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]
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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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The Paris Network by Siobhan Curham – #Audiobook Review – WWII Historical Fiction

The Paris Network by Siobhan Curham

The Paris Network by Siobhan Curham

Book Blurb:

Paris, 1940: He pressed the tattered book into her hands. “You must go to the café, and ask at the counter for Pierre Duras. Tell him that I sent you. Tell him you’re there to save the people of France.”

Sliding the coded message in between the crisp pages of the hardback novel, bookstore owner Laurence slips out into the cold night to meet her resistance contact, pulling her woolen beret down further over her face. The silence of the night is suddenly shattered by an Allied plane rushing overhead, its tail aflame, heading down toward the forest. Her every nerve stands on end. She must try to rescue the pilot.

But straying from her mission isn’t part of the plan, and if she is discovered, it won’t only be her life at risk….

America, years later: When Jeanne uncovers a dusty old box in her father’s garage, her world as she knows it is turned upside down. She has inherited a bookstore in a tiny French village, just outside of Paris, from a mysterious woman named Laurence. 

Traveling to France to search for answers about the woman her father has kept a secret for years, Jeanne finds the store tucked away, in a corner of the cobbled main square. Boarded up, it is in complete disrepair. Inside, she finds a tiny silver pendant hidden beneath the blackened, scorched floorboards.

As Jeanne pieces together Laurence’s incredible story, she discovers a woman whose bravery knew no bounds. But will the truth about who Laurence really is shatter Jeanne’s heart or change her future?

My Review:

Paris in 1939 is getting scary.

Laurence Sidot is dispensing books with appropriate passages for her customers; those in need, those looking for something positive. She inherited the book store from her parents (now deceased) and is trying to carry on amid worsening rumors of the war reaching their area. Unfortunately, it isn’t long before the Germans arrive to confirm stories and demonstrate just exactly the shocking conditions and atrocities they rain down on the people in her little village outside of Paris.

When she begins to see the people of her town either taken away, shot, or hanged, she realizes she absolutely cannot stand by and do nothing.

The Paris Network by Siobhan DurhamShe learns of the French resistance and creates a book club (which were banned), and conducts meetings at their peril. She learns of a banned books list and makes sure she has those available to the participants of the book club. She feels she can exert resistance pressure by printing small but powerful anti-German sentiments and coded messages and disseminates those in the middle of the night.

In addition, she is given small but clandestine missions by the French Resistance where she meets war paraphernalia airdrops in the middle of the night. One of these results in her meeting an American airman, slightly wounded, whom she rescues and protects and mends for his return to England.

Now switch to 1993 and the reader is introduced to Jeanne, a former detective who, following the death of her mother, learns she has inherited a book store in a village outside of Paris. Her father can tell her very little of Laurence, though it’s obvious he loved her and claims that Laurence was a hero. She and her father travel to the village to claim her inheritance, discover the truth of what happened to Laurence, and determine their mutual connection.

Yes, I loved the 1939 timeline, Laurence, who loved and knew her books well and provided peace and hope to her customers. Her pride and spirit were strong, her story gripping.

Jeanne, on the other hand, was still smarting over being “retired” against her will, unhappy in her circumstances. I’m not sure why she didn’t badger her father into telling her about Laurence (or he to just admit and spill the whole story), but the truth is fed in small portions, a revelation at a time. It’s an uneven timeline, heavily on the side of Laurence (thankfully) and almost aggravating coming from Jeanne. I didn’t particularly like her character, but once she finds out her mother was not her birth mother, things begin falling into place.

Based on true events, a revelation about the determination and the many ways the women of the resistance provided support. I loved the story and it hooked and kept me listening until the final heart-rending reveal. Powerful, emotional statements of the individuals on both sides of a war and my recommendation to all who enjoy historical fiction as well as the indomitable spirit of people in horrific circumstances.

We received a complimentary review audiobook from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: World War II Historical Fiction
Publisher: Hachette UK – Bookouture
ASIN: B09RKMDB4G
Listening Length: 13 hrs 50 mins
Narrator: Laurence Bouvard
Publication Date: February 15, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Paris Network [Amazon]
 

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

Siobhan Curham - author
Siobhan Curham

The Author: Thank you for visiting my Amazon author page! It still blows my mind to be able to say that I’m an award-winning, best-selling author of over 40 books for adults, young adults and children, because I’m also a former council estate kid and university drop-out who gave up on my writing dream because I didn’t think I was from the right (aka posh enough) background. So I really am proof that miracles can happen!

It’s safe to say that my books cover very wide ranging subjects, from spirituality, love and friendship to World War 2, the refugee crisis and talking animals! One theme remains constant however, my desire to leave my readers feeling uplifted and inspired.

My first historical novel, An American in Paris, was published in 2021 and became an Amazon best-seller in the US and UK, which I was over the moon about, as it turns out I have a real passion for writing historical fiction. I love unearthing the lesser known facts and details from World War 2 and presenting them to readers in stories that will resonate today. My other World War 2 novels are Beyond This Broken Sky, The Paris Network, and the yet to be titled ‘Book 4’ – which will be published by Bookouture in August 2022.

I’m also currently writing two more books for my Moonlight Dreamers series for young adults.

Because my path to writing success has been such a bumpy one, I love nothing more than helping other people achieve their writing dreams via my online community, THE WRITING ADVENTURE (you can find us on Facebook).

You can find out more about my writing and sign up to my newsletter, GRIT, GRACE & GRATITUDE, at http://www.siobhancurham.com

And you can connect with me on social media here…

Facebook: Siobhan Curham Author
Instagram: @SiobhanCurham
Twitter: @SiobhanCurham

Thanks so much to everyone who has read my books and taken the time to leave a review here on Amazon, it really helps so I very much appreciate it.
Siobhan

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Happy Thursday!

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A Deception Most Deadly (A Cassie Gwynne Mystery Book 1 by Genevieve Essig –#BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

Meet Cassie Gwynne: bookworm, cat lover, reluctant heiress… and determined detective?

Deception Most Deadly by Genevieve EssigFlorida, 1883. Cassie Gwynne is looking for a fresh start when she steps off the steamship at Fernandina harbor for the first time. She’s trying hard to be a proper lady, for once. She’s styled her unruly hair, shined her boots, and even purchased a whole new fashionable (or at least fashionably priced) wardrobe. However, she’s certain finding a body is not very ladylike behavior…

While out exploring the beautiful island with her Aunt Flora, Cassie stumbles across the body of Peanut Runkles, town grump and her aunt’s neighbor, lying at the foot of the harbor pilots’ lookout tower. To make matters worse, because Peanut and Flora have been quarreling for years over everything from Flora’s eccentric ideas to her pet pig’s fondness for Peanut’s vegetable patch, Flora is immediately arrested for murder.

Desperate to save the only family she has left, Cassie vows to prove Flora’s innocence and untangle the mystery herself, no matter how much the surly local sheriff disapproves. Cassie’s brilliant mind and nose for a clue lead her on an investigation that takes her all around the island, and even earns her a valiant furry friend in Esy the kitten.

But how does the mysterious ledger Cassie finds hidden in a secret drawer in Peanut’s desk connect to the crime? Cassie is determined to dig up the truth, but can she catch the killer before her time on the island comes to a deadly end?

This warm and witty cozy mystery will transport you to the island city of Fernandina and introduce you to a feisty heroine far before her time! Perfect for fans of Verity Bright, T E Kinsey and Deanna Raybourn.

My Review:

I usually enjoy historical cozy mysteries and was hooked by the cover and the blurb that sounded like it might be a bit different. Cassie Gwynne is an heiress (lucky her) and has discovered upon her dad’s death an aunt she never knew existed. So off she goes, to Fernandina, an island city to hook up with the only family she has left.

First, her aunt Flora is highly unusual in that she is an independent perfume entrepreneur who is an animal lover. It’s her pig that first lands her in the pokey when he goes rooting around the neighbor’s garden. Peanut Runkles is the pending victim and though no love is lost to anyone in the town, all points turn to Cassie’s aunt. Right away, you know she’s innocent—right?

A few things I enjoyed: (1) The sense of humor

“So, long as he’s paying, I’m pouring.”

(2) The animals – dogs, birds, cats, including one particular kitten, and, of course, the pig.

Deception Most Deadly by Genevieve EssigOkay, sorry. Two things I enjoyed. What I did not so much:

(1) The length of the narrative. Shouldn’t a cozy be only two-thirds this long? This is one long cozy mystery made longer because I could not get into it.

(2) The characters. So many. Support characters everywhere. A book that requires a chart to keep track of them and what the connection was. Then again, I didn’t care for most of them, including Cassie, so that point goes moot. Clearly, I must have slept through the connection to the heartthrob—or how could she have already known him? This is new territory for her.

(3) Historical questions: LOTS of gum chewing. (Where was she buying all this gum and what was in it?) Wearing a (French?) twist in her hair? Really? In 1883? Other little details that I questioned were common (or at all) in that time period.

(4) Cassie found the body fairly quickly and then due to the ineptness of the local police took another two-thirds of the book to really start making headway while it was Cassie who provided all the clues. And also the twists—not the hair kind.

Some descriptive scenes at the beginning and heavy dialogue dispensing some innocuous minutiae (clothing choices, blah, blah, blah) and the sense of humor is not sufficient to spur page-turning. Sorry, but this obviously is not a book for me. I battled my way through, started skip-reading pages, and still the mystery was no further along. At that point, neither did I care.

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.

Rosepoint Rating: Two-point Five Stars Two and one-half Stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Culinary Mystery, Cozy Crafts & Hobbies Mystery
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09M7LM6HS
Print Length: 343 pages
Publication Date: January 14, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s): A Deception Most Deadly

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Genevieve Essig - authorThe Author: Genevieve Essig was born in Florida but, after many years of school and other shenanigans in the northeast and midwest United States, she now calls New Orleans home. When she’s not writing historical mysteries or getting lost down research rabbit holes, she spends her time practicing law, shooting pool, performing opera and musical theater, ogling old buildings, acting for film and television, futzing with inventions that address highly specific and possibly only-annoying-to-her problems, traveling, ranting at bartenders about the evils of straws, riding horses, and petting strange cats. If you have suggestions for additional hobbies or are interested her books, please visit her website (genevieveessig.com) or connect with her via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (@essigauthor).

©2021 V Williams

Christmas bough

 

Fallen Angel (Detectives Kane and Alton Book 13) by D K Hood – #BookReview – Organized Crime Thrillers

Book Blurb:

Hurrying along the dark, snow-covered path, she knows she’s not alone when she hears the light tread of someone behind her. Panic rising in her chest, she picks up the pace. But she doesn’t even have a chance to scream before everything goes black.

Fallen Angel by D K HoodWhen a beautiful young woman is reported missing from her hotel room on the outskirts of Black Rock Falls, Sheriff Jenna Alton and her deputy David Kane are devastated to discover her pale, lifeless body trapped beneath a frozen lake nearby. It’s Jenna who finds the single pearl earring buried in the frosted grass that gives them their first lead.

Just as Jenna has the remaining hotel guests safely back in their rooms, the killer strikes again, and another victim is found in one of the hotel’s lakeside cabins. Next to his bloodied body is a second pearl earring. What does it mean, and why is the killer leaving them for Jenna to find?

Interviewing witnesses, Jenna discovers that both victims were seen arguing with other residents hours before their deaths. Could the murderer be out for revenge, and how many more bodies will follow before they are truly satisfied?

As a blizzard cuts the hotel off from Black Rock Falls, Jenna and her team are trapped with the killer. Then she receives a terrifying call from a teenage girl who thinks the murderer was in her room as she slept. Can Jenna save her from becoming the next victim? And how many more innocent lives will be taken before the snow thaws?

Fans of Lisa Regan, Melinda Leigh and Kendra Elliot will love this gripping and addictive thriller from USA Today bestselling author D.K. Hood. Prepare to stay up all night!

His Review:

Mother was anything but a loving nurturer, she was a monster. And she allowed strange men to do things to her child for the shear joy of knowing it was happening! Could anyone fault the child for becoming what she had pre-ordained?

Fallen Angel by D K HoodBut the antagonist is a study in psychopaths and the reasons they become who they are.

D. K. Hood builds an interesting profile of the killer as an adult. Despicable and frightening.

Trapped in a snowbound ski resort with a couple of hundred writers and publishers is the perfect target element. The victims are chosen with relish, particularly those who have dismissed who is perceived a hack writer. Sure they have no redeeming qualities and wouldn’t know a good book if it fell off the shelf on them, oh yes, they have it coming!

Two of the local law enforcement members of a small mountain bound town are trapped in a blizzard when the deaths keep mounting up. The attendees at a writer’s teaching seminar are the targets of ire. In the beginning they believe that it is a game set up by the seminar sponsors.

I found the approach to the novel interesting in the authors’ attempt at getting into the head of the killer. The ending is poignant as the killer explains that the commission of these crimes fill a need more pressing than food!

CE WilliamsRead and enjoy this book, but make sure you have the doors and windows properly secured. Checking and rechecking these items may give you a modicum of security! 4.5 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. Currently on pre-order, this book releases next Tuesday (November 23rd).

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

Book Details:

Genre: Organized Crime Thrillers, Serial Killer Thrillers, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09CH7LYGF
Print Length: 346 pages
Publication Date: November 23, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Fallen Angel [Amazon]
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D K Hood - authorThe Author: D.K Hood is THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, USA TODAY, and Amazon Bestselling Author of The Kane and Alton Series. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Australian Crime Writers Association, and Sisters in Crime Australia.

Where Angels Fear and Her Broken Wings, are listed as the Best Thriller and Best Detective Books Of All Time by The Book Authority.

D.K’s books have been or are currently being translated into many different languages.

D.K. lives very quietly with her husband and enjoys a beautiful garden filled with wild birds and water dragons. The dogs and cats in her stories are reminiscent of the wonderful companions from her past.

She started her writing journey to assist with drug free pain management and has continued to use the stories as an escape from intolerable pain. She likes to highlight current themes in her books and is a strong advocate against all forms of abuse.

D.K says,

“Writing crime thrillers for Bookouture (Hachette) is a dream come true for me. I really love writing the Kane and Alton Series.

It’s great to “meet” so many wonderful readers from all over the world through my Facebook pages. Their support and friendship is inspirational.

I’m currently writing more books in the series.

I love writing about the rugged beauty of Montana and my interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years. It was one subject I enjoyed studying and with the constant advances, it never gets boring.

With many stories, waiting for me to write, I’ll look forward to sharing more exciting crime thrillers with you.”

Join me for a chat:

Twitter

@DKHood_Author

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/dkhoodauthor

Web:

http://www.dkhood.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Happy Autumn Weekend to you from Rosepoint Publishing

Silent Island: (Detective Abby Pearce Book 2) by Dana Perry – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

Nancy Lavelle lies still on the floor. With her eyes looking towards her children’s rooms, her hands are clasped in prayer, as if the last thing she wished for was her children to be saved…

Silent Island by Dana PerryWhen Detective Abby Pearce is called to the Beach House, a holiday home in the most affluent part of Martha’s Vineyard, she finds five bodies. An entire family has been killed in a frenzied attack… all except one. Fifteen-year-old Karin is the only survivor. Sitting in the house, surrounded by her family, she stares into the distance and doesn’t say a word.

When Karin’s grandparents fly in to take her home, Abby’s investigation takes a shocking turn. Taking one look at the traumatised girl, they recoil—the girl curled up in a hospital bed isn’t their granddaughter. So who is she? And where is the real Karin Lavelle?

Abby fears the missing girl is in serious danger, and with local residents worried that the killer is still on the island and the press questioning her every move, she’s under pressure to solve both crimes fast. But when she uncovers a link between Thomas Lavelle’s New York office and her previous job at the NYPD, she begins to fear that these brutal murders are a sign… and that she’s next. Can she find the killer before another life is taken, or is she walking into a trap?

His Review:

A family of five is brutally murdered on a vacation retreat on Martha’s Vineyard! Abby Pearce is the lead investigator on the case. Abby is a former awarded crime investigator from New York City. She decided to join the police force on the island and regain her roots on Martha’s Vineyard. Her boss is not the least bit pleased with her and the snail’s pace that solving the case is taking.

Silent Island by Dana PerryHer partner, Tommy Ferraro, was killed during a crime investigation in New York. Abby feels responsible for his death despite the fact that there was nothing she could have done. She is often accosted with the memory and doubt she carries. There is always the guilty idea she could have done more to save her partner.

Cedar Cliffs, a small hamlet on Martha’s Vineyard is Abby’s current job site. Her partner is a no-nonsense fellow detective named Teena. One member of the family massacred on the island is still alive and missing, the fifteen-year-old daughter. She is the subject of an island wide manhunt. Could she have done this brutal crime?

Dana Perry winds through many scenarios of the crime. Being investigated for the actual crime seems to put a target on the person being sought. The police chief at Cedar Cliffs continues to be unhappy with the progress of the case. Every time there is a news-briefing he gets more and more agitated with his lead investigator, and each time the investigation follows a particular path, the person being investigated seems to wind up dead!

CE WilliamsThe solution at the end was a clever twist to the story. I appreciated the twists that Dana put me through to get to the conclusion. I also wanted the investigation to move faster as at times it seemed to drag (and I had to agree with the police chief). Still, this is an entertaining and absorbing tale. 4 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.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Organized Crime Thrillers, Serial Killer Thrillers, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09BCV8SW1
Print Length: 269 pages
Publication Date: October 5, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Silent Island [Amazon] 
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Dana Perry - authorThe Author: I am a New York City author who writes mystery thrillers under the pen name of Dana Perry – as well as my real name of R.G. Belsky. My new Dana Perry book is called THE SILENT VICTIM, the first in a series about newspaper reporter Jessie Tucker.

Contact me at DanaPerryAuthor@yahoo.com

Facebook: @danaperryauthor

©2021 V Williams V Williams

The Silent Witness: (Detective Amanda Steele Book 3) by Carolyn Arnold – #BookReview – #noircrime

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

It’s 4 a.m. when her mom shakes her awake. “Get up baby, we’re going to play hide and seek.” The little girl presses back into the dark space, holding her breath as she hears the shots ring out. She knows she’s next…

The Silent Witness by Carolyn ArnoldWhen the bodies of a local family are discovered on a quiet street in the small town of Dumfries, Virginia, Detective Amanda Steele takes charge of the case. Brett and Angela Parker were shot three times each, leaving no hope of survival, and their tidy suburban home has been ransacked. But there is no sign of their beloved six-year-old, Zoe.

Zoe is the same age as Amanda’s daughter was when she died, and Amanda can’t bear the thought of another little girl in danger. She’s organizing a search for the child, when she notices something strange about the ottoman at the foot of the Parkers’ bed. She opens it to find Zoe, mute and traumatized, but alive.

With Zoe completely uncommunicative, Amanda must find another way to untangle what destroyed this seemingly perfect family. It’s clear that the killer is searching for something the Parkers had, and until she has this monster behind bars, Amanda fears that he may return for Zoe. When she learns that Brett Parker cut short the family’s recent lakeside vacation, she wonders why. What happened at that lake house, and did it ultimately get them killed?

Amanda heads out to Lake Chesdin on the feeling it might be key to the case, and when she finds a cell phone in the murky waters next to the Parker cabin, she knows she’s made a breakthrough. But then terrible news reaches her from Dumfries; Zoe has been taken from her school playground.

Someone wants to silence the Parker family for good, can Amanda catch them before the little girl she’s desperate to protect pays the price?

His Review:

Brett, Angela and their daughter were in the wrong place at a bad time. How could their first family vacation turn out so wrong? Brett loved to take pictures but the pictures he took that fateful morning should not have happened. Frantically he had the women in his life hide in their master bedroom.

The Silent Witness by Carolyn ArnoldAmanda Steele is a first-rate detective who loves her job. One of the down sides of the job is investigating horrific crimes. Her working relationship with her office is basically great except for her boss. For some unknown reason her boss seems to hate her and puts her down every chance she gets

Investigating the murder scene Amanda notes they are a young couple with a child nearly the age of her own. The couple is killed by apparent professionals and the little girl is nowhere to be found. Was she staying with relatives or had she been away for a weekend with a friend? The child named Zoe is found in a storage ottoman in the dead couples’ bedroom.

The killings had occurred quickly and efficiently, but why? Thankfully her mothers’ last act was to hide the child in the ottoman. Terrified she did not make a sound and stayed totally still. The killers had overlooked her. Can Amanda keep the child safe while investigating the crime?

Ms. Arnold builds a strong case for methodical investigative tactics. Her heroine is hobbled by the responsibility to keep young Zoe safe while investigating the deaths. She is aggravated by the fact that the papers in their zeal to report sensational crimes mentioned that the child was the only one to escape the massacre.

This tale develops at a fast clip and I found it hard to put the book down. The total lack of compassion or sympathy toward the two victims and their daughter raised a deep wish for revenge against the killers. How can someone kill a young mother in the same room as their daughter with no worries about the future of the child?

Amanda had lost her own daughter in a tragic accident in which she also lost her husband! She is torn between placing the child in Child Protective Service and possibly adopting her. Zoe is her daughter’s age.

CE WilliamsThe book is compelling and I applaud the author for her skill in story telling. 5 stars – CE Williams

Certainly not the first book reviewed for this author. I also enjoyed a few of the last, including Book 1 of this series, The Little Grave. 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: Noir Crime, Serial Killers, Organized Crime Thrillers
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09236T3JF
Print Length: 324 pages
Publication Date: September 24, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Silent Witness [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble
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Carolyn Arnold - authorThe Author: CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has several continuing fiction series and has many published books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures. Her crime fiction series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining. This led to her adopting the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives near London, Ontario, Canada with her husband and two beagles.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

The Forever Home by Sue Watson – #BookReview – #psychologicalfiction

Happy Release Day! 

Book Blurb:

The Forever Home - Sue WatsonCarly had thought they’d always live there. The beautiful Cornish cliffside house they’d taken on as a wreck, that Mark had obsessively re-designed and renovated – a project that had made him famous. It was where they’d raised their children, where they’d sat cosily on the sofa watching storms raging over the sea below. It was where they’d promised to keep each other’s secrets…

Until now. Because Mark has fallen in love. With someone he definitely shouldn’t have. Someone who isn’t Carly. And suddenly their family home doesn’t feel like so much of a safe haven.

Carly thinks forever should mean forever though: it’s her home and she’ll stay there. Even the dark family secrets it contains feel like they belong to her. But someone disagrees. And, as threats start to arrive at her front door, it becomes clear, someone will stop at nothing. Because someone wants to demolish every last thing that makes Carly feel safe. Forever.

My Review:

Mark chose the eve of their 25th wedding anniversary to announce he was seeing someone else—not that he had a choice. It was tell Carly or her best friend would. Okay, not a huge surprise, he’d been a womanizing the entire length of their marriage. A sham, really, because the brand they’d created together by redesigning and renovating houses would not allow for other than being a perfect family. Beautiful home, two gorgeous children, and finally enough money to live comfortably.

A lie.

Carly Anderson had tolerated…everything. They had secrets. Behind those closed doors, there were things not to be shared with the public. And Mark was crazy occupied with his public persona. This, too, would be spun. The public would get a version. Maybe not the truth, but a version.

A slow burn.

The Forever Home by Sue WatsonI had a problem getting into the family drama. The divorce back and forth turning ugly. Carly would keep the house. Her house. She’d inherited the one of a kind Cornish cliffside home from her mother, but his new girlfriend wanted it—had wanted it all her life. Carly had been the power behind the face that Mark put on for his adoring public. Now it was quietly being undermined. Would she lose the house to Mark and his pregnant girlfriend?

“…an interview in the Daily Mail with Gemma Hough, the lead groupie and yummy mummy who virtually accosted me at the hair salon.”

Lots of tell not show; stories from Carly regarding the characters surrounding she and the family, the building of the brand, the celebrity. Slow, with repetition of salient plot points. Mark is beyond narcissistic but I eventually got tired of Carly as well. Okay, okay. She’d worked just as hard. It was her house. She’d put up with him all those years. He held her secret, although threatening her with revealing it was getting old, and the secret easy to guess. She didn’t love him; hadn’t for a long time.

I’d have been happy with much of the repetition deleted, the chapters instead making progress toward the end reveal (which, btw, was also guessed well ahead of the conclusion), and Carly showing a little more of the gumption that it took to get both of them to the status. I needed more empathy in at least one of the characters and didn’t feel it for Carly.

The author has a large fan base and dedicated followers. While this may not have been my cup of tea, no doubt her fans will appreciate her new release. FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my unbiased opinions.

Rosepoint Rating: Three stars three stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B08YDCN27S

Print Length: 391 pages
Publication Date: June 4, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

 Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo 

Sue Watson - authorThe Author: Sue Watson was a TV Producer at the BBC until she wrote her first book and was hooked.

Now a USA Today bestselling author, Sue has written eighteen novels, many have been translated into several languages. Sue is now exploring the darker side of life with her thrillers OUR LITTLE LIES, THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR, THE EMPTY NEST, THE SISTER-IN-LAW, FIRST DATE and her latest, THE FOREVER HOME.

Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives with her family in Worcestershire where much of her day is spent writing – okay, procrastinating. Her hobby is eating cake, while watching diet and exercise programmes from the sofa, a skill she’s perfected after many years of practice.

more info visit Sue’s website; http://www.suewatsonbooks.com/

Sue would love to meet you on FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/suewatsonbooks

Follow Sue on Twitter @suewatsonwriter

©2021 V Williams

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