Cast No Shadow: A Short Story #Review

Cast No Shadow: A Short Story by Brandon DraganTitle: Cast No Shadow: A Short Story by Brandon Dragan

Genre: Literature & Fiction, Short Stories, Westerns(?)

Print Length: 65 pages

Publication Date: June 22, 2018

Source: Direct author request

ASIN: B07DHB437Q

Title and Cover: Cast No ShadowSuper cover reflects the timbre of the book

Dark and disturbing, this short story packs a wallop. Set in an early ’80s Texas locale, a Vietnam vet lives with his wife and nine-year-old son. He has a cadre of his military buddies close by and is together engaged in an unusual activity, creatively borne of a passionate love of country, military comrades, and the state of their world upon return with the brutal knowledge left by their collective/respective war experience.

First, you should know the dialogue is written in the style of Cormac McCarthy, a tribute by the author to McCathy’s particular style of writing. Dragan’s own style is clipped and adult or child appropriate and while the absence of quotation marks on dialogue is present, it quickly becomes part of the natural story progression and doesn’t cause a lot of tripping. The narrative is written in first person account, which lends you a strong masculine sensitivity to his personal backstory. (There are, of course, many words considered seaman worthy and the reader should also be aware of some adult activity.)

That said, there is an obvious love between protagonist Beau Moreland and his wife Annabelle and their son. He has been honest with his wife and she is aware of his “extracurricular” activities, sans specific details. His son loves to play ball and he is careful to interact with him in practice and attend games.

His after-hours activities involve members of his ex-troop who feel the need to pursue a fight against an inexorable and deadly activity despoiling their population. They will take a stand where justice fails. The author has an interesting descriptive manner and the short narrative doesn’t need to be broken up into chapters, but engages you immediately. You need no commercial breaks to march through to the heart-stopping conclusion.

This is not the first vigilante offering I’ve read of late but is certainly one of the most powerful and again seems to offer up the opinion that this form of justice may come at too great an extreme cost. Is it still wrong if you are trying to right a wrong?

This is a well-paced short story, devastating, haunting, and heartrending. The poignant love and lesson a father bestow to his child takes on epic proportions. This is a conclusion you can’t see coming, like a ninja in the night, it’s a black warrior, and it leaves you crying NOOO…(take it back!). But there are no do-overs, only unanswered questions.

I received this download from the author and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. It is one that leaves an impression on your heart and a chill down your arms.

(Crap! Can we get a new ending? Please?)

Recommended for those who appreciate short stories, literature and fiction, thrillers, crime fiction, and vigilante justice.

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

The Author: Brandon Dragan grew up in New Jersey, just miles from the Lincoln Tunnel.

At eighteen he left home to attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

He draws on a wide range of influences—from literature to history, to philosophy—to craft meaningful and often surprising narratives that challenge the status quo and reach for a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.

Brandon and his wife Jami live in the Nashville area with their two daughters, Natalie and Brooklyn.

He enjoys road cycling and is an avid supporter of Arsenal Football Club.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

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Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery by Melinda Mullet #BookTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Deadly Dram by Melinda Mullet

I am thrilled today to provide a review at my blog stop for Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery by Melinda Mullet on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down the page to find and enter the Giveaway!

Book Details

Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Alibi (September 4, 2018)
Print Length 300 pages
ASIN: B079R3PW46

Book Blurb

Distillery owner Abigail Logan discovers that high spirits are no match for a cold-blooded killer as the Whisky Business Mystery series puts a fatal twist on stiff competition.

It’s been a year since globe-trotting photojournalist Abi Logan inherited Abbey Glen, a whisky distillery in the heart of the Scottish countryside. To her surprise, the village of Balfour already feels like home, and her new business partner, Grant MacEwan, continues to be too charming to resist. But Abi has a history of relationship disasters, so she struggles to avoid an ill-fated romance with Grant. Steering clear is hard enough on a day-to-day basis, but when the two head off to a whisky industry competition together, Abi panics. Five-star resort, four glorious days of nonstop whisky tasting, and a fatally attractive Scotsman—what could possibly go wrong?

The night before the award presentations, with foreign and domestic whisky makers at one anothers’ throats, two judges are found dead under mysterious circumstances. What started with three dream-come-true nominations for Abby Glen’s whisky soon turns into a nightmare for Abi. With a killer on the loose, she must call on her investigative skills to stop another murder—before she gets taken out of the running herself.

My Review

I love it when I get to be introduced into a whole new exotic industry in a lovely country, beautiful setting, and some hardy but oft-times inebriated characters! Blame all that whisky tasting! deadly dram-cover

Ex-photojournalist Abigail Logan inherited Abbey Glen, a Scottish whisky distillery, just a year ago but is beginning to feel right at home in Balfour and a solid part of the team that includes Cam Lewis, the distiller, and her handsome co-owner/partner, Grant MacEwen. Although she finds Grant enormously attractive, Abi has tried to keep the relationship strictly professional, as she has not been real successful in the romance department and fortunately, the romance aspect is kept low-key. The duo must have been successful somewhere, however, as they’ve just enjoyed nominations for the annual Golden Quaich Awards, including possibly the top award. Even better, the competition and judging takes place at a huge posh Scottish five-star resort, and in addition to Grant and Cam, she will be allowed to include her Wheaton terrier, Liam, as it is a dog-friendly hotel. Additionally, she’ll room with her best friend from university days, Patrick Cooke.

It becomes obvious at the outset that there is a rift at the Scottish Whisky competition having been diluted with distiller entrants outside of Scotland. She’s a lone woman (for awhile) in a male-dominated industry, whom she calls “the Barley Boys,” and it doesn’t take long before it’s obvious the camp is divided between the nationalists and the globalists. So when the first victim, a judge who openly welcomed the foreign competition is found dead of poisoning, the immediate red herring becomes those who would oppose competition outside of Scotland. Enter Detective Inspector Ian Michaelson with whom she has apparently clashed in previous series entries. This time he is short on manpower and enlists her unofficial aid.

Here is an author who labels her characters in triplets as well as detailed descriptions…”melancholy, speculative, and independent,” “intense, calculating, and sturdy,” “pliable, shortsighted, and impressionable,” “fiery, flamboyant, and intractable,” and so on. The problem I had was the pace of the mystery, only increasing somewhat following the second murder. (As in…. slowww) Abi is not a character that kept me engaged and Grant just seemed–remote and one-dimensional. While Liam was an occasional fresh breath (or doggy breath) of air, breaking up the narrative occasionally with undisciplined canine antics, I decried the offer so often to allow him tasting the whisky along with the humans who should have known better. (And to her credit, the author offers a dedicated pet-alcohol warning disclosure following the conclusion. And plates of sausage? No, no, and just no.) The well-developed plot eventually escalates into a possible warning to Abi putting Grant in the hospital.

Following the hand-wringing bouts of evaluation, re-evaluation, theory–more theory, and possible scenarios, the plot gains some speed and blindsides you with a conclusion you may only have suspicioned. (But in my defense, thought she had her culprit; mystery solved.) So the unsuspected twist was fun. (And that’ll teach me/you for becoming complacent!)

Overall, an interesting romp in Scotland with a truly Scottish world renown libation. I enjoyed getting to know the industry better. Third in the Whisky Business Mystery series, perhaps my lack of empathy for the characters was that it was my first experience with the author and the series. It might help if you start with the first in the series and not treat this one as a standalone.

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Giveaway

Click this link for your chance to win one of two (2) eCopies of Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery by Melinda Mullet in this Rafflecopter Giveaway and good Luck! 

About the Author

Melinda Mullet - authorMelinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.

Author Links: 

Webpage – http://melindamullet.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mulletmysteries/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/mulletmysteries

Purchase Links:

Amazon  B&N    Kobo   Google Play  BookBub

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

Tour Participants:

September 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 4 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 5 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

September 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

September 6 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 6 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 7 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

September 7 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

September 8 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 8 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

September 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

September 9 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

September 10 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW, GUEST POST

September 10 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 11 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 11 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT  

September 12 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW

September 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

September 13 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

September 14 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

September 14 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Varietats – REVIEW

September 16 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  

September 16 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW

September 17 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW, GUEST POST  

September 17 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday – Deer Season (Ray Elkins Thriller series) by Aaron Standler

#ThrowbackThursday-Deer Season

Renee began the #ThrowbackThursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).

This week I am highlighting Aaron Standler, another prolific author who wrote Deer Season #3 in his Ray Elkins Thriller series. (He has written other series as well.) This novel was published by Writers and Editors LLC on July 1, 2009. He consistently runs approximately 3.5-4 stars for any of his books sold on Amazon.

I posted a review of Shelf Ice by this author in January 2014. Shelf Ice is #4 in the series. See that review here. That was back when I was gleaning free books from BookBub and also downloaded Deer Season as my hubby was a hunter and thought he’d enjoy. Apparently, the author has written nine in the series. The C.E. read this book and his review follows. Winter is knocking on our doors, changing the direction of the wind, and the smell of dry leaves permeate the air perhaps earlier in Michigan and parts of the north than the midwest and sunny south and west. Are you ready for some cooler temps?

Book Blurb:

It’s late November along the shores of northern Lake Michigan. Deer season has been open for a few days and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. A local TV anchorwomen is returning home from an early morning yoga class with her young twin daughters. She stops at the end of her drive and climbs out of her car to collect the mail from the box. As she turns back toward her vehicle, the bullet from a high caliber weapon tears through her chest. In this third book in this series, Sheriff Ray Elkins confronts both the dark history of his own department and powerful and wealthy adversaries who try to control the direction and reach of his investigation.

 Add to Goodreads Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – Deer Season (Ray Elkins Thriller series) by Aaron Standler”

Nice Try, Afton – a #BookReview

Nice Try, Afton by Brent Jones

Title: Nice Try, Afton (Afton Morrison Series Book 3) by Brent Jones

Genre: Thriller, Crime Fiction, Vigilante Justice

Novella: 111 Pages

Publication Date: To be released September 17, 2018

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: Nice Try, Afton – Love these beautiful covers

With Wakefield smothering in the smoky haze from recent arsons and oppressive humidity from the recent downpour in the summer heat, Afton scrambled to avoid detection by the National Guard seeking a meeting with her nemesis. The dramatic conclusion to book 2 left the town in smoldering shambles and Afton’s unintentional cohorts, including her brother Chris and his girlfriend Tia, Jared, and Kim, extremely vulnerable. Afton makes a last-ditch effort to cloak her companions and perhaps divert the familial revelation divulged in book 2.

Discussing the brutal assault in the open with companions accidentally involved didn’t do much to clear the air or formulate a plan. But one thing is sure–they must move. Afton and brother Chris go on a search, hoping to track down that familial connection. They discover, however, that Tia’s expected safe haven was insufficient to provide the protection they thought was proffered.

In an ever-increasing tangle of deception, misdirection, and twists, the narrative continues to stump and perplex the reader. Can there be any solution to this dark plot involving a protagonist professed vigilante murderess? Is she too heinous to actually become empathetic or are we beginning to see the emergence of contrived misconception here. There appears some kind of evolution in a psyche long forged by birth and later circumstances.

As I’ve mentioned before, Jones delivers his unlikely protagonist in intense and raw dialogue, adult situations, and language. It is a novella of nail-biting hard-core suspense and you won’t get to breathe until Book 4 is done and won. These characters pit each other in good vs evil and we’ve yet to see their true colors as they continue to evolve.

Author Brent Jones calls his series an abstract of “moral ambiguity.” Indeed! A puzzling contradiction. See my review of the second in the series, See You Soon, Afton and Go Home, Afton (#1) here. It’s a series, and really, you can’t and shouldn’t see book 3 as a standalone. Go back and begin with Go Home, Afton. (These are short–you’ll catch up!)

The Afton Morrison Series by Brent Jones

I was sent this ebook novella download by the author and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. You should begin with book 1 to get the complete fleshing of Afton. This series is recommended for any who enjoy a dark plot, graphic situations, crime, adrenaline-inducing action, mystery, and suspense.

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars Four of Five Stars

author Brent JonesThe Author: From bad checks to bathroom graffiti, Brent Jones has always been drawn to writing. He won a national creative writing competition at the age of fourteen, although he can’t recall what the story was about. Seventeen years later, he gave up his career to pursue creative writing full-time.

Jones writes from his home in Fort Erie, Canada. He’s happily married, a bearded cyclist, a mediocre guitarist, and the proud owner of two dogs with a God complex. Subscribe to his newsletter (AuthorBrentJones.com) or follow him on social media (@AuthorBrentJ) for updates.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint #BookReviews – August Recap

dog days header

50th Anniversary QuiltSo great to welcome our Navy buddies in August and must admit Northwest Indiana was exceedingly cooperative with beautiful, comfortable temps. As always, Kitra was a dynamo, bundle of energy who helped me get in and FINALLY put together the 50th Anniversary quilt that sister-in-law Ann’et made for us in 2012. Yes! Can you say “winter project?” Ted made his world-class ceviche (yum!) and he and the CE shared their old Navy stories (again) and quite a number of new ones! I posted a pic of the two of them trying to sink a sub at the Science Museum in Chicago. Kitra baked a new favorite–biscotti–and the boys put together a couple flower boxes for the fairy garden!

Catching up has taken the better part of a week; the blog, reading and reviews, social media, my veggie and fairy garden. Oh my goodness! The tomatoes!! Kitra got in and froze a bunch of them for me–they’ll make a great addition to stews and soups. (Never tried freezing them before, so we HOPE they’ll work well!) When the fairy garden doesn’t look quite so desolate, I’ll take another pic to share (discovered another downed snag today).

SO!  What I read before they arrived is pretty much it for August, although I was able to get in some great reads.

Aug 3 – Knot My Sister’s Keeper by Mary Marks

Aug 7 – Death Over Easy (A Country Store Mystery #5) by Maddie Day 

Aug 12 – Midnight Snacks are Murder by Libby Klein

Aug 14 – Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette

Aug 21 – Burning Ridge – a #BookReview by Margaret Mizushima

Aug 28 – Samhain Secrets – a #BookReview by Jennifer David Hesse

The Forbidden Door by Dean KoontzNice Try, AftonAll of the above were downloaded from NetGalley and/or were book tours. In the meantime, I #AmReading The Forbidden Door by Dean Koontz (number 4 of 5) and will be posting my review this Sunday, September 2nd. I read and reviewed The Crooked Staircase (#3) here and The Whispering Room (2) here. Following on Tuesday, the 4th, my review of Nice Try, Afton by Brent Jones. That is the third of four in his Afton Morrison series and will release September 17th. Be aware that this gritty series profiles protagonist Afton Morrison in a frank assault of adult situations and language. Author Brent Jones paints an abstract of “moral ambiguity.” Dark and disturbing, crime fiction, vigilante justice–Afton style. I reviewed the second in the series, See You Soon, Afton in July and Go Home, Afton (#1) here.

I have a line up of cozies scheduled for September (book tours), as well as my fav (thrillers), and as always Throwback Thursdays, Cee’s Fun Fotos, or other features as captures my attention.

Hope this summer is going well for all of you: Blue Skies, Easy Breezes, Green Gardens, and nothing but GOOD books coming your way!

A big thank to all my new followers and as always so appreciate you who continue to read and comment! Thank you!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Tag – This Is My Genre Book Tag

This is My Genre Book Tag

I was tagged by Shalini at BOOKS, REVIEWS ET AL BY SHALINI to participate in the This Is My Genre Book Tag! Thank you so much! If you haven’t followed Shalini yet, you owe it to yourself to check out her blog and enjoy the biting wit and wisdom she bestows in her reviews, posts, and interviews.

The Rules

  • Answer the questions
  • Tag as many people as you want

The Questions

What is your favorite genre?

I don’t think I can pin that down to one genre. I tend to read all over the board. However, I do love thrillers, psychological thrillers, mysteries, suspense, crime, police procedurals, yadda, yadda, yadda…hey, I list all that, including genres I won’t normally read on my “Submission” page.

Who is your favorite author from that genre?

The Forbidden Door by Dean KoontzArgh! Well, that could change, but right now I’m reading book 4 of the Jane Hawk series, The Forbidden Door, by Dean Koontz. Gees, can that man write!! (And, btw, I’ll be reviewing his book this Sunday, September 2nd, which is also my 56th anniversary with the CE. How the man has hung in this long is beyond me.)

What is it about that genre that keeps pulling you back?

Are you kidding? The nail-biting, edge of your seat, can’t put it down to fix a meal or go to the bathroom, glued to the page reading. These books leave you spent at the finish line and looking for the next one. They are the “crack” of books. And like Lay’s Potato Chips, you can’t read just one.

What is the book that started your love for the genre?

Blood Orchids by Toby NealUh huh, at my age, I can’t remember that far back. When I told my son I was reading a Dean Koontz book, he mentioned that Koontz wrote horror. (He knows I wouldn’t read that.) But I was hooked. Years ago I discovered Toby Neal and her Lei Crime series. After reading Blood Orchids, yeah, I was hooked.

If you have to recommend one book from your favorite genre to a non-reader–that genre, what book would you choose and why?

Just Add Salt by Jinx SchwartzYeah, no. I don’t generally recommend books, although I discovered that I had no problem recommending books to my recent visitor–an avid reader (who seems to prefer books of more than 300 pages). She also reads a fairly wide variety of genres. I introduced her to Toby Neal and Jinx Schwartz. If you don’t know that latter name, Jinx writes the kitschy Hetta Coffey Mysteries. I got started with her books because she writes sea stories (and you know where that interest stemmed from).

Why do you read?

I’ve always read. Books have the power to transport you to exotic places, exercise super powers, teach, empower, and write. Which I also wanted to do!

I tag –

Mischenko

Carla

And many of you don’t do tags, so anyone else who wants to do this tag, please do! I’d loved to read your answers!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Samhain Secrets – a #BookReview

Samhain Secrets by Jennifer David Hesse

Title: Samhain Secrets (A Wiccan Wheel Mystery) Book 4 by Jennifer David Hesse

Genre: Currently #1202 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Holidays

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: Happy release date! August 28, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Samhain Secrets – Love that book cover and the requisite black cat

Here is your chance to peek into the life of a modern day witch, or in this case a Wiccan, and learn something about this spiritual culture practice in a delightful cozy mystery setting. Protagonist Keli Milanni is a serious practitioner. There is only one problem: She was raised Catholic and has not divulged that split to family.

Spells, incantations, calls to spirits, tarot cards, and sisterhood. Keli weaves the practice into the quest to find the person who murdered her aunt, Josephine O’Malley, an estranged free spirit of the family who chose to leave the nest early, only tapping connections inconsistently with no notice and disappearing just as quickly. It’s a fun romp into the paranormal side of life that strikes a few of those loosely held superstitions many of us are loathe to admit. Continue reading “Samhain Secrets – a #BookReview”

Burning Ridge – a #BookReview

Burning Ridge - a Timber Creek K-9 Mystery by Margaret Mizushima

Title: Burning Ridge (A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery) by Margaret Mizushima

Genre: Currently #204 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Traditional

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: To be released September 11, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Burning Ridge – Cover depicts K-9 major character

Burning Ridge comprises #4 in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series and the second I’ve had the privilege to receive through download from the publisher and NetGalley. Protagonist Deputy Mattie Cobb is a handler for regal German Shepherd police K-9 Robo who has been trained for specialty assignments in search and rescue in the remote and rugged Colorado mountains. Continue reading “Burning Ridge – a #BookReview”

Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette #BlogTour #BookReview

Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.

Book Details

Death on the Menu: A Key West Food Critic Mystery
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Crooked Lane Books (August 7, 2018)
Hardcover: 295 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683317463
Digital ASIN: B078MBKH95

Book Blurb

When a killer strikes just before flan time, beloved food critic Hayley Snow is forced to sniff out the killer before someone else bites the dust.

Hayley Snow, fiery food critic for Key Zest magazine, has just landed a ticket to one of the most prestigious events in Key West: a high-brow three-day conference at the Harry Truman Little White House. Even though she’ll be working the event helping her mother’s fledgling catering business, there’s plenty of spicy gossip to go around. But just before her mother’s decadent flan is put to the test, Key West’s most prized possession, Hemingway’s Nobel prize gold medal for The Old Man and the Sea, is discovered stolen from its case.

Unsavory suspicions point to Gabriel, a family friend and one of the new busboys working the event, who mysteriously goes missing moments later. Anxious to clear his name, Gabriel’s family enlists Hayley to help find him, but right as they begin their search, his body is found stabbed to death in the storeroom.

Hayley has no shortage of suspects to interrogate and very little time before the killer adds another victim to the menu in national bestselling author Lucy Burdette’s delectable eighth Key West Food Critic mystery, Death on the Menu.

My Review

Hayley Snow is a food critic writer for the local Key Zest Magazine in Key West, Florida, but has been caught up in her mom’s huge catering opportunity for the lavish and historic Key West/Havana conference to be held at the Harry Truman Little White House on the island. Her mother is over-the-top thrilled for the catering opportunity thinking the success of which would mean solid future success for her fledgling catering business. She has hired additional local personnel to help with the menu and set up.

The unusual event has been orchestrated to bring both the Cuban dignitaries and the American officials together hopefully to quiet tensions between the two countries. Hayley has been asked, politely, by her detective boyfriend (Nathan) bordering on serious suitor, to please stay out of it as with the officials involved, promised protests, and security tight but nervous, the event could turn nasty.

The event has invited some major guests, set up displays, and scheduled tours, including that of Ernest Hemingway’s Key West home. Hemingway’s Nobel Prize gold medal has been loaned especially for the momentous occasion for display, but almost immediately goes missing during the first dinner at the Little White House. It is the son of one of her local assistants that is an immediate POI, but then he is found stabbed in a kitchen storage room. His family asks Hayley to please help with the investigation.

This is apparently the eighth installment of the Key West Food Critic Mystery series but my introduction to both the series and the author. I’ve read of Key West before, but the author really gets you onto the surface streets to the real town, the flavor, the sights, smells, and the people. I loved her description of the architecture and the colors, the ethnic mix of people and the food. And the history–loved it–not only the stories about the Truman Little White House–I never knew–and it also played host to Taft, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton. (Truman felt that the “white house” was wherever the president was.)

And Hemingway, his stories are larger than life, as was he. All of them true. He wrote To Have and Have Not during his (1930’s) years in Key West. And he loved cats? Seriously? Not just cats–five-toed cats–polydactyls.

But back to the plot:

It’s a cozy.

I’ve often mentioned that for me a cozy mystery seems to dawdle. There is always a reason, reprising the protagonist for those new to the series. Bringing in the support characters, in this case, her beloved roomie, Miss Gloria, is up in years but not old. (Also recruited to help with the festivities.) She lives on Houseboat Row, which sounds ducky, until you try to figure out how the black tank is emptied. Otherwise, I got such a mental picture of her life on the island, I wanted to get the fish scale scraper.

The food. Not so much into the food–especially spicy–but “ropa vieja” sounded interesting and definitely got my attention with flan. Did someone say Flan? I love flan! (Almost every version of it!) However, the recipe presented at the back of the book prepared enough to feed an army. You’d definitely have to cut it down, but then reading the directions, it sounds like too much trouble. Next time I’ll understand why it’s one of the more expensive desserts on the menu.

Hayley is from the “interview the suspects” school of thought. Unfortunately, everyone at the event becomes a suspect and because of the tight security, only those vetted allowed to attend. How to narrow it down? Interview.

Bottom line: I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, the descriptions, and most of the writing. Hayley is devoted to her mother and Miss Gloria, though her mother is not as well fleshed here as Miss Gloria, and I couldn’t get into Hayley’s boots (did she ever wear a helmet on that scooter?). Nathan? Meh. But he does seem devoted and fortunately, the romance aspect didn’t logue down the plot line. The conclusion didn’t feel wholly gratifying. The narrative might function well for others as a standalone and worked okay for me, though Hayley may be better developed in previous installments.

I was given the download by the publisher and NetGalley through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Recommended for anyone interested in the history of chugs, Cuba/Key West relations, popular Key West tourist sites, and cozy mysteries. (What is a chug? You don’t want to know.)

Add to Goodreads 

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

About the Author

Lucky Burdette - author Clinical psychologist Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) has published 16 mysteries, including the latest in the Key West food critic series, DEATH ON THE MENU (Crooked Lane Books, August 2018.) Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime. She blogs at Jungle Red Writers and shares her love for food with the culinary writers at Mystery Lovers Kitchen She lives in Madison CT and Key West FL. Read more at www.lucyburdette.com.

​Author Links:

Facebook: WWW.facebook.com/lucyburdette

Twitter: www.twitter.com/lucyburdette

Instagram: www.instagram.com/lucyburdette

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/robertaisleib

GoodReadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4781149.Lucy_Burdette

Purchase Links:

Amazon  B&N  IndieBound BookBub Kobo

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

Tour Participants:

August 1 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 1 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 2 – Mystery Lovers Kitchen – RECIPE

August 2 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 2 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 3 – Killer Characters – CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 3 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

August 4 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

August 4 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

August 5 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 6 – Map Your Mystery – INTERVIEW

August 6 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

August 6 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

August 7 – Jungle Red Writers – GUEST POST

August 7 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – RECIPE, REVIEW

August 7 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

August 8 – The Conscious Cat – GUEST POST

August 8 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

August 9 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

August 9 – Mystery Lovers Kitchen #2 – RECIPE

August 10 – Wicked Cozy Authors – GUEST POST

August 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

August 11 – Book Babble – REVIEW

August 12 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 13 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

August 13 – Mallory Heart Reviews – REVIEW

August 14 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

August 14 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 15 – Fabulous Florida Writers​ – GUEST POST

August 15 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

August 15 – Varietats – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday – The Hawks of Kamalon by Michael Reisig

Throwback Thursday-The Hawks of Kamalon

Renee began the #ThrowbackThursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).

This week I am highlighting Michael Reisig, another terrific, prolific author who wrote The Hawks of Kamalon, which I reviewed on Goodreads. He has actually written a number of amazing books and series, many of which I’ve already alluded to on this blog, either introducing a new Key West series novel, a Caribbean Gold series novel, or another Throwback Thursday offering. This novel was published by Write Way Publishing on December 16, 2013. He consistently runs approximately 4.5 stars for any of his books sold on Amazon. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading one of his action-adventures, you owe it to yourself to check them out!

Originally posted February 20, 2015

Book Blurb:

The Hawks of Kamalon is an amalgam of gripping science fiction and wonderful storytelling, with imagery that becomes more believable with each page. A Number One Nation-Wide Best-Selling Book for Books In Motion Audio Books! 
A small squadron of British and American aircraft depart at dawn on a long-range strike into Germany, but as they cross the English Channel, the squadron vanishes.

Drawn thousands of light-years across the galaxy by Kamalon’s “Sensitive Mothers,” ten men and eight aircraft are greeted by a roaring crowd in a field before the provincial capitol, on the continent of Azra; a land in desperate need of champions.

Captain Ross Murdock and the ’51 Squadron are cast into a whirlwind adventure of intrigue, treachery, and romance as they are “culled” back and forth across the universe, outwitting and outrunning the Germans, while they attempt to foil the invasion of Azra by the neighboring continent of Krete.

The Hawks of Kamalon is a heart-hammering adventure in the classic tradition of Robert Heinlein, but it also examines the parameters of faith and friendship, the qualities that define civilization, and the width and depth of spirit.

Add to Goodreads Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – The Hawks of Kamalon by Michael Reisig”

Death Over Easy (A Country Store Mystery #5) by Maddie Day #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Death Over Easy by Maddie Day

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Death Over Easy by Maddie Day on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Death Over Easy (A Country Store Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Kensington (July 31, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496711236
Digital ASIN: B0776H5T7B

Book Blurb

Restaurateur Robbie Jordan is ready for the boost in business a local music festival brings to South Lick, Indiana, but the beloved event strikes a sour note when one of the musicians is murdered . . .

June’s annual Brown County Bluegrass Festival at the Bill Monroe Music Park in neighboring Beanblossom is always a hit for Robbie’s country store and café, Pans ‘N Pancakes. This year, Robbie is even more excited, because she’s launching a new bed and breakfast above her shop. A few festival musicians will be among Robbie’s first guests, along with her father, Roberto, and his wife, Maria. But the celebration is cut short when a performer is found choked to death by a banjo string. Now all the banjo players are featured in a different kind of lineup. To clear their names, Robbie must pair up with an unexpected partner to pick at the clues and find the plucky killer before he can conduct an encore performance . . .

Includes Recipes for You to Try!

My Review

Death Over Easy by Maddie DayRobbie Jordan has added several renovated rooms above her Pans ‘N Pancakes restaurant and turned the Country Store slash cafe into a B&B in South Lick, Indiana. She’s excited about the annual music bluegrass festival in Beanblossom, and will be hosting a few of the festival musicians as well as her Italian father, Roberto, and his wife.

It doesn’t take long, however, for things to turn a sour note when one of the musicians is found dead. Robbie’s boyfriend Abe played a trial set with the victim and it would seem she was a person you either loved or loved to hate, which helps to generate a multitude of suspects. Robbie hadn’t gotten to know the victim well, but as she was in her puzzle group (definitely a new one for me!), she knew of her. Pia was definitely on a rant prior to death, owing money and arguing about it, unhappy with the music set she was playing with Abe, and unhappy with the event coordinator. It would seem that Pia has her fingers on more than her banjo, however, being a music student at UI, connected with Phil, immigrant from Italy, and known to her dad. With the way she was boosting tension though, I’d have strangled her myself!

Lieutenant Buck Bird of the local South Lick Police Department and Detective Anne Henderson coordinate handling the case as it’s outside the jurisdiction of South Lick. These are small rural communities where everyone knows everyone and their business, and if they don’t, make it their business to know. It doesn’t take long for Robbie to begin working on the crossword puzzle, trying to make sense of the drama, when another homicide occurs that would appear connected by a musical string.

Part of Robbie’s staff includes Danna, who has a boyfriend Isaac who exhibits PTSD periodically and seems he is suspect by default. Danna is a big part of the cafe, often suggests and implements daily specials. She is worth far more than she is paid, I’m sure. The hours are crazy, the work non-stop, and especially with an event close by, requires solid, heads-up 24/7 attention. I enjoy bluegrass music and that attracted my attention, as well as the location in Indiana. Just love that cover! The dialect in some of the dialogue, however, sounded more like uneducated backwoods than Indiana. (HOPE we don’t sound like that!) Reading the description of the management of the cafe had me very glad it was one business I was never interested in.

There are twists and turns, characters perhaps fully fleshed in previous series installments somewhat lacking here, and a protagonist with a very nosy attitude but fairly keen sense of business. (That’s why she’s the sleuth and I’m not!) Perhaps reading previous installments would have led me deeper into empathy. The storyline progresses well and maintains interest, just that I couldn’t develop an invested interest in the protagonist and never really did get to know her boyfriend, or her aunt Adele.

I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and appreciated the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery. Recommended for all familiar with the author, the series, and those who enjoy cozy mysteries with a crossword puzzle flavor and good southern Indiana recipes.

Add to Goodreads

Giveaway

Don’t miss your opportunity to win one of two print copies of Death Over Easy in this Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Maddie Day - authorMaddie Day is a talented amateur chef and holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from Indiana University. An Agatha Award-nominated author, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and also writes award-winning short crime fiction. She lives with her beau and three cats in Massachusetts.

As Edith Maxwell, she writes the Local Foods Mysteries (Kensington Publishing) and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries (Midnight Ink).

You can find all Maddie’s/Edith’s identities at http://www.edithmaxwell.com. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors at wickedcozyauthors.com. Look for her as Edith M. Maxwell and Maddie Day on Facebook and @edithmaxwell and @maddiedayauthor on Twitter.

Purchase Links:

Amazon  B&N   kobo

Google Play BookBub

Tour Participants:

August 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  

August 1 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

August 2 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

August 2 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

August 3 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

August 3 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 5 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 6 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

August 7 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

August 8 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 9 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

August 10 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

August 10 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

August 11 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

August 12 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 13 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  

August 14 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint #Reviews – July Recap

Dog Days of Summer

Navy buddies didn’t make it in July–now we are looking forward to their visit in August–ah, the dog days of summer. I must admit, so far NWI has been gorgeous and for July–couldn’t complain. I did spend some time out in the garden where my tomato plants went nuts. Must have been all that good fertilizer the C.E. insisted they needed! I’ve got enough zuccini to feed an army, but it appears the bunnies beat me to the carrots and beets.

July reads

These are all fun and several will be going on my favorites list!  Clockwise beginning at one o’clock: The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning  Murder Made to Order by Lena Gregory  Dirty Who? by Jerry Kennealy  S’More Murders by Maya Corrigan  A Soufflé of Suspicion by Daryl Wood Gerber  Shelved Under Murder by Victoria Gilbert  See You Soon, Afton by Brent Jones  The Perfect Friend by Barbara Copperthwaite

In July, I reviewed the above eight novels, most of which were for book tours and the C.E. reviewed another four, which if you consider his review of The Invisible Mind entailed his reading #1 and 2 of the series prior to #3-The Invisible Mind, he actually contributed a great deal more (for which I’m extremely grateful!).

Lion on Fire – a #BookReview

The Other Vietnam War by Marc Cullison #BlogTour #BookReview

The Invisible Mind by M. T. Bass #BlogTour #BookReview

#ThrowbackThursday – The Dying Hour by Rick Mofina – a #BookReview

These books covered a wide variety of genres from cozy mysteries to sci-fi and police procedurals and wartime biographies. The books were gleaned from NetGalley and author requests, though having been overwhelmed with author requests have had to become increasingly selective.

So what’s up next? SOOO many, but in August have already reviewed Knot My Sister’s Keeper (a #MustRead)!! First half of August:

Upcoming book reviews for August

Due to publish in September, am looking forward to the new Margaret Mizushima book, Burning Ridge, A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery. (Can’t wait!) I read Hunting Hour last year and loved it. You might wish to check out that book about her K-9 service dog (Robo)–sooo good.

Hope this summer is going well for all of you: Blue Skies, Easy Breezes, Green Gardens, and nothing but GOOD books coming your way!

A big thank to all my new followers and as always so appreciate you who continue to read and comment! Thank you!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

#NGEW2018 Reading Challenge Host Change

Liza - vertigo

Yikes! How many of you knew that Bookish Things gave up their hosting of the NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge? I went looking for the posts from my most active blogging buddies, as I seem to have a continual problem with WordPress deciding on my notifications, and discovered a post from Novel Deelights about the change-over. I quickly caught up my July reviews, but the word needs to get out regarding the change. Tina at Reading Between the Pages is taking the helm.

If this is a Challenge you’ve been participating in, take notice and hook up with Tina. Then help to get the word out. She’ll appreciate it! The following from Tina:

NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge August Link-Up #NGEW2018

NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2018My name is Tina and I welcome you to the new home for the
NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge!

Emily@Falling for YA created this challenge and passed the torch to Katrina@Bookish Things & More. Katrina has decided to step away from her book blog and pursue her passion for writing. I joined this challenge for the first time this year and have been enjoying it immensely. I was sad to see Katrina leave her love of blogging about books behind, but am quite excited for her to have more time to dedicate to writing. I wish her the best of luck!

Being that this challenge is now being hosted on a new site and the year is more than half over, I think this would be a great time to check in with all of you. I would love to hear from you in the comments below. How is the challenge going for you? What is your goal? How many have you reviewed?

My goal is 25 (Silver) and I have reviewed 18. I have no doubt I will complete my goal, so I’m pretty excited about that!

August Link-Up…

  • Submitting format: Title of book reviewed (Your Name and Blog).
  • Inlinkz will remain open until August 31.
  • Questions: Leave me a comment below, email me – readingbetweenthepagesblog@gmail.com, or use my contact page.
  • Hashtag: #NGEW2018

For the first time since starting my blog I am asking for your help in getting the word out. I could really use your help with spreading the word about this midyear host change for this challenge. Any sharing you can do on social media would be deeply appreciated!

Thank you for stopping by and I look forward to seeing what fabulous NetGalley and Edelweiss books you read and review the remainder of the year!

Let’s get social…

Goodreads
Twitter
Instagram

Yes, you’ll need the link to your reviews, if you haven’t already started the challenge, but read the rules and regs. Check out my Reading Challenges page or see my original Reading Challenges post here.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Knot My Sister’s Keeper by Mary Marks #BookTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Knot My Sister's Keeper by Mary Marks

I am over the top delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Knot My Sister’s Keeper by Mary Marks on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to register for your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Knot My Sister’s Keeper (A Quilting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Kensington (July 31, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496701848
Digital ASIN: B0776GV62J

Book Blurb

In tracing her ancestry, quilter Martha Rose discovers a ritzy half-sister, a stash of family secrets, and a decades-old mystery that only she can unravel . . .

Martha Rose is shocked to find she has a half-sister, especially one so different from her. Giselle Cole is wealthy, widowed, and lives a glamorous life in West Los Angeles. At least her grandmother was a quilter! But Giselle can’t answer Martha’s many questions about their father—he disappeared when she was only a child and the few clues left behind indicate he may have been murdered. So Martha and Giselle team up on an investigation that weaves them through the streets of L.A., their father’s hidden love affairs, and into some mysterious unfinished Cole family business . . .

My Review

Absolutely delightful cozy mystery that seamlessly integrates the love, history, and function of quilting with an unusual premise that sets this cozy far apart.

Daughter Dearest sends off for a DNA test for her mother and the results knock her socks off. Martha Rose is surprised to discover she has a half-sister she never knew existed. What’s more, Martha’s sister, Giselle Cole, is rich. Really rich. Stinkin’ rich. (Wouldn’t we ALL love to get that kind of DNA surprise!) But there are even more surprises. Giselle is an acquired taste, having been rich enough that she’s never had to apply a filter to her mouth and they clash pretty quickly. It is Giselle’s grandmother who also shares a common interest in quilting and provides a familial link.

However, it was Giselle who actually knew their father, until he disappeared when she was eight years old. Martha, of course, is not a total stranger to sleuthing and it’s not long before she off to figure out what happened to daddy dearest, an acclaimed artist. Daddy apparently had a host of secrets–and he was artistically adept at keeping them.

Martha is no spring chicken and opts for comfort over chic and has a fiancé as well as a close circle of friends. Her daughter Quincy informs her mom she has a big announcement. (uh oh! She has been seeing Detective Noah Kaplan with whom Martha has had a previous run in.)

Martha is Jewish; Giselle is not.  Martha’s financé, Yossi, or “Crusher,” is an undercover agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco and has connections which will prove useful since this constitutes a really cold case. Her dad disappeared more than thirty years ago.

This book is such a hoot! I really enjoyed the author’s writing style, that terrific sense of humor that came through. Loved that the protagonist is a middle-aged woman with a few pounds and is involved in a hobby she is good at. Her days are busy! Her romantic interest is cleverly done with a mature view and few stars in the eyes. Very down to earth and believable! Giselle, while a widow, is 180 degrees from the sensibilities of Martha and their contrast makes for some hilarious dialogue. The support characters are well fleshed and contribute to a sense of tight kinship, even given the southern California location.

The more they learn of their mysterious and erstwhile father, the less they want to know, then absolutely MUST know what happened to him. Though the suspicions are there early on, the red herrings or twists send them in all directions and they eventually learn to work with each other.  It doesn’t take long either before the reader is invested enough that he/she must learn the truth as well.

This is the sixth in the series, but absolutely functions as a standalone and at this point, I’m such a fan, my difficulty will only be in waiting for the next book. These characters become real, want-to-know-them-better friends. The story was well-plotted and progressed smoothly, never lagged, and the conclusion most satisfying. You don’t have to be a quilter or Jewish to love this most-absorbing tale, just a person who reaps the pleasure of a well-written novel. This really is one you won’t want to put down and are sorry to see it end, even if it does end well.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley through Great Escapes Book Tours and greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and review. Totally my pleasure. Recommended to all; push your cozy mystery boundaries.

Add to Goodreads

Giveaway

Be sure to sign up for your chance to win one of two print copies of Knot My Sister’s Keeper in this Rafflecopter giveaway 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars of Five Rating

About the Author

Mary Marks - authorBorn and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Mary Marks earned a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA and an M.A. in Public Administration from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. In 2004 she enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Her first novel, Forget Me Knot, was a finalist in a national writing competition in 2011. She is currently a reviewer of cozy mysteries for The New York Journal of Books at www.nyjournalofbooks.com.

Readers can visit her at www.marymarksmysteries.com and https://www.facebook.com/mmarks2013

Purchase Links

Amazon – B&N   Google Play     kobo      BookBub

Tour Participants:

July 31 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

July 31 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

August 1 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

August 2 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

August 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

August 3 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

August 3 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 4 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

August 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT  

August 5 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

August 6 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

August 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

August 7 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 7 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

August 9 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

August 9 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

August 10 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 12 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

August 13 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

August 13 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday – The Dying Hour by Rick Mofina – a #BookReview

#ThrowbackThursday - The Dying Hour by Rick Mofina

Renee began the #ThrowbackThursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).

This week I am highlighting Rick Mofina, another terrific, prolific author who wrote The Dying Hour. Today’s review is written by the C.E., my intrepid associate reviewer. I love that he is usually up for a variety of genre and this one took him by surprise. Yeah, knew it would! 😏   (This was his first Mofina.) I’ve read several before and last posted a review of Cold Fear for Throwback Thursday on February 8, 2018. This novel was published by Carrick Publishing on April 8, 2015. Mofina consistently runs approximately 4.5-5 stars for any of his books sold on Amazon.

Book Blurb:

The Dying Hour introduces Jason Wade, a rookie crime reporter with The Seattle Mirror, a loner who grew up in the shadow of a brewery in one of the city’s blue-collar neighborhoods. At The Seattle Mirror, he is competing for the single full-time job being offered through the paper’s intense intern program. But unlike the program’s other young reporters, who attended big name schools and worked at other big metro dailies, Wade put himself through community college, and lacked the same experience. 

Wade struggles with his haunting past as he pursues the story of Karen Harding, a college student whose car was found abandoned on a lonely stretch of highway in the Pacific Northwest. How could this beloved young woman with the altruistic nature simply vanish?

Wade battles mounting odds and cut-throat competition to unearth the truth behind Karen Harding’s disturbing case. Her disappearance is a story he cannot give up, never realizing the toll it could exact from him. The Dying Hour is a bone-chilling, mesmerizing page-turner that introduces readers to an all-too-human young hero who journeys into the darkest regions of the human heart to confront a nightmare. 

Add to Goodreads

Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – The Dying Hour by Rick Mofina – a #BookReview”

S’more Murders by Maya Corrigan #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

S'more Murders by Maya Corrigan

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for S’more Murders by Maya Corrigan on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to register for your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

S’more Murders (A Five-Ingredient Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Kensington (July 31, 2018) Happy Release Day!
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496709196
Digital ASIN: B0776HN51M

Book Blurb

S'more Murders by Maya CorriganManaging a fitness club café and collaborating on a cookbook with her grandfather are Val Deniston’s usual specialties, but she’s about to set sail into nearby Chesapeake Bay—straight into a murder case . . .

Since catering themed events is a good way to make extra cash, Val agrees to board the Titanic—or at least cater a re-creation of the doomed journey on a yacht. The owner of the yacht, who collects memorabilia related to the disaster, wants Val to serve the last meal the Titanic passengers ate . . . while his guests play a murder-mystery game. But it is the final feast for one passenger who disappears from the ship. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Now Val has to reel in a killer before s’more murders go down . . .

Includes delicious five-ingredient recipes!

My Review

Definitely a different and unique premise, I believe, to write a cozy mystery about the last meal of the special guests on the Titanic! In this case, it is Val Deniston, who manages the Cool Down Café at the Bayport Racket and Fitness Club. She has reluctantly agreed to cater a ten-course meal of the famous last meal of the Titanic passengers for yacht owner Otto Warbeck. She has catered other theme events with success, but this one entails preparation and service on a yacht as it motors out of Chesapeake Bay with an unusual cadre of guests.

Val moved in with her grandfather who is throwing her some catering jobs and taking an online PI course, but tries to talk her out of this one feeling it’s over the top creepy and inviting of disaster. To add to the creepy factor, Otto has scheduled the voyage for the anniversary of the sinking. Val’s BFF and assistant at the Café is Bethany, who agrees to work with her in this different and unusual onboard experience. Val has a boyfriend, Gunnar, who is rather a dud and not a good match. (He may be moving–goodbye and good luck.)

Otto has designed a murder mystery game to entertain his guests while on board during the course of the elaborate meal. The theme party goes awry when there is an obvious disappearance and the kid piloting the craft is found to be under the influence.

As this is the fifth installment of the series and my first experience with this author, I did not find the protagonist fully fleshed, although there is sufficient backstory to allow viewing this as a standalone novel. Her grandfather can be a bit strong, but contributes to the investigation with Val on the mystery to help clear the young man who was acting as captain.

Red herrings are flying over the bow, twists and turns, and it would seem most on board had a motive. Still, the scenario worked out in my mind turned out to be darned close, but didn’t address a few aspects of the whodunit that was ironed out well in conclusion. For some reason, I couldn’t fully engage with the protagonist and Gunnar was just a clink. Grandpa was a forceful personality as was Otto, whose trophy wife was sympathetic. I enjoyed references and tidbits about the Titanic and had no idea there was such a large cult following collection of all things Titanic, the tragic circumstances apparently stirring limitless fascination even 106 years later. The storyline moves along at cozy pace and the foodie stuff will be of interest.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended as a cozy with an unusual premise for those who enjoy a Five Ingredient Mystery, culinary thrillers, and clean suspense novels.

 Add to Goodreads

Giveaway

Be sure to sign up for your chance to win one of two print copies of S’More Murders in this Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Maya Corrigan - authorMaya Corrigan blends her love of food and detective stories in her Five-Ingredient Mystery series set in a fictional historic town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The first book in the series, By Cook or by Crook, was published in 2014. It was followed by Scam Chowder in 2015, Final Fondue in 2016, and The Tell-Tale Tarte in 2017.

Before taking up a life of crime (on the page), she taught university courses in writing, detective fiction, American literature, and drama. She won the 2013 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Unpublished Mainstream Mystery / Suspense. Her short stories, written under the name of Mary Ann Corrigan, have been published in anthologies.

When not reading and writing, she enjoys theater, tennis, trivia, cooking, and crosswords. Her website features trivia about food and mysteries.

Author Links:

WebPage: mayacorrigan.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maya-CorriganBooks/305167769636032

Purchase Links:

Amazon – B&N   Kobo  Google Play   BookBub

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

Tour Participants:

July 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

July 31 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

July 31 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

August 1 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 1 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

August 2 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

August 2 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

August 3 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

August 3 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

August 4 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

August 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

August 5 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 6 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 6 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

August 7 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 8 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 9 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 9 – Mysteries with Character – SPOTLIGHT

August 10 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW  

August 10 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

August 11 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

August 12 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

The Invisible Mind by M. T. Bass #BlogTour #BookReview

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you by the C.E. at my blog stop for The Invisible Mind by M. T. Bass on Sage’s Blog Tours.

The Invisible Mind-Murder by Munchausen #3 by M.T. Bass

Book Details

Title: The Invisible Mind: Murder by Munchausen #3 Future Crime Mysteries: A Sci-Fi Police Procedural Techno-Thriller

      • Print Length: 212 pages
      • Publisher: Electron Alley Corporation
      • Publication Date: August 25, 2018
      • Language: English
      • ASIN:B07DFF75L3

     

    • ISBN-10: 194626606X
    • ISBN-13: 978-1946266064

    Book Blurb

    A police procedural sci-fi thriller ripped from future headlines!

    Now unleashed, the “Baron” is resurrecting history’s notorious serial killers, giving them a second life in the bodies of hacked and reprogrammed Personal Assistant Androids, then turning them loose to terrorize the city. While detectives Jake and Maddie of the police department’s Artificial Crimes Unit scramble to stop the carnage with the Baron’s arrest, the cyberpunk head of the Counter IT Section, Q, struggles to de-encrypt his mad scheme to infect world data centers with a virus that represents a collective cyber unconsciousness of evil. Continue reading “The Invisible Mind by M. T. Bass #BlogTour #BookReview”

See You Soon, Afton – a #BookReview

See You Soon, Afton by Brent JonesTitle: See You Soon, Afton (Afton Morrison Book 2) by Brent Jones

Genre: Currently #3787 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Suspense

Publication Date: August 7, 2018

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: See You Soon, AftonAfton Morrison, Book 2 (The Afton Morrison Series) by Brent Jones

Holy smokes! Book 2 literally sets the plot on fire with the dark and desperate attempt by Afton to find and save little Kim. The despot in Afton takes a back seat as she must act on that soft spot for the sweet and innocent volunteer library assistant who looks on her as a mentor. After all, she has yet to prove her psychopathic vigilante assassin status! If Afton ravaged your senses in Book 1 with her first-person account of her twisted, deep vigilante desires and her comprehensive search for the perfect victim to stem the Animus within her, Book 2 slams what you thought you knew about where this was going against a very hot, blackened wall. Continue reading “See You Soon, Afton – a #BookReview”

#ThrowbackThursday – A View to Die For by Richard Houston

Throwback Thursday - featuring A View to DIE For

Renee began the #ThrowbackThursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).

This week I am highlighting Richard Houston, another terrific, prolific author who wrote A View to Die For, #1 in the series, which I reviewed on Goodreads. He has actually written a number of books in the Books To Die For series. I also read #2, A Book to Die For (also downloaded from BookBub). If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you know I’m a sucker for dog pics or doggy stories. Read this for the dog, Fred. (I hoped he lived more than two books. To see why, read the review that follows.) This novel was published on October 8, 2012. Houston consistently runs approximately four stars for any of his books sold on Amazon. Just look at that face!

Originally posted May 29, 2014

Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – A View to Die For by Richard Houston”

The Colonel and the Bee – a #BookReview

The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick CanningTitle: The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning

Genre: Currently #4792 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, Action & Adventure

Publisher: Evolved Publishing LLC

Publication Date: June 1, 2018

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: The Colonel and the Bee-Love that cover

Hoo-boy is this one a douzy! This novel was so much fun I couldn’t keep it to myself and shared with the C.E., whose review will follow mine. The novel hit all my buttons: unique, intriguing, adventurous, historical, surprisingly sharp (and young) female protagonist coupled with the swash-buckling theatrics of a male co-protagonist and absolute non-stop action. First, wrap your head around a  four-story house-sized balloon, and if that doesn’t set your imagination reeling, nothing will. (Think steampunk!)

Beatrix is a barely teenaged female acrobat in a 19th-century European traveling circus held captive owing her age by an abusive ringleader. The dashing and mysterious English Colonel James Bacchus attends the same private showing where she performs and she contrives to join him in a getaway following his ellicit treatise with the wife of their exclusive estate’s host. With the Oxford Starladder (the Ox) the colonel is in pursuit of a heinous criminal as he drifts across the continent in search of a precious jewel, the Blue Star Sphinx, which value in turn has attracted the warring factions of two families. (Think Hatfields and McCoys)

With every additional description of the Ox, I badly wanted to climb aboard and explore each and every crevice, descend the spiral stars, partake of the gourmet meals presented by the colonel, and peak into the horticultural room where the fresh vegetables were grown. What a delightful imaginative fantasy–but one that seemed within grasp it was made so real. The rich nineteenth-century dialogue, $50 words, and formal English prose was a delight but I was many times grateful for the built-in dictionary of my Kindle. Continue reading “The Colonel and the Bee – a #BookReview”

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

#AmReading - series

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

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

See You Soon, Afton #2 Afton Morrison series

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

See You Soon, Afton – Book Blurb:

Somebody is watching. Somebody is always watching.

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

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

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

Add to Goodreads

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

The Invisible Mind-Murder by Munchausen #3

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

The Invisible Mind – Book Blurb:

A police procedural thriller ripped from future headlines!

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

Add to Goodreads

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

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

The Other Vietnam War by Marc Cullison #BlogTour #BookReview

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you by the C.E.  at my blog stop for The Other Vietnam War: A Helicopter Pilot’s Life in Vietnam by Marc Cullison on Sage’s Blog Tours.

Book Details

  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Imzadi Publishing, LLC
  • Publication Date: May 10, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • ISBN-10: 0990846539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0990846536
  • ASIN: B00XI1T7F2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank – #242 in Kindle eBooks, Biographies & Memoirs, Historical, Military & Wars, Vietnam War

Book Blurb

The Other Vietnam WarEach of us who served in Vietnam was the guy next door, the average Joe, not a hero. The boy who might date your daughter or sister. The young man who might mow your yard. In Vietnam, we weren’t out to be heroes. We just did our jobs.

For a helicopter pilot, each day was like all the others. You flew the mission and never stopped to think that it might be your last. You didn’t think about the bullet holes in the helicopter, the cracks in the tail boom, or about any of it until night, lying in bed when you couldn’t think of anything else.

The Other Vietnam War is the story of the introduction to a new country, a backward culture, the perils of a combat zone, and the effects on a young lieutenant fresh out of flight school. It does not labor the reader with pages of white-knuckle adventures, as so many other fine books about the Vietnam War do. It instead focuses on the internal battle each soldier fought with himself to make sense of where he was, why he was there, and if he was good enough.

The administrative duties of Commissioned officers, while tame compared to the exploits of valiant pilots who wrote about them, caused a deep introspection into life and its value in an enigmatic place like Vietnam. Aside from the fear, excitement, deliverance, and denial that each pilot faced, the inner battle he fought with himself took its toll. Some of us thought we’d find glory. But many of us discovered there is no glory in war.

My Review

The talk in the lunch room was of a place called Bietnam or some such. Never heard of it. However, the US Congress in its infinite wisdom was getting us involved and nobody knew why.

The draft was reinstated and the young son’s of WW II veterans were on the chopping block. Some ran and some stayed. The author spells out the calamity facing a generation that did not endorse or embrace a “conflict” halfway around the world. Marc Cullison faced many of the same conflicted reactions that most of us felt. Why do I want to join the military and fight in a place that has no direct impact on my country? Mr. Cullison explains, “the Vietnam war was a tragedy, a shallow and profane act of war as any war is.”  We were not threatened nor did we have anything to fear from Southeast Asia!  Why did we have to get involved and escalate into that part of the world?

Four years of being a helicopter pilot in Vietnam was what his pledge to honor and serve elicited, and Marc examines his thoughts and feelings as he served his tour. This memoir does not describe so much of the actual air battles as it does the result of war on the men who served. As I read his account I was reminded of some of my own service-related experiences during the same time. Away from home for the better part of four years, I served in countries that I had never aspired to visit. But orders were cut, oaths were taken, and we were sent into the melee.

Like Marc, I served because I had promised to uphold and defend our Constitution and way of life. After boot camp, it was painfully obvious that the orders from “my superiors” were not necessarily superior. My specialty did not send me “in country” to face the trials that Marc witnessed, but the periphery.

Marc says, “when you sign up for military service, you are supposed to be ready to defend your country and even die for it.” It’s a time of terror in equal portions of boredom and excessive moments of retrospection and the author shares his insights in equal measure. (One of my orders was to return to a base in the mountains of Taiwan in a stage two typhoon alert as the mountain roared with the sound of a hundred freight trains and downed electrical lines crossed the roadway.) The futility of the experience upon our return to the states with people spitting on us and calling us baby killers really pissed me off.  There were people in wheelchairs with missing body parts and blind and deaf who had had no choice in their deployment and our citizens waited at the airports to shame us.) I can understand where Marc is coming from. However, living in the orient taught me one thing. Most people simply want to live their lives and go about raising their families.

The book is often graphically profane, but I agree with the author that it frankly reflects an honest look at the legions of men sent to defend their spot in the jungle. It may also serve as a valuable education, particularly for those who are considering joining the military. The services are a valid way to serve our country; contribution seals loyalty and provides a window into the wheels of management. (Avoiding the draft was not then an option, but neither is it the responsibility of the young citizens of our nation to help bolster the coffers of the corporations that profit and proliferate the development of weapons of war.)

I highly recommend this book as a means of understanding the conflict that persons of that generation faced during that extremely divisive time. Certainly, I would serve again, and after 9/11 tried to re-enlist because our country had been attacked. Read this book and experience the futility that most wars can be.

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars of Five Rating

About the Author

Marc CullisonMarc Cullison is a baby-boomer who grew up in an era when education was everything and duty to country was a responsibility. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering at Oklahoma State University, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve Corps of Engineers through the ROTC program. During his four-year tour of duty, he served as helicopter pilot with the 129th Assault Helicopter Company in II Corps, Vietnam, in 1971. He returned from overseas to an assignment as a military assistant to the resident engineer at Kaw Dam and Reservoir near Ponca City, Oklahoma, where he met the woman he would marry there. After two years in Ponca City, he was honorably discharged and returned to Oklahoma State where he received a master’s degree in architectural engineering and honed his technical skills as a professional structural engineer. Then into quality control at a manufacturing plant which led him into computer programming. His most recent career was a math and science instructor at Connors State College in Warner and Muskogee, Oklahoma, from which he retired in 2014. He lives with his wife in a self-built log house near Sallisaw. Sage's Blog Tours

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and thanks to Sage’s Blog Tours for the opportunity to read and review this novel!

©2018 C.E. Williams the CE

A Soufflé of Suspicion by Daryl Wood Gerber #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

A Souffle of Suspicion by Daryl Wood Gerber

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for A Soufflé of Suspicion: A French Bistro Mystery by Daryl Wood Gerber on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Don’t miss this unusual PRIZE package giveaway. Scroll down to Giveaway link.

Book Details  

A Soufflé of Suspicion: A French Bistro Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (July 10, 2018)
Hardcover 296 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683315865
Digital ASIN: B075QMR44B

Book Blurb

The buoyant mood at Bistro Rousseau deflates when Chef Camille’s sister, Renee, turns up dead in the chef’s kitchen, and Mimi Rousseau must tease the real killer out of a mélange of menacing characters.

Crush Week in Nouvelle Vie is a madhouse—in a good way. Tourists pour into town for the pressing of the Napa Valley’s world-renowned grapes and all the town’s businesses get a nice lift, including Bistro and Maison Rousseau. Mimi is raising the ante this year with a Sweet Treats Festival, a wonderland of croissants, cakes, tarts, and soufflés crafted with expert care by the area’s top talents.

Chef Camille’s sister Renee is managing the festival with a cast-iron fist, upsetting everyone, including her sister. Which is bad for Camille when Renee turns up dead in the chef’s kitchen. Mimi is still building her business, so her first course of action is to whip up answers and catch the unsavory perpetrator before Camille takes a dusting and gets burned.

My Review

A Souffle of Suspicion by Daryl Wood GerberI love the locale of the Napa Valley wineries and all the picturesque little villages that comprise the famous California vineyards. Those quaint and charming little towns boast everything from prize-winning wines to delicious local mustards, hot springs, and wonderful boutique cafes.

So the setting of this second offering of the series caught my attention as the fictional town of Nouvelle Vie explodes with (more) tourists than usual for Crush Week. Protagonist Mimi Rousseau has dialed up the tannins with her participation in the Sweet Treats Festival in which the local cafe’s, restaurants, and bakeries offer up their exclusive sweets and pair with the appropriate red or white. (They will offer cakes, pastries, and soufflés as well as competitions.) Her own Bistro Rousseau boasts Chef C (Camille) and an array of accomplished personnel all catering to an exclusive French dining cuisine. (Fortunately for me, the recipes follow the conclusion of the novel and doesn’t interrupt the steady progression of the plot.)

As the second in the series, Mimi is not wholly fleshed, although some backstory is offered to bring the reader up to speed. Her support characters provide a solid well-rounded venue, including pets, and a possible romantic interest (so soon, my dear?) for the recently widowed MC. Her mother is a local vintner and besides her own employees, Mimi has a strong network of locals to provide validation.

Unfortunately, Renee, the sister of Chef C, is found murdered in the kitchen. Renee was organizing and managing the festival with an iron fist. Mimi becomes fully involved in protecting and watching over Chef Camille as well as providing some investigation on her own–not the first time she’s performed sleuthing as well as haute cuisine duties. The well-developed mystery proceeds through red herrings, misdirection, and plot twists offering up several suspects and the arguments for or against each possible person of interest.

In the meantime, aspects regarding the management of an exclusive restaurant run rampant, as well as menu suggestions replete with flowery French names. As Mimi struggles with the detailed services of her sister business, the Maison Rousseau, as well as the Bistro, the Festival, and the local cafes involved, the reader gets a peek into the local European styled architectural castles boasting vast wine cellars and elite varietal wines as well as their own to-die-for desserts.

The protagonist begins to experience strange little “accidents,” and although reluctant to share concerns with the local gendarme, appears to confirm she’s making progress with her own investigation. Her relentless pursuit of the truth helps to clear her chef as a suspect.

I had a little problem with the limited fleshing of Mimi coming into the second of the series. Although she appears to be a strong and independent figure, she didn’t feel three-dimensional to me. She is textbook capable of not only owning and running a French cafe, but employing a decent sized support group. Mimi has obviously attained a successful following and possesses a smart sense of organization. She can allow her support staff as well as the chef she brings in temporarily to cover for her absences when she’s busy following leads and juggling cafe critics.

Recommended for foodies and fans of cozy mysteries in a particularly beautiful and unique setting. So, for me, this was more of a locale-driven plot than that of character and it was easy to be swept up in the excitement of the exquisite wine and food industry.

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Giveaway

One Prize Package (U.S. only) in the Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Daryl Wood Gerber - authorAgatha Award-winning Daryl Wood Gerber is best known for her nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries and CHEESE SHOP MYSTERIES, which she pens as Avery Aames. She will soon debut the new French Bistro Mysteries. Daryl also writes stand-alone suspense: DAYS OF SECRETS and GIRL ON THE RUN. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to cook, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!

Author Links:

Visit Daryl or Avery at www.darylwoodgerber.com.

Daryl’s Blog – Avery’s Blog – Mystery Lover’s Kitchen – Killer Characters –

Facebook:   Daryl      Avery 

Twitter: @AveryAames @DarylWoodGerber

Goodreads:    Daryl Wood Gerber     Avery Aames

Purchase Links:

Amazon  B&N   BookBub  Kobo

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

Tour Participants:

July 6 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
July 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
July 6 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
July 7 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
July 7 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
July 8 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
July 8 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST
July 9 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
July 9 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
July 10 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
July 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
July 11 – cherylbbookblog  – REVIEW
July 12 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST
July 12 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
July 13 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
July 13 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST
July 14 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW
July 14 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
July 15 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW
July 15 – Lisa Ks Book Review – REVIEW, GUEST POST
July 16 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
July 16 – That’s What She’s Reading – GUEST POST
July 17 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
July 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
July 18 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW*
July 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 19 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
July 19 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, GUEST POST 

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Tied Up With Strings by Madeline McEwen #BlogTour #Spotlight #Giveaway

Tied Up With Strings by Madeline McEwen

I am super-excited today to provide a spotlight at my blog stop for Tied Up With Strings by Madeline McEwen on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to this a VERY unique Giveaway!

Book Details

Tied Up with Strings (A Serebral Seniors Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Imajin Qwickies, An imprint of Imajin Books (December 11, 2017)
Print Length: 85 pages
ASIN: B077PLNWY9

Book Blurb

Tied Up With Strings - by Madeline McEwenAn Imajin Qwickies® Mystery/Crime Novella

Big mysteries often come in small packages…

When curmudgeonly private detective Betty Grape visits a young friend, who is housesitting in a remote village in England for Christmas vacation, something seems out of place. Her friend, Catia, is visibly nervous. Is she worried about the young men in the decrepit caravan in next door’s back garden? Or is Catia involved in the disappearance of the homeowner’s invalid wife?

As an American, Betty discovers the locals are full of friendly gossip but taciturn about solid facts. Though they are determined to keep Betty from butting in on their territory, she blunders through the social morass of narrow-minded foreigners and their broad Dorset accents. Can she unravel the tight knots of this mystery? Will she find the perpetrator under thickly thatched rooves or behind floral chintz curtains?

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 Giveaway
Enter for your chance to win a packet of British tea bags and step-by-step instructions on how to make this delicious beverage in the  Rafflecopter giveaway

Madeline McEwen - author

Madeline McEwen is an ex-pat from the UK, bi-focaled and technically challenged. She and her Significant Other manage their four offspring, one major and three minors, two autistic, two neurotypical, plus a time-share with Alzheimer’s. In her free time, she walks the canines and chases the felines with her nose in a book and her fingers on a keyboard.

Author Links:

Website  http://www.madelinemcewen.c

Amazon   http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00Q41VUFI

Pinterest  https://www.pinterest.com/macmaddy/pins/

Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/MadMcEwen

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/madeline.mcewenasker

GoodReads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9886841.Madeline_McEwen

Blog http://whittereronautism.com/

Purchase Link

http://getbook.at/TiedUpwStrings

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

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

July 9 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

July 9 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

July 10 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

July 10 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

July 11 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST

July 11 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

July 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

July 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 13 – Carole’s Book Corner – REVIEW

July 13 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 14 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 14 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

July 15 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

July 15 – Rosepoint Publishing – SPOTLIGHT

July 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 16 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

July 17 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 18 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST

Great Escapes Book ToursThanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to share the spotlight on this cozy mystery!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Lion on Fire – a #BookReview

Lion on Fire by Ted Galdi

Title: Lion on Fire: a Casino-Heist Thriller by Ted Galdi

Genre: Currently #13 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle ebooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime Fiction, Heist, and #25 in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime Fiction, Organized Crime

Publisher: Precipice Books

Publication Date: December 12, 2017

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: Lion on FireCover carries the title theme

Little brothers can be a real trial! (Mine kept our entire family hopping.) Brian Rolson, the protagonist/hero in this novel has the same problem that many of us have faced with younger siblings. Brian’s younger brother Kip has gotten himself into a world of trouble–this time selling illegal drugs. Having extra money made him loose and careless and now he is in a world of hurt. Continue reading “Lion on Fire – a #BookReview”