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

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

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

Book Blurb:

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

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

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

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

His Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Add to Goodreads

 Book Details:

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

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

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

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4-stars

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

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

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

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

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

The Missing Sister by Elle Marr – a #BookReview #thriller

Did CE, the Vicarious Blogger* love this one?

Book Blurb:

An Amazon Charts bestseller.

The Missing Sister by Elle MarrIn Paris, her twin sister has vanished, leaving behind three chilling words: Trust no one.

Shayna Darby is finally coming to terms with her parents’ deaths when she’s delivered another blow. The body of her estranged twin sister, Angela—the possible victim of a serial killer—has been pulled from the Seine. Putting what’s left of her life on hold, Shayna heads to Paris. But while cleaning out Angela’s apartment, Shayna makes a startling discovery: a coded message meant for her alone…

Alive. Trust no one.

Taking the warning to heart, Shayna maintains the lie. She makes a positive ID on the remains and works to find out where—and why—her missing sister is hiding. Shayna retraces her sister’s footsteps, and they lead her down into Paris’s underbelly.

As she gets closer to the truth—and to the killer—Shayna’s own life may now be in the balance…

My Thoughts 

Debut author Elle Marr apparently hits it out of the ballpark with The Missing Sister.

Officially released on April Fool’s Day, she has garnered more than 3,000 ratings on Goodreads but at less than a 3.61 average. At kinder, gentler Amazon, just over 500 ratings (as of April 2) with a 3.9 average rating (one day after release). Someone did one bang-up job of promoting and marketing because it certainly had the buzz before it hit the official board.

The location of Paris is a crucial component of the well-plotted suspense identical twin device. Shayna, the twin purportedly favored by their parents for being the serious goal-driven half, has come to identify and return home with the body of her sister. But the message she finds in Angel’s apartment contradicts that the body they possess at the Paris morgue might be she. Trust no one should mean that…but Shayna is also the damaged twin.

It is Angela that received the wild side, at times pushing her twin well beyond her boundaries. Angela appears to have found a more accepting “family” in the Parisian academic scene, where she was pushing through a doctoral degree. It would seem she had a comfortable safe location close to her studies and specifically the catacombs underneath the city–until she disappeared and “found” days later in the River Seine.

Here is my problem: Shayna has a finite amount of time to either claim the body and return home with it, or, feeling she would have “felt” it if her sister died, has the same short time to find her alive. But why would she be hiding? And the pace slows

Shortly upon her arrival, the reader is introduced to the first of a number of suspicious characters, red herrings, lovely jaunts through the city and atmospheric street-side cafes. (Brought back so many memories, though most of ours consisted of the cathedrals since that was where we were singing.) In between the sojourns, she digs into Angela’s papers, belongings, anything looking for additional twin-type clues. She finds an occasional clue, but they come painfully slow. The process doesn’t get really serious until near the conclusion and Shayna makes some bad choices in between.

There is shared history to examine, the relationship between the twins (as with my own father, the identical twin deemed the bad one), and the secret–that awful secret between them that drives what appears to be a permanent wedge. (In the case of my dad and uncle also a permanent one. I never understood that, until additional information came out long after his death.) In this case, I couldn’t identify with either Shayna nor Angela, and while I enjoyed the travelogue, didn’t the French characters. The big reveal doesn’t exactly come as a shock–you might have guessed it all along–but I did enjoy the hair-raising climax and finally getting the real skinny.

A meaningful effort for a debut and I can see where this author will grow into a compelling storyteller–this was a good start. Just wish it hadn’t been spoon-fed quite so sparingly. This is one you’ll either connect with or won’t, but may provide some entertainment in the meantime. I received this digital download from the publisher through NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a name you’ll see on award lists. 3.5/5 stars

His Thoughts

The Missing Sister by Elle MarrIdentical twins are at times a psychological mystery. Elle has wrapped this up masterfully in this tale of intrigue and suspense involving identical twins. They have many of the characteristics I have read about including developing their own language and calligraphy.

Families always seem to have dominant and recessive individuals within siblings. Our twins, Shayna and Angela, are no exception to the rule. Angela is the strong dominant twin and Shelby is the recessive twin, or is she? A death of both their parents while Angela is completing a Doctorate at the Sorbonne in Paris puts this conjecture to the test.

Angela is missing! Shayna is called to Paris to identify a body in the morgue and possibly send it back to San Diego, California for burial. The morgue is closed for the weekend so Shayna goes to her sister’s apartment to pack her things.

The psychic alarm in Shayna’s head has not gone off! She is certain that were her sister dead she would have felt something in the ether. Thankfully Angela’s boyfriend Sebastian is there to help her pack and go through Angela’s things. A whiteboard in Angela’s apartment has a cryptic message in their personal script, “Alive: Trust No One!”

CE WilliamsOur author, Elle Mann, develops twists and turns more explosive than a roller coaster. Who can she trust to help her solve the mystery of her sister’s disappearance? Skillfully the reader is drawn into intrigues which include over two hundred miles of catacombs under Paris. Read this book and enjoy the intrigue which is “The Missing Sister!” 5 stars CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Kidnapping Thrillers, Women’s Detective Fiction, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ISBN: 1542006058
ASIN: B07QYMXX41
Print Length: 294 pages
Publication Date: April 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Missing Sister (Amazon)

+Add to Goodreads 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Two Five of Five Stars Four and One Quarter Stars

Elle Marr - authorThe Author: Originally from Sacramento, debut author Elle Marr explored the urban wilderness of Southern California before spending three wine-and-cheese-filled years in France, where she earned a master’s degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris. She now lives and writes outside Portland, Oregon, with her husband, son, and one very demanding feline. Connect with her online at http://www.ellemarr.com, on facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

*As coined by Nina of The Cozy Pages

#ThrowbackThursday – The Lei Crime and Paradise Thriller Novels by Toby Neal #crimethrillers

#throwbackthursday

Award-Winning Hawaiian Crime Novelist Toby Neal

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

This week I am highlighting Toby Neal, another terrific, prolific author who wrote so many of the wonderful books that I got free from BookBub, several of which I reviewed on Goodreads. I wrote a #throwbackthursday on August 21, 2017 regarding the Lei Crime series which posted a review for Torch Ginger and also included info regarding Blood Orchids, the first in the series.

I started reading the Lei Crime series back in 2014 (before I posted many reviews with Goodreads) with Book 1, Blood Orchids, and have loved them all. Lei Texeira is a damaged but strong female protagonist. I’ve followed her journey in the Maui (Hawaii) Police Department as she’s climbed through the ranks. Along the way, she met Michael Stevens, also with the MPD. Their relationship was explosive, but they were obviously meant to be a couple.

Introduced in the Lei crime thrillers was Sophie Ang, Fed ITT and I followed her along as well with Wired Rogue a spin-off of the Lei Crime novels. I’ve enjoyed this series as well and watched the characters grow. Each book brings new surprises and fascinating tidbits about our fiftieth state. Dark Lava by Toby Neal

The last one I reviewed was Dark Lava, Lei Crime Novel Book 7. I’ll repeat the book blurb here, but if you haven’t already discovered Toby Neal’s books, you owe it to yourself to look into these series. Atmospheric, well-plotted, addictive, and heavy on deeply fascinating characters. Start with Blood Orchids. Recommended for all who enjoy mysteries, thrillers and suspense, women sleuths, and police procedurals.

They check all the boxes. Trust me.

Book Blurb:

Paradise is threatened by a fight for sacred artifacts.

She just wants to disarm the IED.

Newly assigned to the bomb squad, Detective Lei Texeira struggles with skills that may be dangerously out of reach, even as a heinous crime strikes close to home and catches her husband in the crossfire.

The woman is his. And if he can’t have her, she’ll have to die.

An investigation into heiau desecrations must take a back seat to the emergence of an enemy who leaves shrouds as a calling card, targeting those closest to Lei and Stevens.

“Neal is a powerful writer, and her prose is often effortless and elegant.” Kirkus Reviews

Grab this fast-paced mystery with a twist of romance, and take a trip to Hawaii with the series that’s sold more than a million copies!

Toby Neal - authorAbout the Author: ***Kirkus Reviews calls Neal’s writing, “persistently riveting. Masterly.”***
Award-winning, USA Today bestselling social worker turned author Toby Neal grew up on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. Neal is a mental health therapist, a career that has informed the depth and complexity of the characters in her stories.

Readers rave: “We love Toby’s fast-paced, character-driven stories set in wonderful places. Nobody can read just one!”

Enjoy a badass female cop? Neal’s Paradise Crime Mysteries, starring multicultural detective Lei Texeira, explore the crimes and issues of Hawaii from the bottom of the ocean to the top of volcanoes.

Spinoff Paradise Crime Thrillers, with Lei’s friend Sophie, features a tech sleuth with a mean left hook and an ongoing vigilante justice manhunt.

Neal’s also written the romance thriller Scorch Series (with Emily Kimelman) and her own Somewhere Series romances under Toby Jane.

Toby’s memoir, Freckled: a Memoir of Growing Up Wild in Hawaii, has been widely praised. Kirkus calls Freckled, “an affecting and riveting chronicle…in a Hawaii long lost.” She writes memoir under TW Neal.

You can get TWO FREE award-winning, full-length Toby Neal books by signing up for her email newsletter! http://tobyneal.net/TNNews

SERIES ORDER:

Paradise Crime Mysteries (with Lei)
Blood Orchids
Torch Ginger
Black Jasmine
Broken Ferns
Twisted Vine
Shattered Palms
Dark Lava
Fire Beach
Rip Tides
Bone Hook
Red Rain
Bitter Feast
Razor Rocks

Paradise Crime Thrillers (with Sophie)
Wired In
Wired Rogue
Wired Hard
Wired Dark
Wired Dawn
Wired Justice
Wired Secret
Wired Fear
Wired Courage
Wired Truth

More Throwback Thursday Blogs

Renee at Its Book Talk

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Rebecca at The Book Whisperer

Lynne at Fictionophile

Sam at Clues and Reviews

Holly B at Dressedtoread

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Annie at The Misstery

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

Laurie at Cozy Nook Books

Ann Marie at LItWitWineDine

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Cathy at Between the Lines

Amy at Novel Gossip

Diana at A Haven for Booklovers

©2020 V Williams V Williams

 

Storm of Secrets: A Haunted Bluffs Mystery by Loretta Marion #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Storm of Secrets

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop from both myself and my associate for Storm of Secrets by Loretta Marion on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Storm of Secrets: A Haunted Bluffs Mystery
Paranormal Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (November 12, 2019)
Hardcover – 327 Pages
ISBN-10: 1643851756
ISBN-13: 978-1643851754
Digital ASIN: B07NTY8L1N

Book Blurb

A deadly storm, a missing three-year-old child, a suspicious death, and the eerie presence of the spirits of the dead set the stage for the second mesmerizing installment of Loretta Marion’s paranormal suspense series.

A powerful storm descends upon Cape Cod’s Whale Rock at the peak of tourist season–and the weekend Cassandra Mitchell’s and Daniel Benjamin’s wedding is set to take place at The Bluffs, the magnificent Victorian mansion Cassie inherited from her family. In the wake of the storm’s destruction, three-year-old Lucas Kleister goes missing–and the body of small-time drug dealer Lee Chambers is found in a restaurant dumpster. Now, the WRPD are faced with a murder to solve, a missing child to find, and the aftermath of one of the worst storms in recent memory.

While aiding with the clean-up and helping the displaced, Cassie has been receiving cryptic messages from the spirits of her great-grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, the original residents of The Bluffs. At first, the messages are benign, but soon, they begin to point to something more sinister. As Cassie works to decipher their meaning, the specter of a mysterious local legend surfaces. The tale of Barnacle Boy–and what happened to him during another destructive storm decades earlier–will weave through the desperate search to find Lucas and the identity of a killer.

My Review

Storm of SecretsThe second installment of this series continues to build on the mystery of the paranormal circumstances enveloping the mansion at The Bluffs that protagonist Cassie Mitchell has inherited, saved, and refurbished along with an adjacent rental/studio in the Carriage House. Along with her fiancé Daniel, a former FBI agent, the town dives into prep for the massive storm that canceled their wedding and Cassie discovers a body in the dumpster behind one of the merchants downtown.

Daniel is enlisted in the search for the missing three-year-old, Lucas, as well as gleaning clues regarding the identity of the man in the dumpster. Daniel and she work unofficially with the Whale Rock Police Department, sussing clues and trading information.

This supernatural thriller introduces a fascinating sub-plot beneath the main plot using current and historical timeline filler to add background to the mysterious Christopher Savage, a displaced person staying temporarily at the Carriage House. The extra layer adds a depth of complexity to the storyline that interspersed with the frantic search for the boy and investigation into the dumpster body keeps the intensity at high level.

I enjoyed the paranormal aspect of the narrative, her great-grandparents often confusing Cassie with messages she is unable to immediately interpret. The relationship between she and Daniel is painted romantically as an ordinary middle-age couple and her relationship with estranged sister, Zoe, fitful. The author weaves a fascinating correlation between that of Cassie and her family with that of Christopher and his and gradually more secrets find their way to the surface.

I was given this digital download by the publisher through NetGalley for this blog tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. I’ve enjoyed both books in this series and would welcome the chance to read the third. This entry could read fine as a standalone, but you may wish to begin with Book 1 to get a full explanation of the paranormal nuance. Recommended for any who enjoy a little supernatural vibe to their mysteries.

His Review

Missing children at sea are never happy circumstances. Add to that a search during a violent storm and the setting of “Storm of Secrets” is launched. Whale Rock Village in Massachusetts is in the track of the storm when a bright object catches Cassie Mitchell’s eye, leading to the discovery of a body hidden in the nearby dumpster.

Barnacle Boy was the first child lost and washed up on the beach years earlier. Buried in the Mitchell family graveyard his identity is still unknown. Who is this boy and why was a three-year-old child left to play on the beach with his older brother?

Merging family history with current missing persons adds a savage twist to this tale. Can local police and gossips help to solve this mystery? Each clue seems to lead further from a happy ending. The lost boy Lucas should have never been out playing with his older brother, Nicholas, with an impending storm. Six years old does not make a mature baby sitter. Associate Reviewer - C E Williams

This book is both engrossing and unnerving. At times it appears there will be no satisfactory conclusion. Read the book and enjoy the masterful conclusion! CE Williams

+Add to Goodreads

 

Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win a Grand Prize bag filled with goodies in this  Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Loretta Marion - authorA true bibliophile, Loretta Marion‘s affection for the written word began in childhood and followed her like a shadow throughout her life as she crafted award-winning marketing and advertising copy and educational brochures. She then applied her writing skills as a volunteer, establishing a Legacy Story program for hospice patients, which inspired her to create her own fictional stories. Her debut novel, The Fool’s Truth, is a twisty mystery set in Maine. Her Haunted Bluffs Mystery Series is set on Cape Cod and was introduced by Crooked Lane Books in 2018 beginning with HOUSE OF ASHES. Her newest release, STORM OF SECRETS, is the second book of the series.

When not whipping out words on her laptop, she is traveling, enjoying outdoor pursuits, or is curled up with a delicious new book. Loretta lives in Rhode Island with her husband, Geoffrey.

Author Links – 

Website:  https://www.LorettaMarion.com

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

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15863622.Loretta_Marion

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

Purchase Links

Amazon     Barnes and Noble   Penguin Random House    Indiebound   Kobo

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

Tour Participants:

November 8 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

November 9 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – StoreyBook Reviews– GUEST POST

November 10 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 11 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

November 11 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 12 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST

November 13 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

November 13 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

November 15 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW, EXCERPT

November 16 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 16 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 17 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

November 18 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW

November 19 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

November 19 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2019 V Williams V Williams

October Reviews Recap–HELLO November!! – What? Noooo #rosepointpub #bookreviewers

Holy Moses, another very fast year and I assume if October was my daughter’s birthday and Halloween yesterday, then Thanksgiving will steamroller right over us and we’re staring at Christmas and New Year’s. Already? YES! And I’m excited for 2020. It’s got to be good!

Rosepoint Reviews-October Recap

We were thrilled to host our ole Navy buddies who rode out on their trike to North Carolina for a rally, thence to Pennsylvania from whence they originally hailed to visit relatives and friends–and then to Indiana for a very welcome visit to us. SOO good to see them again, doing well, enjoying retirement, and riding that beautiful trike…but uh…gulp…in October in Chicagoland?

Studebaker Museum, South Bend, Indiana
Thanks to Kitra for her artistic rendering of the pic taken of us in a Studebaker Commander at the Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana.

We had a great time before they felt the weather pressure to push on back home to Texas, where they were still enjoying 70+-degree weather. (And I must say, they did indeed time it right, as it turned ugly shortly after they left. Yes, Halloween snow!)

Still managed some book reviews while they were here, though woefully slow responding to your likes, comments, and new blog posts and I apologize for that. I did manage (between myself and the CE) to produce eleven reviews, several a collaborative effort. The list below the pic links to our reviews.

Portal to Murder by Alison Lingwood – (won a print copy!)
Haunted House Ghost by James J Cudney
Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Heather Day Gilbert
Yellowhead Blues by R E Donald (a CE review)
Here Comes Santa Paws by Laurien Berenson
Janis by Holly George Warren
Molded 4 Murder by J C Eaton (reviewed by myself and the CE)
Rescued by David Rosenfelt (audiobook)
Tracking Game by Margaret Mizushima
Dogs Don’t Lie by Lisa Shay (reviewed by myself and the CE)
Bad Memory by Lisa Gray

Obviously, I had way too much fun with my gardens this summer, as I over-goaled myself and calculating, realized I wasn’t going to make the 200 earlier set with Goodreads. That was an off-the-wall guestimate assuming the CE’s additional reviews. But that didn’t happen when he started reading the same books! So I’ve had to cut that back, revised to 175. Of that, so far, 143 read for 82%. Thinking that is doable (it’d better be). The Alphabet Challenge–no. Always stuck for the same letters, I believe this will be my last Alphabet Challenge. The NetGalley Challenge, hmmm. I struggled last year to achieve the 75 goal and set the same goal for this year. So far, my count shows 64 as I stopped concentrating on NetGalley books, reviewing with a couple new blog tours.

I’m looking forward to some great books in November and I’ll be providing a sneak peek into those shortly. Also, it’s time I started tackling favorites, looking at 4.5-5 stars to whittle down my ten favs for the year. I found that very difficult to do last year and don’t expect less this year. Do you keep a tally during the year? Already know which ones will hit the top of your list?

Once again, I appreciate each and every one of you for the new follows and those who continue to look in on my post efforts and if you have book suggestions or post ideas for me, I’d love to hear them!

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Two Bites Too Many by Debra H. Goldstein #BlogTour #BookBlast

I am so delighted today to provide a book blast for you at my blog stop for Two Bites Too Many by Judge Debra H. Goldstein on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

two bites too many-banner

Book Details

Two Bites Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Kensington (September 24, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719484
ISBN-13: 978-1496719485
Digital ASIN: B07MB4779P

Book Blurb

 

Two Bites Too Many by Debra H GoldsteinFar from a domestic goddess, Sarah Blair would rather catch bad guys than slave over a hot stove. But when a dangerous murder boils over in Wheaton, Alabama, catching the killer means leaving her comfort zone . . .

Things are finally looking up for Sarah Blair following her unsavory divorce. Settled into a cozy carriage house with her sassy Siamese cat, RahRah, she has somehow managed to hang on to her modest law firm receptionist job and—if befriending flea-bitten strays at the local animal shelter counts—lead a thriving social life. For once, Sarah almost has it together more than her enterprising twin, Emily, a professional chef whose efforts to open a gourmet restaurant have hit a real dead end . . .

When the president of the town bank and city council is murdered after icing Emily’s business plans, all eyes are on the one person who left the scene with blood on her hands—the Blair girls’ sharp-tongued mother, Maybelle. Determined to get her mom off the hook ASAP, Sarah must collect the ingredients of a deadly crime to bring the true culprit to justice. But as neighbors turn against her family, can she pare down the suspects before another victim lands on the chopping block?

Includes quick and easy recipes!

About the Author

 

debra goldsteinJudge Debra H. Goldstein is the author of Two Bites Too Many, as well as One Taste Too Many, the first of Kensington’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series. She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. Debra serves on the national boards of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and is president of the Southeast Chapter of MWA and past president of SinC’s Guppy Chapter.

Author Links

Website http://www.debrahgoldstein.com   Blog http://www.debrahgoldstein.com/blog
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DebraHGoldsteinAuthor/
Twitter @DebraHGoldstein          Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/debra-h-goldstein-72473a11/
GoodReads  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4906340.Debra_H_Goldstein

Purchase Links

Amazon  B&N  Kobo  Google Play 

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

Tour Participants:

Babs Book Bistro
My Reading Journeys
The Book’s the Thing
Literary Gold
Celticlady’s Reviews
Rosepoint Publishing
Maureen’s Musings
Laura’s Interests
Here’s How It Happened
Mallory Heart’s Cozies
Brooke BlogsBooks a Plenty Book Reviews
Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Great Escapes Book Tours

Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to present this book blast.

2019 V Williams V Williams

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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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

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!