Such a Beautiful Family by T R Ragan – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Such a Beautiful Family by T R Ragan

Book Blurb:

A riveting novel of psychological suspense about perfect lives and hidden secrets by New York Times bestselling author T.R. Ragan.

Such a Beautiful Family by T R RaganNora Harmon has a lot to be thankful for: two great kids, a stable marriage, and now, a dream career. Software consultant Jane Bell wants Nora on her team. She’s offering a fantastic salary, flexible hours, and a chance to travel the world. It sounds too good to be true, but Jane won’t take no for an answer.

Jane acts more like a friend than a boss, and Nora’s personal and professional boundaries begin to blur. Jane is smitten with Nora’s perfect family—particularly her daughter—and far too attentive to Nora’s husband. Nora can’t help but feel insecure and unsettled.

Maybe Jane is everything she says she is: a lonely woman in need of feeling the love of a kind and decent family. Maybe Nora is just being paranoid.

Maybe not.

My Review:

If it sounds too good to be true…well, you know that old saying…

Trust T R Ragan to pour on the suspense in what would seem a routine domestic drama. The perfect life; but somehow Jane Bell catches Nora Harmon just about the time Nora is beginning to feel stagnated in her current position. It’s a good job, but she’s no longer excited to get to work in the morning. Even worse, she is beginning to realize her children are growing up at a time when she has even less time to enjoy them.

In steps Jane Bell, a software consultant, who offers Nora twice the money, more time with her family. No, no traveling, just a cushy office. So why are those caution bells ringing wildly in her ears? What is the catch here?

Nora is getting comfy in her new position with IMPACT when Jane begins to lavish her with little surprises. She accepts a couple at the beginning but the hairs have been raised on the back of her neck and she’s beginning to get nervous, particularly when Jane begins to make inroads with her husband and daughter. Only her son, Trevor, (smart kid that he is) is watching Jane with a jaundiced eye.

Okay. Is it too late to put on the brakes? Change the dynamic?

Backstory info is beginning to seep in to muddy the waters. Give her the benefit of the doubt? I don’t THINK so!

Where did Jane come from? Where did she really get the money for her start-up?

The suspense is ramping up, the tension is spiking. Nora’s hubby and daughter think Jane is a benefit fairy and they’re loving the attention. But as Nora gleans additional clues, her grateful reservations begin to elevate from anger to fear and jealousy. And, she is beginning to see the secrets she’d tried to keep hidden are about to be revealed.

The conclusion is wrapped in a heart-twisting conflagration of threats and revelations, physical confrontation. Well, mercy.

It’s a head-scratching nail-biter. The well-plotted and paced mystery hooked and kept engagement. The protagonist for the most part is sympathetic although maddening at times. Her family perhaps too good to be true—especially the daughter’s flip near the climax—hmmm, I wondered about that. On the whole an entertaining saga. I read Count to Three, as well as others, greatly enjoyed, and have become a solid Ragan fan.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts. Currently on pre-order.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ASIN: B09LC5K3BH
Print Length: 266 pages
Publication Date: December 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 

T R Ragan - authorThe Author: T.R. Ragan (Theresa Ragan) has sold over four million books and is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling mystery and thriller author.

Readers interested in signing up for a monthly newsletter or getting their name in a TR RAGAN book should check out her website at http://www.trragan.com

Facebook • Twitter • Instagram: @trraganauthor

 

LIZZY GARDNER SERIES
FAITH MCMANN TRILOGY
JESSIE COLE SERIES
SAWYER BROOKS SERIES

Don’t Make a Sound

Out of Her Mind

No Going Back

Count To Three – 12/21

Such A Beautiful Family – 12/22

Theresa Ragan Novels: Return of the Rose, A Knight in Central Park, Finding Kate Huntley, Dead Man Running, Having My Baby, An Offer He Can’t Refuse, Taming Mad Max, and Here Comes the Bride!

©2922 V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

The Last Sentinel (Clayton White Book 2) by Simon Gervais – #BookReview – #terrorismthrillers

The Last Sentinel by Simon Gervais

Book Blurb:

From the celebrated author of The Last Protector comes an action-packed sequel about a man whose duty to his country threatens the life of the woman he has vowed to protect.

The Last Sentinel by Simon GervaisEx–Secret Service agent Clayton White doesn’t miss the relentless danger that defined his career. These days, he’s enjoying life at sea with his fiancée—who also happens to be the daughter of the double-dealing vice president, Alexander Hammond. But for the most part, Clayton has made peace with his old nemesis.

Then their ship, the NOAAS Surveyor, comes under attack. That same day in Miami, the Second Lady of the United States is assassinated. Hammond, who dodged the bullet meant for him, calls upon Clayton to help him hunt down the responsible party.

Clayton wants nothing to do with the notorious vice president, who boasts a violent and capricious history. But with his fiancée’s life in the balance, Clayton has no choice. He jumps back into the fray, where he’ll face off with enemies new and old. And unbeknownst to Clayton, a deep-rooted enemy has been waiting in the shadows and has now set his sights on him.

This time, it’s not just the world Clayton’s trying to save—but the woman he loves.

His Review:

Iran has not forgotten the control America holds over the region and the atrocities foisted on the country by Saddam Hussein. Reza Ashtari has not forgotten the American agent Captain Clayton White, who killed his father. He and his brother Nadar swore to get the killer.

The Last Sentinel by Simon GervaisISIS continues to expand its power over the middle east and Syria. The American’s attempts at containing the situation are marginal at best. However, the growth of America’s enemies in the area is growing exponentially as more families mourn the death of fathers, brothers, and other loved ones. The destruction of thousands of years of historical artifacts and national treasures continue to enrage the citizens.

China becomes involved in the melee when Reza and Nadar Ashtari approach them for military and financial support. The Ashtari’s feel that the United States will back off when they find out that China is now involved. Captain White and his fellow soldiers ignore the implied and assumed threat when China becomes allied with Iran.

Captain Clayton White is in charge of protecting Veronica Hammond, the daughter of the U.S. Vice-President who is working with the NOAA aboard a surveyor ship off the Florida Keys in the National Sanctuary. White and Hammond have become very close and are surprised when three boats come to attack the research vessel. Reza has targeted both Ms Hammond and Clayton for the death of his father at Whites’ hands.

One of their mutual friends is a reporter for a large eastern publishing syndicate. They become involved in reporting both the advances in oceanographic research and issues evolving from the middle eastern wars. All three of them become targets of the vindictive Ashtari family.

CE WilliamsThis well-developed plot leads to very interesting places and conclusions. The author keeps the action fast-paced and the dialogue entertaining. His writing expands the lengths that personal torture and vengeance can go. Enjoy! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

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

 

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Book Details:

Genre: Terrorism Thrillers, Military Thrillers
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ASIN: B09DCY7FZ1
Print Length: 281 pages
Publication Date: August 9, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: The Last Sentinel [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble 

 

Simon Gervais - authorThe Author: Simon Gervais is a former federal agent specializing in protective operations and counterterrorism. He spent nearly twenty years in the military and in law enforcement. His assignments took him all over Europe and the Middle East. He’s the New York Times and #1 Amazon bestselling author of 4 exciting thriller series.

Robert Ludlum’s BLACKBRIAR: Robert Ludlum’s THE BLACKBRIAR GENESIS written by Simon Gervais (October 2022).

The Clayton White series: THE LAST SENTINEL (August 2022),THE LAST PROTECTOR (November 2021).

The Pierce Hunt series: TIME TO HUNT (November 2020), TRAINED TO HUNT (September 2019), HUNT THEM DOWN (January 2019).

[truncated]

Simon divides his time between Ottawa and The Bahamas. He lives with his wife and two children. He’s an avid boater and skier.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Have a great weekend!

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner – #AudiobookReview – #TBT

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

 

Goodreads Choice Award nominee 

Book Blurb:

A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary….

Hidden in the depths of 18th-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious 12-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London 200 years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate – and not everyone will survive.

With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters, and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance, and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time. 

My Review:

I have to admit, half the fun of this book is reading the reviews. Everyone has an opinion and they literally run from one star to five, more than a few quite vehemently.

Okay, so it isn’t the 2021 great American novel. I borrowed an audiobook from my lovely local library for the purpose of participating in their virtual book club choice for the quarter. (Yes, quarter—nothing is read in a month—or an audiobook listened in a week.) Obviously, a babe in the woods, I had no idea the controversy this title generated after its release of a much anticipated fantasy thriller-mystery. Well, picky, picky, picky.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah PennerIt does actually start off with a hook, Nella (more than one POV, btw), is a late eighteenth-century apothecarist dispensing poisons to women seeking relief from abusive, explosive relationships. No simple divorce remedies back then. Eliza, however, (another POV) is only twelve sent to retrieve the potion for her mistress. Eliza is smart, manipulative, and brilliantly maneuvering herself into a position from which Nella may end up paying the price.

Okay, now switch to Caroline, an eccentric American in London using reservations previously meant to celebrate her wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, prior to leaving on the vacation, his affair is disclosed which pretty much puts the kibosh on any celebration. Yes, she goes anyway, sans said husband. She’s different, you see.

On a little tour of the mud from the river Thames, she discovers a little bottle—cue Gaynor the local library historian. But at least solving the burning question of the bottle takes her mind off her cheating husband and what?? She thinks she might be pregnant? Uh oh. That could be a sticky wicket!

So, are we having fun yet? Ah, come on—it’s magical realism—fantasy. I say, just go for it!

So flipping back to 1791, things are getting mighty dark for Nella and Eliza is a quick study. It doesn’t look like this can end well though—and doesn’t—Eliza lacking the experience. Phooey. And I preferred that timeline.

The storyline with Nella and Eliza can be pretty intense, while the timeline with Caroline packs in a little filler. Some of Caroline’s motives are muddled and you might be scratching your head, wondering where this is going. Or, is it going at all? Yeah, but not real fast.

This is a narrative that you are not to supposed to over think. So much to stop and contemplate, totally dismiss. In consideration, was it engaging or entertaining—sufficiently so that you finished the book? I zipped right through the audiobook—waiting—I’m not sure for what. Forget magical realism. Fantasy takes a hit as disbelief can’t be stretched far enough to think you could survive jumping very far into an icy river and surviving. Okay, I’m taking it too literally again. No over thinking.

While the conclusion seemed a bit abrupt and left more than a few shakes of the head, it was a bit farcical, remember? Just go with it and if this is a genre you enjoy, you’ll no doubt enjoy this novel. The narrators did a good job, too, you might enjoy that even more.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Magical Realism, Historical Fantasy Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Audio
ASIN: B08BXB3JVY
Listening Length: 10 hrs 18 mins
Narrators: Lorna BennettLauren AnthonyLauren Irwin
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

 

Sarah Penner - authorThe Author: Sarah Penner is the New York Times bestselling author of THE LOST APOTHECARY (Park Row Books/HarperCollins), available now wherever books are sold. THE LOST APOTHECARY will be translated into two dozen languages worldwide. Sarah and her husband live in St. Petersburg, Florida with their miniature dachshund, Zoe. To learn more, visit SarahPenner.com.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#throwbackthursday

The Last Paladin (P T Deutermann WWII Novels) by P T Deutermann – #BookReview – #historicalfiction

The Last Paladin by P T Deutermann

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

A gripping tale of anti-submarine warfare in the World War II Pacific Theater, by a master of military adventure fiction.

The Last Paladin by P.T. Deutermann is based on the true story of the USS Holland (DE-24), a World War II Atlantic Fleet destroyer escort which has spent the past two years in the unforgiving battle for survival against the German U-boats of the North Atlantic.

The Last Paladin by P T DeutermannSummoned to relieve destroyers that are bogged down by escort duty in the escalating Pacific Theater, the Holland is met with a rather cold reception. In the eyes of Pacific Fleet sailors, North Atlantic convoy duty pales in comparison to the bloody, carrier-sinking battles of Savo Island and Guadalcanal. However, Atlantic Fleet ships have had to specialize in one thing: anti-submarine warfare.

The Holland is sent off into remote South Pacific operating areas with orders to find and destroy Japanese submarines—but with little expectation of success. Her commanders take the mission literally; using radio intercepts that are being ignored at higher levels, they determine that the Japanese have set up a 1000-mile-long picket line of six submarines, an entire squadron’s worth, to act as a moveable barrier against the expected American advance into the next set of islands. These submarines are poised to sink every American aircraft carrier and destroyer and to change the course of the war.

What happens next is one of the legendary stories of the US Navy. The Last Paladin is high stakes naval warfare at its best, told with utter authenticity and a former ship captain’s understanding of dramatic, intense combat. P. T. Deutermann continues his acclaimed series of WWII thrillers in this unforgettable novel.

His Review:

The war in the Pacific Theater is at its’ zenith. The USS Holland has been in the Atlantic working with the British and has been re-outfitted and sent to the Pacific to aid in the fight against Japanese submarines. The Pacific fleet commanders are less than cordial with the arrival of one of the Atlantic fleets’ destroyer escorts. The ship receives a less than tepid welcome and is assigned a backwater near the Solomon Islands to patrol.

The Last Paladin by P T DeutermannThis saga is told from both the ships’ captains’ point of view and the second in command. The story is fictional and covers the sinking of six Japanese submarines during the war. A picket line of Japanese subs is set up to warn the Imperial Navy of ship movements toward the Marianas and Solomon Islands. The crew of the USS Holland discover the submarines and set out to eliminate the threat. The purpose of the Japanese picket line of submarines was to give advance warning of U.S. Naval Fleet movements.

Some of the history disclosed is very interesting. I found the push and pull between Admirals Spruance and Halsey to be particularly interesting. The story points out the tremendous pressure both of these fine admirals were under. The lives of countless sailors, ships and marines and army were in the balance.

The maintenance of secrecy and the health of the sailors aboard the ship is well defined. Hunting submarines during the war was a duty fraught with danger. Using such tools as sonar and radar often alerted the submarines that the ship was in the area. These tools for discovery were often as valuable to the enemy sailors as to the personnel aboard the Holland.

CE WilliamsThe story is fictional but alludes to the exploits of an actual ship the USS England (DE 635). I could not verify this ship or information because the construction of a ship with this name was not completed because of the wars’ end. However the tension and dynamics of this story kept me involved and reading during every free moment. Enjoy the ride! 5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, World War II Historical Fiction, War Fiction
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
ASIN: B09CNFWMX9
Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: July 19, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Last Paladin [Amazon]

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P T Deutermann - authorThe Author: Peter Deutermann was born in Boston in 1941. His father was in the Navy, so he subsequently lived all over the United States and also in Argentina. He graduated from the naval academy in 1963 and served in the navy for 26 years, rising to the rank of Captain. While in the navy, he published one textbook on naval operations and several professional articles in navy-oriented journals. He held three commands: a Swiftboat in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, a guided missile destroyer in the Atlantic Fleet, and a destroyer squadron based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. His last tour of duty was as the division director for chemical, biological, and radiological weapons arms control negotiations on the staff of the Joint Chiefs in Washington, DC.

He retired from active duty in 1989 and began his fiction-writing career. He has published twenty novels since 1992, all with St. Martins Press, including the just-released World War II navy novel, entitled The Commodore, and the Washington thriller, The Red Swan. He has completed his 21st novel, entitled The Iceman, a World War II navy submarine story, scheduled for publication in August, 2018. See all the books on his website at http://www.ptdeutermann.com

In addition to a BS in naval engineering, Mr. Deutermann holds an MA in public administration from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He is also a Member of the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. He is married and has two children. Mr. Deutermann and his wife of 50 years live in Rockingham County, in the Piedmont of North Carolina, on their family pony farm.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Chill--It's Sunday

Souvenirs from Kyiv: Unforgettable stories based on the heartbreaking experiences of Ukrainian families during WW2 by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger – #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

‘Russia has been trying to wipe Ukraine off the world map for thousands of years. They haven’t succeeded yet. Now, I’m picking up my stone and throwing it at Goliath. I want people to understand. I want to save this country.’ Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger, March 2022

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-BergerLarissa is a renowned embroiderer, surviving in occupied Ukraine during World War II as a seamstress in her ruin of a workshop. Surrounded by enemies, she expresses her defiance by threading history into her garments. But at what cost?

Mykhailo is a soldier on leave, returning to Ukraine from the front on Christmas Eve. As he travels through his country, he is confronted by the hardship the war has brought to his fellow countrymen. Will what he sees this Christmas change the course of his life forever?

Marusia and her family are woken early one morning by the arrival of the Nazis, who have come to search for her partisan brother. As the soldiers move through their house, her family has just moments to make choices that will determine their survival.

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger’s stories bring to life the true history of her Ukrainian family who fought to survive World War II. Laced with hope,Souvenirs from Kyiv celebrates the endurance and resilience of the human spirit.

Souvenirs from Kyiv was awarded 2nd Place in the 2014 HNS International Short Story Award and the collection won the silver medal in the IPPY Book Awards 2020 for Military and Wartime fiction.

His Review:

As the current attack by the Russians upon Ukraine continues, Souvenirs From Kyiv illuminates the continuing hazard in that part of the world. This country has been in the path of battles and armies since recorded history. The Russians have attempted to draw them into their country for centuries. The citizens of Ukraine have suffered continually.

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-BergerWorld War II found their male citizens being conscripted into the Nazi war machine. If they were unable to serve, they were kidnapped and forced to work on war materiel including bombs and bullets. The women were helping in the munitions factories as well and also conscripted to sew uniforms and other outfits including snow warfare camouflage gear.

Hiding some of the young men became the work of families. They would go to the forests and be part of the resistance. Families would take them in at very great risk to themselves. Should they be caught harboring these men, the whole family would wind up being shot. The Ukrainians also helped hide and protect large numbers of Jews. Harboring Jews was also a crime punishable by death.

Those members of the resistance saved many American and English pilots forced down in the fighting. The Ukrainians and Yugoslavian citizens helped to rescue the pilots as well as set up an underground system to spirit the pilots back to the west. Avoiding serving and being caught usually resulted in an immediate deployment to the Russian front.

The Ukrainians are not fond of the Russians. They hoped that the American forces would release their villages. The Russian troops had a reputation for gang raping the women and taking everything of value. The maturation of the war found the Ukrainian people praying the Allies would prevail and liberate their communities from the Nazis.

CE WilliamsStarvation was a major weapon of the Third Reich. The cities were blockaded and farmers and foodstuffs were taken by the German soldiers for the Fatherland or to feed the troops in the area. Small barley or wheat soup was the staple diet for the average citizen during the war. 5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Fiction Short Stories, Historical Russian Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09WF1MQ8K
Print Length: 159 pages
Publication Date: April 22, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Souvenirs from Kyiv [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger - authorThe Author: IPPY Book Award 2020 silver medal winner for SOUVENIRS FROM KYIV.

Long-listed in the Flash500 Novel Competition 2017 for No Man’s Land/The Breach.

Winner of the Flash500 Short Story Competition with an extract from Bolzano.

Winner of the Coffee Pot Book Club Book Award Box and Box Set of the Year 2019 for the Reschen Valley Box Set.

A Discovered Diamond, shortlisted for Book of the Month July 2019, Reschen Valley Box Set

Reader’s Favorite 5-star reviews for Bolzano, The Smuggler of Reschen Pass, and Magda’s Mark (featured in The Road to Liberation Collection).

HNS International Short Story 2nd Place Winner 2014 for Souvenirs from Kyiv (short story in the Souvenirs from Kyiv collection)

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger was born in Minnesota in 1969 and grew up in the culture-rich neighborhood of “Nordeast” Minneapolis. She started her writing career with short stories, travel narratives, worked as a journalist and then as a managing editor for a magazine publisher before jumping the editor’s desk and pursuing her dreams of writing and traveling. In 2000, she moved to western Austria and established her own communications training company. She has won several awards for her short stories and novels and now primarily writes historical fiction. During a trip into northern Italy over the Reschen Pass, she stood on the edge of Reschen Lake and desperately wanted to understand how a 15th-century church tower ended up sticking out of the water. What stories were lying beneath? Some eight years later, she launched the “Reschen Valley” series with five books and a novella releasing between 2018 and 2021, in parallel to her WW2 novels and short story collections.

For more on Chrystyna, dive in at inktreks(dot)com.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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Mining for Murder (A Happy Camper Mystery Book 3) by Mary Angela #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Mining for Murder by Mary Angela

It is my privilege to provide a review for you today at the blog stop for Mining for Murder by Mary Angela on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

“Underestimate me. That will be fun.”

Book Details

Mining for Murder (A Happy Camper Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – South Dakota
Lyrical Press (April 5, 2022)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 275 pages
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0992TPJ24

Book Blurb

Zo Jones is enjoying the sunny season at her Happy Camper gift shop in Spirit Canyon, South Dakota—when a murder reminds her all that glitters isn’t gold. . 

The South Dakota Gold Rush might be long over, but Zo Jones feels like she’s hit the mother lode when she and her friends browse an estate sale, where a rare old book about the history of Spirit Canyon is causing quite a commotion. In addition to local stories and secrets, the book may even contain the location of a famous stash of gold—a treasure worth killing for.

Zo’s friend Maynard Cline wins the bid on the book, to the chagrin of many interested parties, including the historical society and college history department. But when Zo and Hattie head to Maynard’s mansion to borrow the book for a library event, the only thing they find is Maynard—at the bottom of the mountain. The valuable book is gone. Zo knows this must be murder because there’s no way a germophobe like Maynard would have voluntarily dived into a pile of dirt. Now she’ll have to dig into a new case, and go prospecting for a perpetrator . . .

My Review

The third in the series Mining for Murder continues the saga of the Happy Camper mysteries which takes place in mystical Spirit Canyon in the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota. The area is a tourist mecca in the summer central to major attractions such as Mount Rushmore.

Mining for Murder by Mary AngelaThis is where Zo Jones set up her Happy Camper gift shop. She offers everything from souvenirs to memorabilia. Her unique ideas for decoration and promotion keep her shop lively and sustainable through the long non-tourist months.

Jules, a (spirit) shop owner herself, plays a strong supportive role and Max, a forest service ranger, is back as the growing love interest.

When a long time resident with a substantial collection passes away, a valuable book on the history of the area goes missing about the time the man who outbid those who should have received the book is found dead. Zo would like to find the book as she is sure it will contain a possible clue to her birth mother—as well as help to find the perp.

But the missing book may contain more than the hint of her origins—it may also include information on The Theon Stone and clues to gold mines long rumored about the explosive gold mining era—riches hidden just waiting to be discovered.

There are a number of support characters that build interest in the population of the little town, including law enforcement who’s had to warn Zo before to let him do his job while she tends her shop.

I greatly enjoyed the first book in the series, Open for Murder, and looked forward to a well-plotted and fast-paced book with well-drawn characters. Also appreciated are the descriptions of the area, the topography, quirky weather, and wildlife. As with the previous entry, there is strong dialogue patterns that sound natural and personal growth in the protagonist.

“The past is never really the past, is it?”

I love reading about the history of these areas, steeped in folklore, indigenous peoples, and wild west experiences. I had a few problems, however, with her descriptions of riding (her Kawi motorcycle—perhaps she doesn’t ride?) and the reveal in the conclusion.

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Giveaway

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About the Author

Mary Angela is the author of the Happy Camper cozy mystery series, the Professor Prather academic mystery series, and several short stories. When Mary isn’t penning heartwarming whodunits, she’s teaching, reading, traveling, or spending time with her family. She lives in South Dakota with her husband, daughters, and spoiled pets. You can find out more about her loves, including her writing, at MaryAngelaBooks.com.

Author Links

Website: www.maryangelabooks.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/maryangelabooks

Twitter: @maryangelabooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15342425.Mary_Angela

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maryangelabooks/

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Apple – Google Books – Kobo

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

Tour Participants:

April 5 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

April 5 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 6 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT

April 6 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

April 7 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

April 7 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 8 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

April 8 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT

April 9 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

April 9 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

April 10 – Books Blog – SPOTLIGHT

April 10 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

April 11 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

April 11 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

April 12 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT

April 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 12 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

April 13 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

April 13 – Rebecca M. Douglass, Author – REVIEW

April 14 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT

April 14 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 15 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW

April 15 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

April 16 – This Is My Truth Now – REVIEW

April 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

April 17 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – REVIEW

April 17 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 18 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  

April 18 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2022 V Williams V Williams

The Promise of the Pelican by Roy Hoffman – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

The Promise of the Pelican by Roy Hoffman

Book Blurb:

The Promise of the Pelican by Roy HoffmanAt once a literary crime novel and an intergenerational family drama, The Promise of the Pelican is set in the multicultural South, where justice might depend on the color of your skin and your immigration status. Hank Weinberg is a modern day Atticus Finch, recently retired as a defense attorney in Mobile, Alabama, and a Holocaust survivor, who fled the Nazis as a young child. With his daughter in rehab, he’s now taking care of his special needs grandson. Mourning his dead wife, spending mornings fishing on the pier with other octogenarians, he passes the rest of his days watching over his sweet grandson with the help of Lupita, a young Honduran babysitter. When her brother Julio, an undocumented immigrant, is accused of murder, Hank must return to the courtroom to defend him while also trying to save his daughter and grandson’s life from spinning out of control. The Promise of the Pelican takes its title from the legend that a pelican will pierce its own breast for blood to feed its starving chicks, a metaphor for one old man who risks all to save the vulnerable.

In a crisp prose style Harper Lee called “lean and clean,” Hoffman writes from an enormous well of compassion. He fills his new novel with a cast of finely drawn characters of all ages and abilities facing life’s harshest challenges and rising to meet them with dignity.

For fans of Harper Lee and Rita Mae Brown, Roy Hoffman’s new novel is steeped in a sense of place–coastal Alabama–with its rich tapestry of characters caught in a web of justice not for all.

His Review:

The Promise of the Pelican by  Roy HoffmanLife is a series of conflicts for most individuals. Struggling against drug use is a rabbit hole difficult to get extricated from. Helping someone who has been stabbed can be a very dangerous undertaking. These are but a few of the trials these main characters face. Society and especially law enforcement espouse innocent until proven guilty. However, it is hard to prove innocence from inside a prison cell.

Escaping alcoholism is also very trying and at times a seemingly impossible endeavor. Family will be supportive for awhile but finally even the ones who love you abandon the quest to get you healed. This book explores some of these afflictions with painful clarity! Children are often caught in the middle, with grandparents or other family members taking up the mantle of guardianship.

CE WilliamsThe author helped me to realize that my own childhood was a cakewalk compared to some of the trials faced by others. Drug use is particularly egregious and there must be a way that society can educate the young to avoid this calamity at all costs. The problem is that some of the richest get their fortunes from this very malady. They are the ones that should face legal action and prison. Regrettably, they can afford the dealers and lawyers to keep their hands clean. I found myself trying to figure out the cure for this national affliction. Read and see if you agree. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Jewish Literature, Southern United States Fiction, Southern Fiction
Publisher: Arcade Crimewise
ISBN-10: ‎ 1950994341
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1950994342
ASIN: B09MV544WS
Print Length: 297 pages
Publication Date: March 15, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Promise of the Pelican [Amazon] 
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Roy Hoffman - authorThe Author: Roy Hoffman is author of the novels, “The Promise of the Pelican,” (2022), a literary crime novel of social justice in the Deep South, “Come Landfall,” a story of hurricanes and war, “Chicken Dreaming Corn,” endorsed by Harper Lee, about Romanian Jewish immigrants to the Deep South, and “Almost Family,” in a 35th Anniversary Edition, about a Black family and a Jewish family in Alabama. He’s author of two nonfiction books: “Back Home,” and “Alabama Afternoons.” A native of Mobile, Ala., Roy worked as a writer in New York for 20 years before returning south. He’s written for the New York Times, Wall St. Journal and Washington Post, covered features for the Mobile newspaper, and received the Lillian Smith Award in fiction and Clarence Cason Award in nonfiction. A graduate of Tulane, he teaches fiction and nonfiction in Spalding University’s Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing. http://www.royhoffmanwriter.com, @roybhoffman, http://www.facebook.com/royhoffmanwriter

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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