Time’s Up, Afton by Brent Jones – a #BookReview

Time's Up, Afton by Brent JonesTitle: Time’s Up, Afton (Afton Morrison Series Book 4) by Brent Jones

Genre: Thriller, Crime Fiction, Vigilante Justice, Serial Killers

142 Pages

Publication Date: To be released October 29, 2018

ASIN: B07G25CNSF

Source: Author request

Title and Cover: Time’s Up, AftonLove these beautiful covers

Book Blurb:

Some secrets stay buried for a lifetime, but nothing lasts forever.

Connected to a number of high-profile deaths, Afton finds herself not only under scrutiny from the chief of police, but damned in the court of public opinion, as well.

In the aftermath of the fiery assault on Wakefield, a low-level gang has infiltrated the town, flooding its streets with bad drugs, killing several teenagers. As Afton prepares for the final showdown with her tormentor, she marks each gang member as a target for elimination, in a methodical plan to gain the upper hand. What follows is a race against the clock that will keep readers guessing until the very last page, as Afton risks life and limb to fulfill her murderous mission of doing good in the world.

Time’s Up, Afton is the fourth and final part in a new serial thriller by author Brent Jones. Packed with grit and action, The Afton Morrison Series delves into a world of moral ambiguity, delivering audiences an unlikely heroine in the form of a disturbed vigilante murderess. Continue reading “Time’s Up, Afton by Brent Jones – a #BookReview”

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Darkest Before the Dawn – a #BookReview

Darkest Before the Dawn by Mike MartinTitle: Darkest Before the Dawn (Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series Book 7) by Mike Martin

Genre: Thrillers and  Suspense, Supernatural, Ghosts, Cozy

Publisher: Ottawa Press and Publishing

Publication Date: September 27, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

266 pages

Title and Cover: Darkest Before the DawnCover depicts coastal Newfoundland setting

Book Blurb:

Darkest Before The Dawn is the latest adventure in the Sgt. Winston Windflower mystery series, the popular Maritime tales about a Mountie who finds himself with a new family and a new life in tiny Grand Bank, Newfoundland. Ghosts, mysterious deaths, and a new, perplexing character confront Windflower, Tizzard and the other police officers in Grand Bank as they unearth secrets that have been lying hidden in the sleepy hamlet for decades. A fast-moving mystery, Darkest Before The Dawn is also a story of love, loss and learning how to grow old gracefully; a tale of family, community and looking after each other, of not giving up hope, just before the dawn. Continue reading “Darkest Before the Dawn – a #BookReview”

A Pirate’s Road to Key West by Michael Reisig – a #BookReview

A Pirate's Road to Key West by Michael ReisigTitle: A Pirate’s Road to Key West – Lafitte’s Gold – Book Nine

Genre: Caribbean and Latin America, Action and Adventure, Sea Adventures, Historical Fiction, Travel

Publisher: Clear Creek Press

259 pages

ASIN: B07JHJXF6V

Publication Date: Happy Publication Day!! October 17, 2018

Source: Author request

Title and Cover: A Pirate’s Road to Key West – Beautiful cover hints at island setting

Book Blurb:

In the ninth novel of his bestselling “Road To Key West” series, Reisig once again locks his readers into a careening odyssey of hidden fortunes, mercurial romance, conscienceless villains, and bizarre friends.

From Caracas to New Orleans, into the dark fringes of Haiti, down through the Windward Islands, then back into The Florida Keys, Kansas Stamps, Will Bell, and The Hole In The Coral Wall Gang chase a stolen Pre-Columbian treasure. Then there’s the Voodoo-practicing drug boss, a vengeful Columbian Don, and a highly artful assassin. Before you can catch your breath, it all rolls together into a turbulent Key West Fantasy Fest finale.

So, sit back, pour yourself a margarita, and slide into the islands one more time. You’re on “The Road” again.

My Review:

You know it’s going to be a fun read when the name of the bar is Eddie’s Bar and Swill.

I was introduced to the author, Michael Reisig, some years ago and have been a solid fan ever since. Mr. Reisig has a poetic way with words, his prose is almost beautiful. The man can spin a yarn and has a winning series in his Key West books, this being the ninth. Once again, he brings in intrepid protagonists Will Bell and Kansas Stamps as they involve the Hole in the Coral Wall Gang in the latest crazy South American adventure.

Whether Reisig sets the scene in the Caribbean in 1821 or Key West in 1989, you get that these two have a long history of adventure and survival, finding treasure, losing it, and regaining it. Will and Kansas have each other’s back and a high standard of morals–cleaving more right than wrong. They have a wonderful cadre of close comrades, several of whom are ‘Nam veterans who have survived whatever life threw at them. In their recent adventure, they picked up a new companion (besides Shadow, Kansas’s dog) named Arturio whose method of survival included a game that well prepared him for any that Will and Kansas were involved in. Arturio is an amazing character, street smart and fast.

Sundance was also recently introduced, a figure left in the shadow who has a habit of emerging with the most propitious timing. Sundance is a confirmed hypochondriac whose constant battle with the latest that he is suffering rises to new heights of hilarity. And Sundance has a peculiar way of securing free meals. (Another testament to the sense of humor the author infuses in his novels.) Still, with characters well developed or fairly new to the series, each entry to the series are different standalone adventures with new and heinous antagonists and luscious women best kept on the outside–looking in.

No strangers to the jungles of Venezuela, the boys have retrieved a treasure previously discovered, only to lose it, and form plans to get it back–again. The fun is in the execution–and I use that term advisedly. Reisig’s books always capture your attention immediately and then prepare you for a non-stop roller-coaster adventure that includes beautiful and quotable prose along the way.

A Pirate's Road to Key West by Michael Reisig“The gladiator rarely sleeps well the night before he salutes Caesar.”

“The wind pulled at me like a desperate lover.”

“It was like doing business with a viper–you watched the head at all times and hoped it bit the enemy.”

“…as selfish as it sounded, I didn’t want someone else’s life with me in it. I wanted my life with someone else in it.”

Descriptions set such a vivid scene, the reader is caught wincing at desperate situations or melting at the sight of a gorgeous view of the ocean and the calming sounds of the sea. Dialogue sets a solid feeling of menace or tender feelings of love with unerring tenderness and believability. These characters are so real you believe this all may have happened, the characters real persons, real experiences, and you are in the middle of it. Wild escapades, sometimes laugh out loud comical situations, but always entertaining.

Each time a new Reisig book comes out, it becomes my new favorite. I truly loved this one; such a rich experience, compelling and easy to read right straight through. I received an ARC from the author and, as always, thrilled and delighted to read and review. Recommended for any who enjoy action-adventure, sea adventures, pirate and treasure adventures, travel and exotic locations, and wild tropical thrillers. Shed your old tropes and discover excitement!

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Five BIG Stars Five Stars of Five Rating

Michael Reisig - authorThe Author:

Michael Reisig has been writing professionally for 20 years. He is a former Caribbean adventurer turned newspaper editor, award-winning columnist, and best-selling novelist.
After high school and college in Florida, he relocated to the Florida Keys. He established a commercial diving business, got his pilot’s license, and traveled extensively throughout the southern hemisphere, diving, treasure hunting, and adventuring.
Reisig claims he has been thrown out of more countries in the Caribbean Basin that most people ever visit, and he admits that a great many of the situations and the characters in his novels are authentic – but nothing makes a great read like experience…
He now lives in the mountains of Arkansas, where he hunts and fishes, and writes, but he still escapes to the Caribbean for an occasional adventure.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

The Enigma Source by Breakfield and Burkey – a #BookReview

The Enigma Source by Breakfield andd BUrkeyTitle: The Enigma Source (The Enigma Series Book 10) by Charles V Breakfield and Roxanne E Burkey

Genre: Suspense, Technothrillers

351 Pages

Publisher: ICABOD Press

ASIN: B07GD6S9SP

Publication Date: August 11, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Enigma Source – Techno-cover

Be prepared for a multi-layered sophisticated, intelligent, and well-plotted technothriller when you crack open this book! I don’t even know where to start…but if I did, and I do, it appears to begin simply enough by painting an idealistic picture of an extremely happy and peaceful couple enjoying their life down on their Georgia farm. They feel, for the most part, safe and secure in their contrived cocoon, appearing to the outside world as any other couple happy to break from the crazy world and slow the pace. Continue reading “The Enigma Source by Breakfield and Burkey – a #BookReview”

Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly – a #BookReview

Open Your Eyes by Paula DalyTitle: Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly

Genre: Thriller and Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Domestic Noir

Publisher: Grove Press

Publication Date: October 9, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Open Your Eyes–great cover

This book grabs you almost immediately and doesn’t really let go the hold until the shocking but satisfying conclusion.

I can think of few scenarios more visually horrifying than that of being shot in the head. By a nail gun. Not once. Twice. Once that mental picture is captured in your own head, it’s awfully tough to get out. Left in the car with his two children in the back seat, they were momentarily stalled from leaving when the neighbor catches his attention and proceeds to vent yet another complaint about their cat. His wife, Jane, was just asked to run back in to retrieve some fortifying liquid to help Leon get through his forty-six birthday party with his mother–yet another he did not wish to attend. Jane may have stalled inside just a bit. She’s is not a person who enjoys confrontation and is tired of neighbor Lawrence’s tirades, but when Jane gets back to the car, something is wrong. Really, extremely wrong. Continue reading “Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly – a #BookReview”

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller by Cleo Coyle #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller

I am super-excited today to provide a review at my blog stop for The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller by Cleo Coyle on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Please scroll down to sign up for this very special Giveaway!

Book Details

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller (Haunted Bookshop Mystery)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Berkley (September 25, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0425237451
ISBN-13: 978-0425237458
Digital ASIN: B078VX9SNF  

Book Blurb

Penelope Thornton-McClure and her bookshop’s ghost-in-residence Jack Shepard are back on a new case in this delightful paranormal mystery from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.

A big bestseller leads to small town trouble.

Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure didn’t believe in ghosts, until she was haunted by the hard-boiled spirit of 1940s private investigator Jack Shepard. Now Jack is back on the job, and Pen is eternally grateful…

After an elegant new customer has a breakdown in her shop, Penelope suspects there is something bogus behind the biggest bestseller of the year. This popular potboiler is so hot that folks in her tiny Rhode Island town are dying to read it–literally. First one customer turns up dead, followed by another mysterious fatality connected to the book, which Pen discovers is more than just fiction. Now, with the help of her gumshoe ghost, Pen must solve the real-life cold case behind the bogus bestseller before the killer closes the book on her.

My Review

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller by Cleo CoyleWhat a delightful and unique cozy mystery! Of course, I always enjoy a paranormal twist to the plot and this one proved a distinctive one at that. Apparently a 1940’s PI Jack Shepard was killed in the very bookstore in which the widowed protagonist Penelope Thornton-McClure joined her Aunt Sadie as co-owner. Jack Shepard totally exudes the part of a “hard-boiled” private investigator replete with period vernacular. I’ve discussed the “hard-boiled” genre previously that incorporates the noir element to novels popular in the late forties and fifties. It’s easy to conjure Humphrey Bogart in the part, though perhaps Jack has been tempered just a tad by Penelope (Pen) as she introduces her modern-day sensitivities to Jack.

A customer abruptly gasps at the back jacket of their current bestseller and flees the store with the book but without paying. Pen later finds her gloves and with the help of Jack secures the lady’s name and address. She was able to track down the lady but discovers her body, an apparent suicide. Pen doesn’t think so. She and Jack appear to have frequent conversations and this distracted me at first but not for long, as it is disclosed how Jack manifests himself; an interesting idea that!

I particularly enjoyed the appropriately named chapter titles and the little quotes to kick off the chapter. Not all from authors, the quotes ranged from George Burns to Marilyn Monroe and set a tone for the chapter, increasing expectation.

“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip. Will Rogers”

“Sincerity. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made. George Burns”

“Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s headline. Walter Winchell”

“We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time. Vince Lombardi”

Besides well-known name quotes, the author(s) manages a few pearls of their own, several of which produced a chuckle. I also enjoyed the knowledge (or the thorough and effective research) imparted regarding classic books and authors, some of which I’d forgotten but produced an “oh, yeah…” There were also a couple racy innuendos and tongue-in-cheek puns, intended.

The setting is a little town in Rhode Island and although this is #6 in the series has no problem standing alone. It’s apparently been ten years since the last. The main characters from the previous series entries are back along with popular support members and each provide a rich component to the well-plotted mystery. The writing style is fun and the pace steady. The flashback dreams where Jack takes Pen back to 1947 with him to experience one of his cases has you wondering briefly about the interruption to the storyline until you see how it’s incorporated into the main plot. You may think you know who is behind the deed, but you won’t guess the entire story or motive. The story has a lot of personality and delivers a satisfying conclusion.

I was given the download by the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. I’ll be looking forward to #7 in the series! Recommended for readers who enjoy a different and intelligent cozy mystery with a super-natural bent in their amateur sleuths.

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Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win one (1) signed copy of The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller (A Haunted Bookshop Mystery) by Cleo Coyle + Ghost Tote Bag and $15 gift card! Rafflecopter giveaway 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5 of five stars

About the Author

Cleo Coyle is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the Coffeehouse Mysteries–now celebrating nearly fifteen years in print. They also write the nationally bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, which were originally published under their second pseudonym, Alice Kimberly (The Ghost and Mrs. McClureThe Ghost and the Dead DebThe Ghost and the Dead Man’s LibraryThe Ghost and the Femme FataleThe Ghost and the Haunted Mansion). Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, DC, and New York, and has written popular fiction for adults and children. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together. You can learn more about Cleo, her husband, and the books they write by visiting www.CoffeehouseMystery.com.

Author Links:

Visit Cleo online: www.coffeehousemystery.com

Friend Cleo on Facebook:www.Facebook.com/CleoCoyle

Follow Cleo on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/cleocoyle/

Purchase Links:

Amazon     B&N     Kobo   Google Play  BookBub

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

Tour Participants:

October 1 – Babs Book Bistro

October 1 – Community Bookstop

October 2 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies

October 2 – The Montana Bookaholic

October 3 – Socrates’ Book Reviews

October 3 – MJB Reviewers

October 4 – The Avid Reader

October 4 – Mysteries with Character

October 5 – Teresa Trent Author Blog

October 5 – Reading Authors

October 6 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews

October 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy

October 8 – Laura’s Interests

October 8 – My Reading Journeys

October 9 – Rosepoint Publishing

October 9 – A Holland Reads

October 10 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews

October 10 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews

October 11 – The Book’s the Thing

October 12 – Brooke Blogs

October 13 – Bookworm Cafe

October 13 – The Editing Pen

October 14 – Moonlight Rendezvous

October 15 – Curling Up by the Fire  Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander – a #BookReview

The Pint of No Return by Ellie AlexanderTitle: The Pint of No Return (A Sloan Krause Mystery #2) by Ellie Alexander

Genre:  Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Cozy, Culinary, Amateur Sleuths

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press-Minotaur Books

Publication Date: October 2, 2018

ISBN-13:978-1250108654

ASIN: B079DV6VX

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Pint of No Return – Conveys picturesque Bavarian village

Book Blurb: Amateur sleuth Sloan Krause returns in The Pint of No Return, another delightful cozy by Ellie Alexander—this time investigating a movie star who’s murdered not long after arriving in Leavenworth, WA to film his latest project.

No other festival compares to Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, Washington. The whole town is buzzing with excitement over this year’s activities and eagerly awaiting Nitro’s latest offering Cherrywizen, made with locally sourced cherries. But local brewmaster Sloan Krause is tapped out. Between trying to manage the pub, her pending divorce with Mac, and her mounting feelings for Garrett, she’s fermenting in internal turmoil.

To complicate matters, dreamy movie star Mitchell Morgan and his production crew have arrived in the village to film during the authentic Bavarian brewfest. Mitchell has his eye on Sloan and a taste for Nitro’s Cherrywizen. Sloan escapes his advances for good when she finds Mitchell slumped over the bar. Is this a case of one pint too many, or has Mitchell been murdered by microbrew? [Don’t miss the Oktoberfest parade-click to see more!] Continue reading “The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander – a #BookReview”

Assault and Beadery by Mollie Cox Bryan #BookTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Assault and Beadery

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Assault and Beadery by Mollie Cox Bryan on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down the page to enter this exclusive Giveaway!

Book Details

Assault and Beadery (A Cora Crafts Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (September 25, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716442
ISBN-13: 978-1496716446
Digital ASIN: B078QM4V66  

Book Blurb

All of Cora Chevalier’s dreams are coming true. Since moving to Indigo Gap, North Carolina, the busy crafting maven has been blessed with a great boyfriend, a lovely home, and a booming craft retreat business. But on the eve of her first Crafty Mom’s Escape Weekend, tragedy strikes again in Indigo Gap. This time, it’s curtains for Stan Herald, the disagreeable director of the local theater group, who’s murdered on the opening night of their new production. Worse, Cora’s friend Zee is accused of the crime.

Cora is determined to prove her friend’s innocence, but Zee’s mysterious past is making that difficult. And with a list of suspects longer than a double spool of satin cording, getting a bead on the real culprit won’t be easy. With her friends Jane and Ruby at her side, Cora must string together the clues and solve Stan’s murder before the killer gives an encore performance.

Includes crafting tips!

My Review

Once again, my first experience with the author and the series. This being the fourth in the series, however, is not a real problem as it could easily function as a standalone, characters and location are well developed.

Indigo Gap is described as a small mountain community and tourist destination offering beautiful scenery, quaint B&B’s, cafes, and streets all named in exotic blue colors. As I viewed Cora, Jane, and Ruby, partners in the Kildare House in Indigo Gap, NC, it seems to me Jane is the stronger and would be prime protagonist, although it appears that Cora is supposed to be primary lead. Cora lives in the attic apartment of the historic Victorian home of Irish immigrants and former forest barons with her cat, Luna. Jane and her young daughter, London, live in the carriage house adjacent, although for this special retreat weekend, their third, the little girl is away visiting grandparents.

They fill their investment by holding specialized retreats, this one with special guest leader, Lena, who will introduce projects in beading (including French beads, clay beads, and rose beads) along with other crafting ideas involving felting and author cards. The home is apparently enormous and in addition to the bedrooms have rooms specifically designed and dedicated for specific crafts. The description of the home had me wishing I could take a tour! That is, until you get to the kitchen, which in their rehab process was put on the back-burner (a serious no-no in rehabbing). The retreat has invited moms to a special after-summer getaway and respite from their children and they’ve ended up with an eclectic group of women, some preferring to knit. (I’d love to know how much they paid and what it included!)

In addition to preparing to receive their guests, they got involved with the local community playhouse and helped to paint backgrounds for the production slated to open. Unfortunately, the director is found deceased on the stage and their B&B neighbor and friend Zee found beside him with a bloody knife. They know Zee couldn’t have done it, but how well do they know her–really?

I had these observations: I appreciated the atmosphere of the little town, the pride of the locals in their community, and even some of the (over) descriptive instructions of the projects. The protagonists had made major changes in their lives and appear to be conquering difficult histories. The projects, many with detailed instructions given at the back of the book, take up a lot of the narrative. However, Cora emerges as a rather weak-kneed protagonist fighting panic attacks, revisiting situations, and conversations once too often. They tended to call their officer friend, Detective Brodsky–a lot–no secrets–nothing held back there! He’s married, but Cora has a boyfriend who is always among the missing except for one sneaky night (huh?). The weekend retreat seemed to last more than a Saturday/Sunday, there was a lot of free time where the girls could go sleuthing, and no one ever fixed a meal. (Lots of restaurant referrals.)

It is cozy paced and well-plotted, just a little slow for me. Red herrings are thrown in, then dissed, and the antagonist was not a surprise. The craft moms are all aware of what is going on and no one seems to slow their attendance in the next class or appear concerned over whether or not the antagonist is someone in their midst.

I was given this download by the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for any heavy into crafting, particularly beading, or for someone you know would appreciate those hints and ideas–a little mystery with the craft projects!

Giveaway

Enter here for your chance at winning one of three (3) print copies of Assault and Beadery (U.S. only). Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Mollie Cox Bryan - authorMollie Cox Bryan is the author of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbooking mystery series and the Cora Crafts mystery series. She is also author of two cookbooks, the regional bestseller Mrs. Rowe’s Little Book of Southern Pies and Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley. An award-winning journalist and poet, she currently blogs, cooks, and scrapbooks in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband and two daughters. Scrapbook of Secrets was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Visit her on the web at molliecoxbryan.com.

Author Links:

Website – http://molliecoxbryan.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/molliecoxbryanauthor

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/molliecoxbryan/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/molliecoxbryan?lang=en

Purchase Links – Amazon   B&N   IndieBound   Kobo   BookBub

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

Tour Participants:

September 25 – The Power of Words = REVIEW

September 25 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

September 25 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers -SPOTLIGHT

September 26 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 26 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

September 26 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 27 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 27 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

September 28 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 29 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

September 29 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 30 – cherylbbookblog – REVIEW, RECIPE

September 30 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

October 1 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

October 1 – Varietats – GUEST POST

October 2 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

October 2 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 3 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  

October 4 – Valerie’s Musings – GUEST POST

October 4 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT  

October 5 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 5 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

October 6 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

October 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

October 7 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 7 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

October 8 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

October 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT/RECIPE Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

High Crimes by Libby Fischer Hellmann – a #BookReview

High Crimes by Libby Fischer HellmannTitle:  High Crimes (The Georgia Davis PI Series #5) by Libby Fischer Hellman

Genre: Mystery, Thriller and Suspense, Political, Conspiracy, Spies & Politics

Publisher: The Red Herrings Press

Publication Date: To be released November 10, 2018

ASIN: B07GD2N3BW

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: High Crimes – Super cover equals 1,000 Words

Book Blurb:

How do you solve a murder when there are 42,000 suspects? 
That’s the task facing Chicago PI Georgia Davis, hired to hunt down those ultimately responsible for the assassination of Resistance leader Dena Baldwin at a demonstration fourteen months after the 2016 election. The gunman, on a nearby hotel rooftop, dies within minutes of the shooting.  As Georgia sifts through Dena’s 42,000 Facebook followers, she discovers that unknown enemies hiding behind fake profiles have infiltrated the group. She finds others who will do whatever it takes—including murder—to shield right-wing, wealthy elites. When Georgia begins piecing together the facts, relatives of both victims mysteriously disappear, and the danger escalates. Threats and bruises have never frightened Georgia, but she’s side-swiped by the sudden reappearance of the mother who abandoned her when she was a child. Can she survive an emotional family crisis at the same time she pursues killers whose only goal is to protect themselves? (Click to view Ms. Hellmann’s book trailer on Goodreads.)

High Crimes - Video Cover

Continue reading “High Crimes by Libby Fischer Hellmann – a #BookReview”

Malice by Jennifer Jaynes – a #BookReview

Malice by Jennifer JaynesTitle: Malice by Jennifer Jaynes

Genre: Psychological Thrillers, Murder, Women’s Fiction Contemporary

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: Happy Publication Day! September 25, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Malice – Dark subject matter

Book Blurb: The perfect life becomes the perfect nightmare in a twisting novel of psychological suspense from #1 USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Jaynes…

Dr. Daniel Winters is living a fairy-tale life. He has a beachfront home in Malibu, a career as a respected pediatrician at a thriving Los Angeles practice, and a gorgeous new wife, Mia. For a man whose past was rife with mental illness, addiction, and thoughts of suicide, it seems too good to be true.

Then Daniel learns that a fellow pediatrician and his family were found slaughtered in their home. It’s just the first chip in the facade of Daniel’s perfect life. Little by little, everything starts to fall away. At work, his career becomes at risk when he’s asked to remain silent about a dangerous new drug. At home, Mia has gone from an affectionate newlywed to a mysterious woman carefully hiding secrets—and possibly a lover.

Then, another doctor is found dead, and as Mia’s behavior becomes increasingly suspicious, Daniel begins to wonder: Is paranoia getting the best of him…or has his fairy-tale life become a nightmare worse than he could have ever imagined? Continue reading “Malice by Jennifer Jaynes – a #BookReview”

In Cold Chocolate by Dorothy St. James #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

In Cold Chocolate

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for In Cold Chocolate: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery by Dorothy St. James on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down the page to enter the Giveaway for your chance to win this delectable treat!

Book Details

In Cold Chocolate: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (September 11, 2018)
Hardcover: 350 Pages
ISBN-10: 1683317432
ISBN-13: 978-1683317432
Digital ASIN: B078M3N9TC

Book Blurb

In Dorothy St. James’s third delectable Southern Chocolate Shop mystery, a new batch of chocolate and troubles of the heart cause a string of disasters for the Chocolate Box’s new owner, Charity Penn.

The vintage seaside town of Camellia Beach, South Carolina seems like the perfect place for romance with its quiet beach and its decadent chocolate shop that serves the world’s richest dark chocolates. The Chocolate Box’s owner, Charity Penn, falls even further under the island’s moonlit spell as she joins Althea Bays and the rest of the turtle watch team to witness a new generation of baby sea turtles hatch and make their way into the wide ocean.

Before the babies arrive, gunshots ring out in the night. Cassidy Jones, the local Casanova, is found dead in the sand with his lover Jody Dalton—the same woman who has vowed to destroy the Chocolate Box—holding the gun. It’s an obvious crime of passion, or so everyone believes. But when Jody’s young son pleads with Penn to bring his mother back to him, she can’t say no. She dives headfirst into a chocolate swirl of truth and lies and must pick through an assortment of likely (and sometimes unsavory) suspects before it’s too late for Penn and for those she loves in Dorothy St. James’s third rich installment of the Southern Chocolate Shop mysteries, In Cold Chocolate.

My Review

In Cold Chocolate by Dorothy St. JamesCamellia Beach, SC is definitely heating up. It’s August and the baby sea turtle nests are set to start hatching under the watchful eyes of the local sea turtle rescue volunteers. Charity Penn, owner of the Chocolate Box, is excited to join her best buddy, Althea, to watch for the hatching. Unfortunately, they end up in the crossfire of some deadly shooting, wounding Penn, and sending Jody Dalton to jail for the murder of Cassidy Jones. Jody is caught, dead to rights (so to speak) with not one but two smoking guns. Open and shut case, right? Sure looks that way, but Jody is the mother of Gavin, the son of her new heartthrob, Harley Dalton, and she promises Gavin she’ll have her mother out of jail before school starts. Uh oh…

Okay, this is the third in the series but could be viewed as a standalone as there was enough fleshing of the protagonist to learn who she is. Harley just a little less so. It’s one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone else’s business and not all the townspeople are strong supporters of Ms. Penn. Her heritage has been called to question and she is currently in a legal fight to settle once and for all the inheritance from her grandmother(?) Mabel which included the Chocolate Box.

In the meantime, Penn has poured her heart and soul into learning the business and remodeling, rehabbing, the building. She is building a strong and faithful customer base and has introduced a few new ideas to the shop, which apparently also allows coffee drinks. Her grandmother (if she is truly that) had a partner,  Bertie Bays, Althea’s mother and Penns roommate, who is valiantly trying to teach Penn the recipes for the exceptional Amar chocolate beans they use for their delicious dark confections.

Granted, there is a lot going on in this narrative, and some of it slows the well-plotted mystery. The victim is someone so despised that most of the town is probably happy to see him gone and doesn’t really care who is responsible. Harley and his son share the apartment upstairs next door to Penn and Bertie and Harley is also the attorney representing Penn.

There are a number of minor or support characters who round out the population of this small coastal town with a proximity to Charleston. The scenes are described well-enabling visions of the seaside community and the information on the sea turtles interesting. There is a sub-subplot going on with her little insecure five-pound black, brown, and white snappy papillon she was given by her ex that needs a LOT of training and all the training seems to include a box load of treats. (Seems to me half the time the dog is being rewarded for bad behavior, but he does make some successful progress through the novel.)

What appeared to be annoying on the surface, that of a 37-year-old woman abandoned as a child, damaged and flawed protagonist, raised by uncaring and abusive adults, who is constantly battling negative thoughts serves as an epiphany when you finally get inside her head for that ah ha comprehending moment. Maybe she is justified in being who she is! There were sympathetic characters and nasty relatives. Lots of little hints and it wasn’t too hard to figure out the antagonist. As the twists hit, as they inevitably must, they fly in the face of what you expected and actually were a surprise, including the big one at the conclusion–most satisfying.

There is some lag in the middle, and a surprising number of edit misses including missing words (or duplicates) and sentence structure problems. I was given this download by the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for any who love small town southern-based cozies, chocolates (including recipes), dogs, and the saga of the sea turtles.

 Giveaway

Click on the link to sign up for your chance to win one (1) Delicious 12-piece Godiva Patisserie Truffle Chocolate Flight (US Only) in this special  Rafflecopter giveaway 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars Four of Five Stars

Dorothy St. James - author

Mystery author Dorothy St. James was raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on the outskirts of Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, a neurotic dog, and a fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.

Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn’t as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.

* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: “amazing”, “perfect”, “filled with emotion”, and “lined with danger.”

Author Links:

Website: www.dorothystjames.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/dorothystjames

Twitter: www.twitter.com/dorothymcfalls

Purchase Links:

Indie Bound    Amazon      Kobo      Google Play      Barnes & Noble      BookBub

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

Tour Participants:

September 12 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

September 12 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 12 – Writing Pearls – REVIEW

September 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 13 – Island Confidential – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 14 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

September 14 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Community Bookstop – SPOTLIGHT

September 16 – Readeropolis – RECIPE

September 16 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

September 17 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 17 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – RECIPE

September 18 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

September 18 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 19 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

September 19 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

September 20 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

September 20 – Mysteries with Character – RECIPE

September 21 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

September 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 21 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

September 22 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 22 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

September 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

September 23 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 24 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

September 24 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 24 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 24 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

September 25 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

September 25 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

September 25 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT Great Escapes Book Tours 

Thanks to the publisher, NetGalley, and Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery! ©2018 V Williams V Williams

Lackbeard – a Children’s Fantasy Pirate Adventure #BookReview

Lackbeard by Cody B Stewart and Adam RockeTitle: Lackbeard by Cody B Stewart and Adam Rocke

Genre: Children’s Fantasy Adventure, Pirate Adventure

Publisher: Common Deer Press

ASIN: B07GBDN9FB

Publication Date: To be released December 3, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Print Length: 172 pages

Title and Cover: Lackbeard – Pirate map–perfect

Book Blurb:

All they wanted was their forever homes. But when a motley group of orphans steals an ancient artifact from the Golden Age of Piracy and a treasure map drawn in blood, what they get is an epic adventure.

(Goodreads) Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts. Calico Jack. Henry Morgan. You think those are the fearsomest pirates ever to sail the seven seas? That’s because you haven’t yet had the great misfortune to stumble upon Captain Lackbeard and his crew of mismatched misfits. if the Captain is yet challenged in the fine art of facial hair development? And who cares that he’s only eleven years old? Adventure, chums. That’s what our hero is after. Or at least that’s what he thinks he’s after… until real adventure finds him.

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My Review: pirate

Is it just a charming book cover that attracted my attention because of the pirate adventure book I published for my grandfather called Cocos Island Treasure? What can I say? I’m attracted to books about pirates, never mind this one is geared for the 8+ year crowd. It’s fun.

Carter Humbolt is eleven years old and he’s a die-hard pirates fan–not a ball club–the folklore, sword, and yo ho ho kind of pirates. All of his beloved earthly possessions are pirate books, artifacts, trinkets. He walks the walk and talks the talk. Now he just needs the treasure. He talks his older brother Brad into being a reluctant buccaneer and off they go to heist an artifact from a local museum. Unfortunately, he and his cohorts are caught, but he and his brother do not have parents to take them home and deliver appropriate discipline. He is returned to an orphanage where it is determined that he and his brother will be split up. (Or maybe not.)

New escapees Carter and a cadre of orphans steal a fifty-eight-foot Rossborough Ketch (as I said–suspend your disbelief–kids will lap this up). Captain Carter Lackbeard and his crew set out for Eleuthera. (Yes, it’s a real island in the Bahamas archipelago known for pink sand beaches. *Wikipedia.) Carter found a map, you see. The kids confront real pirates and “heave to” during a storm but manage to reach the island and are soon in search of treasure. In the meantime, I began to roll this flick through my mind, and could picture Cruella de Vil in the part of the orphanage school mistress.

Remember now–this is a novel for middle schoolers–so just park your disbelief and try to remember those years in which you could crawl into your head and be the hero, lead the way against the odds, discover new heights, catch the crooks, and find the treasure of your dreams. Nothing is impossible.

Carter is the stalwart brother ready to tackle anything (holding back a few niggles of concern for his fellow orphans) while Brad weighs heavily having been left the burden of protecting and watching over Carter. The characters are varied and add texture and believability to a story of the mix expected of this age range of children suddenly left without families. There are the antagonists, badder than bad, bent on returning the orphans back into “the system,” but you know somewhere along the line, their hearts may melt just a little. Support characters add depth to the romp.

“We rich?” “No, just dirty.”

This little story keeps you engaged right to conclusion–it’s short–doesn’t take long and the climax is exactly as you’d have it. My only problem was with the edit misses which I assume will be cleaned by the time this little ditty releases. Sometimes you just have to relinquish the heavy stuff, even the cozies, and enjoy a romp into juvenile unreality. Recommended for anyone who would enjoy a fantasy trip to hunt for hidden treasure and read it to your kids (or yourself). I was given this download by the publisher and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review.

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars Four of Five Stars

Cody B Stewart - authorThe AuthorCody B. Stewart was born in the Adirondacks, in Upstate New York. His love of stories began in those mountains as he vanquished trolls, fought in the American Revolution and discovered his latent mutant powers. Stories have continued to consume his life, but he now plucks them out of his head and puts them down on paper in the form of novels and comic books. He left the Adirondacks to grow into a man, did so, and has since returned with a wonderfully supportive wife and two sons.

 

Adam Rocke Slutsky never met an adventure he didn’t love. From swimming with great white sharks without a cage, to jumping out of a plane without a parachute, Adam’s adrenaline junkie tendencies play a major role in his writing. Throw in a secondary degree in CryptoZoology, and it’s anyone’s guess where Adam’s literary travels will take him.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Read and Gone – a #BookReview #BookTour #Giveaway

Read and Gone by Allison Brook

 

I am delighted today to present a review at my blog stop for Read and Gone, A Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down the page to find and enter the Giveaway!

Book Details

Title: Read and Gone (A Haunted Library Mystery) by Allison Brooke

Read and Gone: A Haunted Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (September 11, 2018)

Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683317340
Digital ASIN: B078M7MXGR

Book Blurb

Twenty million dollars’ worth of missing gems bring Carrie Singleton’s long-lost and larcenous dad back into her life and it’s up to Carrie to clear his name.

A devoted dad is as precious as diamonds, but Carrie Singleton wouldn’t know since her dad Jim’s been on the lam most of her life. In an unusual family reunion, she finds Jim breaking into her cottage in the middle of the night. The fun really starts when he begs her to help him recover his half of a twenty-million-dollar gem heist he pulled off with the local jeweler, Benton Parr. When she refuses, Jim takes off again.

Carrie finds her father again behind bars for the recent murder of Benton Parr. Who made the connection? Unbeknownst to her, Carrie’s boyfriend Dylan, an insurance investigator, has been searching for the gems. Determined to find the jewels herself, she starts examining every facet of Parr’s life. She turns up a treasure trove of suspects, one of whom bashes her on the head as she’s searching the victim’s country cabin.

Retreating to the quiet confines of the library where she works, Carrie watches as Smokey Joe, the resident cat, paws at a hole in the wall. Is he after the library’s ghost Evelyn, or something shinier?

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My Review

Read and Gone by Allison BrookCarrie Singleton just celebrated her 30th birthday and is feeling pretty good about herself being back in a small town near her favorite great-aunt Harriet and uncle, a boyfriend, Dylan, who also functions as her landlord for her comfortable little cottage, and a peach of a new job with the local Clover Ridge CT Library where she is now head of Programs and Events. She has a kitty, Smoky Joe, who adopted her and a ghost named Evelyn Havers, who haunts the library and is only visible to herself and her young cousin. It’s that time before Christmas when the grey skies turn to snow and the streets and storefronts are decorated with lights and themes, and joyous Christmas jingles emanate from public speaker systems.

However, as she is often heard to think–it can’t last forever–and doesn’t with the return of her erstwhile, long-absent father, Jim, last in line to ever receive a father-of-the-year award. The man, a thief who has spent a stint in the slammer, would like his daughter to help him retrieve the jewels he and an accomplice stole some time back. Who wouldn’t welcome him back? Almost immediately, he is found beaten and ends up in the hospital, creating a conundrum for Carrie, aka Carolinda, aka Caro. She agrees to let him stay at her cottage until he is on his feet again (while looking for the jewels of course).

There were a number of things I enjoyed about this book. The library, the small town feel with the happy Christmas spirit, her loving relationship with her aunt and uncle and boyfriend. Smoky Joe, the kitty, who became a self-proclaimed library cat that functioned much the same as a therapy dog, especially with the older patrons. The paranormal inclusion of Evelyn, the ghost with the never-ending wardrobe and personal hair stylist was fun and bounced in and out of the story adding interest. The search is on (sorta) for the gems and meanwhile the first victim shows up. At least it shouldn’t be too difficult to prove it wasn’t her daddy–he was likewise occupied.

However, there were some rubs. First, I didn’t see a well-developed protagonist. Assumed she was fleshed in book 1–this one wasn’t, nor the boyfriend, who was one hour being a sleaze being noisily denounced, the next loverboy. There were times when the 30-year-old reverted to 15. The library sounds more like a city library with lots of employees and all kinds of events and programs (that had me wondering what kind of budget they had) then small town stacks. The cat? Smoky Joe scratches on her office door to be allowed in to eat–and that is where his litter box is also located. Then she grabs her lunch meal break of the day. (Did she open some windows? Why is the litter box in her office(?)–gag.) And the library coffee shop has mice? Where is the local health department?

The plot moves along at a typical cozy pace and does keep engagement. I liked most of the characters but couldn’t get into Carrie’s shoes and the mystery, the antagonist, was pretty obvious early on. Still, it is entertaining for those who appreciate the cozy mystery genre, felines with their felonies, and amateur women sleuths and I appreciated the opportunity to read and review.

 Giveaway

Click on the link to sign up for your chance to win one (1) Print Copy of Read and Gone: A Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook Rafflecopter giveaway

Allison Brook - author

Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime.

Author Links:

Website: http://www.marilynlevinson.com

My Amazon page: http://amzn.to/K6Md1O

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.levinson.10?ref=ts&fref=ts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/161602.Marilyn_Levinson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarilynLevinson

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/marilev/

Purchase Links:

Amazon   B&N  BookBub

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

Tour Participants:

September 11 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

September 11 – Varietats – SPOTLIGHT

September 11 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 12 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 12 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

September 12 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 13 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

September 13 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 13 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – REVIEW

September 14 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

September 14 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

September 14 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Reading Authors – REVIEW

September 15 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 16 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

September 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

September 17 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

September 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

September 17 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 18 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

September 18 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

September 18 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 19 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

September 19 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW  

September 19 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 20 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

September 20 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Malice at the Manor – a #BookReview

Malice at the Manor by J Marshall GordonTitle: Malice at the Manor (Penny Summers Mystery Book 2) by J. Marshall Gordon

Genre: Mystery, Women’s Fiction, Woman Sleuth, Private Investigations

Publisher: Taylor & Seale Publishing

Publication Date: April 27, 2018

Source: Happy Book Reviews and author

Title and Cover: Malice at the Manor – Beautiful cover conveys subject background

Book Blurb: Penny Summers bones up on Renaissance garden design until she finds a dead docent and finds herself up to her tramp stamp unraveling a Civil War battle flag scam.

In North Carolina where “The Recent Unpleasantness” between the North and the South is still romanticized, the problem of a dead docent in a famous garden leads ex-Navy public affairs officer Penny Summers to a Civil War battle flag scam, a deadly reenactment, and a search for a man in black. With the help of Kalea, an eleven-year-old C.S.I.-wannabe, and Aaron, her handsome Navy friend working undercover, Penny discovers more than she bargained for. She thinks if she had studied psychology, it might have turned out differently. Probably not.

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(This was a publicist request that I thought both the C.E. and I might enjoy and review together–you’ll note the CE often holds a different opinion although many times generously so.)

My Review:

I must confess that this is the first quasi-cozy whose protagonist is a Master Gardener/landscape designer. Ex-Navy Penny Summers enrolls in Madison Lerrimore’s residential design course in Maryland which leads to a visit with the instructor to North Carolina.

The author does a masterful job of interlacing fact with fiction, the names in our recent history, and fascinating locations in this country’s civil war including the little-known site of a short skirmish in Asheville, NC. I must say, it incites interest in visiting civil war sites and some of these gorgeous old southern mansions and their gardens. This one, whether or not fictional, sounded fascinating enough to warrant a closer inspection (especially if the bridges where the public would be allowed are unsafe).

This is actually the second in the series. Among the recurring major characters are her Aunt Zelma and Navy sweetie, Aaron Hunt. In this narrative, Penny gets to know her instructor on a personal level, including Madison’s daughter, Kalea, a precocious eleven-year-old and Madison’s partner. The author includes a touch of paranormal with his first-person Penny who often hears her “Grandpa Jack” making comments in her ear, and her great-aunt Zelma is said to have “second sight.” Additionally, backstory is added to Penny’s own childhood that appears to have some impact on current events.

It doesn’t take long before Penny is stumbling across a docent face down in a creek bed who turns out to be a relative of Madison which unintentionally opens a can of worms. The multi-layered plot forks off with absorbing peek into history, Madison’s twisted tale, and Aunt Zelma’s hosting prowess with food and the ever-present chardonnay. And there is always “money” as motive in civil war memorabilia. Penny concocts an idea to wheedle out the antagonist using her sweetie, soon to be lover, and manages to pull off a coup at the conclusion with the help of local law enforcement and Henderson County detective, Coleen Jackson.

The description of the gardens and associated local plant species was interesting, the civil war history interesting, and the sights and flavors of the south interesting. However, there were times when Kalea appeared to be smarter than the adults who were supervising her, and the growing romance between Penny and Aaron was just annoying unnecessary. The characters were not wholly engaging although the narrative moved at a nice pace, and the dialogue (except for exaggerated southern drawl) believable.

On the whole, a relatively quiet conclusion, albeit without a complete resolution to all questions. The antagonist seems apparent and as they note, “Maybe the how will suggest the why. And then the who will become obvious.” 4/5 stars [V Williams] V Williams Continue reading “Malice at the Manor – a #BookReview”

Cast No Shadow: A Short Story #Review

Cast No Shadow: A Short Story by Brandon DraganTitle: Cast No Shadow: A Short Story by Brandon Dragan

Genre: Literature & Fiction, Short Stories, Westerns(?)

Print Length: 65 pages

Publication Date: June 22, 2018

Source: Direct author request

ASIN: B07DHB437Q

Title and Cover: Cast No ShadowSuper cover reflects the timbre of the book

Dark and disturbing, this short story packs a wallop. Set in an early ’80s Texas locale, a Vietnam vet lives with his wife and nine-year-old son. He has a cadre of his military buddies close by and is together engaged in an unusual activity, creatively borne of a passionate love of country, military comrades, and the state of their world upon return with the brutal knowledge left by their collective/respective war experience.

First, you should know the dialogue is written in the style of Cormac McCarthy, a tribute by the author to McCathy’s particular style of writing. Dragan’s own style is clipped and adult or child appropriate and while the absence of quotation marks on dialogue is present, it quickly becomes part of the natural story progression and doesn’t cause a lot of tripping. The narrative is written in first person account, which lends you a strong masculine sensitivity to his personal backstory. (There are, of course, many words considered seaman worthy and the reader should also be aware of some adult activity.)

That said, there is an obvious love between protagonist Beau Moreland and his wife Annabelle and their son. He has been honest with his wife and she is aware of his “extracurricular” activities, sans specific details. His son loves to play ball and he is careful to interact with him in practice and attend games.

His after-hours activities involve members of his ex-troop who feel the need to pursue a fight against an inexorable and deadly activity despoiling their population. They will take a stand where justice fails. The author has an interesting descriptive manner and the short narrative doesn’t need to be broken up into chapters, but engages you immediately. You need no commercial breaks to march through to the heart-stopping conclusion.

This is not the first vigilante offering I’ve read of late but is certainly one of the most powerful and again seems to offer up the opinion that this form of justice may come at too great an extreme cost. Is it still wrong if you are trying to right a wrong?

This is a well-paced short story, devastating, haunting, and heartrending. The poignant love and lesson a father bestow to his child takes on epic proportions. This is a conclusion you can’t see coming, like a ninja in the night, it’s a black warrior, and it leaves you crying NOOO…(take it back!). But there are no do-overs, only unanswered questions.

I received this download from the author and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. It is one that leaves an impression on your heart and a chill down your arms.

(Crap! Can we get a new ending? Please?)

Recommended for those who appreciate short stories, literature and fiction, thrillers, crime fiction, and vigilante justice.

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5 of five stars

The Author: Brandon Dragan grew up in New Jersey, just miles from the Lincoln Tunnel.

At eighteen he left home to attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

He draws on a wide range of influences—from literature to history, to philosophy—to craft meaningful and often surprising narratives that challenge the status quo and reach for a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.

Brandon and his wife Jami live in the Nashville area with their two daughters, Natalie and Brooklyn.

He enjoys road cycling and is an avid supporter of Arsenal Football Club.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

A Borrowing of Bones – a #BookReview

A Borrowing of Bones by Paula MunierTitle: A Borrowing of Bones (Mercy and Elvis Mysteries) by Paula Munier

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Animal, Police Procedurals

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press-Minotaur Books

Publication Date: To be released Tuesday, September 11, 2018 

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: A Borrowing of BonesI still maintain that if it has a dog on the cover, it has to be good.

Grief and guilt are the ghosts that haunt you when you survive what others do not….”

Retired MP and Afghanistan vet Mercy Carr and the Belgian Malinois she brought home after a six-month battle to retrieve the highly trained ex-bomb-sniffing dog, Elvis, are living a quiet life. Mercy exercises the high energy canine early every morning continuing a bonding regime from his former handler and her deceased fiancé Martinez. That is, until this morning when the dog suddenly darts into the dense underbrush and alerts to a baby. Continue reading “A Borrowing of Bones – a #BookReview”

Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery by Melinda Mullet #BookTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Deadly Dram by Melinda Mullet

I am thrilled today to provide a review at my blog stop for Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery by Melinda Mullet on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down the page to find and enter the Giveaway!

Book Details

Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Alibi (September 4, 2018)
Print Length 300 pages
ASIN: B079R3PW46

Book Blurb

Distillery owner Abigail Logan discovers that high spirits are no match for a cold-blooded killer as the Whisky Business Mystery series puts a fatal twist on stiff competition.

It’s been a year since globe-trotting photojournalist Abi Logan inherited Abbey Glen, a whisky distillery in the heart of the Scottish countryside. To her surprise, the village of Balfour already feels like home, and her new business partner, Grant MacEwan, continues to be too charming to resist. But Abi has a history of relationship disasters, so she struggles to avoid an ill-fated romance with Grant. Steering clear is hard enough on a day-to-day basis, but when the two head off to a whisky industry competition together, Abi panics. Five-star resort, four glorious days of nonstop whisky tasting, and a fatally attractive Scotsman—what could possibly go wrong?

The night before the award presentations, with foreign and domestic whisky makers at one anothers’ throats, two judges are found dead under mysterious circumstances. What started with three dream-come-true nominations for Abby Glen’s whisky soon turns into a nightmare for Abi. With a killer on the loose, she must call on her investigative skills to stop another murder—before she gets taken out of the running herself.

My Review

I love it when I get to be introduced into a whole new exotic industry in a lovely country, beautiful setting, and some hardy but oft-times inebriated characters! Blame all that whisky tasting! deadly dram-cover

Ex-photojournalist Abigail Logan inherited Abbey Glen, a Scottish whisky distillery, just a year ago but is beginning to feel right at home in Balfour and a solid part of the team that includes Cam Lewis, the distiller, and her handsome co-owner/partner, Grant MacEwen. Although she finds Grant enormously attractive, Abi has tried to keep the relationship strictly professional, as she has not been real successful in the romance department and fortunately, the romance aspect is kept low-key. The duo must have been successful somewhere, however, as they’ve just enjoyed nominations for the annual Golden Quaich Awards, including possibly the top award. Even better, the competition and judging takes place at a huge posh Scottish five-star resort, and in addition to Grant and Cam, she will be allowed to include her Wheaton terrier, Liam, as it is a dog-friendly hotel. Additionally, she’ll room with her best friend from university days, Patrick Cooke.

It becomes obvious at the outset that there is a rift at the Scottish Whisky competition having been diluted with distiller entrants outside of Scotland. She’s a lone woman (for awhile) in a male-dominated industry, whom she calls “the Barley Boys,” and it doesn’t take long before it’s obvious the camp is divided between the nationalists and the globalists. So when the first victim, a judge who openly welcomed the foreign competition is found dead of poisoning, the immediate red herring becomes those who would oppose competition outside of Scotland. Enter Detective Inspector Ian Michaelson with whom she has apparently clashed in previous series entries. This time he is short on manpower and enlists her unofficial aid.

Here is an author who labels her characters in triplets as well as detailed descriptions…”melancholy, speculative, and independent,” “intense, calculating, and sturdy,” “pliable, shortsighted, and impressionable,” “fiery, flamboyant, and intractable,” and so on. The problem I had was the pace of the mystery, only increasing somewhat following the second murder. (As in…. slowww) Abi is not a character that kept me engaged and Grant just seemed–remote and one-dimensional. While Liam was an occasional fresh breath (or doggy breath) of air, breaking up the narrative occasionally with undisciplined canine antics, I decried the offer so often to allow him tasting the whisky along with the humans who should have known better. (And to her credit, the author offers a dedicated pet-alcohol warning disclosure following the conclusion. And plates of sausage? No, no, and just no.) The well-developed plot eventually escalates into a possible warning to Abi putting Grant in the hospital.

Following the hand-wringing bouts of evaluation, re-evaluation, theory–more theory, and possible scenarios, the plot gains some speed and blindsides you with a conclusion you may only have suspicioned. (But in my defense, thought she had her culprit; mystery solved.) So the unsuspected twist was fun. (And that’ll teach me/you for becoming complacent!)

Overall, an interesting romp in Scotland with a truly Scottish world renown libation. I enjoyed getting to know the industry better. Third in the Whisky Business Mystery series, perhaps my lack of empathy for the characters was that it was my first experience with the author and the series. It might help if you start with the first in the series and not treat this one as a standalone.

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Giveaway

Click this link for your chance to win one of two (2) eCopies of Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery by Melinda Mullet in this Rafflecopter Giveaway and good Luck! 

About the Author

Melinda Mullet - authorMelinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.

Author Links: 

Webpage – http://melindamullet.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mulletmysteries/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/mulletmysteries

Purchase Links:

Amazon  B&N    Kobo   Google Play  BookBub

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

Tour Participants:

September 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 4 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 5 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

September 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

September 6 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 6 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 7 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

September 7 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

September 8 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 8 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

September 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

September 9 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

September 10 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW, GUEST POST

September 10 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 11 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 11 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT  

September 12 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW

September 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

September 13 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

September 14 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

September 14 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Varietats – REVIEW

September 16 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  

September 16 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW

September 17 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW, GUEST POST  

September 17 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Nice Try, Afton – a #BookReview

Nice Try, Afton by Brent Jones

Title: Nice Try, Afton (Afton Morrison Series Book 3) by Brent Jones

Genre: Thriller, Crime Fiction, Vigilante Justice

Novella: 111 Pages

Publication Date: To be released September 17, 2018

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: Nice Try, Afton – Love these beautiful covers

With Wakefield smothering in the smoky haze from recent arsons and oppressive humidity from the recent downpour in the summer heat, Afton scrambled to avoid detection by the National Guard seeking a meeting with her nemesis. The dramatic conclusion to book 2 left the town in smoldering shambles and Afton’s unintentional cohorts, including her brother Chris and his girlfriend Tia, Jared, and Kim, extremely vulnerable. Afton makes a last-ditch effort to cloak her companions and perhaps divert the familial revelation divulged in book 2.

Discussing the brutal assault in the open with companions accidentally involved didn’t do much to clear the air or formulate a plan. But one thing is sure–they must move. Afton and brother Chris go on a search, hoping to track down that familial connection. They discover, however, that Tia’s expected safe haven was insufficient to provide the protection they thought was proffered.

In an ever-increasing tangle of deception, misdirection, and twists, the narrative continues to stump and perplex the reader. Can there be any solution to this dark plot involving a protagonist professed vigilante murderess? Is she too heinous to actually become empathetic or are we beginning to see the emergence of contrived misconception here. There appears some kind of evolution in a psyche long forged by birth and later circumstances.

As I’ve mentioned before, Jones delivers his unlikely protagonist in intense and raw dialogue, adult situations, and language. It is a novella of nail-biting hard-core suspense and you won’t get to breathe until Book 4 is done and won. These characters pit each other in good vs evil and we’ve yet to see their true colors as they continue to evolve.

Author Brent Jones calls his series an abstract of “moral ambiguity.” Indeed! A puzzling contradiction. See my review of the second in the series, See You Soon, Afton and Go Home, Afton (#1) here. It’s a series, and really, you can’t and shouldn’t see book 3 as a standalone. Go back and begin with Go Home, Afton. (These are short–you’ll catch up!)

The Afton Morrison Series by Brent Jones

I was sent this ebook novella download by the author and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. You should begin with book 1 to get the complete fleshing of Afton. This series is recommended for any who enjoy a dark plot, graphic situations, crime, adrenaline-inducing action, mystery, and suspense.

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars Four of Five Stars

author Brent JonesThe Author: From bad checks to bathroom graffiti, Brent Jones has always been drawn to writing. He won a national creative writing competition at the age of fourteen, although he can’t recall what the story was about. Seventeen years later, he gave up his career to pursue creative writing full-time.

Jones writes from his home in Fort Erie, Canada. He’s happily married, a bearded cyclist, a mediocre guitarist, and the proud owner of two dogs with a God complex. Subscribe to his newsletter (AuthorBrentJones.com) or follow him on social media (@AuthorBrentJ) for updates.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

The Forbidden Door – a #BookReview – #greatreads

The Forbidden Door by Dean KoontzTitle: The Forbidden Door (A Jane Hawk Novel) Book 4 by Dean Koontz

Genre: Currently #60 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Suspense

Publisher: Bantam – Random House LLC

Publication Date: To be released September 11, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Forbidden DoorCompelling colors, interesting face, same model as book covers 2 and 3(?) but I don’t see here a vision of the “real” Jane Hawk.

Okay, yes, I didn’t read book 1 but I did read books 2 and 3 and I must say if Book 2 hooked you, Book 3 stayed the course, Book 4 absolutely cements you into Hawk’s boots. They are kick-ass boots worn by a quick-witted, intelligent ex-FBI agent gone rogue. She’s mad.

Not mad, furious.

She’s tough, intuitive, and on an urgent mission as book 3 ended with a call from her son, Travis…his guardians are missing. Continue reading “The Forbidden Door – a #BookReview – #greatreads”

Samhain Secrets – a #BookReview

Samhain Secrets by Jennifer David Hesse

Title: Samhain Secrets (A Wiccan Wheel Mystery) Book 4 by Jennifer David Hesse

Genre: Currently #1202 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Holidays

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: Happy release date! August 28, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Samhain Secrets – Love that book cover and the requisite black cat

Here is your chance to peek into the life of a modern day witch, or in this case a Wiccan, and learn something about this spiritual culture practice in a delightful cozy mystery setting. Protagonist Keli Milanni is a serious practitioner. There is only one problem: She was raised Catholic and has not divulged that split to family.

Spells, incantations, calls to spirits, tarot cards, and sisterhood. Keli weaves the practice into the quest to find the person who murdered her aunt, Josephine O’Malley, an estranged free spirit of the family who chose to leave the nest early, only tapping connections inconsistently with no notice and disappearing just as quickly. It’s a fun romp into the paranormal side of life that strikes a few of those loosely held superstitions many of us are loathe to admit. Continue reading “Samhain Secrets – a #BookReview”