The Shortest Day by Colm Toíbín – A #BookReview – Literature & Fiction – #readingirelandmonth21 – #TuesdayBookBlog

Our first contribution to this years’ #begorrahthon

Book Blurb:

The Shortest Day by Colm ToibinIn Ireland, a man of reason is drawn to a true mystery older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge in this enthralling story about ethereal secrets by New York Times bestselling author Colm Tóibín.

During the winter solstice, on the shortest day and longest night of the year, the ancient burial chamber at Newgrange is empowered. Its mystifying source is a haunting tale told by locals.

Professor O’Kelly believes an archaeologist’s job is to make known only what can be proved. He is undeterred by ghost stories, idle speculation, and caution. Much to the chagrin of the living souls in County Meath. As well as those entombed in the sacred darkness of Newgrange itself. They’re determined to protect the secret of the light, guarded for more than five thousand years. And they know O’Kelly is coming for it.

His Review:

Can archaeologists be considered scientists or grave robbers? Colm Toibin explores this question in this book. A site in Ireland called Newgrange or Bru’ na Boinne was built 3200 years before Christ as a resting place for those who have passed on. Professor O’Kelly is exploring the site and trying to decipher the meaning on various carved rock slabs at the site.

The Shortest Day by Colm ToibinThe spirits who inhabit the site are not particularly fond of this meddling educator. The secret of the site is the inclusion of light once a year that allows a spiritual energy rebirth for the inhabitants. This happens on the winter solstice when the entire chamber is alight. The local town folk prefer that the interloper stay away but he does not take the hint. The overall feeling is to let the dead rest in peace!

I enjoyed the interplay between the spirits and Professor O’Kelly. One of the more traveled of the spirits warns the others as the Professor comes near. Clever anecdotes between the spirits add a flavor of community to the site and are humorous to read. Road blocks are thrown in the professors’ way to help keep him from discovering the overall secret of the structure.

This quick read begs the question; should graves be exhumed or desecrated for historical and/or scientific knowledge? Many great treasures have been found in graves and monuments built thousands of years ago. True, we do learn some things from these discoveries but at what cost to the original inhabitants and their intent? The argument that we can discover how they lived during that time period doesn’t seem to be strongly valid to me. Exhuming a corpse, grave, or sarcophagus for historical knowledge seems a very selfish and weak argument.

The small town near the structure has kept the secret of the design of the structure. Shouldn’t mankind show the same reverence and consideration? 4 stars – C.E. Williams

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars 

Book Details:

Genre: 45-Minute Literature & Fiction Short Reads, Kindle Singles Literature & Fiction, Literary Short Stories
Publisher: Amazon Original Stories

  • ASIN : B08GBPRXQC

Print Length: 31 pages
Publication Date: November 3, 2020
Source: Local Library
Title Link: The Shortest Day [Amazon] 

Add to Goodreads

 

Colm Toibin - authorThe Author: Colm Tóibín is the author of four previous novels, The South, The Heather Blazing, The Story of the Night, and The Blackwater Lightship, which was shortlisted for the 1999 Booker Prize. He lives in Dublin.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

 

 

February Rosepoint Reviews Recap—Hello March!

February Rosepoint Reviews Recap

February was certainly a blast and a half for those of us in Northwest Indiana (NWI)—more snow than I’ve seen since we moved here, at times at least 2’ high both in front and on the deck out back as the wind blew it into great heaps, met by the icicles reaching almost 6’ from the roof line. Hard to believe in global warming with so many successive days of well below freezing temps. Even the dog wouldn’t go out.

We are thrilled to welcome March, which of course starts Reading Ireland Month and as I posted a couple days ago, have a list lined up and working on it already. If you haven’t already signed up with Cathy over at 746 Books, now is the time to get in on her #begorrahthon.

The CE and I read a nice variety of books in February. I’ve settled rather heavily on Thursday to post my audiobook reviews, some made even more great by their narrators, one shelved as DNF this year—my first.

We had a total of thirteen book reviews for February, which included a number of amazing books, including several at five stars. As always, I’ll list my review link below the pictures.

The Spirit of Animal Healing by Dr. Marty GoldsteinDeep South by Nevada Barr Dog Days by Ericka Waller Spring Upon a Crime by ML Erdahl

 

 

 

 

Animal Instinct by David Rosenfelt

Long Range by CJ BoxAn Eye for an Eye by Carol WyerThe Wise Ass by Tom McCaffreytThe Trespasser by Tana FrenchThe Blame by Kerry WilkinsonThis Land is No Stranger by Sarah Hollister and Gil ReavillGhosts of the Past by Mark DownerMainely Money by Matt Cost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spirit of Animal Healing by Marty Goldstein – a CE review of non-fiction
Deep South by Nevada Barr – an Audiobook review
Spring Upon a Crime by ML Erdahl – my five star review #cozymystery
Dog Days by Erica Waller – a CE review #friendshipfiction
Animal Instinct by David Rosenfelt – my five star review #animalfiction
Long Range by C J Box – an Audiobook review #crimefiction
An Eye for an Eye by Carol Wyer – a five star review from the CE
The Wise Ass by Tom McCaffrey – my five star review—this one zoomed straight to the top of my favorites list for the year. Fantasy action-adventure. This one can also work as a Reading Ireland Month read.
The Trespasser by Tana French – an Audiobook review – British and Irish Literary Fiction—should have been included in the March lineup.
Ghosts of the Past by Mark Downer – a five star CE review – #crimeaction
The Blame by Kerry Wilkinson – #psychologicalfiction
This Land is No Stranger by Sarah Hollister – a CE review – #nordicnoir
Mainely Money by Matt Cost – #mysteries

I also posted a couple articles, one a #guestpost from Ricardo Fayet of Reedsy. Thrilled to have his post regarding Indie Book Marketing Tips. He does an amazing job of noting all the important bullet points I wish I’d known.

Most of the February reviews were from NetGalley including an author request and three were audiobooks.

Reading Challenges

Three new books for my Audiobook challenge, bringing the total to 8 for a goal of between 20-30—Binge Listener.

Ten new books for February bringing my total so far to 32 toward my Goodreads goal of 175 this year.

Historical Fiction – Only one in January—and that was read by the CE.

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

©2021 V Williams

Reading Ireland Month 2021 – My March Reading List and Cathy’s Irish Celebration!

Beginning March 2nd I’m participating in the Begorrathon–#readingirelandmonth2021 this year (as I did last) and have put together a list of the books I’ll be reviewing along with their links to Amazon and hope that you’ll join us!

Reading Ireland Month 2021

The books may be about Ireland, have an Irish protagonist, or be written either by an Irish author or author with Irish roots. Most books on my list were previously released. In the States, we normally celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with parades, pub specials, and corned beef and cabbage. Last year the celebrations were cancelled due to the pandemic and has this year as well.

Cathy at 746 Books is hosting the fifth annual celebration of all things Irish, in the company of her partner, Niall of The Fluff is Raging.   

You may want to check Cathy’s website to see her theme schedule. Additionally, she will feature film reviews, poems, music, interviews, and giveaways. (I am hoping to provide a soda bread recipe and possibly another poem written by my grandfather.) She has a monster list of 100 books you can peruse and a collection of recommendations. Connect with Cathy on Facebook and be sure to use her hashtags #readingirelandmonth21 and #begorrathon21.

Have you found a favorite Irish podcaster yet? I still recommend the Celtfather, Marc Gunn, at the Irish and Celtic Music Podcast. I’ll add in another poem written by my grandfather, Patrick J Rose (aka Stanley McShane) who (as far as we can tell) hailed from Cork.

So here is my schedule of my books so far (subject, of course, to constant revision):

My Reading Ireland Month books

1.      The Shortest Day by Cólm Toíbin – Literary Short Stories – March 2 – a CE review

2.      The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue – Audiobook – #1 Best Seller in Medical Fiction – March 4

3.      Murder in an Irish Cottage (An Irish Village Mystery Book 7) by Carlene O’Connor – Ghost Mysteries to be reviewed on Friday, March 5

4.      Normal People by Sally Rooney – Audiobook review on March 11

5.      First Love by Steven Henry (An Erin O’Reilly K-9 Mysteries Book 10) Police Procedurals, Review on March 16

6.      Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent-Psychological Fiction, Audiobook review on Thursday, March 18

7.      Last Port of Call by Jean Grainger – Book 1 of The Queenstown Series, Review on March 19

8.      The Hearts of Invisible Furies by John Boyne – Family Sagas, Audiobook review on March 25

I’m excited about the books again this year that includes new authors (to me), as well as several I’ve previously reviewed (Carlene O’Connor, Steven Henry, Jean Grainger).

Have you read any of the above? Which ones? I’d love to hear your thoughts or recommendations!

©2021 V Williams

Mainely Money (A Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery Book 3) by Matt Cost – a #BookReview – #mysteries

Book Blurb:

Mainely Money by Matt CostMoney is power. Those who have the money wield the power. Laid back, slacker detective Goff Langdon is confronted by this fact as he investigates the blackmailing of a U.S. senator. What starts as a simple extortion case quickly becomes a race for survival as Langdon faces off against a veiled villain with big money and little morals.

My Review:

The third in the trilogy sees a number of changes in this series featuring private detective Goff Langdon. Goff is tickled to be hired for not one, but three investigations, none of which fall into his norm. Goff is still owner of the Coffee Dog Bookstore and between he and his wife Chabal and Jack (her son) share the duties. The private investigations run in fits and starts, but promise to help pay some bills.

Mainely Money by Matt CostA powerful female senator is being blackmailed for an extramarital affair, a voluptuous woman wants him to find her missing sister, and an innocent immigrant is being framed for the series of heinous murders on coeds.

It’s a toss of the coin where to begin, but he is a low-key detective who has a number of close contacts in the right places, such as his local cop buddy, Bart. He takes Coffee Dog with him when he can, though the canine is not known for his service dog training as much as a tail wagging ambassador.

What seemed on the surface to be a routine solve quickly turns dark and even deadly when Goff begins to suspect something much heavier is behind each of these. As matters become more complicated, there are Russian mobsters, dirty politics, spooks, and serial killers to sort with an escalating body count.

Rough and gritty, the narrative careens into the conclusion involving a complex plan with all his friends, family, and support characters. There has been power struggles from those who wield the most money, creating twists and tension, between light-hearted moments, bewildering incidents, and life-threatening moments.

The characters have evolved from Book 1 Mainely Power through Mainely Fear (my reviews) into this installment due to release March 10, though this might easily be read as a standalone.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest opinions.

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Political Thrillers & Suspense, Political Thrillers, Private Investigator Mysteries
Publisher:

  • ASIN : B08PKMYY39

Print Length: 242 pages
Publication Date: To be released March 10, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Matt Cost - authorThe Author: [Matt Cost] I write. That’s what I do.

Side note: The Maine Humanities Council just selected Mainely Power as the Read ME fiction book of the year.

2021 V Williams

5 Must-Know Indie Book Marketing Tips – Guest Post by Ricardo Fayet of Reedsy

5 must-know indie book marketing tips

January-February I start thinking about writing and publishing again, as this blog was born of the publishing of my grandfather’s manuscripts. Not having a clue what I was doing, of course, realized then I was faced with marketing. And marketing proved to be a huge hurdle, not unlike me to get things backwards.  

This time of year also reminds me of all the writing contests that the new year begins, and I wrote about that recently listing six popular sites—some free—some a second mortgage. If you missed that post, you can read here. On that same vein, and quite coincidentally (or maybe not), I was contacted by Savannah at Reedsy, wondering if I’d be interested in sharing an article from either she or Ricardo Fayet, CMO and one of the original founders of Reedsy, and it appeared his article following is just what I was talkin’ ‘bout! (By the way, they also have their own writing contests that you might check out.)

So I’m thrilled now to present Ricardo!

►►►►►►▼

5 Must-Know Indie Book Marketing Tips

The day you thought would never arrive is finally here: your book is complete and it’s time to start getting it into the hands of readers. Executing a successful marketing campaign can be a daunting prospect, though, especially if you don’t know which strategies work best or where to even start — a great writer does not automatically make for a great marketer, after all.

But don’t worry! I’m here to help you get that wide readership you always dreamed of. The following tips focus on getting organized, drumming up the right kind of “noise” around your book, and mastering the more technical elements of SEO marketing and advertising for an absolutely optimized launch. Let’s dive right in.

  1. Draw up a game plan

A well-considered timeline is an important part of any successful marketing campaign — but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to know which steps to take when. What’s more, you’ll need to think about both discoverability (how people find your books) and conversion (converting clicks on a page to sustained interest, and hopefully an eventual purchase) as early as possible.

This is because book marketing isn’t something that comes solely after your launch; it’s a process that should be integrated into every step of publishing a book. Drawing up a chronological game plan will help you keep track of what needs doing and when.

To give a few examples: market research on categories should ideally occur before you even write your book, so you can spot gaps in the market to try and fill. Book reviewers should be contacted months before your launch so they have time to read your book and write thoughtful reviews. In terms of plans for closer to your launch, algorithm-optimized advertising copy should be nailed down a few weeks ahead of time — and in the days before and immediately after, you should be reaching out to your own followers (more on that in a bit).

  1. Secure early book reviews

Again, getting early reviews of your book — or at least drumming up some conversation and a “buzz” around your release — is a crucial thing part of your marketing campaign. However, it’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem. How can you get good reviews to attract a readership, if you haven’t yet attracted a readership to leave you reviews?

That’s where book review blogs come in. You’ll want to get quality reviews of your book, so take the time to find trustworthy reviewers who a) have reviewed in your genre before (and therefore have a relevant audience) and b) are able to give a fair, comprehensive assessment of your work. Once you have a shortlist of places to contact, reach out way ahead of time (we’re talking months) with advance review copies of your book.*

Building a street team is another great way to get reviews from reliable people. Street teams consist of fans who get access to your work ahead of time, so they can read your book before publication and have reviews ready for your launch day. Just make sure they don’t identify themselves as your friends in Amazon reviews, as this is against Amazon’s guidelines!

Beyond this, you could reach out to blogs that organize reading challenges to get your book included; offer to write guest posts about your book for blogs; or consider more formal editorial pieces in newspapers and journals. All this should generate excellent fodder for cover quotes and pull quotes** for Amazon.

  1. Grow a mailing list

A mailing list is a tried-and-true way to develop a dedicated fan base for your work and keep readers in the know about your output. That said, the catch-22 at the heart of mailing lists (one not dissimilar from the book review paradox) has likely occurred to you — how can you promote your work and gain a following if you don’t already have one?

The best way to overcome this problem is reader magnets: what item(s) of value can you offer someone in exchange for their email address? Whether it’s an excerpt from an upcoming book, an exclusive webinar in which you share your most valuable skills, or exclusive illustrations to accompany a future release, an effective lead magnet can really help you build a strong mailing list from scratch. Of course, once you’ve attracted those readers (no magnet pun intended), you’ll need to keep the content coming so they stay engaged. Don’t be afraid to get creative — you will want to stand out from any other email lists to which they might be subscribed.

Finally, rather than going full-DIY with sending out these emails, find a suitable mailing list provider for your budget and timeframe. There’s MailerLite, ConvertKit, Flodesk and a whole host of other software that each have different price points, functionality, and features***. Shop around and have a look at what they offer to find the best fit for you.

  1. Hone your Amazon efforts

SEO, KDP, A9: it can be hard to cut through the jargon if you’re a marketing novice, but it’s essential to familiarize yourself with these things (search engine optimization, Kindle Direct Publishing, and the Amazon keyword algorithm) so your book can rank well in Amazon’s search results — and succeed on the marketplace overall.

This may seem like an impossible task when you consider just how many books there are on Amazon, but don’t lose hope! For indie authors (and honestly anyone publishing for the first time), it’s unlikely you’ll be climbing the Amazon Best Sellers or the Best New Releases list anyway. So what should you really concentrate on in terms of Amazon SEO?

Your best bet is getting your book added to specific niche sub-categories on Amazon. By avoiding the oversaturated categories, your book will have a much stronger chance of performing well. To go extra-niche, you can even reach out to the KDP support center to get added to more than the allotted two categories — and when it comes to keywords, make them as long and detailed as possible for maximum search matches from users.

  1. Evaluate your advertising platforms

Facebook icon in book graphicAmazon, Facebook, and BookBub are widely considered the “big three” of book advertising. Most indie writers will use one or multiple of these platforms to promote their books and, with any luck, boost their sales.

Of course, external ads can be costly, so you’ll need to make some calculations to assess the viability of your adverts (in terms of cost of advertising per unit you end up selling). But even if you’re strapped for cash, don’t discount such platforms without at least trying them first — for many authors, especially those without much of their own audience, major ad platforms are the best route to move copies.

Just keep in mind that you’ll eventually want to prioritize one over the others, based on whatever works best for you. Also make sure to test this separately from your other advertising efforts (e.g. don’t do Amazon ads and a big reader magnet push at the same time) so you can measure the effects as concretely as possible.

Get your plan in order, grow your audience, and master the relevant platforms — if you can manage all of this, you’re already exponentially closer to success than you were before!

***

Ricardo Fayet is one of the founders of Reedsy, and an avid SFF reader with a particular passion for high fantasy. He reads mostly indie-published fantasy series, and enjoys lighter YA themes as much as darker ones. 

Looking for a more comprehensive guide to book marketing than what’s covered here? Check out Ricardo’s new book, How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market. It’s free to download (and always will be!), but you can also buy the paperback version on Amazon.

The Reedsy Mission Statement

“Crafting beautiful books is at the heart of everything that Reedsy does. We’re changing the way books are published by giving authors and publishers access to talented professionals, powerful tools, and free educational content.

“Reedsy was founded in the summer of 2014 by Emmanuel Nataf, Ricardo Fayet, Vincent Durand and Matt Cobb. Since then, we’re proud to have built a network of world-class publishing professionals and helped produce over 10,000 books.”

Thank you so much to Ricardo for the guest post contribution to my blog today! I appreciate it and the contact from Savannah as well. And to my readers, please check out the Reedsy website where you’ll find a wealth of information in all things editing, writing, cover designs, marketing and a great deal more!

Ricardo Fayet

CMO, Spain
Voted ‘best beard in publishing’…
Probably

Savannah Cordova

Savannah Cordova - ReedsyContent Marketing, England
Loves puns and iced coffee

 

 

*Note: And I might add that your advance review copies should be available in multiple popular formats (digitally: mobi, ebook, and pdf)
**i.e., “editorial reviews.”
***US based MailChimp

©2021 V Williams

Happy Thursday!

This Land is No Stranger: A Nordic Mystery Thriller by Sarah Hollister and Gil Reavill – A #BookReview – #nordicnoir

Book Blurb:

This Land is No Stranger by Sarah Hollister and Gil ReavillWith a career that is spiraling out of control and a nasty drug habit that has taken her to rock bottom, NYC detective Veronika Brand is looking for a way out. When a call from Sweden interrupts her personal chaos, the foreign tongue of her distant Swedish relatives pulls her across the Atlantic with the lure of adventure and escape. But what she finds is far from the idyllic picture her grandmother painted. Instead of long languid summers basking in the midnight sun, she unearths secrets long since buried in the frozen ground.

In Krister Hammar, a local Sami land rights lawyer, she thinks she has found a kindred spirit. But when they stumble upon a brutal murder scene in a manor house owned by the rivals of her family, she starts questioning his truth. She finds herself being moved like a chess piece between the desolate region of Härjedalen in the north and the steely-cold streets of Stockholm, scrambling to find the links between her family history, a trail of missing Roma girls, and a series of vicious murders. In unfamiliar territory on the wrong side of the law, Veronika has her sights set only on the beast that preys on the wicked. Will she be able to see past the lure of the northern lights to the dark secrets that threaten to destroy her?

[Note: I chose this novel as my maternal grandmother was 100% Swedish having immigrated to Minnesota, one of the many “sons.” I thought I’d give some time to the Swedish side as I always seem to favor the Irish side, i.e. Reading Ireland Month—March, coming up. Hubby found the ebook first, however, and got a bit of culture shock. It is, after all, described as Nordic noir or Scanoir and does tend to run dark. As Donna Moreau (author of Waiting Wives mentioned), “it is an intriguing family saga intertwined with the …mysterious Roma people.” Aware of the impact of the Irish Travelers in Ireland, the Romani people are not  genetically related and represent a much larger population in Sweden*. A surprising revelation.]

His Review:

Revenge is a dish best served cold! Can an eighty year old crime between families continue to this day? The tale of the Hatfields and McCoys compares closely with the ongoing animosity between the Dalgren and Voss families. Veronika Brand is the granddaughter of the Dalgren family and is invited back to Sweden to attend a family reunion for her 95 year old relative.

This Land is No Stranger by Sarah Hollister and Gil ReavillIn 1940 when the Nazi’s occupied Sweden, her ancestors began printing pro-Nazi propaganda after the country is occupied. A splinter group led by the family Voss decides to stop the paper by burning down the printing establishment. They are not aware that some of the Dalgrens are asleep in the apartment over the printing shop. The death of the Dalgrens in the fire starts the feud between the Dalgrens and Voss’.

The Voss family is very wealthy, ruthless and are involved in many nefarious endeavors including prostitution and slavery. They have the power. A vengeful Dalgren family is hardly a problem. The Voss family also owns and operates the largest trucking firm in Europe. Young Romani girls are kidnapped or otherwise drawn into a world of sex slavery and poor diets. They finally die from poor nutrition and continual sexual brutality from customers who use them in total depravity.

The inter-familial war of revenge is continual and brutal. Veronika Brand is a former New York detective who becomes embroiled in the conflict. Brutal murders and lack of any social responsibility drove me to the conclusion that this may not be a future vacation destination. Cruelty and death are portrayed as an integral part of the psyche of the northern Swedish families. There seemed to be no division between the young and old regarding a more innocent mind set.

CE WilliamsThe narrative is well written although exhausting to read. Continual brutal murder and total disregard for human life with wicked visuals of red snow were excessive. The ending, however, was satisfying and surprising! I kept wondering why a well-trained New York detective would stay in such a toxic environment! The conclusion explained a lot.  4 stars-CE Williams 

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

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Kidnapping Thrillers, International Mystery & Crime
Publisher: LYS
Print Length: 302 pages
Publication Date: March 11, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: This Land is No Stranger [Amazon]
Also find the book at this locations:
Barnes and Noble 

Add to Goodreads

 

Sarah Hollister - authorThe Authors: Sarah Hollister is an American writer and playwright, living the Scandinavian reality on one of the 24,000 islands in the Swedish archipelago near Stockholm. Her plays Sisters’ Dance and Relevant Truth have been produced in New York City, and she is a member of the Dramatikerförbund (Sweden’s drama guild), which awarded her residences at the Henning Mankell House in northern Sweden. She is a founding member of the Stockholm Writers Festival.

Gil Reavill - authorA New York-based author, screenwriter and journalist, Gil Reavill often writes about crime, both in fiction, with the 13 series of thrillers (13 Hollywood Apes, 13 Stolen Girls, 13 Under the Wire) and non-fiction, with Mafia Summit and Aftermath, Inc. Reavill also co-wrote the screenplay for the corrupt-cop feature film, Dirty, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. While growing up in Wisconsin, in the American Upper Midwest, I was surrounded with Nordic immigrant culture, Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish communities. Later on, I discovered Henning Mankell, Karin Fossum, and, especially, Peter Hoeg’s Smilla’s Sense of Snow. I was interested in the cross-fertilization of American and Scandinavian crime fiction, the trans-Atlantic influences flowing both ways. –This text refers to the hardcover edition.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

*Swedish Romani info obtained from Wikipedia.

The Blame: A totally gripping mystery and suspense novel by Kerry Wilkinson – a #BookReview – #Psychological Fiction

 

“People change and then they change again.” 

Book Blurb:

The Blame by Kerry WilkinsonPaige, Richard and me. We thought we’d be friends forever. But everything changed the day we took the short cut home from school along the old railway line. I wish we’d gone the long way. I wish we hadn’t seen our classmate, pale and still in the undergrowth. And I wish we hadn’t promised to keep one, awful detail a secret just between us…

Twenty years later, I have a brand-new life, and try never to think about my old one. But I’m dragged back when Paige calls out of the blue. Richard has been accused of something terrible. Everyone back home is whispering about the body we found years ago, and saying Richard deserves to be locked up…

Before I know it, I’ve returned to the small town I thought I’d never see again. Paige is almost the same as I remember – jet-black hair, slender frame – but why does she seem so nervous?

Revealing the truth about what we saw that day twenty years ago could clear Richard’s name… but will the blame fall on me? And can I really trust that Paige is on my side – or is she hiding her own dark secret?

When we find a strange note in Richard’s flat, only one thing is for certain: someone else knows the truth too. All three of us are in danger…

My Review:

Definitely different than the others I’ve read by this author. This novel began on a bewildering call that didn’t compute at the beginning and became a bigger question as the narrative progressed.

The Blame by Kerry WilkinsonOne of three close childhood friends, Harry is called away from his home in Toronto by Paige regarding the third, Richard. He is drawn back to the UK and his small hometown of Macklebury leaving his home(?) and his job(?). Richard has been arrested for the murder of a common former teacher. However, it’s been twenty years since he left and few things have not changed, including his two friends. Were they ever really that close? Now it appears he doesn’t really know them at all.

First, he’s at a loss to know what he’s doing—why he was actually there or what he could do. It’s Paige who declares they’ll have to search for the real perp, but she is quickly discovered to be on drugs and vacillates between manic and low key, depressive. Not like she is the only one depressing as his sister with whom he shares ownership of the family home is estranged, uncommunicative, allows him a room, not interested in “catching up.”

Richard is an obvious easy collar, having been associated with the discovery of one of his deceased classmates eighteen years prior in questionable circumstances. That murder was never solved, but as both he and Harry were at the scene, they share a secret harbored since. Too easy to look at Richard for this one, though there seems no strong connection to this victim; means, motive, possible opportunity? Seems they are more concerned with the cold case than the current one.

Too many questions here, holes I couldn’t fill, lack of affinity for any of the characters, and largely depressing and wretched conditions slowed the narrative for me. The pace doesn’t gain much momentum going into the conclusion with much of the investigation slotting in with Harry following Paige around on one of her manic objectives. Harry is not a strong protagonist and loathe to confront anyone, including Richard about a glaring omission in his statement. The conclusion cleared up few questions and provided no big surprises (I was right about the person but not for the reason), but then there was little burning desire to know more. Difficult read left me rather empty.

I believe this is meant to be a standalone. I’d previously read Last Night and two from his Jessica Daniel Thriller Series, The Unlucky Ones (Book 14), and A Cry in the Night and enjoyed all, giving the latter 4.5 stars and requested this one as soon as I saw the author come up. A disquieting theme, sad tale, and disappointing. Still, I won’t quit the author.

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

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B08TM4D498

Print Length: 317 pages
Publication Date: Released February 19, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Kerry Wilkinson - authorThe Author: Kerry Wilkinson has had No.1 crime bestsellers in the UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa and Singapore. He has also written two top-20 thrillers in the United States. His book, Ten Birthdays, won the RNA award for Young Adult Novel of the Year in 2018 and Close To You won the International Thriller Award for best ebook in 2020.

As well as his million-selling Jessica Daniel series, Kerry has written the Silver Blackthorn trilogy – a fantasy-adventure serial for young adults – a second crime series featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter, plus numerous standalone novels. He has been published around the world in more than a dozen languages.

Originally from the county of Somerset, Kerry spent way too long living in the north of England, picking up words like ‘barm’ and ‘ginnel’.

When he’s short of ideas, he rides his bike, hikes up something, or bakes cakes. When he’s not, he writes it all down.

Recent and upcoming UK releases:
What My Husband Did: 17 Nov 2020
The Blame: 19 Feb 2021

Find out more at: http://kerrywilkinson.com or http://facebook.com/KerryWilkinsonBooks

©2021 V Williams

Ghosts of the Past: The Search for a Lost WWII Art Collection Worth Killing for by Mark Downer – A #BookReview – #crimeaction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Ghosts of the Past by Mark DownerIn the spring of 1945, on the eve of the Allied victory in war-torn Europe, an unmarked German transport plane crash lands deep in the rugged Swiss Alps, and with it is buried one of the greatest single collections of World War II stolen artwork never recovered. Lying undisturbed in its rocky tomb for over half a century, a family member’s deathbed disclosure and war memorabilia hold the key to the existence and dormant location of this incredible treasure. Subsequently, one man’s quest to locate the crash site is unwittingly exposed, and the race to recover the find of a lifetime becomes a fast-paced, action-packed adventure that weaves together an eclectic cast of characters in an international web of intrigue, murder, mystery, and surprise.

American advertising executive Matt Ferguson, determined to track down his great uncle’s mysterious legacy, enlists the help of a beautiful art expert, Courtney Lewis. They immediately become embroiled in a local murder investigation that draws them together to save not only a piece of history but ultimately their lives. Pursuing them is a cold-blooded killer and his henchmen, representing the past and present generations of the German Nazi party, and also gangsters dispatched by a multi-millionaire South American boss, whose passion is acquiring art by any means necessary. As Ferguson and Lewis struggle and maneuver to stay one step ahead of their pursuers, their relationship swells through ups and downs of trust, mistrust, mutual attraction, deception, and, finally, shared mission.

The dogged persistence of a city homicide detective determined to solve a triple murder, and his ability to knit together an international police effort as the scope of his investigation explodes, are the last component affecting the thrill of the chaotic chase and the excitement of the climax.

His Review:

As World War II comes to a close, two flyers from Germany are engaged to make a special flight to Switzerland by none other than Hermann Goering! This starts a saga of immense value and hair-raising discovery. Mark Downer creates a narrative with the efficiency of a master fly fisherman. Information from a dying uncle sets Matt Ferguson on the quest of a lifetime.

Ghosts of the Past by Mark DownerAn immense treasure of purloined art is hidden away in the mountains of Switzerland. Not by design but by a fortuitous accident as the treasure is being flown to Switzerland by two young shanghaied German Luftwaffe pilots. The transportation of art objects is at the personal bequest of Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering himself. A chance meetup with a US fighter pilot results in a crash landing of the German plane prior to arriving at the airport in Switzerland. The plane and its’ crew remain in hiding sitting out the rest of the second world war.

The quest begins at the dying bed of Max Hignite, the German pilot in question. His nephew, Matt Ferguson, is given a map drawn on the back of the cargo manifest by Max. Two pieces of art are in Max’s safe and are authenticated by assistant curator Courtney Lewis and her contacts at the Speed Art Museum. The two small paintings are valued and insured at $4,000,000. Courtney and Matt set out to find the treasure and have it distributed to the rightful family owners. The problem is that the curators who helped verify the authenticity of the paintings are interested in the rest of the shipment and as Matt and Courtney begin the quest, they start an international conspiracy to obtain the balance of the valuable cargo.

Ghosts of the Past by Mark Downer
(See NB below)

Matt and Courtney are not well versed in clandestine operations. They are followed by some very rich and powerful individuals who want to control the artifacts. They are followed discretely by operatives whose sole purpose is to gain ultimate control of the entire cargo. Keeping the two of them alive is not really a concern to the criminal element wanting to own the cargo.

Mark Downer has put together a quick engaging read with a number of twists and turns that are very entertaining. The book took center stage in my daily activities until I finished it. You will find the story well-plotted and paced although at times predictable. I highly recommend it for a quick and satisfying read! 5 stars – CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Action Fiction, Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Fiction, Crime Action & Adventure
Publisher: Old Stone Press (2nd edition)
Print Length: 287 pages
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Ghosts of the Past [Amazon] (Second Edition)
Also find the book at this location (See NB below):
Barnes and Noble (First Edition)
 

Add to Goodreads

The Author: (Barnes & Noble) Mark Downer was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. After graduating from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Journalism, he has spent the last 30 years in executive level marketing, sales and management. He currently owns and operates a transportation and logistics company in Louisville, where he resides with his wife and three children. Ghosts of the Past is first novel.

NB: This novel was originally published in 2014 under the same name.

The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6) by Tana French – An #Audiobook Review – #police procedural – #TBT

Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

The Trespasser by Tana French 

Book Blurb:

In best-selling Tana French’s newest “tour de force” (The New York Times), being on the Murder Squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point. 

Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed-to-a-shine, and dead in her catalog-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her – except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before. 

And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-the-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette’s road. Aislinn’s friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be. 

Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?  

My Review:

Protagonist Detective Antoinette Conway and her partner, Detective Stephen Moran, begin work on a new case involving Aislinn Murray, whose death is easily and quickly attributed to her new beau by the veteran detective who took lead in the interview. But since Conway was promoted to the Dublin Murder Squad, she has been the butt of practical jokes, harassment, and hostility, partly owing, she attributes, to her being a woman in a male dominated bastion.

The Trespasser by Tana FrenchDetective Conway is pushing back, however, her gut telling her this quiet, ineffectual man could NOT have been the one to cause Aislinn’s death. She is wondering, however, with the obvious circumstantial evidence, if she is getting paranoid, pushed this one time too many in a bid to find something that isn’t there.

Not my first go-round with the author, I previously read The Secret Place (semi-finalist in Goodreads’ best mystery/thriller category 2016) for a Reading Ireland Month in March 2019—it was 480 pages—and included both detectives. I figured this time I’d try an audiobook. Even at just over twenty hours, I’d make it in time for March.

Tana French is nothing if not verbose—I’m glad I went the audiobook route as that included narrator Hilda Fay who didn’t just read the book, she became Detective Conway allowing the reader to see the rest of the narrative riding on Conway’s shoulder, heart, and mind, hitting the nuances of French’s dialogue and thoughts with depth of emotion, philosophy, and circumspect anguish.

The problem is, with ALL that dialogue, and ALL those recriminations, and ALL those subtle disclosures of the nasty pranks from the guys, the novel tends to lose sight of the story arc and extends exponentially when it could easily have been conveyed in under 300 words. The interdepartmental rivals and pissing matches become a broken record and loses the plot spit and fire.

French does pull all her various threads together in spectacular fashion in the climatic conclusion thrusting home her theory. It’s a hallow victory—sad—unsatisfying. But it’s a win.

Book Details:

Genre: Women Sleuth Mysteries, #Suspense, British & Irish Literary Fiction
Publisher:  Penguin Audio

  • ASIN: B01IQ1MEH6

Print Length: 455 pages
Listening Length: 20 hrs 6 mins
Narrator:  Hilda Fay
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Trespasser [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three point Five of Five Stars

Tana French - authorThe Author: Tana French is the author of In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, The Secret Place, and The Trespasser. Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards, the Los Angeles Times Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Dublin with her family.

 

Hilda Fay - narratorThe Narrator: Hilda Fay is an award-winning actress from Ireland who has worked both on stage and screen for the past 25 years. She has performed in Oedipus, Little Gem, and the one-woman show Alice Devine. Hilda’s TV and film credits include Prosperity, Proof, and Whistleblower, which won an IFTA award for Best Drama.

©2021 V Williams

The Wise Ass by Tom McCaffrey – a #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

“You are a wise ass!” he said. “Better than a dumb ass,” I quipped.

 Book Blurb:

The Wise Ass by Tom McCaffreytAfter his brothers are murdered, a New York mob lawyer testifies against his associates and is forced to enter WITSEC (the Witness Protection Program). He and his wife are relocated to a rural area outside a small town in Colorado where he is compelled to adapt to his new life under the constant threat of mafia reprisal. Reflexively resisting his immersion into all things country, this life long city boy meets and adopts a loquacious mule and befriends his closest neighbors, who have even greater secrets to conceal.

A renegade US Marshall, a lesbian couple that includes a powerful psychic-medium-witch and an ex-army ranger complete his new circle of friends. When the mob associates are released due to the lawyer’s intentionally prejudicial testimony at trial, they come gunning for him before the retrial can occur. When Wise Guys meet the Wise Ass and friends all hell breaks loose.

My Review:

With a title like The Wise Ass and that picture on the cover, the book is not a difficult choice, but if you needed more than that, the blurb should do you in nicely. Still, that doesn’t even begin to introduce you to the brilliantly unique narrative the author has penned with copious prose and humorous passages. 

I was excited to read this one as I knew it would be different—I didn’t know just how different it would be. Forget trying to suss out the plot, just roll with it and enjoy.

The Wise Ass by Tom McCaffreyThe protagonist, Jimmy McCarthy, is so well developed the reader will become engaged almost immediately. He has a wacky sense of humor, family, and philosophy that pulls you in. His wife, Gina, is perfect, also well drawn and together with Jimmy create a strong, invested bond with the reader.

Jimmy, however, makes a questionable decision against his former Mafia family boss which lands him in the WITSEC program as Jimmy Moran in rural northern Colorado. In his own private Twilight Zone (cue in TZ music theme), he begins to meet his neighbors, both humans and otherwise. I loved all the support characters—each very special. (No “wise” guys here—all of those are back in New York.) I loved the author’s frequent references to Celtic lore and common Latin phrases, easily melding educational references with sci-fi nuances. The novel is peppered with wise cracks and quotables:

“…you don’t have to dig very deep to find the strong vein of superstition that permeates the soul of any Celt.”

“Sorry Sir! The Irish are fighting amongst themselves and the Lions refuse to come out.”

“No trespassing. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again.”

“I remembered what my sister always used to say to me when we were children whenever I was facing some seemingly insurmountable problem: ‘Leap and the net will appear.’” (American naturalist, John Burroughs)

The storyline progresses gently into the conclusion that suddenly goes all brilliant intense to THE STORM and switches POVs from each of the support characters to Jimmy, ending with… “Then the wind came…” Masterful way of building tensionOMG—such a dynamic way to hit, and hit hard, the climax.

This tale covers all the bases: humor, family, love, suspense, thriller, and the supernatural—somehow interwoven in a natural, almost believable way. Well-plotted, well-paced, and highly entertaining. The pulse-pounding climax alone is worth the price of the book, but don’t skip the rest, it’s just way too much fun.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. I can’t WAIT for the next installment!

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Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thrillers, Fantasy Action & Adventure, Paranormal & Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Black Rose Writing

    • ISBN-10 : 168433635X
    • ISBN-13 : 978-1684336357
    • ASIN: B08V9GR7FZ

Print Length: 242 pages
Publication Date: To be released February 18, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Tom McCaffrey - authorThe Author: Tom McCaffrey is a professional retread. Having successfully worked in NYC as an attorney in the entertainment field for decades, he moved with his wife to the outskirts of a small town in Northern Colorado, and pursued his first love, writing. He believes that a good writer is like a good attorney. His written work must convince his readers that the view he is sharing is honest and true.

[Goodreads] Tom McCaffrey is a born-and-bred New Yorker who, after a long career working as a successful entertainment attorney in Manhattan, relocated with his wife to a small town in Northern Colorado to follow a road less travelled and return to his first passion, writing. Despite the local rumors started by Claire the mule, he denies being in the Witness Protection Program.

©2021 V Williams

An Eye for an Eye (Detective Kate Young Book 1) by Carol Wyer – A #BookReview – #murder

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars 5 stars 

Book Blurb:

A killer running rings around the police. A detective spiralling out of control.

An Eye for an Eye by Carol WyerDI Kate Young is on leave. She’s the force’s best detective, but her bosses know she’s under pressure, on medication and overcoming trauma. So after her bad judgement call leads to a narrowly averted public disaster, they’re sure all she needs is a rest.

But when Staffordshire Police summon her back to work on a murder case, it’s a harder, more suspicious Kate Young who returns. With a new ruthlessness, she sets about tracking down a clinical, calculating serial killer who is torturing victims and leaving clues to taunt the police. Spurred on by her reporter husband, Young begins to suspect that the murderer might be closer than she ever imagined.

As she works to uncover the truth, Young unravels a network of secrets and lies, with even those closest to her having something to hide. But with her own competence—and her grip on reality—called into question, can she unmask the killer before they strike again?

His Review:

Catching someone who is involved in the police investigation is extremely difficult. Add a supervisor who continually places roadblocks in your way and a recent tragedy in your life, and you have Kate Young at the starting line. How can she overcome the trauma of the love of her life being lost in a train tragedy and physical problems? She is called back early to head-up an investigation into gruesome murders.

An Eye for an Eye by Carol WyerCarol Wyer weaves a net of intricate knots and unexpected turns leading to a completely different ending than one would expect. Young refugees escaping a poverty ridden childhood are forced into sexual servitude. A young African male saves every penny to come to England and a new start, only to be forced into a terrible life of sexual debauchery!

Kate is just getting over the loss of her life partner on an outbound London train. She is mentally frail and her supervisor decides to pull her into the investigation despite being under a doctors’ care. The team, including the forensic officers and other investigators, are trying to find out who murdered a prominent citizen. The trail seems to indicate someone very high up in the police department.

CE WilliamsAs a reader I became aggravated that the lead investigator is being pulled so many different ways. However, the investigation took a very short period of time compared to what is seen in most crime movies. Can Kate keep her team together and bring the perpetrator to justice? A number of red herrings leads to dead ends with police supervisors clamoring for results. I had to finish this book. CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Serial Killers, Murder
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Print Length: 426 pages
Publication Date: February 1, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: An Eye for an Eye [Amazon]
Also find the book at this location:
Barnes and Noble
 

Add to Goodreads

 

Carol Wyer-authorThe Author: USA Today bestselling author and winner of The People’s Book Prize Award, Carol Wyer‘s crime novels have sold over 800,000 copies and been translated into nine languages.

A move from humour to the ‘dark side’ in 2017, saw the introduction of popular DI Robyn Carter in Little Girl Lost and proved that Carol had found her true niche.

February 2021 saw the release of the first in the much-anticipated new series, featuring DI Kate Young. An Eye For An Eye was chosen as a Kindle First Reads and became the #1 bestselling book on Amazon UK and Amazon Australia. The second book, A Cut For A Cut, will be released on June 24th.

Carol has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’, featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and the Huffington Post. She’s also been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ”Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’ and on BBC Breakfast television.

She currently lives on a windy hill in rural Staffordshire with her husband Mr. Grumpy… who is very, very grumpy.

When she is not plotting devious murders, she can be found performing her comedy routine, Smile While You Still Have Teeth.

To learn more, go to http://www.carolwyer.co.uk, subscribe to her YouTube channel, or follow her on Twitter: @carolewyer

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Six Novel Writing Contests to Enter This Year – And Six Reasons You Should

Writing Contests--Six Writing Contests and Six Reasons to Enter

Remember all those book award contests that were occurring this time last year? Perhaps the book you finished for NaNoWriMo should be entered in one or more appropriate contests.

Here are six contests and six reasons to enter—but there are many more. Before publishing comes marketing. Start the buzz!  

I was recently contacted by Maria Inot of TCK Publishing.com regarding the possibility of running a post regarding their own 2021 Reader’s Choice Awards.

Here are a few of their details:

Reader's Choice AwardsTCK Publishing Reader’s Choice Book Awards Contest lets readers vote for their favorite books in sixteen different categories including Advice, Business and Investing, Self-Help, Health, General Nonfiction, Memoir, Romance, Fantasy, Thriller, Mystery, Children’s Book, YA and Middle Grade, General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, and Religion.

►►The Grand Prize winner receives a Kindle Fire HD 8 Tablet and a 1-Year Access Pass to Bestseller Ranking Pro.

►Who can win? Self-published authors, independent publishers, or traditionally published authors, in either ebook or paper book format.

►When can you submit? Annually; the timeframe is January 1, 2021 to November 13, 2021.

►Entry fee: The first entry is free, but additional entries after the first cost $25 each.

16 Winners, one in each category, will receive special badges and promotion
Winning a book award or badge is an effective method to help thrust your work in front of readers–or beyond that–to agents and publishers!

There are many book award contests and they will each be vying for your attention this time of the year. Most cost money—from inexpensive to hit the savings, but every contest is different. The above contest is free. (They also have a poetry contest, but this one has an entry fee of $5.)

Additional Contests, Deadlines, Links, and Rules

Writer’s Digest

Writer's Digest Writing Competition“ENTER NOW! DEADLINE: 5/7/21 Writer’s Digest’s oldest and most popular competition, the Annual Writing Competition, is open for entries. Winners of the 90th Annual competition will be announced in the Nov/Dec 2021 issue of Writer’s Digest.”

They will accept all genre’s and short fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and script writing. Their self-published book award deadline occurs in early May.  Entry fees vary. Read their website for details.

Chanticleer Writing Contest

CIBA Book Series AwardsTheir website lists all the genre’s open to contest and the submission deadlines in an easy to see “at a glance” format.

Independent Publisher Book Awards

IPPY Book Awards“IPPY AWARDS 2021 IS OPEN – RESCHEDULED DEADLINE IS MARCH 10 – BOOKS MUST ARRIVE FOR JUDGING BY MARCH 20.

“Calling all independent authors and publishers!  Enter the IPPY Awards for $95 per General category entry, and ‘add-on’ a Regional or Ebook category entry to a General category entry for the same title for just $55.  Due to pandemic-related delays, we are moving the final deadline to March 10, 2021. Thanks and best of luck!” 

Readers Favorite

Readers' FavoriteANNUAL BOOK AWARD CONTEST

CONTEST DEADLINE – APRIL 1, 2021

“Contestants range from first-time authors to New York Times bestsellers and celebrities!

“If you place in our contest you will be able to add your Readers’ Favorite award seal to your book and all other marketing materials as well as identify your book as an “award-winning book” and you as an “award-winning author.”’

The Independent Author Network

The Independent Author Network

“More than 40 million Books are available on Amazon.com. 
100,000 new titles are added to the Kindle Store every month.

 “How will you ensure your books stand out to readers in a market with millions of choices? The best way to move your book ahead of others in your genre(s) is to win an award contest. 

“The Independent Author Network presents the 2021 IAN Book of the Year Awards, an international contest open to all authors with 40 fiction and non-fiction categories. Winners are eligible to receive a share of cash prizes exceeding $6,000 USD.”

⇒⇒⇒⇓

The question remains; should you enter one or more book award contests and how will they benefit you? Here are six reasons you should enter:

1.      Discover if your book has merit
2.      Receive a critique of your book—not all contests write a critique, but constructive criticism is important
3.      Create a marketing buzz
4.      Win a cash award or other prizes
5.      Push you out of your comfort zone
6.      Paste your Award Badge on the cover of your award winning book!!
You’ll get more feedback, create more buzz, and have more opportunities to get your name and your title out there.

If your pulse quickens with a touch of excitement mixed with a hint of fear, you are not alone! It’s a soul searing journey to publish and get your work out there.

Each organization and contest publishes their own rules and entry fees—which vary greatly! Check their contest history prior to submitting any money and assure they are appropriate for your work.

There are many writers and book contests of a general nature geared to newbies as well as established authors, some specifically for children’s book or romance novel contests. While some contests don’t allow ebooks and/or PODs, others don’t let authors or publishers submit (the book has to be nominated–think Kirkus). Some let you enter a book published more than a year ago, while others require getting reviewed in their trade magazine first. Some are just plain flaky or out for the money. Research the one of your choice thoroughly.

I’d love to hear stories of a successful submission–have you won a contest? Which one and how was your experience?

©2021 V Williams

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Long Range (A Joe Pickett Novel Book 20) by C J Box – An #Audiobook Review – #crimefiction

Editors' pickBest Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Long Range by CJ Box

Book Blurb:

Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett must investigate an attempted murder – a crime committed from a confoundingly long distance – in the riveting new novel from number one New York Times best-selling author C. J. Box.

When Joe Pickett is asked to join the rescue efforts for the victim of a startling grizzly attack, he reluctantly leaves his district behind. One survivor of the grizzly’s rampage tells a bizarre story, but just as Joe begins to suspect the attack is not what it seems, he is brought home by an emergency on his own turf. Someone has targeted a prominent local judge, shooting at him from a seemingly impossible distance. While the judge was not hit, his wife is severely wounded, and it is up to Joe to find answers – and the shooter.

The search for the would-be assassin becomes personal when Joe’s best friend, Nate Romanowski – just as he’s adjusting to the arrival of his first child – falls under suspicion for the crime. It’s a race against the clock as Joe tries to clear Nate’s name and identify the real shooter, all while deciphering the grizzly encounter. Beset by threats both man-made and natural, the two men must go to great lengths to keep their loved ones safe. 

My Review:

The twentieth episode in the Joe Pickett (game warden) series, Long Range hooks immediately with the setting of the technical, sophisticated, and very expensive gear that successfully picks off a target a military sniper would be proud of. The shot pulls Picket from his participation in the search for the survivor of a grizzly attack in his district.

Long Range by CJ BoxMy second Joe Pickett (I also listened to The Wolf Pack). I was drawn to vivid descriptions of the people and the area of Wyoming along with the main characters. This installment understandably adds more characters, while subtly reminding us of the well developed protagonist and support characters from previous installments and will work fine as a standalone.

The long range shot hits the wife of the person who was considered the target, a judge. The search is on for the shooter and gets too close when Joe’s best friend, Nate, falls under scrutiny by the local sheriff. Nate is a well-known falconer and just recently became a new daddy. He is a strongly independent and uniquely forceful character. Descriptions of the training and abilities of his birds build a pulse-pounding visual.

The plot inserts layers of well-paced, complex hypotheses, builds tension, and twists. Many of the support characters are well developed sufficient either to engage and empathize or decry. You can’t stay neutral and uninterested. The narrative absorbs the reader’s attention, entertains, and posits thoughtful consideration.

The conclusion was a bit hurried, explanations, and resolution, but not wholly. There were a couple quibbles—the grizzly thread, was that actually answered? (Perhaps legally, but I never got a satisfactory reason for the bears’ action.) And the Nate thing, hmmm…just too pat. While I enjoyed the novel (the storyline never dragged), it seemed to fall back on an overused trope and I’ve tired of that one. Also, a little disappointed in the narrator’s delivery this time. I don’t remember that the previous one sounded quite that monotone. 

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

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Fiction, Mysteries, Suspense
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B07ZJTW2XX
Listening Length: 10 hrs 35 mins
Narrator: David Chandler
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Long Range [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads

C J Box - authorThe Author: C. J. Box is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over twenty-two novels including the Joe Pickett series. He won the Edgar Alan Poe Award for Best Novel (Blue Heaven, 2009) as well as the Anthony Award, Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, the Barry Award (twice), the Western Heritage Award for Literature, and 2017 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Western. The novels have been translated into 27 languages. Open Season, Blue Heaven, Nowhere To Run, and The Highway have been optioned for film and television. Millions of copies of his novels have been sold in the U.S. alone.

Box is a Wyoming native and has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, a small town newspaper reporter and editor, and he owned an international tourism marketing firm with his wife Laurie. In 2008, Box was awarded the “BIG WYO” Award from the state tourism industry. An avid outdoorsman, Box has hunted, fished, hiked, ridden, and skied throughout Wyoming and the Mountain West. He served on the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo and is currently serving on the Wyoming Tourism Board. He lives in Wyoming

The Narrator: David Chandler was born on February 3, 1950 in Danbury, Connecticut, USA as David Suehsdorf. He is an actor and writer, known for Hide and Seek (2005), Law & Order (1990) and The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd (1987). He is married to Janet Elizabeth Muir. They have two children.

©2021 V Williams

Animal Instinct (A K Team Novel Book 2) by David Rosenfelt – a #BookReview – #animalfiction – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

The K Team is back in the second installment in this spinoff series from bestselling author David Rosenfelt’s beloved Andy Carpenter mysteries.

Animal Instinct by David RosenfeltCorey Douglas and his K-9 partner, a German shepherd named Simon Garfunkel, are recently retired police officers turned private investigators. Along with fellow former cop Laurie Collins and her investigating partner, Marcus, they call themselves the K Team, in honor of Simon.

The K Team’s latest case – a recent unsolved murder – gives Corey a chance to solve “the one that got away”. Corey knew the murder victim from his time on the force, when he was unable to protect her in a domestic dispute. Now, he is convinced the same abusive boyfriend is responsible for her murder. With some help from Laurie’s lawyer husband, Andy Carpenter, the K Team is determined to prove what the police could not, no matter the cost. What they uncover is much more sinister than they could have imagined.

Known for his dog-loving stories and addictive characters, bestselling mystery author David Rosenfelt presents Animal Instinct, the second installment in this engrossing new series about a dynamite investigative team and their canine partner.

My Review:

Good to know that most of the easy reading crime or legal investigation thrillers in the Andy Carpenter ilk are alive and well in Rosenfelt’s new K Team’s series. All the favorite characters are there, even Andy Carpenter, although he takes second chair. This series is all about Corey Douglas and his also retired K-9 partner, Simon Garfunkel. Corey has a reluctant new love, Dani Kendall. Dani is all in—just that Corey can’t relax quite sufficiently yet (getting there) to believe it’s true.

Animal Instinct by David RosenfeltIn this episode, Corey is made aware of the death of a domestic violence he responded to when he was still on the force—and has had a guilty conscience since he couldn’t do more. He’s positive it was Lisa Yates then partner who killed her. But confronting him only lands him in jail on trumped up charges of murder…but if it wasn’t he or Kline, then who?

And why?

It’s an Andy Carpenter spin-off. You know the DV can’t be so simple. And, no, it isn’t and the more his own K team and then Andy Carpenter investigates, the more complex it becomes. Of course, when they convene at Carpenter’s house, it usually involves Simon getting to play with Andy’s two dogs, Tara and Sebastian. But again, in this episode, Simon doesn’t have a big role.

Before either Corey or Andy can get to the bottom of the complicated well-plotted and paced narrative, they land in court—one of my favorite parts of these novels—the courtroom scenes. That’s where Andy shines, although for the K Team series, not quite to his normal Carpenter series level of snark.

And, I’m surprised that this novel actually goes to verdict before the entire stratagem is exposed in the conclusion. Gees! Without exposing the true extensive scheme of the whole thing, can Andy really pull off a Not Guilty verdict? You’ll have to read to find out.

Still, I had to laugh at the writer who couldn’t stand not including his usual level of hilarity throughout the book and waited to expose it in his acknowledgements following the close thanking ALL those to which he showers a sincere thank you including (among pages of name dropping), “Atticus Finch; Jim and Open Carrey; Eli Manning; and Tom and Tape Delay.” Oh, that was precious. Loved it!

I read Book 1, The K Team and enjoyed; thought it just a little reserved, looking for its own separate foundation on which to build. Book 2 is a successful sophomore entry, firmly establishing the series, and can be read as a standalone. On pre-order now.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Animal Fiction, Private Investigator Mysteries
Publisher: Minotaur Books, 1st Edition

  • ASIN : B08BYCX738

Print Length: 304 pages
Publication Date: To be released April 6, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

David Rosenfelt - authorThe Author: [Goodreads-David Rosenselt] I am a novelist with 27 dogs.

I have gotten to this dubious position with absolutely no planning, and at no stage in my life could I have predicted it. But here I am.

My childhood was relentlessly normal. The middle of three brothers, loving parents, a middle-class home in Paterson, New Jersey. We played sports, studied sporadically. laughed around the dinner table, and generally had a good time. By comparison, “Ozzie and Harriet’s” clan seemed bizarre.

I graduated NYU, then decided to go into the movie business. I was stunningly brilliant at a job interview with my uncle, who was President of United Artists, and was immediately hired. It set me off on a climb up the executive ladder, culminating in my becoming President of Marketing for Tri-Star Pictures. The movie landscape is filled with the movies I buried; for every “Rambo”, “The Natural” and “Rocky”, there are countless disasters.

I did manage to find the time to marry and have two children, both of whom are doing very well, and fortunately neither have inherited my eccentricities.

A number of years ago, I left the movie marketing business, to the sustained applause of hundreds of disgruntled producers and directors. I decided to try my hand at writing. I wrote and sold a bunch of feature films, none of which ever came close to being actually filmed, and then a bunch of TV movies, some of which actually made it to the small screen. It’s safe to say that their impact on the American cultural scene has been minimal.

About fourteen years ago, my wife and I started the Tara Foundation, named in honor of the greatest Golden Retriever the world has ever known. We rescued almost 4,000 dogs, many of them Goldens, and found them loving homes. Our own home quickly became a sanctuary for those dogs that we rescued that were too old or sickly to be wanted by others. They surround me as I write this. It’s total lunacy, but it works, and they are a happy, safe group.

http://us.macmillan.com/author/davidr…

©2021 V Williams

Spring Upon a Crime (A Seattle Wilderness Mystery Book 2) by ML Erdahl – a #BookReview – #cozymystery

 Roxie—“The hostess lacked certain social filters and either enjoyed pushing boundaries or didn’t recognize what they were…”

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Spring Upon a Crime by ML ErdahlWilderness guide Crystal Rainey leads a group of college students to a private campground amidst the awe-inspiring Olympic Rain Forest. The excursion is ruined when the charming hostess Roxie is discovered standing over the land owner’s body, murder weapon in hand.

Enlisted to investigate the crime to absolve her friend, Crystal descends on the quiet city of Forks to find loggers, developers, and eco-protesters circling the property, intent on either exploiting or protecting the bastion of old-growth forest. The list of suspects is intimidating. Can Crystal find answers in a community determined to keep her in the dark?

My Review:

Author Erdahl has embraced the cozy mystery genre and produced a sweet, clean mystery that is fun, confident reading. Protagonist Crystal is still faking her way through her wilderness guide gig finding gorgeous new backdrops in the Pacific Northwest of Washington and she is holding her own weight (and good-naturedly the initiations into mountain hiking). (My motorcycle buddy used to refer to the Pacific Northwest as the Great Northwet—she lived near Seattle and saw her share of rainfall.)

Spring Upon a Crime by ML ErdahlIn this episode, we see Crystal has put in sufficient time under her belt that she is becoming more secure in her role as wilderness guide. She’s a quick study and can hold her own with the more seasoned guides, this time into the Olympic Rain Forest. Unfortunately, once arrived with her college students at the private campground where they’ll spend several days, she discovers her friend and hostess Roxie at the scene of a very fresh murder. Not good.

The power struggle for land between loggers and developers is a very real one that has been in the news off and on for decades. Years ago, riding our motorcycles south after leaving Victoria Island down the Olympic Peninsula, we came across miles of clear cut forest. The stumps and devastation was depressing to witness. Of course, logging is a gargantuan business, and the fight between the two attracts environmentalists, “tree huggers.” So the storyline hit close to home and was a familiar one.

The characters are becoming more developed, more human, complete with foibles and strong suits, and the mystery progressed at a steady pace, bringing in descriptions of the scenic area, information about the mountains, and some history with it. Easy to smell that clean mountain pine scent and revel in the blue sky (when it makes an appearance).

It’s a clever and immersive story, bits of back story eased in, this can work as a standalone. (Read my review of Book 1, Winter Takes All.) There is a building of tension and twists, scrutiny of possible perps, and I must admit I didn’t guess whodunit going into the conclusion. A great follow up to the first in the series, just the right amount of atmosphere, romance, snappy dialogue, and mystery. And while Crystal doesn’t have a dog, she has a cat named ELF (an acronism), who is becoming an integral part of the engaging characters.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts. Now available at your favorite retailer.

N.B. The author just posted receipt of a Five Star Award for Spring Upon a Crime from @readersfavoritecom.

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Book Details:

Genre: #cozymystery #AmateurSleuths #WomenSleuths
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press Inc

  • ASIN : B08P87F6J1

Print Length: 213 pages
Publication Date: January 13, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

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

©2021 V Williams

Deep South (Anna Pigeon #8) by Nevada Barr – An #Audiobook Review – Cultural Heritage Fiction -#ThrowbackThursday

“You stick your finger in the water and you pull it out, and that is how much of a hole you leave when you’re gone.” (Finger in the water test–Multiple sources)

Deep South by Nevada Barr

Book Blurb:

Nevada Barr‘s ever-popular Anna Pigeon series is consistently praised as “exceptional” (Denver Post), “stunning” (Seattle Times), and “superb” (New York Times Book Review). In Deep South, Park Ranger Anna Pigeon heads to Mississippi, only to encounter terrible secrets in the heart of the south…

Anna Pigeon finally gives in to her bureaucratic clock-and signs on for a promotion. Next thing she knows, she’s knee-deep in mud and Mississippi. Not exactly what she had in mind. Almost immediately, as the new district ranger on the Natchez Trace, Anna discovers the body of a young prom queen near a country cemetery, a sheet around her head, a noose around her neck. It’s a bizarre twist on a best-forgotten past of frightening racial undertones. As fast as the ever-encroaching kudzu vines of the region, the roots of this story run deep-and threaten to suffocate anyone in the way, including Anna…

My Review:

My second book by Nevada Barr in her Anna Pigeon, US National Park Service series and I enjoyed this one possibly even more than my first, Hunting Season. While we are working through the trope of the lone female in a normally male bastion, the park service, I greatly appreciate the strong, independent woman portrayed as Anna Pigeon.

Deep South by Nevada BarrWilling to tackle just about anything (while admitting in some circumstances fear), she still plows through as if being a female doesn’t matter. In this case, a white woman and a Yankee in a new promotion as District Ranger on the Natchez Trace of Mississippi. Oh, and new to the south as well, she has several strikes against her before she even begins.

It’s apparent immediately she isn’t wanted, welcome, or tolerated. Still, before she can really settle into the new position or thoroughly meet her subordinates, she encounters the murder of a sixteen year old girl. The girl’s body is left with racial implications.

Dealing with the investigation, the road blocks thrown up by her deputies, and confronting an attraction for one of the men, she manages each confrontation with calm and intelligence and is making headway in the mystery.

I love the information regarding the historic area of Mississippi, the Natchez Trace being an ambitious trail from Natchez to Nashville, some 444 miles and three states. Underlying the Trace information is the Civil War stories that permeate the area in general and the Trace in particular.

Anna is well developed, we can see who she is without having read the seven prior to this entry, and in this episode, strong interpersonal relationships are borne of the circumstances that create engaging support characters.

These narratives set an early hook, reel you in, and don’t let go. It is a well-plotted and fast paced storyline that keeps you reading (in this instance—listening) and hard to pause.

Hard push into the explosive conclusion and the calming collective following. An oldie but a goodie that rallies interest in the remaining books of the series—nineteen in all. A good mystery with culture cues. The narrator does an excellent, even superb job of narrative—forcing the pace, either faster or that ease into another discovery, or possible perp. Who was it killed that girl? I won’t tell.

Book Details:

Genre: Cultural Heritage Fiction, World Literature, Women Sleuth Mysteries 
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B0002QUWQY
Listening Length: 12 hrs 8 mins
Narrator:  Barbara Rosenblat
Publication Date: July 22, 2004
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Deep South [Amazon]

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

Nevada Barr - authorThe Author: Nevada [Barr] was born in the small western town of Yerington, Nevada and raised on a mountain airport in the Sierras. Both her parents were pilots and mechanics and her sister, Molly, continued the tradition by becoming a pilot for USAir.
Pushed out of the nest, Nevada fell into the theatre, receiving her BA in speech and drama and her MFA in Acting before making the pilgrimage to New York City, then Minneapolis, MN. For eighteen years she worked on stage, in commercials, industrial training films and did voice-overs for radio. During this time she became interested in the environmental movement and began working in the National Parks during the summers — Isle Royale in Michigan, Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, Mesa Verde in Colorado, and then on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.
Woven throughout these seemingly disparate careers was the written word. Nevada wrote and presented campfire stories, taught storytelling and was a travel writer and restaurant critic. Her first novel, Bitterweet was published in 1983. The Anna Pigeon series, featuring a female park ranger as the protagonist, started when she married her love of writing with her love of the wilderness, the summer she worked in west Texas. The first book, Track of the Cat, was brought to light in 1993 and won both the Agatha and Anthony awards for best first mystery. The series was well received and A Superior Death, loosely based on Nevada’s experiences as a boat patrol ranger on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, was published in 1994. In 1995 Ill Wind came out. It was set in Mesa Verde, Colorado where Nevada worked as a law enforcement ranger for two seasons.
The rest is, shall we say, HISTORY! Nevada’s books and accomplishments have become numerous and the presses continue to roll, so in the interest of NOT having to update this page, books, awards, status on the New York Times Best Seller List — and more — will be enumerated with the relevant books else where on this website.

Barbara Rosenblat - narratorThe Narrator:  [Barbara Rosenblat] has recorded over 600 audiobooks in a distinguished career that has garnered 8 Audie Awards, 50 plus Earphone Awards from Audiofile Magazine for exceptional recordings and numerous  accolades over the years. She has been inducted into the Audible Narrator Hall of Fame. One critic wrote, ‘Barbara is to audiobooks what Meryl Streep is to film’. Her book, ‘Audiobook Narrator- The Art of Recording Audiobooks’ provides personal guidance for those pursuing this avenue of art and is a direct result of answering many questions at personal appearances and at her masterclasses about the craft.

Barbara has also done a lot of animation, anime, and video games as well as documentaries and commercials. (Bio and pic from Hasty Book List.)

©2021 V Williams

The Spirit of Animal Healing: An Integrative Medicine Guide to a Higher State of Well-being by Marty Goldstein – A #BookReview – Small Animal Veterinary Medicine

Happy #bookrelease Day!

Book Blurb:

The Spirit of Animal Healing is the follow up to Dr. Marty Goldstein’s bestselling book on holistic veterinary medicine, The Nature of Animal Healing.

The Spirit of Animal Healing by Dr. Marty GoldsteinIt is chock full of the very latest integrative medical knowledge (which combines conventional therapies with complementary and alternative medicine). Coupled with the vast amount of specialized expertise and learning Dr. Marty has gained from his own practice over the past 45 years, the book takes readers on a journey to the leading edge of integrative veterinary understanding to achieve greater insight into the minds and bodies of their animal companions.

However, this book is not simply a new edition of Dr. Marty’s first book with some refreshed content. It is a completely new book in which Dr. Marty turns the traditional approach to animal care upside down. The Spirit of Animal Healing provides readers with the most up to-date tools and knowledge they need to keep their dogs and cats healthy and prevent disease from occurring in the first place, instead of just treating their animal companions when they are sick.

Topics covered include:
*Nutrition and supplements
*Integrative remedies and harmful treatments
*Cutting edge therapies
*The truth about vaccinations
*The latest in cancer treatments
*The spiritual nature of animals
*True, mind-blowing cases from over the years
-And much more!

His Review:

Dr. Goldstein casts a practiced eye on the health and wellness of dogs in this comprehensive veterinarian knowledge based book for small animals. It is an enlightening look into the cloistered profession of veterinary medicine and some of the prejudices Dr. Goldstein had to overcome.

The Spirit of Animal Healing by Dr. Marty GoldsteinHolistic medicine has been around for thousands of years. Herbal healing and acupuncture are also thousands of years old. However, the re-introduction of these practices for animals was met with the same prejudices and resistance as they were in human medicine. The book alludes to these problems often. Diet, whether it be for humans or for animals, is integral to health and life satisfaction.  We really are what we eat.

The introduction of healthy diets and abstinence from genetically modified organisms is enlightening. I came away with the impression that some of animal illnesses and cancers can be directly traced to the foods that they are given to eat and the businesses that flourish by selling substandard raw materials to the animal food industry. Changing of an animals’ diet can sometimes reduce or actually eliminate tumors and other maladies of the animals being treated.

Living a healthy and active life is a goal for our animals. Adding chemicals or supplements to extend the shelf life of feeds causes more harm than good in many cases. Quality of life should be a key ingredient in any food stuff supplied for animals. However, heavy metals and other results of our mechanized civilization adversely affects the well being of many animals.

Through the efforts of the worlds’ medical associations and veterinarian associations, the identification of these problems and in many cases their elimination is directly sourced to vigilant practicing doctors in these fields. Doctor Goldstein is one of the doctors who works to identify and halt bad practices. I feel healthy foods systems should be required reading for all students looking to enter the fields of human and/or veterinary medicine. 4.5 stars – CE Williams 

Our thanks to Sara Beth Haring of St. Martin’s Press for our complimentary review copy of this book through NetGalley. These are my honest and unbiased opinions.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Small Animal Veterinary Medicine, Pet Food & Nutrition, Vaccinations
Publisher: St. Martin’s Essentials; 1st Edition

  • ISBN-10 : 1250249694
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1250249692
  • ASIN : B08BYDB35K

Print Length: 384 pages
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Spirit of Animal Healing [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Dr Marty Goldstein - authorThe Author: Dr. Marty Goldstein‘s Smith Ridge Veterinary Center is in South Salem, New York. He received his D.V.M. from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and has been at the forefront of integrative medicine for pets for decades. He has many cats and dogs, all of which are quite old and healthy. Dr. Goldstein is also the author of The Nature of Animal Healing. [Goodreads bio]

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Churchill’s Secret Messenger by Alan Hlad – A #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Churchill's Secret Messenger by Alan HladLondon, 1941: In a cramped bunker in Winston Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms, underneath Westminster’s Treasury building, civilian women huddle at desks, typing up confidential documents and reports. Since her parents were killed in a bombing raid, Rose Teasdale has spent more hours than usual in Room 60, working double shifts, growing accustomed to the burnt scent of the Prime Minister’s cigars permeating the stale air. Winning the war is the only thing that matters, and she will gladly do her part. And when Rose’s fluency in French comes to the attention of Churchill himself, it brings a rare yet dangerous opportunity.

Rose is recruited for the Special Operations Executive, a secret British organization that conducts espionage in Nazi-occupied Europe. After weeks of grueling training, Rose parachutes into France with a new codename: Dragonfly. Posing as a cosmetics saleswoman in Paris, she ferries messages to and from the Resistance, knowing that the slightest misstep means capture or death.

Soon Rose is assigned to a new mission with Lazare Aron, a French Resistance fighter who has watched his beloved Paris become a shell of itself, with desolate streets and buildings draped in Swastikas. Since his parents were sent to a German work camp, Lazare has dedicated himself to the cause with the same fervor as Rose. Yet Rose’s very loyalty brings risks as she undertakes a high-stakes prison raid, and discovers how much she may have to sacrifice to justify Churchill’s faith in her . . .

His Review:

Air raids are a nightly terror in London. Working in the war room underground is a task many young ladies are willingly doing to help the war effort. Rose Teasdale is proud to be doing her part. An interpreter is needed late at night when Winston is having a discussion with General Charles de Gaulle and Commandant Martel. The latter speaks no English. Rose volunteers to assist. Rose’s ability to flawlessly translate English to French does not go unnoticed.

Churchill's Secret Messenger by Alan HladMeanwhile a young man, Lazare Anon, is preparing and posting flyers suggesting the population resist Nazi occupation. He is crossing a river when he sees an old man reading one of his posters. An SS officer sees him reading the poster, pulls him away and executes him in front of his wife. Lazare is devastated. The ruthless character of the occupiers is crushing.

Her brother Charles was shot down over the English Channel and never recovered. Her parents and the house she grew up in are destroyed in one of the nightly blitzes. She is very heartbroken and angry because her entire family is now dead due to the Battle of Britain and she would like to do more to aid the war effort.

Being an enemy agent in a foreign country is a death sentence if caught. Rose is taught how to survive and is trained by the SOE (Special Operations Executive) to be dropped into France to assist in clandestine operations and communications. Should she be caught her death will be slow and painful as the Nazi’s try to extract as much information as possible. With her entire family dead at the hands of the enemy she is willing to be placed in France.

This book is an excellent example of the trials of many volunteers who served during WW II. The characters are well vetted and believable as saboteurs. This book ended with my having a much deeper appreciation of the people who did everything they could to defeat the enemy.  5 stars – CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, Jewish Historical Fiction, Historical European Fiction
Publisher: A John Scognamiglio Book

  • ASIN : B08F2XLBCZ

Print Length: 398 pages
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Churchill’s Secret Messenger [Amazon]

Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Alan Hlad - authorThe Author: Alan Hlad is the international and USA Today bestselling author of The Long Flight Home. He is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Literary Cleveland, and the Akron Writers’ Group. Alan is a corporate executive turned writer who lives in Ohio with his wife and children. You can find him online at alanhlad.com, Facebook.com/AuthorAlanHlad, and on Instagram @AlanHlad.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Bitter Rain (Kate Fox Book 3) by Shannon Baker – a #BookReview – #mysteries

“A lump the size of a Bartlett pear made its way down her throat.

Book Blurb:

Bitter Rain by Shannon BakerSheriff Kate Fox is still settling into her new role when Deputy Kyle Red Owl’s sister, Shelly, vanishes from the nearby Lakota reservation. Convinced it’s an “Indian issue,” neighboring sheriffs are reluctant to get involved. Tempers flare—and Kate knows things are bound to get even more heated.

But when Kate and Kyle start to gather evidence, they realize the case isn’t at all what it seems.

Their search for Shelly has uncovered deep-buried family secrets, and soon, Shelly isn’t the only one in danger.

As Kate struggles to nail down a suspect—and with the truth seeming just out of reach—the new sheriff knows she’s running out of time.

And then she makes a big mistake. Can Kate right the wrong in time to save the life that’s hanging in the balance? 

My Review:

The storyline centers around the Nebraska Sandhills across the South Dakota state line and the crushing poverty level of the Lakota at the Antelope Ridge Reservation. I enjoy books about the Midwest and any parts east of my native California—always so eye-opening. The Sandhills situate in an area of low population, cattle outnumbering humans by approximately fifty to one.

Bitter Rain by Shannon BakerIn this episode of the series, Sheriff Kate Fox is called to the site of an apparent accident but finding no one there except Sheriff Lee Barnett on scene from a different county is sent away with the explanation it must have been an auto from the local rez and whoever was driving had someone pick them up. It’s obviously good ole boy territory and as a newly elected female sheriff, she’s not totally accepted, particularly when it appears to be an Indian issue.

But Kate had gotten a call from a terrified young female pleading for help. And she is one who listens to her gut feeling. The missing female turns out to be her own Deputy’s sister, Shelly, and now Deputy Kyle Red Owl is also heavily drawn into the search.

Turns out, she is pretty much blocked in her investigation at every turn, but she does manage a small lead every now and then only serving to further muddy the waters.

In the meantime, the area not known for friendly rain is experiencing one gully washer after another, which doesn’t help.

Further hampering interview efforts besides the divisive racial issue is her own family. As the middle child with seven brothers and sisters (or is it nine?), either the oldest, youngest, or any in between is constantly intruding on her time. It doesn’t help that her immense family and familial obligations and expectations seem to override pretty much any other minute she isn’t thinking about her missing niece. Well, bring it on!

The conditions of the people populating the reservation describes conditions beyond dismally, buying into the old stereotype, and painting a crushing scene of desperation.

A lot going on in this novel, the mystery, the family sub-plot, and the deeply descriptive prose of the area. The author is nothing if not full of analogies and has one for every occasion:

“We stood as natural as ketchup on ice cream.”
“To say I was relieved to wish them a fun day would be like calling Lake Michigan a puddle.”

 Philosophical thoughts:

“It was the face of fake compassion I hated worse than cooked cabbage.”
“It’ll be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”
“It’ll stop hurting when the pain goes away.”

As a newly elected sheriff, Kate has a lot to prove—not just to the county apparently—but also to her family. A rather unique writing style that cried “tilt” as often as it spoke a deeply meaning thought. A theme of hanging in there, overcoming, concessions, and adapting.
The conclusion included a twist I certainly didn’t see coming, although all the leads were to the over-obvious. Interesting, thoughtful, deeply disturbing, and also engaging and entertaining.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. It appears this novel was previously released in 2018, new cover, but I’m in for a penny, in for a pound, and looking forward to Book 4.

Rosepoint Rating: Four stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Detective Fiction, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Mystery Series
Publisher: Severn River Publishing

  • ASIN : B08PDVXL26

Print Length: 276 pages
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Shannon Baker - authorThe Author: Shannon Baker is author of the Kate Fox Mystery series. Set in rural Nebraska cattle country, according to a starred review in Library Journal, “Baker’s writing evokes the beauty of the Nebraska Sandhills, and her colorful cast of secondary characters adds a depth of charm.” Now a resident of Tucson, Baker spent 20 years in the Nebraska Sandhills, where cattle outnumber people by more than 50:1. Shannon is proud to have been chosen Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2014 and 2017 Writer of the Year.

Baker also writes the Nora Abbott mystery series, a fast-paced mix of Hopi Indian mysticism, environmental issues, and murder. The first in the series, Height of Deception, is set in Flagstaff, AZ, where she lived for several years and worked for The Grand Canyon Trust, a hotbed of environmentalists who, usually, don’t resort to murder. It is a 2013 finalist in the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards.

A lover of the great outdoors, she can be found backpacking in the Rockies, traipsing to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, skiing mountains and plains, kayaking lakes, hiking, cycling, and diving whenever she gets the chance. Having the desert for a backyard is a daily thrill, bringing javelinas, rattlesnakes, zillions of birds, and spectacular sunsets every day.

Arizona sunsets notwithstanding, Baker is, and always will be, a Nebraska Husker. Go Big Red.

©2021 V Williams

Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody by Barbara Ross – An #Audiobook – #amateursleuth

Yahoo! Book one of a new series!

#audiobook - Jane Darrowfield Professional Busybody

Book Blurb:

Jane Darrowfield is a year into her retirement, and she’s already traveled and planted a garden. She’s organized her photos, her recipes, and her spices. The statistics suggest she has at least a few more decades ahead of her, so she better find something to do….  

After Jane helps a friend with a sticky personal problem, word starts to spread around her bridge club – and then around all of West Cambridge, Massachusetts – that she’s the go-to girl for situations that need discreet fixing. Soon she has her first paid assignment – the director of a 55-and-over condo community needs her to de-escalate hostilities among the residents. As Jane discovers after moving in for her undercover assignment, the mature set can be as immature as any high schoolers, and war is breaking out between cliques.   

It seems she might make some progress – until one of the aging “popular kids” is bludgeoned to death with a golf club. And though the automatic sprinklers have washed away much of the evidence, Jane’s on course to find out whodunit….

My Review:

As a big fan of author Barbara Ross and her Maine Clambake Mysteries series, I was delighted to see an audiobook for her new series, Jane Darrowfield. Jane is a widow, retired, and has done all those things women save for retirement. Now at odds but finding a niche with her intelligent guidance in a number of “discreet” situations, Jane is cultivating a “fixer” rep.

Of course, being a senior myself, it’s fun to see a growing influence in the “senior sleuth” genre. And a strong, independent, and intelligent woman to boot, she represents a new face to the cozy sleuthing genre as well.

Jane Darrowfield, Professional BusybodyIn this first entry, we are introduced to Jane as she attempts to discern and solve the problem at an over 55 condo community—amenities to die for—apparently. A well paid assignment that requires her to move to a temporary unit, it doesn’t take long to realize she’s landed back in high school, including the cliques (groan), the jocks (read golfers), and a motorcycle gang.

Jane has an easy personable way of infiltrating and begins to realize what she is up against when one of the popular boys is found murdered on the golf course. In the meantime, we are introduced to her new (maybe) boyfriend Harry (if he’ll just back off the protective male attitude a bit) and Detective Alvarez. I had to agree with Jane about Harry (for awhile—then began rooting for him) and he and Det. Alvarez are great support characters.

While Jane may be a bit more difficult to warm to, walk in her shoes, or identify with, all three are shaping up to produce some good chemistry in characters that are engaging.

The author has a wonderful subtle way of building up the suspense, providing clues and twists. The conclusion throws the well-plotted pace into high gear and I must admit that although I’d given the ultimate perp some thought had toyed with dismissing that one too.

On the whole, a lively novel that builds suspense, keeps engagement, and is highly entertaining. Nice to have a senior portrayed as a person still very capable, physically as well as mentally. A great start to a new series!

FTC Disclosure: I downloaded the audiobook from my locally well stocked library and greatly enjoyed the narrator as well as the storyline.

Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Mysteries, Women Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher:  Audible Books
ASIN: B08BF53LH5
Listening Length: 6 hrs 29 mins
Narrator: Traci Odom
Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody [Amazon] 

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

Barbara Ross - authorThe Author: Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries and the Jane Darrowfield Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at http://www.barbararossauthor.com

Traci Odom - narratorThe Narrator: Traci Odom, American-born actor and voice artist with 150+ titles narrates under her name, as well as Tieran Wilder for erotica and wild romance. She loves working closely with her authors and publishers and delights in inviting listeners into her worlds of romance, witchcraft, devilry and love. Check out my pseudonym website at www.tieranwilder.com. Accents: American English, British English, Irish, Midwest, New York, Russian, Italian

©2021 V Williams

Snow on the Range: A Red Hart Ranch Christmas Novel: a Montana Cowboy Holiday Romance by Sofia Aves – a #BookReview – #holidayfiction

Why aren’t these novels rated X if they contain explicit sex scenes?

 Book Blurb:

Snow on the Range by Sofia AvesEvery Christmas, Red Hart Ranch opens their doors, and Montana provides the perfect backdrop for good company and better food. But this year, the table won’t be as full.

Eve Beaumont is a twin heir to Red Hart Ranch. She loves the land, loves the people, and will do anything for them. Christmas sees most of the ranch hands return to their own homes to celebrate. Only a few long term cowboys remain with the family.

When Eve and her brother Trav go into town to collect supplies, they each bring home a drifter for Christmas. Rhys Archer and Simon Haldon are as different as two cowpokes can be. One rough edged who can work the land and animals with a firm hand; the other a smooth talker with a devilish charm. Eve finds both men attractive against her better judgement, but when tragedy hits the ranch, romance is the last thing on her mind.

Vandalisms happen around the ranch, and Eve isn’t sure who she can trust. She knows neither man is who he pretends to be — but when no one listens to her, she has to prove her suspicions on her own.

My Review:

Still wish there was some kind of content rating for books as there are for movies. I may be among the minority when I say this book was WAY over my censor level for sexual content. I’m not a fan of strong adult or language content and whatever possessed me to download a book in a romance genre is beyond me.

Snow on the Range by Sofia AvesThe blurb tells you there is a plot—but no mystery here—it can’t be more obvious. The main character, Eve, is twenty-five and horny. It’s nearing Christmas and one of the two drifters (not Montana cowboys) they’ve taken in for the holidays is yanking her chain. The other would like to. Ugh.

There are so many contradictions, omissions, edit misses and plot holes, I was constantly trying to “fix” as I went along. Eve is one of a fraternal twin, immature, obnoxious, and did I mention horny? They have a deer ranch—and bison. Huh? And wait—hoping for a white Christmas? The white can happen prior to Halloween up there.

Some of the descriptions of the area pull you in, then throw you right back out with another inconsistency. (“He picked leaves out of my hair.” Yeah, leaves. In December. In Montana.) It’s a tell not show and dialogue is weak. Eve is petulant, scattered, and clumsy. Most characters are one-dimensional, the ranch hands thrown in for elusive background.

The conclusion makes as little sense as most of the rest of the narrative, (it appears to be a vehicle for the graphic sex scene). The whole thing would have benefited from several more editors.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts. I won’t be reading another.

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Book Details:

Genre: Holiday Fiction, Western Romance
Publisher: Little Quail Press

  • ASIN : B08CVFJZ4Q

Print Length: 212 pages
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Snow on the Range [Amazon]

Sofia Aves - authorThe Author: Sofia is a romantic suspense author from Brisbane, Australia. She started writing romance when she couldn’t find the books she wanted on the shelves in her local bookstore and became addicted to story telling. She exists on a diet of coffee and champagne and routinely kills her collection of orchids. sofiaaves.com

©2021 V Williams

Mainely Fear (A Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery Book 2) by Matt Cost – A #BookReview – Private Investigator Mysteries

Book Blurb:

“I want you to find out who is responsible for ruining his life and I want them to pay for it.”
Mainely Fear by Matt CostThis is the desire of Latricia Jones as she hires Goff Langdon to investigate her son’s arrest for burglary, vandalism, and possibly hate crimes.
Langdon is a laid back, slacker detective, happy with his work, friends, and way of life in the town of Brunswick, Maine. To complement his income in Brunswick’s scarce private detective market, Langdon also owns and operates a mystery bookstore named after his trusted companion, Coffee Dog.
He was on the fast track to success. And then something happened.
Jamal Jones is an eighteen-year-old rising star attending a post-grad prep school in central Maine to bring his grades up so he can play college basketball at the D1 level. Then he is arrested for crimes that his mother knows he committed, but not why. She’s sure someone has put him up to it, the behavior so unlike him as to be unthinkable, especially since Jamal was on the verge of beginning a better life. Latricia wants Langdon to track down those responsible for her son’s sudden turn from grace, and she wants them to pay.

His Review:

Can a frantic mother get justice and help for her son? A promising basketball career hangs in the balance. But the wisdom of the streets is: keep you mouth shut! Goff Langdon is engaged to “see what you can do for my son.” Always easier when the person you are trying to help actually wants the help.

Mainely Fear by Matt CostCentered in the middle of a Maine ice-storm, Jamal and two of his fellow students are captured with a van full of loot from burgled and vandalized houses. At six feet seven inches his mother can no longer put her son over her knee. This single mother has been working two jobs to keep him in a good prep school and a roof over their heads.

Latricia Jones is at her wits end. All that she had dreamed of, hoped for and worked for was going up in smoke. Can Goff Langdon help her? Why are the burglars being so destructive? Langdon with his group of crony detectives sets out to solve these questions.

Coffee dog is a comic relief character who is everywhere in the story. He will beg or steal from anyone not paying attention. He is also very friendly and engages everyone with a sawmill tail and doleful eyes. The rest of Langdon’s cadre are a very eclectic group of characters. A subplot takes a tragic turn.

Home is not a happy place for Langdon and his wife nor his right-hand person Chabal and her husband. The Langdon family has a young daughter who is the apple of everyone’s eye. This makes for a very difficult decision looming on the horizon.

This story is gripping, has a number of many interesting turns and is a pleasure to read.  I found the book engaging and entertaining. 4.5/5 stars CE Williams (Author request)

Book 3, Mainely Money, is set to release March 2021. Book 1, Mainely Power was reviewed in October of 2020. FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest opinions.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Private Investigator Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Encircle Publications
ISBN : 1645990966

ASIN : B08KY6KJG2

Print Length: 302 pages
Publication Date: December 4, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Mainely Fear [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble

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Matt Cost - author

 

 

The Author: Matt Cost–I write. That’s what I do.

 

 

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Tell No One by Harlan Coben – An #Audiobook Review #suspense #TBT

Tell No One by Harlan Coven

Book Blurb:

Critically acclaimed, best-selling author Harlan Coben has won the Shamus, Anthony, and Edgar Awards during his impressive career.

Tell No One by Harlan CobenTell No One is an irresistibly suspenseful thriller infused with nail-biting tension and packed with shocking plot twists. It has been eight years since Dr. David Beck’s wife, Elizabeth, was murdered by a serial killer. When Beck receives a message containing a phrase only Elizabeth should know, he is tormented to tears. Either someone is playing a sick joke, or the wife he’s never stopped loving is still alive. He’s been warned to tell no one, and as the desperation of his search for the truth intensifies, he heads straight toward a deadly secret.

Coben tempers the drama with dashes of sly humor and a cast of unforgettable characters, including a bare-hands assassin, a glamorous plus-size model and a drug dealer with a soft spot for Dr. Beck. Listeners will relish Ed Sala’s exhilarating narration. 

My Review:

Tell No One by Harlan CobenNo, I hadn’t read everything the author has turned out and sure if I did it was years ago—before I started reviewing—but thumbing through the Netflix offerings came across The Stranger his ebook originally published in 2015. Admittedly, I couldn’t find the audiobook in my local well-stocked library, but here was Tell No One (originally published in 2009) and I must say—close enough. There’s a mild case of déjà vu lurking there.

Okay, yes, there is quite the hook and the premise gets you to reading. The novel is fast-paced and the prose engaging. I couldn’t quite get into any of the characters—main (i.e. Dr. David Beck) or the support characters who were all over the place from medical colleagues to partner of his sister to the street thug who rescues him. I must admit, however, to rooting for the street thug to split—while he had the chance.

I don’t know. What was I expecting?

The narrative gets to spinning when Dr. Beck receives an email that almost convinces him that the wife he thought he’d lost eight years ago is still alive. No, he’d never found a replacement, isn’t married, still pining over the soul mate with whom he’d carved momentous occasions on a pine tree. Also, nature being what it is, has unearthed two bodies at the site where the kidnapping and his attack took place and a whole new scenario opens. Hmmm…

Coben heaps it on, adding twists, adding bits of clues concealed as info, adding more characters, explosive scenes, and enough tender scenes between he and Elizabeth that even the most romance addicted YA would begin to gag. There are more questions, but suddenly Beck himself appears to be a POI in his wife’s kidnapping and death. Wait. Is she really dead?

He’s on the lam and amazingly with the help of his street thug buddy evades the dragnet. Oh, I’m telling you, this will get quite a bit more complex and convoluted, stretching into disbelieving territory before it all winds up in conclusion. Even then, this is a tough act to sell and I’m not wholly buying. Yes, lots of suspense building and at this point I was just curious to see how the author was going to pull it all together, but then he didn’t. Not for me. I was kinda bummed.

The Stranger by Harlan CobenSo, now let’s see—The Stranger (Netflix series) has the same kind of harried husband, discovers a devastating secret about his wife, wife disappears; unlikable, unrelatable main and support characters. Unfathomable conclusion leaves you somewhat flat. What? is written across your forehead. Maybe just mine, but I downloaded the ebook and I’ll report back.

Book Details:

Genre: Mysteries, Suspense Thrillers, Kidnapping Thrillers, Serial Killer Thrillers, Murder Thrillers
Publisher:  Recorded Books
Print Length: 396 pages
ASIN: B002SXIF4A
Listening Length: 10 hrs 36 mins
ASIN: B0078IX10I
Narrator: Ed Sala
Audible Release Date: February 13, 2012
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Tell No One [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Harlan Coben - authorThe Author: With over 70 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben is the #1 New York Times author of thirty one novels including RUN AWAY, FOOL ME ONCE, TELL NO ONE, NO SECOND CHANCE and the renowned Myron Bolitar series. His books are published in 43 languages around the globe.

Harlan is the creator and executive producer for the Netflix television dramas SAFE starring Michael C. Hall, Audrey Fleurot and Amanda Abbington, and THE FIVE starring Tom Cullen and OT Fagbenle. He is currently filming THE STRANGER, based on his novel, for Netflix starring Richard Armitage, Siobhan Finneran, Jennifer Saunders and Stephen Rea. Harlan was also showrunner and executive producer for two French TV mini-series, UNE CHANCE DE TROP (NO SECOND CHANCE) with Alexandra Lamy and JUST UN REGARD (JUST ONE LOOK) with Virginie Ledoyen. KEINE ZWEIT CHANCE, also based on Harlan’s novel, aired in Germany on Sat1.

Harlan’s novel TELL NO ONE (NE LE DIS A PERSONNE) was turned into the renowned French film, directed by Guillaume Canet and starring Francois Cluzet. The movie was the top box office foreign-language film of the year in USA, won the Lumiere (French Golden Globe) for best picture and was nominated for nine Cesars (French Oscar) and won four, including best actor, best director and best music. The movie with subtitles is now available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and DVD/Blu-Ray.

Winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – international bestselling author Harlan Coben’s critically-acclaimed novels have been called “ingenious” (New York Times), “poignant and insightful” (Los Angeles Times), “consistently entertaining” (Houston Chronicle), “superb” (Chicago Tribune) and “must reading” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

In his first books, Coben immersed himself in the exploits of sports agent Myron Bolitar. Critics loved the series, saying, “You race to turn pages…both suspenseful and often surprisingly funny” (People). After seven books Coben wanted to try something different. “I came up with a great idea that simply would not work for Myron,” says Coben. The result was the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller TELL NO ONE, which became the most decorated thriller of the year. Two books later, Bookspan, recognizing Coben’s broad international appeal, named NO SECOND CHANCE its first ever International Book of the Month in 2003 – the Main Selection in 15 different countries.

Harlan was the first writer in more than a decade to be invited to write fiction for the NEW YORK TIMES op-ed page. His Father’s Day short story, THE KEY TO MY FATHER, appeared June 15, 2003. His essays and columns have appeared in many top publications including the New York Times, Parade Magazine and Bloomberg Views.

Harlan has received an eclectic variety of honors from all over the world. In Paris, he was awarded the prestigious Vermeil Medal of Honor for contributions to culture and society by the Mayor of Paris. He was won the El Premio del Novela Negra RBA in Spain, the Grand Prix de Lectrices in France, and the CWA/ITV3 Bestseller Dagger for favorite crime novelist in England. On the other end of the spectrum, Little League Baseball inducted Harlan into their Hall of Excellence in 2013, and Harlan is also a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame from his playing days at Amherst College.

Harlan was born in Newark, New Jersey. He still lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children.

The Narrator: Ed Sala received a master’s degree in playwriting from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. He’s lived his life primarily as an actor, appearing on and off Broadway, at Carnegie Hall and in movies and episodic television. His plays have been produced from New York City to Melbourne, Australia. He considers himself very lucky to live a life in this business.

©2021 V Williams

Shucked Apart (A Maine Clambake Mystery Book 9) by Barbara Ross – a #BookReview – #cozyculinary mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Shucked Apart by Barbara RossThe Snowden Family Clambake Company has a beloved reputation in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. Almost as famous is the sleuthing ability of proprietor Julia Snowden, which is why an oyster farmer seeks her out when she’s in trouble.

When Andie Greatorex is robbed of two buckets of oyster seed worth $35,000, she wonders if somebody’s trying to mussel her out of business. Could it be a rival oyster farmer, a steamed former employee, or a snooty summer resident who objects to her unsightly oyster cages floating on the beautiful Damariscotta River? There’s also a lobsterman who’s worried the farm’s expanding lease will encroach on his territory and Andie’s ex-partner, who may come to regret their split. Before Julia can make much headway in the investigation, Andie turns up dead, stabbed by a shucking knife. Now it’s up to Julia to set a trap for a cold and clammy killer . . .

My Review:

If I can’t be on the left coast for some sumptuous fresh and sweet crab and clams, I’ll tap into the latest novel in the Maine Clambake Mystery series by Barbara Ross and join her on the right coast for some of their world-renown seafood—including oysters and lobsters. YUM! The subject of Book 9. Maybe you aren’t currently an oyster fan, but by the end of this cozy culinary, you’ll be searching for the fastest route to the Damariscotta River and Busman’s Harbor, Maine.

Shucked Apart by Barbara RossThe Snowden Family Clambake Company is gearing up for opening season, and Julie is responsible for finding appropriate seasonal staff when her boyfriend Chris asks her help for a poker buddy who was recently assaulted and her pails of oyster spat (baby oysters) stolen. Yes, it was reported to the police, but they are taking it as an assault and robbery and Andie knows it’s much more than that. First, Julia is a little put off that Chris has not been forthcoming regarding his “poker buddies” but on speaking with Andie, however, she sees a serious oyster farmer who has made for herself a respectable name and reputation as producing quality product.

Whether or not you’re interested in the farming of oysters, this is fascinating stuff and amazing how Ms. Ross weaves in information in Julia’s investigation to pique your interest not only in aquaculture but the history of the area and it’s evolution. And then there is the death of Andie (no accident there). Andie’s expansion plans may have spurred some backlash and there is some competition between the oyster and lobster farmers.

The author describes the area so beautifully, the fishermen so completely, the sights, sounds, and fragrant air plunks you into the middle of her scene. The well-developed characters make you wish you could sit at their table, reliving those fish stories or the best way to care for the upwellers.

In the meantime, the mystery is progressing through red herrings (chuckle) and twists, some too obvious not to be dismissed. Easy to have your own suspicions and the well-plotted and paced narrative progresses without repeated rehashing of salient suspicions.

I’ve had the opportunity of receiving two others in this series, Sealed Off and Stowed Away, both of which I enjoyed, and really these can be read as a standalone, but now I’m off to see if I can find an audiobook. These are atmospheric, engaging, and entertaining and I never come away without learning something.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest opinions. Releasing in February, this one is on pre-order now at your favorite retailer.

Rosepoint Recommended

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Book Details:

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

  • ASIN : B089N3KK89

Print Length: 189 pages
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Barbara Ross - authorThe Author:  Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries and the Jane Darrowfield Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at http://www.barbararossauthor.com

©2021 V Williams

Cover Reveal for A Side of Murder (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery) by Amy Pershing #coverreveal #cozymystery


A Side of Murder (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery)
by Amy Pershing

COMING FEBRUARY 23, 2021

READY . . . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SET . . . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVEAL . . . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A Side of Murder (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Berkley (February 23, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0593199146
ISBN-13: 978-0593199145
Digital ASIN: B087PL9HHF

Beautiful Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is known for seafood, sand, surf, and, now…murder.

Samantha Barnes was always a foodie. And when the CIA (that’s the Culinary Institute of America) came calling, she happily traded in Cape Cod for the Big Apple. But then the rising young chef’s clash with another chef (her ex!) boils over and goes viral. So when Sam inherits a house on the Cape and lands a job writing restaurant reviews, it seems like the perfect pairing. What could go wrong? Well, as it turns out, a lot.

The dilapidated house comes with an enormous puppy. Her new boss is, well, bossy. And the town’s harbormaster is none other than her first love. Nonetheless, Sam’s looking forward to reviewing the Bayview Grill—and indeed the seafood chowder is divine. But the body in the pond outside the eatery was not on the menu. Sam is certain this is murder. But as she begins to stir the pot, is she creating a recipe for her own untimely demise?

Pre-order Your Copy Today! 

AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

About Amy Pershing 

Amy Pershing is a lifelong mystery lover and wordsmith. She was an editor, a restaurant reviewer, and a journalist before leading employee communications at a global bank. A few years ago (with the final college tuition bill paid), she waved goodbye to Wall Street to write full time (and spend more time sailing on the Cape!). A Side of Murder, the first of the Cape Cod Foodie mysteries, is her debut novel.

 

A SIDE OF MURDER COVER REVEAL PARTICIPANTS

January 18, 2021

Reading Is My SuperPower

Author Elena Taylor’s Blog

The Ninja Librarian

Maureen’s Musings

Moonlight Rendezvous

Christy’s Cozy Corners

Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic

My Reading Journeys

Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews

Socrates Book Reviews

FUONLYKNEW

Celticlady’s Reviews

I Read What You Write

Rosepoint Publishing

Cozy Up WIth Kathy

Brooke Blogs

The Book’s the Thing

Melina’s Book Blog

Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

2021 V Williams

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite – A #BookReview – #psychologicalthriller

Book Blurb:

MISSING – Have you seen this girl? Nineteen-year-old Leila Hawkins was last seen on 24 June, 1994, when she left her parents’ anniversary party early and ran into the stormy night wearing her twin sister Stella’s long red coat. She was never seen again.

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara CopperthwaiteI wrap my arms around the tree trunk, pressing my cheek against it until the bark digs in and the missing poster is finally secured. I try not to look at the photograph on it. At the features so similar to mine. Perhaps this will be the year someone comes forward.

Were crucial mistakes made by detectives from the very beginning?

Could the pressure of living two lives have led my sister to run away – or even end it?

Or did someone in her tight circle of friends and family have reason to want her gone?

Someone out there must know something.

But the last thing I ever expect is a direct response from the person who took Leila. Wracked with guilt and completely alone in the world without the other half of me, I have no choice but to agree to his strange request: private, intimate details of my life in return for answers.

As the final moments of my sister’s life play out before me, I feel closer to her than I ever dreamed I’d be again. So close, it could almost be happening to me. But when I finally realise who is behind this terrifying tragedy, will I make it out alive?

From the bestselling author of The Perfect Friend, this absolutely gripping psychological thriller will keep you up all night and leave you sleeping with the light on. If you loved Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Wife Between Us this book is for you!

His Review:

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara CopperthwaiteHer identical twin sister is missing! The police have investigated for twenty-five years and are no closer to solving the crime than when it first occurred. The younger twin (8 minutes) continues to search for answers. Can the often-touted genetic connection between identical twins help solve the case?

Barbara Copperthwaite weaves a very interesting intrigue involving a young dog whisperer and her male suitors. The ardent attention of the television production companies’ owner as well as her past romances keeps this novel fresh. Suspicion of the various suitors kept me projecting and guessing. Great tactic Ms. Copperthwaite! The ending was certainly not expected although in retrospect it made perfect sense.

I suggest this thriller to everyone who enjoys noir mysteries. The suspense grows at a quick pace only to be exposed as not possible near the end of the chapter. The ending of the book wraps the suspense in a very logical bow. 4 stars – CE Williams

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

(Editor’s Note: I previously read two of the author’s works: The Perfect Friend and Her Last Secret. Her novels dip into deep psychological noir, validating the “psychological thriller” definition. They are gripping, immersive, and thoroughly engaging.)

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Kidnapping Crime Fiction, Women’s Psychological Fiction, Psychological Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B088F26YSF

Print Length: 360 pages
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Girl in the Missing Poster [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
 

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Barbara Copperthwaite - authorThe Author: Barbara [Copperthwaite] is the Amazon, Kobo and USA Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE, FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD, THE DARKEST LIES, HER LAST SECRET and THE PERFECT FRIEND. Her new book THE GIRL IN THE MISSING POSTER is out on February 23, 2021 – but is available for preorder now!

Her writing career started in journalism, writing for national newspapers and magazines. During a career spanning over twenty years Barbara interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. She is fascinated by creating realistic, complex characters, and taking them apart before the readers’ eyes in order to discover just how much it takes to push a person over a line.

Her first book, Invisible, was ‘totally gripping, and scarily believable’ according to Bella magazine. Its success was followed by Flowers For The Dead, which was the Sunday Mirror’s Choice Read, beating Lee Child’s latest offering. ‘Will have you looking over your shoulder and under your bed… Original, gripping, with a deep psychological impact,’ their review read.

The Darkest Lies came next, published by Bookouture, and became a USA Today bestseller. The follow-up, Her Last Secret, hit the Number 1 spot on Kobo. The Perfect Friend is a No 1 Kobo and Amazon best seller.

When not writing feverishly at her home in Birmingham, Barbara is often found walking her two dogs, Scamp and Buddy, or hiding behind a camera to take wildlife photographs.

To find out more about Barbara’s novels, go to:
Website: http://www.barbaracopperthwaite.com
Blog: http://www.barbaracopperthwaite.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraCopperthwaite
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BCopperthwait
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/barbaracopperthwaite

2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Audiobook Reviews by Bestselling Authors #jdrobb #davidrosenfelt

Audiobooks by bestselling authors

Gotta temper the heavy with the light audiobooks and last week I enjoyed both. Here is a quick summary of Outfoxed released in 2016 by David Rosenfelt and Golden in Death released last February (2020) by JD Robb.

Book Blurb: Golden in Death An Eve Dallas Novel (In Death, Book 50) by JD Robb – In the latest thriller in the number-one New York Times best-selling series, homicide detective Eve Dallas investigates a murder with a mysterious motive – and a terrifying weapon.

Pediatrician Kent Abner received the package on a beautiful April morning. Inside was a cheap trinket, a golden egg that could be opened into two halves. When he pried it apart, highly toxic airborne fumes entered his body – and killed him.

After Eve Dallas calls the hazmat team – and undergoes testing to reassure both her and her husband that she hasn’t been exposed – it’s time to look into Dr. Abner’s past and relationships. Not every victim Eve encounters is an angel, but it seems that Abner came pretty close – though he did ruffle some feathers over the years by taking stands for the weak and defenseless.

While the lab tries to identify the deadly toxin, Eve hunts for the sender. But when someone else dies in the same grisly manner, it becomes clear that she’s dealing with either a madman – or someone who has a hidden and elusive connection to both victims.

My Review:

My first experience with this series and it was an eye-opener. I was astounded to realize this is Book 50. ACK! Fifty of these? Starting in 1995? And this is supposed to take place in 2061? Really! Somehow, I totally missed that.

Golden in Death by JD RobbI love getting into a unique premise and, for me, it was unique and well-plotted and I kept either my earbud or the wifi speaker handy. I can’t speak, obviously, to Eve’s evolving dynamics—her relationship with slobber-worthy Roarke.

You may remember I read Hideaway by Nora Roberts (I’m not sure which is the alter-ego) and found it a little syrupy. This series (and J.D.) alternates between offering slightly lighter scenes of banter or situation to downright serious and deadly scenes punctuated with profanity. While the other, of course, is a romance novel, this one would be classified as a near future police procedural. (Damn—I really never got that they’d progressed much further than they are today.)

The body count begins to escalate while the interviews become more intensive lending a stark tension to the narrative. Eve and her partner Detective Delia Peabody pursue leads, hit a brick wall, go around it, and find another lead. There are twists. It’s complex, compelling, and entertaining. Narration kept interest. The conclusion satisfying.

Recording Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Police Procedural
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B07QQZW5JL
Listening Length: 13 hrs 50 mins
Narrator: Susan Ericksen
Publication Date: Feb 4, 2020
Source: Local Library
Title Link: Golden in Death [Amazon]
 

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J D Robb - authorThe Author: J.D. ROBB is the pseudonym for #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts. She is the author of over 200 novels, including the futuristic suspense In Death series. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.

♥ ♥♥♥♥

 

Book Blurb: Outfoxed by David RosenfeltDefense lawyer Andy Carpenter spends as much time as he can working on his true passion – the Tara Foundation, the dog rescue organization he runs. Lately Andy has been especially involved in a county prison program where inmates help train dogs the Tara Foundation has rescued to make them more adoptable, benefiting both the dogs and the prisoners.

One of the prisoners Andy has been working with is Brian Atkins, who has 18 months left on a five-year term for fraud. Brian has been helping to train Boomer, an adorable fox terrier the Tara Foundation rescued from a neglectful owner. Brian and Boomer are clearly a terrific match. In fact Andy hopes that Brian will adopt Boomer himself, once his sentence is up.

But one day Andy arrives at the prison to discover that Brian has used Boomer to make an ingenious escape, and man and dog are both in the wind. The next day the man on whose testimony Brian was convicted is found murdered. Brian is caught and arrested for the crime, though he forcefully asserts his innocence.

Suddenly Andy finds himself with a new client in Brian and a new dog in Boomer. And as he starts to dig deeper into the murder and the events leading up to it, Andy realizes he might be putting them all in far more danger than anyone had realized.

My Review:

Outfoxed by David RosenfeltNo, I don’t wish to hammer you over the head with books by David Rosenfelt. Really, my major go-to by him is the Andy Carpenter book series.

I have read a number of his other books, but for fun, fast, and fascinating legal two-step courtroom drama, I return to the Andy Carpenter series. They are clean and comfortable with a cast of support characters that seldom vary with the exception of the reason for the current mystery.

Andy is a well to do attorney (not all of it money from his cases), his wife Laurie, son Ricky, Willie, Marcus, and Hike. Each a force of their own. It’s a familiar and winning formula. Andy doesn’t want the case but feels the guy (or gal) is innocent.

Proceed with investigation,

Enter chuckle-producing snarky dialogue,

Continue with investigation,

Get dangerously close to be taken out (enter bad guys),

Continue with LOL moments, snarky dialogue, tongue-in-cheek observations,

Continue to courtroom drama, wring hands over witnesses, documents,

Add sarcastic quips,

Win case, go celebrate. Andy pays.

Did I leave something out? Yes, usually the beginning sets the stage for the plot which always sets a hook, grabs your interest and promises to be highly entertaining. And, of yes, he begins with those same self-deprecating remarks and cheerful scenes to the setting, players, and his two dogs, Tara and Sebastian. It’s not a K-9 series per se—it’s a legal thriller mystery series with a snarky attorney who loves dogs enough to set up a rescue with Willie (see above). The narrator, Grover Gardner, btw, is absolutely perfect. Nails it!

And I never fail to enjoy each and every one, a few of which are listed here: Silent Bite, Muzzled, The Twelve Dogs of Christmas, Rescued.

Recording Details:

Genre: Animal Fiction, Traditional Detective Mysteries
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B01H5U6F5Q
Listening Length: 7 hrs 18 mins
Narrator:  Grover Gardner
Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Source: Local Library
Title Link: Outfoxed [Amazon]

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

Are you a JD Robb fan? Rosenfelt fan? (I prefer the JD Robb books to the Nora Roberts books—not a romance fan.)

©2021 V Williams

Hunting the Hangman by Howard Linskey – A #BookReview – #warfiction – #TBT

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Hunting the Hangman by Howard LinskeyWith a plot that echoes The Day of the Jackal and The Eagle Has Landed, Hunting the Hangman is a thrilling tale of courage, resilience and betrayal that reads like a classic World War II thriller. In 1942 two men, trained by the British SOE, parachuted back into their native Czechoslovakia with one sole objective: to kill the man ruling their homeland. Jan Kubis and Josef Gabcik risked everything for their country. Their attempt on Reinhard Heydrich’s life was one of the single most dramatic events of World War II, and had horrific consequences for thousands of innocent people. Heydrich was a man so evil even fellow SS officers referred to him as the “Blond Beast.” In Prague, he was known as the Hangman. Hitler, who dubbed him “The Man with the Iron Heart,” considered Heydrich his heir, and entrusted him with the implementation of the “Final Solution” to the Jewish “problem:” the systematic murder of 11 million people.

His Review:

The Third Reich is in control of the majority of Europe. Nazi general Reinhard Heydrich is the Reich’s Protector of Prague and all of Czechoslovakia; a cold -blooded killer who considers every Czech to be a sub-human. He is considered directly in line to govern if Hitler is killed.

Members of the Czech army in exile, Josef Gabcik and Jan Kubis are being trained to go back into their country and wipe out this menace. Early in 1942 this is a very dangerous mission and is calculated to be almost a suicide endeavor. The odds of returning from the mission are extremely low. These brave men volunteer to give something back to their home country.

Hunting the Hangman by Howard LinskeyThis book shows the efficiency of the German SS and security forces.  The killing and destruction of entire villages is one of their fear tactics. Adapted from some of the tactics of the Romans, the object is to completely remove the village leaving no stone or brick upon another. Follow this up with plowing and removing any detritus and the end result is a bare field where once a thriving village stood.

Training Strategic Operation agents was a brutal and unforgiving exercise. The object was to create someone who would accomplish his/her mission or die trying. There is no excuse when the price of failure is complete physical suffering and then death. Many of the captured were so savagely mutilated that their identity was difficult to establish.

General Heydrich was a methodical, sadistic and egocentric commander. He had no patience for those who could not complete his commands. When Germans were killed by foreign operatives the retribution was sometimes a hundred to one. In some areas entire villages were taken out and killed; men, women and children! No one was left to relate the reason for the entire destruction of the village!

The arrogance and personal feeling of invincibility of General Heydrich was his ultimate undoing. But can the SOE assassins complete the mission and survive? This author has done an excellent job of supplying the answer. The weakest link in any capture of a clandestine operator will often become the undoing of the entire group. This superbly written novel shows the lengths that patriots will go to in order to help attain freedom for their countrymen. I couldn’t stop reading! 5 stars – CE Willliams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Military Historical Fiction, War Fiction
Publisher: No Exit; First Edition
ISBN : 1843449501
ASIN : B088F26YSF
Print Length: 321 pages
Publication Date: May 25, 2017
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Hunting the Hangman [Amazon]

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Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Howard Linskey - authorThe Author: [Howard Linskey-Goodreads] A bit about me and my books. I am an author with Penguin Random House. My latest book, ‘Alice Teale Is Missing’ features detectives Beth Winter and Lucas Black, as they work together to investigate the mysterious disappearance of seventeen-year-old-Alice.

I am also the author of a series of books set in the north east of England, featuring journalists Tom Carney & Helen Norton with detective Ian Bradshaw, who all appear in ‘The Chosen Ones’, ‘The Search’, ‘Behind Dead Eyes’ and ‘No Name Lane’.

I don’t only write crime fiction though. My two historical novels are set in WW2. ‘Hunting the Hangman’ tells the true story of the assassination of Nazi General, Reinhard Heydrich, and ‘Ungentlemanly Warfare’ is a novel featuring SOE agents, Harry Walsh and Emma Stirling and OSS agent, Sam Cooper. They are published in the UK (No Exit) and are coming to the US thanks to Kensington Books.

My earlier novels, the David Blake books, have been optioned for TV by Harry Potter producer, David Barron. The Times newspaper voted ‘The Drop’ one of its Top Five Thrillers of the Year and ‘The Damage’ one of its Top Summer Reads. Both books broke into the top five Amazon Kindle chart.

I’m honoured to be the ghost writer of ‘Surviving Hell’ which tells the true story of former Para, Nick Dunn, one of the Chennai Six, who were wrongfully imprisoned in India for years, having committed no crime.

On a far lighter note, I am also the writer behind ‘The Little Book Of Pintfulness’ a mindfulness spoof, which comprehensively proves that life is just better with beer. Please read responsibly.

Prior to becoming a full-time author, I led a series of different lives with a number of jobs, including barman, journalist, catering manager and marketing manager for a celebrity chef, as well as in a variety of sales and account management roles. I can confirm that writing books definitely beats working for a living.

I started writing many moons ago and was first published in the Newcastle United football fanzine, ‘The Mag’. I then became a journalist and wrote for regional newspapers. I have also written for magazines and web sites and was once the English Premier League football correspondent for a Malaysian magazine. I’ve stopped all of that nonsense now, preferring to make up stuff instead and call myself an author.

I’m originally from Ferryhill in County Durham but, like most of the people I grew up with, I left the north east in search of work and never quite made it back. I am now settled in Hertfordshire with my lovely wife Alison and wonderful daughter Erin.

I’m still a long-suffering Newcastle United fan and can only assume that Mike Ashley is a punishment inflicted upon us for all of the crimes we committed in our past lives.

I am represented by the best Literary Agent in the UK, Phil Patterson at Marjacq. Sandra Sawicka looks after my foreign rights there. If you are Brad Pitt and you wish to play David Blake in a movie then Leah Middleton takes care of Film and TV rights:

Marjacq Scripts Ltd
The Space
235 High Holborn
London WC1V 7LE

+44 (0) 20 7935 9499
F +44 (0) 20 7935 9115
enquiries@marjacq.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams the CE and I

Silent Voices (Detective Lottie Parker Book 9) by Patricia Gibney – a #BookReview – #policeprocedurals

Book Blurb:

The words blurred as she read the note from the killer. She could feel her blood turning to ice. Shivers ran up and down her spine. ‘Before you make the biggest mistake of your life, meet me. If you don’t, her blood will be on your hands. She is with me. You know where to find us’.

Silent Voices by Patricia GibneyWhen twenty-five-year-old Beth Mullen returns home, expecting to find her twin Rachel waiting for her, the silent house sends a shiver down her spine. She races upstairs to find her beautiful beloved sister cold in her childhood bed, her sparkling blue eyes closed forever, the morning after attending a glittering party…

Newly engaged Detective Lottie Parker knows that Rachel has been murdered the minute she enters the bedroom. Rachel’s neck is bruised and a shard of glass placed in her throat. Confronted with such a horrifying killing, Lottie wastes no time in pursuing every clue.

While interviewing the partygoers, Lottie discovers that Rachel’s handbag and keys are nowhere to be found. But as she is searching for them, a brilliant young doctor is found murdered with glass in her throat. The doctor was nowhere near the party and Lottie is forced to question everything. Two beautiful young women with the world at their feet have been brutally silenced. Why did the killer need them to die?

Desperate to find proof of what really happened to Rachel that night, Lottie gets close to the hostess of the party, whose two daughters were friends with Rachel. But Lottie’s hunt for the truth is getting under the killer’s skin, and when Lottie’s fiancé Boyd goes missing, will she be able to find him before it’s too late? Or will he too be silenced forever?

My Review:

Book 9 finds DI Lottie Parker looking forward to her marriage to DS Mark Boyd in less than a week about the same time as she becomes embroiled in the murder of Rachel Mullen—the victim of rat poison. Rachel had attended a glittering private party in which she’d hoped to network.

Silent Voices by Patricia GibneyIt’s not long after the first that another is murdered with the same horrifying MO. But before the dust really settles, a third victim is found. The investigation launches into extended interviews and an ever-widening pool of possibles. In the meantime, she runs the gamut of both ends of the spectrum of the human experience from the very entitled wealthy to kids living in tenements trying to fend for themselves and whose mother is—somewhere.

The Flemings figure prominently, from the two venomous sisters and their mother who have parted from the mother’s soon to be ex, to Mattie and Ellen found to have a possible link with the murdered women.

The author casts a wide net and varies her chapter focus on the various support characters, alternately developing the young girl as a sympathetic child caught in a miserable home situation to disagreeable Annie Fleming the entitled mother whose only focus is the empire she is busy trying to build. Background has Lottie alternately trying to coordinate with her daughter the wedding plans scheduled for Saturday and apparently nothing from weather to her current cases will cooperate.

Well, okay, once again I’ve jumped in up to my hips of a well established series, this being Book 9 and my first experience with either the series or the author. My initial impression was that it seemed to belabor a few of the characters while continuing to introduce more, muddying the water more than once. I found it to be well-plotted but the premise was pushing the line and I wondered how it was all to be gathered in one net.

Two quibbles—first the conclusion and the detailed discussion how it all laid out. Was the perp suspected? Yes, but too obvious and dismissed. It became so complex as to press into disbelief. Granted—they were damaged…but. Oh, and the use of “they” when it meant an individual. I kept wondering if it were really the two? Currently on pre-order.

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

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Serial Killer Thrillers, Police Procedurals, Crime Thrillers
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B08KT53KGV

Print Length: 460 pages
Publication Date: To be released February 5, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Patricia Gibney - authorThe Author: Patricia [Gibney] lives in the midlands of Ireland. She is an avid crime reader so naturally she found herself writing in the crime genre. A life changing experience in 2009, with the death of her 49 year old husband, meant she had to give up her career, and over the following few years, she rekindled her love of art and writing.

Initially Patricia wrote and illustrated a children’s book, but her real ambition was to write a novel. And she did!

In January 2016, she joined with Ger Nichol of The Book Bureau Literary Agency. In July 2016, Patricia signed with Bookouture for four DI Lottie Parker crime novels.

The Missing Ones (Book 1) published in March 2017 and to date has reached a high of number 2 in Amazon UK Kindle charts and number 6 in the US. It also achieved number 1 in all its categories. It is a bestseller in UK, US, Canada and Australia.

Book 2 in the series, The Stolen Girls, published on July 6th, 2017.
Book 3 in the series, The Lost Child, publishes on October 27th 2017.

©2021 V Williams

Unnatural (Erica Rosen MD Trilogy Book 1) by Deven Greene – A #BookReview – #medicalthriller

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Unnatural by Deven GreeneDr. Erica Rosen is perplexed when she sees a young Chinese girl with blue eyes in her San Francisco pediatrics clinic. The girl’s mother, Ting, is secretive, and Erica suspects she has entered the country illegally. Later, Erica encounters Ting’s son and discovers he has an unusual mutation. Erica learns that Ting’s children underwent embryonic stem cell gene editing as part of a secret Chinese government-run program.

The Chinese government wants to murder Ting’s son to prevent others from learning about his unusual mutation and the secret gene-editing program. At Ting’s urging, Erica heads to China to expose the program and rescue the infant Ting was forced to leave behind, all while attempting to evade the watchful eye of the Chinese government. 

His Review:

Could world sports dominance be an offshoot of gene manipulation? Deven Greene explores the concept in this spell-binding tale of international intrigue and romance! This book sweeps you away into a world of excessive national pride and the attempt at world domination in the sports’ world. Adolph Hitlers’ attempts at creating world class athletes to dominate the Olympics were tame compared to this tale.

Unnatural by Deven GreeneTing, a diminutive Asian female and her son/daughter Wing Shu are in the room for a physical exam for kindergarten. Dr. Erica Rosen is struck by the impossible; this Chinese child has blue eyes! This is genetically impossible! A lack of any health history or history of vaccinations begins a very engaging tale of genetics, gene manipulation and seemingly science fictional intrigue. Read the first chapter and you are hooked by this book.

Deven has simplified some of the scientific jargon to make it understandable for someone who has not had genetics classes. Gene splicing and correction of DNA (Desoxyribonucleic Acid) family traits that cause diseases or maladies in later life are replaced with gene sequences that do not have these traits! Imagine the way a child would look with more muscle mass, stronger bones, perfect complexion and optimum height and weight. Add a body extremely adept at utilizing oxygen and nutrients. The ability to run long distances without fatigue! The possibilities are endless and mind-blowing!

China is a country with a large system of facial recognition cameras in most major cities and a cadre of police and governmental officials tasked with controlling the population and eliminating dissidents. With technology utilized throughout the country to control the population and their opportunities for advancement, how can a foreigner get into the country and explore the newest technology. A very difficult task indeed for a non-native visitor.

Dr. Rosen undertakes the task of visiting China to find a missing child and unravel the ongoing research into gene technology. Once in country she learns quickly that you cannot trust anyone. People loyal to the communist regime will go to any lengths to protect the technology and states’ secrets. Can a lost child be rescued and the state secrets be unraveled? This read demands time set aside as the action is fast paced, well plotted and very engaging. 5 Stars – CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Medical Thrillers, Crime Thrillers, Suspense Thrillers, Genetic Engineering Science Fiction eBooks

  • ISBN-10 : 1684336082
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1684336081
  • ASIN : B08Q35H24G

Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Print Length: 292 pages
Publication Date: January 7, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Unnatural [Amazon]
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The Author: Fiction writer Deven Greene lives in the San Francisco Bay area. Ever since childhood, the author has been interested in science. After working as a biochemist, Deven went back to school and became a pathologist. When writing fiction, the author usually incorporates elements of medicine or science. Deven has penned several short stories. Unnatural, Erica Rosen MD Trilogy Book 1 is the first novel the author has published. The two sequels are in the works.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams the CE and I

The Darkest Thread (The Flint K-9 Search and Rescue Mysteries Book 1) by Jen Blood – a #BookReview – #animalfiction

A buddy read with the CE—do we agree?

Book Blurb:

The Darkest Thread by Jen BloodFor fans of John Connolly, Nevada Barr, and dogs of all shape and size, the first novel in the new Flint K-9 Search and Rescue Mysteries, from the author of the bestselling Erin Solomon Mysteries!

When teenage sisters go missing in the mysterious “Bennington Triangle” of Vermont, an area renowned for its disappearances and strange occurrences over the past hundred years, FBI agent Jack Juarez brings K-9 handler Jamie Flint and her dog Phantom in to assist with the search. When Jack realizes the case shares haunting similarities with the murders of the missing girls’ aunts ten years before, it becomes clear that he and Jamie are dealing with much more than two girls who simply wandered off the beaten path.

My Review:

So enthused to find another good K-9 story, a search and rescue team in Jamie Flint, her GSD Phantom, her son Bear, and his rescue pit bull Casper. The hook at the beginning has them doing a training run in Maine and definitely got my attention and elevated expectations.

Then, she gets a call to travel to Vermont to search the Bennington Triangle for two missing teenage girls. Her son will accompany her along with his young Nigerian immigrant friend Ren and her dog as well as assorted FBI agents, local police and search and rescue. And, for me, at this point, the story goes wonky.

First, a strong paranormal element is introduced—that of her son—and to a lesser degree Jamie, disappointing for me as I thought it was to be a K-9 narrative, telling and teaching about the abilities of our canine partners and their wonderful work. Once they get to Vermont, the storyline brings in the Redfield family. Mercy! That whole family, their history, and the inter-relationships with the FBI launches some hefty disbelief.

There is backstory we’re missing and backstory we get that doesn’t jive with what is going on. Bear is shot and he and Ren taken hostage by Dean Redfield following discovery of the body of one of the girls. It just keeps getting further and further from the K-9 thing with Jamie bull-headedly pushing forward while the dogs are resting. Lots of weirded out characters, ghosts, graphic descriptions of torture, twists and turns.

While it is fairly fast paced, it ventures too far into the supernatural for me in a K-9 story. The lively conclusion pulls most threads together, but still leaves me feeling just a little disappointed. 3.0 Stars – V Williams

His Review:

The Darkest Thread by Jen BloodJen Blood creates engaging mysteries. This one touches on the paranormal and is situated in the mountains of Vermont. The narrative suggests that the mountain folk in Vermont share many traits with the mountain folk of West Virginia.

Jamie Flint has her own search and rescue service in Maine that includes her young son, Bear, and his female companion. The request for their services is on Glastenbury Mountain in Vermont. Two girls who went out for an early morning walk have gone missing. Because of the wild and rugged area on the mountain Jamie and her group have been called in.

The family the girls are related to are not strangers to some of their women going missing. This has been happening since the middle 1940’s. This is where the story gets a little difficult for me to believe.

Jamie and her son have been visited by spirits asking for their help. Because of the events going back generations, this is where the plot darkens. Can the spirits get closure from the services provided by Jamie and her son Bear? More importantly, why haven’t some of the disappearances been solved?

The story includes some interesting historical information about the topography and area around Glastenbury mountain. Seems the native Americans in the area had made some rather interesting cairns lined with limestone rocks. These cairns are not simply water wells, mounds, or monuments. Pre-European settlement makes this fact particularly strange. Many questions arise as to why these people would create the cairns.

The author includes many descriptions of tracking with dogs and the challenges faced by the handlers and the animals. As you read this book, you become very involved in the relationship of the handlers to the dogs. The symbiosis between the two is part of the endearing relationship of dogs to humans.

The FBI and some governmental law enforcement agencies are pointed out as not always the white hat hero types. One of their own is thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Circumstantial evidence and a questionable judge painted him into a prison cell! The inter-relationship and family ties to the law and the investigation team is also rather strange.

The ending is a bit surprising and again caused me to question the timeline of the entire story. It is well written and entertaining. 3.5 Stars – CE Williams

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Pet Dogs, Dog Care
Publisher: Adian Press 
Print Length: 353 pages
Publication Date: October 20, 2016
Title Link(s):  The Darkest Thread [Amazon]

Jen Blood - authorThe Author: Jen Blood is the USA Today-bestselling author of two critically acclaimed, action-packed mystery series: The Erin Solomon Mysteries and the Flint K-9 Search and Rescue Mysteries. Both series feature strong, independent women who dominate in their chosen fields (Erin Solomon as an investigative reporter intent on learning the truth about her own past; Jamie Flint as a single mom, small business owner, and K-9 search and rescue trainer and handler).

In addition to her career as an author, Jen is also a freelance writer and certified dog trainer. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing/Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine, is a regular blogger with Maine Crime Writers, and leads workshops throughout New England on writing, editing, and independent publishing.

Jen taps into a background in freelance journalism in the heart of Midcoast Maine to write mysteries rich with atmosphere and action, with great characters, a hint of romance, and plots that will keep you guessing until the last page is turned. Her series has been hailed by critics and readers alike for its sharp wit and well-drawn characters. For more information and to get your free copy of the Jen Blood Starter Library, visit Jen’s website at jenblood.com.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams the CE and I

TV Netflix Series When Calls the Heart vs Audiobook (Women of the West series Book 11) by Janette Oke #historicalfiction

TV Netflix Series vs Audiobook

The reason you should never say never is because you’ll invariably end up doing it.

You can usually tell (sight unseen) a Hallmark production by the music and the fairytale romance following. I’m not the Hallmark watcher in this family—it’s the CE—and Netflix knows his Hallmark proclivity from the stats that apparently note his selections pretty closely. But this one caught my attention, too, and we’ve been binge-watching again. When I saw that it was originally a Canadian author’s western historical series, I had to go looking for it at my local library to see what they had. They had one audiobook (!!) as well as a number of ebooks and you know I will choose the audiobook. What I discovered was a TV Netflix series loosely based on a bestselling series originally written by author Janette Oke as western religious fiction. 

Netflix Series

Season 2-When Calls the HeartWhen Calls the Heart is a Canadian-American television drama series, one of many we’ve watched and enjoyed lately. It was inspired by Janette Oke’s book from her Canadian West series. Developed by Michael Landon Jr, the series began on the Hallmark Channel in the US on January 11, 2014.

Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow) is a young teacher from a wealthy family anxious to follow the calling of her heart to teach. She finds herself in a classroom in Coal Valley, a coal-mining town in Western Canada.

The life is tough enough without the mine-disaster that kills Abigail Stanton’s (Lori Loughlin) husband and her only son, along with 45 other miners in an explosion. Trying to get on with their lives, they rename the town Hope Valley. (As most know, Loughlin was involved in the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal and sentenced to two months, her husband five. She was removed from the series in Season 6.)

Universally appealing, gorgeous costumes, themes of loss, love, and growth, redemption. Was supposed to be filmed in Colorado but moved instead to Vancouver, BC. The program creator, Michael Landon Jr does a superior job with his storytelling, pushing engagement.

The series became available internationally on Netflix in August 2017 but will be removed January 24, 2021.

Audiobook-Original Print Series

A Gown of Spanish Lace by Janette OkeA Gown of Spanish Lace: Women of the West, Book 11 (Abridged)
Ariana loves her life as a schoolteacher in a little frontier town. But one evening after classes are done and she prepares to hurry home, her life changes in an instant when a band of rough outlaws abduct her and take her far away from all she has ever known. Trapped in a small shack, Ariana prays and waits, her emotions swinging between terror and boredom as days stretch into weeks. Still, the outlaws refuse to tell her why they’ve taken her or what they plan to do.

Then the boss’ son appears in the doorway of her cabin. He seems different from the others, but can she trust him? Will she ever again see her mother and father, the couple who lovingly adopted her and raised her as their own? Will she ever wear the beautiful wedding dress so carefully saved for her – her one remaining link to her birth parents?

My Thoughts

First, I was unhappy the audiobook was an abridged version. Elizabeth is a schoolteacher in the northwestern territories and in a rather weak plot device to explain her kidnapping, is abducted and taken far away. She is treated as a hostage which gradually relaxes weeks later when the “boss’ son” suddenly takes over her care. In the backstory, it is explained she was adopted after her birth parents were killed in a wagon train raid. Her one remaining link to her birth mother—a wedding dress.

Okay, the son of outlaws—the one who “didn’t fit” (not a beautiful Canadian Monty, resplendent in his iconic uniform). Ariana is deeply religious, praying heavily first to live, then to see her adopted parents, home, and school again. She gradually appears to have feelings for Laramie as he tends to loosen the bonds.

Actually a pretty tame bunch of outlaws, almost caricatures (at least around Ariana—could have been MUCH worse) and having raised Laramie that he could be so different.

It could happen.

There was a heavily religious theme and that of Ariana gradually pulling Laramie into Christianity, amid themes of faith, trust, and forgiveness. Maybe because I had the abridged version, so much detail was missing. The plot line progressed at a nice pace (abridged…remember?), but there were elements of implausibility. Otherwise, very sweet, very clean. Not sure I could start back at Seasons of the Heart, Book 1 though.

Overall Impression

Mercy! At least this one isn’t the shocker that Virgin River turned out to be for me. If anything, it swung in the reverse, a squeaky clean version of western frontier life. But I must vote for the Hallmark version. I love the Mounties (and Jack—why did he have to leave?) Oh…and Elizabeth. Actually, I much prefer the characters in the Hallmark version. Elizabeth (Ariana) is a level-headed intelligent woman extolling moral lessons on her students (Christian principles from the Oke published series without being preachy).

There are two or three “bad” guys who gradually turn to the “good” side. The mining town cleans up to become a lumber (sawmill) town, and as always, there are the busy-body citizens—who can sometimes do good as well.

The storyline is engaging and entertaining, although I’ve noticed a slight change from possible realistic period costumes and hairstyles to dresses of décolleté and hair worn down in curls. (Difficult without a curling iron.) It is a time of change, the turn of the Century, and the Industrial Revolution. Perhaps also a time of some societal confusion, women just beginning to become a force of nature, as well as nurture.

The first seven seasons on Netflix will go bye-bye in January. Season 8 debuts in February on…yeah, the Hallmark Channel. We’ll wait until it hits Netflix.

Book Details

Genre: Western Religious Fiction, Religious Historical Fiction, Christian Westerns
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
ASIN: B005E87WUY
Print Length: 260 pages
Listening Length: 3 hrs 13 mins (Abridged version)
Narrator: Aimee Lilly
Audible Release: April 15, 2016
Publication Date: August 1, 2006
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: A Gown of Spanish Lace [Amazon]

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Janette Oke - authorThe Author: Janette Oke (née Steeves) was born on February 18, 1935 to Fred and Amy Steeves in the family’s log house near Champion, Alberta. Janette Oke pioneered inspirational fiction and is the leading author in the category today. She received the 1992 President’s Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association for her significant contribution to Christian fiction, and has been awarded the coveted Gold Medallion Award for fiction. Janette and her husband, Edward, have four grown children and nine grandchildren and make their home in Canada. Most lately she has collaborated on a series with her daughter Laurel Oke Logan. Bethany Fellowship Inc. (now Bethany House) has been Oke’s benefactor and says of Oke, “Oke’s pioneering influence on Christian historical fiction, and Christian fiction as a whole, has lifted her to near-legendary status.”

The Narrator: Aimee Lilly has narrated over 200 audiobooks in a wide variety of genres, most of them for Oasis Audio, including 100 books in the Boxcar Children series. An Earphones Award winner, she has also been nominated for an Audie Award, an Independent Audiobook Award, and a Voice Arts Award.

©2021 V Williams

Info sources: Wikipedia, Hallmark Channel