The Alchemist of Lost Souls by Mary Lawrence #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for The Alchemist of Lost Souls by Mary Lawrence on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

The Alchemist of Lost Souls by Mary Lawrence

Book Details

The Alchemist of Lost Souls (A Bianca Goddard Mystery)
Historical Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (April 30, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1496715314
ISBN-13: 978-1496715319
Digital ASIN: B07G6R99SR

Book Blurb

A dangerous element discovered by Bianca Goddard’s father falls into the wrong hands . . . leading to a chain of multiple murders.

Spring 1544: Now that she is with child, Bianca is more determined than ever to distance herself from her unstable father. Desperate to win back the favor of King Henry VIII, disgraced alchemist Albern Goddard plans to reveal a powerful new element he’s discovered–one with deadly potential. But when the substance is stolen, he is panicked and expects his daughter to help.

Soon after, a woman’s body is found behind the Dim Dragon Inn, an eerie green vapor rising from her breathless mouth. To her grave concern, Bianca has reason to suspect her own mother may be involved in the theft and the murder. As her husband John is conscripted into King Henry’s army to subdue Scottish resistance, Bianca must navigate a twisted and treacherous path among alchemists, apothecaries, chandlers, and scoundrels–to find out who among them is willing to kill to possess the element known as lapis mortem, the stone of death . . .

My Review

The Alchemist of Lost Souls by Mary LawrenceBoy I love it when I discover a new author and a historical series I can really get into! True to my series record, of course, a new author and the Bianca Goddard mystery is her fourth in the series. (I’m batting a thousand.) And perhaps I’d have understood a bit more of the characters if I’d read the first three, but still, I absolutely devoured this book as if it were the first of a remarkable premise and a standalone.

Set in Elizabethan London, Bianca Goddard is a wife to John and recently discovered she is pregnant. Her mother Melva is a white witch, her father the alchemist, albeit a disgraced alchemist having fallen out of favor with the king for whom he is manic to regain his former position. To that end, he has made a remarkable discovery. Unfortunately, his sample has disappeared and he politely (not) requests that his daughter ascertain whether or not his wife was responsible.

Bianca has her own concerns. John has flunked his archery test and is being conscripted to the king’s army to march on the border of Scotland as a pikesman. (Good luck) She is an herbalist with a growing list of clients, one of whom, Meddybemps, is a street peddler and an old friend.

Meddybemps, however, is just one of a number of support characters that catapults you back to sixteenth-century London. Another character, otherworldly Rat Man, lives under the bridge and sees and knows all. Sometimes he has a hand in divining the direction of human endeavor or their evil deeds.

The sights, sounds, and smells (nasty odors) emanate from the pages. You are there. It’s wet…and chilly. Rainy streets slick with all manner of human detritus combine with the cooking odors. The inns with their serving maids run to deliver a Southwark version of ale–drank morning, noon, and night (in place of fetid water).

The well-plotted storyline flows quite naturally given the female gender of the protagonist and the times. So much fun reading about the herbs, common and otherwise and their application.

Her father’s breakthrough element quickly ends up in the hands of an unscrupulous couple. The death of the wife puts her in touch with Constable Patch, with whom she has had dealings in prior series entries. Constable Patch is not a terribly gifted sleuth and it’s good he’s not generally armed. But that’s not the end of it. Those elements will change hands more than once, resulting in another couple very unusual, unique but not wholly undeserved deaths.

The conclusion came following the climax of a harrowing scene pitting Bianca and her very capable inn wench friend, Cammy, against the antagonist. Is Bianca able to retrieve the elements? Or if so, at what cost? If I had any niggles at all, it would be the conclusion. Damn…I’ll be thinking that one over for awhile.

I was given this eBook download by the publisher and NetGalley for this blog tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. What an exciting book! The author took great pains to deliver authentic dialect and syntax, words I was looking up, Latin or French phrases, descriptions of costume and dress. This would make such a fantastic TV series. If I can’t watch it, I’ll wait (im)patiently for the next book.

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Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win one of two (2) Signed Copy The Alchemist of Lost Souls (A Bianca Goddard Mystery) by Mary Lawrence Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Mary Lawrence - authorMary Lawrence lives and farms in Maine and worked in the medical field for over twenty-five years before publishing her debut mystery, The Alchemist’s Daughter (Kensington, 2015). The book was named by Suspense Magazine as a “Best Book of 2015” in the historical mystery category. Her articles have appeared in several publications most notably the national news blog, The Daily Beast. The Bianca Goddard Mystery series also includes Death of an AlchemistDeath at St. Vedast, The Alchemist of Lost Souls, and the fifth title for 2020.

Website: www.marylawrencebooks.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/marylawrence.author/

Twitter:  @mel59lawrence

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/84420.Mary_Lawrence

Purchase links: Amazon  Barnes & Noble

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

Tour Participants:

June 3 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST

June 3 – Reading Reality – REVIEW

June 4 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 4 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT with EXCERPT

June 5 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW

June 5 – The Book’s the Thing– SPOTLIGHT with EXCERPT

June 6 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 6 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT with EXCERPT

June 7 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 7 – Kelly P’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT

June 8 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 9 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

June 10 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW

June 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 11 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

June 11 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

June 12 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

June 12 – Ebook Addicts – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2019 V Williams Blog author

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Treading the Uneven Road by L. M. Brown – a #BookReview

It’s March and I’m participating in the Reading Ireland Month for 2019. This one is a literary fiction by author L M Brown. It is an anthology, short stories of ’80s and ’90s Ireland, Treading the Uneven Road

March!

Treading the Uneven Road by L M BrownTitle: Treading the Uneven Road by L. M. Brown

Genre: Short Stories and Anthologies, Literary Fiction

Publisher: Fomite

  • ISBN-10:194438880X
  • ISBN-13:978-1944388805

Print Length: 208 pages

Publication Date: Happy Release Day! March 15, 2019

Source: Direct author request

Title Link: Treading the Uneven Road

Book Blurb:

The stories in this collection are set 1980’s and 90’s Ireland. A by-pass around a small village has rid the residents of their once busy traffic. They feel forgotten by the world. The need to reach out and be heard is explored in every story, from the young woman who starts to have phone conversations with her husband’s gay lover, to the dyslexic man who confronts his cruel teacher years later and the woman whose dreams are shattered because of a married lover. Treading the Uneven Road introduces us to a society that is unraveling and we cannot help feel for Brown’s characters who need to make a choice on how to carry on. Continue reading “Treading the Uneven Road by L. M. Brown – a #BookReview”

The Perfect Friend – a #BookReview

The Perfect Friend by Barbara CopperthwaiteTitle:  The Perfect Friend by Barbara Copperthwaite

Genre: Currently #185 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Suspense, Psychological

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: July 5, 2018, Happy Release Day!

Source:  Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Perfect FriendNot a real fan of the (yellow) cover

“…Still, I’m trying to decide how much truth to tell. This started as little white lies…”

Barbara Copperthwaite is a master of the psychological thriller model. The problem is, if you are like most people, you take on face value what you are told, and the narration is so simple, so natural, you don’t suspect anything is awry. But you’ve been set up immediately with a narrator who tells you up front she is a liar. Continue reading “The Perfect Friend – a #BookReview”

#ThrowbackThursday – The Devil’s Grin by Annalie Wendeberg

#ThrowbackThursday-Summer

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

The Devil's Grin by A WendebergThis week I am highlighting Annalie Wendeberg, another terrific, prolific author who The Devil’s Grin #1 (or 2?) of the Anna Kronberg Thriller series, which I reviewed on Goodreads. She has actually written six in the series, but also other series as well. This novel was originally self-published on CreateSpace, March 24, 2013. (Numerous dates for ebook as well as covers listed.) She consistently runs approximately 4.3+ stars for any of her books sold on Amazon. Sometimes the author’s own story is as fascinating as her books–check out her bios.)

Originally posted May 26, 2016

Book Blurb:

(Amazon) London 1889. A dead man is found floating in the city’s waterworks. Fearing an epidemic, the Metropolitan Police call upon bacteriologist Dr Anton Kronberg to examine the body. All signs point toward cholera having killed the man…but for faint marks around wrists and ankles.

Evidence for a crime is weak, and the police lose interest in the case. But Kronberg suspects that the dead man’s final days had been steeped in cruelty. Soon, a second victim is found, and Kronberg gets embroiled in a web of abduction, abuse, and murder.

But catching a killer and staying alive would be easier if the doctor didn’t have secrets of…her own.

Warning: medical procedures are depicted without apology.

**********ACK!!!*********

(Goodreads)At the turn of the 19th century, bacteriological research has made a tremendous leap. When epidemics were still untamed and claimed thousands of lives, Pasteur and Koch isolated deadly bacteria to develop vaccines. Biological warfare was but a small step away…

In Victorian London’s cesspool of crime and disease, a series of murders remains undiscovered until a cholera victim is found floating in the city’s drinking water supply. Dr Anton Kronberg, England’s best bacteriologist, is called upon to investigate and finds evidence of abduction and medical maltreatment. While Scotland Yard has little interest in pursuing the case, Kronberg pushes on and crosses paths with Sherlock Holmes. The detective immediately discovers Kronberg’s secret – a woman masquerading as a man in order to practice medicine – a criminal deed that could land her in prison for years to come. But both must join forces to stop a crime so monstrous, it outshines Jack the Ripper’s deeds in brutality and cold-bloodedness.

Warning: This book contains foul language, non-explicit sex-scenes, explicit dissection scenes, violence, and considerable female power. Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – The Devil’s Grin by Annalie Wendeberg”

The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle – a #BookReview

The Tortilla Curtain by T C Boyle-eBook coverTitle: The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle

Genre: Currently #27 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, Satire, and #62 in Contemporary Fiction, Urban

Publisher: Penguin Books

Publication Date: September 1, 1996

Source: Free download BookBub

Title and Cover: The Tortilla CurtaineBook cover attracted my attention (prefer it to the paperback version below)–thought it would interest hubby–this is his review.

This book has been around more than twenty years and certainly long enough that there are more than sufficient synopses. So at this point, I must assume the literary crowd is familiar with the setting in the beautiful but fragile ecology of the Topanga Canyon of Southern California. This scenario situates two couples on a course designed to slap your senses into a new mindset. The classic style Greek pathos novel grasps the very soul of society and squeezes so tightly I came close to declaring a DNF more than once. No getting around it–this is a very difficult book. Continue reading “The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle – a #BookReview”

Will Bookbloggers Abandon Pinterest? Maybe–Here’s Why

Will Bookbloggers Abandon Pinterest?

So, was the Pinterest platform created for people with too much time on their hands, or as a serious media form with myriad connection capabilities?

I’ve mentioned before my attempts at understanding the attraction and heaven knows I’ve been bombarded with invitations by “experts” for advice on learning how to expand my followers and make significant gains in either monetizing my blog or directing traffic to sales through Pinterest. (Except that my blog is not particularly sales driven.)

I have twelve boards and umpteen “pins” and the one that catches the most traffic is the one of Iris Apfel, whose repins (at age 93) greatly outnumber my own and does nothing for my stats. How fair is that?

Launched in 2010, Pinterest was designed to discover information on the www mainly through the use of images. Images were where it was at! In particular, I do enjoy the Infographics you readily find on Pinterest.

However, I like that Instagram may become a powerful adjunct to my blog. It’s simple! Even I can do it! And I get a lot of positive engagement from Instagram, second only (and sometimes tying) to Twitter (not facebook). I’m still fairly new to posting on Instagram, but adding followers at a consistent pace. I particularly appreciate the ability to add appropriate hashtags and find that authors and other book bloggers, as well as publishers, haunt your posts. There is a limit on the use of hashtags of course, but many can do double duty, where appropriately added to your twitter post. Here are a few of my favorite hashtags for Instagram/Bookstagram (keeping in mind these are not to be used for every post–change them up!):

#book #booksofinstagram #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #igreads #igbooks #epicreads #booklife #bibliophile #read #reading #reader #booklover #bookaddict #booknerd #bookworm #booksbooksbooks #bookstagramfeature #readingforfun #booksworthreading #readinglist #bookswag #readingisfundamental #currentlyreading #amreading #bookshelf #newbook #goodbook #reviewbook #mybooks #goodreads #bookrecommendations #bookblog #bookblogger #tbr #indieauthor #bibliophile #mustread

Rather than using Pinterest as a major source of traffic, I see a few of my fellow book bloggers using Pinterest as a side link, sort of a sub-blog. In fact, I found that shockingly few post a link to Pinterest. It appears most bloggers opt to link to Instagram and Twitter. (If you also have a Pinterest account that I missed it here, please let me know and I’ll be glad to follow.)

Lynne at Fictionophile

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Adventures of a Bibliophile

The Cozy Pages

Of course, more than images now the use of videos, vlogs, and gifs. Videos–videos are where it’s at! Well, I won’t be doing many of those soon, so I’ll continue to work on images, particularly through the use of Instagram and Bookstagram, which I’ve also alluded to rather recently.

I’m still not sold that the hours and hours of time I’ve spent on Pinterest has been worth it, but I see huge inroads of web interest in Instagram and the buzz says this is where the major focus will occur in 2018. I’m thinking that besides the time spent on my blog, that is where I’ll focus my secondary hours. How about you? Do you still use Pinterest or has Twitter and Instagram taken a new lead for you? I’d love to hear your comments! ©2018 V Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!