The Cuts That Cure by Arthur Herbert – #BookReview – #medicalfiction

#1 New Release – in Western Horror Fiction

 Book Blurb:

From its attention-grabbing first sentence, The Cuts that Cure is a truly extraordinary novel as Arthur Herbert- a surgeon himself- shows why he is one of the most exciting new voices in the suspense genre.

The Cuts That Cure by Arthur HerbertAlex Brantley is a surgeon whose desperation to start a new life outside of medicine leads him to settle in a sleepy Texas town close to the Mexican border, a town that has a dark side. Its secrets and his own past catch up with him as traits he thought he’d buried in the deserts on the frontiers of the border rise up again to haunt him.

To the citizens of Three Rivers, Henry Wallis appears to be a normal Texas teenager: a lean, quiet kid from a good family whose life seems to center around running cross-country, his first girlfriend, and Friday night football. That Henry is a cultivated illusion, however, a disguise he wears to conceal his demons. Both meticulous and brutally cruel, he manages to hide his sadistic indulgences from the world, but with that success, his impulses grow stronger until one day when a vagrant is found murdered.

When Alex and Henry’s paths cross, it starts a domino effect which leads to mangled lives and chilling choices made in the shadows along la frontera, where everything is negotiable.

His Review:

Most of us wish the best for our families. The Brantley family was no exception and when their son Alex graduated from medical school they were overjoyed. Being a doctor, especially a surgeon in the United States, usually means a prosperous life for the graduate. The problem is that the work is not always glamorous.

The Cuts That Cure by Arthur HerbertAlex Brantley has discovered that his chosen profession is a continuous grind. Working in the emergency room of a major metropolitan hospital means working with anyone who comes in. Gunshot wounds and children with broken bones who apparently “are accident prone,” begin to take a heavy toll on ones’ mental stability. Saving the victim is often met with disdain because you could have done better.

The tipping point comes when a particularly battered boy comes into the emergency room and Dr. Brantley is faced with sewing him up. X-rays show old healed fractures and broken bones. The parents explain that he is accident prone and they do everything to protect their boy. One particular bruise is of a steel toed cowboy boot at the point of impact causing the injury. Alex is furious. Vandalizing the fathers’ car gets him arrested and his license is suspended.

He has had all he can take as a surgeon. He applies for a job as a science teacher in a small Texas town. They are happy to have him as the new teacher but his duties will also include assisting with the cross-country track team. Far away from the rigors of twelve-hour surgery shifts Alex starts his new life. His best runner is a young man named Harvey Wallis. Harvey is a loner but an excellent runner.

Sociopaths take many forms and sometimes start at a very young age. Harvey’s parents find him with a young rabbit over a campfire. He is enjoying watching the poor animals’ struggles as it tries to flee the terrible heat. Harvey is required to get help from a psychiatrist but there is little progress made. Harvey has no moral compass and simply revels in watching others in pain.

Medical school is very expensive and Alex has been left with a $350,000 student loan debt. As a teacher he will never be able to service the debt. How can he get by with the debt and low salary? One of the towns’ successful businessmen decides to help Alex and takes him under his wing. The source of the cash flow enjoyed by this businessman is remarkable.

This well written tale is a roadmap for life’s trials and obstacles. Enjoy the narrative and experience the twists. 5 stars – CE Williams 

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and these are my unbiased opinions.

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars 

Book Details:

Genre: Western Horror Fiction, US Drama and Plays, Medical Fiction
Publisher: White Bird Publications, LLC
ASIN: B08XYR3TQG
Print Length: 298 pages
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
Source: Author
Title Link: The Cuts That Cure [Amazon] 
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Arthus Herbert - authorThe Author: Arthur Herbert was born and raised in small town Texas. He worked on offshore oil rigs, as a bartender, a landscaper at a trailer park, and as a social worker before going to medical school. He chose to do a residency in general surgery, followed by a fellowship in critical care and trauma surgery. For the last seventeen years, he’s worked as a trauma and burn surgeon, operating on all ages of injured patients. He continues to run a thriving practice.

His debut novel, The Cuts that Cure, launched on May 11, 2021 through White Bird Publishing in Austin Texas. He’s begun work on his second novel.

Arthur currently lives in New Orleans, with his wife Amy and their dogs.

Arthur loves hearing from readers, so don’t hesitate to email him at arthur@arthurherbertwriter.com.

©2021 V Williams

Elizabeth and Monty: The Untold Story of Their Intimate Friendship by Charles Casillo – #BookReview – #Biographies of the Rich & Famous

“Monty, Elizabeth likes me, but she loves you.”
—Richard Burton
 

Book Blurb:

Elizabeth and Monty by Charles CosilloWhen Elizabeth Taylor was cast opposite Montgomery Clift in A Place in the Sun, he was already a movie idol, with a natural sensitivity that set him apart. At seventeen, Elizabeth was known for her ravishing beauty rather than her talent. Directors treated her like a glamorous prop. But Monty took her seriously, inspiring and encouraging her. In her words, “That’s when I began to act.”

To Monty, she was “Bessie Mae,” a name he coined for her earthy, private side. The press clamored for a wedding, convinced this was more than friendship. The truth was even more complex. Monty was drawn to women but sexually attracted to men—a fact that, if made public, would destroy his career. But he found acceptance and kinship with Elizabeth. Her devotion was never clearer than after his devastating car crash near her Hollywood home, when she crawled into the wreckage and saved him from choking.

Monty’s accident shattered his face and left him in constant pain. As he sank into alcoholism and addiction, Elizabeth used her power to keep him working. In turn, through scandals and multiple marriages, he was her constant. Their relationship endured until his death in 1966, right before he was to star with her in Reflections in a Golden Eye. His influence continued in her outspoken support for the gay community, especially during the AIDS crisis.

Far more than the story of two icons, this is a unique and extraordinary love story that shines new light on both stars, revealing their triumphs, demons—and the loyalty that united them to the end.

My Review:

Classic Hollywood—the era of the huge stars—beautiful and tragic. Guess that would describe both of these Hollywood legends.

Holy smokes! I certainly remember Liz Taylor and all her men but only a scant recollection of Montgomery Clift; saw few of his movies. (We never had money for movies back then.) Still, I might have lived the rest of my life not knowing the madness of Clift. Taylor was pretty much a headline ALL the time.

“Sexually, she was every man’s dream. She had the face of an angel and the morals of a truck driver.” – Eddie Fisher

I have to give it to author Casillo for all the research that went into this biography. Monty Clift was a successful Broadway actor when sixteen year old Elizabeth met him. Two polar opposites drawn to each other initially by their common experience of having been thrust into the spotlights by stage mothers.

“Before forty you have the face you were born with; after forty you get the face you deserve.” – Elizabeth Taylor

“If someone’s dumb enough to offer me a million dollars to make a picture, I’m certainly not dumb enough to turn it down.” – Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth and Monty by Charles  CasilloThe chapters trade off alternately Taylor’s experiences and then Clift’s experiences. There was a LOT of name dropping, most names easily recognizable, as well as some fascinating behind the scenes tidbits about films, particularly those in which both starred.

There is a great deal of description which is then repeated, portions spun, rinsed and repeated. With so many names involved in the narrative perhaps dropping a name more than once was appropriate. However, I got the point the first time.

We knew about Elizabeth’s penchant for men, for excitement, the thrill of the conquests and affairs (eight marriages), her tragedies, the drinking, the pills. We knew that Monty Clift was gay when it was dangerous to be so. We didn’t know of his destructive nature, the booze, the drugs, the pills and his propensity to go off the deep end into unnaturally offensive behavior, swiping dishes off the table in well-known expensive restaurants and then eating off the floor. Spinning into alcoholic, drug induced days, it became impossible to insure him for films, but he was already exhibiting self-destructive behavior before that horrific accident that changed forever that beautiful face. Currently on pre-order.

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

Rosepoint Rating: Four stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: LGBTQ, Biographies of the Rich & Famous
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B08GYBH611

Print Length: 352 pages
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Charles Casillo - authorThe Author: Charles Casillo is the author of the novels “The Fame Game,” and “The Marilyn Diaries,” the biography, “Outlaw: The Lives and Careers of John Rechy” (the authorized life history of the legendary writer and hustler), and a collection of stories “Boys, Lost & Found.” His latest book is a serious and comprehensive biography of Monroe: “Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon.” The author says, “It will introduce you to the Marilyn Monroe you always wanted to know.”

Casillo’s profiles, short stories, articles, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Washington Post, Vice, Interview, and many others. He has appeared in Monroe documentaries “Behind the Headlines: Marilyn and Her Men,” on Lifetime, and “Whatever Happened to Norma Jeane,”

His movies include “Let Me Die Quietly,” a neo-noir thriller and the dark comedy “Fetish”(with Joan Collins.)

Casillo was born in New York City. He has spent many years exploring and documenting his interests and obsessions, such as exceptionally talented people, strange encounters in various bars, Marilyn Monroe, eccentrics, sex, tragic figures, and antidotes to insomnia, insecurity, and loneliness. He has written about these and other subjects in his works. He divides his time between New York, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and other places where he hangs his hat.

©2021 V Williams

The Searcher: A Novel by Tana French – #Audiobook Review #policeprocedural #TBT

#audiobook-The Searcher by Tana French

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Book Blurb:

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing arm-twists him into investigating, Cal uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat, and starts to realize that even small towns shelter dangerous secrets.

“One of the greatest crime novelists writing today” (Vox) weaves a masterful, atmospheric tale of suspense, asking how to tell right from wrong in a world where neither is simple, and what we stake on that decision. 

My Review:

Yes, I discovered Tana French novels when I began participating in the Reading Ireland Month (March) and her writing, albeit lengthy, caught my attention and interest.

I have to admit, however, this might be a cat of a different color. Oh, it’s lengthy alright, and thankful I was listening to the audiobook, as I can do that fixing dinner, cleaning house, and working in my yard and this time of year the yard soaks up a ton of my time (currently working on some step pavers).

Usually it’s the narrator that either sells it for me (or not) and I must admit to getting into the spirited Irish dialogue pretty quickly and yes, buys into that old Irish saw about whiskey and beer.

The characters.

The Searcher by Tana FrenchOh my, the characters. Well, Cal as the retired Chicago cop who retires from the force and buys a piece of property uninhabited for years in a rural Irish countryside is a bit of a stretch for me. Granted, he is divorced, and has an adult daughter he is close to. Not sure why he’d skip the pond and land in Ireland. No relatives, no ties.

Cal is introduced to Trey who comes quietly into his life. It’s this very gradual friendship and later investigative work that gets him back into his cop mentality to solve the disappearance of the missing brother. Along the way, he imparts fatherly wit and wisdom on the child, teaching patiently some of the process of restoring first a desk and later additional sporting and hunting ventures.

The community is small, tight knit. And it’s a whole nother way of life, rather slow paced, and there is much to be learned about his new countryside. Something the good ole boys are more than happy to teach—in their own way and in their own time.

He’s not totally sold on his little cottage, the land, the people. He might go back to the states and he might not. It’s a clever twist of characters in and out, clues about the missing brother, almost a ruse to get to know the “lay of the land.” So who is keeping secrets?

It’s atmospheric, the bitter with the sweet. Definitely different than those I’ve read most recently The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6) and before that The Secret Place. Still, I’ve become a fan and will certainly look for another. Recommended—with reservations.

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural Mysteries, Literary Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Audio
ASIN: B086Q1J7FC:
Listening Length: 14 hrs 32 mins
Narrator: Roger Clark
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Searcher [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

 

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

 

Roger Clark - narratorThe Narrator: Roger Clark began working in audiobooks as a child cutting out newspaper clippings for the local newspaper for the blind. Now a narrator of almost 100 audiobooks, he works in theater, film, voice over and performance capture. He is best known for portraying Arthur Morgan in Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2, for which he won several awards. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and two boys.

©2021 V Williams

Hell’s Half Acre (Coffin Cove Mysteries Book 2) by Jackie Elliott – #BookReview – #noircrime – #tuesdaybookblog

Happy Release Day! 

Book Blurb:

AN ADDICTIVE MUST-READ WHODUNNIT FROM THE NEWEST TALENT IN CRIME FICTION

One betrayal.
Two suspects.
Three murders.

Hell's Half Acre by Jackie ElliottAndrea “Andi” Silvers thought moving to the tiny fishing village of Coffin Cove, on the Vancouver coast, would be a fresh start. But she got shot during a murder investigation.

Her boss at the Coffin Cove Gazette keeps telling her to take it easy. But she’s back on the booze and won’t get help. Instead, she’s going to do what she does best and follow her next lead.

Now Ricky, the former mayor’s son, has disappeared. The police don’t seem to care. Ricky runs the town’s new cannabis shop.

Then two dead bodies are discovered in an abandoned chapel.

Has Ricky finally turned up?

Discover a web of murder and mystery laced with humour and a thread of romance in this fast-paced whodunnit set on the gorgeous coast of Western Canada.

My Review:

I love a good mystery with a particularly atmospheric setting, such as fictional Coffin Cove on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. Oh, the memories it brought back! Fond memories of our ride into Canada one year to Glacier National Park of Canada where we caught Canadian Hwy 1 west through Revelstoke and Kamloops eventually to catch the ferry to Nanaimo. Gorgeous, gorgeous country. Well, anyway, Nanaimo is mentioned in this novel as being “an hour” away from the fictitious Coffin Cove. So, yes, I was quickly pulled into the narrative.

Hell's Half Acre by Jackie ElliottProtagonist Andrea “Andi” Silvers works as a journalist and assistant editor at the Coffin Cove Gazette. She is recovering from a gunshot wound received in the process of her last big story and is now looking into the cold case of the disappearance of the son of the former mayor. The old mayor was not particularly liked but definitely had in place a network of good old boys. Ricky’s body is found on private property in the process of finding interesting locations for a museum historical walk, one of the new mayor’s ideas for revitalization. Jade Thompson has promised a new day for the town.

In the plans to regenerate the town, they will repair, rebuild, and modernize, but Coffin Cove has a dark past that includes biker gangs, drugs, and murder. There are stories, unfortunate and sad, that haunt the village, unsolved, that continue to linger like a pall over the residents. Ricky’s body isn’t the first to be found but it does seem to have set off a spate of retributions.

Andi is dealing with her explicable attraction to RCMP Inspector Andrew Vega while she also has another interest, his more so than hers. I liked the characters of her editor, Jim Peters new recruit PC Matt Beaufort, and Clara Bell, the retired museum curator living off the grid. The storyline gets complex, expands on characters, and introduces clues and twists that continues to leave the reader in confusion, although there is a gradual dawning and suspicion.

I enjoyed the historical aspects of the location, the descriptions of the area, and the immersive characters and I can see this series doing well. The conclusion settles most of the dust, exposes the perp (correctly guessed), and suggests possible scenarios for the next installment although this as Book 2 can be read as a standalone.

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

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Noir Crime, Serial Killers, Murder
Publisher: Joffe Books

  • ASIN : B093X49XFF

Print Length: 247 pages
Publication Date: Happy Publication Day- May 11, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 
Title Link(s): Hell’s Half Acre [Amazon]

Jackie Elliott - authorThe Author: Jackie [Elliott] is originally from the UK, but she settled on Vancouver Island, Canada in 2004. She’s married to Bob, a commercial fisherman and accomplished storyteller – like most fishermen!

It was a culture shock to swap a fast-paced city life for Island living. It wasn’t at all how Jackie had expected. She was intrigued by the pioneer spirit of their small communities, and the fight to hang on to traditional ways of living. In her experience, small towns ‘with a heart’ have claws and teeth as well and that makes the perfect back drop for a good murder!

Jackie has written several non-fiction books about her sober journey and a cook book with her husband, featuring stories about from his fishing days.

When Jackie’s not writing, she is gardening, reading, or poking around local museums, looking for inspiration.

©2021 V Williams

The Big Gamble (Dev Haskell Private Investigator Book 28) by Mike Faricy – #BookReview – #noircrime

Mike Faricy is the winner of the 2019 Crime Master’s of America Poison Cup Award.
He is the winner of the 2020 Crime Master’s of America Poison Cup Award for the Best Selling series.
He has been nominated for the 2018, 2019, & 2020 Silver Falchion Award.

Book Blurb:

The Big Gamble by Mike FaricyDev Haskell receives a phone call from an old friend. It’s feared Dev’s old high school flame, Maddie McGuire, has fallen through the ice along the Mississippi River and can’t be found. Dev hasn’t seen her since she married ne’er do well, Colton Ferral. After attending the memorial service and reconnecting with her sisters, he comes away with more questions than answers.

Local crime lord, Tubby Gustafson, has some questions for Dev, too. Amazingly, Colton Ferral’s name comes up. Of course, what better time to offer a spare bedroom on Airbnb, not to mention a surprise guest who arrives on the scene.

As always, Morton, Dev’s Golden Retriever, provides a dose of sanity.

His Review:

Never abandon a great writing formula. Mike Faricy has done it again with his 28th novel in the Dev Haskell Series. A hole in the ice and an old girlfriend’s personal effects are found on the shore of the river. The family is devastated.

The Big Gamble by Mike FaricyMike had dated Madeline (Maddie) in high school but she married another man. What was she doing on the ice in the river? Everyone knew you should not try to skate on the river because of treacherous ice. Maddie, although a very skilled skater, had gone through a hole in the ice and her body was not found. Her purse, one blue mitten, her identity and drivers license were all left at the shore where she had begun to skate.

Dev is not the most beloved detective in the state. One of his clients, Fat Tubby Gustafson has demanded he investigate each of the people who apply to work for him in illegal gambling enterprises. Mike Faricy provides twists and turns that are entertaining.

Dev went to Maddie’s wedding to Colton Ferral and noticed that the bride was less than thrilled as she left her wedding. Colton and his mother are in collusion. Their intent is to take over the gambling in town and get rid of Fat Tubby. Dev is investigating why two of Fat Tubby’s establishments were robbed. Everyone knows you do not cross Fat Tubby.

Ice on the river and a strong current has probably taken Maddie’s body down stream and it would not be found until spring. The story brings back many of the same characters and relationships in Faricy’s other books. I particularly like the dog named Morton in the series. He provides some lighter moments to the overall tale. 

Can Dev solve the mystery of what happened to Maddie? The reminiscence of a former high school sweetheart adds a romantic twist to the story. Much like the old dime novels, these are a fast and fulfilling read. I also read and greatly enjoyed Book 27, Alley Katz and can recommend both. 4.5 stars – C.E. Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and these my honest opinions.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Noir Crime, Private Investigator Mysteries
ASIN: B091G3XMM8
Print Length: 239 pages
Publication Date: April 21, 2021
Source: Author request
Title Link: The Big Gamble [Amazon]

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Mike Faricy - authorThe Author: Mike Faricy was awarded the 2016 IACM Silver Award for Best Mystery Author.
His books have held the #1 slot in the Kindle Store in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and India.
Mike Faricy was listed as the IACM Author of the Month for April 2018.

Mike’s Dev Haskell series books are stand-alone, they can be read in any order. His Corridor Man series was initially written under the pseudonym Nick James and should be read in order. His Jack Dillon Dublin Tales series was originally written under the pseudonym, Patrick Emmett. His Hotshot series are standalone tales that can be read in any order. Faricy’s novels are filled with the sort of oddballs we’re all curious about, but wisely prefer to keep at a distance. His characters serve not so much as an example as they do a warning. None of them will be saving the world from terrorism, international banking conspiracies or coups to take over the government. Rather, Faricy’s characters inhabit a world just below the surface of polite society. The circumstances they find themselves in are usually due to their own bad decisions, but then bad decisions make for interesting stories.

Reminiscent of the late Robert B. Parker, Faricy’s tightly woven Dev Haskell series is penned with a delightful sense of humor and even some romance. Entertainment is the name of the game as back-slapping, corner-cutting, babe magnet Dev Haskell interacts with such quirky characters as ice cream mogul Mr. Swirlee, The D’Angelo brothers, local crime lord Tubby Gustafson, ‘Fat Freddie’ Zimmerman, former NFL tight end Luscious Dixon, exotic dancer Swindle Lawless, and gorgeous Heidi Bauer. The Dev Haskell novels can be read in any order.

Faricy’s Corridor Man series was originally released under the pen name Nick James. The series is a bit more gritty than the Dev Haskell series and a lot more violent. Disbarred attorney Bobby Custer makes his way back into the legal game. He’s neurotic, psychotic, psychopathic, narcissistic, greedy, unprincipled and . . . always charming.

Faricy’s Jack Dillon Dublin Tales series was originally released under the pen name Patrick Emmett. US Marshal Jack Dillon is sent to Dublin to escort a prisoner back to the US. Things don’t go exactly as planned and trouble ensues. Dillon becomes permanently stationed in Dublin, just to get him out of his boss’s hair. Things take an entertaining turn from there, think of a cross between Dev Haskell and James Bond.

Faricy’s Hotshot series are zany, delightfully entertaining standalone crime tales.

Enjoy the reads!

Originally from Saint Paul, Minnesota, Faricy still spends six months of the year in the saintly city as well as six months in Dublin, Ireland. Thanks for taking the time and be sure to tell 2-300 of your closest friends.
Visit Mike on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MikeFaricyBooks
Visit Dev Haskell’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/DevHaskell
Email Mike” mikefaricyauthor@gmail.com
Follow Mike on Twitter @mikefaricybooks
Mike’s web site; http://www.mikefaricybooks.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Pieces of Home (Hometown Harbor Series Book 4) by Tammy L Grace – #BookReview – #Contemporary American Fiction

Book Blurb:

An unexpected visitor.  A buried secret she is forced to divulge. Does she have the strength to overcome the pain of her past?

Pieces of Home by Tammy L GraceEllie hasn’t seen or spoken to her parents in twenty years—since she came to live on the island with her aunt and uncle. She’s all grown up now and runs the popular family bakery, Sweet Treats.

Things change when she meets Blake.  The newcomer frequents the bakery each morning and over fresh cinnamon rolls they develop a friendship. He renews a sense of hope and joy in Ellie.  She’s hesitant to trust him with her heart.

An unforeseen plea for help forces Ellie to reveal a secret.  One she’s kept hidden from even her closest friends. And that’s just the beginning of her turbulent journey. The past she’s worked so hard to escape resurface and bring only heartache. She’s forced to tackle challenges that threaten her livelihood and those she holds most dear. Instead of letting her past define her future, will Ellie summon the courage to recognize an unexpected path may be a welcome gift?

Pieces of Home is the fourth book in the Hometown Harbor Series, stories filled with the emotional journeys of women in midlife, and a touch of romance. If you like stories that tug on your heartstrings, small town life, and characters you’ll fall for again and again, then you’ll love Tammy L. Grace’s latest tale of loss, love, and the perseverance of a woman determined to succeed, despite the threat of losing all she cherishes. 

My Review:

Trust me to come into a series at Book 4 and wonder how I got here. Ellie is owner/manager of Sweet Treats. She bought the bakery from the aunt and uncle she was sent to at age 16 when her mother banished her from their home.

Pieces of Home by Tammy L GraceThey taught her the bakery business and retired when she took it over. She has made a solid base of family and friends on the island where they live, a tight knit community.

Two events happen that change the course of her journey. First, she meets Blake, a newcomer to the island and the new owner of a winery he hopes to expand and develop. Secondly, she has a visitor that turns her world completely upside down. In an effort to confront the challenge, she undergoes some lab work that reveals she is a diabetic in urgent need of a lifestyle change. But it doesn’t alter the challenge and she continues to pursue a solution.

As Ellie experienced a horrific childhood culminating in her being forced out of the home, she has trust issues…even with the wonderful aunt and uncle who supported her throughout her young adult life. But now she’s had to face the secret she’s held and share her problems with the circle of friends who eventually go well above and beyond friendship when she is unexpectedly dealt two deaths.

Big upheaval in her life and through it all the friends rally and rally again.

Lots of characters, some of whom are hard to keep straight, not so well developed now. With all her experience in a bakery, the narrative is full of cupcakes, tons of sweets (of course) and food—lots of food.

The first good portion of the book is more tell than show, then converts to a lot of dialogue. Seems there is an extra effort put into wringing emotional scenes, but really, none of the tragedies were unexpected. There are dogs throughout the novel, but at one point I couldn’t understand how a dog who’d waited all day for his person to come home then had to wait another hour to go out while Ellie researched on her computer. The romance that sounded very 50ish/early 60ish came late into the book. Thinking this is not a book or series for me, though I can see many people loved it.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and these are my unbiased opinions.

Rosepoint Rating: Three point five stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Dog Breeds, Love & Romance, Contemporary American Fiction
Publisher: Lone Mountain Press

  • ASIN : B015JPAXJ8

Print Length: 269 pages
Publication Date: October 14, 2015
Source: Author request 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Tammy L Grace - authorThe Author: Tammy L. Grace is a USA Today Bestselling and award-winning fiction author who brings readers entertaining stories that take them on an emotional journey, filled with complex relationships of friendship and family in her Hometown Harbor Series. Set in the picturesque San Juan Islands in Washington, escape with a close-knit group of friends and their interwoven lives filled with both challenges and joys that resonate with women. Each book in the series focuses on a different woman and her journey of self-discovery.

Tammy creates compelling characters who readers love or love to hate. In her Cooper Harrington Detective Novels, readers will delight in the fast-paced whodunits, featuring Coop and his loyal golden retriever, Gus. Set in Nashville, Coop, a snarky t-shirt wearing lawyer turned private detective, with the help of his dog and faithful friend and assistant, Annabelle, work to solve murder mysteries with plenty of twists.

Fans of sweet Christmas stories will love her small town Christmas novellas filled with family, friendship, and furry characters.

Tammy also writes under the pen name Casey Wilson and has released two books, A Dog’s Hope and A Dog’s Chance, both emotional and heartwarming stories about the bond we have with our beloved canine companions.

Born and raised in Nevada, Tammy loved reading at a young age. With the help of her middle school teacher, she discovered the joy of writing. After spending a career in local and state government service, she retired and finally has the time to dedicate to writing.

When Tammy isn’t working on ideas for a novel, she’s spending time with family and friends or supporting her addiction to books and chocolate. She and her husband have one grown son and a spoiled golden retriever.

Tammy invites you to join her exclusive reader group by subscribing on her website at http://www.tammylgrace.com and she’ll send you a free interview with all the dogs in her Hometown Harbor Series as a thank you gift. Connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tammylgrace.books and follow her on Amazon by clicking the yellow button below her photograph on her author page.

©2021 V Williams

TV Netflix movie The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society vs #Audiobook by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows – #historicalfiction – #TBT

TV Netflix movie vs audiobook

“If books do have the power to bring people together, this one may work it’s magic.”

Trust the CE to find the pseudo-Hallmark of the week, in this instance, the Historical Fiction of the adaptation of a book published more than ten years previous amid vocal yays and nays. But, once again, my attention snagged, I sat and watched the two hour 3 minute movie with him. Seems we are in the grip of WWII stories and it doesn’t take much more than the slightest undertones of romance and a happy ever after to get the attention of those who hear the ka-ching in the wind. So yes, FIRST I watched the movie, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, although it was awhile before I noticed the audiobook come up at my local, well-stocked (audiobook) library. Once more I discovered quite the wide disparity of book vs TV version and glad I saw the Netflix rendering first.

Netflix Movie

No doubt most of my readers watched this movie before I did. Briefly, for those who haven’t, a successful London writer gets a letter from a resident of Guernsey and responds to his inquiry which begins an odyssey into the war history of the residents who invented a book club in the face of probable arrest by the Nazi occupiers.

In 1941, four friends confronted by soldiers of the German occupation invent a book club to explain why they’ve broken curfew. The historical romantic-drama borrowed heavily from the cast of Downton Abbey in forming a solid, immersive cast on film.

In 1946, Juliet Ashton receives an inquiry from one of the residents of Guernsey that sets off a barrage of correspondence eventually resulting in her move to the island to get to know them better and write a book about their WWII stories. Juliet has been writing successfully as Izzy Bickerstaff but explains to her publisher, Sidney Stark, that she wishes to write something of greater substance and senses a winning story.

It doesn’t take long to get to know the residents, appreciate their kindness, and understand their reticence in sharing emotional stories. Many of the stories keep revolving around another resident named Elizabeth, the founding member of the Society. Elizabeth’s daughter Kit was left with members of the Society when Elizabeth was arrested. She is still missing but hope remains for her return.

Juliet had left Mark in London expecting to return, an American in the armed forces, who proposed to her shortly before she left for Guernsey. He gleans info regarding Elizabeth for Juliet to relay to the Society, but her heart is now in Guernsey; the people, a man named Dawsey, Kit, and she’ll stay there.

Enter your happy ever after, queue the violins, swell the volume, fade to scenic pictures of the happy couple with the sun setting on the surf.

My Thoughts

Being a war baby, I got stories from my mother, the pictures, the music—the wartime mentality. Stamps for provisions, making due (chicory instead of coffee), darning until the clothes fell apart, shoes stuffed with paper or cardboard. So, yes, perhaps I tend to get a bit nostalgic. I’m not big on romance novels or movies, but there is more to this story than the romance both Juliet and Dawsey were denying. There is happiness gleaned in stories of triumph and the tragedy of loss. The scenes shot across England were beautiful, the clothing and hairstyles authentic. The production is engaging enough to forgive a few little details that might have been glossed over. 5 stars

Audiobook

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…. 

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends – and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island – boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever. 

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

My Thoughts

WHOA! What a shock to discover the novel is actually Epistolary Fiction. Not that I haven’t read other books in that particular format, I guess, just that I didn’t know there was a name for that. Letters. A literary work made entirely in the form of letters. Hence, the multiple narrators (for the different characters in the audiobook).

Not at all what I was expecting. But then after a chapter or two, I expected it to evolve. It didn’t.

he Guernsey Literary and PPP Society audiobook coverFirst, the speed with which letters seem to fly back and forth left me wondering about post-wartime posts. With addresses disappearing daily during the raids and people missing, there was still the capacity of posting and receiving letters that fast?

Rather than trading letters and characters every chapter, I wished for some off-page narration. A little filler.

The letters, though written (and narrated) by different characters all seemed to have much the same sense of humor and insight. Only the character of Mark, the wealthy American, who was largely offensive, seemed distinct.

I did enjoy a number of the little side stories, dips into the characters for instance of Dawsey Adams, a pig farmer, and how a pig was used to dupe the Germans. I’m quite sure many such shenanigans were played, lightening the dark times just enough to make bearable another day under deplorable conditions.

Still, I was never able to become engaged with Juliet and the letters as laid out, always wanting to “fill in” what I perceived missing. 3 1/2 stars

Overall Impression

This would not have been my choice of reading had I known it was an Epistolary novel. And quite possibly, I’d have denied myself the pleasure of the book seen through the visionaries in the Netflix movie had I read the book first. So much is conveyed through sight and scene, the flashbacks, the instant impressions that make the movie come alive. The desperation, hurt, denial, and guilt, missing in part in the novel. The actors were superb. Their eyes spoke volumes. The letters failed to impart that emotion for me.

I have to give the Netflix movie the nod over the novel. If you haven’t had the pleasure, even at this late date, look for it.

Book Details

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Genre: World War II Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Publisher:  Random House Audio (Unabridged)
ASIN: B001FVJIN8
Listening Length: 8 hrs 7 min
Narrator:  Paul BoehmerSusan DuerdenRosalyn LandorJohn LeeJuliet Mills
Audible Release: September 2, 2008
Publication Date: August 1, 2006
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Publisher: The Dial Press
Genre: Epistolary Fiction, Historical World War II Fiction, World War Historical Fiction
Print Length: 306 pages
ISBN : 0385341008
ASIN: B0015DWJX2
Publication Date: July 29, 2008
Title Link: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society [Amazon]

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Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows - authorsThe Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer who passed away in February 2008, worked as an editor, librarian, and in bookshops. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel.

Annie Barrows - author[Goodreads] Mary Ann Shaffer worked as an editor, a librarian, and in bookshops. Her life-long dream was to someday write her own book and publish it. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel. Unfortunately, she became very ill with cancer and so she asked her niece, Annie Barrows, the author of the children’s series Ivy and Bean, as well as The Magic Half, to help her finish the book. Mary Ann Shaffer died in February 2008, a few months before her first novel was published.

The Narrators: Paul BoehmerSusan DuerdenRosalyn LandorJohn LeeJuliet Mills

Juliet Maryon Mills (born 21 November 1941) is a British-American actress of film, stage, and television. She is the daughter of actor Sir John Mills and Mary Hayley Bell born November 1, 1941 in London and the eldest of three siblings; her younger siblings are actress Hayley Mills and director Jonathan Mills. [Wikipedia]

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