Swamp Story by Dave Barry – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times bestselling author and actual Florida Man Dave Barry returns with a Florida caper full of oddballs and more twists and turns than a snake slithering away from a gator.

Swamp Story by Dave BarryJesse Braddock is trapped in a tiny cabin deep in the Everglades with her infant daughter and her ex-boyfriend, a wannabe reality TV star who turned out to be a lot prettier on the outside than on the inside. Broke and desperate for a way out, Jesse stumbles across a long-lost treasure, which could solve all her problems—if she can figure out how to keep it. The problem is, some very bad men are also looking for the treasure, and they know Jesse has it.

Meanwhile, Ken Bortle of Bortle Brothers Bait and Beer has hatched a scheme to lure tourists to his failing store by making viral videos of the “Everglades Melon Monster.” The Monster is in fact an unemployed alcoholic newspaperman named Phil wearing a Dora the Explorer costume head. Incredibly, this plan actually works, inspiring a horde of TikTokers to swarm into the swamp in search of the monster at the same time villains are on the hunt for Jesse’s treasure. Amid this mayhem, a presidential hopeful arrives in the Everglades to start his campaign. Needless to say, it does not go as planned. In fact, nothing in this story goes as planned. This is, after all, Florida.

My Review:

What a breath of fresh air and a major hoot to boot! I love it when I can get my hands on a Dave Barry book. So much fun you can’t put it down. I also knew this one had to be shared with the CE, so his review is below.

SOOO much to write about, it’d be easy to give away too much, but by the blurb you already know it is about Jesse Braddock and her treasure discovery. She is living in a tiny Everglades cabin with egocentric Slater, a pretty boy who is the father to her infant daughter Willa. Not bad enough she is stuck here with Slater, but now he’s taken in a cohort, Kark, also not large on brains or abilities.

Meanwhile, Ken Bortle of Bortle Brothers Bait and Beer is busy hatching another hair-brained scheme to lure tourists to the long-since failed business he inherited with his brother, Brad. Only Dave Barry could develop these misfit characters as they concoct yet another fantastic idea to make their millions. The idea is so stupid, so idiotic, that it’s sure to get shut down immediately by their buddy Stu but it seems Stu likes the idea. Ken is going to attract tourists by making a video of the “Everglades Melon Monster” and they already have someone in mind to play the melon monster.

Swamp Story by Dave BarryNow it gets even more complicated: There are the bad guys out in the swamp looking for treasure and even worse guys looking for Jesse who found it. Hey, it’s Florida, the Everglades, the swamp, wild boars, alligators. Barry knows how to heap on the absurd with satirical bits of side-splitting observations, LOL analogies, and dialogue dead on to the character; the characters so real you want to either give them a hug or kick some behind. It quickly goes from crazy to wild and dangerous and hilariously tongue-in-cheek.

“That’s Buddy,” said Skeeter. “He’s my emotional support boar.”

This is a book loaded with twists, unique atmospherics, and an outrageously imaginative plot. Engaging, entertaining, and totally recommended. LOVED IT! 5 stars

His Review:

Dumb and Dumber meet the Three Stooges in this slapstick adventure in the Florida Everglades. A struggling business; Bortle Brothers Bait and Beer is trying to drive business to their store. They devise a plan to create a viral video of a “swamp monster.”

Dave Barry is a classic writer who weaves average intellect with personal avarice and jealousy. Between enjoying various illegal substances and devising a script for their story, Ken’s prime motivator is cash flow. Almost losing the store, Ken and his cohorts decide there needs to be a swamp monster that is being investigated by them. The dialogue between these individuals is absolutely hilarious as well as idiotic. A few bucks is all that it takes to motivate the participants.

The plot thickens when a young beauty stumbles across some Civil War gold hidden in Everglades National Park. She is trying to dump the father of her child who turns out to be a real dirtbag. He has already blown through her inheritance and left her nearly barefoot and penniless.

Brad is another character. He is unable to put together a coherent thought when Jesse is around and has fallen head over heels for her. He helps with her daughter while she tries to get the treasure. She is not sure who she can trust.

The video goes viral with the first installment of the search for the swamp monster. I kept laughing as I waded through the antics of the head of the Department of the Interior, the local news agencies, and the instigators. Read and laugh along with this hilarious tale. 5 stars – CE Williams

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from #Simon&Schuster and the author through @NetGalley that in no way influenced either review. These are our honest thoughts.

Definitely a #nottobemissed novel releasing next year, currently on pre-order, and our recommendation for a book that is engaging and humorously entertaining.

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Book Details:

Genre: Dark Humor, General Humorous Fiction, Humorous Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ASIN: B0BHTPVBCY
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: May 2, 2023
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Dave Barry - authorThe Author: The New York Times has pronounced Dave Barry “the funniest man in America.” But of course that could have been on a slow news day when there wasn’t much else fit to print. True, his bestselling collections of columns are legendary, but it is his wholly original books that reveal him as an American icon. Dave Barry Slept Here was his version of American history. Dave Barry Does Japan was a contribution to international peace and understanding from which Japan has not yet fully recovered. Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys is among the best-read volumes in rehab centers and prisons. Raised in a suburb of New York, educated in a suburb of Philadelphia, he lives now in a suburb of Miami. He is not, as he often puts it so poetically, making this up.

Dave’s most recent books are “Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland,” and “Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog.” His next book, “A Field Guide To The Jewish People,” which he co-wrote with his friends Adam Mansbach and Alan Zweibel, will be published September 24. Dave is not Jewish, but Adam and Alan are, so it’s kosher.

©2022  The CE and I

Defending Jacob by William Landay – #Audiobook Review – #throwbackthursday

Audiobook review-Defending Jacob by William Landay

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than 20 years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: his 14-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, and as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own – between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis – a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.

My Review:

I must admit that I chose this audiobook because I saw that it was narrated by Grover Gardner and I’m a huge fan of Mr. Gardner—the “Andy” of the Andy Carpenter series (by another author). His artistic rendition carries most any book to new heights, not just reading the book, but making the characters come alive—flesh and blood—along with their foibles. Such is the Andy in this book.

The hook at the beginning manages to jump what will become the meat and potatoes of this book—the POV by Andy Barber. Andy is happily married and they have a fourteen-year-old son, Jacob. Every now and then, the POV jumps over the catastrophic event in the family’s life that propels the legal thriller to a heartbreaking family drama.

Jacob is accused of the murder of a classmate. Andy becomes convinced that Jacob would not—could not—commit the heinous crime—stabbing three times the chest of the boy found murdered and left in the park. He is temporarily suspended from his position as ADA and becomes convinced beyond all reason (and mostly circumstantial evidence) that his son is innocent.

Defending Jacob by William LandayMeanwhile, Laurie, his wife is becoming alarmed at her crushing emotions and conflicting beliefs—then guilt over her thoughts. Could her son have killed that boy? The atmosphere in the air becomes increasingly contentious, Andy defending his son beyond reason. Jacob declaring his innocence. His mother no longer so positive—doubts seeping into the bedrock, loosening her private shocking fears and revelations to her husband.

Meanwhile, as Andy works second chair with the attorney they hired to defend Jacob, they are confronted with Andy’s own history—dark secrets he’d never shared even with Laurie. She becomes horrified and as her experience with her baby boy begins to shed more light on him, Andy continues the unreasonable and dogged resistance to the possibility.

The reader is first left with a child—yes, sometimes children can be cruel—but this is far beyond bullying—and increasing questions as to the veracity of Andy’s arguments. The toll on the family is unimaginable, threatening to ruin the marriage, his mother’s belief in Jacob’s innocence flailing wildly in the wind. While Andy is a well-developed main character, Laurie is more a strong periphery character and Jacob only known through the insight of Andy and his mother.

I’m a fan of legal thrillers and the courtroom dance in the narrative proceeds with all the drama a reader could want, the push-pull, win-lose. Written by a former ADA, the author knows the timing, the procedure, the lingo—it’s high drama in itself.

The family appears to survive the process albeit briefly when another event sends the reader back into high-pressure territory, gasping with shock at the turn of events.

And then; the final twist. I don’t care who you are. You never saw this coming. Yes, I know you’ve heard that before. No, trust me. This one is so beyond what you might have imagined it echoes over and over in your head, leaving you with a book hangover.  The unthinkable. No do-overs here. You can run it over in your mind. It won’t change. I was almost sick.

Does that mean I wouldn’t recommend it? Are you kidding? This is crazy unique, gripping, heart-pounding, and unquestionably a novel both engaging and entertaining. The narration by Gardner is mesmerizing. (I guess it was turned into a TV series released in 2020.)

I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Legal Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher:  Blackstone Audio, Inc.
ASIN: B0073OGZNM
Listening Length: 12 hrs 24 mins
Narrator: Grover Gardner
Publication Date: January 31, 2012
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Defending Jacob [Amazon]

 

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William Landay - authorThe Author: William Landay’s latest novel is the New York Times bestseller “Defending Jacob.” His previous novels are “Mission Flats,” which won the Dagger Award as best debut crime novel of 2003, and “The Strangler,” which was an L.A. Times favorite crime novel and was nominated for the Strand Magazine Critics Award as best crime novel of 2007.

Visit the author at http://www.williamlanday.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/williamlanday

Grover Gardner - narratorNarrator: Grover Gardner is an American narrator of audiobooks. As of May 2018, he has narrated over 1,200 books. He was the Publishers Weekly “Audiobook Narrator of the Year” and is among AudioFile magazine’s “Best Voices of the Century”. Wikipedia

Born: 1956 (age 66 years).

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday

 

Her Deadly Game by Robert Dugoni – #BookReview – #legalthrillers @Thomas&Mercer

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

A defense attorney is prepared to play. But is she a pawn in a master’s deadly match? A twisting novel of suspense by New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni.

Her Deadly Game by Robert DugoniKeera Duggan was building a solid reputation as a Seattle prosecutor, until her romantic relationship with a senior colleague ended badly. For the competitive former chess prodigy, returning to her family’s failing criminal defense law firm to work for her father is the best shot she has. With the right moves, she hopes to restore the family’s reputation, her relationship with her father, and her career.

Keera’s chance to play in the big leagues comes when she’s retained by Vince LaRussa, an investment adviser accused of murdering his wealthy wife. There’s little hard evidence against him, but considering the couple’s impending and potentially nasty divorce, LaRussa faces life in prison. The prosecutor is equally challenging: Miller Ambrose, Keera’s former lover, who’s eager to destroy her in court on her first homicide defense.

As Keera and her team follow the evidence, they uncover a complicated and deadly game that’s more than Keera bargained for. When shocking information turns the case upside down, Keera must decide between her duty to her client, her family’s legacy, and her own future.

His Review:

Vincent La Russa got home late from his lecture at the Four Seasons in which he was the keynote speaker. Entering the kitchen, he found his wife dead in her wheelchair with broken glass on the floor and the house temperature at 105 degrees. He immediately exited the house and called 911 to get the police department dispatched to the scene. The hole in his wife’s head confirmed there was nothing he could do.

Her Deadly Game by Robert DugoniThe story is further clouded by a history of Anne La Russa suffering from a car accident and terminal cancer. A prenuptial agreement prior to the La Russa marriage would leave Vincent penniless should he stray during the marriage. Evidence gathered by a private detective indicates that he might be guilty of such an indiscretion. He is arrested for the murder and Keera is hired to defend him.

Keera Duggan is the youngest daughter of Patrick “The Irish Brawler” Duggan. The family business is called Duggan and Sons although none of his sons went into the business. The girls: Ella, Margaret, and Keera, followed in their father’s footsteps. The youngest, Keera, swore she would never work with family but she has become her father’s favorite. The family has a serious alcohol problem.

Vincent La Russa is a very wealthy man charged with his wife’s death. Keera and Patrick are engaged to defend Mr. La Russa. The author develops his characters with careful consideration of the family dynamic. That ability engaged this reader by contrasting the Duggan family with experiences in my own family. Being one of seven siblings, I found myself identifying with the problems faced by Keera and her sisters.

This novel contains a myriad of legal wrangling and would be a good primer for anyone considering law school. The prosecuting attorney, Miller Ambrose, was a former boyfriend of Keera’s and is determined not to lose to his former lover. The family in turn is watching Keera with a jaundiced eye to see if she has a chance of winning.

CE WilliamsI found this book to be engaging and entertaining and the twists at the end very satisfying. Read and enjoy this book and see if the ending catches you by surprise as well! 5 stars – CE Williams

[Note: The CE and I have shared a number of Dugoni’s books, including most recently both the Tracy Crosswhite series What She Found Book 9 and the Charles Jenkins series, The Silent Sister Book 3, and loved them all. Around this house we like to say, “Of course it’s good, it’s a Dugoni.” They are consistently fresh, engaging, well-crafted and well-plotted with relatable characters. This is no exception. VW]

Many thanks to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book. Currently on pre-order.

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Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thrillers, Crime Thrillers, Murder Thrillers
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ASIN: B09V575VRP
Print Length: 396 pages
Publication Date: March 28, 2023
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: Her Deadly Game [Amazon-US]
Amazon-UK

 

Robert Dugoni - authorThe Author: Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and #1 Amazon bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite police series set in Seattle, which has sold more than 8 million books worldwide. He is also the author of The Charles Jenkins espionage series, the David Sloane legal thriller series, and several stand-alone novels including The 7th Canon, Damage Control, and the literary novels, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell – Suspense Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year, for which Dugoni’s narration won an AudioFile Earphones Award and the critically acclaimed, The World Played Chess; as well as the nonfiction exposé The Cyanide Canary, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year. Several of his novels have been optioned for movies and television series. Dugoni is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction and a three-time winner of the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest. He has also been a finalist for many other awards including the International Thriller Award, the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, the Silver Falchion Award for mystery, and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award.

Robert Dugoni’s books are sold in more than twenty-five countries and have been translated into more than thirty languages.

Visit his website at http://www.robertdugoni.com, and follow him on twitter @robertdugoni and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorRobertDugoni

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris – #BookReview – #historicalfiction – @SourcebooksLandmark

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Sold On A Monday—over a million copies sold!—comes a sweeping World War II tale of an illusionist whose recruitment by British intelligence sets her on a perilous, heartrending path.

The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorrisAs a little girl raised amid the hardships of Michigan’s Copper Country, Fenna Vos learned to focus on her own survival. That ability sustains her even now as the Second World War rages in faraway countries. Though she performs onstage as the assistant to an unruly escape artist, behind the curtain she’s the mastermind of their act. Ultimately, controlling her surroundings and eluding traps of every kind helps her keep a lingering trauma at bay.

Yet for all her planning, Fenna doesn’t foresee being called upon by British military intelligence. Tasked with designing escape aids to thwart the Germans, MI9 seeks those with specialized skills for a war nearing its breaking point. Fenna reluctantly joins the unconventional team as an inventor. But when a test of her loyalty draws her deep into the fray, she discovers no mission is more treacherous than escaping one’s past. 

Inspired by stunning true accounts, The Ways We Hide is a gripping story of love and loss, the wars we fight—on the battlefields and within ourselves—and the courage found in unexpected places.

His Review:

Fenna Vos bore a striking resemblance to Hedy Lamarr. Both women were in entertainment. Fenna is an associate of a stage magician. She works to develop escape acts and other performance mysteries. Misdirection is the standard fare for these well-trained escape artists, people able to get out of impossible situations. Fenna is one of the best.

The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorrisWorld War II finds Fenna working in a clandestine group called MI9. Their objective is to provide ways to help allied prisoners escape Nazi prisoner of war camps. Small hacksaw blades and cutting chains are inserted into such everyday games as Monopoly. The trick is to make the games transparent. The enemy allows such games to come into prison camps to help the detainees pass the time.

Fenna has a second asset to offer. In addition to her escape artist’s abilities; she can speak Dutch, as this was her mother’s native tongue.  She is working on a number of top-secret projects to enable prisoners of war to escape captivity. One very vital tool is the maps to help downed airmen find their way back to friendly territory.

She is inserted into Nazi-controlled Holland to assist the underground. She meets an old flame and finds the family of a very good friend. The friend has a child and the underground works to find a way to get mother and daughter back to allied territory. Regretfully the mother is killed in a Gestapo raid and her child is adopted by a childless German family. This situation is untenable to Fenna and the group in Holland. They work to help extract the young girl and spirit her to England.

This book is based upon some facts recently made public after World War II. Ms. McMorris has pulled together information regarding the female operatives during World War II in a most engaging novel. The success of this lady in a male-dominated world is nothing less than spectacular. The resultant book is a great tribute to the millions of women who worked unheralded and unrecognized during the second world war. 5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

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Book Details:

Genre: British & Irish Literary Fiction, Historical World War II Fiction, World War II Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ASIN: B09NCNP1KG
Print Length: 573 pages
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Ways We Hide [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

 

Kristina McMorris - authorThe Author: KRISTINA MCMORRIS is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of two novellas and six historical novels, including the million-copy bestseller SOLD ON A MONDAY. The recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, she previously hosted weekly TV shows for Warner Bros. and an ABC affiliate, beginning at age nine with an Emmy Award-winning program, and owned a wedding-and-event-planning company until she had far surpassed her limit of “Y.M.C.A.” and chicken dances. Kristina lives near Portland, Oregon, where she somehow manages to be fully deficient of a green thumb and not own a single umbrella. For more, visit KristinaMcMorris.com.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Enjoy Your Sunday

Rosepoint Reviews – August Recap—Woohoo, it’s September!

I mentioned last month the fun with new gardening possibilities and while the sauerkraut was a bust, the carrots did pretty well. The rest of the veggies in the gallon fermenter got too soft. Now, I have ripe cherry tomatoes coming out of my ears and already dried the first batch. A bit too much pepper on some, but otherwise, they are like little tomato-flavored candies.

Okay, admittedly, that has little to do with books, although an excellent reason I’m slow to read this month. Thank heaven for audiobooks and the CE!

us back in 62
We don’t have any wedding pics, but I think this is in 1962.

Speaking of the CE…we will be celebrating our 60th wedding anniversary on the 2nd (cue the horns!). Hoping to do a couple things; still there are issues with gas and Covid. Because I am writing this ahead of those last three review posts, the links will be to Amazon rather than my review which I will edit upon return to my computer. (Sadly, I don’t know how to get a link to a review scheduled, not yet posted. Yes, I know—don’t say it.)

Together we did read or listen to nineteen books in August, most from NetGalley as I’m still working on the 500 badge; as I’m writing this, now up to a count of 494. So close!

The Wedding Plot by Paula Munier Holy Chow by David Rosenfelt The Last Sentinel by Simon Gervais The Final Hunt by Audrey J Cole Such a Beautiful Family by T R Ragan Lie Down with Dogs by Liz Milliron The Girl Who Escaped by Mark Nolan Overkill by Sandra Brown Out of Patients by Sandra Cavello Miller Christmas Scarf Murder by Carlene O’Connor, Maddie Day, and Peggy Ehrhart Bad Axe County by John Galligan Dark Rivers to Cross by Lynne Reeves Murder at Black Oaks by Phillip Margolin Lies She Told by Cate Holahan The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks A Sliver of Darkness by C J Tudor Bernice Runs Away by Talya Tate Boerner The Double Agent by William Christie The Italian Daughter by Soraya Lane

  1. The Wedding Plot by Paula Munier
  2. Holy Chow by David Rosenfelt (audiobook)
  3. The Last Sentinel by Simon Gervais (a CE review)
  4. The Final Hunt by Audrey J Cole (a CE review)
  5. Such a Beautiful Family by T R Ragan
  6. Lie Down with Dogs by Liz Milliron (a CE review)
  7. The Girl Who Escaped by Mark Nolan (a CE 5* review)
  8. Overkill by Sandra Brown (a CE review)
  9. Christmas Scarf Murder by Carlene O’Connor, Maddie Day, and Peggy Ehrhart
  10. Bad Axe County by John Gallagan (audiobook)
  11. Out of Patients by Sandra Cavallo Miller (a CE review)
  12. Dark Rivers to Cross by Lynne Reeves (a CE review)
  13. Murder at Black Oaks by Phillip Margolin (a CE review)
  14. Lies She Told by Cate Holahan (audiobook)
  15. Bernice Runs Away by Talya Tate Boerner (my 5*)
  16. The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks (a CE 5* review)
  17.  A Sliver of Darkness by C J Tudor (scheduled—link to Amazon) (CE review)
  18. The Double Agent by William Christie (scheduled—link to Amazon) (CE review)
  19. The Italian Daughter by Soraya Lane (scheduled—link to Amazon) (CE review)

Reading Challenges

My challenges—promises, promises, promises. Yes, I caught it up! Not once, but twice as I lost all my input the first time. My challenges for 2022 are all listed and linked in the widget column on the right. You can always check out the progress of my challenges, if you are so inclined, by clicking the Reading Challenges page. I’m now at 73% of the Goodreads Challenge of 180 books at 132 and achieved my Audiobook Challenge of 30 and the Historical Reading Challenge of 25. I also achieved the yearly goal of 75 for Netgalley and Edelweiss, although of course, those books are all from NG.

Having to do over the Reading Challenges page taught me one thing: I’m not keeping up with it well. Not updating, nor reporting to the challenge hosts. My apologies. I think going forward I will undertake fewer challenges and not try to list individual entries to the challenge. Makes the page unwieldy and for what purpose? Tell me, honestly…have you ever looked at it?

Where the Crawdads Sing (my review of the book here by Delia Owens) starring Daisy Edgar-Jones—was excellent. Did you get a chance to view it? I’ll be doing a critical review discussing both shortly. I’d love to hear what you thought, too! Did you read the book?

We here in the upper Midwest had a beautiful August—I can’t complain—with pleasant temps during the day and cool in the evening perfect for sleeping. Did you get the kiddies off to school? We’ve been informed we are expecting our second great-grandchild. Too early to know boy or girl. In the meantime, the boy is trying to walk. He’s nine months. The fun begins…Happy old woman

Welcome to my new followers and as always I appreciate those who continue to read, like, share, and comment. Please let me know if you saw something above that got your interest.

©2022 V Williams

Granny graphic attribute: wdrfree.com

Bernice Runs Away by Talya Tate Boerner – #BookReview – Women’s Literary Fiction

Bernice Runs Away by Talya Tate Boerner

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Have you ever dreamed of running away?

Bernice Runs Away by Talya Tate BoernerLife hasn’t always been easy for Bernice, but she is reasonably content at the ripe age of eighty-one. She has raised two children, buried both her husband and son, and is doing okay despite a few minor health issues. When Bernice’s daughter, Sarah, insists the time has come for Bernice to forfeit her independence and move into her backyard carriage house, Bernice refuses.

“I have a perfectly good house in Arkansas. Why on earth would I move to Atlanta?”

Despite Bernice’s protestations, Sarah moves forward with death cleaning and estate sale planning as though Bernice has no say in the matter.

Bernice has plenty to say about a variety of things.

With Miss Fiona packed stem to stern with only those things that spark joy (thank you, Marie Kondo) and inspired by an old black-and-white photograph of her first true love, Bernice leaves her cozy home in Savage Crossing without a glance in the rearview mirror. And without a word to her family.

Once Bernice decides to run away, there is no telling what might happen next.

A charming story of second chances and the transcendent power of love, Bernice Runs Away clears away life’s clutter and gets to the truth of what is essential in life.

My Review:

The cover is cute, eye-catching, and compelling. But don’t let it fool you–this is prose-perfect literary fiction. If the cover didn’t get you, this beautiful narrative of Bernice will. Don’t worry about the age thing—this is an easily identifiable theme of family, relationships, and an inspirational story that is trans-generational.

Bernice Runs Away by Talya Tate BoernerWhat teenager, tired of parental guidance hasn’t thought to run away and rule their own lives? Independence, it seems, is hard won at any age and caregivers often become unwilling recipients.

Bernice’s daughter Sarah, worried about her mother aging in Savage Crossing alone in her old stone cottage, has gifted her with a book on “death cleaning” and if that is not enough, announced plans to move Bernice to the backyard bungalow in Atlanta being built for her—so she can be close.

Watched over.

Managed.

Bernice, like any independent adult rebels and begins plotting her escape. In the head of this octogenarian, the reader follows Bernice as she goes about her business dutifully clearing and cleaning (keeping only those things that “spark joy”), no way will she move to Atlanta. Her heart is in this home where she spent decades with her husband, now gone. She’s had a succession of cats, the current kitty being Dolly Parton—not as gregarious as her namesake—but still, she’s there.

What a poignant story, at times light-hearted or scary, riding with Bernice as she makes her way to Lake Norfolk, a special place in her heart, so many good memories! The little cabin that she booked with Jason, the owner of Cooper’s Bluff is perfect and the book becomes atmospheric with her efforts to prevail, do-overs and make-overs (old Bernice, new Bernice). Bernice is old school, old morality, and she is immensely empathetic. You can’t help but love her or the others in this character-driven novel.

As Bernice shares her memories and desires for tomorrow, the reader gleans that while age does not change desires of the heart and mind, some can be resolved.

So many quotables, including this, one of my favorites:

“Inhale. Exhale. Inhale bewilderment. Exhale disillusionment.”

Told in an easy pace (not to be confused with slow—as this is always engaging), the author has a wise sense of the decade, paints a casual kaleidoscope of visions as the story unfolds to a pleasing, satisfying conclusion. A lovely tale of adventure from a storyteller I’ll revisit with enthusiastic expectations.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Literary Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, Women’s Friendship Fiction
Publisher: One Mississippi Press LLC
ASIN: B0B919LW6X
Print Length: 403 pages
Publication Date: October 1, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Bernice Runs Away [Amazon]

 

Talya Tate Boerner
Talya Tate Boerner – author

The Author: Here are a few things about what makes me tick, and why we should be friends. I’m not afraid to drink from a regular garden hose or eat raw cookie dough. Unless I’m buying books or plants, I don’t like to shop. I love freshly ground coffee and logo t-shirts. I know how to make mud pies and snow cream and play dough from scratch. Yes, I’m a farmer’s daughter who really was raised in a barn.

I love interesting writing, some poetry, old movies, and hardback novels, especially southern classics. I have a degree in economics from Baylor University, and once upon a time worked for the previous owner of the Dallas Cowboys. My two grown children are the best people I know. I hope to be like them someday.

Clutter and incessant chatter make me crazy. I’m an extroverted introvert and need my quiet time. I’m inspired by music and nature. I have a butterfly garden in the backyard; milkweed is my favorite plant. I am an Arkansas Master Gardener and an Arkansas Master Naturalist.

I believe most any meal can be improved with a side of collard greens.

I live in Fayetteville, Arkansas with my husband and two schnauzers, Lucy and Annabelle (who rule the house). I think the Ozark Mountains are as gorgeous as any place on Earth.

Follow Talya at Grace, Grits and Gardening.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint Recommended-5 Stars

The Secret Keeper by Siobhan Curham – #BookReview – #historicalfrenchfiction

The Secret Keeper by Siobhan Curham

A gripping and emotional World War 2 novel, inspired by true events

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars 

Book Blurb:

Nazi-occupied Paris, 1942. “I want to create a world where we are free to be together, to be in love,” he whispered. I gulp down the sobs building in my throat. “I want that too. I’ll come back to you. I swear I’ll come back.”

The Secret Keeper by Siobham DurhamElena Garcia knows that the mission she has been tasked with is her most dangerous yet. With a tearful goodbye to the man she has grown to love, the dark-eyed and warm-hearted Santiago Lozano, she hurries to catch the train to the drop-off point, the coded maps she is delivering for the resistance concealed in a pack of playing cards in her purse.

As she leaves the underground meeting, she hears heavy footsteps closing in behind her. Her heart pounds, and a dark figure comes into her line of sight. Expertly fighting off her attacker, Elena races back to the station, barely making it onto the train. She is forced to confront the worst: her cover is blown and now nowhere will be safe. Somebody close to her is a traitor, but when you live in the shadows, how do you know who you can really trust?

To stay alive, Elena must flee the country – and that means leaving Santiago behind. But she refuses to abandon her mission while Europe is still in the clutches of the enemy, and she will not leave Santiago to face the wrath of the Gestapo alone.

But when Elena uncovers that the love of her life has been having meetings with high-ranking government officials and hears German officials greeting him by name in the street, it’s clear that Santiago has his own secrets.

Elena must now ask herself: should she risk everything to save Santiago… or was he the one who betrayed her to the enemy? And now, with millions of innocent lives across Europe at stake, how can she know what is the right choice?

An epic, gripping and emotional wartime novel based on the true stories of the female spies sent into occupied Europe. Fans of The Alice Network, Soraya M. Lane and Pam Jenoff will be totally hooked.

His Review:

Elena has grown up in the Los Angeles area but loves the letters from her Grand-mere Rose. After Pearl Harbor, Elena is approached by the Office of Strategic Services to become an operative. Her beloved grandmother had moved back to France and is now encased in a Nazi-controlled country. Because Elena speaks three languages fluently, she is a perfect candidate to become a spy.

The Secret Keeper by Siobhan CurhamHer training in a camp in Maryland is extensive and rigorous. She is taught many things including how to disarm or kill a man in close physical combat. Her training includes ciphers and other coding techniques. She knows that if she is caught, she will be tortured by the enemy for information and secrets and then killed.

She wants to be an actress and has been training to become one. Her persona is a Spanish actress working in a play in Madrid. She has a minor role in the production. Madrid is lousy with German operatives who are trying to catch allied personnel who are trying to get back to England! Her primary role is to infiltrate the German high command and thereby help the pilots elude capture.

CE WilliamsThe author has written a believable saga of a young girl in occupied Europe. The amount of danger and efforts to stay alive bring credibility to this character. Knowing the result of not staying vigilant will result in a slow and painful death. Danger moves with her every step of the way. I could not put the book down. Read and enjoy the efforts of this masterful storyteller. 5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical French Fiction, Women’s Religious Fiction, Women’s Historical Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B0B12NDDTD
Print Length: 426 pages
Publication Date: July 27, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Secret Keeper [Amazon]
 

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Siobhan Curham - author
Siobhan Curham – author

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

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

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

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

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

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

And you can connect with me on social media here…

Facebook: Siobhan Curham Author

Instagram: @SiobhanCurham

Twitter: @SiobhanCurham

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

Siobhan

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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