attorney.

Unfortunately, her aunt bequeaths the B&B to Myrtle leaving her cousin only a stipend and a place to live. Strange things begin to happen and begin to escalate. The two male guests seem at odds with each other. Avebury is an interesting setting, ancient (with an aura even we felt when we visited–also a cold, rainy day). The weather coming out of a long winter is still wet, dreary, and cold lending a dismal atmosphere.

The subject of witches, druids, and the mystery of the stones have enjoyed quite a bit of research and lends entertaining threads. The staff (sisters), local residents, and a coordinating officer introduce several support characters. Myrtle is not fully developed, though we know she is an unmarried educator. She undertakes a search to discover her aunt’s artifacts and in the process begins to discover much more about her aunt–and herself–than she ever imagined.

Although well-plotted, the pacing, particularly at the beginning, is rather slow as it establishes the scene, B&B descriptions, and characters. I enjoyed the writing style infused with self-talk and some humorous observations. The author allows the tension to build as additional quirky happenings send Myrtle scrambling to protect herself and reveal the who and why. The climax comes unexpectedly revealing the one you might not have suspected. While there are a couple unexplained threads, the conclusion leaves a couple doors open for a storyline to explore in Book 2.

I was offered the digital download in the hope of a review and feel it’s a good start to a promising series. If you enjoy a magical aspect in your reads or witchy stories, you’ll appreciate this narrative of the discovery of powers.

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Amateur Sleuths, Witch & Wizard Mysteries
Publisher: Literary Wanderlust

  • ISBN-10:1942856512
  • ISBN-13:978-1942856511
  • ASIN: B085KPYKPT

Print Length: 280 pages
Publication Date: July 1, 2020
Source: Direct Author Request
Title Link(s): In My Attic (Amazon)

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Lina Hansen - authorThe Author: LINA HANSEN has been a freelance travel journalist, teacher, bellydancer, postal clerk and science communication specialist stranded in the space sector. Numbed by factoid technical texts, she set out to write the stories she loves to read– cozy and romantic mysteries with a dollop of humour and a magical twist. After living and working in the UK, Lina, her husband, and their feline companion now share a home in the foothills of Castle Frankenstein. Lina is a double Watty Award Winner, Featured Author, and a Wattpad Star. In My Attic is the first of the Magical Misfits series of mysteries.

Contact Ms. Hansen at http://linahansenauthor.com/contact/ or @lhansenauthor

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint Reviews May Recap–Hello June!

Rosepoint Reviews - May Recap

My claim to fame in May will be that I mastered the instructions for creating a mask out of one of the CE’s pair of cotton socks. No sewing, no pipe cleaners, no rubber string around the ears. There are apparently a number of different and unique varieties of no-sew masks and at least I can breathe with this one (which probably tells me how effective it is). I do not have, however, any denim or canvas, in my remnant box supposedly the most effective DIY mask material. Perhaps you’ve created your own designer mask and if it’s a no-sew version, I’m always open to suggestions.

May is normally the month here in NWI where we sun-starved and chilly folks are ready to grab the shovel and seeds. But it’s been a very slow spring and we’ve literally gone from jackets to tank tops in a couple days–and back again. I did get some seeds in and for Mother’s Day treated to our local nurseries that have opened in limited capacity, so what didn’t manage to cling to the soil that last rain deluge was augmented with a few 2″ starts. Since putting Handsome Husband on a vegetarian diet, we are eating a LOT of veggies and salads around here.

I’ll be happy with fifteen reviews in May, four of which were contributed by that Vicarious Blogger, the CE. You’d think all that help would free me up for more reading, but nay. I spent the time trying to save the garden–several times–hence the time to listen to those audiobooks!

Forgiveness Falls by Kate James
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen (Audiobook-5 Stars!)
Out of the Red and Into the Black by Shane S Ahalt Sr (A CE Review)
The Secret of Bones by Kylie Logan
Sucker Punch by Jim Carroll (A CE 5-star review)
Curse of the Ninth by Ruthie Marlenée (Author Request Literary Historical)
What You Don’t See by Tracy Clark
Murder by Perfection by Lauren Carr (Audiobook Blog Tour)
Yes Please by Amy Poehler (Audiobook)
Bones of the Innocent by John A Connell (A CE 5-star Review)
An Unequal Defense by Chad Zunker
Kelegeen by Eileen O’Finlan (Literary Historical)
Bossypants by Tina Fey (Audiobook–loved it–5 stars)
Killing Time by Suzanne Trauth (Blog Tour and Giveaway)
Departure by Joseph Reid (A CE Review)

Not all procured from NetGalley, the audiobooks from my local lending library, except the one for the blog tour.

Progress on the challenges: Audiobooks, NetGalley, Historical, and Goodreads–two books behind schedule at 68 of 170. 40%. I’ll have to talk to the man about stepping up his pace! To follow my progress, click on the Reading Challenges page.

Such a dark, tragic period in our country right now and around the world. I hope that wherever you are, you continue to stay safe in the face of CoVid19 and are finding creative ways to cope. Working in my garden(s) and your likes and comments always make my day. And always, thank you new followers!

Stay safe!

Stay Smart, Safe, Home

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Departure (Seth Walker Book 3) by Joseph Reid – A #BookReview by the CE

Air marshal Seth Walker is called in to investigate the disappearance of an electrical engineer at SFO.

Book Blurb:

The Amazon Charts bestselling series continues as air marshal Seth Walker hunts a potential terrorist who could hold the key to the darkest chapter of his own past.

Departure by Joseph ReidWhen an electrical engineer from one of America’s premier tech companies disappears inside the San Francisco International Airport before an overseas flight, air marshal Seth Walker is called in to investigate. With the clock ticking down and questions multiplying at every turn, Walker can’t afford to fail: the lives of all two hundred thousand passengers inside SFO may hang in the balance.

As he races through crowded concourses, desperately searching for clues, Walker can sense this is no routine missing-persons case. But as he digs ever deeper into the young man’s background, the tangle of contradictions he finds is confounding. Is the engineer the victim of a crime…or the perpetrator of one?

As the case forces Walker to confront his own demons and the reason he fled his former life in industry, finding this man may mean exposing his own darkest secret.

His Review:

Air Marshal Seth is landing at LAX, returning from an assignment, when he is intercepted to follow another case. Riding on a plane with a thoroughly obnoxious passenger is not unheard of.  However, this fellow makes himself a real mean and classic drunk. You know, the kind you wished there were emergency exits for!

Departure by Joseph ReidHe left the electronics industry due to the suicide of his boss which has left him with remaining questions. But industrial espionage will be the primary focus of this book.   Would a foreign power really try to capture and steal the technology developed in this country? As you read you be the judge.  A major support character is Melissa Cooke, Special Agent for the F.B.I.

The object of the diversion is a young Arab immigrant named Anah El Amin. Remarkably, throughout the book, he stays one step ahead of Seth and Melissa at the airport in San Francisco.

I enjoyed the story and the plot but found the various treks through the terminals at SFO just a little slow at times.  My thoughts developed a parallel plot. Why can’t they simply have a cadre of people looking at all the surveillance footage and see where El Amin is currently located rather than looking at past footage and then trying to keep up with his progress?

Amin escapes with his Chinese co-conspirator in a small jet. They head to another US destination and our two agents are able to commandeer a plane to follow them. They arrive at the new destination at about the same time.

CE WilliamsI found the resourcefulness of both the two conspirators and the two agents entertaining. There was a lot of action and the storyline is well-paced. The climax was a surprise. A new series and author for me, I read as a standalone. We received the digital download from NetGalley in exchange for a read and review and these are my honest opinions. Recommended. C.E. Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Military Thrillers, Technothrillers
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

  • ISBN-10:1542041813
  • ISBN-13:978-1542041812

ASIN: B07S6MWR88
Print Length: 322 pages
Publication Date: August 11, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Departure (Amazon)

Add to Goodreads 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5-stars

Joseph Reid - authorThe Author: Joseph Reid is the author of the bestselling Seth Walker series, featuring the air marshal-turned-investigator who solves crimes in and around aviation.
The son of a navy helicopter pilot, Reid chased great white sharks as a marine biologist before becoming a patent lawyer who litigates multi-million-dollar cases for high-tech companies. He has flown millions of miles on commercial aircraft and has spent countless hours in airports around the world. A graduate of Duke University and the University of Notre Dame, he lives in San Diego with his wife and children. [Find Mr. Reid at his website here.]

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Killing Time by Suzanne Trauth #BlogTour #Excerpt #BookReview #Giveaway

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Killing Time by Suzanne Trauth on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

Killing Time by Suzanne Trauth

Book Details

Killing Time (A Dodie O’Dell Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Publisher: Lyrical Press (June 2, 2020)
Number of Pages: 215
Digital ASIN: B07W8ZX8JV

Book Blurb

With Halloween just around the corner, Dodie O’Dell is making preparations to transform the Windjammer Restaurant on the Jersey Shore into a haunted house, while the Etonville Little Theatre is staging Dracula. But casting the titular Transylvanian is proving challenging. The amateur actors in the company are not shy about chewing the scenery, but who among them can convincingly sink their fangs into a victim’s neck? When a mysterious newcomer with a transfixing Eastern European accent lands the part, rumors that he might be an actual vampire start to take flight—not unlike the bat who’s recently been spotted in the town park.

But everyone’s blood really runs cold when a stranger is found in the cemetery with a real stake in his heart. Dodie decides to put her Halloween theme menu on the back burner and stick her neck out to bring the killer into the light of day. She’d better keep her wits about her, though—or Dodie may be the next one to go down for the Count . . .

Excerpt

“It sure looks haunted,” Edna murmured to no one in particular, to the cast of Dracula in general. They were grouped around her on the sidewalk that ran past the old Hanratty place that Carlos and Bella had rented. I’d never been inside though once I’d driven by it when I first moved to Etonville on my way out of town. The house stood on half an acre of scruffy lawn with patches of dried dirt, surrounded by a few straggly trees—minus leaves at this time of the year—and no neighbors. The nearest houses were on a side street some distance away. The three-story building looked as if it might collapse at any moment, its outer walls covered with weathered, gray shakes, the steps to the front door supported by concrete building blocks. There was no handrail. Light leaked out of windows on the first floor. Curtains covering small, circular panes on the third story—an attic room?—quivered. Was someone up there watching us? I shivered. A turret rose upward from the right side of the structure, giving the house a smidge of outdated dignity. A drain pipe dangled loosely from the gutter.

“Let’s go.” Penny corralled actors and nudged everyone forward to the front door. There were six company members, Renfield saying he’d be along later, plus Penny, Lola, Pauli, and me. Strength in numbers.

We crept across the porch cautiously, aware of the creaking beneath us as the flooring shifted with each individual’s footsteps. Penny put out a hand to knock on the door. Before she could hit knuckles to wood, it flew open. “Welcome everyone!” Bella stood in the doorway, a silhouette backlit by muted foyer lighting.

Behind her Carlos stood silently, observing the group huddled in his entryway, like deer caught in headlights.

Lola took the lead, moving graciously into the house. “Thank you. So nice of you to invite us to your home.”

I’m not sure what the members of the Etonville Little Theatre were expecting. Given the exterior and location of the Hanratty homestead, I anticipated something out of a late-night classic horror film.

My Review

Fall is closing in, Halloween is upon the town of Etonville and the Etonville Little Theatre has decided on running with Dracula. They have a great new actor who is playing Dracula as if he is one–his wife and the cast party at their old, creepy home part of the mystique. Problem is, someone in a Grim Reaper costume is found in the local cemetery with what appears to be a stake through his heart. This definitely carries the whole Halloween production too far.

Dodie O’Dell is manager of the Windjammer Restaurant on the Jersey Shore. Because of the season and the scheduled play, they are very busy in the restaurant promoting a theme menu. She definitely has a capable chef in the kitchen and bar and restaurant staff are more friends than employees. But this one strikes too close for comfort and she’ll have to “look into it.” Not the first time she’s taken on sleuthing duties.

Dodie is also engaged to the local police chief, Bill, and while not having reservations about him, is dragging her feet getting into the whole wedding planning thing with BFF Lola. So distracting herself with the current mystery is not too difficult.

In the meantime, we are introduced to the restaurant regulars, the town’s recurring characters, and some description of the area and contiguous small villages.

It’s a cozy mystery. They do tend to begin a bit slow for me. I’m as bad as the next mystery reader waiting anxiously for something to happen. Dodie has a fine way, however, of handling the restaurant while beginning with questions surrounding the details of the victim’s death then zeroing in on the weirdly perceived Dracula actor.

As Dodie begins sifting through clues and building on instinct, the reader is treated with the eccentricities of some of her closest buddies, Edna the police dispatcher who speaks in code–police code–and Penny who enjoys famous quotes, but always gets them wrong.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you live longer.”

Not character-driven really, as Dodie makes steady progress with her investigation and interviews, but the characters really start growing on you. The description of the restaurant setting is easy to imagine and becomes warm and comfortable with the smells of the kitchen wafting into the dining area.

Dodie’s quandary regarding Bill isn’t really hammered out until the conclusion (but then very satisfactorily), and the climax ramps up the excitement considerably with a real surprise you probably didn’t see coming. (Well, okay, I didn’t.) The sixth in the Dodie O’Dell mystery series, this can function fine as a standalone, and is certainly a series with premise and characters you’ll enjoy.

I received this digital download from the publisher through NetGalley for this book tour and greatly enjoyed the opportunity to read and review. Recommended cozy mystery.

Add to Goodreads 

Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win one of three print copies (US only) in this Rafflecopter giveaway

Four-point Five of Five Stars 4.5-stars

Suzanne Trauth
Suzanne Trauth, Harvard Studio, Montclair, NJ. 06/27/2014 Photo by Steve Hockstein/HarvardStudio.com

About The Author: Suzanne Trauth is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and a former theatre professor at a university. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Dramatists Guild, and League of Professional Theatre Women. When she is not writing, Suzanne coaches actors and serves as a celebrant performing wedding ceremonies. She lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey.

Author Links 

Webpagewww.suzannetrauth.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/SuzanneTrauth/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/SuzanneMTrauth

GoodReadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6187623.Suzanne_M_Trauth

Purchase Links

Amazon – B&N – Kobo

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

Tour Participants:

May 19 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

May 19 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 20 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

May 21 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

May 22 – Laura’s Interests– CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 22 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

May 22 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 23 – Christy’s Cozy Corners– CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 23 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

May 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

May 25 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 25 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

May 26 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

May 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST

May 27 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST

May 28 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW

May 29 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

May 30 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – REVIEW

May 31 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW

May 31 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW  

June 1 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Bossypants by Tina Fey – An #Audiobook Review Narrated by the Author

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars

Bossypants by Tina Fey 

Book Blurb:

Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update”, before “Sarah Palin”, Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both of those dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon – from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

Includes special, never-before-solicited opinions on breastfeeding, princesses, Photoshop, the electoral process, and Italian rum cake!

My Review:

If you’ve ever wondered if an author can read his/her own book and do it any justice, I urge you to give this audiobook a listen. Even if you’ve read her book–give the audiobook a listen. She so totally nails the pacing, the insinuations, the whispered asides, and the timbre, you can’t help but hang on every word. There were times I shared chapters with the CE and he laughed along with me.

Bossypants by Tina FeyA memoir? Nah. Autobiography? No–it is categorized as Comedy and Humor Essays and I’d say there were enough of both that you don’t really need a memoir, per se. Why not just enjoy the humorous aspects of her memories, giving you a personal glimpse to the woman inside Tina Fey. What you get is what you see? Perhaps more than you realized. She is enormously talented and she doesn’t take a lot of nonsense from anyone–hence the title.

Still, you are given vignettes into her childhood, adolescence, and the road to success through her experience with Second City, stint in SNL, and now 30 Rock. To be fair–no–30 Rock is not a show I watch, but then I don’t watch much on TV anymore, period. I specifically enjoyed the chapters on her dad, “That’s Don Fey,” as well as “My Honeymoon,” “The Secrets of Mommy’s Beauty,” “Amazing, Gorgeous, and Not Like That.” But “Kotex Classic” has to be a classic. Did I forget to mention her experience with the “Teat Nazis?” (Her attempt at breastfeeding didn’t go all that well.) Gees, I laughed at so many of her observations!

“Gay people don’t actually try to convert people. That’s Jehovah’s Witnesses you’re thinking of.”

Her intro to writing for SNL was a hoot, her role gradually evolving into performing (memorably as Sarah Palin) as well. It certainly makes those “stars” human, the actors, her fellow writers, and directors, with special love notes to Amy Poehler.

While the audiobook that Amy Poehler narrated was classed Biographies of Women and Humor Essays, I found little to confirm those categories, whereas I felt Fey’s Humor Essays were just that–one right after the other. I was quite surprised to read some of the reviews on Goodreads that didn’t appreciate either. Do both Poehler and Fey tend to get a bit profane? Yup. And there are no subjects taboo. (I suspect their lives have been greatly more exposed to the baser part of life than I.)

I received this audiobook download from my local library audiobook selection delivered through Overdrive. THANK YOU! You looking for a humorous oasis in this pandemic cloud? I suggest this just might give you that respite.

Book Details:

Genre: Comedy, Humor Essays
Publisher:  Hachette Audio
ASIN: B004V6APR2
Listening Length: 5 hrs 31 mins
Narrator: Tina Fey
Publication Date: April 5, 2011
Source: Local (Audiobook Selections) Library
Title Link: Bossypants Rosepoint recommended

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Tina Fey - actress, author
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE — NBC Late Night — Pictured: Featured Player and Head Writer Tina Fey — NBC Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews

The Author: [from Goodreads] Elizabeth Stamatina “Tina” Fey is an American actress, comedian, writer and producer. She has received seven Emmy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, four Screen Actors Guild Awards, and four Writers Guild of America Awards. She was singled out as the performer who had the greatest impact on culture and entertainment in 2008 by the Associated Press, who gave her their AP Entertainer of the Year award.

After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1992, Fey moved to Chicago to take classes at the improvisational comedy group The Second City, where she became a featured player in 1994. Three years later, Fey became a writer for the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL). She was promoted to the position of head writer in 1999. The following year, Fey was added to the cast of SNL. During her time there, she was co-anchor of the show’s Weekend Update segment. After leaving SNL in 2006, she created the television series called 30 Rock, a situation comedy loosely based on her experiences at SNL. In the series, Fey portrays the head writer of a fictional sketch comedy series.

In 2004, Fey made her film debut as writer and co-star of the teen comedy Mean Girls. In 2008, she starred in the comedy film Baby Mama, alongside Amy Poehler. In 2009, Fey won an Emmy Award for her satirical portrayal of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in a guest appearance on SNL.

[Note: Tina Fey is married to Jeff Richmond. Fey is currently the “creator and star of 30 Rock. They met while working at The Second City and dated for seven years before marrying in a Greek Orthodox ceremony on June 3, 2001. They have two daughters.”]

©2020 –  V Williams V Williams

Kelegeen by Eileen O’Finlan #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

I am delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Kelegeen by Eileen O’Finlan on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

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Book Details

Kelegeen
Historical Fiction
Publisher: BWL Publishing Inc. (March 1, 2018)
Paperback: 433 pages
ISBN-10: 0228600294
ISBN-13: 978-0228600299
Kindle ASIN: B07B52K2TB

Book Blurb 

Ireland 1846 

Meg O’Connor, daughter of poor Irish cottiers, eagerly anticipates her wedding to Rory Quinn.  Her dreams of marriage and family vanish along with Ireland’s potato crop when Kelegeen’s inhabitants awaken one morning to find their sole source of food destroyed by blight.

At first Meg and Rory are able to use their skills, hers of sewing and his of wood carving, to provide for themselves and their families.  But tragedy and a costly mistake end those means of survival forcing them into more dangerous ventures.

As An Gorta Mór, the Great Hunger, continues to churn through Ireland ravaging the country’s peasantry with no let up in sight, Meg is compelled to make the most difficult decision of her life.  What she chooses could be the salvation of the O’Connor and Quinn families or it could separate her forever from all she knows and loves.

My Thoughts

I love the cover, the premise, and always a good historical novel. Of course, my grandfather, bless his blatherskite heart, claimed a connection to Cork. I think most have heard of the Great Potato Famine of Ireland between 1846 and 1849, as it certainly led to a large population of immigrants to America. But that was never the whole story. There was something even darker than the blight growing in the background.

As crops failed because of the blight, people began running out of food. The potato crop meant sustenance through the ensuing winter. But failing their normal stores of food meant people scrambling to find work to buy what they could with pennies for wages. It would appear, however, that the English began a systematic effort at thinning the Irish population. They took the land and became unrepentant landlords, evicting the occupants and destroying the cottages, boycotting stores of food sent by other populations, and placing a tax which starving populations had no way of paying.

This novel focuses mainly on two families, the O’Connors and the Quinn’s, along with priest Father O’Malley. There are certainly other families playing support roles in various forms, from the family of the town drunk to the family who fails to lend to neighbors, zealously guarding anything they were able to hoard. Others became susceptible to diseases that starvation promotes and quickly the casualties of their small community. Meg O’Connor and Rory Quinn are looking forward to a wedding when the famine hits, delaying nuptials. Quinn’s family runs the worst of bad luck and soon the craft Rory was using to bring in money is squashed, literally, with his hand.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel here–the famine continues through one winter and growing season after another, soon forcing activities none would have thought capable.

KelegeenThe character of Father O’Malley is exceptional. He is well developed and so completely sympathetic you want to cry with him when he must perform Last Rites. He seems to have an inexhaustible fortitude and always goes out of his way to care for his parishioners. Meg is a scrapper. Seems she can manage whatever the heinous task she must perform, along with her mother who steadfastly teaches by example and holds the family together.

Along comes an English doctor. I kept waiting for his other shoe to drop. It appeared to me he was trying too hard to be accepted by the Irish in his territory and I wondered what mischief he could heap on those willing patients.

Meg eventually decides that she must go to America. There is jobs, money, opportunity and she’ll send money home hopefully to be able to reunite with Rory, which whom she is committed in a rather ingenious way, I thought.

I was left trying to figure out where Kelegeen is located. I would have loved descriptions of the town and people. The Catholic priest at the forefront commanded a great deal of philosophy and had me wanting to light a candle for him but the narrative might have been tightened or shortened somewhat, generating a faster pace. It certainly pointed out issues over-riding the major problem (that of the blight) exacerbating the tragedy (the English). It was well-plotted, highly researched, and detailed.

For the sensitive, the conclusion is emotional, wringing out all the poignant issues of pushing off to the unknown, leaving loved ones behind. I received this digital download from the publisher for this Great Escapes Book Tour. It’s powerful and recommended.

His Thoughts

Truly a masterpiece of historical representation! War is not the only way to defeat a people. The Romans did it at Masada by isolating the Jews and starving them out. The Irish were starved and nearly wiped out by a famine exacerbated by lack of support and a naval blockade of Irish ports.  An import fee was charged at the British ports even on charitable foodstuffs for the victims. Thus, we have this tragic expose of the plight of hundreds of thousands of Irish men, women, and children unfold.

A terrible attack was waged against the Catholic religion when Henry the Eighth persecuted the church and its’ clergy.  Many priests and bishops were killed or exiled. Whole communities were decimated by an English aristocracy with cold and calculated barbarism. A potato famine yielded little or no food for the tenant farmers. However, the citizens had to pay a rental fee every six months for land that had been confiscated by the British. If the rent was not paid their small bungalows were destroyed following eviction. At times 10 or 12 people occupied the house with their animals and all their meager belongings.

This book chronicles the lives and trials of a young couple and their families in these tragic times. Most neighbors were happy to help others when they had the ability. Having a house with many small children and mouths to feed makes for extreme hardship. The parish priest does his best to help assuage the suffering and comfort his people. Some of the men turned to drink to help forget their inability to provide for their wives and children.

CE WilliamsEscaping to America and Australia were sometimes the only way to help families at home. Getting the small fee for passage often took food out of the mouths of the family. The mental toll on the families and priests tasked with their spiritual well-being was beyond heartbreaking.

This book is not easy to read, but understanding of that difficult time is truly eye-opening. Prepare to love the characters and pray for the souls lost in this tragedy. 5 stars – C.E. Williams

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Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win one (1) print copy of Kelegeen on this Rafflecopter giveaway

Rosepoint Publishing:  4.25 of 5 Stars Four and One Quarter Stars

Eileen O'Finlan - authorAbout The Author: Eileen O’Finlan calls her writing “history with a twist” because she is intrigued by the unusual and little known aspects of history – the stories on history’s margins, the things rarely taught in the classroom. For her, that’s where history really gets fun.

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, her family moved to Worcester when she was two.  Four years later they moved to Holden where Eileen grew up and where she now resides with her 93-year-old mother and two cats.

Eileen holds a Bachelor’s degree in history and a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry.  She works full time for the Diocese of Worcester and teaches online courses in Catholic studies for the University of Dayton, Ohio.  She is proud to say that Pope Francis owns a copy of her debut novel, Kelegeen.  Erin’s Children, the sequel to Kelegeen, will be released by BWL Publishing, Inc. in December of 2020.

Author Links

Webpage:  https://eileenofinlan.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eileenofinlanauthor/ ;

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17762333.Eileen_O_Finlan ;

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/eileenofinlan ;

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnoxfrZpgvtHbAH74qM_vEQ ;

BWL Publishing, Inc. Author page:  http://bookswelove.com/o-finlan-eileen/

Purchase Links: Amazon: –  Barnesandnoble.com  –  Apple iTunes  –  Google Play  – Kobo – Smashwords

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

Tour Participants:

May 21 – My Devotional Thoughts – REVIEW

May 22 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

May 23 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT

May 24 – Literary Gold – EXCERPT

May 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 26 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

May 26 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 27 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

May 28 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – EXCERPT

May 29 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

May 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book– AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 30 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT Great Escapes Book Tours

 Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this historical fiction novel!

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Book Blitz – Speakeasy by A M Dunnewin for RABT Book Tours and PR

Suspense Thriller / Historical
Date Published: 12/21/2011
Publisher:  Dark Hour Press, LLC
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The novella is centered on Eddie Durante, owner of a speakeasy who’s supported by his mobster uncle—the boss of the Durante family. Eddie is a young widower after his family’s rival, the Caprice family, murdered his wife over a territory dispute. After devising a plan that retaliated against four of the rivaling capos, Eddie is left with the daunting task to try and move on. That is, until he’s notified that the Caprices have put a hit man in the speakeasy—and Eddie’s name is on the list. But things take an unexpected turn when Eddie instead starts to find the dead bodies of his relatives, the ones who had helped in the retaliation.

Behind the backdrop of jazz music and glistening flappers, murder after murder begins to unravel as revenge takes center stage, and Eddie soon learns that some secrets can’t be taken to the grave.

Excerpt

Once the doors were closed, Sal didn’t take long to get right to the point. “They know it was you, Eddie.”
The words slapped him across the face, but Eddie didn’t respond.
“That you were the one who came up with the idea,” Sal continued. “They’re out for retaliation, and it’s rumored that they’ve sent a torpedo into this juice joint of yours. That’s part of the reason why I’m not being too open with the information. Afraid of who might be listening.”
A hit man in his speakeasy. Eddie stared out the windshield, watching Sal begin to light a cigarette out of the corner of his eye. “I had a lot of ideas,” he remarked hoarsely, fear and dread subtly mixing into his thoughts.
“Only took one,” Sal responded as he lit the cigarette. He silently offered one to Eddie, who refused with a shake of his head. “Sorry, kid,” Sal explained as he took a puff. “After what they did to your wife, I wouldn’t have blamed ya.”
Eddie remained silent, his eyes drifting to the bootleggers who were moving the last of the crates. No wonder they weren’t laying their eyes on him. He was a dead target.
Sal took another drag on his cigarette, taking a moment for himself. “Don’t worry, though,” he finally remarked. “Your family’s got your back. My brother-in-law, your dear uncle, has requested that Joe stay by your side until we can square away if there’s a torpedo and who it is.”
“What?” Eddie balked, shattering his calm exterior.
“It’s temporary,” Sal cooed, trying to calm the young man down. “He’s just some extra protection.”
Eddie gawked, unable to believe that they’d send Joe, of all people, to protect him. “He’s crazy,” was all Eddie could summarize when it came to his cousin.
“He’s happy,” Sal tried to smooth over.
“Trigger happy,” Eddie corrected.
Sal shrugged his shoulders. “He gets the job done. And when the boss’ favorite nephew needs protection, the boss will only send the very best.”
“I don’t need protection,” Eddie fought back, trying not to raise his voice to the lunacy. “And even if I did, I have Anthony and Marcus in there—”
“Little orphan Anthony and Baby Marcus?” Sal choked, half laughing, half sputtering on the cigarette smoke. “Marcus is too naive, and Anthony,” but Sal had to chuckle first before he could continue. “Well, ya better just pray your killer isn’t a female.”
“Thanks for warning me,” Eddie begrudgingly admitted as he pulled the door handle…

About the Author

 

A. M. Dunnewin grew up with a taste for mysteries and thrillers, inherited ever so lovingly from her family. An affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association, A. M.’s own stories cover a wide range of genres that tend to take a dark turn when least expected. With a B.A. in Psychology, she’s a gambler of words, obsessed with chai tea, and addicted to books – everything from classical literature to graphic novels. Other hobbies include art, history, music, equestrianism, and a good classic film. She currently dwells in Northern California.
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©2020

An Unequal Defense – David Adams Book 2 by Chad Zunker

“The single greatest cause of homelessness is a profound, catastrophic loss of family.”

 Book Blurb:

An Unequal Defense by Chad ZunkerA client with delusions of a deadly conspiracy draws attorney David Adams into a darkness where only the paranoid know how to get out alive.

Former up-and-coming hotshot attorney David Adams left his glamorous corporate law firm to fight for the disenfranchised. With a caseload of petty offenses, a meager office in a crumbling building, and little in the way of compensation, David needs a real case.

When he agrees to represent Rebel, David recognizes this will be the biggest challenge of his young legal career. The mentally unstable homeless man has been accused of murder, and the evidence of his guilt seems overwhelming. But it’s the victim who shakes David’s world: a county prosecutor who just happens to be an old law school friend. Rebel’s murky defense: a paranoid insistence on a CIA plot to silence the derelict.

Aided only by a “legal team” of misfit street friends and a fellow counselor lured into this dark web, David will risk everything to defend his client…who may not be nearly as crazy as he seems.

My Review:

The second book in the series and the first I’ve read of this author. David Adams is a great protagonist, almost immediately empathetic. Up to a year ago, the fledgling attorney was a rising star in an aggressive legal firm strongly focused on billable hours and the almighty buck.

An Unequal Defense by Chad ZunkerBut something happened and he and a partner Thomas Gray (his mentor) left to start their own office, one that would take on cases of the disenfranchised–hoping to make a difference to the community. While his partner seems to be doing pretty well, most of David’s cases have successfully closed with him being owed the legal fees. Thomas is getting nervous.

He’s even more nervous when one of David’s friends, an assistant DA, is shot to death in an alley and he’s asked to defend Rebel, the homeless man in custody. It looks like an open and shut case with the homeless man maintaining he didn’t do it, while blathering about the CIA.

David doesn’t get too far with Rebel his first few meetings with him obviously off his meds, but something just seems even more “off” when he’s confronted with a possible witness who quickly fades into the background. Okay, now he has to know what is going on.

I do enjoy a good legal thriller, though this didn’t seem to involve a lot of legal maneuvering in or out of court more than it did investigation. In the meantime, Rebel is attacked in jail and survives but in the hospital, David trying to get any info out of Rebel sends him further over the top. (DAMN! Where are his meds?!)

The well-paced mystery, thriller is a fairly simple read. While the plot might be complex, there are red herrings sufficient to drive interest and gradually expands from unreliable witness to political conspiracy. But wait! How far up the chain does it go? Who can you trust? The author introduces great support characters, including Dana Mitchem and Kate at the appropriate point in time, and while plunking in possible new dodgy motives, adds tension to the ever-widening plot. Dana is…what…a romantic interest? But more than that–feeding him just a tad of insider information. I don’t know if Dana was involved in Book 1, but feel she’ll absolutely be around for Book 3. (Awkward…) There might have been greater fleshing of Dana in the first, as well as Thomas and Doc, but I missed it here.

Easy to follow, short chapters, genuine dialogue, interchange between David and his partner exhibiting an easy familiarity. David comes off as sincere, you’ll root for him as well as Rebel. There is a surprise in the conclusion that left the reader with a knowing chuckle that provided a fast read with a pleasant ending.

I received this digital download from the publisher through NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Fun, fast-paced legal, espionage thriller that’ll interest you in proceeding to Book 3. An Unequal Defense is out now. The timing is perfect.

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Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thrillers, Espionage Thrillers
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ASIN: B07S7Q1ZGC
Print Length: 247 pages
Publication Date: May 19, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: An Unequal Defense (Amazon)

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Chad Zunker - authorThe Author: CHAD ZUNKER is the author of the David Adams legal thriller, An Equal Justice, as well as The Tracker, Shadow Shepherd, and Hunt the Lion in his Sam Callahan series. Chad has worked for some of the country’s most powerful law firms and serves at Community First! Village, a 51-acre master-planned community that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness. He lives in Austin with his wife, Katie, and their three daughters, and is hard at work on his next novel. For more information visit http://www.chadzunker.com.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Bones of the Innocent: A Mason Collins Crime Thriller 3 by John A Connell – A CE #BookReview

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars 

Book Blurb:

Bones of the Innocent by John A ConnellMason Collins grapples with secrets and murder as he races against time to save the lives of abducted teenagers in a case a twisted as the streets of Tangier’s medina.

Summer, 1946. Just as assassins from a shadowy organization close in for the kill, a flamboyant stranger offers Mason a way out: He must accompany the stranger to Morocco to investigate the abductions of teenage girls. Girls that vanished without a trace.

Once Mason lands in Tangier, he discovers that nothing—or no one—is what it seems. This playground for the super rich is called the wickedest city in the world, and he realizes those who could help him the most harbor a terrible secret.

But just as Mason begins to unravel the mystery, the assassins have once again picked up his trail. Now, Mason must put his life on the line to find the girls before it’s too late. If he lives that long…

Bones of the Innocent is the third in the Mason Collins series of historical crime thrillers that bestselling author Lee Child declares is “…a must-read series for me.”

If you like your murder mystery served with a dose of adrenaline and a dash of the bizarre then you’ll love Bones!

His Review:

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer’” is very appropriate for this tale. John Connell has developed his character, Mason Collins, into an international cop for hire. Bones of the Innocent by John A ConnellThe setting is Tangier and is a very good reason not to visit the place. From the onset Mason is at odds with most of the police force in the area.

The other characters are well developed and most of them are hateful. When diplomats’ children are among the missing, it sparks a big investigation into the missing youths. Tangier is a melting pot of many cultures and distrust of other cultures is a key element in this narrative. The dialogue points out the problem with multi-languages being used in a very small country.

As the plot develops, the local police are less than thrilled with the intrusion of this outside detective.  There seem to be many false leads leading to the climax. Distrust between ethnic groups hampers straight forward investigations. Disparity between the haves and have-nots is everywhere.

CE WilliamsThe author keeps this story going at a fast clip and a well-scheduled reading interval will help with the book. The climax is rewarding and satisfactory.  I found the loss of many different ethnic children very disturbing and disheartening. 5 stars

We received this digital download from BookBub and appreciated the opportunity to read and review and these are my honest opinions. 5 stars – C.E. Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Thrillers, Kidnapping Thrillers
Publisher: Nailhead Publishing
ASIN: B07T1PGV1G
Print Length: 378 pages
Publication Date: July 5, 2019
Source: Publisher and BookBub
Title Link: Bones of the Innocent [Amazon]
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John A Connell - authorThe Author: John A. Connell is a 2016 Barry Award nominee and the author of the Mason Collins series. He was born in Atlanta then grew up in Ohio, New York and Virginia before ending up in Atlanta again at the age of 13. He has a BA in Anthropology, and has been a jazz pianist, a stock boy in a brassiere factory, a machinist, repairer of newspaper racks, and a printing-press operator. He then moved to Los Angeles to work as a motion picture camera operator for film and TV, where he worked on films like Jurassic Park and Thelma and Louise, and on TV shows, including NYPD Blue and The Practice. John and his wife spend their time between the U.S. and France.
He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America.
John loves to hear from readers, so please feel free to contact him at john@johnaconnell.com

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Yes Please by Amy Poehler – An #Audiobook Review

GRAMMY NOMINEEAudie Award, Humor, 2015

Book Blurb:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler is hosting a dinner party and you’re invited! Welcome to the audiobook edition of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. The guest list is star-studded with vocal appearances from Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy’s parents – Yes Please is the ultimate audiobook extravaganza. 

Also included? A one-night-only live performance at Poehler’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Hear Amy read a chapter live in front of a young and attractive Los Angeles audience. 

While listening to Yes Please, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll become convinced that your phone is trying to kill you. Don’t miss this collection of stories, thoughts, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of our most beloved entertainers. Offering Amy’s thoughts on everything from her “too safe” childhood outside of Boston to her early days in New York City, her ideas about Hollywood and “the biz”, the demon that looks back at all of us in the mirror, and her joy at being told she has a “face for wigs” – Yes Please is chock-full of words, and wisdom, to live by. 

 My Review:

 I guess I can’t think about Amy Poehler without also including Tina Fey, and of course, Tina also wrote a memoir that I am currently listening to and will review next week. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I downloaded this audiobook from my local library. Amy’s book is biting, full of essays, name-dropping, and repeated comments regarding how difficult it is to write a book. That becomes imminently obvious, as she struggled mightily with it.

Yes Please by Amy PoehlerAnd I’m sorry (or maybe not), but I didn’t find it particularly funny. Okay, a comedienne, but this is not a book about comedy. I’m not wholly sure it can be called a memoir either as it skips over parts many people would be interested in, saying, “I also don’t like people knowing my s**t.” Then yah got me stumped. So, then, what is it? Perhaps more of an appreciation card–a thank you to all who helped get her there?

Of course, I’m most interested in her years on SNL–thinking back to some of the hey-dey years of SNL–when they were a little more topical and a little less fart jokes. I never really got into Parks and Recreation, and her description of it sounds like it didn’t garner a lot of awards.

She does mention realizing at an early age that this was what she wanted to do and focused on moving toward that goal, getting into the improv groups, dodging rats in New York and drugs and booze in Chicago, though she expands in further detail drug usage in a later chapter.

Motherhood, definitely waxes poetic, having started her family in her thirties after having enormous amounts of fun playing the single scene and the improv scene through her twenties. In fact, she was pregnant in segments on SNL. I did enjoy some of the anecdotes from her time there, particularly with Tina Fey, but also as she goes into depth about her friendship with Seth Meyers.

In fact, she spends quite a bit of time expounding on various of the characters with whom she played for years. The problem I had was in the lack of cohesiveness. (It was all over the place.) The book doesn’t appear to have been laid out in any one direction. She’ll bounce from kindergarten to SNL and back again to kindergarten and her parents. In fact, they have a segment.

Alternately profane and compassionate, she climbs more than one soapbox to express her concerns for people, how to attain satisfaction in your own life. She teaches kindness. Reads letters that she felt were pivotal points in her treatment of people. Still, she remains closed off, impenetrable. All I really know at this point is that she worked hard at her craft and paid her dues and I think that’s the story of any who finally made it to the top.

I received this audiobook from my local well-stocked library audiobook section and appreciated the opportunity to give a listen. Next week–Tina Fey’s memoir, biography, Bossy Pants. Stay tuned.

 Book Details:

Genre: Biographies of Women, Humor Essays, Biographies of Celebrities & Entertainment Professionals
Publisher: Harper Audio
ASIN: B00MP22QRQ
Print Length:
Listening Length: 7 hrs 31 mins
Narrator: Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Mike Schur, Eileen Poehler, William Poehler, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Source: Local (Audiobook Selections) Library
Title Link: Amazon Audible   |   Amazon Paperback   |   Amazon Kindle
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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Amy Poehler - author, actress, comedienneThe Author: [from Goodreads]] Amy Meredith Poehler is an American actress, comedian, voice artist, producer and writer. Raised in Burlington, Massachusetts, she graduated from Boston College in 1993 and moved to Chicago, Illinois, to study improv at The Second City and ImprovOlympic. In 1996, she moved to New York City after becoming part of the improvisational comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade, which later developed into an eponymous television show that aired on Comedy Central for three seasons. Poehler was also one of the founding members of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in 1999.

Poehler was a cast member on the NBC television show Saturday Night Live from 2001 to 2008. In 2004, she became the co-anchor of the Weekend Update sketch along with her friend and colleague Tina Fey. Poehler’s work on SNL earned her two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She is known for voicing Bessie Higgenbottom in the 2008–2011 Nickelodeon series, The Mighty B! and Eleanor Miller in the Alvin and the Chipmunks CGI films. Since 2009, she has starred as Leslie Knope in the sitcom Parks and Recreation, and received the 2014 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Musical or Comedy Series. She is also an eight-time Emmy Award nominee.

Poehler is currently starring in the new Swedish-American sitcom Welcome to Sweden along with her brother Greg Poehler.

What You Don’t See (The Chicago Mysteries Book 3) by Tracy Clark – a #BookReview

A top vanity magazine owner didn’t get to be a media empress without stepping on a few toes.

Book Blurb:

What You Don't See by Tracy ClarkVonda Allen’s vanity magazine has taken the Windy City by storm, and now she’s on her way to building a one-woman media empire. Everybody adores her—except the people who work for her. But who’s sending her flowers with death threats?

As Vonda’s bodyguard, off-duty cop Ben Mickerson could use some backup—and no one fits the bill better than his ex-partner, Cass Raines. But when two of Vonda’s staff turn up dead, Ben and Cass are suddenly locked in battle with an unknown assailant. And when Ben is attacked in the media chaos of a public appearance, Cass is left to find out what secrets Vonda is keeping, who might want her dead, and how she can bring Ben’s attacker to justice.

My Review:

Oh yes, had to grab this one–a mystery, an ex-(female)cop from the Chicago PD. I’m still fascinated with the love affair so many seem to have with Chicago–having moved to “Chicagoland” myself a few years ago and almost nightly tune in to distressing news–I’m amazed there are still people who view the Windy City with affection. (No worse than any large city, I guess, and my son certainly loves working there.) Still so much to learn, however, and the city is pretty amazing.

Cassandra (Cass) Raines is a former Chicago Police Officer now private investigator. She’s been approached by her former partner, Ben Mickerson, pulling off-duty cop assignments, to join him in what is supposed to be an easy, but very profitable assignment. Vonda Allen made it to the top publishing her vanity magazine, but now seems to have garnered the animosity of someone who is sending flowers with death threats. Someone doesn’t like her.

What You Don't See by Tracy ClarkUnfortunately, their first outing with the narcissistic publisher at a bookstore ends in a life and death struggle with Ben ending in the hospital. She failed to follow the assailant, opting instead to stay with Ben in an attempt to save his life. But now it’s personal. She quits Vonda and while Ben is still being stabilized in and out of complications, there are two deaths in connection to the publisher. Cass begins her own investigation.

First, it’s obvious the author has an intimate knowledge of Chicago and I loved the ride-alongs. Cass is streetwise, complex, takes no s**t from anyone. Still, she might go home and dissolve into tears, her tender side overwhelming her. She is sympathetic and compassionate. A survivor. A defender. Dialogue is smart, sassy, and peppered with bits of sharp-witted retort. Also, she has a new love interest.

Characters range from the loathsome (the cop who almost got her killed) to immensely empathetic. I really enjoyed the author’s descriptive writing style.

“My eyes narrowed to reptilian slits.”

“…then fought the cars full of sugared-up shorties streaming into the zoo’s parking lot before naptime.”

In particular, I enjoyed the snappy repartee between Cass and Angela Dotson-Hughes. Dotson-Hughes is a majorly fun character, someone easily pictured in the role she was playing. Unnecessary to know what color she is, she is fun, sharp, fast, serious. Cass continues to search for clues and makes gradual headway even as the well-plotted narrative gathers steam.

There are red-herrings, and I loved the unexpected twist near the conclusion, spiking into a well-crafted climax. Oh, that was neat! Cass’s “family” provides a strong emotional backdrop for her, including an introduction to the father who abandoned her when she was twelve–just a couple little sub-plots here–all neatly tied together. I love it when the conclusion melds so beautifully, leaving the reader with a satisfied smile.

I received this digital download from the publisher and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. My first experience with the series and author, but felt it can work fine as a standalone. Oh, yeah, I’m hooked and looking forward to Book 4. Engaging, entertaining, clean, sweet read. Coming up on release date–look for it!

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Book Details:
Genre: Private Investigator Series, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Kensington
ASIN: B07TT3WSQH
Print Length: 352 pages
Publication Date: To be Released May 26, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Purchase Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 Rosepoint Publishing:  Four-point Five of Five Stars 4.5-stars

Tracy Clark - authorThe Author: Tracy Clark works as an editor in Chicago. In addition to her Cass Raines novels, she has had a short story published in the anthology “Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African-American Authors.” A native Chicagoan, she is currently working on her next mystery.

[Author photo and bio from Goodreads] Tracy Clark, a native Chicagoan, is the author of the Cass Raines Chicago Mystery series, featuring ex-cop turned PI Cassandra Raines, Her debut, BROKEN PLACES, made Library Journal’s list of the Best Crime Fiction of 2018 and was short listed in the mystery category on the American Library Association’s 2019 Reading List. CrimeReads also named Cass Raines Best New PI of 2018. The novel was nominated for a Lefty Award for Best Debut novel, an Anthony Award for Best Debut Novel and a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel. Her second Raines novel, BORROWED TIME, was nominated for the 2020 Lefty Award for Best Mystery Novel. She is the winner of the 2020 G.P. Putnam’s Sons Sue Grafton Memorial Award. You can visit Tracy on Facebook, or go to her author website at tracyclarkbooks.com.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Curse of the Ninth by Ruthie Marlenée – a #BookReview

“Oranges for health, California for Wealth”

Book Blurb:

Curse of the Ninth by Ruthie MarleneeIn the fall of 1930, Charley, not yet born, knows what happened to his father Doc as he lay dying. Like a changing of guards upon his death, Doc transfers over his consciousness to his unborn son.

Now sharing the life of his dead father, Charley has no choice except to carry out his father’s plans, including taking revenge on Doc’s killer. Despite the consequences.
Charley floats in and out of juvie, jail, and finally ends up in the U.S. Naval Hospital’s mental ward as a perfect candidate for the government’s “Project Chatter.”

Confused and threatened, Charley only wants to live like a normal person and marry the woman he loves, goals that feel impossible unless he can somehow get rid of his father’s beyond-the-grave influence.

My Review:

Uh, okay…

This is a hard one. It actually names the “phenomenon of transferring one’s consciousness into a pure form at the time of death.”  Phowa (a Buddhist meditation practice ).

Curse of the Ninth by Ruthie MarleneeDoc dies, but it isn’t an accident. His unborn son receives his restless and spiteful spirit. He’ll want retribution. There is no simple way to properly review this book. It’s complicated, unusual, I doubt you’ve read another like it. The cast of characters are at opposing sides of the moral compass and I felt the most sympathy for the mother, Phoebe. Phoebe is a gifted concert pianist and introduces to the well-drawn plot the myth of Beethovan’s curse…the curse of the ninth. (He died before he could complete his tenth symphony.)

There are issues here–many. Doc was married before–to Stella, who gave him two sons and a daughter. Stella was an alcoholic and made life miserable before Doc met Phoebe, who transformed his life and was about to give him a baby. A son…Charley. And it is Charley’s POV that drives the book along with a stellar cast of support characters–most flawed, bitter relatives, thieving partners, one of whom convinces the widow her new son needs a dad.

And Charley, the most egregiously damaged, possessed of his father’s vengeful spirit and often uninvited voice. The complex tale follows Charley’s life-long struggle with Doc’s spirit, failing to evict him after numerous attempts. Charley possesses the amazing musical ability of his mother and the strains of the Ode to Joy often weaves in and throughout the pages (indeed I plugged into the YouTube version), steeped in prose and philosophy, arguments of mental illness.

Set during the 30s through 1949, much of the narrative is relayed through sessions with Dr. Savage, a Navy psychiatrist, in an effort to determine how Charley should be diagnosed and discharged. At this point, Charley seems a ne’er do well, constantly at odds with the voice in his head, and who wouldn’t diagnose him as schizophrenic? Boy does that open a can of worms!

A compelling read, whether or not rooting for Charley. A strange mixture of the occult, historical reference, and poetic prose. Beautiful description, engaging author writing style, although I was a little dismayed by the conclusion. A family story from the author years in research, her grandfather would be proud.

I received this digital download directly from the author and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Looking for something different? Recommended to any interested in the occult, spiritual world, myths, eastern philosophy, even literary and historical fiction. Kudos to the author for weaving a fascinating tale between fact and fiction. 4.5/5 stars

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Book Details:
Genre: Occult Fiction, Literary Fiction, Occult Horror
Publisher: E L Marker
ASIN: B08429CXWS
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: January 19, 2020
Source: Direct Author Request
Purchase Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes and Noble

 Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5-stars

Ruthie Marlenee - author, poet, ghostwriterThe Author: Ruthie Marlenée “Like her main character Charlie, Ruthie Marlenée grew up hearing wild, colorful stories about her wealthy, entrepreneurial grandfather…The result (of a suggestion from her father) is her novel, “Curse of the Ninth,” a tale based on real and imagined events. After almost twenty years since the kernel of the idea was planted, after going back to UCLA to workshop the story, after earning her Writers’ Certificate in Fiction and a nomination for a James Kirkwood Literary Award for “Curse of the Ninth”, Marlenée is happy to find a home with the WiDo/E.L. Marker Family of Publishers. A company Marlenée describes as “a personable and genuine organization willing to take this project on.”

Marlenée believes that writing is about using your imagination and so sometimes when she writes she can’t help but add bits of magic or elements of speculation.  In her current novel, she marries the notion of the Curse of the Ninth Symphony, where a composer is doomed to complete a tenth, together with the Buddhist meditation practice of Phowa, the transference of consciousness at time of death.”

Taken in part from an article dated October 2, 2018, WiDō Publishingtm, Novelist and Screenwriter Ruthie Marlenée Signs with E.L. Marker™ See full article here.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Book Reviews and Links on Web Directories–Good for SEO or Backlinks?

Backlink checker and DoFollow links that award SEO link juice?

Book Reviews and Links on Web Directories--Good for SEO or Backlinks?

ACK! My head is spinning! I thought it would be simple…I just wanted to work on my page rank, which according to MOZ is 30. I’d bumbled into MOZ looking for my Domain Authority and into Ahref which posted a free backlink checker. Next thing I know, I’m reading articles on Google cautioning contrived backlinks. And then there are DoFollow links that award SEO link juice. Huh? Link juice? Holy cow, do I need a whole new dictionary? (maybe)

Web Directories

My Ezine Articles logo

Before I really got my blog up and running, I began writing for Ezine Articles. Back then it was a way to drive traffic back to my blog. But the web directory market got into some major trouble as Yahoo quickly usurped them with their own masterful web directories and then was swallowed by the Google whale just as easily. Google algorithms do not like duplicate content or contrived backlinks. I didn’t know I was contriving. I’m pleading the ignorance card.

Big fish east little fish

Ezine Articles covered a number of subjects, one of which was book reviews (and are still online).

I wrote a number of reviews including an article on historical fiction. I was still busy marketing my grandfather’s historical fiction books back then. This article was originally published November 9, 2016 and abridged below.

A Peak Inside Their Lives

Historical fiction is pretty much everything from eons ago through the Civil War, WWII, and the Vietnam War era. There is never a lack of stories on any period of time that captures your interest.

There are some differences of opinion regarding the definition of historical fiction, but according to the Providence Public Library, it is generally agreed to be set 50 or more years previous and written from research. There are as many categories and sub-genres as authors (see my article 10 Amazing Sub-Genre’s in Historical Fiction), although the better known are probably the traditional historical novels that accurately follow an historical event. Historical novels may also include mysteries, romances, or adventures.

Vietnam Era stories can fall into the historical realm at this point, and one of the notable authors, a veteran himself, is Bob Meyer. You may have also read a June Collins’ novel called Goodbye, Junie Moon” about the same time period set in Viet Nam and not wholly fiction. The older folks may remember the scandal she stumbled across and wrote about that led to congressional hearings.

The biography “Calvin Many Wolves Potter,” was penned by his great-great-granddaughter, Elaine Brooks Held. The biography, “Charlie Chaplin-A Brief Life,” was authored by Peter Ackroyd. Ackroyd did a splendid job of painting a picture of Charlie the man (with all his warts), Charlie the actor, and Charlie the powerhouse cinema innovator. While most persons over the age of 30 know the name, few of us are familiar with the impact his life had, not only on the US (his adopted nation), but worldwide, early in 20th Century film technology.

Fortunately, in a period of digital as well as audio downloads, you don’t even have to leave your home to secure a good read anymore and many of these are offered free. The popularity of book stores and printed books are enjoying a resurgence. Libraries and book clubs can still pack them in.

Not sure just how many historical fiction categories there are? Log into Providence Public Library at http://www.provlib.org/guide-historical-fiction-lovers to discover all the genres and sub-genres–some of which you’ve never heard of!

(Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Gin_Williams/1397243)

(Yes, I’m aware the intro sentence doesn’t constitute a canonical link. That’s another whole area I’m stumbling across and another reason I severely cut the above article. There is, however, an excellent post about canonical links posted by Melanie Rockett of the Book Reviewers Directory.

Relevance

Speaking of relevant links, the above directory as well as The Book Blogger’s List would be considered (I assume) relevant web directories for a book reviewer and relevance is where it’s at.

And backlinks.

And SEO.

(Isn’t Goodreads a “NoFollow?”) Free blogging directories? Anyone have any experience with Blogarama? It does not provide reciprocal links. (I can find lists, but many [on a page listing 50 blog directories!] no longer exist.) 

Conclusion

While I remain severely confused over backlinks, SEO, and unsure how to proceed, it would appear that while, yes, those old web directories do not provide the backlinks you are seeking and could actually earn you a Google face slap for duplicating content. The point is relevancy and there are some much newer web directories that if appropriate for your blog, may still be of benefit to link. Are you listed on either of the two noted above? Perhaps you have additional **permanent** blogger directories you’d like to share?

I certainly welcome your ideas and suggestions!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Info Source: Cognitive SEO

Sucker Punch: Getting Killed Can Be the Least of Your Problems by Jim Carroll – a #BookReview

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars Five Stars

A Vicarious Blogger review of a military thriller

Book Blurb:

Sucker Punch: Getting Killed Can Be the Least of Your Problems by Jim CarrollJohnny Mack wanted to be an airline pilot who flew all over the world, made great money and met lots of girls. At 18 that seemed like a fair trade for a few years in the Army.

Johnny found out too late that in 1971 the Army only needed helicopter pilots. And they only needed them in Vietnam.

After an unfortunate incident involving a General’s daughter, Johnny ‘volunteers’ to go undercover on a Medevac crew suspected of selling Army medicines to the enemy.

Johnny’s control officer’s incompetence is deadlier than any enemy. Johnny’s crew are psychopathic pirates.

Then there is the regular job. Coming into hot landing zones. Loading the dead and wounded. Ignoring the screaming and thrashing about in the back. Holding the helicopter steady as bullets rip through the bird. Cleaning out the blood and gore as part of the regular post flight.

There is no one to trust. Death is coming from every direction.

As life spirals out of his control, Johnny realizes that getting killed may be the least of his problems. His sanity, his soul and everything that he believes himself to be, are in as much danger as his life.

His Review:

Sucker Punch - a thriller by Jim CarrollAnyone who has seen a Cobra helicopter in action is amazed at the nimbleness of the machine and the awesome firepower. Many young men during the Vietnam War aspired to be a pilot and fly one of those beauties. Our hero, John Mack, is just such a fellow. Training is arduous and upon the completion of his training, he and his buddy “Face” set out for final liberty before deployment.

Young ladies can get Warrant Officers into real trouble and Mack is no exception. A general’s daughter who looks much older spends some time with him giving him a painful medical condition and a trail directly to the general.

Rather than flying the Cobra Mack is sent to Vietnam to be a co-pilot on a Huey. His primary mission is to uncover someone who is selling medical supplies to the enemy. He is the third WO sent to unravel this mystery. The other two were missing and killed in action.

Cobra attack helicopterThe flying sequences and characters in this tale are very entertaining and remind me of standard military people in times of war. Very few people get particularly attached to teammates because they could die on any given mission. This coupled with undercover work makes our hero particularly vulnerable.

This book is very fast-moving and hard to put down. Danger is a daily event for the helicopter crews in a war zone. As a reader, you will immediately become engrossed in the survival aspect of this fast-moving drama and nail-biting scenes. Some of the descriptions of the war are downright hair raising. Therefore, I warn you to set aside a block of time because you will not want to put this book down.CE Williams CE Williams

We received this book from the publisher and NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review and these are my honest opinions. This novel is scheduled to be published on Friday, May 15, 2020.

Book Details:

Genre: Military Thrillers, War and Military Action Fiction
Publisher: Zeljim Publishing
ASIN: B084S6HR1Q
Print Length: 271 pages
Publication Date: To be released May 15, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Sucker Punch

Add to Goodreads 

Jim Carroll - author The Basketball DiariesThe Author: [from Goodreads bio] James Dennis “Jim” Carroll was an author, poet, autobiographer, and punk musician. Carroll was best known for his 1978 autobiographical work The Basketball Diaries, which was made into the 1995 film of the same name with Leonardo DiCaprio as Carroll.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams

V Williams

Photo attribution Cobra by Public Domain Pictures.net

Celebrity Book Clubs – Will One of These (Five) Spark Your Interest?

celebrity book clubs

Book Clubs! In particular, virtual book clubs are gaining in popularity thanks to pioneers of the idea such as Oprah Winfrey who made it smart to read again. Coupled with today’s technology and social media, it’s easy to get a line on your next favorite read. With so many influencers out there, where do you go for suggestions or inspiration? What’s trending?

Oprah Winfrey

May pick – Hidden Valley Road

Hidden Valley Road by Robert KolkerOprah’s Book Club is currently reading Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker. This is the true story of a midcentury American family whose six children out of twelve were diagnosed with schizophrenia leading to in-depth DNA genetic research.

The undisputed original celebrity book club that dominated the idea started when Oprah Winfrey began showcasing her book of the month on her wildly successful Oprah Winfrey Show in 1996. Certainly ahead of her time, Oprah selected more than 70 books before officially naming it in 2012. She introduced the book and then featured an interview with the author, boosting sales and the writing career of many authors. Follow Oprah’s club picks at her Instagram account.
Photo – John Phillips / Getty Images file

Reese Witherspoon

May pick – The Henna Artist

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi is a vivid story, “rich and complex.” Read about Lakshmi’s journey from an abusive marriage to popular henna artist in Jaipur.

Rapidly pushing the growing popularity of celebrity book clubs is Reese Witherspoon who started her book club in October of 2015. Reese tends to pick a book with a woman “at the center of the story.” Her book club is active, lively, and begs conversation and participation. She hit social media across Twitter and Instagram, as well as her website, Hello-Sunshine, and has been racking up the fans and followers. I followed.

Emma Roberts

May pick – The Book of V

The Book of V by Anna Solomon

The Book of V by Anna Solomon is also a Good Morning America Book Club pick. (From the Amazon blurb)In Anna Solomon’s The Book of V., three characters’ riveting stories overlap and ultimately collide, illuminating how women’s lives have and have not changed over thousands of years.”

Actress Emma Roberts and her friend Karah Preisss started their book club they called Belletrist. Their book choices are generally written by women and include both fiction and nonfiction choices. They also share photos, videos and interviews with authors. Find Emma Roberts on Instagram.
Photo attribution – Today

Jenna Bush Hager

May pick – All Adults Here 

All Adults Here by Emma Straub

All Adults Here by Emma Straub is also a Today Show #ReadWithJenna Book Club pick. (From the Amazon Blurb) “Emma Straub’s unique alchemy of wisdom, humor, and insight come together in a deeply satisfying story about adult siblings, aging parents, high school boyfriends, middle school mean girls, the lifelong effects of birth order, and all the other things that follow us into adulthood, whether we like them to or not.”

Not an early riser, the Today show is not one I watch. However, the article from NBC.Com notes that Ms. Hager posts videos explaining the book and her reasons for choosing each book of the month. She also posts inspirational quotes from the authors. Catch personable Jenna on Instagram and Twitter. I found this one online at my library. Both ebooks and audiobooks have holds. I’ll take whichever one comes first.
Photo – NBC NewsWire / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

⇒⇒⇓

Andrew Luck - retired Colts quarter-backAndrew Luck

May picks:

Buford The Little Bighorn by Bill PeetRookie pick – Buford The Little Big Horn by Bill Peet

Buford’s giant horns cause him all sorts of problems and even force him to leave his mountainside home, but eventually they make him a hero on the ski slopes.

Veterans pick – The Last Palace: Europe‘s Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House by Norman Eisen (Historical non-fiction) The Last Palace by Norman Eisen

A sweeping yet intimate narrative about the last hundred years of turbulent European history, as seen through one of Mitteleuropa’s greatest houses—and the lives of its occupants.

There are men who host book clubs as well, not all are women, and one is a retired football player.

You might have suspected this is also something I don’t watch. Even so, you might know the name of Andrew Luck, “NFL’s unofficial librarian.” The idea came about after an interview in February 2015. Hosts Roger Bennett and Michael Davies “brought up the idea of the Andrew Luck Book Club.” The Wall Street Journal picked it up and soon his mother noticed the hashtag #ALBookClub. He recommends two books for his team of readers, one for the younger crowd (Rookies) and the other for experienced readers (Veterans). Find Andrew Luck at Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
Photo attribute: Wikipedia

Fan Girl of a Celebrity? Following a book club I didn’t find?

Of course, the October 23, 2019 article from which much of this information was gleaned also cited a couple other celebrities which, when I tried to follow the link, either said was inactive or that someone else had taken the helm (Sarah Jessica Parker). I can imagine it would not be easy to continue a book club and have a high-powered career at the same time since I’m retired and find the blog consumes much of my waking hours and won’t be walking any red carpets soon. Also, while several of the above have attractive, interactive sites, they have thousands following them and in turn have followed back less than one-half of one percent. Still, it might be fun…

Has this interested you in checking out their May picks? Following? Will you read one of the above recommended books? I liked the looks (and synopsis) of All Adults Here by Emma Straub. Let me know which one you choose!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Additional info or photo attributes: Eonline.com news

The Secrets of Bones: A Mystery (A Jazz Ramsey Mystery Book 2) by Kylie Logan – a #BookReview

Book Blurb:

Second in a new series from national bestselling author Kylie Logan, The Secrets of Bones is a riveting mystery following Jazz Ramsey as she trains a cadaver dog.

The Secrets of Bones by Kylie LoganAssembly Day at St. Catherine’s dawns bright and cloudless as professional woman gather from all around Ohio to talk to the schoolgirls about their careers ranging from medicine, to NASA, to yoga. Jazz Ramsey has also signed up to give the girls a taste of her lifelong passion: cadaver dog training. Her adorable new puppy Wally hasn’t been certified yet, so she borrows the fully-trained Gus from a friend and hides a few bones in the unused fourth floor of the school for him to find.

The girls are impressed when Gus easily finds the first bone, but then Gus heads confidently to a part of the floor where Jazz is sure no bones are hidden—at least not any that she’s put there. But Gus is a professional, and sure enough, behind a door that no one has opened in ages, is a human skeleton. Jazz recognizes the necklace the skeleton is wearing, and that it belonged to Bernadette Quinn, an ex-teacher at the school who’d quit her job abruptly one Christmas break. But now it seems Bernadette never left the school at all, and her hiding place makes it clear: this was murder.

Bernadette in life had been a difficult personality, and so there are a plethora of suspects inside the school and out of it. As Jazz gets closer to the truth she can’t help but wonder if someone might be dogging her footsteps…

My Review:

Thank you Allison of Minotaur Books for my download of The Secrets of Bones for a review.

As any who follows my blog knows, I love stories of hard-working service dogs, of which there are so many kinds of service and breeds, there is no lack of possible stories. This is one of those stories. It was a Friday, the day dawned clear and warm…oh wait…that’s another whole era and most of you are too young to remember Dragnet. Okay, maybe it was a Friday, but closer to June when the girls at prestigious St Catherine’s would be getting out for the summer.

The Secrets of Bones by Kylie LoganJazz Ramsey, Administrative Assistant to the principle, is helping with career day, introducing a seasoned, now retired, cadaver dog to demonstrate the service these well-trained canines provide. She has a new puppy, an Airedale named Wally, but he’s still young and untrained–simply along for the adorable factor. The demo comes to a skidding halt when Gus finds not just the bone she hid, but a whole skeleton (good dog) and judging from the remaining clothing, they know just who the skeleton belonged to.

The skeleton is thought to be a former nun, now an over-zealous teacher. Unfortunately, she had few friends and rubbed a great many people the wrong way, so there was an abundant number of possible suspects. Jazz feels she must defend her friend and the principle, Sister Eileen, as the cop in charge eyes her as the possible perp. The victim was never seen after Christmas vacation, leaving a resignation letter, following a strong disagreement with Sister Aileen.

Eileen is a great character, smart, charismatic, and efficient in her handling of the school. Nick is apparently a previous love interest, a detective, and another great support character and there are others. Jazz is dedicated to her cadaver dog training and Wally and presents as a dedicated and competent assistant at the school. She’ll figure out what happened all those years ago if it kills her–and it might.

Lots of red herrings, but really, it wasn’t difficult to figure out. In the meantime, the storyline was well-paced, cleverly written, and engaging. The conclusion answered all the questions and the reveal exposed. I easily read as a standalone and enjoyed the setting of the school as well as the Cleveland area descriptions. My problem was the lack of focus on the dog(s). Hopefully, the dogs will be working more in the next installment.

I received this digital download from the publisher through NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for those who enjoy cozy mysteries.

Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth, Cozy Animal Mystery, Animal Fiction
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ASIN: B07Z2LFM12
Print Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: May 5, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Secrets of Bones (Amazon)
Barnes and Noble
Kobo 

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Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Kylie Logan - authorThe Author: Kylie Logan-A pseudonym used by Constance Laux. Aka Miranda BlissCasey DanielsKylie LoganConnie DekaConnie Lane.

Constance Laux is an U.S.American writer of romance novels as her real name and under the pen names: Connie Deka and Connie Lane. Writing as Constance Laux, she’s published nine historical romance novels and as Connie Lane, she writes both category romance books and romantic suspense/comedy novels.

She was born on January 21 in Cleveland, Ohio. She remembers the day she got her first library card and the first book she took out of the Cleveland Public Library; Horton Hatches the Egg. She studied English Literature in the Queen’s College in the prestigious university of Oxford. She married with her love of adolescence, and they live in a suburb of Cleveland with their two children, and an oversized Airedale named Hoover. [Bio source: Goodreads, Wikipedia info and photo]

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Out of the Red and Into the Black: A Debt is Paid by Shane A Ahalt Sr – A #BookReview

Book Blurb:

Out of the Red and Into the BlackUnspeakable acts go on under our noses every single day. If you could do something about them would you? How far would you go? Shane Ahalt’s debut thriller will have you questioning your morality and your stance on vigilantism.

When Chris Caldwell, the chief of police of a small town, investigates the kidnapping of Tyler Creasy and the brutal and torturous murder of his parents, the investigation reveals dark secrets of the family. As the clues unravel and similar instances are discovered to have occurred over a period of more than 60 years, the question arises “Is this an isolated incident or is there something more sinister in the works?” Chief Caldwell’s investigation turns up more than he bargained for as history seems to repeat itself. Will he solve these vicious and violent murders or will they become cold cases? Will he discover what happened to Tyler? Find out in Shane Ahalt Sr.’s debut thriller, Out of the Red and Into the Black.

His Review:

A child with serious abusive issues originating from parents has a lifelong cross to bear. Tyler Creasy and his friend Raquel are two such children. Accidental touches when young lead to a world of depravity I have never contemplated. The question that roars into your mind as you read this book is: “How can any parent do this to their own children?”

Out of the Red and Into the Black by Shane Ahalt SrBrian Smart is a computer analyst with the F.B.I. He was rescued as a young man by someone who had been similarly subjected to such abuse. After being rescued Brian was loved and well educated. His foster father charged him with one task. When given the chance, he would rescue another child subjected to this abuse and thereby “pay it forward”. Brian begins to see this happening and sets out to rescue the child being abused.

The author has developed a skillful methodology to capture the offenders and bring them to justice. The justice is renegade in nature and therefore the rescuers are being sought by the same organization that Brian works for. Most of the crimes occur in four contiguous states and these are the area that Brian’s FBI group investigates.

The use of computer cyber security and advanced monitoring methods are intriguing and effective. I found myself having no sympathy for the recipients of their crimes. I did find that the overall crimes and subsequent retributions to be duplicitous. The two young people are being taught by Brian to assist other young people caught in this abomination.

CE WilliamsI was torn between having hope for the victims and concern about the impact on their lives as they tried to make restitution for what happened to them. “Revenge is Mine” sayeth the Lord, certainly is not argued in this text. Rather “An Eye for an Eye and a Tooth for a Tooth” is the norm. I appreciated the authors’ attention to detail and methodology. Living in the bubble of not having been visited this issue was a far simpler way to live. We received this author request and download in the expectation of a review and these are my honest opinions. Trigger Warnings: Graphic descriptions. 4 stars CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thrillers, Kidnapping Thrillers, Murder Thrillers
Publisher: Indie Author
ASIN: B07ZQTJYJY
Print Length: 196 pages
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Out of the Red and Into the Black (Amazon)
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 Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Shane A Ahalt Sr - authorThe Author: Shane Ahalt Sr. is a father, husband, teacher, writer, and 21 year veteran of the United States Navy.

Upon graduating The George Washington University, he was commissioned in the Navy where he flew helicopters. When he retired from the Navy, he decided to give back to his community by becoming a High School Math teacher.

Although he is a native of the Washington D.C. suburbs. He is currently a teacher in Florida at a small alternative school.

Writing is a talent he stumbled upon and, to date, he has published one book, “Out of the Red and Into the Black.”

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen – An #Audiobook Review No. 1 BestSeller

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars

Audiobook - Where the Crawdads Sing

 Book Blurb:

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.

Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

My Review:

Admittedly, this may be a book you’ll struggle with or wholeheartedly love. I went on the WL side. The story of six-year-old Kya Clark, abandoned by her mother and shortly thereafter by her (much) older siblings is now living in a marsh shack with her despotic father. Kya has to pretty quickly learn to survive on her own near Barkley Cove, North Carolina.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia OwensThe novel is divided by her story that begins with her mother leaving in the early morning hours of 1952 and the discovery of a body in 1969 near the old tower. Kya saw her mother leave–she’d left before following violent outbursts by her father sporting bruises and split lips. He often went into violent rages–and could–with or without the alcohol or moonshine infusion. But she’d always come back–this time she doesn’t. They are living on her father’s disability and at her age, a girl, not like her older siblings taught her much.

The storytelling is so emotionally poignant, the prose flows through beautiful descriptions of the natural setting in the marsh. It’s so easy to smell the decaying vegetation, algae inhabited waterways, spy the marsh inhabitants, amphibians, birds, and insects. Feel and smell the salt air rush inland from the Atlantic as it waves the marsh grasses and reeds. I enjoyed the setting as much as the characters. And the characters are powerful.

The characters are brought vividly to life with the narration, alternately spoken by child or adult, literate or illiterate, as well as the Carolina drawl. More afraid of the occasional human than the critters of the marsh, she becomes adept at hiding and carefully keeps to herself, spying on the few who wander into their area. Once having learned to motor into town on their old marsh fishing boat, she begins to draw the attention of the cashier at the Piggly Wiggly, the African American family, Jumpin’ and Mabel, where she bought the gas, and soon the lady from school, where she was promised a meal–real food–once a day. The problem was the intolerance of the kids, their taunts, sneers, jeers, and humiliation. She never went back. Kya, scrambling to find food, eventually connects with a friend of her brother. Gradually, driven by loneliness, she begins to meet with him and he patiently teaches her to read.

The mystery of the man many years later found just outside of the little village soon becomes a statewide scandal. He’d been a high school football star, son of a well-to-do and well-established family. The “Golden Boy.” And local law enforcement begins to work on tying his murder to Kya, as they’d been spotted together and she an easy target. She is brought up on charges and there are heart-thumping courtroom scenes.

Self-educated, no one knows more about the natural world of the marshlands than Kya. She’s come to be known as the “Marsh Girl.” She’s smart, has gone on to publish books on the wildlife of the marsh. But could it possibly have been she to cause the death of Chase?

The conclusion resolves carefully allowing you long enough for your heart to settle back down when you are knocked off your feet by a shocking revelation you didn’t see coming. It’s a brilliant twist, the well-plotted and written narrative so engrossing, so achingly atmospheric, every sense poised that you are hanging on every word. It’s a serious exploration of not a male coming-of-age this time, but a female left on her own reconciling abandonment, loneliness, hunger, disappointment, and triumph. Completely immersive, so engaging it remains solidly planted long after the end resulting in a tremendous book hangover. I’m going to be awhile getting over this one.

I received this audiobook download from my local library Overdrive offerings. The narrator does an award-winning, stunning job. Heartily recommended now that I have my emotions in check.

Book Hangover

Book Details:

Genre: Romance, Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Publisher:  Penguin Audio
ASIN: B07FSXPMHY
Print Length: 384 pages
Listening Length: 12 hrs 12 mins
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Publication Date: August 14, 2018
Source: Local (Audiobook Selections) Library
Title Link: Where the Crawdads Sing (Amazon)
Barnes and Noble
KoboAdd to Goodreads Rosepoint recommended

Delia Owens - authorThe Author: Delia Owens is the co-author of three internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in AfricaCry of the Kalahari, The Eye of the Elephant, and Secrets of the Savanna. She has won the John Burroughs Award for Nature Writing and has been published in Nature, The African Journal of Ecology, and International Wildlife, among many others. She currently lives in Idaho, where she continues her support for the people and wildlife of Zambia. Where the Crawdads Sing is her first novel.

You can also connect with Delia on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authordeliao

The Narrator: Cassandra Campbell is a prolific audiobook narrator with more than 700 titles to date. Winner of four Audie Awards and nominated for a dozen more, she was a 2018 inductee in Audible’s inaugural Narrator Hall of Fame.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

May #TBR – Audiobooks, Indie Authors, Blog Tours, and NetGalley

Is All This Sheltering-in-Place Getting to Me?

I may have gone a bit overboard on scheduling book reviews and failing to leave sufficient time to get my gardens growing. Many of these looked too good to pass up, however, and as always, a wide variety of genres; cozies, literary fiction, legal thrillers, military adventures. I already started the month off with a ghost story, Forgiveness Falls, if you missed it.

May NetGalley Books

(Goodreads links of the above:)

The Secret of Bones
An Unequal Defense
Streel
What You Don’t See
Sucker Punch
Departure (a CE review)
Killing Time

May audiobooks, author requests, and Blog Tours

AudiobooksOMG–have you heard or read about Where the Crawdad’s Sing? This audiobook is phenomenal–beyond gripping. Good thing for earbuds, I listened to it into the night. Absolutely amazing, a #mustread or better yet, the audiobook. The narrator plunks you in the middle of the marsh with Kya. My review tomorrow, Tuesday, May 5th. Audible review of Murder by Perfection by Lauren Carr for iRead Book Tours.

Author Requests:

Out of the Red and into the Black (a CE review)

Curse of the Ninth

Blog Tours:

Kelegeen (Great Escapes)

Killing Time (NetGalley-Great Escapes)

I have high hopes for this schedule. Have you read any of these? Does one of them grab you? Can you guess which one is being made into a movie?

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Forgiveness Falls by Kate James – a #BookReview

Book Blurb:

Forgiveness Falls by Kate JamesWhen Alice overhears a murder confession at her family’s Adirondacks inn, she takes this for a bad dream. Later, she attributes an eerie scream from the courtyard to the same elusive nightmare.

After all, she had an alarming evening, marked by a freak fire and frightened talk of “glowing eyes” sure to hurt the inn’s reputation.

But as the mysteries multiply and grow more malicious, Alice and her son suspect a scam. Aimed at the family? Then again, it’s possible the resurrection of a local legend has awakened sleeping souls…

Romance complicates matters, as Alice is drawn to a guest her ex-cop brother distrusts. Then there’s the unknown poetry that finds its way into her head…as if someone’s trying to reach her – maybe to warn her?

My Review:

There is so much we don’t know that we don’t know, but certainly there has always been, in one form or another, that feeling that there might be some form of life after death. And, generally, there are good reasons why the soul is “stuck” rather than finding their own appropriate heaven (or hell).

Forgiveness Falls by Kate JamesParanormal or metaphysical, this novel is chocked full of philosophy much of which is highlighted mainly through the classic poets, including the master (Shakespeare), as well as ideologies of the author. Each chapter is headed by an appropriate quote. (I recognized Ariel from William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.) Many were recognized, many were thought-provoking, but there were many.

Alice Thorpe’s family manages their Adirondacks inn by themselves, each in their appropriate niche, and are currently hosting a variety of guests, but some strange things begin to happen. When the occurrences begin to escalate and become increasingly dangerous, the family must sit down and analyze together when and/or why this might have begun. They can pinpoint several possibilities. For one, they are looking into the prospect of rebuilding an old transcendentalist commune called Valor Farm of the 1850s founded by Miranda Frasier. Miranda had a tragic history and she as well as her beloved were the object of many ghost stories surrounding Forgiven Falls. Forgiveness Falls is said to have healing powers. The family differs on how to handle that information on their website.

There are deep philosophical discussions that include mythology, such as the Dark Man or the Green Man and origins of pagan beliefs, native herbs, and nature. The four elements of the Tarot. “Everything in nature has its own unique voice…” Arguments about the sixth sense, space, and time.

“Is harm done knowingly the only kind that matters?”

 The author did a great job in assembling an appropriate cadre of support characters, including a young person working on a thesis and her guest, a psychic. There is a death about half-way into the narrative written off-screen that throws a deeper wrinkle into what might be happening or why. Alice and her new romantic interest, Jack, are not wholly developed and Alice’s mounting inclusion into the metaphysical remained a bit at arm’s length.

The book begins a slow burn to the premise and may have benefited somewhat by shortening the serious transcendentalist arguments. Still, it was a very well-plotted narrative with a cast of suitable characters and intelligent dialogue. I kept waiting for the antagonist to be divulged and was quite surprised (denying to the very end) the ease into the disquieting conclusion.

While this may have been a bit heavy for me on the metaphysical, a reader who enjoys a hearty transcendentalist discussion with occult, supernatural, mystical, or paranormal practices would benefit from the obvious knowledge of the author.

Book Details:

Genre: Occult Fiction, Ghost Fiction
ASIN: B082VN7M2T
Print Length: 369 pages
Publication Date: December 17, 2019
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Forgiveness Falls 

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Kate James - authorThe Author: Kate James is a successful coach, meditation teacher, speaker and writer who lives south of Melbourne. Kate helps her clients discover their values and innate strengths and guides them toward purposeful, meaningful lives. Her business is called Total Balance.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint April Reviews Recap–We’re All #InThisTogether–or Maybe Not

A Message of Solidarity–perhaps not for the most vulnerable.

Rosepoint Reviews - April Recap

An unprecedented start to a new decade will be one everyone will remember, now more than sixty thousand deaths in the US alone with one million-plus infected. People are pointing fingers, there are conspiracy theories, false news, and wacky remedies published daily. So many people to be thankful for besides the obvious medical personnel. Bless them for manning the registers at the grocery store and keeping our gas pumps pumping. I’m loving the new and creative ways people are finding alternatives (homemade masks–hopefully with proper filter materials), finding a remedy for shortages, and providing new ideas for keeping some modicum of commerce out there. My fear is that the get-it-now-society is becoming impatient and desperate when we still have some distance to go.

Stay Smart, Safe, Home

April may have heralded spring for the happy folks south, but not here. My impatience tends to push thoughts of gardening, again the flower bed, vegetable garden, and fairy garden. The latter is still a swamp. But early bulbs are bringing some cheerful color to the front yard. Hoping to get a start on the vegetable bed the first week of May with temps in the 50s.

Sixteen reviews this month–not all mine–I’m happy to say, the CE is continuing to provide his thoughts on genres I wouldn’t normally read. This month, I read cozy mysteries, a legal thriller, historical thrillers, a paranormal, and a police procedural. Then Dugoni’s latest, to be released in September. If I get a Robert Dugoni suspense thriller, it tends to land on top of the TBR stack. And this one certainly did not disappoint–may be his best yet!

The Missing Sister by Elle Mar
A Reasonable Doubt by Phillip Margolin
The Age of Witches by Louisa Morgan
A Blind Eye by Jane Gorman (a CE review–a political thriller)
In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn
Mystery in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron
Privateers by Charlie Newton
This Magic Marmot by Sharon Pape
Watching Glass Shatter by James J Cudney (Audiobook)
Running Out of Road by Daniel Friedman
Black Velvet by Steven Henry
Final Judgment by Marcia Clark (shared review with the CE)
Winter Takes All by ML Erdahl (Audiobook)
Between the Cracks by Carmela Cattuti
The Dead Don’t Sleep by Steven Max Russo (a CE review-a military thriller)
The Last Agent by Robert Dugoni

I had a wide variety of digital offerings from author requests, NetGalley downloads, my local lending library, and two audiobooks. I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, narrated by Cassandra Campbell and published by Penguin Audio in 2018. Ms. Campbell is amazing! This was apparently A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick and a Number one New York Times Best-Selling Phenomenon. My review on May 5th. It is, indeed, phenomenal.

My challenges continue to fall behind. I’m getting sidetracked with other activities and I continue to play with graphics, learning something new every month both on my (VERY old) limited student edition of Photoshop as well as Canva. While I appreciate the basic (free) range of Canva (the background in the above CoVid19 pic is from Canva.com), there are times when it’s too simple and I finish it up on Photoshop. In any case, I’m always working on the Reading Challenges page, if you’re joyfully tracking my progress.

I seem to be getting into the habit of scheduling on the fly and started penciling books in so that if need be, can be moved around. Generally, I go by publishing or release date, trying to conform to publisher’s requests regarding public reviews more than 30 days in advance of release. Do you schedule according to those approval preferences? I’m still tweaking May, let alone June but I see many NG books are now being offered with release dates in 2021. That’s some serious lead time and I’m not sure how to handle those.

I previously noted the propensity for seeing the same protagonist’s (or main support character’s) name in successive books. This month I had two with the name of “Mo.” I’d have never bet on THAT one! Something else I’ve run up against time and again is the lack of true “trigger warnings” in book blurbs. I want to know about language, gratuitous sex (or otherwise), and graphic violence. I don’t want to “see” it if it turns my stomach. Anyone else have a problem with inadequately described blurbs?

Welcome to those who joined me in April and thank you to my established followers as always. I appreciate your continued support and may you stay safe wherever you are!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The Last Agent (Charles Jenkins Book 2) by Robert Dugoni – a #Book Review – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars

(A shared review with the CE–my Vicarious Blogger.)

Book Blurb:

An Amazon Charts, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal bestselling series.

The Last Agent by Robert DugoniAn American operative in Russia is on the run for his life in a thriller of heart-stopping betrayal and international intrigue by the New York Times bestselling author of The Eighth Sister.

Betrayed by his own country and tried for treason, former spy Charles Jenkins survived an undercover Russian operation gone wrong. Exonerated, bitter, and safe, the retired family man is through with duplicitous spy games. Then he learns of a woman isolated in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo Prison.

If it’s Paulina Ponomayova, the agent who sacrificed her life to save his, Jenkins can’t leave her behind. But there’s no guarantee it’s her. Or proof Paulina is still alive. To find out, Jenkins must return to Russia. Next move: blackmail Viktor Federov, a former Russian officer with his own ax to grind, into helping him infiltrate Lefortovo. The enemy who once pursued Jenkins across three continents is now the only man Jenkins can trust.

Every step of the way—from Moscow to Scandinavia to the open ocean—they’re hunted by a brutal Russian agent on a killer quest of his own. Out of loyalty to Paulina—dead or alive—Jenkins is putting everyone’s life on the line for a new mission that could be his last.

My Review:

No one–NO one–can do an espionage spy thriller like Dugoni. I read The Eighth Sister and thought it his best and my favorite (I’ve also read his Tracy Crosswhite series), but this one…

This one catches you up quickly and then proceeds to become more pulse-pounding with each page that flies by. Put it down? NOPE! The Last Agent is absolutely riveting from mesmerizing beginning to jaw-dropping conclusion. Brilliant!

Moscow in winter. Mercy! (Is that like Siberia with buildings? Worse than Chicago?) Beyond brutal.

The Last Agent by Robert DugoniCharles Jenkins, retired and living with his much younger wife, son, and baby daughter gets the information that Paulina Ponomayova, the woman who he thought had sacrificed her life so that he could return to his family, may be alive, and if scuttlebutt is to be believed in heinous Lefortovo prison. Beyond hell on earth, if she’s there it’s to extract the remaining four names of the Seven Sisters. He barely escaped home that former undercover operation and was then brought up on charges of treason by his own government. Exonerated. He’s done with the CIA for good. The man is in his sixties–leave him alone. But, Paulina–the thought of her at the mercy of those vicious Russian interrogators tear at his heart. He can’t ignore the fact that he would never have seen his family again, were it not for her.

Upon returning to Russia, Charles will contact Viktor Federov, the agent treated as badly as Charles by his own country, his fault for letting Jenkins escape. Viktor is driven by two motives; one is money and Charles knows just how to push that button. He’ll enlist Viktor’s help in penetrating the prison. Each holds a grudging respect for the other as well as a modicum of mistrust.

Paulina, an empathetic character from Book 1 as well as Viktor, both formidably strong support characters. The antagonist in Book 2 is wickedly intuitive and whether a step ahead or behind, raises the apprehension, missing by inches regardless the teeth-chattering cold, the protagonist’s terror palpable. You don’t get to relax or take a breath. The chase is on, the stakes are high, and there are myriad agents coordinating and pushing to the next checkpoint. Can they survive the frigid conditions with FSB ranking Efimov desperate to capture not only Paulina, but now Charles and Viktor?

The well-plotted suspense thriller brings each heart-stopping scene to within a hair’s breadth and then the author throws another curve, another red herring, another spine-tingling twist. Will Charles live to see his baby girl again? Unique storyline, electrifying narrative never lets the tension sag.

While you might attain more insight into the main characters brought forward from Book 1, you could very well enjoy this book as a standalone. There are certainly references back to previous character interactions, relationships, and motives. We received this digital uncorrected proof by the publisher and NetGalley and SOOO appreciate the opportunity for the read and review. Totally recommended!

Book Hangover

His thoughts:

Working for “The Agency” is not for the weak of heart. Being a spy has a daily danger and death is always close. Dugoni’s hero, Charles Jenkins’ is living that life. He escapes from Russia with the help of an operative named Paulina Ponomayova.

Misinformation is woven masterfully through this thriller. The life of a spy in Russia is only assured if they are successful in catching the enemy. Putin has no use for people on his payroll who do not produce and capture enemies of the state.

Paulina has spent months in one of Russia’s most infamous prisons. She has remained silent and been subjected to countless painful interrogations. Her assistance in helping Charles escape is a thorn in the side of the former KGB now the FSB. The Kremlin is certain that she has intimate knowledge of those who helped set up the escape network.

Charles feels he must go back in to assist getting her out of the prison and out of Russia. The agent tasked with capturing Charles is disavowed by the FSB and barely escapes being shot. The CIA wants to rescue Paulina if at all possible for the valuable intel and can’t take the chance she might, if alive, keep her secrets.

CE WilliamsThe capability of Russia’s intelligence community along with their ruthless procedures makes for a very engaging read. They are everywhere inside and outside of Russia. The training for agents must be intensive as they doggedly pursue Charles and Paulina. I suppose death for failure is a prime motivator of the agents of the Russian Secret Service (FSB). By choosing this book you are forfeiting any opportunity for a good night’s sleep. Enjoy! 5 stars CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery and Crime, Legal Thrillers, Crime Action and Adventure
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

  • ISBN-10:1542014972
  • ISBN-13:978-1542014977
  • ASIN: B07P9QFQH4

Publication Date: September 22, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Last Agent

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Robert Dugoni - authorThe Author: Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and #1 Amazon bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite police detective series set in Seattle, which has sold more than 5 million books worldwide. He is also the author of The Charles Jenkins espionage series, and the David Sloane legal thriller series.

His stand-alone novels include The 7th Canon, Damage Control, and the literary novel, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell – Suspense Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year, for which Dugoni’s narration won an AudioFile Earphones Award; as well as the nonfiction exposé The Cyanide Canary, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year. Several of his novels have been optioned for movies and television series.

Dugoni is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction and the two-time winner of the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest. He is also a two-time finalist for the International Thriller Award, the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, the Silver Falchion Award for mystery, and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award.

Robert Dugoni’s books are sold in more than twenty-five countries and have been translated into more than two dozen languages.

Visit his website at http://www.robertdugoni.com, and follow him on twitter @robertdugoni and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorRobertDugoni

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The Dead Don’t Sleep by Steven Max Russo – A #BookReview

Book Blurb:

The Dead Don't Sleep by Steven Max RussoFrank Thompson, a recent widower and aging Vietnam veteran is down from Maine visiting his nephew, Bill, and his family in New Jersey.

While at a trap range, he and his nephew have a chance encounter with a strange man who claims to remember Frank from the war.

That night, the windows in Bill’s home are shattered along with the quiet peaceful lives the two men had been living.

Three veterans from a special combat unit directed by the CIA during the Vietnam War have gathered to discuss what they are going to do about a man they claim killed one of their own over forty years ago.

Jasper, Birdie and Pogo were part of a team that called themselves the National League All Stars. They were a squad of psychopathic killers trained by Special Forces to cause death and mayhem during the war. Now, they have banded together to hunt down and kill the professional soldier who led them all those years ago.

Drawing on his military training and a resurgent bloodlust from his tortured past, Frank prepares for a final, violent reckoning that will bring him full circle with the war that never left him.

His Review:

Vietnam was a very ugly affair. Clandestine operatives from the NSA and CIA interspersed with highly trained military operatives make for strange bedfellows. Russo portrays some of those individuals as damaged and living in the past. The hero, Uncle Frank, has moved to remote Maine to keep himself distanced and away from that past.

The Dead Don't Sleep by Steven Max RussoVisiting his nephew after his wife’s passing, he has a chance encounter with some of the people he served with. Like most veterans, Uncle Frank does not share or talk about his past. However, there are others who cannot forget that war and continue to hold grudges, even after 50 years.

Testing of psychedelic drugs on some of our military was common during that war. Many ex-military cannot leave the hallucinogens alone. Amphetamines and other drugs used to help the soldiers stay sharp and awake are integrated into this story. Also, bad intelligence leads to the death of many innocent villagers. Regrettably, some of our troops become psychotic in an attempt to stay alive.

This plot becomes explosive as three former soldiers decide to kill Uncle Frank. They have not abandoned their ruthless procedures. They spread mayhem into Maine as they attempt to exact revenge against “Turd Man,” their name for Uncle Frank.

Mr. Russo masterfully spins military strategies into both the antagonists and Uncle Frank’s character. Life becomes very cheap as the three try to exact their revenge. The mindset of the characters is developed with precision. Uncle Frank falls back on his military training and sets up a defensive perimeter to protect himself.

CE WilliamsThe development of this story is enlightening and tragic. I recommend it to all who are contemplating a military career. Our soldiers have a very difficult task and as warfare becomes more technical and complex; survival becomes much more difficult. Set aside a block of time to read this book because you will not want to put it down.

We were given the digital download after a read request fro the author in exchange for a review and these are my honest opinion. 5 stars CE Williams

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Crime Thrillers, Crime Fiction
Publisher: Down and Out Books
ASIN: B081B99VBB
Print Length: 292 pages
Publication Date: November 18, 2019
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: The Dead Don’t Sleep (Amazon)
Find the book at these additional locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo 

Add to Goodreads

The Author: Steven Max Russo (no bio listed on Amazon or Goodreads)

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Between the Cracks by Carmela Cattuti #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Between the Cracks by Carmela Cattuti on the RABT Book Tours and PR. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

Between the Cracks Book Tour

Book Details

One woman’s journey from Sicily to America

Historical Fiction

Publisher: HenschelHAUS Publishing

Book Blurb

Join Angela Lanza as she experiences the tumultuous world of early 20th century Sicily and New York. Orphaned by the earthquake and powerful eruption of Mt. Etna in 1908, Angela is raised in the strict confines of an Italian convent. Through various twists of fate, she is married to a young Italian man whom she barely knows, then together with her spouse, immigrates to the U.S.

My Thoughts

Between the Cracks by Carmela CattutiHaving survived the powerful eruption of Mt Etna and the earthquake associated with the catastrophe, Angela Lanza is left with no idea what happened to her family, specifically her sister, and that would become a recurrent theme throughout the semi-biographical novel. Many of the orphans were sent to orphanages or convents, and as a young girl, Angela found herself in an Italian convent. Her life in Messina, Sicily, a painful memory now only allowed to speak Italian.

Angela’s life changes dramatically when she is the chosen bride of an Italian American. Each has their own reasons for the marriage and Angela finds herself the partner of the son in a diverse family in New York, including a young half-sister who Angela takes under her wing. Speranza in return begins the task of teaching Angela English. An accomplished seamstress, Angela finds work and discovers Franco has been extremely industrious, accomplished in the building trades, and saving money. But Franco is rather close-minded when it comes to his family and to his mother’s and sister’s plans for young Speranza.

Not a marriage of convenience, nor of love, they do the best they can, getting to know each other. Franco still has family in Italy and particularly a cousin who is fast-becoming an outspoken poet, speaking out against Fascism, and he worries about him and what is happening in Europe and the coming world war. Meanwhile, Angela’s dream of children of her own is shattered.

Franco and Angela are beset with problems, not only their own, but his close family, while Angela does her best to be the proper help-mate. Eventually, one tragedy after another, the roles are reversed and it is she who must become the stronger of the two, facing down each misfortune after the other, holding the household together and coming to terms with his family’s path.

Interesting writing style, somewhat simplistic, often descriptive of her native land and that of the family she lost as well as Franco’s thoughts and motives. An often heart-breaking turn of events that might have broken the back of a weaker willed person, Angela certainly struggled with the life she felt God handed her. Life in the convent would have presented so radically different. A narrative that has you hoping for the best though realizing there are often, in real life, no fairy-tale endings. Still, the triumph here was in the mindset and strength to go on, overcoming adversity and coming out the other side.  

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About the Author

Carmela Cattuti - author

Carmela Cattuti started her writing career as a writer for the Somerville News in Boston, MA. She is a writer, painter, and yoga instructor in Boston. After she finished her graduate work in English at Boston College, she began to write creatively. As fate would have it, she felt compelled to write her great aunt’s story. Between the Cracks and The Ascent have gone through several incarnations and will become a trilogy.

Author Links

Website: www.ccattuticreative.com/carmela-cattuti-books

Facebook: www.facebook.com/carmelacattuticreative

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ccattuti

Instagram: www.instagram.com/carmelacattuticreative

Purchase Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Between-Cracks-Womans-Journey-America-ebook/dp/B00EIR08TO/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=carmela+cattuti&qid=1581979505&sr=8-2

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/carmela+cattuti?_requestid=3832793

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

Tour Participants:

April 10 – RABT Book Tours – Kick Off

April 10 – Nana’s Book Reviews – Spotlight

April 11 – Salt and Novels – Excerpt

April 13 – Mythical Books – Guest Post

April 14 – Tea Time and Books – Spotlight

April 15 – Java John Z’s – Excerpt

April 16 – The Sexy Nerd Revue – Spotlight

April 16 – The Avid Reader – Interview

April 17 – Nesie’s Place – Spotlight

April 18 – Sylv.net – Spotlight

April 20 – Historical Graffiti – Guest Post

April 21 – Texas Book Nook – Review

April 22 – Novel News Network – Review

April 23 – Ravenous Reader – Spotlight

April 24 – Rose Point Publishing – Review

April 10 – RABT Reviews – Wrap Up RABT Book Tours and PR Tour Host

Thanks to RABT Book Tours and PR for the opportunity to read and review this historical fiction mystery!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Winter Takes All: A Seattle Wilderness Mystery Book 1 by ML Erdahl – An #Audiobook Review

Winter Takes All by ML Erdahl

Book Blurb:

Crystal Rainey is aghast when she realizes her New Year’s resolutions haven’t changed one whit from the previous year. Wanting to escape a future as dreary as a Pacific Northwest winter, she walks out on her dead-end office job, despite her tenuous savings account.

Stumbling across a job opening posted by a wilderness guide outfit, an intrigued Crystal bluffs her way into the position. With her handsome fellow guide, the stalwart Conner Oakes, she leads a corporate retreat on a snowshoe hike to a majestic alpine chalet.

But when the company’s detestable owner turns up dead in the snow, she fears her new life and budding romance slipping away. She finally has something worth fighting for and is determined to solve the murder and grab her chance at happiness before it’s too late.

 My Review:

2020 Winter Games Reader's Choice AwardsThis one throws the cuteness arrow right off the high side of the scale. First, the premise that Crystal Rainey could cut out on her dead-end office job (oh groan–so been there/done that–but never had the guts to do more) and answer an ad for a wilderness guide. In the Great Northwet?? Are you kidding me? (Do you really want to die?) Bears–okay–so they are hibernating in the winter. But the cold? Bone-chilling, popsicle-fingers, breath-freezing air temps…gulp. Yeah, you have to dress for it and if done right, would be impossible to tell if you’re male or female. No problem! She can certainly tell Conner Oaks just by the confident way he handles that white stuff. (Snow, people.)

Winter Takes All by ML ErdahlThank heaven Conner knows what he is doing and is quick to see a green-horn when he sees one, but hey, she has potential in her earnestness and willingness to succeed and she’s adorable. But on the first outing, this corporate retreat snowshoe hike to an alpine chalet might present more than one challenge. What about the owner’s death? True, he was a creep of the first order. Still, his body is out there, frozen. And not an accident. She must solve the murder before this whole dream becomes a nightmare. Go back to that job? 9-5? Oh hell no!

The thing about cozy mysteries, however, is that there is so much plausible deniability you’ve come to expect. Swallow your disbelief that a clerical city employee could bluff her way through the interview, and having been hired by a head-hunter frantically trying to fill a vacancy, would prepare her physically for hiking in sub-zero temps loaded with heavy clothing. Or handling snowshoes. Comely Connor is too free to be and too quickly steps up as romantic interest–how was he not married with six kids already? And that the cops’ lack of serious interest in a remote area murder would have allowed an amateur sleuth to interrogate interview suspects or have the wherewithal to research corporate employees is a bit of a stretch.

N.N. Light Book Award WinnerCrystal is an engaging character with whom it’s easy to follow in her innate fresh naiveté that she has turned into a bulldog. Connor is just who he represents himself to be. Let’s see where these two go in Book 2, which I have on good authority will happen. In the meantime, if you are looking for a cozy with a whole different backdrop, winter mountain activities and engaging characters, Erdahl has captured that with an entertaining book you’ll keep reading just for the sweet factor alone. And it’s a fun and fast mystery.

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mysteries
Publisher: ML Erdahl
ASIN: B07ZZLNP72
 Print Length: 274 pages
Listening Length: 7 hrs 31 mins.
Narrator: Amy Langdon
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Source: Free offer direct from the author (Thank you!)
Title Link: Winter Takes All

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4-stars

ML Erdahl - authorThe Author: Award-winning author ML Erdahl lives amidst the trees of the Pacific Northwest, where he pens humorous cozy mystery novels set in the wilderness he has spent his lifetime exploring. The only thing slowing him down is when his adorable rescue dogs, Skip and Daisy, demand to be petted and cuddled on his lap while he types. When he’s not wandering the mountains, you can find him gardening, reading, or searching for the best coffee in Seattle with his wife, Emily. Follow the author on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

The Narrator: Amy Langdon

©2020 V Williams V Williams