Reinventing Hillwilla by Melanie Forde – a #BookTour #BookReview #Irelandmonth

It’s March and I’m participating in the Reading Ireland Month for 2019, this beautiful literary fiction being the second. I will post a complete list of my reads for Reading Ireland on Sunday, March 10. Stay tuned!

Reinventing Hillwilla 

I am absolutely delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Reinventing Hillwilla by Melanie Forde on Sage’s Blog Tours.

Book Details: Five stars

Title: Reinventing Hillwilla: A Novel by Melanie Forde

Genre: Literary Fiction, Romance, Animals

Publisher: D Street Books, a division of Mountain Lake Press

Print Length: 339 pages

Publication Date: November 4, 2018

  • ISBN-10:1730785492
  • ISBN-13:978-1730785498

ASIN: B07K6TQC3R

Source: Publisher and Sage’s Book Tours

Title and Cover: Reinventing Hillwilla – Cover depicts farm overseer, Ralph

Book Blurb:

Life on a llama farm, set in remote “Seneca County,” West Virginia, transitions from contented to chaotic in this final novel in the Hillwilla trilogy — all under the watchful eye of canine guardian Ralph. Five years after we first met northern urban transplant Beatrice Desmond, she is finally adapting to her mountain hollow among the wary “born-heres” and is more open to the blessings in her life. She has developed a rewarding mother-daughter relationship with troubled local teenager Clara Buckhalter and is inching toward marriage with dashing, but complicated entrepreneur Tanner Fordyce. Meanwhile, Clara sets off on a productive new path, one that would have been unthinkable had Beatrice never come into her life. All of that progress is suddenly jeopardized by Clara’s scheming mother Charyce. Ultimately, the upheaval touched off by Charyce’s schemes serves as the catalyst for new beginnings for the Seneca County misfits (even Ralph).

My Review:

Reinventing Hillwilla by Melanie FordeOh, Mercy! Sucked in immediately in the prologue when you realize you are reading the POV of an English setter, beloved dog, and pack leader of the llamas (Ralph’s Pack) gracing this farm, it’s impossible not to continue reading. Then I was devastated when I realized that Ralph had passed away. NOOO…

Still, protagonist Beatrice Desmond is such a powerful, torn, and emotive character that the pages turns themselves as you become totally lost in the hollow in Seneca County, West Virginia. There is a divide in West Virginia. Between the “born-heres” and the “come-heres.” Beatrice falls in the latter and tends her animals. Clara Buckhalter, at thirteen and a product of a destructive family life, connected however remotely to Beatrice, had come to live with Beatrice temporarily. As these things sometimes evolve, temporary becomes permanent with Beatrice taking full charge of loving mother duties, something Clara had not received from her own mother. Now Clara is at Beatrice’s alma mater on a scholarship. Beatrice is thrilled and proud, but lonely.

In the meantime, Beatrice continues to wrestle with the proposal of marriage from globe-trotting Tanner Fordyce, off on yet another mission while Beatrice works out of her home office telecommuting as a translator and editor. Unfortunately, her old boss is gone and the new one isn’t working out–for Beatrice. Tanner, like Beatrice, had experienced a less than stellar childhood of Irish roots, Beatrice’s family from Boston. Tanner often harkens to the ancient Irish endearment “mo mhuirnin” (my darling) when signing off on his long distance calls.

The author weaves in the artful and knowledgeable handling of the llamas as Beatrice begins to experience strange happenings around the farm. She desperately misses Ralph, who would have alerted her to anyone on her property, but she does take security measures.

Clara’s mother is written as a despot; beyond comprehension how she could treat her daughter as she does, and creates a tension building conflict when Clara is left on the farm alone. (Beatrice has had to leave temporarily.) Clara is young, naive, and sure her own mother could not willfully scheme against her or Beatrice, although it’s difficult to imagine how she could not knowing her mother’s past deeds. The character produces a glut of protracted revulsion and sets the reader on edge, anxious to perceive how the author will produce a satisfactory remedy. In the meantime, it’s easy to get incredibly angry with Clara for not understanding Beatrice is the “real” mother here, protecting her even against her wishes.

The well-paced, well-plotted story creates that bond with characters struggling through discordance with others, the loneliness, catastrophic illness, coming of age, long-distance romance, and the struggles of survival in harsh, bitter winter conditions. The dialogue is natural and believable, the characters fleshed so well, you cheer for the little triumphs and wish Clara were close enough to slap her up long-side the head. She’s eighteen now! Get a grip! And Ralph, even I missed him. Or maybe not–didn’t we see him–once or twice?

A unique story for me! The animals are sweet. Then the plummet and anger, followed by a glimmer of hope. Emotions pulling one way, then the other. And always, always, wondering when or how is she going to get another dog? (You can’t replace a Ralph. Hubby and I also had one–a yellow lab–too smart for us but we loved him.) The author has an intelligent, articulate writing style that pops with little glimmers of Irish humor. The satisfying conclusion closes the trilogy. This is the first I’d read of the trilogy, but had no problem reading as a standalone. Sage's Blog Tours

I was given this ebook download by the author through Sage’s Blog Tours for a read and review and absolutely loved the book! It’s an amazing read–totally recommended.

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five stars

Melanie Forde - authorThe Author: For most of her writing career, Melanie Forde ghosted on international security issues. She published her first novel, Hillwilla, in 2014, followed by On the Hillwilla Road in 2015. Her West Virginia trilogy culminates in Reinventing Hillwilla, 2018. Twenty years in the making, her Irish-American family saga, Decanted Truths, was also released in 2018.

©2019 V Williams V Williams

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A Cold Brew Killing by Lena Gregory #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

A Cold Brew Killing by Lena Gregory

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for A Cold Brew Killing by Lena Gregory on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter for your chance to win this very special Giveaway!

Book Details

A Cold Brew Killing (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Lyrical Underground (November 6, 2018)
Print Length Approximately 250 Pages
Digital ASIN: B079R5Y14L

Book Blurb

When an ice cream vendor discovers a frozen stiff, Florida diner owner Gia Morelli has to serve up some just desserts . . .

Gia has become good friends with Trevor, a fun, flirtatious bachelor who owns the ice cream parlor down the street from her popular All-Day Breakfast Café. Trevor has the scoop on all sorts of local attractions and activities. But when he bursts into her diner, trembling and paler than a pint of French Vanilla, she can tell something’s very wrong. Trevor points her toward his shop then passes out cold. When Gia runs down to his shop, she discovers a chilling sight—a dead body in the open freezer. But the ice cream man’s troubles are just beginning. The police suspect him of this murder a la mode, especially when details of his questionable past surface. Gia believes in her friend and is determined to clear his name and find the real cold-blooded killer before someone else gets put on ice . .

My Review

A Cold Brew Killing by Lena GregoryThis is the third book of the All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series and my second with the series and author. All the special characters of the series are back including protagonist Gia and her BFF Savannah Mills, possible heart-throb and acting captain Hunter Quinn, owner of the Storm Scoopers, Trevor Barnes, and Thor, a Bernese Mountain dog, who is definitely growing into his paws. I think my favorite support staff, however, is Earl (first customer ALWAYS in the morning) along with Cole, who works the grill in this Boggy Creek, Florida cafe.

Gia is trying to spread her wings and her menu by adding a cold brew which is not catching on as fast as she’d like. After arriving early to greet her staff, she is confronted by Trevor who has discovered a man in his walk-in freezer. Frozen, of course. Trevor is a good buddy and she positively, absolutely, without doubt knows Trevor couldn’t have done it, but you know he’ll get hauled in any way, setting her up for some sleuthing.

The well-plotted and engaging storyline delves into political headlines with candidates unfit to win and the games played in high school. The author puts quite a spin on the conspiracy and includes a number of red herrings, and if you haven’t paid attention you’ll keep guessing the antagonist. Gotcha! This is one you won’t have caught! (Okay, I didn’t. Maybe you will.)

I love the little scenes with Thor, who still thinks he’s a lap-puppy. And the dialogue is very natural, particularly between Gia and Savannah. But between her and Hunt?

“It’s just a scratch, Gia.” “It’s a bullet wound.” Hunt laughed. Laughed! The nerve. “Don’t worry, the EMT’s will fix you up. I’m pretty sure they have Band-Aids.” “Band–?”

(Well, I’m insulted, too!) In Book 2, he was “Tall, Dark, and Compelling.” In this one, he is “Tall, Dark, and Snippy.” (I’m ready to dump his ass but I guess she is more forgiving.)

Gia has collected a solid group of homebodies willing to cover her back and given her early childhood is just what she needs–driving home a theme of family. The conclusion wraps up all the loose ends that seamlessly includes a small subplot. My only complaint is the heavy description of food service, although I must admit she sounds like a well-choreographed juggler.

The town reads like small town USA and has a comfortable sense to the area. On the whole, the author has put together a solid group of main and support characters that can be read as a standalone.

I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for southern cozy mystery readers and those who enjoy the adventures of women sleuths.

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Giveaway

Don’t miss your chance to enter this special giveaway for a (3) $10 Amazon Gift Card in this Rafflecopter giveaway 

About the Author

Lena Gregory - authorLena Gregory lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children.

When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.

Author Links:

Website:  http://www.lenagregory.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lena.gregory.986

Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/Lena.Gregory.Author/?fref=ts

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LenaGregory03

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14956514.Lena_Gregory?from_search=true

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/lenagregoryauth/

Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N  Kobo

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

Tour Participants:

November 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 6 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

November 7 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 7 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

November 8 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – Jane Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 11 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 11 – cherylbbookblog – SPOTLIGHT

November 12 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

November 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

November 13 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

November 13 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

November 14 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 15 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

November 16 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

November 16 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 17 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 17 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

November 19 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST 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

Meme’s Much? Book Beginnings and The Friday 56–HELLO Friday!

Today I am participating in two memes, the first called Book Beginnings who is hosted by Gillian at Rose City Readers. Every Friday you have the opportunity to share the first sentence of the book you are #currentlyreading. And as with The Friday 56, include the title of the book and the author’s name. You may wish to share your impression of the book to date as well. Also please share your post with Mister Linky on her blog site. See below for further details.

Book Beginnings on Fridays

“It was two in the morning on a late September Thursday when the Father waited in the dark parking lot of a former convenience store on Rosedale.”

Because there is a natural tie-in to The Friday 56, it common to combine the two.

The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice

The only rules are for participation in The Friday 56 is to grab a book, any book or the one you are #currentlyreading, turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader,  and find a sentence (or a few, but don’t spoil it!), post it, then add your post URL to the Linky on the host site Freda’s Voice – and there yah go! This week I am spotlighting:

The Friday 56

“…I aimed for the People of Peace compound. As usual, I stopped at the top of the hill and pulled out my binoculars to take a peek.”

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Goodreads Book Blurb:

One night, while on duty with her four-legged crime-fighting companion, Meg gets an urgent call from her boyfriend Seth, who works for the Fort Worth fire department. A baby girl has turned up at the station with only two clues to her identity: One is a peace-sign symbol stitched into her blanket. The other is a word, written in string: help.

Megan follows every loose thread and, along with Brigit, ends up on a twisted path that leads to the People of Peace compound, the site of a religious sect on the outskirts of the city. Its leader, Father Emmanuel, keeps his followers on a short leash—and his enemies even closer. Could this be the abandoned baby’s original home? And if so, why was she cast out? Now that Megan and Brigit are on the case, the secrets of this reclusive cult are bound to be dug up. . .

The Long Paw of the Law is the seventh installment in her drool-worthy Paw Enforcement series.

So what am I thinking?

Loving it so far! (How could you not? Just look at that cover!) Enjoying the author’s sense of humor and her jumps inside the head of her shepherd, Brigit. Megan is a very capable Fort Worth K-9 handler and on the road to becoming a detective. In the meantime, she has an amazing appreciation and understanding of her partner. This is a series I can follow with fervor.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Burning Ridge – a #BookReview

Burning Ridge - a Timber Creek K-9 Mystery by Margaret Mizushima

Title: Burning Ridge (A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery) by Margaret Mizushima

Genre: Currently #204 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Traditional

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: To be released September 11, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Burning Ridge – Cover depicts K-9 major character

Burning Ridge comprises #4 in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series and the second I’ve had the privilege to receive through download from the publisher and NetGalley. Protagonist Deputy Mattie Cobb is a handler for regal German Shepherd police K-9 Robo who has been trained for specialty assignments in search and rescue in the remote and rugged Colorado mountains. Continue reading “Burning Ridge – a #BookReview”

A Dog’s Way Home – a #BookReview

A Dog's Way Home by W. Bruce CameronTitle: A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron

Genre: Currently #1314 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Family Life

Publisher: Forge Books

Publication Date: May 9, 2017

Source: Forge Books and NetGalley

Title and Cover: A Dog’s Way Home – See that sweet face? Can you resist that?

OMG, I loved this book. Absolutely LOVED it! You don’t have to be a dog person to enjoy–there are cats you will love too. But Bella…part pit? The cover doesn’t reflect a dog looking part pit-bull. It’s supposed to be a mixed breed–indeterminate–opinions vary, all different, except for the officer labeling her as such.

Continue reading “A Dog’s Way Home – a #BookReview”

#AmReading – A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron

#amreading-A Dog's Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting W. Bruce Cameron and his book A Dog’s Way Home. I received this download from NetGalley. The book was released on May 9, 2017, by Forge Books. Amazon classifies the novel as animal and family life and is only 333 pages.

I will be presenting my review soon! You may recognize that author’s name. He wrote A Dog’s Purpose which was recently released as a major motion picture. In the meantime (from Amazon), here is the

Book Blurb:

Lucas Ray is shocked when an adorable puppy jumps out of an abandoned building and into his arms. Though the apartment he shares with his mother, a disabled veteran, doesn’t allow dogs, Lucas can’t resist taking Bella home.

Bella is inexplicably drawn to Lucas, even if she doesn’t understand the necessity of games like No Barks. As it becomes more difficult to hide her from the neighbors, Lucas begins to sneak Bella into the VA where he works. There, Bella brings joy and comfort where it is needed most.

After Bella is picked up by Animal Control because pit bulls are banned in Denver, Lucas has no choice but to send her to a foster home until he can figure out what to do. But Bella, distraught at the separation, doesn’t plan to wait. With four hundred miles of dangerous Colorado wilderness between her and her person, Bella sets off on a seemingly impossible and completely unforgettable adventure home.

A classic story of unwavering loyalty and incredible devotion, A Dog’s Way Home is a beautifully told, charming tale that explores the unbreakable bond between us and our pets. This fantastic and exhilarating journey of the heart is in the same tradition as the beloved bestseller, A Dog’s Purpose. 

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About the Author

(From Amazon Author page)

W. Bruce Cameron - authorBruce Cameron is the New York Times bestselling author of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, The Dog Master, and the A Dog’s Purpose series. In 2011 he was named Columnist of the Year by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. He lives in California.

(From Goodreads) I’ve always loved dogs, which puts me in a unique category along with what, maybe two or three billion people?

W Bruce Cameron - authorWhat’s not to love about an animal who will sit in your living room all day long, waiting for you to get home, and even if you need to work late and then stop for a stress-relieving beverage on your way home, when you unlock that front door, is absolutely overjoyed to see you? How could you not adore an animal who senses when your day is not going well and tries to cheer you up by dumping a sodden tennis ball in your lap? Read his full Goodreads author story here. ©2018 V Williams V Williams

#AmReading – Stay Calm and Collie On by Lane Stone

#AmReading - Stay Calm and Collie On by Lane StoneWelcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget promoting blue skies, following seas, and the Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Lane Stone and her book Stay Calm and Collie On (A Pet Palace Mystery). I received an ARC from the publisher Lyrical Underground and NetGalley. The book will be released on November 7, 2017. Amazon classifies the novel as a mystery, thriller & suspense, cozy mystery, and women sleuths at 164 pages will be a coffee break read for most of you bibliophiles!

I will be presenting my review shortly, but in the meantime (from Amazon), here is the

Book Blurb: Buckingham Pet Palace is known for treating dogs like royalty-until murder dethrones its good reputation! As owner of an upscale doggy daycare and spa, animal-lover Sue Patrick pampers pooches for the most elite clients in Lewes, Delaware. Surely she can survive a weeklong visit from Lady Anthea Fitzwalter, her well-to-do business partner from England. But before Sue can serve her guest a spot of tea, she discovers more-than-a-spot of blood inside the company van-and all over the driver’s dead body . . .

Someone abandoned the van full of dogs at the Lewes ferry terminal and got away with murder, leaving Sue and Lady Anthea pawing for clues. With a fundraising gala approaching and Buckingham Pet Palace facing scandal, can two very different women work together to fetch the culprit from a list of dodgy suspects-or are they heading toward a proper disaster?

Author: (Goodreads) Lane Stone is a native Atlantan. She, her husband, Larry Korb, and their dog, Abby, live in Alexandria, VA during the week and in Lewes, DE on the weekend. Lewes is the setting of her new cozy mystery series, Buckingham Pet Palace mysteries. Her volunteer work is extensive and includes media & communications for the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation… She’s a graduate of Georgia State University, with a degree in Political Science, and is currently pursuing a post-graduate certificate in Antiquities Theft and Art Crime. She tweets as Abby, The Menopause Dog (@TheMenopauseDog) and her Facebook page is LaneStoneBooks (https://www.facebook.com/Lane-Stone-B…); go follow! Check out her book here www.LaneStoneBooks.com. ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Cutesy Animal Picture Overload on Freaky Friday Features

I love cutesy animal pictures and have been known to post them before; especially dog pictures. Increased our walk!

Well, dog and horse pictures. Spider!

But then these two came across the internet and I couldn’t resist downloading them to post for my Freaky Friday Feature this week. It’s Friday! Another work week is over. It’s time to relax and have chips, chuckle, and a drinkypoo drinkie-poo. Blinking lion

Okay, the lion isn’t really a kitty, but if you have a really cute one of your favorite feline, I promise equal time. Send it to me and I’ll post! I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Not a Whimper

Cats can be very dangerous, if you’re a dog. Whether it’s instinctual for a dog to chase a cat or just that most cats immediately go into fight or flight–most being flight–they absolutely demand the pursue response.

Dog and cat fight

Let me just say, I don’t think dogs are born with the need to chase cats. My theory is that it’s the cat’s fault. Or, perhaps, secondarily, the human’s fault (moi?) for trying to get an older, resident cat to accept a puppy. Accept a puppy? Not going to happen. In our house, the cat (fight) tried to relieve the puppy of one of her eyes. Scared the puppy so much, she decided all cats must die. And she’s held to that mantra ever since.

I am usually very careful about having Frosty around cats in the cat’s domain. Hubby–not so much. This morning, little Frost (all 13 lbs. of her), launched off the kitchen chair after the gray house cat known here as Mr. Gotto (flight).

She landed wrong.

Frosty with bandageLots of blood and a visit to super-vet Dr. McPheron of Crown Point, and it was decided Frosty will live. Our son asked how “Stubby” was doing, but it’s apparently not more than a lost toenail. We have something to give her for pain control and she’s appears to be sleeping comfortably at present.

However, she’s been shaking and panting heavily–I know it hurt. But she hasn’t even whimpered. ©2016 Virginia Williams Resource Box