Judgment at Alcatraz: A Danya Biton Novel by Dave Edlund – #BookReview – Native American Literature

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars  5 stars

Book Blurb:

Fans of Jon Land’s Caitlin Strong series and of James Rollin’s Seichan will identify with and devour the Danya Biton series.

Judgment at Alcatraz by Dave EdlundCapitalizing on a peaceful protest for Native American rights, a small, extremist militia swiftly seizes Alcatraz Island and holds more than 200 people hostage. Their demand: return all lands taken from Indigenous Peoples through broken treaties, or an armada of drones will render the San Francisco Bay Area a glowing ruin, uninhabitable for decades.

Former Mossad assassin Danya Biton and her friend Toby Riddle are thrown headlong into the conflict. As the authorities debate the cost of acquiescing to the demands versus the loss of civilian lives, Danya—on the run from agencies on both sides of the Atlantic—offers the only hope for rescuing the hostages and preventing an unprecedented disaster… but she may have to sacrifice herself to save the others.

His Review:

The plight and poverty of Native American’s is well documented. Broken treaties and population displacement abound. Promises are made during election years and discarded as soon as the election is over. When the United States leaves a property that was taken from the natives, the land is to reverted to them. The island of Alcatraz is one such example.

Judgment at Alcatraz by Dave EdlundDanya is an ex-Mossad operative who now works for the highest bidder. She is well trained, very physically fit, and an expert marksman. She can be very selective who she works for because her skills are very hard to come by. Two gun-runners have employed her to assist in delivering a mule train full of automatic rifles. The gun store owner and his nephew are way out of their league. The delivery goes sideways and Danya saves their lives.

Leonard White Cloud and Sacheen Crow Dog are Native Americans who have lived in poverty their whole lives. All of their ancestral lands have been taken by the whites and promises of reparations have never been fulfilled. De-commissioned military bases and other abandoned U.S. Government properties lie idle while their people still linger on the most arid land in the country.

It is time for the indigenous people to be compensated. Occupying Alcatraz might be a good start to that recompense. However, the U.S. Park service has turned the property into a tourist destination. No longer being used as a prison it should by rights go back to the natives that it was stolen from. Getting the property returned by peaceful means seems out of the question. The government could care less about the plight of the original people who developed this country.

Dave Edlund has developed a very entertaining tale of broken promises and reasons for the poverty indigenous people live in. He cites many reasons for the poverty and the military control of the natives. This entire book is a good example of governmental promises broken and population suppression. Currently on pre-order. 5 stars – CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Native American Literature, Political Thrillers & Suspense
Publisher: Light Messages Publishing
ISBN : 1611533848
ASIN: B08SJJGY45
Print Length: 284 pages
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Judgment at Alcatraz
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Add to Goodreads

Dave Edlund - authorThe Author: Dave Edlund is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Peter Savage thrillers (all novels stand alone, read in any order). A member of the International Thriller Writers, Edlund writes action-political thrillers often compared to the Sigma Series novels by James Rollins, and the Jack Ryan novels by Tom Clancy.

Edlund’s latest thriller, GUARDING SAVAGE, was awarded the Silver Medal by IBPA for best popular fiction and has become a bestseller. LETHAL SAVAGE will be released October 22, 2019.

James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of The Demon Crown proclaims “GUARDING SAVAGE fuses the authenticity of Tom Clancy with the world-hopping adventure of Clive Cussler” and “Both topical and suspenseful, here is a book that belongs on the shelf with the best military fiction out there.”

Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of the Caitlin Strong series, writes: “Equal parts military and political thriller, Dave Edlund’s Guarding Savage is a top-notch action-adventure tale that rivals the best of Brad Thor and Brad Taylor.”

Edlund’s award-winning debut, CROSSING SAVAGE, was followed by RELENTLESS SAVAGE and the critically acclaimed DEADLY SAVAGE. He lives with his family and four dogs in Central Oregon. A graduate of the University of Oregon (Ph.D. in chemistry), he has dedicated his professional career to developing new technology to support the hydrogen economy. “I strive to bring cutting-edge science and technology into my stories, and then to extrapolate that innovation beyond what is presently known, but is plausible,” Edlund explains.

An avid outdoorsman, you are likely to find the author in the deep woods far away from other people when he is not writing. To connect with Dave Edlund or to request a Skype visit, contact him at dedlund@lightmessages.com.

©2021 V Williams –

 

The Late Show by Michael Connelly – #Audiobook Review – #policeprocedural #TBT

The Late Show by Michael Connelly

(Amazon) Editors PickBest Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Book Blurb:

From New York Times best-selling author Michael Connelly, a new thriller introducing a driven young detective trying to prove herself in the LAPD.

Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none, as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

But one night she catches two cases she doesn’t want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her own partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the cases entwine, they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won’t give up her job, no matter what the department throws at her.

My Review:

Yes, I suppose I’d been living under a rock when I reviewed my first ever Michael Connelly book, The Law of Innocence (a Mickey Haller Book #7 of the Harry Bosch Universe) late last year. Sorry, not having any experience with the Harry Bosch series, I was plunking down into the middle of the Haller series. This time I thought I’d start with the first of his Detective Renée Ballard Mystery series.

The Late Show by Michael ConnellyDetective Ballard has been through the whole sexual harassment thing with a supervisor and the loss of her six protection from the partner who witnessed the incident and didn’t back her. She’s landed on the night shift—The Late Show—in LA.

Ten years on the job and working with men, she can be abrupt, speaking her mind and standing her ground. She exudes attitude.

Ballard and her night shift partner (who tends a sick wife at home) confronts two situations: one, a transsexual woman beaten and left for dead. In the second, she assists with a nightclub shooting where five people have been shot to death. In each, she is to merely take notes and names and hand it to the day shift detectives. But with either of these two, she can’t.

Ballard keeps up a physical schedule that includes surfing—paddleboarding—and it is learned that her dad drowned under those circumstances and that she has a couple friends with benefits and her dog, Lola. But her work is her life and she’s like a dog with a bone—she’ll investigate on her own time.

I like this character. She’s strong, independent, watches her own back now, and knows where she’s going. I definitely preferred this one over the one noted above, finding more I could emphasize with, enjoying the description of the LA valley, the diversity, and the description of the Pacific and those southern California waves. I’ll be looking for the second in this series as I understand there are only four. No prob.

The Late Show by Michael Connolly

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Suspense Thrillers, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Hachette Audio
ASIN: B06Y5SW7T1
Print Length: 318 pages
Listening Length: 9 hrs 23 mins

Narrator: Katherine Moennig
Publication Date: July 18, 2017
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Late Show

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Michael Connelly - authorThe Author: Michael Connelly is the bestselling author of over thirty novels and one work of nonfiction. With over eighty million copies of his books sold worldwide and translated into forty foreign languages, he is one of the most successful writers working today. A former newspaper reporter who worked the crime beat at the Los Angeles Times and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Connelly has won numerous awards for his journalism and his fiction. His very first novel, The Black Echo, won the prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1992. In 2002, Clint Eastwood directed and starred in the movie adaptation of Connelly’s 1998 novel, Blood Work. In March 2011, the movie adaptation of his #1 bestselling novel, The Lincoln Lawyer, hit theaters worldwide starring Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller. His most recent New York Times bestsellers include The Law Of Innocence, Fair Warning, The Night Fire, Dark Sacred Night, Two Kinds Of Truth, and The Late Show. Michael is the executive producer of BOSCH, an Amazon Studios original drama series based on his bestselling character Harry Bosch, starring Titus Welliver and streaming on Amazon Prime. He is also the executive producer of the documentary films, SOUND OF REDEMPTION: The Frank Morgan Story and Tales Of the American. He spends his time in California and Florida.

Katherine Moennig - narratorThe Narrator: Born on December 29, 1977 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US as Katherine Sian Moennig, she is an American actress and producer, best known for the role of Shane McCutcheon in The L Word (2004). Her father was William H. Moennig III and her mother was Mary Zahn, a Broadway dancer. She is of Irish and German ancestry. At 18 she moved to New York City, where she studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She’s been married to a Brazilian film director and musician Ana Rezende since 2017.

©2021 V Williams

The Corpse Who Knew Too Much (A Food Blogger Mystery) by Debra Sennefelder #BlogTour #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

Welcome to the review for The Corpse Who Knew Too Much by Debra Sennefelder at my blog stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. 

The Corpse Who Knew Too Much by Debra Sennefelder - blog tour

Book Details:

The Corpse Who Knew Too Much (A Food Blogger Mystery) 
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Publisher: Kensington (September 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496728912
ISBN-13: 978-1496728913
Digital ASIN: B082WR1YCL

Book Blurb:

Food blogger Hope Early takes on a cold case that’s heating up fast . . . 

Building on her recipe for success with her food blog, Hope at Home, Hope is teaching her first blogging class at the local library in Jefferson, Connecticut. She’s also learning about podcasts, including a true-crime one called Search for the Missing, hosted by Hope’s childhood friend, Devon Markham. Twenty years ago on Valentine’s Day, right here in Jefferson, Devon’s mom disappeared and was never found. Finally Devon has returned to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother—and she asks Hope to help. 

The next day Hope discovers Devon’s apartment has been ransacked. Her laptop with the research on her mother’s cold case is missing, and Devon is nowhere to be found. When her friend’s body is later discovered in a car wreck, Hope is convinced it’s no accident. Clearly, Devon was too close to the truth, and the cold-blooded killer is still at large in Jefferson. Now it’s up to Hope to find the guilty party—before the food blogger herself becomes the next subject of another true-crime podcast . . .

Includes Recipes from Hope’s Kitchen! 

My Review:

The Corpse Who Knew Too Much by Debra SennefelderHope Early has achieved her dream of being a full-time food blogger in Jefferson, Connecticut, and is quickly expanding her reach with interested sponsors. The narrative has some great support characters including her sister Claire and Ethan, her police chief boyfriend. (She is divorced and has fur babies dog Bigelow and Princess the cat. She also has a few chickens, including Poppy, and I loved that the animals also have personality.)

Hope additionally is creating a community class at the local library for those who wish to learn to set up and run their own successful blogs and looking forward to her first class when she is informed of the return of the daughter of a woman who went missing twenty years ago. She quickly becomes embroiled in the quest to discover what happened when the daughter is found dead and it doesn’t appear to be an accident.

What was a cold case turns hot quickly as another body turns up and Hope is strongly warned off. Between testing recipes, creating her content, and caring for her animals, she continues with her interviews gleaning little clues along the way.

There are tidbits dropped here and there regarding motive, twists, and more POIs although it’s easy to eliminate those persons of interest that just don’t fit the picture.

In the meantime, she shares instructional materials with her class (and the reader) regarding some of the mysteries of blogging, social media, and SEO, which I particularly enjoyed.

The conclusion settles all the threads and clarifies the motive and suggests Hope may expand her blogging efforts in podcasting to her next entry to the series.

Add to Goodreads

Debra Sennefelder - authorAbout The Author: Debra Sennefelder is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery.

Her first novel, THE UNINVITED CORPSE (A Food Blogger mystery) was published in 2018. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.

Born and raised in New York City, where she majored in her hobby of fashion buying, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in retail and publishing before becoming a full-time author. Her writing companion is her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih Tzu, Connie.

Author Links – Website & Blog Facebook Instagram

Website: http://bit.ly/2lQwSNi

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2jBx9oV

Facebook Author Page: http://bit.ly/2qjwHyT

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2EQh6da

Purchase Links:

Amazon – Barnes & Noble –  Kensington – Kobo – Google Play

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

Tour Participants:

April 1 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW*

April 1 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

April 2 – Literary Gold – REVIEW

April 2 – My Journey Back – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

April 3 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

April 3 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 3 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

April 4 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT

April 4 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW*

April 5 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW*, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

April 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – AUTHOR GUEST POST

April 6 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW*

April 6 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

April 7 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 8 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR GUEST POST

April 8 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 9 – Novels Alive – AUTHOR GUEST POST

April 9 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 9 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

April 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

April 10 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

April 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW*, AUTHOR INTERVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

April 12 – Christy’s Cozy Corners -SPOTLIGHT

April 12 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

April 13 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

April 13 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

April 14 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  

April 14 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2021 V Williams

What You Never Knew: A Novel by Jessica Hamilton – #BookReview – #ghostmysteries – @crookedlanebooks

Book Blurb:

Told in alternating points of view between the living and the dead, Jessica Hamilton’s debut novel will be perfect for fans of The Lovely Bones.

What You Never Knew - Jessica HamiltonIdyllic Avril lsland, owned by the Bennett family, where their hundred-year-old cottage sat nestled in acres of forest. Forty-year-old June Bennett believed that the island had been sold after the summer of her father’s disappearance when she was only twelve years old. It’s months after the shocking death of her older sister May in a fatal car accident, that June finds out that the cottage was never sold. Avril Island is still owned by the Bennett family and now it’s hers.

Still reeling from the grief of losing her sister, June travels back to Avril lsland in search of answers. As she digs, she learns that the townspeople believe her father may in fact have been murdered rather than having abandoned his family in the dead of night, as she was led to believe by her mother. And that’s when she begins to notice strange things happening on the island–missing family possessions showing up, doors locking on their own, unexplained noises in the night, shadowy figures disappearing into the woods. It takes June no time at all to realize that her childhood summers at Avril Island were not at all what they had seemed to be.

My Review:

Alternating chapters between May and June Bennett spark an interesting hook into this ghost mystery thriller. Extremely close, June loses her older sister May in a tragic auto accident only to set in motion the exploration of family secrets well hidden more than thirty years.

The daughters of well to do parents, they spent their summers on Avril Island. The idealistic laid back warm summer life spent in a gorgeous resort setting is well described and immersive. But their summers on the island ended when June was twelve with the sudden disappearance of her father. Their narcissistic mother divulges that he’d left the family and she subsequently sold the island.

Nope.

What You Never Knew - Jessica HamiltonJune has also recently divorced an overbearing, unemotional husband and left with two daughters of her own, and now without the sensitive support of her sister goes into deep grieving. She is shocked to learn she is sole owner of the island. Her daughters safely with her ex for the summer, leaves for the resort and the island to retrieve some of those good memories, the happy times, and hopefully a lessening in her grieving process.

The reader begins to learn about their mother, emotionally crippling and manipulative, but beautiful mother. She was the catalyst that drew the sisters closer, stronger in their common bond. The POV of May is compelling, drawing mental pictures of an ethereal sentient trying to “talk,” guide her sister—trying in her own way to remember events that led to the tragedy that split the family and those of her family from the local, year-round folks. May is still not sure why she has been drawn back or for what purpose.

Difficult to become engaged with forty-year old June, she is rather one dimensional. Ezra, the son of the family who did some caretaking of the island, is not fully developed either but characterized as being her only close childhood friend. I doubt June could have lived thirty years on royalties from a one-and-done book published in her twenties (or if still family money—how?). Ezra never married, thoroughly embroiled now in caring for his mother suffering from dementia.

The conclusion kinda veers off the rails but confirms what I suspicioned early on and wondered what took so long. The big reveal is certainly not a surprise. There is, however, a gotcha that you don’t see coming—one more little twist—that adds some fun.

There were some edits missed, it’s an ARC, and a couple contradictions that I’ll assume are fixed prior to release. Otherwise, it is certainly entertaining and for the most part keeps the reader engaged. Just a few points of disbelief to overcome and for a debut novel, an ambitious and worthwhile effort.

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

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

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Ghost Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

  • ASIN : B08FZMZ6K2

Print Length: 297 pages
Publication Date: To be released April 13, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 

Jessica Hamilton-authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Jessica Hamilton was born in Australia but grew up in Canada. She has lived and worked in the Czech Republic, Taiwan, India and Japan. She studied writing at the Humber School for Writers as well as George Brown College. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, son and daughter. What You Never Knew is her first novel.

©2021 V Williams

Out of Crisis by Richard Caldwell – #BookReview – #politicalthrillers

Book Blurb:

Out of Crisis by Richard CaldwellIn the not-too-distant future, a radical new movement is poised to disrupt the corrupt two-party political system that has held power in the United States since the 1800s. Politically left of conservative and right of liberal, the new Centrist Party pins its hope for a better future on presidential candidate David Stakley, the former US secretary of state. As David assumes center stage with determination, intelligence, and humility, another kind of disruption rumbles deep below the earth’s surface.

In Yellowstone National Park, one of the world’s two supervolcanoes awakens with an explosive roar from a fitful 640,000-year sleep.

Through the eyes of several different players, author Richard Caldwell weaves a political/natural-disaster thriller around the collision of events that will reshape the physical and sociopolitical landscapes of the United States and North America forever.

His Review:

Envision the next eruption of a super volcano such as Yellowstone. This book looks at three potential crises enveloping the United States at once. The end result is a complete change in the fabric of life on planet earth. Sub-plots are developed to add drama and authenticity to the narrative.

Out of Crisis by Richard CaldwellThere is a group who feel the Constitution has holes in it which need to be amended. The problem is that there has to be a Constitutional Congress to amend the document and this will require ratification by at least 33 states. That task alone is herculean in its’ scope. Chief among the tenets of the proposal is to revise the second amendment and establish procedures for citizenship.

Bubbling under the surface of Eastern Idaho, Southern Montana, and Western Montana is a weak spot in the mantle of the earth. After nearly 640,000 years the volcano at Yellowstone is awakening. Evidence on the surface of the earth shows lava has flowed from near Boise in Idaho east well into Wyoming. Ash fallout is tracked through the states of Colorado and Nebraska.

A group of entitled individuals get together to change the very fabric of the American electoral process and rights of citizens. They are highly educated, affluent and privileged. They begin to groom a candidate to represent them and ostensibly the majority of Americans. Their chief goal is to rewrite some of the basics of the American Constitution. They begin to design a change to the fabric of the United States.

This book is very entertaining if not frightening. Growing up in Southern Idaho I saw the extent of the lava flow from Yellowstone. The area affected and magnitude of volcanic flows cannot be overstated. Many canyons in southern Idaho including the Snake River Canyon are over 400 feet deep and the walls are made of volcanic basalt.

I found parts of the tale a bit redundant and therefore tedious. Along the way the various plots are intertwined and become a bit aggravating because some of the threads are left hanging. The novel, however, is entertaining. 4 stars – CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author through NetGalley. These are my honest opinions.

 

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Political Thrillers & Suspense, Espionage Thrillers, International Mystery & Crime
Publisher: Indigo River Publishing

  • ASIN : B08Z3CS2PR

Print Length: 280 pages
Publication Date: April 13, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Out of Crisis

Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Add to Goodreads

The Author: Mr. Caldwell retired as an Army officer after twenty years service which included combat tours in Vietnam with 2nd Field Forces and D-71st. His awards include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal with three battle stars, Vietnam Gallantry Cross, Airborne Badge, Expert Field Medical Badge, and various overseas service awards.

Following his military service, Mr. Caldwell worked for twenty-four years in several hospital administration positions until he retired as COO in 2014. His education credentials include a B.S. in Computer Science, an MBA, and a postgraduate fellowship in Healthcare Administration. Additionally, he is a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College, holds a Black Belt in Taekwondo, and is an experienced SCUBA diver. He enjoys riding his Harley-Davidson, kayaking, fishing, camping and is a voracious reader.

He and his wife Patricia have lived literally all over the planet but currently reside in Pike Road, AL.

©2021 – CE Williams – V Williams

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey – #Audiobook Review – Biographies

Amazon Charts #2 this week

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

 

Most of the times it’s not stolen, it’s right where you left it. 

Book Blurb:

Number one New York Times best seller Over one million copies sold!

From the Academy Award-winning actor, an unconventional memoir filled with raucous stories, I’ve been in this life for 50 years, been trying to work out its riddle for 42, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last 35. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me. 

Recently, I worked up the courage to sit down with those diaries. I found stories I experienced, lessons I learned and forgot, poems, prayers, prescriptions, beliefs about what matters, some great photographs, and a whole bunch of bumper stickers. I found a reliable theme, an approach to living that gave me more satisfaction, at the time, and still: If you know how, and when, to deal with life’s challenges – how to get relative with the inevitable – you can enjoy a state of success I call “catching greenlights”. So I took a one-way ticket to the desert and wrote this book: an album, a record, a story of my life so far. This is 50 years of my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls. Graces, truths, and beauties of brutality. Getting away withs, getting caughts, and getting wets while trying to dance between the raindrops. Hopefully, it’s medicine that tastes good, a couple of aspirin instead of the infirmary, a spaceship to Mars without needing your pilot’s license, going to church without having to be born again, and laughing through the tears. It’s a love letter. To life. It’s also a guide to catching more greenlights – and to realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green, too. Good luck.

“…outlaw wisdom, and lessons learned the hard way about living with greater satisfaction.”

My Review:

Ugh! I’ve never been a fan of Matthew McConaughey. And if I can’t switch channels fast enough to NOT see another of his Lincoln TV commercials, it’ll be too soon.

I won’t deny that I don’t find him attractive. The problem is that he comes off egotistical, flaunting it (like most Hollywood women?). Narcissistic. Yeah, that too.

Greenlights by Matthew McConaugheySo why then, when I saw his audiobook come up on my wonderful library selections did I hit “request?” You’ve got me. No clue. And I’m not usually one to follow Hollywood types. The way they live is so beyond my imagination, I can’t even feign interest.

However…

McConaughey begins his book with an introduction to his early life in lower middle class east Texas. Begins with stories about his family. I’m hooked.

Strictly audiobook, strictly McConaughey and his quiet intimate voice but as he gets into his storytelling, becomes animated with nostalgic memories. And then his intro to the Hollywood scene—perhaps it all comes off too easy—and that throws him. An oft told story. Oh, he handles it with booze and women alright, pranks, and then comes his first (***) dream. (I’ll let you fill in the blank. Yeah, graphic, but not the first.)

So now MM turns into Monk McConaughey as he pushes off to seek the truth of life. Gimme a break. Would that we could all disappear for months at a time to seek the truth of life—or would I? Nah. In the quest of second and third dreams, he travels Africa and South America. (He’s already done Europe by motorcycle with two of his buddies.) And he does come back with some hard truths. Now McConaughey turns Texas Baptist preacher and mounts his pulpit. He punctuates his memoir with memorable stories or experiences that taught him little pearls of wisdom which he notes as:

PRESCRIPTION!

NOTE TO SELF! or

BUMPER STICKER!

These he almost invariably shouts. ARGH! Unfortunately, I almost invariably enjoyed them. Gees! Don’t encourage him!

It’s better to jump then fall.

 Blue collar prayers – `I need` / White collar prayers – `I want`.

It’s classified as a biography, memoir, and also personal development or self-help and his many travels and experiences have enabled him a Ghandi range of personal development and self-help ideas—many of the latter loaded into the conclusion—almost to preachy levels.

Experiences seen as problems, difficulties, crises, quandaries, and hindrances eventually turned to his “greenlights” which he is happy to share. An over-abundance of optimism. Maybe we need that right now.

If you think you might enjoy a well narrated, lively novel by Machismo Matt, go for it. If all those laughin’, scratchin’, and testosterone-driven stories might not be your cup of tea, you might want to pass. I will say, however, that it turns out he is human. It is highly entertaining and you never know what the next chapter will bring you—maybe another story you’d like to live vicariously.

Book Details:

Genre: (#1 in:) Biographies, Personal Development, Self-Help
Publisher:  Random House Audio
ASIN: B08HLW2JXD
Print Length: 288 pages
Listening Length: 6 hrs 42 mins
Narrator: Matthew McConaughey 
Publication Date: October 20, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Greenlights

 

Add to Goodreads

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

Matthew McConaughey - actor-authorThe Author: Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey is a married man, a father of three children, and a loyal son and brother. He considers himself a storyteller by occupation, believes it’s okay to have a beer on the way to the temple, feels better with a day’s sweat on him, and is an aspiring orchestral conductor.

In 2009, Matthew and his wife, Camila, founded the just keep livin Foundation, which helps at-risk high school students make healthier mind, body, and spirit choices. In 2019, McConaughey became a professor of practice at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as Minister of Culture/M.O.C. for the University of Texas and the City of Austin. McConaughey is also brand ambassador for Lincoln Motor Company, an owner of the Major League Soccer club Austin FC, and co-creator of his favorite bourbon on the planet, Wild Turkey Longbranch.

©V Williams

The French Paradox (A Wind Country mystery Book 11) by Ellen Crosby – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

“According to Napoleon, in victory you deserve champagne, in defeat you need it.”

 Book Blurb:

Lucie Montgomery’s discovery of her grandfather’s Parisian romance unlocks a series of shocking secrets in the gripping new Wine Country mystery.

In 1949, during her junior year abroad in Paris, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis The French Paradox by Ellen Crosbybought several inexpensive paintings of Marie-Antoinette by a little-known 18th century female artist. She also had a romantic relationship with Virginia vineyard owner Lucie Montgomery’s French grandfather – until recently, a well-kept secret.

Seventy years later, Cricket Delacroix, Lucie’s neighbor and Jackie’s schoolfriend, is donating the now priceless paintings to a Washington, DC museum. And Lucie’s grandfather is flying to Virginia for Cricket’s 90th birthday party, hosted by her daughter Harriet. A washed-up journalist, Harriet is rewriting a manuscript Jackie left behind about Marie-Antoinette and her portraitist. She’s also adding tell-all details about Jackie, sure to make the book a bestseller.

Then on the eve of the party a world-famous landscape designer who also knew Jackie is found dead in Lucie’s vineyard. Did someone make good on the death threats he’d received because of his controversial book on climate change? Or was his murder tied to Jackie, the paintings, and Lucie’s beloved grandfather?

My Review:

I always enjoy these entries to the wine country mysteries, as I’m assured of learning new facts about viticulture and the historical areas of Virginia. In this episode, protagonist Lucie Montgomery (owner with her family of the Montgomery Estate Vineyard) discovers a DB (dead body) in her fields—the guy she was supposed to have met to consult about problems with her sickly grapes.

The French Paradox by Ellen CrosbyHer winemaker-fiancé Quinn is quick to provide support, but it’s just one of several threads and I’m still trying to decide whether or not I like the Jackie Kennedy inclusion. She is also anticipating the arrival of her 93 year old French grandfather for a birthday celebration with a local friend. There are enlightening discussions on the impact of climate change to certain grapes and a comparison of GMOs with hybrids. Additionally, a major sub-plot involves the daughter of her birthday friend and the big reveal regarding her book and the early women art masters tied into the mystery of Jackie O.

The well-plotted narrative delves deeply into the family drama anticipation of a mini-family reunion with her beloved grandfather and her artistic sister’s commission for the art exhibition that will feature renown paintings tied to the books’ announcement.

I really loved The Angel’s Share and Harvest of Secrets but the pacing of this series entry was a bit slow for me and my attention waned. I suppose in the end, part of my enthusiasm this time was the Jackie thread. Not a lot of elements of a cozy, listed as a traditional detective mystery—but didn’t feel that vibe either. Still, these can all be considered standalone and I’ll be looking forward to the next one.

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

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

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Detective Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher: Severn House Publishers

  • ASIN : B08QNF14TD

Print Length: 243 pages
Publication Date: Happy Release Day! April 6, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Ellen Crosby - authorThe Author: Ellen Crosby is the author of the Virginia wine country mysteries, two mysteries featuring international photojournalist Sophie Medina and MOSCOW NIGHTS, a standalone. THE FRENCH PARADOX, the 11th book in the wine country series will be out 1/29/21 in the UK, 4/6/21 in the US and 3/1/21 as an ebook. Before writing fiction, Crosby–who has lived in England, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the former Soviet Union–worked as a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, an economist at the US Senate, and Moscow reporter for ABC Radio News. Visit her website at http://www.ellencrosby.com and follow her (very) occasionally on Facebook at EllenCrosbyBooks, sometimes on Twitter at @ellencrosby–but mostly on Instagram at ellencrosbyauthor. She also writes an erratic (but interesting) newsletter.

©V Williams