Bending the Paw (A Paw Enforcement Novel Book 9) by Diane Kelly – A #BookReview – #cozymystery – #TuesdayBookBlog

Happy Publication Day!

Book Blurb:

A MURDER WITHOUT A BODY IS LIKE A DOG WITHOUT A BONE
Bending the Paw by Diane KellyA bloodbath is a shocking new challenge for Megan and Brigit when Detective Audrey Jackson calls them to the scene of what could only be a brutal murder. But the one thing the nightmarish scene is missing is a victim. The frantic homeowner’s husband is gone, seemingly without a trace—and so is the money he was holding. Has a vicious killer committed what might just be the perfect crime?

Meanwhile, it’s hailing cats and dogs all over Fort Worth, and roofing contractors have descended on the city in droves. With plenty of damage and continuing storms, work delays are building up like so much runoff, but Megan is suspicious that one roofer may be a scam artist. Determined to leash every lawbreaker she and her K-9 partner find, Megan is building a case for prosecution, all while Brigit has her nose to the ground for a murderer…

His Review:

Can a person live with a loss of over 2 quarts of blood? Diane Kelly has written a very interesting novel around this question. Medical science explains that a person will expire with this amount of blood loss. Megan Luz and her K-9 partner are called to a grizzly scene where there is blood everywhere but no body present! The K-9 partners’ name is Bridgit and she begins to examine the scene to see if she can identify where the victim could possibly be.

Bending the Paw by Diane KellyDiane Kelly has presented this tale from three and sometimes 4 perspectives, the perpetrator, the detective, the dog and the aspiring detective, Megan Luz. The trail ends near the garage where the body was supposedly loaded into the back of a car for disposal. Switch to the perpetrator and his attempts to hide the body and evidence and the plot thickens.

Very little evidence is available as to what type of weapon was used to slash the victim and cause all of the blood loss. With very little evidence to go on the case stands on the brink of being put into an unsolved cubbyhole. Meanwhile other crimes in the Fort Worth area are happening which keep our beat K-9 duo occupied. Weather related storm damage and the need for repair acts as a magnet for all unscrupulous individuals to harvest money from other peoples misfortune.

Megan responds quickly to the needs of the lead detective, Ms. Jackson, whenever called. Most crimes can be solved with the assistance of a highly trained police dog. Diane Kelly writes from the perspective of the dog and at times it is very enlightening. Working on one case confuses the animal who recognizes a possible scent of the criminal in the other crime. Yes, the answer can be as plain as the nose on your face, particularly if you are a dog!

CE WilliamsThe conclusion is very entertaining and I did not expect it. Dogged police work (pun intended) helped to solve the case. Again, the actual ending was totally unexpected. I highly recommend this book to those who would like to learn some interesting police procedures while being totally entertained. 5 stars – CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Sara Beth Haring of St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Animal Mysteries, Police Procedurals
Publisher: St Martin’s Paperbacks

    • ISBN-10 : 1250197392
    • ISBN-13 : 978-1250197399
    • ASIN : B084M1NGYF

Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: Happy Release Day! October 27, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Bending the Paw [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:

Barnes and Noble | Kobo

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Diane Kelly - authorThe Author: A former tax advisor, Diane Kelly inadvertently worked with white-collar criminals. Not surprisingly, Diane decided self-employment would be a good idea. Her fingers hit the keyboard and thus began her Death and Taxes romantic mystery series. A graduate of her hometown’s Citizen Police Academy, Diane Kelly also writes the hilarious K-9 cop Paw Enforcement series and the new House Flipper cozy mystery series. Look for her moonshine series debut in June 2021!

Be the first to receive book news by signing up for Diane’s newsletter at http://www.dianekelly.com/ “Like” Diane on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/dianekellybooks. Follow her on Instagram at dianekellybooks and on Twitter @dianekellybooks.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Leap by Michael C Grumley (Breakthrough Book2) – A #BookReview #technothriller

Book Blurb:

ONE OF THE GREATEST BREAKTHROUGHS IN HUMAN HISTORY.
AN ACHIEVEMENT THAT STUNNED THE ENTIRE WORLD.
AND IT WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING.

Leap by Michael C GrumleyFacing the cold, clear glass, Alison Shaw stared nervously into the giant seawater tank.
It was just one year ago that she and her team of marine biologists had stunned the world with their incredible breakthrough. And now, they were about to do it again.

But an ocean away, something strange was unfolding. Along a lonely coast in South America, an experimental Russian submarine, long thought to have been dismantled, has suddenly resurfaced. And the U.S. Navy has taken notice, sending officers John Clay and Steve Caesare to investigate.

The sub has been studying a group of unmarked soldiers. Disappearing into the jungle each night beneath the cover of darkness. Something has been discovered…something big.

And it’s about to fall into the wrong hands. Unless Alison Shaw and her team can find something that no one else can.

His Review:

Search for the Fountain of Youth meets interspecies communications. Michael Grumley mixes scientific speculation with current world reality. Many years ago my communications class explained that we transmit information 60% by facial expression and 40% by words. As with most academia this was abridged to be 55/38/7. That is 55% of our communications is body language, 38% voice tone and 7% actual words. This was postulated by Mr. Mehrabian in 1967. I find that if anything can be confused, the academic world will do it.

Leap by Michael C GrumleyThis book is very entertaining when using the above ratios and consider inter-species communications. What if you cannot see the animal before it charges or leaps or is trying to warn you? A rattlesnake shaking its’ tail is a complete communication without necessarily a visual component, but I digress. One main feature in this tale is a new communications device called IMIS. Dolphins communicate with various sounds and clicks and this IMIS system when aimed directly at the creatures translates these sounds into a kind of abbreviated language like pig-Latin. The complete sentences are not there and yet the researchers and the animals communicate.

A concurrent plot is a Chinese war ship parked in the harbor of Georgetown, Guyana. A US Naval research ship and the dolphins are sent to investigate. Under the cover of darkness, the Chinese are harvesting something from the jungles of Guyana. A very rich man wants to find out why one of the monkeys in his “nature retreat to protect animals” has lived to be nearly one hundred years old. The animal is observed trying to untie the netting in the forest compound to free his fellow animals. When they try to capture the animal, he escapes and the team, including IMIS, are hired to help find him. He is a Capuchin Monkey and the “humanitarian” wants to find out how he is living so long.

When arriving near the Georgetown harbor an old Russian submarine is detected. There is some very innovative equipment on the sub which seems to eliminate its’ navigational footprint. Putting these factors together, the US Navy becomes involved in trying to figure out what is happening. Why would a Chinese naval warship be in Caribbean waters? Both questions became a part of a very entertaining plot.

CE WilliamsThe outcome is surprising and also very entertaining. A modicum of science fiction adds to the overall plot and the ending is satisfying. This accomplished author includes a gateway to another segment and an additional novel. The villain is really just a man getting older and is too rich to want to leave this life. He theorizes there must be a genetic anomaly that will lead from his drinking of the fountain of youth. With enough money to make his dream a possible reality he sets out to find the secret. Read the book and see if he was successful. 4.5/5 stars CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author through BookBub. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Sea Adventures, Techno-thrillers

ASIN : B00LXRJICK
Print Length: 486 pagesPublication Date: July 14, 2014
Source: BookBub
Title Link: Leap

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

Michael C Grumley - authorThe Author: For years, Michael Grumley dreamed of writing thrillers the way he thought they should be written; complex, multi-genre stories with unique plots that ‘move’. Enter BREAKTHROUGH, AMID THE SHADOWS, and THROUGH THE FOG: all deeply human stories with endings you will never see coming.

Michael C. Grumley lives in Northern California with his two young daughters. He’s an avid reader, runner and most of all father. He dotes on his girls every chance he gets. His website is http://www.michaelgrumley.com and his email address is michael@michaelgrumley.com

He is currently working on the next Breakthrough story.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Deadly Weapon (Jake Wolfe Book 5) by Mark Nolan – a #BookReview #thrillerbooks

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”—Carl Jung

Book Blurb:

Deadly WeaponIn Alaska, a lethal threat is unearthed from the frozen ground. Near Maui, a shipwrecked submarine holds a frightening secret, and on the California coast, war veteran Jake Wolfe races against time to uncover a conspiracy.

When a master plan emerges that has the potential not only to threaten Jake’s city, but to kill off targeted populations around the world, Jake embarks on a desperate search-and-destroy mission in order to protect the lives of everyone he knows and cares for. His target? A group of rogue operatives planning mass murder.

With assassins on his trail, and the clock ticking, Jake must trace the path that will finally bring him face-to-face with the psychopathic genius who wants to remake the world.

Deadly Weapon is part of a series, but may be read as a stand-alone novel.

My Thoughts

This is Book 5 of the Jake Wolfe series and how many have I read? ALL OF THEM. I just love the duo of Jake and Cody—well, Cody maybe a little more—but these two are beyond engaging. Intelligent, fast, cunning, capable, but tender and hot at the same time—and that’s just the dog! There is something overwhelming in the attraction of Jake—perhaps that “animal magnetism.” (snicker, snicker)

In this series entry, Jake’s Alaskan holiday is interrupted by a call to action and he’s swept up and away to a mission not wholly successful…it will continue back home in the Bay Area of California. He is living gratis in Sausalito on the yacht Far Niente thanks to a buddy across the pond for a year. Damn, I get such pangs when he gets to describing the Pacific, that wonderful all pervading salt water open ocean air atmosphere. “He felt the need for some vitamin sea.”

Anyway, it’s a nasty consortium of people (working towards a one-world totalitarian oligarachy) bent on eliminating certain populations around the globe. The mission will be undertaken in fits and starts as they gain intel. Jake (Jukebox) is a Marine combat veteran, but not out of the “above top secret” classification that has pulled him in before on classified missions. Highly trained, athletic, weapons ready, and deadly, he takes Cody without question of his orders.

“Sometimes I think the hardest part of war is coming home.”

So much intelligence here, both in weapons, locations, and personnel, it’s scary—hard to separate fact from fiction except that this narrative barrels through heart-stopping action (okay—some over-the-top action even) that has you groaning at the odds and cheering at the accomplishments. (Reference to the U-505 submarine on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago—I’ve seen it—OMG!) Page-turning, non-stop action that includes many of his previous Marine buddies (also back to civilian life), including his best buddy Terrell Hayes (Grinds), SFPD Homicide Detective. This plot is just a little close to current global events and difficult to put down.

Deadly WeaponThe author’s writing style has evolved, relaxed a bit in Book 5, becoming more graphic, letting that ole testosterone fly, and having Jake speaking more brazenly—irreverent—and I blinked several times, but even so, the well-plotted novel is descriptive, immersive, and prose laden. There is the thread of a romance between Jake and Sarah, a veterinarian, but it weaves that thread carefully through the outline, allows the plot to naturally progress to a conclusion that has you craving Book 6.

Yes, it’s a series, and you don’t have to start at Book 1, this can work as a standalone, but you’d be missing out on a lot of fun. You’ll have no problem getting to know these series characters and fall in love with that dog as well. Full of suspense, take your blood pressure medication, as this action-thriller will have you hanging by a nail. Wildly entertaining, tales with fascinating bits of information slipped in before you realize you are learning something, wonderful strong studly characters (man and dog). This one is for you and it’s out now.

(Links to my reviews for series books 1-4 below in the author bio.) 

FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

His Thoughts

Clandestine operations are not for the faint of heart. Jake Wolfe is never really on vacation. His summer getaway is interrupted by a frantic call and a helicopter taking him to a remote Inuit village. Salmon fishing and an escape with his wartime K-9 survivor dog Cody, is curtailed. Can they stop a diabolical group of billionaires from getting their hands on an active strain of the deadly 1918-19 flu virus? They have dug up a body containing the virus buried in an old Inuit graveyard.

Controlling the world population through germ warfare has been attempted throughout history. The number of potential fatalities from this flu strain is staggering to consider. Can the perpetrators be stopped before developing a massive biological weapon? Mark Nolan examines this issue with his usual masterful storytelling capability. I would never want to be in Jakes’ or his dogs’ shoes.

Cody, a decorated war dog and hero, accompanies Jake on most elements of the case. His tracking and identification capabilities are integral to solving most cases. Time is always a key factor in stopping those who would do great harm to our nation. Cody has the rank of sergeant in the Marine Corp while Jake is a corporal. Cody will warm up to anyone given instructions to do so. Casual petting without being invited to do so can result in loss of body parts.

This is my second book by Mark Nolan and I enjoy his writing style, although he portrays the world as a place with few hidden safe spots. Jake continually looks for reasons why the Feds and his handler can locate him so quickly, which adds spice to the stories. CE Williams

I find the use of some of the weapons to be extremely graphic and frightening. As a normal citizen I’d rather not know some of these facts. I find the stories engaging, although I lost a little sleep over this novel. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Action-Thrillers. 5 stars CE Williams

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Medical Thrillers, Financial Thrillers, Sea Adventures Fiction
ASIN : B08BFCV7GR
Print Length: 308 pages
Publication Date: August 31, 2020
Source: Author Request

Title Link: Amazon

Mark Nolan - authorThe Author: Mark Nolan was born near the sea shore and has enjoyed boating, fishing, scuba diving and exploring in Florida, Mexico, California, Hawaii, etc. If you like dogs, boats, ocean beaches, and action movies … you’ll probably enjoy reading Mark’s books.

Mark’s books in order: 1. Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie. 2. Vigilante Assassin. 3. Killer Lawyer. 4. San Diego Dead. 5. Deadly Weapon. 6. Key West Dead.

Subscribe to Mark Nolan’s reader newsletter for updates, specials, and to be notified when a new book is available. Please visit marknolan.com.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Come Marching Home by Hazel West – #fantasy #giveaway – #bookreview

Come Marching Home Blog Tour

Synopsis:

After being away for over a year, Alfonse Keller has returned from the trenches on Teuton’s western front, fighting in the war that’s broken out against the Steppes. He should feel relieved now that’s he’s back in his own village in the care of his brother Ernst, but he’s not. It seems like nothing has changed except for him, like he’s a traveler from a different world.

When Alfonse left to join the army, he was a natural magician making a name for himself, but after a tragic incident resulting in the death of his friend, and his own crippling injury, he no longer has the ability to use magic.

Suffering from constant nightmares and revisited trauma, Alfonse can’t get the trenches out of his head. Ernst tries to help, but he doesn’t really understand either. How can he, when Alfonse doesn’t really understand himself? He feels like a phantom, standing on the outskirts of a life he’ll never live again.

As Ernst tries to do everything he can for his brother, he can’t help but feel like Alfonse is slipping away, that maybe part of him never left the trenches at all. But how can he save his brother when Alf refuses to let anyone in?

My Thoughts

come-marching-homeI definitely went into this one without remembering that it is a fantasy-history fantasy. Sergeant Major Alphonse Keller has returned to Coldbrooke from the Teutonic-Steppes war a different man than the boy who left home and his older brother, Ernst, a healer. It was deemed that Ernst was of more service in the little village than at the western front.

It’s a bewildering and confusing time and Alfonse has returned with a horrendous case of PTSD before it was truly given a name and understood and guilt over having lived (albeit with serious injuries of his own) when his childhood friend and war buddy died.  

He is still beset with ugly nightmares, terrors, and sweats and is a greater problem to heal than his brother has confronted prior. Ernst cannot get a handle on how to treat him, care for him, or get him over this to once again return to a normal, or near normal, life. Alphonse rescues a dog, more savagely wounded than he, and he finds a temporary respite in caring for the dog.

Alphonse used to be a magician and he wielded his magic against his enemies until that fateful skirmish in the tunnel. Even after a truce is declared and the remaining men of the village return, it seems Alphonse continues to revisit the trenches and the tunnel incident that sent him home. Each man has compartmentalized their experience in their own way–some better–several as bad. 

Regardless the age, the country, or the century, war is hell. And war, no matter when, exacts the same terrible price on those who would fight. Has Alphonse forever lost his way back to his brother and those who would heal him? 

Pre-Order Info

If you pre-order Come Marching Home or just order a copy of it by the end of October (extending because the paperback won’t be available for preorder) You can email the receipt of your purchase to sirwilliamssquire@gmail.com with your address and Hazel will send you a goodie pack!

Link to Amazon 

Goodies

-A bookmark
-A sticker with art by H.S.J. Williams @h.s.j._williams
-A playlist curated by Hazel
-And if you order the paperback, you will get a signed bookplate

Social Links

Blog: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com
Come Marching Home on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54493656-come-marching-home
Goodreads Author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5289626.Hazel_B_West
Twitter: https://twitter.com/artfulscribbler
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/modern_bard67/
Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/hazelwest

Purchase links

Smashwords
Kindle 

Giveaway

Click for your chance to win one of two signed copies of the book plus swag packs in this Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Details

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Publisher:

  • ASIN : B08K8SNKD8

Print Length: 279 pages
Publication Date: October 13, 2020

About the Author

Hazel West - authorHazel B. West is the author of several novels including historical titles like On a Foreign FieldBy Blood or By BondWolfsblood, a book about werewolves in Roman Britain and the Modern Tales of Na Fianna series, which feature modern Irish warriors with swords and fast sports cars and lots of faeries.

Hailing from Purgatory (aka, Florida) Hazel is an indie author, book wyrm, and coffee connoisseur. She typically enjoys writing books with an unconventional flair, probably with a bit of folklore and mythology, most definitely with a lot of siblings or brothers-in-arms. When she’s not writing, she manages an Etsy shop, drinks a lot of coffee, listens to music, haunts conventions, or just holes up like an eldritch horror and binges her favorite shows—for inspiration. If you meet this rare creature on the street, she has been known to respond to the offer of coffee and old bookstores. But it’s probably best you try to contact her online first. 

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Watch Her Vanish: (Redux of the) Rockwell and Decker Book 1 by Ellery A Kane  – A #BookReview  – #policeprocedural

OOPS! The CE finished the book, gave me his review and I published it on September 27. See that review here. However, we were invited by Gail Torr as part of Galaxy Media USA to participate in the book tour currently unfolding. Mia culpa—in the meantime—I’ll repeat his review and please enjoy the tour!

Watch Her Vanish by Ellery Kane

 

Readers love Watch Her Vanish:

PERFECTION! Be prepared to skirt your responsibilities because you won’t want to put this book down… keeps you guessing until the end. I cannot wait for the next installment!’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars

A taut fast-paced thriller in every sense of the word. Dark and oozing with suspense. Well plotted and stunningly written. Loved it!’ Kelly Russo Reviews, 5 stars

WOWZA!!!… I cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment in this series!’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars

Absolutely fantastic… I couldn’t put it down once I started.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

A scream!…  Grabs a hold of you and keeps you reading till the end!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Loved!! Everything about this book was spot-on!…  I was pulled in from the beginning and it didn’t let up once! Can’t wait for book 2.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘A fantastic book. Like wow! I really got into this read This book will draw you in and you won’t be able to stop.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Grabs you by the heart, then grabs you by the throat and shakes up all your cells.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Book Blurb:

The beam from the lighthouse slices through the dawn sky as she runs down the rocky stairway to the beach. She tries to take it all inthe waves crashing against the cliffs, the whip of salt grass in the windbefore finally dragging her eyes down to the innocent girl’s blonde hair, strewn across the bottom step like seaweed…

Returning home to Fog Harbor, California, to be closer to her little sister, Olivia Rockwell is struggling to adjust to life in a town so small she can hardly breathe. That is, until the sound of a scream leads her to the body of a local teacher in the shallows nearby. All the evidence points to Olivia’s most threatening criminal psychology patient, Drake, who is safely locked up behind bars…

Convinced of Drake’s innocence—and desperate to believe in the system that’s keeping her murderer father in prison and away from her sister—Olivia gets to work on her own suspect list. All her life she’s run towards trouble, but this time she’s treading on the toes of Detective Will Decker, whose past mistakes mean this case is his last chance to make amends.

Then a second woman’s body is discovered, strangled while out on an evening jog. The strip of blue material used to choke her implicates Drake once again, forcing Will to admit he needs Olivia’s special talent for understanding the minds of killers. It’s clear more innocent women will die if they don’t get one step ahead of the murders, and Olivia knows she will need her estranged father’s help to get close to Drake.

But when Olivia’s profile leads them to believe Drake could be masterminding murders from within the prison walls, a message written on a scrap of paper found in the latest victim’s car leads them to a terrifying realization: Olivia’s little sister will be next…

An addictive and unputdownable crime thriller that will keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of Melinda Leigh, Kendra Elliot and Mary Burton.

His Review:

Watch Her Vanish by Ellery KaneMurder intricately designed in a maximum-security prison. Ms. Kane has developed characters that are both engaging and exasperating. Heap that on a prison system with type A personalities and both officers and inmates jostling for position and control and the plot develops. Both the men and women charged with rehabilitating the criminals and the criminals themselves seem hell-bent on controlling the entire system.

Olivia Rockwell is a Doctor of Psychology who strives to rehabilitate these hardened convicts. A mysterious murder of one of the workers at the prison opens the narrative. She and her younger sister Emily are working at the prison and trying to make the prisoners lives better and more productive. But at what personal psychological costs do these prison workers pay for their attempts at helping? Law enforcement and the wardens at times seem to be on the opposite end of this rehabilitation tug-of-war.

Crescent Bay State Prison set in northern California’s north coast is the place where dangerous killers and hardened career criminals reside. The other residences are career prison workers who have been washed out of other California prisons. They are all very smart and crafty and have been trained by the hard knocks of the California Penal System. Add to this the dregs of Bay Area gangs like The Oaktown Boys who wield tremendous influence in all prisons and the plot matures.

I found myself wondering why seemingly intelligent and highly trained women would devolve into situations which led them to being at risk. The further into the narrative I got, the more I began to wonder; can these people be so naïve and stupid? After a couple of similar killings, I would have expected the characters to wise up and not put themselves in threatening and exposed positions. Foggy and cold nights on the northern California coast are not really inviting times to be on the backroads at night, especially knowing there have been some gruesome killings.

Will Decker is a career law enforcement officer who is attracted to Olivia and is charged with finding the killer or killers. The prime suspect is a career criminal who has written a best-selling novel. He is closely watched by everyone and held in maximum security and yet appears to get out and commit the crimes.

The twist at the end of the book caught me unprepared. I recalled dealing in psych wards with people who seemed very normal and suddenly turned into psychiatric basket cases. I did not expect this to happen with people who had so much education and training. My kudos to the author for delving into that aspect. I also appreciated the lack of gratuitous hot sex scenes. Rather, this author made the characters more believable by pointing out their insecurities. CE Williams

I recommend you set aside a good time period to read this tale, as it really isn’t one you can take all at once—at times moving at a rather slow pace. I had a few problems with the protagonist and Detective Decker is a bit cliché. Be aware of the cliffhanger ending. A good pot of coffee or a glass of wine will help. CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural, Serial Killer Thriller, Organized Crime Thriller
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B08D3X8Y2X

Print Length: 441 pages
Publication Date: October 9, 2020
Title Link: Watch Her Vanish [Amazon]

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Ellery A Kane - authorThe Author: Forensic psychologist by day, novelist by night, Ellery Kane has been writing–professionally and creatively–for as long as she can remember. Just like many of her main characters, Ellery loves to ask why, which is the reason she became a psychologist in the first place. Real life really is stranger than fiction, and Ellery’s writing is often inspired by her day job. Evaluating violent criminals and treating trauma victims, she has gained a unique perspective on the past and its indelible influence on the individual. And she’s heard her fair share of real life thrillers.

Ellery lives in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, a picturesque setting that provides the backdrop for many of her novels. If you don’t find Ellery interviewing murderers behind prison walls or pecking away at her latest novel, she is probably at the gym landing a solid jab-cross to a punching bag; riding bicycles with her special someone; or enjoying a movie the old-fashioned way–at the theater with popcorn and Milk Duds.

Ellery was previously selected as one of ten semifinalists in the MasterClass James Patterson Co-Author Competition, and she recently signed a three book deal with Bookouture for her new Rockwell and Decker mystery thriller series. The first book is scheduled for release in 2020.

If you’d like to receive a notification when new books are released, please sign up for Ellery’s newsletter at ellerykane.com. Ellery also signs e-books on authorgraph.com.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

HIDING CRACKED GLASS BY JAMES J. CUDNEY – a #BookReview @jamescudney4 – @Shalini_G26

Hiding Cracked Glass by James J Cudney

Series Name: Perceptions of Glass
Genre: Family Life Fiction, Suspense
Publisher: Magnum Opus – A Next Chapter Imprint; 1st Edition (October 8, 2020)
ASIN : B08F3YWTYX
Print Length: 286 pages
Publication Date: October 8, 2020
Source: Blog Tour
Title Link: Hiding Cracked Glass [Amazon]

About the Book

An ominous blackmail letter appears at an inopportune moment. The recipient’s name is accidentally blurred out upon arrival. Which member of the Glass family is the ruthless missive meant for?

In the powerful sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, Olivia is the first to read the nasty threat and assumes it’s meant for her. When the mysterious letter falls into the wrong hands and is read aloud, it throws the entire Glass family into an inescapable trajectory of self-question. Across the span of eight hours, Olivia and her sons contemplate whether to confess their hidden secrets or find a way to bury them forever. Some failed to learn an important lesson last time. Will they determine how to save themselves before it’s too late?

Each chapter’s focus alternates between the various family members and introduces several new and familiar faces with a vested interest in the outcome. As each hour ticks by, the remaining siblings and their mother gradually reveal what’s happened to them in the preceding months, and when the blackmailer makes an appearance at Olivia’s birthday party, the truth brilliantly comes to light.

Although everyone seemed to embrace the healing process at the end of Watching Glass Shatter, there were hidden cracks in the Glass family that couldn’t be mended. Their lives are about to shatter into pieces once again, but this time, the stakes are even higher. Someone wants to teach them a permanent lesson and refuses to stop until success is achieved. 

My Thoughts

If it seemed that circumstances had evolved to a resolution of the issues visited by the shocking revelations in Watching Glass Shatter, the hushed euphoria quietly evaporated in this instalment of the Perceptions of Glass series.

Hiding-Cracked-Glass-Promo-PaperbackA strong reminder that people are people whether rich or poor, they face the same dilemmas and crises of the lesser privileged and are no less damaging. Olivia is back, now with her remaining four sons after having a retreat to Italy after the loss of both her husband and youngest son. There were life-altering secrets revealed in that earlier narrative, many shared; some not.

Olivia is going to celebrate a birthday and having returned to the family fold happy to be back until she received a blackmail letter. Unfortunately, several events occurred prior to her seeing the letter, which she immediately assumed should have been directed to her. And wasn’t. Unfortunately, the way it is revealed has the rest of the family reeling with assurance that perhaps it was not intended for Olivia, but for them.

There are the men and their mates, along with relatively unknown faces, and Diane, Olivia’s sister—aunt to the boys—more mother than aunt. In the ensuing hours, the POV is switched from brother to brother, as well as Olivia, along with flashbacks that fill in the backstory to bring the current scene up to date.

Each of the offspring has their own foibles and are working on those as well as the relationship with their remaining brothers. Olivia tends to remain emotionally elusive, continuing to hold back valuable information that should be shared and isn’t, unfortunately, until it’s too late. The characters are well developed and as monied privilege tend to exhibit narcissistic tendencies and I had difficulty with all of them. My heart went out to Emma and I was busy rooting for her. She and Diane are most sympathetic, but the mantra continues to hammer family…familyfamily. Even with the level of dysfunction, the theme doesn’t relax.

As each member is dissected as possibly being the blackmail target, more secrets are laid open, exposed. A classic example that money can’t buy you everything. Can these family members ever find peace?

The well-plotted novel navigates through several twists and pulls into a tragic conclusion that has your heart sinking into the depths. NOOOooooo. A story of family dramas, secrets, misguided intentions, selected equitable solutions.

“Children aren’t an opportunity to fix your past. They’re a chance to improve the world’s future.”

I was gifted a digital copy for the occasion of the blog tour and these are my unbiased opinions.

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About the Author

Background

James J Cudney - authorJames is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote some short stories, poems and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career in technology and business that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I refocused some of my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing and publishing.

Author

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels and suspense thrillers. I think of characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.

Reader & Reviewer

Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read 2 books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review and post it on all my sites and platforms.

Blogger & Thinker

I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks” where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me.

Genealogist & Researcher

I love history and research, finding myself often reaching back into the past to understand why someone made the choice he or she did and what were the subsequent consequences. I enjoy studying the activities and culture from hundreds of years ago to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I wish I could watch my ancestors from a secret place to learn how they interacted with others; and maybe I’ll comprehend why I do things the way I do.

Author Links

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com/

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Amazon: http://bit.ly/JJCIVBooks

Next Chapter Pub: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Social Media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraxtonCampusMysteries/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThisIsMyTruthNow/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Genres, Formats & Languages

I write in the family drama and mystery genres. My first two books are Watching Glass Shatter (2017) and Father Figure (2018). Both are contemporary fiction and focus on the dynamics between parents and children and between siblings. I’m currently writing the sequel to Watching Glass Shatter. I also have a light mystery series called the Braxton Campus Mysteries with six books available.

All my books come in multiple formats (Kindle, physical print, large print paperback, and audiobook) and some are also translated into foreign languages such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and German.

Goodreads Book Links

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Thank you to Digital Reads Blog Tours for the invitation to this tour.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

I Jonathan: A Charleston Tale of the Rebellion by George WB Scott – A #BookReview – #historicalfiction #TuesdayBookBlog

“The book is pro-South, but not pro-Confederate.” …

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars

5 stars

Book Blurb:

NEW CIVIL WAR NOVEL SEES CONFLICT THROUGH NEW EYES

First-time novelist George WB Scott debuts a novel that offers a thrilling glimpse of Civil War Charleston through the eyes of a newcomer from Boston.

Readers join the main character of “I Jonathan, A Charleston Tale of the Rebellion” on his journey as a young man, marooned in a strange city just as the Civil War begins. His relationships with working men and women, slaves, merchants, planters, spies, inventors, soldiers, sweethearts and musicians tell the story of a dynamic culture undergoing its greatest challenge. Scott’s novel shows the arguments and trials of a wealthy cosmopolitan community preparing to fight a nation superior in manpower and arms.

“I wanted to tell a personal story built on the framework of history,” says Scott, “and the real story is Charleston’s challenges and experience in the war.

“The book is pro-South, but not pro-Confederate. It’s anti-war and anti-slavery. I wanted to go beyond stock characters and themes. I hope this encourages readers to reflect on a people who lived through a fundamental change of their society.”

His Review:

This is a magnificent civil war saga as told by a non-combatant. I was immediately immersed in the confusion and blockade that was the conflict between the North and the South during the American Civil War. Mr. Scott has distilled a myriad of letters into an eye-opening tale of survival during the conflict. I was swept away into another time and developed a kinship to the protagonist, Mr. I. Jonathan Vander.

Raised by a doting mother who falls ill and dies, Jonathan is sent to France by his father after an affair with a younger step-sister. Then his father falls ill and he is sent a bank draft to cover the voyage back to his boyhood home in Boston. The return voyage is interrupted by a rogue wave and Jonathan winds up in Charleston due to needed ship repairs. He misses the boat back to Boston and now being low on funds he is forced to stay in Charleston.

The relationship between the rich and poor in Charleston is apparent throughout the conflict. The rich land owners were able to escape the low country and retreat to the mountains to be cooler during the summers. The plight of the African American slaves was a bit different than expected. They too had a caste system which separated them into very distinct groups. Those that were freed were able to own businesses and controlled other groups of slaves. Jonathan being destitute was hired by one of these freed slaves. This entrepreneur dealt in all kinds of commodities and Jon was able to move easily through the area to collect and deliver the goods.

I was particularly intrigued by the blockade running enterprise of some of the traders. Avoiding Yankee blockades, the blockade runners were able to go to the Bahamas or Nassau and procure everything needed to make life a little more comfortable in the blockaded city. Jon is constantly harassed by the Confederate military because he was young and of the age of conscription. He was carrying papers which detailed his reasons for not being in the military. Being a Boston-Yankee, he avoided fighting with either side but simply fought to survive.

His relationship with a young woman that he saved from a fire is particularly moving. Their near poverty lives came together in comfort during this tumultuous time. Disease was always prevalent and yellow fever and sleeping sickness played a part in everyone’s lives. It seemed nobody was immune from the heartbreak and sorrow that living in marshlands during the summer can bring.

The development of instruments of war is also well described. The ballistics of the weapons and the distances they could shoot with accuracy amazed me. Thirty-five pound cannon balls lobbed into Charleston with various incendiary devices seemed particularly cruel. Simply starting a fire in this timbered city could wipe out major portions of the city and leave inhabitants destitute. This became an everyday event in the latter parts of the war.

CE Williams

Give yourself a block of time to allow yourself to be taken back to this era. It’s frighteningly eye-opening. The relationships of the inhabitants and their struggles are a rewarding infusion of knowledge. The tale is an immersion into another time and place. 5 stars CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Kindle eBooks (Historical Fiction)

Publisher: Archetype Imprints

ASIN : B08GH3YPJ1

Print Length: 442 pages

Publication Date: August 21, 2020

Source: Direct author request

Title Link: I Jonathan [Amazon]

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George WB Scott-author

The Author: George WB Scott was born in Stuart, Florida where he lived until he went to college in North Carolina. He graduated from Appalachian State University and went into television news in Tennessee. He is now an independent video producer and lives in Knoxville with his wife Mary Leidig.

His childhood memoir “Growing Up In Eden” explores experiences of his youth and of Martin County during the 1960s and 1970s. It includes more than a hundred photographs, mostly taken by the author just before the 2004 hurricanes, and has a CD with a screensaver of photographs and music by Gatlinburg acoustic guitarist Bill Mize.

In autumn of 2020 he will release his first novel, “I Jonathan, a Charleston Tale of the Rebellion.” More information is available on my blog at http://www.southernrocket.net/i-jonathan

(c) 2020 CE Williams – V Williams

V Williams

Without a Brew: A Sloan Krause Mystery Book 4) by Ellie Alexander – a #BookReview #cozymystery

“Life is what happens between coffee and beer.”

Book Blurb:

Amateur sleuth Sloan Krause delves into a murderous winter wonderland in another delightful mystery from cozy writer Ellie Alexander, Without a Brew.

It’s winter in the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, Washington, which for local brewmaster Sloan Krause means lots of layers, pine and citrus-flavored craft beers, and getting the new guest rooms at Nitro into pristine condition before visitors flood in for IceFest—a local tradition filled with fireworks, ice carving, and winter games of all varieties. But Sloan and her boss Garrett quickly learn that being brewkeepers turned innkeepers may not be as idyllic as it sounded.

While one couple staying with them seems completely smitten, a flashy group arrives in the evening demanding rooms. Sloan and Garrett are less than impressed, but agree to rent to them anyway. The night takes a turn when brewery patron Liv Paxton finishes her frothy pint and, with no previous plan for an overnight stay in Leavenworth, eagerly takes Sloan up on the offer of sanctuary from the snow—until she has a strange run in with some locals and the other guests. Sloan could be imagining things, but when Liv’s room is found trashed the next morning, a hateful message painted on her car, and Liv herself is nowhere to be found, Sloan is convinced another mystery is brewing. With many of the potential suspects hunkering down under Nitro’s roof, she knows her co-workers and friends won’t be safe until she serves up the killer a hoppy pint of justice.

My Review:

I really enjoying tearing into this series as soon as the next book is available. Not a beer drinker, but this series is written so well I’m almost ready to try–it’s right there with soliloquies about wine. Such an art—I’ll bet you never knew!

“The beer thief, or sample thief, as they were sometimes called, was a long plastic device with a gravity valve on the base.” Hmmm…okay.

Sloan Krause is the product of the foster care system, but has found a strong family and idyllic home in Leavenworth, Washington, where she has joined Garrett in crafting unusual beers made from specialty hops and crops unique to the area and the season. They’ve gradually added more services, light snacks and soups and are now looking forward to opening rooms above Nitro as a limited B&B. Her ex is from a strong German family where she honed the knowledge of her craft and learned to love the family she never had. She also has a teenage son, Alex.

In this episode, they are gearing up for IceFest and testing their B&B quarters which has resulted in an eclectic group of guests—opposites on the social pole with one group downright obnoxious, as well as a couple celebrating an anniversary, and a single woman stranded for the night.

So many strong layers here to enjoy: the description of the delightful Bavarian style town nestled in the high mountains of Washington state and the citizens, the information regarding the art of brewing, the equipment, the nuances, ingredients and recipes, Sloan’s mysterious background coming to the fore and its possible connection to her (soon-to-be ex) in-laws, and the mystery itself expertly woven smoothly together. It’s okay that it’s Book 4, the author easily adds bits of pertinent data (no info dump), although these are fun enough to go back and start with Book 1.

The protagonist herself, Sloan, is not an in-your-face amateur sleuth. She doesn’t generally put herself at risk. She is good with people, quietly putting them at ease, and usually gets the clues she’s looking for without their being any the wiser. Also, she works well with local police Chief Meyers, herself an intelligent woman, effective, exchanging hints.

The mystery rides the tide with Sloan’s personal life growth and that of the service industry and occasionally slips in a quick recipe explanation or two. The mystery is not without twists or red herrings. Not like you won’t get a sense of the perp (although once again, not one I wanted it to be). The author builds her characters so three-dimensionally, the reader becomes engaged and except for the rude and crude one, not easy to assign guilt.

Fully invested and rolling in all the layers, the conclusion comes whether or not you’re ready. The storyline has resolved several issues, set up for the next book, and fully cemented you in the series. The only issue I had was of “the sharp edge of the shovel.” Just not sure that’s one you’d walk away from.

I missed the first, but have read and thoroughly enjoyed Books 2 and 3. You should check out this atmospheric and character-driven series. On pre-order now, this one releases in November.  

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my unbiased thoughts.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars

4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Culinary Mystery, Amateur Sleuths

Publisher: Minotaur Books

ASIN : B084M1SDGK

Print Length: 304 pages

Publication Date: November 10, 2020

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

About The Author:

ELLIE ALEXANDER is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses and breweries nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails of Southern Oregon and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. She is the author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series and the Sloan Krause Mysteries. Follow her on social media to learn more about her books, see her recipe videos, and participate in fun giveaways!

Find out more about Ellie and her books by visiting her here:
Website: https://www.elliealexander.co/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ellie_alexander
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/elliealexanderauthor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elliealexanderauthor
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/BakeshopMystery
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/elliealexander

(C) 2020 V Williams

V Williams

Song for a Lost Kingdom The Prequel: A Kingdom is Lost, a Song is Born by Steve Moretti – #BookReview @Shalini_G26 @morettisteve

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

The Prequel to a time-travel historical fantasy series powered by a mysterious 18th century cello that bridges the divide of time between two passionate women who live for their music and find their lives and loves forever intertwined.

A kingdom is lost. A song is born.

Song for a Lost Kingdom by Steve MorettiWhen the Union with England is accepted by the Scottish Parliament on 16 January 1707, many swear they will never accept the loss of their fiercely independent nation. The ones who seek to preserve a lost kingdom divide families and destroy lives in the process.

The consequences ripple through time until a generation later, Katharine Carnegie is lost for words to complete her symphonic masterpiece in 1745. The Jacobite rebellion is sweeping across Scotland, pitting her two brothers against each other, with her caught between them.

Meanwhile in 2003, Adeena Stuart, a rebellious teenage cellist and composer in Canada, is frightened by the visions of her visiting grandmother from Scotland. Somehow they connect Adeena to Katharine’s uncompleted song from the 18th century.

In the Prequel to the highly acclaimed Song for a Lost Kingdom novel and audiobook series, the origins of the story and the characters unfold in dramatic fashion. The prequel also includes the first two chapters of SFLK Book I, Music is Not Bound by Time.

Get swept away by this time slip adventure powered by music.

 His Review:

Song for a Lost Kingdom by Steve MorettiCould music be a generational tether for future generations? This Prequal explores that question with tantalizing clarity. The early 18th century is embroiled in conflict between England and Scotland. The Scots do not want to become part of the British Empire but some opportunists see it as a way to grab lands and property. Included in those is Katharine’s older brother who is made a member of Parliament and becomes the owner of the family castle and grounds called Kinnaird. He is also made a Captain in the British army and fights his own countrymen to cement his future.

Chased from her childhood home her only thread is her music. Katharine is drawn by the notes and scores and feels safest when she is playing or composing. As she leaves her childhood behind, she is drawn deeper into the mystic of the music and its’ connection to the strife gripping her country. Siding with her older brother slips her into complicity with England and abandons her own needs and desires. She is more loyal to Scotland and loses herself in composing.

Three centuries later another young lady named Margaret after her aunt is struggling with music and her future in composing. She too plays the cello and finds comfort in the chords and compositions. At times she is in a world of her own as she plays. Auditioning with a major orchestra is a tentative step to a new career. Can she accomplish her life’s goal and wish?

CE WilliamsThe juxtaposition of the two celloists is not lost but is the spice that pulls the story together. Remember this is a “Prequal” and is only an appetizer to the complete novel. Yes, I admit to being hooked. I would like to read the whole story and see how the connection is completed between the two family members!

The musical thread is enticing in its’ simplicity. Without actually meeting and speaking with each other can the two women cement a generational bond? 5 stars – CE Williams

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Steve Moretti - author
Steve Moretti

The Author: I have always been drawn to passion and creativity in all its forms. I am equally fascinated by the mechanics of the universe and the characters of history. I have a special affection for the power of music which I believe is the universal language of human emotion.My writing journey started in journalism, public relations and advertising then continued into software development (yes that involves writing)! Now am I a full-time author, finishing up Book III in my Song for a Lost Kingdom trilogy, which also includes a novella Prequel.

Audiobook versions of all the books in this series are on the way, including the Prequel which is now available.

I grew up in London, Ontario (Canada) and also lived in Pompano Beach, Florida as a teenager. I moved to Ottawa and attended Carleton University many years ago and now live just south of the city with my wife, daughter and four dogs with attitude.

I look forward to your feedback. Visit my website stevemoretti.ca for the latest news, or email me at steve@stevemoretti.ca anytime!

BOOK DETAILS

Genre: Time Travel Science Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Fantasy Short Reads
Publisher: DWA Media

  • ASIN : B07YLBG1RM

 Print Length: 65 pages
Publication Date: September 29, 2019
Source: Book Tour @DigitalReads

SOCIAL MEDIA DETAILS

Website: http://www.stevemoretti.ca
FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/stevemoretti.ca/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/moretti.steven/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/morettisteve
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/steve-moretti
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steve-moretti-61884ab/
Medium: https://medium.com/@stevenmoretti
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18201107.Steve_Moretti
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Steve-Moretti/e/B07DX4H6Z3

BOOK LINKS

Amazon USA: https://www.amazon.com/Song-Lost-Kingdom-Book-III-ebook/dp/B08BR2S6N9/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Song-Lost-Kingdom-Book-III-ebook/dp/B08BR2S6N9/

We posted a Book Blitz for Book 3 (The Heart Beats in Time)  in August here but this prequel will give you a good jump start to the series if you didn’t start with #3. In any case, you’ll find this an intriguing and compelling read. Enjoy! Digital Reads Blog Tour of The Defense of Exeter Station

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Digital Reads Blog Tours. These are my honest thoughts.

©CE Williams – 2020 V Williams V Williams

The Night Drop by Ian D Wright – A #BookReview – #historicalthrillers #TuesdayBookBlog

“The remote marshland villagers did not want them, but if their mission failed, the Allies could lose the war!”

A book review by the CE.

Book Blurb:

A WW2 Historical thriller – Resistance in the Marshlands

The Night Drop by Ian D WrightThe summer of 1943 and Jack Ross, a talented young recruit to the British special forces, was flown into a marshland village near St-Omer, France, along with Roland Keene, an Irish-American volunteer to the British forces. Their mission was to find out how successful the Allied bombing raids had been on the massive V2 flying bomb installations, which had been built under a giant concrete dome near St-Omer. The Nazi V2 project could have had a devastating effect on England and changed the future of the war.

Jack and Roland joined with the local Resistance cell and quickly established a good working relationship. But incidents occur that point to a mole in the ranks. Two feuding brothers, one in the Resistance, the other with the Partisans, make identifying the traitor almost impossible.

Jack’s primary source of information was Sofia, a young girl who was one of the most active members of the group. She was brave, smart and tireless, and Jack found himself falling in love.

Twenty years later, in 1965, and one of the suspects decides to go back to the village to clear his name. His arrival immediately triggers a murder. Two investigative journalists agreed to help Jack tackle the job of finding the real mole but find themselves in a battle with a group of fanatical Nazi sympathisers.

His Review:

Investigating war crimes can be dangerous business. Jack Ross goes back to the place where he was dropped during the height of WW II. The year is 1965 and he is assisting Steve, an investigative journalist and his wife Emily to write an account of the area during Nazi occupation in 1943. Working on the story becomes fraught with danger as the story develops.

The Night Drop by Ian D WrightRetrospectively I have often wondered what the world would have been like if the Nazis had prevailed. This book paints a picture of grudges that develop even within families during a war. Do you side with the occupiers who have your country under marshal law or fight in a resistance that tries to overthrow your occupiers? During such conflicts there will always be winners and losers.

During times of war, food is always hard to get. Helping the enemy may provide some food or other assistance that otherwise would be unavailable. Occupied France was no exception. Jack Ross is parachuted behind enemy lines to find the location of V-2 rocket launch sites and get that information back to the British. His mother was French and his father English and his spoken French sounds like a native.

Sofia is a young teenage girl who can get around the occupied area on a bicycle. She is almost invisible and therefore able to gather information. Jack joins the resistance and she becomes very helpful in obtaining updates on the location of the launch facilities and also a production factory. Every day is fraught with danger as the British start bombing the facility and begin to suspect a mole is giving secret information to the enemy.

The Audomorais Marshes in France are poorly defended and the Nazi troops are spread thin. However, who is actually loyal to whom? As the invasion nears and the attacks on the rocket facility increase, the Nazis look for the leak. Brothers with a long running feud are highlighted. One of the brothers is grabbed and executed by the Nazis. His contact was Jacks’ wife Sophie. Suddenly she becomes a target for the German occupiers.

Who is the mole who identified Sophie and thereby Jack? The invasion is about two months away and suddenly they must go underground. Later in 1965 they are trying to solve the riddle of who the mole might have been. Anyone harboring allied pilots or servicemen are summarily shot upon identification and capture.

CE WilliamsThe list of suspects included the local butcher, the parish priest and the feuding brother. Unraveling the answer is an integral part of this well-developed novel. One of the suspects is found hanging in a tree and danger is rampant, even in 1965! I found the book keeping me up nights with my search for the answer. History buffs and WW II aficionados will find this read compelling. My only quibble was that the thread between the war and 1965 was at times scattered and elusive. 4/5 stars CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Thrillers, Historical British Fiction, Military Thrillers
ASIN: B086JZDY8K
Print Length: 251 pages
Publication Date: March 29, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: The Night Drop [Amazon]

Ian D Wright - author
Ian D Wright

The Author: My passion for writing goes back to a Christmas present I received when I was seven years old. It was a John Bull printing outfit that inspired me to produce a newspaper for my family to read. By the time I finished the first edition, several weeks had passed, and the stories were long-forgotten events.

I was encouraged at school by my English teacher, and he suggested that I should write a newsletter about school activities. It was handwritten and pinned to the notice board. The encouraging words he wrote on my school report then enabled me to get of job in the publicity department of a large engineering company. This introduced me to the luxury of the typewriter, which I still think is an amazing invention.

As the years went by, I happily wrote anything that I was given; brochure copy, advertisements, press releases, speeches for other people, scripts for industrial films, videos, and copy for websites. In 1988 I started my own media company, which I ran until retiring a few years ago.

My only venture into fiction was in my early twenties writing teen romance stories for Jackie magazine. It was just a part-time addition to my real work, but it taught me how to build characters in as few words as possible and how enjoyable writing fiction can be. I always promised myself that when I had the time, I would return to fiction again. Just over two years ago, I started on my first novel, Murders of Consequence, which was followed by Murders of Necessity and Murders of Misfortune. They are all available in eBook and paperback on Amazon.

All three books are set in the nineteen-sixties when the UK was going through a significant transformation of social outlook. Young people were making their views known in fashion, music, attitudes, and public protests about the many different causes that concerned them. The reasons were not frivolous; all they were asking was for nuclear disarmament and world peace.

I live in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, with my wife Sheilah, who is editor, proof-reader, and critic of my work. We are both avid readers, enjoying mainly thrillers.
I also love music, particularly jazz. When I was young, I played tenor sax in a rock/blues band, and more recently, Sheilah and I formed a Jazz duo to raise money for charity. We both enjoy traveling, watching cricket, and football.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Save Her Soul (Detective Josie Quinn Book 9) by Lisa Regan – a #BookReview – Police Procedural

“An absolutely unputdownable crime thriller and mystery novel.”

Book Blurb:

Save Her Soul by Lisa ReganJosie flinches as she takes in the faded blue sports jacket wrapped around the girl they just pulled from the water. Josie knew someone who’d once owned that jacket. He had died in her arms five years ago.

Heavy rain pours on the small town of Denton causing the riverbanks to break and the body of a young girl to float quietly to the surface. With no crime scene to examine, the odds are against Detective Josie Quinn and her team. Mercifully, the victim’s body is perfectly preserved, right down to the baseball patch on the jacket she was wearing. Josie can’t hide her devastation—her dead ex-husband, Ray, owned one just like it.

Following the trail back to her high school, Josie identifies the girl as Beverly Urban, a troubled student rumored to have been dating Ray before she left town for good. It looks like a tragic accident until the autopsy reveals a bullet in her head and the heart-breaking secret she was keeping.

Josie visits the salon where Beverly’s mother used to work, believing she was at the heart of a terrible scandal around the time her daughter’s life was taken. With the Denton wives remaining tight-lipped, Josie’s only hope is a secret meet-up with a terrified woman willing to talk. But she is murdered moments before giving Josie crucial information. It’s clear that someone is prepared to keep on killing to stop the truth from getting out.

Digging deep into memories of her own past with Ray is the only advantage Josie has on this twisted killer… but at what cost?

Another jaw-dropping crime thriller from an Amazon, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author that will have you absolutely gripped from page one. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Robert Dugoni and Rachel Caine.

My Review:

The ninth book in the series, Save Her Soul ramps up the drama with Detective Josie Quinn and her partner, Detective Gretchen Palmer. The little town of Denton PA is flooding. Rain has been relentless and out on a raft performing rescue efforts finds an old woman whose home is being wept away in the flooding waters. A body, wrapped in a tarp, pops up shortly behind her.

Save Her Soul by Lisa ReganThe body turns out to be an old classmate of Josie’s. But worse, the body is wearing Josie’s high school boyfriend/ex-husband’s (now deceased) letterman jacket. A cold case no one knew was a case thinking the girl and her mother had moved—vanished. Beverly was a bully living with a disabled mother with whom she’d been known to have major disagreements.

If the weather isn’t bad enough, Josie takes on the cold case, anxious to know the relationship between the girl, Beverly, and her ex, Ray. Score one for Josie, I appreciated the way she went about the investigation, with help from the team, but occasional flashbacks to her high school years without preamble would have me going back a page or two to get some continuity.

As the storyline increased in complexity, so too did details about Josie’s childhood increase—elevating her from damaged protagonist to almost basket-case levels dealing with one revelation after another that threw more than one-two punches. What a tangled web this one becomes!

The readers get to know more about her partner, her grandmother, her new boyfriend (live-in), Noah. I’m warming up to Noah; love Misty and her son. Enjoyed the writer’s style more so than the first book I read in the series, The Bones She Buried (that review here). The plot is fast-paced with twists and red herrings, weeding out minutiae, but always making progress to the climax. But the climax doesn’t conclude the story. There is still more complications behind that one with one final and soul-crushing surprise. I loved the built-in shock-block giving rise to blood pressure, anticipation, and adrenaline:

“…like the blinking of an eye. Blink. Marisol’s finger depressed the trigger. Blink. The concussive boom of a gunshot shook the air around them. Blink. Gretchen lunged toward Connie. Blink. Josie fired at Marisol. Blink. Another crack blistered through the air. Blink…”

While I seriously enjoyed the mystery and the characterizations of the rich ladies’ clique and their thoroughly catty and believable dialogue, I’m also seriously tired of the damaged protagonist trope and (if/then) continue to worry about the state of mind of our detectives. Also, the clichés have me rolling my eyes. Pul-leeze don’t hit me with another “let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding.”

While I may get tired of the oft and over-used clichés and tropes, I’ll come back every time to good writing style and intriguing characters. Not wholly investing in Josie won’t keep me from being engaged in the next one. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review an advance copy of this one.

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Book Details:

Genre: Organized Crime Thrillers, Serial Killer Thrillers, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B0891453FH
Print Length: 379 pages
Publication Date: To be released August 12, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

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

Lisa Regan - authorThe Author: Join Lisa’s mailing list to get news about new releases –> https://tinyurl.com/skzufbs
Facebook –> https://www.facebook.com/LisaReganCrimeAuthor/
Website –> https://lisaregan.com/
Instagram –> https://www.instagram.com/lisareganauthor/
Twitter –> https://twitter.com/Lisalregan

Lisa Regan is the USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Detective Josie Quinn series as well as several other crime fiction titles. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Education degree from Bloomsburg University. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, daughter, and Boston Terrier named Mr. Phillip.

Find out more at her website: http://www.lisaregan.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Paw and Order (A Dog Club Mystery Book 4) by V M Burns – a #BookReview #cozymystery

Book Blurb:

Dog-loving divorcée and amateur sleuth Lilly Echosby is not the only one who wants her new foster poodle. Some are willing to kill to have him . . .
Paws and Order by V M Burns
Lilly’s best pal Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson has done it again! She’s convinced eccentric poodle-loving billionaire Archibald Lowry to sponsor a grand fundraiser for the Eastern Tennessee Poodle Rescue. Tragically, it’s too late to rescue Lowry, who is murdered at the event. His pet poodle is now orphaned, so Dixie begs Lilly to foster the adorable pup. Of course, she already has a poodle—her beloved Aggie, named after Agatha Christie. Fortunately, Aggie seems to like the new addition to the family, whom Lilly renames Rex, after her second favorite mystery author, Rex Stout.

But she’s barely welcomed Rex into her home when there’s an attempted poodle-nabbing, foiled with Aggie’s help. As desperate characters try to get their hands on the canine cutie, Lilly turns to Dixie’s dog training class to help her sort through a litter of suspects. Ultimately, she may have to unleash Rex as bait to collar the killer . . .

My Review:

Paws and Order by V M BurnsLillie Ann Echosby moved from Indiana to a new life in Chattanooga,TN. She became involved in a local poodle rescue having one of her own she calls Aggie (after Agatha Christie). She’s a little thing but feisty and full of heart and personality. Lillie is thrilled to be hosting an event for the local poodle rescue at the museum where she’s employed when a tiny poodle shuts down the event after he leads the curious back to his murdered owner, who it turns out is the billionaire sponsor for the event. Lillie is asked to foster the little thing until they can square away the details of the deceased. Of course, Lillie falls in love with him and promptly renames him Rex (after Rex Stout).

The two canines get along just fine but there are ensuing attempts to dognap Rex. In the meantime, Lillie’s daughter Stephanie comes for an impromptu visit. Lillie has a cadre of great friends and support that lend a sleuthing effort to solve the canine caper, and the reader is introduced to both Stephanie and Lillie’s romantic interest, Joe and Red, both in law enforcement.

Lillie is a great character surrounded by additional strong support characters, including Dixie, dog show judge and trainer and owner of a dog castle RV, and there are interesting tidbits of dog speak, which I always enjoy.

My first experience with this series, albeit not the author, and the storyline moves at a cozy pace while including the mystery with the appealing friend associates. There are details that bother me, including whipping around  in an RV for errands (at 6-7 mpg) and the conclusion that I found a bit contrived wrapping up a few loose threads but not all.

Receiving this digital ARC download from the publisher and NetGalley did not affect my opinion of the book or the content and this is my honest opinion. Recommended for all who enjoy cozy mysteries, especially including dogs.

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Culinary, Cozy Craft and Hobby Mysteries
Publisher: Lyrical Press
ASIN: B07ZPK3DCJ
Print Length: 225 pages
Publication Date: To be released August 11, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo 

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars

The Author: V.M. Burns was born and raise in the Midwestern United States. She received a Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, a Master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Seton Hill University. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Dog Writers Association of America, Thriller Writers International and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. She is the secretary of her local chapter of Sisters in Crime (The East Tennessee Smoking Guns) and the Education Grants Coordinator for the national Sisters in Crime. She currently resides in the warmer area of the U.S. with her two poodles. Readers can visit her website at http://www.vmburns.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Flash Point: The Final Conspiracy by Thomas A Whitmire and Jacob D Miller – A #BookReview – Political Fiction

“Everybody knows there is a conspiracy.” It is the story for our times.

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb: 

“Everybody knows there is a conspiracy.”

Flash Point: The Final Conspiracy by Thomas A Whitmire and Jacob O MillerFlash Point is a timely conspiracy suspense/thriller that takes a deep dive into the zeitgeist, examining conspiracy-culture, media manipulation, encroaching authoritarianism, and historic cycles—all in service to a fun and compelling storyline. Here’s the setup:

“Conspiracy enthusiast and vigilante media activist Eric Anderson lands an inside job with a shady southern Senator. When national tragedy catapults him into the spotlight, Eric’s very beliefs, motivations, and ambitions are called into question as he navigates competing power players, manipulative propaganda, and sinister tendrils of the deep state. Along the way he encounters a mysterious homeless man whose prophetic insights help Eric confront the forces seeking to silence them both forever.”

FLASH POINT: THE FINAL CONSPIRACY holds a mirror to the national psyche and issues a provocative challenge: Who really runs the show? What choices remain in these unprecedented times? How can we know what needs to be done?

It is the story for our times.

His Review:

Can the masses be manipulated so cunningly? Senator Shelby Lamb, the long-time Georgia U.S. Senator, seemed to think so. Winning at politics means being in the public eye at all times. Winning also means keeping federal funds coming into your state. Senator Lamb was a master of both.

Flash Point: The Final Conspiracy by Thomas A Whitmire and Jacob O MillerThis novel is almost a playbook for the events occurring with the Covid-19 Pandemic controls being put into place. Stop large gatherings of people and restrict transportation and movement. Recognizing this in the current political arena sent chills down my spine. Add to that the large-scale rioting by a small portion of the population and you have a receipt for disaster. Another method is a massacre in a mall killing many people and wounding even more.

The two main protagonists in this book, Eric Anderson and Phil Kappa, are using social media to expose this manipulation by the senator. The philosophy of “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” is one of the senator’s primary tactics. He hires Eric to prepare election videos for his upcoming campaign. Eric sees this as his opportunity to expose the senator while expanding his web site’s popularity.

Freedom of religion is a basic tenet and foundation of our constitution. By shutting down church groups to no more than 50 people, using social distancing and other germ control measures, you reduce the number of people who will discuss and figure out your measures.

Free speech is tangentially restricted by reducing the right of free assembly. This is used to fine tune the flow of rhetoric in the direction you want it to flow. It is used effectively in the story. Social media is controlled by restricting the information that can be put on the internet and restricting or taking down this information as soon as it is posted. Another common method is simply pulling the plug on the device posting information you do not want disseminated.

This novel made me think of the tactics currently being used by both political parties to sway voters and drive the outcome in the coming election. Eric is hired by the senator who then keeps him very close. Realizing the situation, Eric enlists the help of two friends to get the word out of the senator’s objectives and tactics.

The 2020 election is a prime example of the methodology utilized to affect the outcome of the next Presidential Election. Curtailing religious freedom, vilifying the statements of protestors, and even the President and restricting freedom of movement are currently being employed. Many very newsworthy events are not being reported upon because these events do not fan discontent.

CE WilliamsI applaud the authors for their analysis of the way society is manipulated. This book could work as their primer to educate those they wish to employ to further their goals. I suggest that everybody become aware of these methodologies and recognize them for what they are. The end result is a book well thought out and written.

We received this digital download directly from the authors and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review this hard-hitting debut novel. Perfect timing and totally recommended. Bravo! CE Williams 

Book Details:

Genre: Metaphysical Fiction, Metaphysical and Visionary Fiction, Political Fiction Thriller
ASIN: B08BTFSKV9
Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: June 20, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Flash Point: The Final Conspiracy [Amazon]

Find the book at these additional locations:

Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Thomas A Whitmire - authorThe Authors: THOMAS A. WHITMIRE is a media producer, teacher, and mystic. Current alchemical endeavors involve exploring the interrelationship of spiritual development, economics, institutional culture, and multifocal healing. He often lives in North Carolina.

Growing up on a Christmas tree farm in South Carolina, I never felt that my life was typical. After my parents sold the farm, I entered a footloose phase, roaming to Italy, South Korea, and Philadelphia, before ending up back in North Carolina. In the intervening years, interests have been myriad, but the wellspring areas are mysticism and metaphysics, media production (video, audio, writing), poetry, economics, history, travel, healing, and education.

Creative expressions cycle between music and writing, although at this point I have developed writing to a larger degree. Looking back, I see that writing runs in my family, and I fondly recall sprawling stories dating back to my third-grade teacher, who inspired me. My first novel, Flash Point: The Final Conspiracy, is really just a fusion of my interest areas, tapped into the same vein of storytelling that got me going all those years ago. Future writing most likely will trend toward non-fiction, including relationship books, mysticism, healing, mindfulness, and travel.

My overarching goal is to provoke and stimulate our spiritual awakening and personal/social healing. I hope my writings can contribute in some small way. Regardless, it’s all holographic. In the meantime, enjoy the read!

Jacob D Miller - authorJACOB D. MILLER is an intuitive data scientist and stalwart badass, devourer of knowledge, seeker after wisdom, husband, father, mentor, and lover of humanity for and despite all its glories and its flaws. He pursues his myriad interests from his family homestead in South Carolina. –This text refers to the paperback edition.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

One Night in Drake Mansion (Skeptic Detective Book 1) by Channing Whitaker – a #BookReview – Ghost Thriller

“Apophenia is a psychological phenomenon in which human beings tend to interpret random stimuli as being significant.”

Book Blurb:

A haunted mansion turned reality TV set. Now, which of the contestants will scream the truth first?

One Night in Drake Mansion by Channing WhitakerAmateur sleuth Harlan Holt only believes in cold hard facts. So when he’s cast for a supernatural reality show, he’s determined to disprove an 80-year-old spooky mystery and demystify the other contestant’s ghostly superstitions. And soon Holt is pitched into the rundown residence where a mysterious immortal magician is rumored to roam…

Along with a psychic, a ghost hunter, and a Hollywood scream queen, he sets off in search of clues in the race to unravel the decades-old murder. But when objects start flying across the room and he nearly gets killed, even Holt struggles for a scientific explanation of the strange phenomena.

Can Holt solve the case before the house claims another victim?

One Night in Drake Mansion is the first book in the intriguing Skeptic Detective mystery series. If you like good old-fashioned whodunits, clever heroes, and unpredictable twists and turns, then you’ll love Channing Whitaker’s original tale. 

My Review:

Well, we’ve all done the ghost mysteries in the old, abandoned, and haunted mansion. But not like this. This one comes complete with lights, camera, action!

This is one of those that don’t necessarily hook you from page one–must have patience. The “skeptic detective” is protagonist Ph.D. candidate Harlan Holt. He is all about science and for him, everything has a reasonable scientific explanation. He is closely acquainted with Genevieve (Vieve), an aspiring medical student.

One Night in Drake Mansion by Channing WhitakerThe premise, however, is not just about spending the night in a haunted house. It’s a reality TV show with crews, trucks, equipment, lights, and sound following every nuance of the contestants all hoping to win at least a portion of the promised million dollars. There is also an actress, a paranormal investigator, and a medium.

The Vinton Drake family of five and their guest Malvern Kamrar, a renowned magician all disappear one evening without a trace. There have been unexplained activities at the site for more than eighty years including sounds and sightings of apparitions in the upper windows of the mansion. In addition to surviving the night, they are hoping to uncover the real story of the disappearance and in this quest has Drake’s journal which may help provide some answers.

It doesn’t take long for Harlan to begin his investigation, poking into all the rooms. It rings so true of those old movies where the assembled gather in candlelight to provide their own field of expertise and exchange intel. The support characters are more two-dimensional but provide an acerbic wit and depth to the gathering offering theories based on their experiences.

ghost image by ClipArtNot just ghost hunting (WHO yah gonna call…), but POV switches to the crew manager and discussions of technology while filming, zooming in on-camera one or whichever is closest to the action. Remember, first it’s a reality TV show–ratings are where it’s at. Second–if they can figure out whether there are reasonable explanations for the manifestations that’s fine, but really, wouldn’t they rather have something sensational? RATINGS, people! And oh yes, things go way beyond your simple ghost hunting, haunted mansion storyline. Complex, tension-filled, things start happening. Is there a scientific explanation or is it really haunted?

The author is quite the storyteller and the well-plotted narrative complicated, multi-layered. You’ll never guess in a million years the conclusion. Wow, I just had to shake my head. I did NOT see that happening or even begin to fathom the double-whammy coming at me. I think the author had a chuckle or two knowing what he got over the reader. ACK! But I did have a quibble or two–the protagonist, while better developed–could not engage with either him or Vieve and must admit to having my attention flag a few times. Then–it heated up…

So completely unique and the first in the series that I can imagine is quite compelling. If you enjoy ghost stories, paranormal mysteries, you’ll likely enjoy this one. We received from Amazon with no expectation of a review and this is my honest opinion. Recommended.

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Book Details:

Genre: Ghost Mysteries, Paranormal Suspense, Ghost Thriller
Publisher: Off Speed Press
ASIN: B07DP7HDZ1
Print Length: 294 pages
Publication Date: June 11, 2018
Source: Free from Amazon
Title Link: One Night in Drake Mansion

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Channing Whitaker - authorThe Author: Channing Whitaker is a novelist, screenwriter, and filmmaker originally hailing from Centerville, Iowa. An alum of Indian Hills Community College, Channing went on to study cinema, screenwriting, literature, and mathematics at the University of Iowa. His college years were also spent tending bar and in bar security, which he considers a valuable study of humanity, and an indispensable supplement to his formal education.

Post graduation, Channing began his career in the production of television news, independent films, and commercial videos, as well as writing for websites, corporate media, and advertising. His career has taken Channing from Iowa to Texas, Alaska, Oklahoma, and to California where he currently resides.

Channing is a fan of many media forms and genres. He considers himself a storyteller foremost and works in multiple media and genres himself. Channing’s artistic influences include Trevanian, Gene Roddenberry, Kurt Vonnegut, Jim Jarmusch, and Robert Altman, though he credits his late father, a psychology professor, with profoundly impacting his approach to the deep, conflicted, and multifaceted characters which drive his stories.

In his home life, Channing is a father of two, a sports lover, and a real-life space exploration enthusiast.

Channing is among a small subset of writers who are also dyslexic. He considers learning to overcome the challenges of this diagnosis to have aided him in persevering amid the rejection-filled, uncertain, and competitive fields of writing and screenwriting.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Night Shift (A Helping Hands Mystery Book 2) by Annelise Ryan – a #BookReview

“The awesome and mighty power of dog love at work.”

Book Blurb:

Night Shift by Annelise RyanWhen social worker Hildy Schneider commits to an after-hours side job, she finds herself drawn into the darker side of small-town Sorenson, Wisconsin—and the twisted mind of an unnamed killer . . .   Strange things have been happening since Hildy started moonlighting with local police, but a desperate late-night call involving a former patient from Sorenson General Hospital tops the list. Although Danny Hildebrand has been tormented by hallucinations for years, he swears he’s being haunted for real by the victim of a grisly murder . . .   The rambling ghost story seems like another delusion. But after a body turns up in a neglected farmhouse crawling with secrets, Hildy and the magnetic Detective Bob Richmond rush to explain Danny’s knowledge of the incident. As the crime-solving partners unwittingly grow closer while examining a series of eerie leads, they realize that surviving past sunrise means shedding light on a criminal willing to do whatever it takes to stay in the shadows . . . 

My Review:

I do appreciate humor included in a novel, especially a cozy, where no one should take too seriously the serious stuff. It’s not meant to be dark and this narrative stays rather on the light side due in part to MC Hildy Schneider. She’s a social worker newly committing to a second job (maybe I missed why, but the usual is m o n e y) with the Sorenson Police Department. At any rate, there were several details missed in her job description when she signed on, one of which is that as a trial program with the police called Helping Hands, she’ll ride along with the night shift cop.

This could be a good thing using golden retriever Roscoe, a trained therapy dog, and her general experience with the hospital where she’s based as the social worker.

Night Shift by Annelise RyanHer first night sees a homicide victim that manages to tie into one of her patients with schizophrenia who is obviously off his meds. Something is really wrong here–she knows he wouldn’t have done the deed–meds or no.

The author has peppered in a variety of damaged and unusual support characters along with the usual–one of my favs is PJ, the (autistic) teen who walks Roscoe. I’m still trying to make heads or tails of Detective Bob Richmond, but that’s a thread that will be further explored in the next series entry. The sense of humor manifests with some weirdly funny analogies producing a soft chuckle or two.

“…his room has all the ambience of a medieval dungeon and one neon yellow pillow isn’t going to fix that. That pillow is like a random piece of corn in the middle of a giant turd.”

WHOA!

“He might be a cam bolt shy of being fully assembled.”

The mystery is not that difficult and the perp is rather obvious early on with the motive by mid-book. Some twists meant to throw the reader off-track, don’t. The storyline is easy to follow and the characters add depth and a little fun to the narrative.

However, another damaged protagonist, while quite engaging is getting tiresome. There are repeats of conversations (wait…didn’t I just read that?) and commonly repeated descriptions.

The very real problem of a possible conflict of interest pops up that might lead to an in-depth discussion of which job comes first, takes precedent, and where should her allegiance lie? A situation that will surely force a resolution.

I’ve read this author before in one of her other series (Dead Ringer review here), thought I’d try this one. I tripped over a few quibbles, but basically enjoyed a well-plotted and easy-paced cozy read with characters I grew to invest in. Recommended.

Receiving this digital download free from the publisher and NetGalley did not affect my opinion of the book or the content and this is my honest opinion.

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Medical Thrillers
Publisher: Kensington Books
ASIN: B07ZPLB14V
Print Length: 266 pages
Publication Date: July 28, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Annelise Ryan - authorThe Author: Annelise Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Mattie Winston mystery series and a pseudonym for Beth Amos, who also writes the Mack’s Bar Mystery series under the pseudonym Allyson K. Abbott. Beth is a real life emergency room RN living in Wisconsin. She believes laughter is the best medicine, and with the Mattie Winston series she is hoping to “medicate” the masses.

For more Mattie Winston fun and to keep up with the latest news, visit http://www.mattiewinston.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The Hooligans (P T Deutermann WWII Novels) by P T Deutermann – a #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

Happy Release Day!

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars Five Stars

A Review by the CE.

A gripping and authentic World War II naval adventure by a master storyteller

The Hooligans by P T DeutermannThe Hooligans fictionalizes the little-known but remarkable exploits of “The Hooligan Navy” that fought in the Pacific theatre of World War II. Loosely-organized in fast moving squadrons, PT (patrol torpedo) boats were the pesky nemesis of the formidable Japanese navy, dubbed “the mosquito fleet” and “devil boats” for their daring raids against warships, tankers, and transport ships.

After the Pearl Harbor raid plunges America into war, young surgical resident Lincoln Anderson enlists in the Navy medical corps. His first deployment comes in August 1942 at Guadalcanal, when after a brutal sea battle and the landing of Marines on the island, Anderson finds himself triaging hundreds of casualties under relentless Japanese air and land attacks.

But with the navy short of doctors, soon Anderson is transferred to serve aboard a PT boat. From Guadalcanal to the Solomon Islands to the climactic, tide-turning battle of Leyte Gulf, Anderson and the crew members of his boat confront submarines and surface ships, are attacked from air by the dreaded Kawanishi flying boats, and hunted by destroyers. In the end, Anderson must lead a division of boats in a seemingly-impossible mission against a Japanese battleship formation—and learn the true nature of his character.

Informed by P. T. Deutermann’s own experience as a commander of a patrol gunboat in Vietnam, The Hooligans is first-rate military adventure fiction.

His Review:

The Solomon Islands are a very strategic point between Australia and the Japanese islands. Placed there to protect the shipping lanes to Australia was a small fleet of PT boats and contingents of the US Nary and Marine’s as well as US Army. Doctor Eric Andersen is attached to this flotilla for the purpose of giving support to the medical needs of the detachment. He is a fourth-year surgical resident who joins after Pearl Harbor. This puts him in poor stead with his superior officers who feel he should not be doing any type of surgeries. Problem is that during war time avoiding surgery is simply not an option.

The Hooligans by P T DeutermannGuadalcanal is one of the islands in the Solomon Island archipelago and the fighting and casualties were horrendous. Doctor Andersen is thrust into this melee. His ability as a surgeon is quickly learned in these field hospitals. He quickly attains the reputation of being a “Superman” when dealing with catastrophic bodily injuries. He even does some artery relocations! The brass in more traditional hospital situations are aggravated by this skill.

The description and miserable facilities in the field hospitals is colorfully documented. Bomb shelters are constructed by U.S. Navy Seabees in record time. Japanese bombers called “Bettys” continually harass the entire staff of PT sailors. The PT’s attack during the night under cover of darkness and continually harass Japanese troop ship movements and disrupt their supply chains. The boats also supply defense and anti-aircraft batteries to protect our shipping and logistics in the area. The Japanese are tenacious fighters and every inch of real estate taken is with blood and sacrifice.

As each island is finally liberated from the Japanese, the ports and bases inch slowly northward. The skippers of the PT boats soon learn the value of their attached doctor. Throughout this book the flavor of war is everywhere. People 1500 miles away from the actual theater of action think they “know” how the war should be fought. The preponderance of arm chair fleet operators reminds me of my navy days. They were only slightly less aggravating than the enemy. Logistics and supply resources are usually controlled by these bureaucrats who haven’t even seen combat.

As the Japanese are pushed back from this island chain, the casualties mount and experiential learning takes over. HM1 and other enlisted personnel soon become strategic to the survival of the wounded. Dr. Andersen recognizes their abilities and utilizes them to the best of his ability. Comical relief is added with the presence of military scrounges whose mission is to keep the detachment supplied, particularly with medical equipment. Their exploits are enlightening and certainly devious. Requisitions in military theaters can go terribly slow and actually halt operations. The black market and bartering certainly bypass this backlog.

CE WilliamsThe relentless progress to Japan through Okinawa and Taiwan is fairly accurately portrayed. I recommend it as entertaining and enlightening reading for anyone who is a history buff. Understanding how some of the bunkers were built and the speed and efficiency of the navy’s Seabees is worth reading the book for. Enjoy the experience.

We received this uncorrected digital galley from the publisher through NetGalley and the receipt of the copy gratis does not affect my opinion of the book or the content. These are my honest opinions and I’m happy to highly recommend. 5 stars C.E. Williams

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, Historical Thrillers
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
ASIN: B0818Q5Y8G
Print Length: 298 pages
Publication Date: Happy Release Day! July 28, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

P T Deutermann - authorThe Author: Peter Deutermann was born in Boston in 1941. His father was in the Navy, so he subsequently lived all over the United States and also in Argentina. He graduated from the naval academy in 1963 and served in the navy for 26 years, rising to the rank of Captain. While in the navy, he published one textbook on naval operations and several professional articles in navy-oriented journals. He held three commands: a Swiftboat in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, a guided missile destroyer in the Atlantic Fleet, and a destroyer squadron based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. His last tour of duty was as the division director for chemical, biological, and radiological weapons arms control negotiations on the staff of the Joint Chiefs in Washington, DC.

He retired from active duty in 1989 and began his fiction-writing career. He has published twenty novels since 1992, all with St. Martins Press, including the just-released World War II navy novel, entitled The Commodore, and the Washington thriller, The Red Swan. He has completed his 21st novel, entitled The Iceman, a World War II navy submarine story, scheduled for publication in August, 2018. See all the books on his website at http://www.ptdeutermann.com

In addition to a BS in naval engineering, Mr. Deutermann holds an MA in public administration from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He is also a Member of the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. He is married and has two children. Mr. Deutermann and his wife of 50 years live in Rockingham County, in the Piedmont of North Carolina, on their family pony farm.

©2020 CE Willkiams – V Williams V Williams

Hanging Falls: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery by Margaret Mizushima – a #BookReview

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars Five Stars

Book Blurb:

Hanging Falls by Margaret MizushimaMurder stalks the rugged Colorado high country–and sends Mattie Cobb on a quest to uncover the darkest secrets from her past in the sixth gripping installment of Margaret Mizushima’s Timber Creek K-9 mysteries

A deluge has flooded the high ground near Hanging Falls–but heavy rains aren’t the only menace descending on Timber Creek. While on a scouting mission to pinpoint trail damage, officer Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo stumble upon a body floating at the edge of a lake. Robo catches human scent, which leads to an enigmatic forest-dweller who quickly becomes suspect number one.

With help from veterinarian Cole Walker, Mattie identifies the victim, and discovers an odd religious cult whose dress and manners harken back to the 19th century. As the list of suspects grows, an unexpected visit from members of Mattie’s long-lost family sheds new light on her childhood as they help Mattie piece together details of the fateful night when she was abducted at age two.

The tangled threads of the investigation and family dynamics begin to intertwine–but darkness threatens to claim a new victim before Mattie and Robo can track down the killers.

My Review:

Not content to wait closer to release, I had to jump to my new Mizushima book. I am always so delighted by each in the wonderful series that features the awesome GSD Robo, a well-trained service dog. Always a late bloomer, I discovered the series at Book 3, read each since, and really enjoyed them all.

Hanging Falls by Margaret MizushimaThe K-9 series features Robo as a brilliantly, intuitive service animal–the stories do not breach anthropomorphic levels–they stay authentic. Robo is a large powerful animal and is treated with respect while carefully kept to his manners. His handler, Mattie Cobb works with local law enforcement and in this narrative finds a DB (dead body) washed downstream and caught in a tree snag off the trail in the flood of the high country she and wildlife manager, Glenna Dalton, are scouting. The wild mountains of Colorado and Timber Creek are dangerous and unpredictable, but this is obviously a homicide.

Mizushima’s books always run a strong sub-plot and this story dealing with the issue of family pushes her backstory to the foreground. Her own family was torn apart resulting in an abusive childhood and many unanswered questions. She is carefully cultivating a relationship with the local veterinarian, Cole Walker, and his family that appears to be progressing.

Investigating the death of the young man on the mountain, they discover a new “family” that has moved to their area, a cult. There is a subsequent death which Mattie and Robo also discover and all leads continue to swerve back to the cult where there appears to harbor a smoldering discontent. Cole is introduced to the members through a visit to investigate a split hoof on one of their farm animals where he notes a girl about his oldest child’s age with her own beautiful GSD.

While the team continues to investigate the two deaths, obviously related at this point, they begin to ferret out more and more details and discover a new vet in the area tied to a pharmaceutical rep adding an additional layer to the mystery.

In the meantime, Mattie has been contacted by her long-lost sister and nervously awaits a visit by Julia and her grandmother. As she was raised in the foster care system, she is hoping to finally answer questions about her abduction and the disappearance of her mother. Oh, yes, this is a thread that will weigh heavily in the next episode.

Meanwhile, the duo-protagonists, Mattie and Robo, bring the mystery to a successful but nail-biting conclusion. I love that dog. My review of Hunting Hour here, Burning Ridge here, and Tracking Game here. Each can work as a standalone, but you might wish to catch up on this remarkable series and go back to Book 1. Which one did I love best? The one I was then reading.

Receiving this digital download free from the publisher and NetGalley did not affect my opinion of the book and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review. Anyone who enjoys a good mystery with an immersive, atmospheric setting, impressive animals, and their skillful handlers will find this series fully engaging and entertaining.

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth, Traditional Detective Fiction
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
ASIN: B082H2KD9H
Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: To be released September 8, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Pre-Order Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Margaret Mizushima - authorThe Author: Margaret Mizushima is the author of the award-winning and internationally published Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. Active within the writing community, Margaret serves as president for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, was elected the 2019-2020 Writer of the Year by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and is also a member of Northern Colorado Writers and Sisters in Crime. She lives in Colorado on a small ranch with her veterinarian husband where they raised two daughters and a multitude of animals. She can be found on Facebook/AuthorMargaretMizushima, Twitter @margmizu, Instagram at margmizu, and her website at http://www.margaretmizushima.com.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Playing Nice by JP Delaney – a #BookReview – Psychological Thriller

“People said it took a village to raise a child, but I didn’t even have a cul-de-sac.”

Book Blurb:

Playing Nice by JP DelaneyPete Riley answers the door one morning and lets in a parent’s worst nightmare. On his doorstep is Miles Lambert, a stranger who breaks the devastating news that Pete’s son, Theo, isn’t actually his son—he is the Lamberts’, switched at birth by an understaffed hospital while their real son was sent home with Miles and his wife, Lucy. For Pete, his partner Maddie, and the little boy they’ve been raising for the past two years, life will never be the same again.

The two families, reeling from the shock, take comfort in shared good intentions, eagerly entwining their very different lives in the hope of becoming one unconventional modern family. But a plan to sue the hospital triggers an official investigation that unearths some disturbing questions about the night their children were switched. How much can they trust the other parents—or even each other? What secrets are hidden behind the Lamberts’ glossy front door? Stretched to the breaking point, Pete and Maddie discover they will each stop at nothing to keep their family safe.

They are done playing nice.

My Review:

Dang but I do pick a douzy when I try a new (to me) author and this book had me spinning. The premise is that two babies are swapped at birth, both preemies, both showing up at a time when the hospital is short-staffed. It could happen…haven’t we heard of that happening?

Playing Nice by JP DelaneyJournalist Pete Riley and his partner Maddie get that rude awakening one morning when Miles Lambert and his wife Lucy show up at their door to explain the situation and seek an amicable solution. But swap them back? It’s been two years. How could they?

Talk about a shock! It takes a toll, has them both reeling. Theo is not their son?

Pete is Theo’s stay-at-home dad, his major caregiver. Maddie has the better paying position. The Lamberts on the other hand appear very well off. Have provided extremely well for their son David, who has been determined to be “slow.” Maddie and Pete had been cautioned that under the circumstances of their son’s birth, he may have sustained some brain damage. And Theo is not the easiest child–now a terrible two–gave it the name and is having problems adjusting to his nursery care situation exhibiting some aggression towards another child who wants to take his toy.

The Lambert’s boy is painfully slow, quiet, and fortunately, Lucy has help with him in the form of a nanny while Miles goes off to his high paying position. While their initial meetings appear to be successful and the couples have made what seem a mutual agreement, Miles begins to push boundaries and there are times when that harmonious ambiance begins to slip, the environment turns icy, and they are soon embroiled in a lawsuit that goes from contentious to a living hell.

This is one of those books that hooks you at the outset, sets you on a crash course with two POVs (Pete’s and Maddies) and Court Case Numbers and Exhibits. Just when you don’t think it could get any worse, it does. The high-powered legal team hired by Miles, the attorney procured by Pete and Maddie by taking out a second mortgage each interpreting the law until the reader is so bewildered the situation looks impossible.

“…the psychopathic spectrum–that is, they score low on tests for remorse, conscience, and moral judgment, and high for fearlessness, quick thinking, and cold-bloodedness.”

Interesting little tidbits of tidy information laid so quietly and carefully, perhaps you didn’t notice in the avalanche of emotions of the DNA finding–perhaps you skipped right over it, huh! No, not the part about proving the parents…and then there were the arguments of nature vs nurture.

All the characters exhibit some flaws, Peter being almost dangerously easy and naive; Miles just dangerous. Nor is Lucy or Maddie particularly devoid of their little secrets, one of which I’d suspected but clouded for me just a tad following the conclusion. The climax has the reader holding their breath and reading faster, dripping with sweat. There is tension, wildly crazy legal ramifications, twists, turns, and the exhausting parental turmoil caused in dealing with “special” children.

Receiving this digital download free from the publisher and NetGalley did not affect my opinion of the book or the content and I fully appreciated the opportunity to read and review this novel. Totally recommended.

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Genre: Psychological Thriller, Psychological Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books

  • ISBN-10:0593213335
  • ISBN-13:978-0593213339
  • ASIN: B0818Q3JWK

Print Length: 418 pages
Publication Date: To be released July 28, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Pre-Order Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo
 

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

JP Delaney - authorThe Author: JP Delaney is a pseudonym for a British writer of psychological suspense who has previously written best-selling fiction under other names. THE GIRL BEFORE was an instant New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller and was published in over 40 countries. The follow-up, BELIEVE ME, was also an international bestseller. THE PERFECT WIFE will be published summer 2019. For more information, go to http://www.jpdelaney.co.uk or follow @jpdelaneywriter on Facebook.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis – a #BookReview #literaryfiction #TuesdayBookBlog

“Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother.”

A review by the CE.

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars Five Stars

Book Blurb:

In nationally bestselling author Fiona Davis’s latest historical novel, a series of book thefts roils the iconic New York Public Library, leaving two generations of strong-willed women to pick up the pieces.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona DavisIt’s 1913, and on the surface, Laura Lyons couldn’t ask for more out of life—her husband is the superintendent of the New York Public Library, allowing their family to live in an apartment within the grand building, and they are blessed with two children. But headstrong, passionate Laura wants more, and when she takes a leap of faith and applies to the Columbia Journalism School, her world is cracked wide open. As her studies take her all over the city, she is drawn to Greenwich Village’s new bohemia, where she discovers the Heterodoxy Club—a radical, all-female group in which women are encouraged to loudly share their opinions on suffrage, birth control, and women’s rights. Soon, Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother. But when valuable books are stolen back at the library, threatening the home and institution she loves, she’s forced to confront her shifting priorities head on . . . and may just lose everything in the process.

Eighty years later, in 1993, Sadie Donovan struggles with the legacy of her grandmother, the famous essayist Laura Lyons, especially after she’s wrangled her dream job as a curator at the New York Public Library. But the job quickly becomes a nightmare when rare manuscripts, notes, and books for the exhibit Sadie’s running begin disappearing from the library’s famous Berg Collection. Determined to save both the exhibit and her career, the typically risk-adverse Sadie teams up with a private security expert to uncover the culprit. However, things unexpectedly become personal when the investigation leads Sadie to some unwelcome truths about her own family heritage—truths that shed new light on the biggest tragedy in the library’s history.

His Review:

This book is a romp through the changing morays of women in America during the early and last decade of the 20th century. The story takes place in the marble confines of the New York Public Library.  The building superintendent, Jack Lyons, and his wife Laura were resident caretakers of the building and as such at the time made their home in the library.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona DavisThe struggle for the right to vote and the development of women as independent members of society was just beginning. Jack sees himself as a writer who will produce a great American novel and thereby produce a good income for his family. Every spare minute of his day not working for the library was spent in that endeavor. Laura is given the position of curator of the Berg Collection of early books by such luminaries as Poe and Whitman, while being expected to raise the children and do all of the chores of keeping their home. Laura wants to write as well.

New York saw a large increase in the population in the second decade of the century; primarily poor and struggling immigrants. Disease was particularly cruel during that time period and wages extremely low. A year at Columbia School of Journalism including books and tuition was $170. Laura receives a scholarship for one term or $85.00. Now in addition to being a curator and family matriarch, she becomes a student. Meanwhile, her husband used any time available to “write” his novel.

The male students were given assignments to review trials or the mayor’s speeches. The females were sent to cover neighborhood conditions. Hardly the same interest in the topics. Laura meets one of the new social workers, Dr. Amelia Parker, a no-nonsense large woman who takes no guff from anyone. She is teaching immigrant women how to care for their children. She takes Laura under her wing and introduces her to the Heterodoxy Club. The group is scorned by society and the topic cannot be written about but is the topic assigned for her master’s thesis.

Her granddaughter Sadie Donovan is hired at the library to do basically the same tasks as her grandmother so many years before, without her grandmother’s yoke of family and husband. Books disappear during both ladies’ tenures and they are suspected of being the thieves. The author skillfully intermingles the two lives drawing parallels nearly a century apart. Both women are fighting the upward battle of emancipation.

CE WilliamsThe dual plots move along smoothly and my interest was held throughout. I became sympathetic to the plight of both of the women and their crass treatment in general during the time period. Success for any woman seemed to require the overcoming of societal morays and prejudices along with reduced pay and increased responsibility. This is a fulfilling novel, well written and paced with empathetic characters and a joy to read.  5 stars CE Williams

Receiving this digital download free from the publisher and NetGalley did not affect my opinion of the book or the content and this is my honest opinion. Highly Recommended.

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical Literary Fiction, Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Literary Fiction
Publisher: Dutton
ISBN: 1524744611
ASIN: B081M7TFWS
Print Length: 365 pages
Publication Date: To be released August 4, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Pre-Order Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Fiona Davis - authorThe Author: Fiona Davis is the nationally bestselling author of historical novels set in iconic New York City buildings, including THE CHELSEA GIRLS and THE ADDRESS. She began her career in New York City as an actress, working on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater. After getting a master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School, she fell in love with writing, leapfrogging from editor to freelance journalist before finally settling down to write fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages and she’s based in New York City.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Lineage Most Lethal: An Ancestry Detective Mystery Book 2 by S C Perkins – a #BookReview #mystery

Book Blurb:

Lineage Most Lethal by S C PerkinsIn S. C. Perkins’s Lineage Most Lethal, the captivating second mystery in the Ancestry Detective series, Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster grapples with a mystery rooted in World War II and espionage.

It’s the week before New Year’s Eve and genealogist Lucy Lancaster is ready to mix work and play at the beautiful Hotel Sutton, enjoying herself while finalizing the presentation for her latest client, hotel heiress Pippa Sutton.

Freshly arrived at the hotel—and determined not to think about Special Agent Ben Turner, who went radio silent on her after one date—Lucy is stopped in her tracks when a strange man comes staggering toward her. She barely has time to notice his weak, sweaty appearance before he presses a classic Montblanc pen onto her hand, gasps, “Keep them safe,” and collapses at her feet, dead.

When Lucy shows the fountain pen to her grandfather, an avid collector and World War II veteran, she’s in for another shock. Not only does Grandpa recognize the Montblanc, he also reveals a secret: he was an Allied spy during the war and the pen is both a message regarding one of his wartime missions and the key to reading a microdot left by the dead man.

On the microdot is a series of ciphers, some decrypted to form names. Could they be the descendants of Grandpa’s fellow spies? When two from the list end up murdered—including the chef at the Hotel Sutton—and Grandpa’s life is put in jeopardy, Lucy’s sure she’s right. And with Lucy’s and Pippa’s names possibly on the list, too, she’s got to uncover the past to protect those in the present.

With a secret Allied mission, old grievances, and traitors hiding behind every corner, Lucy must use her research skills to trace the list’s World War II ancestors and connect the dots to find a killer in their midst—a killer who’s determined to make sure some lineages end once and for all.

My Review:

How unique is a genealogist in a cozy mystery? And it works! Certainly a unique concept with an apparently strong female protagonist, no skeletons in her family closet!

Lineage Most Lethal by S C PerkinsLucy Lancaster has been hired by Pippa Sutton, a young woman assuming leadership of her flagship cozy hotel business. Lucy will bring together the extended family to present the genealogical history of the Sutton family concluding with a detailed video presentation including interviews with family members and their memories.

Upon her arrival, however, a man hands her an object as he collapses at her feet with a plea to “keep them safe.” When she recovers the object from the hotel’s dog, a pen, she recognizes it as a very special and valuable antique and notifies her grandfather to have a look at it. Almost immediately, he makes a trip to her location to work with her regarding a highly classified and long buried World War II mission.

Well, nothing is simple and this just got very complex, very quickly.

The location in Austin and the restored hotel itself is very picturesque. There are multiple characters, each with their own agenda and sometimes it seems that only Pippa is genuine. Lucy’s grandfather, George Lancaster, with whom she’s always had a special bond, sits her down to tell her about a spy ring he worked with. First, the two must decipher a code called “pigpen cipher” (apparently a well-known code easily searched on the WWW). There is information on search registries, who can request, how long certain searches remain private, as well as hints on search services.

It is a well-plotted narrative with puzzle pieces gradually being drawn into the picture as they find another name, additional murders (off page), with a pleasing pace. Lucy has a pseudo-romance who disappears in a mini-sub-plot and Lucy’s two best friends (and office colleagues) are introduced.

Most of us have that innate curiosity to figure out how we got here. I’ve worked at it, hitting a wall with my own grandfather (yes–that one, Stanley McShane–quite the enigma), so this is all fascinating stuff to me. I found Lucy just a tad annoying, but loved how she so quickly caught on to nuances and I gradually warmed up to her. The conclusion wrapped up all the ends, though seemed just a bit verbose, the antagonist being apparent fairly early. This was easily read as a standalone and was quite engaging and entertaining.

Receiving this digital download free from the publisher and NetGalley did not affect my opinion of the book or the content and this is my honest opinion. As a cozy, I expected a recipe or two for those luscious Tex-Mex dishes described. Alas, not to be. Recommended for any who enjoys a good mystery on the lighter side.

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Amateur Sleuth
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: 1250750075
ASIN: B0818PMLHF
Print Length: 344 pages
Publication Date: To be released July 21, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo
 

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

S C Perkins - authorThe Author: S.C. Perkins is a fifth-generation Texan who grew up hearing fascinating stories of her ancestry and eating lots of great Tex-Mex, both of which inspired the plot of her debut mystery novel. Murder Once Removed was the winner of the 2017 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery competition. She resides in Houston and, when she’s not writing or working at her day job, she’s likely outside in the sun, on the beach, or riding horses.

Find S.C. at http://www.scperkins.com or on social media at @SCPerkinsWriter

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Storm Rising (An F.B.I. K-9 Novel Book 3) by Sara Driscoll – a #BookReview #animalfiction

A shared review with the CE.

Book Blurb:

Storm Rising by Sara DriscollFBI Special Agent Meg Jennings and her search-and-rescue K-9 companion confront the fury of nature—and the more dangerous nature of man . . .

In the wake of a devastating hurricane, Special Agent Meg Jennings and her Labrador, Hawk—invaluable members of the FBI’s Human Scent Evidence Team—have been deployed to Virginia Beach. Amid debris and the buried cries for help, the most alarming discovery is yet to come—a teenage girl hiding in the Great Dismal Swamp.

Her name is Emma—a disheveled runaway lost to the sordid underbelly of a Virginia sex-trafficking ring. Its leader has disappeared in the chaos—along with other victims. Meg joins forces with Special Agent Walter Van Cleave and uncovers a vast network of abuse rooted in some of the most influential powers in Virginia. Now as Meg’s investigation digs deeper, she’s making some very dangerous enemies. And one by one, they’re coming out of the storm to stop her.  

My Thoughts

I really enjoy the relationship that the author of this series has created for her protagonist Meg and her K-9 Search and Rescue black lab, Hawk and while Meg has a human male in her life, she has a story to tell with her searches. In Book 3, Hurricane Cole has barreled down on Virginia Beach and there has been the usual number of persons refusing to leave, thinking they can weather the storm.

The setting is chaotic with the coastal town a shambles, too many buildings at waters edge, and the storm surge stories high. They are sent in to find persons stranded or hidden in debris and as luck would have it, her favorite firefighter/paramedic, Todd, is also being sent in to supplement the personnel already in place but over-extended. They do what they can, but in a matter of a few days the mission goes from search for life to recovery of bodies–difficult for a search and rescue animal.

It is when Meg and Todd are driving toward the largest navy base in the world that Todd spots a van, half-hidden in water, muck, mud, and ravaged bushes and trees.   Apparently, there were survivors from the van–but where are they now? Hawk finds one girl, badly injured and left, however, it is obvious she didn’t get there on her own. Hawk continues the search until he finds a young woman and the team discovers the purpose of the van and the focus of the mission suddenly changes.

As always, there are teachable moments, which for me adds fascinating information regarding the terrain and training of these magnificent canines and their handlers. There are also descriptions of the Great Dismal Swamp, a huge retreat left natural with no lack of some serious wildlife, including alligators.

The dialogue is so natural, you can hear the teenager’s refusal dripping with contempt rather than trust anyone, especially an adult, but specifically men who have thus far only exploited and kept her captive. The human/dog connection, however, is palpable and becomes the necessary tool that Meg can use to reach her.

The K-9 stories always catch my eye. I read and reviewed No Man’s Land late last year (Sara Driscoll) and Exit Strategy (Jen J Danna) last month, the first of a new series. The author has a riveting writing style that hooks from the beginning and builds tension through the satisfying conclusion. The only quibble I had with this novel was that the dog wasn’t used through the climax. These stories, however, are fast-paced, well-plotted and atmospheric. Regardless of which pen name she uses, you can’t go wrong. 4.5 stars/5

I received this digital download through Amazon’s digital book loans with no expectation of a review. These are our honest opinions. Highly recommended!

His Thoughts 

Storm Rising by Sara DriscollWhat secrets does the aftermath of a hurricane hold? Sara Driscoll explores the saga of Meg Jennings and her partner Hawk. Entering the hardest hit areas of devastation they look for possible survivors. Entwined in the search are the reasons why some people do not evacuate as required by law enforcement. Some people stay behind to burglarize homes and businesses left unprotected during the evacuation.

A chance sighting of a stranded vehicle leads to a second expose of crime during the storm. Hawk and Meg assist a fire and rescue team member in exploring the vehicle. Evidence of some who were able to get out of the vehicle leads to a very interesting part of this novel.

Sara’s storytelling is always first-rate and shows the depth of her abilities in her craft. Attention to detail and explanation as to how and why some of the procedures are followed is woven into the narrative. After a few hours, the “rescue” efforts become “retrieval” and identification efforts.

The mental toll that this sort of effort requires is evident on both Meg and her K-9 partner Hawk. The reward of finding someone alive in those situations is energizing for both the handler and the dog. The depth of training and trust between the handler and the animal is mesmerizing! Sara handles it with authenticity and faithfulness.

As the story develops a different area of discovery ensues. From a simple search and rescue operation, we are thrust into a whole other world. I found this both enlightening and disturbing. Following Meg into the entire enterprise left me enlightened and angry. The world exposed was cruel and disgusting.

CE WilliamsIt is not the journey through life that is the sum and substance of our existence but rather the end result. Some people seem to feel that there will be no repercussions of a heinous life and go about their business amassing a fortune on the backs of the innocent. The author shows that those people need to be stopped because the resultant greed can lead to great suffering. 5 stars – CE Williams

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Book Details:

Genre: Conspiracy Thrillers, Animal Fiction, Political Thrillers & Suspense
Publisher: Pinnacle Books
ASIN: B07WXJNH3B
ISBN: 1496704452
Print Length: 306 pages
Publication Date: August 17, 2019
Source: Publisher and Amazon Book Loans

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

Rosepoint Publishing: 4.75 stars of Five Four and three-quarters stars of five

Jen J Danna - authorThe Author: [Sara Driscoll] A scientist specializing in infectious diseases, Jen J. Danna works as part of a dynamic research group at a cutting-edge Canadian university. However, her true passion lies in indulging her love of the mysterious through her writing.

With Ann Vanderlaan, she writes two series. Under Danna and Vanderlaan, they craft suspenseful crime fiction with a realistic scientific edge. Their five Abbott and Lowell Forensic Mysteries include DEAD, WITHOUT A STONE TO TELL IT; NO ONE SEES ME ‘TILL I FALL; A FLAME IN THE WIND OF DEATH; TWO PARTS BLOODY MURDER; and LAMENT THE COMMON BONES.

Under the joint pseudonym of Sara Driscoll, they write the FBI K-9s mysteries series, starring search-and-rescue team Meg Jennings and her black lab, Hawk. The series includes LONE WOLF, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE, and STORM RISING. The fourth book in the series, NO MAN’S LAND, will release in December 2019.

Jen is also the author of the upcoming NYPD Negotiators thriller series, with the first book, EXIT STRATEGY, releasing in August 2020.

Jen lives near Toronto, Ontario with her husband, two daughters, and three rescued cats, and is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada. You can reach her through the contact page on her website or by email at jenjdanna@gmail.com.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Goodnight Moo (A Buttermilk Creek Mystery Book 2) by Mollie Cox Bryan – a #BookReview – #cozymystery

“… when a mysterious tractor accident looks suspiciously like murder, Brynn suspects someone is up to no-gouda.”

Book Blurb:

Goodnight Moo by Mollie Cox BryanWelcome to Shenandoah Springs, Virginia, the bucolic small town where Brynn MacAlister keeps cows, churns cheeses—and is sharper than the ripest cheddar when it comes to solving mysteries . . .   With a foster cow in her corral and a new calf on the way, Brynn MacAlister has a lot on her plate. Especially since her micro-dairy farm is hosting the first annual cheesemakers contest at this year’s summer fair. A relative newcomer, Brynn’s hoping the contest becomes a tradition, bonding her even more strongly to the community. But when a mysterious tractor accident looks suspiciously like murder, Brynn suspects someone is up to no-gouda . . .   Some folks say the lead suspect was just defending his underage daughter from a suitor more mature than a vintage provolone, but Brynn isn’t buying it. Especially when another dead body turns up and Brynn’s top cheesemaker falls under suspicion. It’s enough to make a girl bluer than her best Stilton. But not enough to stop Brynn from getting to the bottom of things. What she discovers is the small town harbors some pretty unsavory characters. And the closer Brynn gets to the killer, the deeper she gets into danger . .

My Review:

Having read Book 1 of the series, I snatched this one up when it became available as an ARC as I really enjoyed the rural farm setting and the animals. In Book 1, protagonist Brynn MacAlister moved to the bucolic Shenandoah Springs property with funds from her grandmother’s passing. Buttermilk Creek Farm includes the main house, guest house, and barns with three resident Red Devon dairy cows, Petunia, Marigold, and Buttercup. Unfortunately, Petunia gave birth to a stillborn calf and went into an extended mourning period. Now one of the other cows is pregnant.

Goodnight Moo by Mollie Cox BryanWes stayed to live with her in the guest house after his grandmother died in a fire in an adjacent property and brought with him youthful skills and enthusiasm as well as being media savvy. There is a resident kitty in the main house and Freckles, the dog, was a rescue from one of the main support characters, the local vet, Schuyler. This time Schuyler arrives with a Highland cow, orphaned when his elderly owner passed away. Brynn promises to “foster” the cow until the vet can find a forever home, but you know what will happen with that one.

They are excited about the county fair in which Brynn has organized a cheese competition until an accident on a local farm turns out to be one of murder. The owner’s tractor went all AI on him and it ran over a summer worker. He is the first person of interest but then Wes takes the honor when it appears his gun is involved in a second murder. Now it gets nasty, with Wes being Pakistani, taking on racist overtones. Ransom ware begins to hit after Brynn has a severe accident of her own and the cheese competition turns real blue.

Brynn’s sister, Becky comes to help her after she’s out of the hospital and there is strong support to help with the cows. But what is going on in the community? Small town, southern attitudes harbor sides she hadn’t previously seen and she’s determined to clear Wes even as his father and brother come to his aid as well. She and Becky have a loving, supportive relationship, and Jewel the Highland cow while terribly shy is slowly becoming acclimated.

Sifting through the twists and red herrings, it’s still hard to grapple with who might be behind all the mayhem. Is it all even connected? While they keep negating the role that Chelsea plays as a sixteen-year-old, she certainly isn’t an innocent. And while she presents one major theme, the racist theme falls heavily throughout the narrative.

“There was nothing worse than the disappointment in people who turned out not to be who you thought they were.”

I really enjoy Brynn, the support characters, and the appealing locale. Brynn is compassionate and fiercely loyal. She has an affinity for the animals that is a delight and her passionate approach to artisan cheeses and the farm to table movement is inspiring. My quibble would be the rehashing and overhashing of the major plot points. There is a darker overtone to this well-plotted novel with topical arguments behind the main plot (mostly resolved in conclusion) that I found a bit disturbing. And, of course, there are a number of recipes which have appeal. A strong mystery, engaging characters, and only periodic sagging in pace, recommended as a fun, cozy mystery. Looking forward to Book 3.

Add to Goodreads Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Kensington Books
ASIN: B082WRM3L6
Print Length: 290 pages
Publication Date: To be released August 25, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Mollie Cox Bryan - authorThe Author: Mollie Cox Bryan writes cozy mysteries with edge and romances with slow, sweet burn. The first book in her new mystery series, “Cora Crafts Mysteries.” is DEATH AMONG THE DOILIES, which was selected as “Fresh Fiction Not to Miss” and is a 2017 Finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award. The second book, NO CHARM INTENDED, was named a Summer 2017 Top 10 Beach Read by Woman’s World. She also wrote the Agatha-award nominated Cumberland Creek Mysteries. Several of the books in that series were short-listed for the Virginia Library People’s Choice Award. She’s also penned a historical fiction: MEMORY OF LIGHT: AN AFTERMATH OF GETTYSBURG and historical romance: TEMPTING WILL MCGLASHEN. She makes her home at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, Va.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

A Mother’s Lie by Jo Crow – a #BookReview by the Vicarious Blogger

” When her child’s life is at stake, a mother will do anything to save him.”

“A shocking psychological thriller with a breathtaking twist that will keep you up at night.”

Book Blurb:

A Mother's Lie by Jo CrowClara McNair is running out of time to save her son, James. When the two-year-old is diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, only an experimental treatment can save his life. She desperately needs money to pay for the surgery, but she’ll have to travel back to the site of her darkest memories to get it.

Clara has escaped the demons of her youth—or so she thinks. It’s been ten years since the mysterious disappearance of her parents. Widely suspected of murdering her mother and father, Clara fled west to start a new life. Now, a documentary film crew is offering cold, hard cash—enough to pay for James’s treatment—in exchange for the sordid secrets of her past.

With no other choice but to delve into a long-ago tragedy, Clara must unravel the lies surrounding that terrible night. Facing hostile gossip, Clara is fighting to clear her name and learn the truth about what really happened. But how far will she go into the dark to save her son—and herself?

NOTE: Books in the ‘Secrets of Suburbia’ Series can be read as standalones, but are linked by common themes of motherhood, suburbia not being as safe as you think, and how the perfect, sanitized version of life that people often show is far from the truth. Gripping stories with shocking twists just a click away.

His Thoughts:

Keep your friends close and your enemy closer. Sometimes the two are difficult to differentiate. Jo Crow has written a story reminiscent of Town Without Pity. The town, Hickory Hills, North Carolina, seems to fit the title of a town without pity. Everywhere the protagonist Clair McNair goes she is met with anger and hatred. I found it difficult to understand why a town would be so aggressive towards a young mother.

A Mother's Lie by Jo CrowClair has a young son with a rare disease that can only be treated with an experimental drug. The cost is very expensive and the only way to get enough money to afford the treatment is by doing a documentary about the death of her parents. Returning to Hickory Hills after ten years, the disgust for her is palatable. She has a high school friend named Amanda who stands by her and helps watch her son while she assists in filming the documentary that will provide funds for the treatment.

The local detective Elkins has concluded that she is the killer of her parents and his job is to prove it. He is vitriolic and has no compassion for a young woman who he “knows” has killed her parents. The killing was done in a particularly brutal manner. Remarkably, some of the bones show up behind a shed on her father’s property after she returns to town. It would seem the detective should have questioned this as the place the bones were found was thoroughly searched ten years ago.

Questioning the investigative procedures of Detective Elkins and his blatant disregard for proper forensics rankled me. I confess I took an immediate dislike for this character and his methodology.  Events continue to happen to Claire through the entire book that surely would have made a good detective question why. However, this author skillfully avoided the issue and let the detective doggedly pursue his pre-ascertained verdict.

Twists and turns build suspense throughout this tale. Jo Crow masterfully exposes a surprising end plot. Who was causing all of the turmoil and danger for Claire? Meanwhile, her son is getting sicker every day and she needs to rely upon her few friends to allow her to make the documentary. CE Williams

A twist at the end is a classic maneuver totally unexpected! Read this well-crafted novel and discover the duplicity at the climax. The book builds tension and will not disappoint! C.E. Williams Free from Bookbub

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 Book Details:

Genre: Vigilante Justice Thrillers, Suspense Action Fiction, Women’s Crime Fiction

  • ISBN-10:1979295425
  • ISBN-13:978-1979295420
  • ASIN: B077VVN43Z

Print Length: 442 pages
Publication Date: December 1, 2017
Source: BookBub
Title Link: A Mother’s Lie [Amazon]

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Jo Crow - authorThe Author: Jo Crow gave ten years of her life to the corporate world of finance, rising to be one of the youngest VPs around. She carved writing time into her commute to the city, but never shared her stories, assuming they were too dark for any publishing house. But when a nosy publishing exec read the initial pages of her latest story over her shoulder, his albeit unsolicited advice made her think twice.

A month later, she took the leap, quit her job, and sat down for weeks with pen to paper. The words for her first manuscript just flew from her. Now she spends her days reading and writing, dreaming up new ideas for domestic noir fans, and drawing from her own experiences in the cut-throat commercial sector.

Not one to look back, Jo is all in, and can’t wait for her next book to begin.

Visit http://www.JoCrow.com to join her mailing list.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday – A Life for a Life: A Mystery Novel (Appalachian Mountain Mysteries Book 1) by Lynda McDaniel – #mystery

#ThrowbackThursday - A Life for a Life by Lynda McDaniel

Back when #ThrowbackThursday was a popular meme, I joined with a number of others to highlight an old favorite that was published over a year ago. Good books never get old! (Some authors don’t either!) Many of my #TBT posts included reviews predating this blog and were only shared on Goodreads.

Many of the posts included my favorite authors, but there were also Indie authors and novels that were direct author requests. This is one such book originally released August 15, 2016.

After I read the prequel to this series recently, I thought I’d share that as well as the review I posted for A Life for a Life posted back on January 20, 2019, also reviewed on Goodreads. Ms. McDaniel consistently runs an average 4.5 stars for her books sold on Amazon.

 

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Review Prequel – Waiting for You

[Author’s Note: I’ve pulled back the curtain on Abit’s and Della’s lives before they meet in Laurel Falls, N.C. Find out how Abit lost all hope of having a meaningful life and why Della had to leave Washington, D.C.]​​

My Thoughts:

Waiting For You (Appalachian Mountain Mysteries Prequel) by Lynda McDaniel It was so much fun to get into the prequel and discover the why and how of Abit. Like so many deemed “slow,” he has an amazing ability to think in the now and discern people in an uncommon way. He may be “a bit” simple, but he’s not stupid and don’t ever think he doesn’t understand. He does. But it may not be the same way you do.

Protagonist Della Kincaid is a former DC reporter who fled from a failed marriage, years of tension, deadlines, and subtly veiled threats regarding her stories. She is longing for a less demanding way of life in 1984 and when she spotted the “for sale” sign on the General Store in Laurel Falls, decided she’d found it.

Young Abit sorta came with the package. His old cane chair was a fixture on the front porch of the country store and he knew all the customers by name. His dad had previously owned the store.

Tiny Laurel Falls quickly becomes a character by itself, tucked into the Appalachians. Della knows very little about running a general store, but she aims to provide a personal touch. And she can write anywhere.

Start with the prequel–it’s free! It’s written in an easy-folksy style, fast read, and leave you wanting to get into Book 1, which I highly recommend!

Murder Ballad Blues - a Mystery Novel - Lynda McDanielMs. McDaniel will release Murder Ballad Blues, Book 4 of the series on September 15. It is available on pre-order now at Amazon.

Lynda McDaniel - authorAbout the Author: I [Lynda McDaniel] love writing page-turners–both fiction and nonfiction. And I love helping others to do the same, living into their dreams of writing books. I believe my success comes down to a respect for my readers and clients. I know I’m easily bored, so I work hard to engage and inspire my readers.

After all, we’re all busy these days, and I want to deliver value–whether that’s a gripping mystery filled with memorable characters or books on writing that give you the tools to write your own fiction and nonfiction. Both make me happy.

I got my start as a writer in the most unlikely place–a town of 200 people in the mountains of North Carolina. But living there changed my life in so many positive ways. Decades later, I realized that everything I value today, I was introduced to there. My Appalachian Mountain Mysteries–“A Life for a Life,” “The Roads to Damascus,” “Welcome the Little Children”–pay homage to the people of Appalachia who taught me so much. And to Mollie the Wonder Dog, who plays a role in both “The Roads to Damascus” (aka Millie) and in “Welcome the Little Children (as Millie and Mollie).

To keep up to date with Abit, Della, and the gang (and receive a free novelette that pulls back the curtain on Abit’s and Della’s lives before they met in Laurel Falls), head over to http://www.LyndaMcDanielBooks.com. No spam, no pestering, just the free novelette, a 12-part serialized preview of my upcoming Book Four (via my blog), and special offers/updates.

Over the years, I’ve written more than 1,200 articles for major magazines, hundreds of newsletters and blogs. I’m proudest of the 18 books I’ve written. My nonfiction books include “Words at Work,” which I wrote straight from my heart, a much-needed response to all the questions and concerns people have about writing today. (It won top honors from the National Best Books Awards.) I’ve also written two Amazon Bestselling Books: “How Not to Sound Stupid When You Write” and “Write Your Book Now!” (with Virginia McCullough).

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, but I’ve lived all over this country–from the Midwest to the Deep South to Appalachia to the Mid-Atlantic to the Pacific Northwest. Whew! I finally settled in Santa Rosa, California, a place that reflects the values I learned while living in the mountains of North Carolina, all those years ago.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Muzzled (An Andy Carpenter Book 21) by David Rosenfelt – a #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Andy rescues dogs–and people.

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars

Book Blurb:

Muzzled by David RosenfeltIn David Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter mystery, Muzzled, Andy and his beloved golden retriever, Tara, are back on the case as a favor to a friend.

Andy Carpenter is a lawyer who would rather not practice law. He’d rather spend his time working with the Tara Foundation, his dog rescue organization, and being with his family and his two dogs, Tara and Sebastian. But when a friend asks him for a favor that involves both dogs and his lawyerly expertise, he can’t say no.

Andy’s friend Beth has found a stray that seems to have belonged to a murder victim–in fact, the man and two of his colleagues died in an explosion a few weeks ago. But when the murdered man contacts Beth, asking for his dog back, Andy knows there must be more to the story. The man claims his life is in danger, and that’s why he disappeared. As much as Andy doesn’t want to get involved–anything to avoid a new case–he can’t help but come to the rescue of a man who’d risk everything, even his life, to reunite with his dog.

My Review:

I just love it when another Andy Carpenter book comes out! I know it’ll be a novel I can get into immediately, keep my attention, and divert my interest blissfully away from the world’s current situation to a well-plotted and critically thinking topical issue. Well, close anyway.

Muzzled by David RosenfeltAs you know if you’ve seen any of my previous reviews of this series, Andy Carpenter is a retired (unless he gets a new client he can’t refuse), defense attorney. In this case, he answered a call from his friend Beth. He has worked with Beth previously, helping to rescue and reunite strays with their owners. In this case, not a stray, but an owner reported killed in a horrific boating explosion who now wants his dog back. Oops.

As you’ll also remember, Andy’s first love is his dog rescue, the Tara Foundation, that he founded with Willie Miller and wife. Pete Stanton, his beer and burgers buddy also happens to be captain of the Homicide Division of the Paterson Police Department and has picked up on the not-so-dead-guy, Alex Vogel. Seems two of his partners were killed in the explosion that he somehow survived. It’s not looking good for Alex.

All the members of the K Team are involved, of course, one being his wife, Laurie (an ex-cop), our favorite Lurch character Marcus, along with Corey and his K-9,  Simon Garfunkel. Other favorites are involved as well as and soon they are embroiled in a complicated narrative of start-ups, super-bugs, pharmaceuticals, IPOs, and mafia types. Is this truly a vaccine that will neutralize a super-bug?

There is generally a good portion of the book devoted to interviews, investigations, and Sam’s deep dives into the ether world where most shouldn’t go. Shhh! The courtroom scenes are as gripping as the investigation leading to a conclusion surprising in the face of most Andy Carpenter books–a little dismaying even. There is some of the usual work and play with the doggies missing from the storyline as well and that definitely threw a curve in what I was expecting. I’ve come to anticipate a particular formula much of which is devoted to snappy dialogue back and forth between Andy and Laurie and those he works with. There is a sarcastic but loving edge to discussions, easy humor-punctuated banter consistent in each book. While it certainly wasn’t missing, this plot skewed just a bit unsettling this reader.

I’ve burned through a mix of uncorrected digital galleys from NetGalley (including this one), ebooks and audiobooks from the library, and have a particular affinity for the audiobooks narrated by Grover Cleveland. He so totally sells Andy Carpenter that even if I’m reading the book, hear his voice. I got in on The K Team (Book 1 of the new series) and two Doug Brock books (narrated by Fred Berman); a great deal more serious than that special Andy Carpenter sense of humor and razor wit. Obviously, I missed many at the beginning of the series, but did catch The Twelve Dogs of Christmas Book 15, Collared Book 16 (no review), Rescued Book 17, Bark of Night Book 19, and Dachshund Through the Snow Book 20. Yes, I missed Book 18 Deck the Hounds (planned on doing that one for Christmas books this year as well as the new one coming out in October, Silent Bite). Looking back, I see I gave a consistent five stars for each of the Carpenter books. (Above links are to my blog reviews.)

So Rosenfelt mixed up his modus operandi just a bit this time. I still found it to be filled with great characters, engaging plot, sarcastic but witty and fun, intelligent and complex with dogs counted among support characters. For me, it’s a win-win. Totally recommended.

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 Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Detective Mysteries, Animal Fiction
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: 1250257115
ASIN: B0818NPRRF
Print Length: 261 pages
Publication Date: To be released >BIG>July 7, 2020 – Happy Release Day!
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

David Rosenfelt - authorThe Author: David Rosenfelt, a native of Paterson, New Jersey, is a graduate of NYU. He was the former marketing president for Tri-Star Pictures before becoming a writer of novels and screenplays. “Open And Shut” was his first novel; “First Degree,” his second novel, was named a best book of 2003 by Publishers Weekly. He currently lives in Southern California with his wife and 35 dogs.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Exit Strategy (NYPD Negotiators Book 1) by Jen J Danna – a #BookReview #crimethrillers

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars Five Stars

 Book Blurb:

Exit Strategy by Jen J DannaIn this taut new suspense series featuring NYPD detective Gemma Capello and her close-knit law enforcement family, a madman brings a halt to the heart of the city that never sleeps . . .

After her mother’s death during a bank robbery when she was a child, Gemma Capello grew up to become one of the NYPD’s elite hostage negotiators. In a family of cops, there’s rarely a day when a Capello isn’t facing down some form of threat. Still, despite their unpredictable schedules, they always find time for their annual family summer picnic. But this year, a sudden phone call changes everything.

A heavily armed gunman has taken hostages at City Hall. Gemma races downtown to join the rest of the Hostage Negotiation Team as they scramble to identify the captives—fearing the mayor may be among them. But as they search for answers and struggle to gain control of the circumstances, it becomes clear that the mayor is at the center of it all, just not in the way they initially believed.

With several lives on the line and a criminal who always seems to be one step ahead, Gemma is the only one able to connect with the suspect. Soon, she finds herself engaging in a battle of wits while enduring a battle of egos in the command center. With time running out and a mastermind who has proven he’ll do whatever it takes to get what he wants, Gemma risks it all—her career and her life—in a last-ditch effort to save the hostages. Now, she needs to figure out how to save herself . . .

My Review:

Exit Strategy by Jen J Danna - a police proceduralGemma Capello grew up in an NYPD cop family. She is predisposed to being a negotiator after her mother dies trying to de-escalate a bad situation. She has worked in various positions with the NYPD but her real talent is negotiating to save lives. But Hostage Negotiating is not an exact science.

There are many situations that require a trained negotiator. Gemma is one of the best. The issue is that the negotiator has to follow guidelines set up by the department and hers is not the final word.  The backup for the negotiators is the A-team. Their mission is to neutralize the situation and to save as many lives as possible with deadly force.

The negotiator is responsible to a “controller” whose purpose is to balance expediency with results. Usually, the negotiator is much more empathetic than the controller. Given the situation, Gemma finds herself in she has to continually beg for more time. People’s lives are at stake.

Ms. Danna has done a tremendous job of fleshing out her novel. I felt drawn to the situation and the location in New York due to her excellent description of the settings. She adds in some history of the area and of the subway system. I was enthralled with her historical accuracy and description of the New York City subway system and both current and abandoned stations.

Growing up in Little Italy, Gemma knows the area and some of the people who live there. Her childhood dovetails well into the overall outcome of the tale. She wants to save hostages and ultimately the perpetrator.  The perpetrator is a sympathetic character in this story and you understand his motivation but cannot embrace the methodology. I found myself hoping that Gemma could de-escalate the situation and that the perpetrator would survive. CE Williams

Feeling empathetic towards both the villain and Gemma was swept along on a terrific well-plotted storyline. Parts of this book will make you want to go to New York and witness some of the areas described. My hat is off to this author and her attention to detail and the weaving of a great read. CE Williams

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 Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thrillers, Police Procedurals, Kidnapping Thrillers
Publisher: Kensington Books
ASIN: B07ZPKNKTP
Print Length: 256 pages
Publication Date: To be released July 28, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Pre-Order Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Jen J Danna - authorThe Author: A scientist specializing in infectious diseases, Jen J. Danna works as part of a dynamic research group at a cutting-edge Canadian university. However, her true passion lies in indulging her love of the mysterious through her writing.

With Ann Vanderlaan, she writes two series. Under Danna and Vanderlaan, they craft suspenseful crime fiction with a realistic scientific edge. Their five Abbott and Lowell Forensic Mysteries include DEAD, WITHOUT A STONE TO TELL IT; NO ONE SEES ME ‘TILL I FALL; A FLAME IN THE WIND OF DEATH; TWO PARTS BLOODY MURDER; and LAMENT THE COMMON BONES.

Under the joint pseudonym of Sara Driscoll, they write the FBI K-9s mysteries series, starring search-and-rescue team Meg Jennings and her black lab, Hawk. The series includes LONE WOLF, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE, and STORM RISING. The fourth book in the series, NO MAN’S LAND, will release in December 2019. [Note: Both the CE and I read this one and also thought a five star. The author has a gripping writing style.]

Jen is also the author of the upcoming NYPD Negotiators thriller series, with the first book, EXIT STRATEGY, releasing in August 2020.

Jen lives near Toronto, Ontario with her husband, two daughters, and three rescued cats, and is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada. You can reach her through the contact page on her website or by email at jenjdanna@gmail.com.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Beneath a Blazing Sky (Bold Women of the 20th Century Book 1) by Amanda Hughes – a #BookReview

“For readers who like history with a bit of a love story.”

Our Shared Review-Five Stars Five Stars

 Book Blurb:

Beneath a Blazing Sky by Amanda HughesThe dawning of the Twentieth Century and it is a world in chaos.
Raised on Coney Island among scoundrels, cheats, and dreamers, Piper Albrecht is apprenticed to violence at an early age. Not until she is rescued by her aunt and moves to the elegant Upper East Side of Manhattan does she experience a different life, the life of a well-educated, forward-thinking young woman. But the roller coaster ride is far from over. After building the most fashionable millinery house in America, Piper spearheads relief efforts in Belgium during The Great War, bringing food to civilians trapped behind enemy lines. Once again, she is immersed in turmoil, misery, and violence. Partnering with her is Bret Collier, a charismatic adventurer, who hides not only his past but his future. She is drawn to his easy charm and cavalier exterior, but this American is not who he appears to be.
Choosing the right path can mean life or death for Piper, and she must move swiftly because the war is intensifying, and her entire world is on fire.
Join Amanda Hughes with another host of unforgettable characters on a wild ride in Beneath the Blazing Sky.

My Thoughts

Piper Albrecht started life as a scrapper and she remained thus. Growing up on Coney Island, she learned to live and thrive among chaos, popcorn and sea odors, thieves and cheats. She learned a lot working the crowds to sell her peanuts with McKinley, the little Capuchin monkey on her shoulder. The youngest of the siblings, she worked the crowd pretty much on her own, her mother having relinquished her time and talents elsewhere. School was not a big priority, but learning how to fight those who would steal her meager income was. She had plans. Right up until the day at age eleven she shot the man who would have killed her mother.

She’d been caught in other scrapes. This time was serious and it took a lot of work to keep her from reform school. Her aunt Tilly (childless) and her husband would take her in. Piper becomes an Eliza Doolittle of Manhatten and Tilly has a lot of work cut out for her. Tilly, however, is heavily embroiled in the Suffrage Movement and sees an opportunity to inspire Piper.

The Suffrage Movement extended over decades and proved a huge battle within the US evoking many bold women to stand up for the right to vote alongside the men. The author recreates those tension-filled early times in the movement when rallies and speeches often turned ugly and violent. (Part of the problem was that it was thought women involved in the movement were also a part of temperance, so it was assumed if they got the right to vote, they’d vote to ban alcohol.)

While Piper finds her natural path into successful adulthood, she also discovers she is not always the pilot of her pathway. When she is thrust into a role, not of her choosing, Piper manages to intelligently handle the circumstances. Innocently stranded in Belgium during the Great War, she is borne into the movement to deliver goods to those scattered following the German invasion and in doing so is partnered with Bret Collier. Bret is an American adventurer who carefully hides his past. The work is dismal, exhausting, and fraught with constant heart-pounding vigilance, but is rewarding.

“In East Africa, there is a saying: ‘When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers’…”

The author is an amazing storyteller with an easy emotive writing style, weaving the years of Piper as she evolves from an Eliza Doolittle character to a fashionable force in society to one of the women working the relief for those in the rear zone (those predominantly women and children) of war.

Bottom Line:

I’ve followed the Bold Women series for some time and am always astonished at the unsung women and stories the author manages to pull together to create her strong female protagonists, performing anonymously unacknowledged but important roles achieved in history. Although a series, each is a standalone story within the time period, pulling from chronicles as it adds a touch of spice, sense of the period environment, and a touch of romance that never overwhelms the main well-plotted tale.

One of my favorite authors, I can download a novel from Amanda Hughes and know I’ll get a gripping, immersive narrative with a strong sense of little known but fascinating history with engaging, well-developed characters. Strongly recommended.

His Thoughts

Beneath a Blazing Sky by Amanda HughesPiper Albrect is a young girl growing up on Coney Island. She has to fight to keep her place in society. Young and small in stature she is fearless in a fight. Her Jewish heritage is often denigrated but does not change her perspective.

Amanda Hughes has captured the essence of what it was like to be a young girl in that environment. Following the evolution of Piper is a joy! She hawks peanuts and has a monkey as her constant companion. Everyone at that time struggled to stay alive and Piper is no exception. Her mother’s questionable character results in a serious confrontation and she is sent to live with well to do relatives. Her entire life is changed.

The lifestyle of her aunt is far different than the one in which she has been living. The housekeepers in Tilly’s home are scornful and dismissive. Piper is pulled from the life she lived into a life of comfort. The handling of the transition from ragtag to entitled is masterfully done by Amanda. I could imagine the struggle and shock endured by this young lady.

World War One was a very stressful time in United States history. We did not want to become involved in that war and remained neutral for much of it. Meanwhile, Herbert Hoover was working tirelessly to help the people of Belgium survive. All of the animals and crops are commandeered by the Germans to fuel their war machine. Piper and her family become involved in helping the citizens of Belgium survive. Thanks to her upbringing she is well trained for her years in WWI.

CE WilliamsRomance is built into this novel and it is fun to realize that rich or poor, we all have our trials. Piper is no exception. The novel takes us through some of these and the reader will identify with many of the trials and setbacks. Being in a foreign country during war time is dangerous and life can be elusive. The narrative makes the reader appreciate the calmer years between conflict.

As you read this novel, you will be embroiled in a world over a century old, but still very pertinent in today’s world. 5 stars CE Williams

Add to GoodreadsBook Details:

Genre: Military Historical Fiction, US Historical Fiction, War Fiction
Publisher: Lillis & Jaymes
ASIN: B08BTR4PYR
Print Length: 334 pages
Publication Date: To be Released July 9, 2020
Source: Direct Author Request
Title Available for Pre-Order: Beneath a Blazing Sky [Amazon]
 

Amanda Hughes authorThe Author: Bestselling and award-winning author, Amanda Hughes is a “Walter Mitty”, spending more time in heroic daydreams than the real world. At last, she found an outlet writing adventures about bold women through the centuries. Well known for her genre-busting books, she is the winner of the Gems National Medal for Writing, featured in USA Today and is nominated for the 2017 Minnesota Book Award. Amanda is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, and when she isn’t off tilting windmills, she lives and writes in Minnesota. Don’t miss these page-turning novels for readers who like historical fiction with a just bit of a love story. All of her books are stand-alone and can be read in any order.

The Bold Women of the 17th Century: The Firefly Witch Book 1

The Bold Women Series of the 18th Century: Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry Book 1 The Pride of the King Book 2 The Sword of the Banshee Book 3

The Bold Women Series of the 19th Century: The Grand Masquerade Book 1 Vagabond Wind Book 2 The House of Five Fortunes Book 3

The Bold Women Series of the 20th Century: The Looking Glass Goddess Book 1

Interested in her new books or a free novelette? Go to http://www.amandahughesauthor.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The Finders: A Mystery (Mace Reid K-9 Mystery Book 1) by Jeffrey B Burton – a #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Check off all your mystery boxes with this doggy treat.

The Finders by Jeffrey B Burton

Book Blurb:

Jeffrey B. Burton’s The Finders marks the beginning of a fast-paced new mystery series featuring a heroic golden retriever cadaver dog named Vira and her handler, Mason Reid.

Mason “Mace” Reid lives on the outskirts of Chicago and specializes in human remains detection. He trains dogs to hunt for the dead. Reid’s coming off a taxing year—mourning the death of a beloved springer spaniel as well as the dissolution of his marriage. He adopts a rescue dog with a mysterious past—a golden retriever named Vira. And when Reid begins training Vira as a cadaver dog, he comes to realize just how special the newest addition to his family truly is…

Suddenly, Reid and his prize pupil find themselves hurled into a taxing murder case, which will push them to their very limits. Paired with determined Chicago Police Officer Kippy Gimm, Mace must put all his trust in Vira’s abilities to thwart a serial killer who has now set his sights on Mace himself.

My Review:

Yes, okay…okay. It had a dog on the cover. And aren’t I lucky that the cover delivered!

My first experience with the author and this his first in a new series, the Mace Reid K-9 Mysteries, I can’t help it. I’m a new solid fan. The protagonist Mason “Mace” Reid is adorable–not as cute as his dogs, mind you, but there is a vulnerability about him that makes him massively approachable. (Unhappily divorced, he’s still going through the awkward stage. “And, just for the record, Heartache never flushes.”) He does love dogs. He trains them–it’s a side job–obedience, search, and HRD (human remains detection). It’s that latter niché that has him on the local police payroll, called from time to time to search for cadavers. Well, that’s gross but necessary, after all, he lives in Lansing but is frequently called to Chicago.

The Finders by Jeffrey B BurtonHe keeps two canine sisters that have that twin thing going for them, Delta Dawn and Maggie May and a boy named Sue (are you getting it yet?). So when Elvira (Vira) is rescued from a near-death experience, the golden retriever quickly assumes family alpha. That might NOT have gone over so well with the GSD Sue, but he’s aloof and still in recovery from having saved Mace’s life.

There is something special about Vira. Officer Kippy Gimm, who found Vira at a crime scene thought so too. Kippy is partnered with Dave “Wabs” Wabiszewski (see why they call him Wabs?) and she soon seeks out Mace to see about possibly joining forces on a missing persons file she and her partner are working. It doesn’t take long, however, before Mace and his sensitive nose-sniffing dog catches the villain’s attention and ooh is he bad.

The author has given as much personality to Mace’s dogs as to Mace and Kippy comes in a very close second. She and Mace seem to click and it doesn’t take long before the cheerleading squad is chanting romance…okay…not romance. Interest? The usual fast-pace slacks just a tad when they get their heads together to bounce off perp and profiling ideas, but otherwise, this storyline just drives the well-plotted novel with humor, human interest, snappy dialogue, and canine info (feeds my endless fascination with their abilities), along with some nasty side-stuff from the bad guy. Who doesn’t enjoy the perfect mix of K-9 antics with engaging MC (human and canine) personalities, mystery, and Chicago area location details you can visualize?

You’ve seen my interest and appreciation in the David Rosenfelt books and this might be most closely compared to his humor with the serious plot points of the Andy Carpenter books. This is a wonderful start to what promises to be a wholly entertaining series. I read a lot of doggy stories. I may be an expert on dog stories. And I happily recommend this novel and new series. Must Love Dogs? Nah, this is fun whether you do or don’t.

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

Add to GoodreadsBook Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth, Cozy Animal Mystery, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ASIN: B0818NVFT7
Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: Released June 30, 2020 – Happy Publication Day!
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Kobo

Jeffrey B Burton - authorThe Author: Jeffrey B. Burton was born in Long Beach, California, grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received his BA in Journalism at the University of Minnesota. THE FINDERS, the first in Burton’s K-9 mystery series, will be coming out in June of 2020 (St. Martin’s Publishing Group). Novels in his Agent Drew Cady mystery series include THE CHESSMAN (MacAdam/Cage, 2012; paperback Harlequin Suspense, 2015), THE LYNCHPIN (MP Publishing, 2015), and THE EULOGIST (The Permanent Press, 2017). His short stories have appeared in dozens of magazines. Jeff is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Horror Writers Association. Jeff lives in St. Paul with his wife, daughter, an irate Pomeranian named Lucy, and a goofball/sweetheart of a Beagle named Milo.

This roller coaster of a thriller has some luscious ingredients: moneyed surroundings, including billion-dollar mansions and the boardroom of a bloodsucking pharmaceutical company; some lengthy and artfully described fights and chases; and a killer-for-hire who, intentionally or not, runs off with the whole show. – Booklist on THE EULOGIST

An action-packed thriller with a high body count . . . The plot grabs readers from the start, twists abound, and good triumphs–mostly. – Library Journal on THE EULOGIST

Burton delivers an outstanding serial killer thriller that will impress even seasoned practitioners of this subgenre.
–Publishers Weekly (A Starred Review) on THE CHESSMAN

Jeffrey Burton’s terrific mystery, ‘The Chessman,’ is made up of a lot of moving parts the author brings together masterfully.
–St. Paul Pioneer Press on THE CHESSMAN

Visit http://www.jeffreybburton.com to see more about Jeff’s novels and short stories.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Newgate’s Knocker: An Aviation Thriller by Greg Peterson – a #BookReview – #crimethriller

Review of an Aviation-Crime Thriller by the CE.

Newgate's Knocker - Entry to Newgate Prison, LondonThe expression ‘As black as Newgate’s knocker‘ is generally believed to refer to the heavy iron knocker on the gate of Newgate Prison, London.

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars Five Stars

Book Blurb:

Newgate's Knocker by Greg W PetersonFBI special agent Bob Capone’s hand-picked team of experts work feverishly through the night to connect a curious electronic box, the Bennetti crime family, and Empire Airline captain Mike Nicholson. As the sun sneaks the first light into the nation’s capitol, Capone is finally able to make sense of the myriad of bizarre events brought to his desk during the long night. Flight 855 will depart Chicago in only minutes, and the horrific nightmare will begin to unfold. Capone knows that he’ll need more than a miracle to prevent the crazed airline captain from fulfilling his diabolic quest. Newgate’s Knocker is a fictional story, however, the highly sophisticated wave pulse generator described in the book is, in fact, based on tested technology. Should such a device become viable and available to terrorist organizations, then Newgate’s Knocker could prove prophetic.

His Review:

A spine-tingling mystery/suspense of terrifying prophecy. Greg Peterson has put years of experience into this tale of potential aviation sabotage. A brilliant aviator robbed by a greedy company plans revenge. Can the FBI unravel the events before a catastrophe develops? Greed motivates some and international espionage motivates others.

Newgate's Knocker by Greg W Peterson - An Aviation ThrillerPeterson’s understanding of the workings of large jets coupled with understanding the electrical engineering that goes into today’s sophisticated aircraft is apparent. Electrical systems as well as computer systems have long been susceptible to strong electrical storms and magnetic disruption.

A missing pilot noted by a small-town Texas sheriff begins the saga. A crack FBI task force starts to unravel the plot. The timeline is very short from start to finish. The payout is large for some mobsters who imagine their future opulently rosy as they work with the perpetrator. Life means nothing to them as they plot the destruction of many lives for their own financial gain.

Federal agent Bob Capone is alerted regarding the missing pilot and airline concerns. He puts together a small task force to figure out why the pilot is missing. The group explores all options and the methods used to develop the search are intriguing. Why would a pilot nearing retirement suddenly disappear?

Suspense builds as you read this novel and becomes a driving force in the reader’s day. Oh no, you won’t want to put this book down! An unlikely romance is sprinkled in between an air force vet and a twenty-three-year-old flight attendant. This human-interest enhancer does not diminish the tale.

My final impression is the terrifying potential of this plot actually working in real life. Our entire country and economy are based on electricity and electronic devices. Should a major disruption happen to these devices our entire economy would collapse.  Peterson is exploring the aircraft industry. But what about every day computing and e-mails. The results are mind-boggling. CE Williams

Enjoy the book and the characters! I hope it generates as much excitement in other Peterson readers as it did in me. Bravo! Thank you to the author for my review copy and these are my unbiased opinions.

5 stars – C.E. Williams

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 Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thrillers
ASIN: B0864QFJKV
Print Length: 397 pages
Publication Date: March 18, 2020
Source: Direct Author Request
Title Purchase Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 

Greg W Peterson - author - Newgate's KnockerThe Author: Greg Peterson is a prior naval aviator, commercial airline pilot, and air traffic control specialist. He holds nearly every fixed wing flight certificate available and is a certified ground and instrument instructor. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Technology from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.

Although Mr. Peterson has been published in a number of professional magazines. “Newgate’s Knocker” is his first full-length novel. The story is fictional, however, you may find it interesting that the historical background of the main character, Mac Macintyre is based on Mr. Peterson’s real life, and most of the aviation sequences are also taken from his flying experiences.

Greg Peterson is certified in seven different categories by the International Code Council and has owned and operated a professional residential home inspection company since 1999. His home inspection report supplement provides a comprehensive explanation of many common concerns reported in most home inspections. His home inspection supplement, “Your Home Inspected-An Addendum For Residential Home Inspection Reports” can be purchased in Kindle, paperback or CD form. He can be contacted by email at: gregpeterson@comcast.net

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Photo attribution: Newgate’s Knocker

The Secret of Dunhaven Castle (A Cate Kensie Mystery Book 1) by Nellie H Steele – a #BookReview #mystery

“A new spin on the classic ghost story”

A shared review with the CE.

Book Blurb:

A heartwarming journey of discovery

The Secret of Dunhaven Castle by Nellie H SteeleStill reeling after the sudden death of her parents, Dr. Catherine Kensie is struggling to pursue her career as a history professor at a small, midwestern college. With no known family, other than her beloved dog, Riley, Cate is astonished when a stranger appears on her doorstep to tell her that she has inherited a castle in Scotland and an antique gold watch accompanied by a mysterious note from a distant relative. When the will stipulates that she must live on the estate, Cate finds the promise of exploring her past impossible to decline. With nothing to hold her back and a desperate desire to surround herself with a familial connection, Cate and Riley say goodbye to their hometown and make the trek across the pond to their new Scottish home.

Soon after arriving, Cate finds castle life to be less than a fairy tale, suspecting something may be amiss in her new home. Between strange events and peculiar manifestations, Cate begins to question her own sanity when it appears that she is the only one experiencing these bizarre incidents. She attempts to make sense of what is happening as she struggles to explain the increasingly unexplainable. With a shroud of mystery enveloping her and Riley, will Cate discover the secret of Dunhaven Castle? 

My Thoughts

Nothing stirs the imagination like a centuries-old castle, wherever it is. In this case, I just know that the castle is old enough to be through generations of the MacKenzies and located in Scotland.

Dr. Catherine Kensie (Cate) is still struggling for tenure having been teaching at a small midwestern college in Aberdeen for several years. But about the time she is denied, again, she is introduced to an attorney who claims she has inherited a castle in Dunhaven, being the only remaining relative of the castle’s owner. She will inherit the title of the Countess of Dunhavenshire. Yahoo!

It’s a no-brainer. She’ll close out her apartment, box up what she’ll move, prepare her little dog, Riley, and fly across the pond to claim her inheritance. The castle is as presented in the pictures. It’s huge, gorgeous, and comes with perks–including a special watch, only bequeathed in person with instruction–and quirky manifestations.

This narrative becomes quite the enjoyable little romp into the Scottish countryside along with a storyline that builds the suspense and a protagonist that must have inherited that Scottish stubborn streak as she’s like a dog with a bone. Cate just keeps picking at it until she begins to unravel the mystery. She is young and energetic and the historian in her is bound to discover the truth and expose the story–all of them. From the beginning, she feels an affinity for the castle–like she belongs there–she’s part of it. I’m sure the reader will continue to see her develop as this series grows.

There are only a few characters so they are easy to keep track of and they all lend interest, even while not yet fully fleshed. I’m reserving judgment of Jack. He’s…okay, but not terribly adventurous.  The well-plotted and easy-paced storyline keeps interest and engagement through the conclusion. The reveal, however, is correctly guessed long before the climax, but still comes with a satisfied grin and interest in seeing where the author will take this one next.

The author has a simple writing style, at times overly minute to minute descriptive. It’s tell not show, but a fun premise and entertaining. Book One, now is your chance to get in on the beginning of what promises to be a fun series. Book 2 Murder at Dunhaven Castle just released and I suspect will ramp up the thriller-suspense aspect considerably.

I was contacted by the author with a request for review in exchange of a gifted copy of Book One and can recommend as the beginning of a promising series. 4/5 stars

His Thoughts

The Secret of Dunhaven Castle by Nellie H SteeleWill a Doctorate in History guarantee a good future and life result? Cate Kensie is teaching in a small-town college with all of the drama of a small town. Tenured professors play games with new hires and throw them the dregs and bones of the teaching year. The future is not guaranteed and Cate is a slave to the whims of her superiors. Her pay is low and her workload high. The coveted letter of a tenure track is nothing more than another setback. Maybe next year they will consider giving her the opening she desires.

An unusual visit from a British solicitor presents Cate with a dilemma. Should she stick with her dream or follow the foreign path to her future. She has no family to talk to, her parents having died in a tragic accident.  Should she abandon her dream and embark on a totally different path in a foreign country. The tenure rejection that is another slap in the face helps her decision.

She has no idea why the solicitor has ferreted her out. She has never known anyone in Scotland and certainly cannot understand why they would have even considered her. She and her small dog Riley will be uprooted if she accepts the offer. Firstly, she has to have a DNA test to prove that she is even related to the person who has identified her as a possible relative. She submits to the test and is found to be a direct relative of the person, Lady Gertrude MacKenzie, who has named her in her will.

The estate she inherits is large and well maintained. Scotland is an entirely different environment for a young American lady and her dog. Her future is set in a rather remote location. This is often a dream for some young and poor people as they grow up: What if I were royalty, how would my future be?

The story shifts to a lonely life in a Scottish castle near the town of Dunhaven. She is the only heir to the fortune and she is given an old timepiece with the strange inscription “Always keep an eye on your time.”

Getting used to a large castle and grounds takes more than a little time. Included in the inheritance is a family of caretakers and groundskeepers. Weeks follow to discover all that the inheritance entails. It is a fun read to accompany Cate on her adventure. I enjoyed seeing the Scottish countryside and lochs from her point of view. As she engages in the search for her roots you begin to enjoy her youthful optimism.

This whole story is well-plotted and pushes your imagination as you read. As I child I dreamed of such an event, but reality was always at the back of my mind. It is fun to relive that fantasy through this authors’ eyes. It is a great escapist novel. 4.5/5 stars – CE Williams

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 Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Animal Mysteries, Supernatural Mysteries
Publisher: A Novel Idea Publishing LLC
ISBN: 1951582020
ASIN: B07Z9HS887
Print Length: 316 pages
Publication Date: November 26, 2019
Source: Direct Author Request
Title Purchase Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

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

Nellie H Steele - authorThe Author: Nellie H. Steele lives in the South Hills of Pittsburgh with her family and her many fur-babies. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys teaching Statistics at a local university or watching her dogs and cats play in the yard.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Dangerous Pursuits (A Hazel Best & Gabriel Ash Mystery Book 7) by Jo Bannister – a #BookReview – Traditional Detective Mystery

Book Blurb:

Dangerous Pursuits by Jo BannisterWhen Gabriel Ash comes across a terrified young woman fleeing a brutal attacker, he and Hazel Best are drawn into a complex and baffling investigation.

Rachel Somers, running . . . Something appalling happened in the wood. When Gabriel Ash and his dog come to her aid, she thinks she’s safe. But this is Norbold, where things aren’t always as they seem.

Detective Chief Inspector Gorman thinks this is his worst nightmare: a predatory paedophile who’s prepared to kill rather than be taken. Constable Hazel Best thinks she’s helping both the Somers family and her friend Ash, but her tendency to follow her heart rather than her orders is about to get her into trouble again. And the people of Norbold have noticed that descriptions of the attacker, sketchy as they are, fit Ash better than they fit anyone else.

With panic stalking the town, DCI Gorman needs to make an arrest before more young girls are attacked, before someone else dies, before the vigilantes who burned Ash’s shop decide to burn him too. But the parameters keep shifting, and almost none of the facts he’s relying on will turn out to be true. The solution to the mystery is more shocking, and more tragic, than even these three could have imagined.

My Review:

Obviously, I’ve been living under a rock, as Dangerous Pursuits and this series is my introduction to the author and I gotta say, why haven’t I seen these books before?!

Before I get too crazy on just how much I enjoyed the metaphors and similes (mostly the latter) and that Irish sense of humor, I must not miss mentioning the actual mystery in the premise, which is a serious one.

“…you know what a mob is, don’t you? It’s a group of people whose IQ is in inverse proportion to its size.”

“The only difference between a teenage girl and a viper is eye shadow.”

“…thought there was more dignity in jumping than waiting to be pushed.”

Ooh! So this is character-driven or plot-driven? I read it and I don’t know.

Dangerous Pursuits by Jo Bannister cover with picture of Patience, the white lurkerYou can’t discount these main characters. Constable Hazel Best and Gabriel Ash (second-hand bookseller in his shop Rambles With Books) perfectly complement each other despite the difference in age and just about every other thing going. Gabriel, after all, has a dog he named Patience (the white lurker) who talks back to him. Not unusual, you say, most people talk to their animals. But no, I’m not talking as in anthropomorphic, I’m talking English. Of course, no one but Gabriel can hear her.

This is a well-plotted and fast-paced mystery and the mystery never leaves center stage while carefully involving the characters from the offices of DCI Gorman and the other close contacts owing to Constable Best. Chewing on the lack of clues, they bounce one theory after another off each other. And just when you think you can see where this is obviously going, there’s another twist.

These two main characters are immensely engaging and the author’s writing style entertaining and immersive. This is an easy and comfortable book to take your time and enjoy or gobble up and enjoy the chuckles between the occasional serious contemplative philosophical hypotheses. Dialogue is typical English, introducing me to some new terms I’ve not seen before in UK books.

The conclusion is one you’ve seen coming, but denied, hoping it wasn’t so. A familiar theme but one we must keep seeing. Such an important, and topical, concept. Still, it’s been a delightful ride and I can’t wait for the next. Heartily recommended.

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Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Detective Mystery, Police Procedural
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
ASIN: B086TZD71B
Print Length: 240 pages
Publication Date: To be released July 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Pre-Order Links:

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

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

Jo Bannister - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Jo Bannister lives in Northern Ireland, where she worked as a journalist and editor on local newspapers. Since giving up the day job, her books have been shortlisted for a number of awards. Most of her spare time is spent with her horse and dog, or clambering over archaeological sites. She is currently working on a new series of psychological crime/thrillers.

©2020 V Williams – V Williams

Grave Consequences (A Bay Island Psychic Mystery Book 5) by Lena Gregory – #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

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

grave consequences-banner

Book Details

Grave Consequences (A Bay Island Psychic Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Publisher: Beyond the Page (May 21, 2020)
Print Length: 194 pages
Digital ASIN: B0881XMPB2

Book Blurb

Cass Donovan is reminded that you can’t believe everything you hear, especially when it comes from the dead . . . 

When stories begin circulating of a centuries-old ghost haunting the Bay Island lighthouse, Cass is caught up in mystical happenings of her own, with countless voices from the beyond all clamoring for her attention with dire warnings. But before she has a chance to learn whether there’s a connection between the rumored ghost and her restless visitors, the lighthouse keeper mysteriously falls to his death, and Cass’s reputation for communing with the dead lands her right in the middle of the police investigation.

Cass knows the victim was no saint, as he made little effort to hide his philandering ways from his wife or anyone else, and often acted out with no thought for the feelings of others. But had he finally gone too far, or were there more menacing motives behind his murder? As Cass begins building a list of suspects, including the man’s supposedly grieving wife and a mysterious new woman in town, she also turns her ear to those otherworldly voices, hoping for a clue. And as she begins to close in on the culprit, she realizes too late that if she’s not careful, she’ll soon be communicating with the dead in person . . .

My Review

Grave Consequences by Lena GregoryCass Donovan uses her psychic abilities to give readings at her Bay Island boardwalk shop she calls Mystical Musings. Although I’ve read one of the author’s novels in the All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery series, this is my first experience with this series. I do enjoy the paranormal aspect always filling me with that Twilight Zone music theme and just a few goosebumps and Cass presents as a great protagonist.

Although she’s always been aware of her intuition, she has comfortably grown with her psychic powers until she witnesses Fred soaring from an upper window in the lighthouse to the rocky shore below. He was a randy character, known for womanizing. It’s disconcerting that when Cass tries to relax and “open” her psychic gate, she is now flooded with voices of the departed all vying for her attention and she’ll get no info from the dear and newly-departed Fred though there are others who think she might have.

As the well-plotted and paced cozy mystery proceeds to unfold, Cass is introduced to Simone Carlson who appears to have the same abilities–and more. She is hoping she can teach her to block all but the specific voice she wants to hear. Obviously, she has more to learn–what a delicious concept! Time and talent.

In the meantime, her two main support characters have her back and about every waking moment. Greatly devoted to Cass is Bee, though every time I saw his name, thought of a woman. Stephanie is a married friend who is aware, as is Bee, of Cass’s psychic abilities. Cass has a puppy, a Leonberger, who has grown into his paws and is still in training lending more than one audible hoot.

As always when I read a book with a coastal setting, I get such nostalgic remembering our visits to the Pacific, camping and free-diving for abalone (the “steak” of the sea–YUM!), and one year visiting lighthouses. (They really are amazing the way they are laid out for the ships at sea.) At any rate, this narrative punched my buttons for setting descriptions, quirky characters, twists and red herrings, talented and independent (mostly) main character, and even a wet dog with fur full of sand–sure to add a chuckle–especially if you’ve ever been there. The conclusion pulls all loose threads together and drops a couple hints of what you might find in Book 6.

I received this digital download from the publisher for the book tour and greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and review. Recommended to those who enjoy an entertaining and immersive cozy mystery.

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Giveaway

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About the Author

Lena Gregory - authorLena Gregory is the author of the Bay Island Psychic Mysteries, which take place on a small island between the north and south forks of Long Island, New York, and the All-Day Breakfast Café Mysteries, which are set on the outskirts of Florida’s Ocala National Forest.

Lena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island. She recently relocated to Clermont, Florida with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, jigsaw puzzles, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime.

Author Links

Newsletter: http://lenagregory.us12.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=9765d0711ed4fab4fa31b16ac&id=49d42335d1.

Website: http://www.lenagregory.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lena.gregory.986

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Lena.Gregory.Author/?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LenaGregory03

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14956514.Lena_Gregory?from_search=true

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lenagregoryauth/

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:

June 8 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 9 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 9 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

June 10 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

June 10 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – GUEST POST

June 11 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW,  INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

June 11 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

June 12 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT

June 12 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT

June 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

June 13 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 14 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

June 14 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

June 15 – Thoughts in Progress – CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 15 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

June 16 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 16 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

June 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 17 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST

June 18 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 18 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

June 19 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

June 19 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 20 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 21 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

June 21 – Brooke Blogs – 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