The Big Gamble (Dev Haskell Private Investigator Book 28) by Mike Faricy – #BookReview – #noircrime

Mike Faricy is the winner of the 2019 Crime Master’s of America Poison Cup Award.
He is the winner of the 2020 Crime Master’s of America Poison Cup Award for the Best Selling series.
He has been nominated for the 2018, 2019, & 2020 Silver Falchion Award.

Book Blurb:

The Big Gamble by Mike FaricyDev Haskell receives a phone call from an old friend. It’s feared Dev’s old high school flame, Maddie McGuire, has fallen through the ice along the Mississippi River and can’t be found. Dev hasn’t seen her since she married ne’er do well, Colton Ferral. After attending the memorial service and reconnecting with her sisters, he comes away with more questions than answers.

Local crime lord, Tubby Gustafson, has some questions for Dev, too. Amazingly, Colton Ferral’s name comes up. Of course, what better time to offer a spare bedroom on Airbnb, not to mention a surprise guest who arrives on the scene.

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

His Review:

Never abandon a great writing formula. Mike Faricy has done it again with his 28th novel in the Dev Haskell Series. A hole in the ice and an old girlfriend’s personal effects are found on the shore of the river. The family is devastated.

The Big Gamble by Mike FaricyMike had dated Madeline (Maddie) in high school but she married another man. What was she doing on the ice in the river? Everyone knew you should not try to skate on the river because of treacherous ice. Maddie, although a very skilled skater, had gone through a hole in the ice and her body was not found. Her purse, one blue mitten, her identity and drivers license were all left at the shore where she had begun to skate.

Dev is not the most beloved detective in the state. One of his clients, Fat Tubby Gustafson has demanded he investigate each of the people who apply to work for him in illegal gambling enterprises. Mike Faricy provides twists and turns that are entertaining.

Dev went to Maddie’s wedding to Colton Ferral and noticed that the bride was less than thrilled as she left her wedding. Colton and his mother are in collusion. Their intent is to take over the gambling in town and get rid of Fat Tubby. Dev is investigating why two of Fat Tubby’s establishments were robbed. Everyone knows you do not cross Fat Tubby.

Ice on the river and a strong current has probably taken Maddie’s body down stream and it would not be found until spring. The story brings back many of the same characters and relationships in Faricy’s other books. I particularly like the dog named Morton in the series. He provides some lighter moments to the overall tale. 

Can Dev solve the mystery of what happened to Maddie? The reminiscence of a former high school sweetheart adds a romantic twist to the story. Much like the old dime novels, these are a fast and fulfilling read. I also read and greatly enjoyed Book 27, Alley Katz and can recommend both. 4.5 stars – C.E. Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and these my honest opinions.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Noir Crime, Private Investigator Mysteries
ASIN: B091G3XMM8
Print Length: 239 pages
Publication Date: April 21, 2021
Source: Author request
Title Link: The Big Gamble [Amazon]

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Mike Faricy - authorThe Author: Mike Faricy was awarded the 2016 IACM Silver Award for Best Mystery Author.
His books have held the #1 slot in the Kindle Store in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and India.
Mike Faricy was listed as the IACM Author of the Month for April 2018.

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

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

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

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

Faricy’s Hotshot series are zany, delightfully entertaining standalone crime tales.

Enjoy the reads!

Originally from Saint Paul, Minnesota, Faricy still spends six months of the year in the saintly city as well as six months in Dublin, Ireland. Thanks for taking the time and be sure to tell 2-300 of your closest friends.
Visit Mike on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MikeFaricyBooks
Visit Dev Haskell’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/DevHaskell
Email Mike” mikefaricyauthor@gmail.com
Follow Mike on Twitter @mikefaricybooks
Mike’s web site; http://www.mikefaricybooks.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Pieces of Home (Hometown Harbor Series Book 4) by Tammy L Grace – #BookReview – #Contemporary American Fiction

Book Blurb:

An unexpected visitor.  A buried secret she is forced to divulge. Does she have the strength to overcome the pain of her past?

Pieces of Home by Tammy L GraceEllie hasn’t seen or spoken to her parents in twenty years—since she came to live on the island with her aunt and uncle. She’s all grown up now and runs the popular family bakery, Sweet Treats.

Things change when she meets Blake.  The newcomer frequents the bakery each morning and over fresh cinnamon rolls they develop a friendship. He renews a sense of hope and joy in Ellie.  She’s hesitant to trust him with her heart.

An unforeseen plea for help forces Ellie to reveal a secret.  One she’s kept hidden from even her closest friends. And that’s just the beginning of her turbulent journey. The past she’s worked so hard to escape resurface and bring only heartache. She’s forced to tackle challenges that threaten her livelihood and those she holds most dear. Instead of letting her past define her future, will Ellie summon the courage to recognize an unexpected path may be a welcome gift?

Pieces of Home is the fourth book in the Hometown Harbor Series, stories filled with the emotional journeys of women in midlife, and a touch of romance. If you like stories that tug on your heartstrings, small town life, and characters you’ll fall for again and again, then you’ll love Tammy L. Grace’s latest tale of loss, love, and the perseverance of a woman determined to succeed, despite the threat of losing all she cherishes. 

My Review:

Trust me to come into a series at Book 4 and wonder how I got here. Ellie is owner/manager of Sweet Treats. She bought the bakery from the aunt and uncle she was sent to at age 16 when her mother banished her from their home.

Pieces of Home by Tammy L GraceThey taught her the bakery business and retired when she took it over. She has made a solid base of family and friends on the island where they live, a tight knit community.

Two events happen that change the course of her journey. First, she meets Blake, a newcomer to the island and the new owner of a winery he hopes to expand and develop. Secondly, she has a visitor that turns her world completely upside down. In an effort to confront the challenge, she undergoes some lab work that reveals she is a diabetic in urgent need of a lifestyle change. But it doesn’t alter the challenge and she continues to pursue a solution.

As Ellie experienced a horrific childhood culminating in her being forced out of the home, she has trust issues…even with the wonderful aunt and uncle who supported her throughout her young adult life. But now she’s had to face the secret she’s held and share her problems with the circle of friends who eventually go well above and beyond friendship when she is unexpectedly dealt two deaths.

Big upheaval in her life and through it all the friends rally and rally again.

Lots of characters, some of whom are hard to keep straight, not so well developed now. With all her experience in a bakery, the narrative is full of cupcakes, tons of sweets (of course) and food—lots of food.

The first good portion of the book is more tell than show, then converts to a lot of dialogue. Seems there is an extra effort put into wringing emotional scenes, but really, none of the tragedies were unexpected. There are dogs throughout the novel, but at one point I couldn’t understand how a dog who’d waited all day for his person to come home then had to wait another hour to go out while Ellie researched on her computer. The romance that sounded very 50ish/early 60ish came late into the book. Thinking this is not a book or series for me, though I can see many people loved it.

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

Rosepoint Rating: Three point five stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Dog Breeds, Love & Romance, Contemporary American Fiction
Publisher: Lone Mountain Press

  • ASIN : B015JPAXJ8

Print Length: 269 pages
Publication Date: October 14, 2015
Source: Author request 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Tammy L Grace - authorThe Author: Tammy L. Grace is a USA Today Bestselling and award-winning fiction author who brings readers entertaining stories that take them on an emotional journey, filled with complex relationships of friendship and family in her Hometown Harbor Series. Set in the picturesque San Juan Islands in Washington, escape with a close-knit group of friends and their interwoven lives filled with both challenges and joys that resonate with women. Each book in the series focuses on a different woman and her journey of self-discovery.

Tammy creates compelling characters who readers love or love to hate. In her Cooper Harrington Detective Novels, readers will delight in the fast-paced whodunits, featuring Coop and his loyal golden retriever, Gus. Set in Nashville, Coop, a snarky t-shirt wearing lawyer turned private detective, with the help of his dog and faithful friend and assistant, Annabelle, work to solve murder mysteries with plenty of twists.

Fans of sweet Christmas stories will love her small town Christmas novellas filled with family, friendship, and furry characters.

Tammy also writes under the pen name Casey Wilson and has released two books, A Dog’s Hope and A Dog’s Chance, both emotional and heartwarming stories about the bond we have with our beloved canine companions.

Born and raised in Nevada, Tammy loved reading at a young age. With the help of her middle school teacher, she discovered the joy of writing. After spending a career in local and state government service, she retired and finally has the time to dedicate to writing.

When Tammy isn’t working on ideas for a novel, she’s spending time with family and friends or supporting her addiction to books and chocolate. She and her husband have one grown son and a spoiled golden retriever.

Tammy invites you to join her exclusive reader group by subscribing on her website at http://www.tammylgrace.com and she’ll send you a free interview with all the dogs in her Hometown Harbor Series as a thank you gift. Connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tammylgrace.books and follow her on Amazon by clicking the yellow button below her photograph on her author page.

©2021 V Williams

TV Netflix movie The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society vs #Audiobook by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows – #historicalfiction – #TBT

TV Netflix movie vs audiobook

“If books do have the power to bring people together, this one may work it’s magic.”

Trust the CE to find the pseudo-Hallmark of the week, in this instance, the Historical Fiction of the adaptation of a book published more than ten years previous amid vocal yays and nays. But, once again, my attention snagged, I sat and watched the two hour 3 minute movie with him. Seems we are in the grip of WWII stories and it doesn’t take much more than the slightest undertones of romance and a happy ever after to get the attention of those who hear the ka-ching in the wind. So yes, FIRST I watched the movie, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, although it was awhile before I noticed the audiobook come up at my local, well-stocked (audiobook) library. Once more I discovered quite the wide disparity of book vs TV version and glad I saw the Netflix rendering first.

Netflix Movie

No doubt most of my readers watched this movie before I did. Briefly, for those who haven’t, a successful London writer gets a letter from a resident of Guernsey and responds to his inquiry which begins an odyssey into the war history of the residents who invented a book club in the face of probable arrest by the Nazi occupiers.

In 1941, four friends confronted by soldiers of the German occupation invent a book club to explain why they’ve broken curfew. The historical romantic-drama borrowed heavily from the cast of Downton Abbey in forming a solid, immersive cast on film.

In 1946, Juliet Ashton receives an inquiry from one of the residents of Guernsey that sets off a barrage of correspondence eventually resulting in her move to the island to get to know them better and write a book about their WWII stories. Juliet has been writing successfully as Izzy Bickerstaff but explains to her publisher, Sidney Stark, that she wishes to write something of greater substance and senses a winning story.

It doesn’t take long to get to know the residents, appreciate their kindness, and understand their reticence in sharing emotional stories. Many of the stories keep revolving around another resident named Elizabeth, the founding member of the Society. Elizabeth’s daughter Kit was left with members of the Society when Elizabeth was arrested. She is still missing but hope remains for her return.

Juliet had left Mark in London expecting to return, an American in the armed forces, who proposed to her shortly before she left for Guernsey. He gleans info regarding Elizabeth for Juliet to relay to the Society, but her heart is now in Guernsey; the people, a man named Dawsey, Kit, and she’ll stay there.

Enter your happy ever after, queue the violins, swell the volume, fade to scenic pictures of the happy couple with the sun setting on the surf.

My Thoughts

Being a war baby, I got stories from my mother, the pictures, the music—the wartime mentality. Stamps for provisions, making due (chicory instead of coffee), darning until the clothes fell apart, shoes stuffed with paper or cardboard. So, yes, perhaps I tend to get a bit nostalgic. I’m not big on romance novels or movies, but there is more to this story than the romance both Juliet and Dawsey were denying. There is happiness gleaned in stories of triumph and the tragedy of loss. The scenes shot across England were beautiful, the clothing and hairstyles authentic. The production is engaging enough to forgive a few little details that might have been glossed over. 5 stars

Audiobook

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…. 

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends – and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island – boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever. 

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

My Thoughts

WHOA! What a shock to discover the novel is actually Epistolary Fiction. Not that I haven’t read other books in that particular format, I guess, just that I didn’t know there was a name for that. Letters. A literary work made entirely in the form of letters. Hence, the multiple narrators (for the different characters in the audiobook).

Not at all what I was expecting. But then after a chapter or two, I expected it to evolve. It didn’t.

he Guernsey Literary and PPP Society audiobook coverFirst, the speed with which letters seem to fly back and forth left me wondering about post-wartime posts. With addresses disappearing daily during the raids and people missing, there was still the capacity of posting and receiving letters that fast?

Rather than trading letters and characters every chapter, I wished for some off-page narration. A little filler.

The letters, though written (and narrated) by different characters all seemed to have much the same sense of humor and insight. Only the character of Mark, the wealthy American, who was largely offensive, seemed distinct.

I did enjoy a number of the little side stories, dips into the characters for instance of Dawsey Adams, a pig farmer, and how a pig was used to dupe the Germans. I’m quite sure many such shenanigans were played, lightening the dark times just enough to make bearable another day under deplorable conditions.

Still, I was never able to become engaged with Juliet and the letters as laid out, always wanting to “fill in” what I perceived missing. 3 1/2 stars

Overall Impression

This would not have been my choice of reading had I known it was an Epistolary novel. And quite possibly, I’d have denied myself the pleasure of the book seen through the visionaries in the Netflix movie had I read the book first. So much is conveyed through sight and scene, the flashbacks, the instant impressions that make the movie come alive. The desperation, hurt, denial, and guilt, missing in part in the novel. The actors were superb. Their eyes spoke volumes. The letters failed to impart that emotion for me.

I have to give the Netflix movie the nod over the novel. If you haven’t had the pleasure, even at this late date, look for it.

Book Details

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Genre: World War II Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Publisher:  Random House Audio (Unabridged)
ASIN: B001FVJIN8
Listening Length: 8 hrs 7 min
Narrator:  Paul BoehmerSusan DuerdenRosalyn LandorJohn LeeJuliet Mills
Audible Release: September 2, 2008
Publication Date: August 1, 2006
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Publisher: The Dial Press
Genre: Epistolary Fiction, Historical World War II Fiction, World War Historical Fiction
Print Length: 306 pages
ISBN : 0385341008
ASIN: B0015DWJX2
Publication Date: July 29, 2008
Title Link: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society [Amazon]

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Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows - authorsThe Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer who passed away in February 2008, worked as an editor, librarian, and in bookshops. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel.

Annie Barrows - author[Goodreads] Mary Ann Shaffer worked as an editor, a librarian, and in bookshops. Her life-long dream was to someday write her own book and publish it. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel. Unfortunately, she became very ill with cancer and so she asked her niece, Annie Barrows, the author of the children’s series Ivy and Bean, as well as The Magic Half, to help her finish the book. Mary Ann Shaffer died in February 2008, a few months before her first novel was published.

The Narrators: Paul BoehmerSusan DuerdenRosalyn LandorJohn LeeJuliet Mills

Juliet Maryon Mills (born 21 November 1941) is a British-American actress of film, stage, and television. She is the daughter of actor Sir John Mills and Mary Hayley Bell born November 1, 1941 in London and the eldest of three siblings; her younger siblings are actress Hayley Mills and director Jonathan Mills. [Wikipedia]

©2021 V Williams

happy thursday!

A Trail of Lies: A Mystery (A Jazz Ramsey Mystery Book 3) by Kylie Logan –#BookReview – #cozyanimalmysteries – #TuesdayBookBlog – #bookseries

Book Blurb:

A Trail of Lies is the third in the Jazz Ramsey mystery series from national bestselling author Kylie Logan.

A Trail of Lies by Kylie LoganJazz Ramsey is just getting used to the idea that her on-again-off-again beau, Nick, might actually be a permanent fixture, when she gets an alarming call in the middle of the night from his mother, Kim: there’s a dead man in her backyard. Kim has a long history of drinking and a vivid imagination, so when Jazz’s human remains detection dog, Wally, finds no evidence of a body, Jazz thinks she can breathe easy.

But when the body of a middle-aged man, Dan Mansfield, is discovered in a nearby park, and a photo of Nick and his mom is found in his pocket, Jazz has to admit that something isn’t adding up. Kim claims not to know who Dan is, but the cops find out soon enough: he’s a recently paroled convict who served thirty years for murder. And when Jazz traces his crime back to a bar fight with an antiques dealer, she ends up with more questions than answers.

Meanwhile, no one wants her poking around—not Nick’s mom, nor the Motorcycle-riding ex-con she connects to Dan, nor Nick himself, who seems worried about Jazz’s safety, but also about what she might find. But Jazz has never been one to take no for an answer, and she won’t give up now—even if it means risking her own life.

My Review:

Yes, I found a doggy story to share with you today! So many dogs in this world and each and every one has a job—even if only to be a companion dog—like our little Bichon, Frosty. (Her job is to be a thigh buddy and she usually performs that job very well.)

A Trail of Lies by Kylie LoganIn Book 3 of the Jazz Ramsey Mystery series, Jazz is awakened by Nick’s mom. Unfortunately, Nick’s mom is an alcoholic and it’s difficult to believe she is actually seeing the body of Nick in her back yard as Jazz knows her (police) boyfriend is on an undercover assignment. He had asked her to look in on his mother, however, and she dutifully drags herself over to inspect her back yard.

Kim continues to be quite adamant though and after her own Airedale terrier Wally, seven months old and training to be a HRD dog, fails to find anyone, she thinks the issue is over until the body of a man is discovered in a park. Oops. Apparently this isn’t going to go away, especially after Jazz brought in a trained dog who did alert. Double oops. Don’t tell me the woman actually did see something?

This episode focuses a little more on her position at St. Catherine and we get glimpses into the training involved with the dog, but again, I miss more dog involvement in the mystery. In the meantime, we are introduced to some interesting characters, are thrown red herrings, and follow Jazz as she pursues one lead after another up to and including the attack on her life. EEK! She’s out for the count–for three weeks(?). Little further development in Nick—he is mostly out of the scene. Her family comes roaring to her rescue—and the family theme becomes prominent.

Kim’s past appears to be catching up to her and pieces of the puzzle begin to fit, interesting twists exposed. The conclusion neatly wraps up the loose dog hair and I like the protagonists’ dogged character—she WILL get answers. A slightly more serious entry to the genre and fans of cozy mysteries will enjoy the inclusion of smart dogs with just a touch of anthropomorphic inclusion. I previously read and enjoyed The Secret of Bones and was happy to see more canine involvement in this, Book 3. Still, no problem reading as a standalone. Currently on pre-order. 

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

Rosepoint Rating: Four stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books

  • ASIN : B08FZ8143D

Print Length: 312 pages
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

 Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

The Author: Kylie Logan is the nationally bestselling author of the Jazz Ramsey Mysteries, the League of Literary Ladies Mysteries, the Button Box Mysteries, the Chili Cook-Off Mysteries, and the Ethnic Eats Mysteries.

[Goodreads] A pseudonym used by Constance Laux.

©2021 V Williams

April Rosepoint Reviews Recap—If it’s May, it must be time to Garden!

Rosepoint Reviews Recap - April

Finally! May is here and while the temps are still widely erratic, there is an obvious warming trend. AND, we’ve now had successive days of sun. Just enough rain to spur the grass into greening, the tulips to bloom, and thoughts of fertilizer and seed. I’m armed with nets to cover (and hopefully protect) seedlings from the many varmints, including the deer, rabbits, raccoons, and possums that delight in eating to the ground anything humanly edible. They might receive a warmer welcome if they also ate weeds!

Still, I’m harboring visions of a beautiful vegetable garden this year—last year not too successful. I’m also working on the fairy garden again and have broken through all the reeds behind the fairy garden tree to the tree line at the pond behind us. Pond

It’s only visible in the winter when all the leaves are gone and vegetation dies down. And my daughter may be moving closer in June—we’re working on that and we’ve had news that her daughter is expecting—due in December. I’ll be a great-grandmother. Mercy! And, finally, we’ve hit “herd mentality” in the Covid fight. Hopefully, that’s also a good thing.

We posted seventeen book reviews for April, which included ARCs from NetGalley as well as author requests, audiobooks from our local library, and a blog tour.

Deadly Editions Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano The French Paradox by Ellen Crosby Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey Out of Crisis by Richard Caldwell What You Never Knew - Jessica Hamilton The Corpse Who Knew Too Much by Debra Sennefelder The Late Show by Michael Connelly Judgment at Alcatraz by Dave Edlund The Red Button by Keith Eldred Boar Island by Nevada Barr The Manhattan Job by Jason Kaspar Buried By The Sea by Kathleen Bridge Bone Rattle by Marc Cameron Punning with Scissors by Becky Clark Dry Bones by Craig Johnson Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan

 Deadly Editions by Paige Shelton
Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano (audiobook)
The French Paradox by Ellen Crosby (a CE review)
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey (audiobook)
Out of Crisis by Richard Caldwell (a CE review)
What You Never Knew by Jessica Hamilton
The Corpse Who Knew Too Much by Debra Sennefelder
The Late Show by Michael Connelly (audiobook)
Judgment at Alcatraz by Dave Edlund (a CE review)
The Red Button by Keith Eldred (a CE review)
Buried by the Sea by Kathleen Bridge
Boar Island by Nevada Barr (audiobook)
The Manhattan Job by Jason Kasper (a CE review)
Bone Rattle by Marc Cameron (a CE review)
Punning With Scissors by Becky Clark
Dry Bones by Craig Johnson (audiobook)
Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan 

Reading Challenges

May filled up fast and I’m still trying to work out a better schedule utilizing the CE’s reviews to spell my own continuing to post on Sunday, Tuesday, (audiobook) Thursday, and Friday. I finally added Kensington Books to my auto-approved list and running at 96% on NetGalley. Goodreads says I’ve read 70 books towards my challenge of 175, which is 13 books ahead of schedule. Really?!

Five books for the Audiobook challenge, bringing the total to 17 for a goal of between 20-30—Binge Listener.

Historical Fiction – One book in April bringing to nine in a challenge of ten–Renaissance Reader.

NetGalley – Ten additional books in April bringing my total to 37 in a goal of 75.

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

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

As always, I welcome my new followers—and thank you again to those who continue to support this blog through your participation, likes, and comments. You help me grow.

©2021 V Williams

(Bicycle in banner photo attribute: Shelves from CountryDoor.com catalog.)

Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan – #BookReview – #domesticthrillers

Book Blurb:

Her Three Lives by Cate HolahanGaslight goes high-tech in USA Today bestselling author Cate Holahan’s new standalone thriller in which a family must determine who the real enemy is after a brutal home invasion breaks their trust in each other.
Her public life Jade Thompson has it all. She’s an up-and-coming social media influencer, and she has a beautiful new home and a successful architect for a fiancé. But there’s trouble behind the scenes. To Greg’s children, his divorce from their mother and his new life can only mean a big mid-life crisis. To Jade, his suburban Connecticut upbringing isn’t an easy match with her Caribbean roots.
Her private life A savage home invasion leaves Greg house-bound with a traumatic brain injury and glued to the live feeds from his ubiquitous security cameras. As the police investigate the crime and Greg’s frustration and rage grows, Jade begins to wonder what he may know about their attackers. And whether they are coming back.
Her secret life As Greg watches Jade’s comings and goings, he becomes convinced that her behavior is suspicious and that she’s hiding a big secret.  The more he sees, the more he wonders whether the break-in was really a random burglary. And whether he’s worth more to Jade if he were dead than alive.

My Review:

My first book by this author, a domestic thriller standalone features two main characters. Greg is a well-to-do early fifty something, Harvard educated, and an architect. After only six months, he has invited Jade Thompson to a rental home they’ll share until they are married and have their baby in their new home. She is the product of the Caribbean and a strong social medial influencer who has managed to create a sufficient enough following that she makes her own living. She is also the May to his December.

Her Three Lives by Cate HolahanUnfortunately, this is not his first marriage, nor his first child, and although he met Jade after he separated from his wife of twenty-five years, his soon to be ex and both of his children by her are more than a little unsettled at being replaced.

From the outset, there is the sin of omission between the two. Not lies. Not untruths. The failure of disclosure. And both harbor secrets—but perhaps more so on her side. So when they are attacked and he’s left with a serious brain injury and she loses their baby, it sets off a slow chain of events.

Greg’s recovery is slow and debilitating requiring further surgery and in the meantime, his daughter is planting more and more venom in his mind regarding Jade, adding to his insecurity and paranoia. He has wealth and added her to his insurance policy. Is it his money? She has hidden an appalling childhood. Does the attack stem from her father, his associates, or one of his victims?

The attacks on her character are vicious. Greg follows one theory then another. Watches her. She is trying to settle the doubts in her mind about her dad. But Greg and Jade don’t sit and talk. No honest heart-to-hearts here. Just suspicion. They aren’t well developed, so it’s difficult to walk in either shoes.

I had a problem getting into this one. It dragged a bit for me. Not so much as a thriller as a slow build of suspense. I had a couple little problems with the lack of sufficient research (Rikers? Nope—not going to happen). It gradually makes it to conclusion, but by then a matter of eliminating one or the either (not that many and a bit obvious). The relationship between the two is one you’d peg to fail. Communication being a major problem and then add the disparity in cultural and financial backgrounds.

His daughter is awful—no way you can get over that—or his quick lack of support for Jade in a crisis. Yes, I know, I know!!—he’d almost died from the head injury. Am I being too harsh on him? She’d also suffered loss—where was her sympathy? (Don’t get me started.) 3.5 stars

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

Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

  • ASIN : B08F4ZJVN6

Print Length: 353 pages
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Cate Holahan - authorThe Author: Catherine “Cate” Holahan is the USA Today bestselling author of The Widower’s Wife (August 2016), Lies She Told (Sept. 2017), Dark Turns (November 2015), and One Little Secret (July 9, 2019). An award-winning journalist and former television producer, her articles have appeared in BusinessWeek, The Boston Globe, The Record newspaper, and on many web sites. She is a graduate of Princeton University and lives in New Jersey with her husband, two young daughters, and sometimes-good dog.

©2021 V Williams

Dry Bones: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 11) by Craig Johnson – #Audiobook Review #TBT #westerns

Ddry Bones by Craig Johnson

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

When Jen, the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found, surfaces in Sherriff Walt Longmire’s jurisdiction, it appears to be a windfall for the High Plains Dinosaur Museum – until Danny Lone Elk, the Cheyenne rancher on whose property the remains were discovered, turns up dead, floating face down in a turtle pond. With millions of dollars at stake, a number of groups step forward to claim her, including Danny’s family, the tribe, and the federal government.

As Wyoming’s acting deputy attorney and a cadre of FBI officers descend on the town, Walt is determined to find out who would benefit from Danny’s death, enlisting old friends Lucian Connolly and Omar Rhoades – along with Dog and best friend Henry Standing Bear – to trawl the vast Lone Elk ranch, looking for answers to a 65-million-year-old cold case that’s heating up fast. 

My Review:

Not the first time I’ve reviewed a book by Craig Johnson, and I’m currently listening to another in the Walt Longmire mystery series. I absolutely love this series, and I’m sure in no small part owing to the narration by George Guidall. The CE and I burned through the Longmire TV series on Netflix, even trying to discipline ourselves and watch only three per night and now listening to the audiobooks can see those characters in each of the novels.

Wyoming and many of those northern states were the site of dinosaur finds, so many of the enlightening facts included here isn’t that far off non-fiction.

Dry Bones by Craig JohnsonIn this narrative, Danny Lone Elk is found dead in a pond and an archeologist named Jennifer discovers a tyrannosaurus rex she names Jen (on Lone Elk’s property). The problem stems from custody as it was found on a Cheyenne reservation, sparking quite the fight over ownership which would the funds possibly received in an auction. (And of course, few have not heard of Sue, the T-Rex found by an archeologist named Sue Hendrickson on the reservation. Yes, in auction we’re talking millions of dollars that eventually took Sue to the Chicago Field Museum.)

Given the extent of the find, the possible worth, and the custody battle, it’s quite the well-paced plot and he is still seeking answers to Danny Lone Elk, joined by his long time buddy, Henry Standing Bear, owner/operator of the Red Pony (“and continual soiree”).

Yes, okay, it’s a “western.” Sorta, but not. It does take place in Wyoming, after all, in (fictional) Absaroka County where Walt Longmire is sheriff. But this is a modern day western beautifully infused by the author’s atmospheric descriptions of the land and the people. And quite the diverse people they are—the traditions, the folklore. And the animals—horses—they still do have “cowboys” who ride horses and wear those hats.

And you can’t wish for a more disparate group of characters, from the stalwart protagonist Walt to Vic, his undersheriff (who lacks a mouth filter), and his faithful dog, Dog. The author imparts his sense of humor, Henry Standing Bear the wisdom and spirituality, and the women some testosterone control. There’s a reason they call it “the wild west.”

You can’t go wrong with a Longmire episode. Nice to have some knowledge of the characters, but you can start this series most anywhere as a standalone and quickly get up to speed. I’ve listened to a number of books in this series and reviewed a few including An Obvious Fact and The Highwayman. The novels are all great, some even better, and George Guidall is consistently excellent.

Book Details:

Genre: Native American Literature, Westerns
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B00W2BQHA2
Print Length: 320 pages
Listening Length: 8 hrs 16 mins
Narrator: George Guidall
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Dry Bones

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Craig Johnson - authorThe Author: Craig Johnson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Longmire mysteries, the basis for the hit Netflix original series Longmire. He is the recipient of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for fiction, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for fiction, the Nouvel Observateur Prix du Roman Noir, and the Prix SNCF du Polar. His novella Spirit of Steamboat was the first One Book Wyoming selection. He lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population 25.

George Guidall - audiobook narratorThe Narrator: George Guidall is a prolific audiobook narrator and theatre actor. As of November 2014, he had recorded over 1,270 audiobooks, which was believed to be the record at the time. Wikipedia

©2021 V Williams

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