Ink and Shadows (A Secret, Book, and Scone Society Novel Book 4) by Ellery Adams – a #BookReview – #cozymystery – #TuesdayBookBlog

A Witty and Page-Turning Southern Cozy Mystery

New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams is back with the latest in her acclaimed Secret, Book, and Scone Society series.”

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Ink and Shadows by Ellery AdamsLocal bookstore owner Nora Pennington is back on the case in Miracle Springs, North Carolina when an accidental death turns out to be something much more sinister…
 
Nora Pennington is known for her window displays, and as Halloween approaches, she decides to showcase fictional heroines like Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Madeline Miller’s Circe. A family-values group disapproves of the magical themes, though, and wastes no time launching a modern-day witch hunt. Suddenly, former friends and customers are targeting not only Nora and Miracle Books, but a new shopkeeper, Celeste, who’s been selling CBD oil products.

Nora and her friends in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society are doing their best to put an end to the strife—but then someone puts an end to a life. Though the death is declared an accident, the ruling can’t explain the old book page covered with strange symbols and disturbing drawings left under Nora’s doormat, a postcard from an anonymous stalker, or multiple cases of vandalism.

The only hope is that Nora can be a heroine herself and lead the Secret, Book, and Scone Society in a successful investigation—before more bodies turn up and the secrets from Celeste’s past come back to haunt them all . . .

My Review:

My first entry into the series and it’s an amazing introduction to Nora Pennington and her shop, Miracle Books, in Miracle Springs, North Carolina. Either the author has an amazing and thorough history with books or spent months in research as this novel was a treasure trove of titles for all occasions.

Ink and Shadows by Ellery AdamsFirst, protagonist Nora is part of the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, she and three other women—close friends, confidants, and co-conspirators—they contribute to the investigations. Nora runs a themed showcase but this year her fictional heroines (powerful women display) runs amok of a group of ladies who decide the books pose a dangerous theme for young, impressionable minds.

In the meantime, a new shopkeeper has popped up, selling CBD oil products along with natural remedies, scents, soaps, and gift baskets. It is her daughter that raises a number of red flags and finding a private moment with the girl offers her help. It isn’t long before the girl is found deceased in Nora’s backyard.

Before I get caught up describing the well-plotted and paced mystery, I must say the support characters in this book add such a dimension to the narrative you want to sit in on their book nights and share a glass of wine with them. And Sheldon, her assistant—wonderful. Later in the book, an old college roommate comes back into her life and wouldn’t we all have loved to known anyone like Bobbie!

If you never had a love for books before, this book should build the flame in your heart that has you running to your closest library. There to smell the pages, inhale the scent of hardbacks filled with knowledge and adventure, or coax out beautiful poems, prose, and memorable thoughts by the authors who shared. There is a reverence in the collection of good books.

Surely there is a category level above cozy (intellectual cozy?) that includes the emotion, experience, and gravitas imparted in these pages. From beautiful prose to too many quotables to list here, and in between, the subtle investigation, the gentle gleaning of leads that weaves in through the lives of the characters, their way of life, and their individual concerns.

An unusual cozy mystery in that the victim(s) are not hateful people and no love lost. The antagonist only gradually prodded out after one of few red herrings or twists. Unusual number of references to particular names or events only an older generation might recognize and an interesting tidbit of information regarding CBD oil—COA—Certificate of Analysis (…”document from a lab that shows the exact number of various cannabinoids in a CBD product…customers know that they’re buying products containing no THC.”)

I might have missed the explanation of “ticket agent’s office,” and “book pockets” by reading this as my first entry to the series. Still, this novel served quite well as a fascinating standalone for me. I read one of the author’s books in the Book Retreat Mystery series, Murder in the Reading Room and enjoyed. This one opened a whole new realm of cozy for me. Highly recommended.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth, Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B087YR9M54

Print Length: 304 pages
Publication Date: To be released January 26, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Ellery Adams - authorThe Author: Ellery Adams, a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, has written dozens of mystery novels. She shares her North Carolina home with her husband, two trolls, and three keyboard-hogging felines. Ellery loves reading, coffee, bubbly, jigsaw puzzles, baking, volunteering at her local animal shelter, and rearranging her bookshelves.

Her traditionally published series include The Secret, Book, and Scone Society Mysteries, The Book Retreat Mysteries, The Books By the Bay Mysteries, and The Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries.

Her Indie series include The Supper Club Series, The Hope Street Series, and The Molly Appleby Collectible Series.

For book club discussion questions, lists of Nora Pennington’s bibliotherapy titles, and more, visit http://www.elleryadamsmysteries.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Mystery at the Old Mill (An Eve Mallow Mystery Book 4) by Clare Chase – a #BookReview – #cozy mystery

“…a huge flock of widgeon rose to the sky, changing its shape like a dense collection of iron filings pulled by a magnet.” 

Book Blurb:

When the calm of Saxford St Peter is disrupted by a deadly fire at the Old Mill, amateur sleuth Eve Mallow finds herself investigating a most surprising mystery!

Mystery at the Old Mill by Clare ChaseEveryone in Saxford St Peter is desperate to know more about Harry Tennant, the newcomer who owns the Old Mill. He usually keeps himself to himself, but he’s finally invited the villagers round for drinks, and Eve Mallow isn’t the only one looking forward to having some questions answered.

But two days before the party, a terrible fire sweeps through the mill, and Harry is found dead. When Eve passes the burned remains of his beautiful house, she can’t resist the call to investigate. Especially when it turns out quiet, charming Harry was living a double life as the famous advice writer Pippa Longford. Eve has to wonder what revelations were contained in the letters he received… and whether one of them was worth killing for.

Accompanied by her reliable dachshund sidekick Gus, Eve starts digging. She soon realises Harry was at the centre of a web of lives – and lies. There’s an uncle desperate to inherit, two women who thought they were his one and only, not to mention everyone who shared their darkest secrets with him. Was one of those strangers much closer to home than Harry knew? And can Eve untangle the truth before she finds herself face to face with a killer?

My Review:

My second excursion into an Eve Mallow mystery. I did enjoy Book 1, Mystery on Hidden Lane, which as the first of the series developed the character of Eve apparently as by Book 4, there is little further fleshing of Eve as there is of Gus, her companion Dachshund.

I was intrigued in Book 1 by the idea of a freelance obituary writer, an easy cover for her sleuthing activities when something happens. In this entry to the series—the death of a man living in the Old Mill in Saxton St Peter, Suffolk village.

Mystery at the Old Mill by Clare ChaseThe victim, Harry Tennant, is an “agony aunt,” that is, an advice columnist. Unfortunately, he is passed off as a woman, and very few knew that he is actually Pippy Longford. And fewer still that the local citizens of the community were writing to someone right there in their midst. Interesting premise!

Harry is not a nice man. (“He’d fought bullying by becoming a bully”…and it worked for him.) Heaven knows he has lots of advice—for everyone—about everything. His columns are not always helpful—but, hey, that’s what sells. When his old mill burns down with him in it, it is established that it wasn’t accidental.

I’m not quite sure what to think about Book 4. Obviously, I missed Books 2 and 3, but Book 4 does not redux the character of Eve sufficiently, other than she is still working with her BFF, Viv in her tea shop. Eve takes to discussing the threads of the case with Gus, who eyes her appropriately depending whether or not he gets to go on her interviews.

I had difficulty getting into the rather drawn out plot, well-plotted though it was, just a bit slow for me and my attention lagged more than once. Who knew Tennant’s alter-ego and who was it who might have been harmed by a juicy tidbit he was set to announce at the open house he’d planned to reveal the night following his death?

His isn’t the only body to fall by the wayside in the ensuing investigation and there are a number of red herrings. Eve had a way of seriously ticking off her interviewees, curtailing any further discussion. Several possible perps rise to the top of the list and the atmosphere becomes tense.

Seems the more obvious suspects are too obvious and in the end, the conclusion is enlightening as well as surprising. In the meantime, I enjoyed the little tidbits about the frigid location by the North Sea and the country lanes with their very colorful names: i.e., Blind Eye Lane, Haunted Lane, Old Yard Lane. If you are a fan of the author, I’d suggest you begin this series with Book 1, as I felt a bit lost in Book 4. Must have missed something and perhaps would not function as a standalone.

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

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Detective Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Christian Suspense
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B08CBHCRSG

Print Length: 317 pages
Publication Date: To be released December 7, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Clare Chase - authorThe Author: Clare Chase writes classic mysteries. Her aim is to take readers away from it all via some armchair sleuthing in atmospheric locations.

Her debut novel was shortlisted for Novelicious’s Undiscovered Award, as well as an EPIC award post-publication, and was chosen as a Debut of the Month by LoveReading. Murder on the Marshes (Tara Thorpe 1) was shortlisted for an International Thriller Writers award.

Like her heroines, Clare is fascinated by people and what makes them tick. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked in settings as diverse as Littlehey Prison and the University of Cambridge, in her home city. She’s lived everywhere from the house of a lord to a slug-infested flat and finds the mid-terrace she currently occupies a good happy medium.

As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.

You can find Clare’s website and blog at http://www.clarechase.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The Sky Worshipers by F M Deemyad – A #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars 

a CE review

Book Blurb:

In the year 1398 A.D., Lady Goharshad and her husband, King Shahrokh, come across an ancient manuscript in the ruins of Karakorum, the Mongol capital. The manuscript chronicles the era of Mongol invasions with entries by three princesses from China, Persia, and Poland who are captured and brought to the Mongol court. 

The Sky Worshipers by FM DeemyadAfter being stolen from her family at the Tangut Emperor’s coronation, Princess Chaka, the Emperor’s youngest daughter is left with no choice but to marry Genghis Khan. Thus, the Tangut join Genghis as allies. She is the first to secretly chronicle the historical events of her time, and in doing so she has the help of an African eunuch by the name of Baako who brings her news from the war front.

Princess Reyhan is the witty granddaughter of the last Seljuk King in Persia. She is kidnapped by Ogodei, Genghis’s son and heir, who falls in love with her. The romance does not last long, however, since a Mongol beauty wins Ogodei’s heart, and Reyhan is sidelined. Reyhan continues the tradition of recording the events in secret, turning her entries into tales.

During the Mongol invasion of Poland and Hungary, Princess Krisztina, niece to Henry the Pious, is taken as a prisoner of war by the Mongols. Reyhan learns about Krisztina’s predicament through Baako and asks Hulagu, Genghis’s grandson, to help free her. Krisztina has a difficult time adjusting to life in Mongolia, and at one point she attempts to run away but is unsuccessful. When the child she is bearing is stillborn, the Mongol court shuns her. She is able to return to her homeland in old age but comes back to Karakorum and writes her final entry in the journal.

Through beautiful language and powerful storytelling, this fact-based historical novel lays bare the once far-reaching and uncompromising Mongol empire. It shows readers the hidden perspectives of the captive, conquered, and voiceless. It brings to light the tremendous but forgotten influence of Genghis Khan and his progeny, while asking readers to reconsider the destruction and suffering of the past on which the future is built.

 His Review:

(A novel of Mongol Conquest)

Expansion of the Mongol Empire as told through the eyes of a hopeless romantic! (me) My reading of this tale reminded me of Arabian Nights and Alibaba and the Forty Thieves. Ms. Deemyad sees this period through the eyes of the women who were married to Genghis Kahn and his offspring. Told from a woman’s point of view makes the overall tale a tender and heart-breaking story of the time.

The Sky Worshipers by F M DeemyadGreed and the desire to improve the lives of his people was one of the hallmarks of Genghis Kahn’s military exploits. Europe during the 12th to 14th centuries was a contrast in those that had and those that were destitute–the majority of the population falling into the latter category. It is postulated that 10% of the people of this planet can trace genes back to Genghis Kahn and his offspring.

Sky worship was the primary belief system of the Mongols. Lightning storms and frequent rains were the norm in the areas they controlled. However, Genghis Kahn showed real compassion towards other cultures by not forcing his religion upon the lands he conquered. Certainly, this is not the case with most of the other cultures in the world. Muslims having anger towards Christians who have fostered a hate of the Jews because of the death of Christ are but a few examples.

The building of large mosques and cathedrals are examples of the tolerance shown by the Mongols to their conquered lands. Today’s inter-religious conflicts could learn from this example. The laws imposed by the Mongols on the conquered are another story. Talking back or having a different point of view or suggestion for an upcoming campaign could result in the death of the person bold enough to suggest an opinion other than that of the current ruler.

This book and its’ writer immerse the reader in the culture and events of the time. Hoping that some of the more compassionate characters will survive leads to disappointment. The strongest in the Mongolian culture were the survivors. Young ladies of privilege and comfort stolen from their families and forced to marry warlords were the norm. Yet some of them came to know and respect the kidnappers that changed their lives forever.

CE WilliamsWrapping the book up in the mystique of a secret historical document chronicled by these very abductees added credence to the overall dynamic. I can whole heartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants to follow the exploits of the Mongols in both Asia and Europe. It’s a well-plotted, paced narrative with sympathetic characters. Currently on pre-order. 5 stars – C.E. Williams 

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley through Colin Mustful at History Through Fiction. These are my honest thoughts. 

Book Details:

Genre: Military Historical Fiction, War Fiction
Publisher: History Through Fiction

  • ASIN : B08K3LXPPV

Print Length: 332 pages
Publication Date: To be released March 2, 2021
Source: Publisher through NetGalley
Title Link: The Sky Worshipers [Amazon]
Find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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F M Deemyad - authorThe Author: [F M Deemyad] Author of Historical Novels/Short Story Writer/Memoir Writer/Johns Hopkins Graduate/MFA in Writing/Maryland Writers’ Association + Authors Guild Member. (The Sky Worshipers is her debut novel.) Find her on twitter.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

House of Correction by Nicci French – An #Audiobook Review – #crimethrillers

House of Correction by Nicci French

Book Blurb:

In this heart-pounding stand-alone thriller from best-selling author Nicci French, a woman accused of murder attempts to solve her own case from the confines of prison – but as she unravels the truth, everything is called into question, including her own certainty that she is innocent.

Tabitha is not a murderer.

When a body is discovered in Okeham, England, Tabitha is shocked to find herself being placed in handcuffs. It must be a mistake. She’d only recently moved back to her childhood hometown, not even getting a chance to reacquaint herself with the neighbors. How could she possibly be a murder suspect?

She knows she’s not.

As Tabitha is shepherded through the system, her entire life is picked apart and scrutinized – her history of depression and medications, her decision to move back to a town she supposedly hated…and of course, her past relationship with the victim, her former teacher. But most unsettling, Tabitha’s own memories of that day are a complete blur.

She thinks she’s not.

From the isolation of the correctional facility, Tabitha dissects every piece of evidence, every testimony she can get her hands on, matching them against her own recollections. But as dark, long-buried memories from her childhood come to light, Tabatha begins to question if she knows what kind of person she is after all. The world is convinced she’s a killer. Tabatha needs to prove them all wrong.

But what if she’s only lying to herself?   

My Review:

Tabitha Hardy returned to her childhood home in Okeham to renovate a property after she inherited some money and used it to buy a cottage. She has a history of being a loner, of having depression, eccentricities, and rudeness and hasn’t exactly ingratiated herself with the home town people. She wakes one day to send her handyman off as she didn’t wish to deal with repairs or work that day and he discovers a body in her outhouse.

Oops!

House of Correction by Nicci FrenchThis can’t end well. And doesn’t. After she is arrested for the man’s murder, it is discovered he was her math teacher when she was 15 and it is revealed was abused by him. Uh oh, means, motive, and opportunity.

And the problem is that she can’t remember the day—anything about it—but she is pretty sure she couldn’t have murdered him. The attorney assigned to her simply suggests she should plead guilty—too much evidence against her—and hope for a short sentence. Tabitha fires her and now she’s up the creek without a paddle as she knows nothing about the law, about the procedure, or even how to go about defending herself if she can’t remember what happened that day. There are times she doubts herself.

Could she have done it?

Tabitha may have gotten lucky, however, in the initial cellmate she is given, Michaela (released early), ends up supporting Tabitha right into the courtroom. Perhaps the first third to a half of the narrative is Tabitha’s assumption it’s all a mistake and she’ll be found not culpable and sent home. Doesn’t happen. The second half of the book is her courtroom fight. While it quite accurately shows her lack of expertise, ignorance, and egregious mistakes, it also paints the picture of an overly tolerant judge, allowing a large degree of latitude where I doubt would realistically happen.

Tabitha is not a protagonist to love—she is difficult, foul-mouthed, and short tempered. Once she digs in, however, she does appear to be making some headway into her case, challenging witnesses and discrediting her share of them. There are periods where she waxes philosophical and you get a glimpse of the woman she might have become were it not for those crippling teen experiences. I really appreciated the character of Michaela—smart, loyal, empathetic. The authors draw the prosecutorial team as you might expect, overly confident, competent, and theatrical.

My introduction to the husband/wife team that is Nicci French in a narrative that captures attention immediately, draws you in, and keeps a fast-paced, well plotted storyline. Not part of a series and out now, get the audiobook as I did enjoying a particularly fine narrator or the format of your choice. I think you’ll find this thriller worth the read and I’ll be looking for more. Recommended.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher:  Harper Collins Publishers

  • ISBN-10:1471179281

ASIN: B083WPBQ84
Print Length: 487 pages
Listening Length: 11 hrs., 19 mins.
Narrator: Michelle Ford
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: House of Correction (Amazon)

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

Nicci FrenchThe Author: Nicci French is the pseudonym of English husband-and-wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, who write psychological thrillers together.
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Apdency (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.

(Goodreads—Truncated) Note: (Nicci Gerrard and Sean French also write separately.)
Nicci Gerrard was born in June 1958 in Worcestershire. After graduating with a first class honours degree in English Literature from Oxford University, she began her first job, working with emotionally disturbed children in Sheffield. In that same year she married journalist Colin Hughes.

In the early eighties she taught English Literature in Sheffield, London and Los Angeles, but moved into publishing in 1985 with the launch of Women’s Review, a magazine for women on art, literature and female issues.

In 1987 Nicci had a son, Edgar, followed by a daughter, Anna, in 1988, but a year later her marriage to Colin Hughes broke down.

In 1989 she became acting literary editor at the New Statesman, before moving to the Observer, where she was deputy literary editor for five years, and then a feature writer and executive editor.

It was while she was at the New Statesman that she met Sean French.

Sean French was born in May 1959 in Bristol, to a British father and Swedish mother. He too studied English Literature at Oxford University at the same time as Nicci, also graduating with a first class degree, but their paths didn’t cross until 1990. In 1981 he won Vogue magazine’s Writing Talent Contest, and from 1981 to 1986 he was their theatre critic. During that time he also worked at the Sunday Times as deputy literary editor and television critic, and was the film critic for Marie Claire and deputy editor of New Society.

Sean and Nicci were married in Hackney in October 1990. Their daughters, Hadley and Molly, were born in 1991 and 1993.

By the mid-nineties Sean had had two novels published, The Imaginary Monkey and The Dreamer of Dreams, as well as numerous non-fiction books, including biographies of Jane Fonda and Brigitte Bardot.

In 1995 Nicci and Sean began work on their first joint novel and adopted the pseudonym of Nicci French…Nicci and Sean also continue to write separately. Nicci still works as a journalist for the Observer, covering high-profile trials including those of Fred and Rose West, and Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr…

Michelle FordThe Narrator:  Michelle Ford is a native Brit and professional voice actor. Having moved “across the pond” six years ago, Michelle now lives just outside New York and still gets a buzz when driving into the city and seeing the Manhattan skyline. Michelle has a proven track record in long narration, with over twenty titles in published audiobooks covering contemporary fiction, historical romance, mythical/paranormal fiction, biographies, children’s stories, short stories, science fiction, and business, and she is never happier than when she is in flipflops and behind a mic.

In addition, Michelle is experienced in voicing e-learning (she’s worked with many blue-chip pharmaceutical, medical, and technical clients), animation voice-over, corporate messages, Web sites, characters, children’s stories, film narration, podcasts, industrial projects, on-camera, tv, and radio commercials. She has worked for clients in fourteen countries, from Brazil to South Africa, and the Middle East to Australia. (Courtesy Tantor Media)

©2020 V Williams V Williams

 

 

In Her Tracks (Tracy Crosswhite Book 8) by Robert Dugoni – a #BookReview – #kidnappingthriller – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

“…certified tracker, often referred to as a sign-cutter.”

Book Blurb:

What family secrets are behind two disappearances? Seattle detective Tracy Crosswhite is determined to uncover the truth in the latest installment of New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni’s heart-stopping series.

In Her Tracks by Robert DugoniReturning from an extended leave in her hometown of Cedar Grove, Detective Tracy Crosswhite finds herself reassigned to the Seattle PD’s cold case unit. As the protective mother of an infant daughter, Tracy is immediately drawn to her first file: the abduction of a five-year-old girl whose parents, embattled in a poisonous divorce, were once prime suspects.

While reconstructing the days leading up to the girl’s disappearance, Tracy is brought into an active investigation with former partner Kinsington Rowe. A young woman has vanished on an isolated jogging trail in North Seattle. Divided between two critical cases, Tracy has little to go on except the treacherous deceptions behind a broken marriage—and now, the secrets hiding behind the closed doors of a deceptively quiet middle-class neighborhood.

To find two missing persons, Tracy will have to follow more than clues, which are both long cold and unsettlingly fresh. Given her own traumatic past, Tracy must also follow her instincts—to whatever dark and dangerous places they may lead.

My Review:

I was thrilled when Thomas & Mercer granted me this advance copy through NetGalley as I’ve become a solid fan of the Tracy Crosswhite series.

In Her Tracks by Robert DugoniSeattle detective Crosswhite has had a bit of a transition recently following maternity leave, expecting to return to her position as part of the Violent Crimes Unit and finding herself instead in Cold Cases. The retiring detective of Cold Cases left a couple of awesome, caring shoes to fill as well as credible stats. Violent Crimes partner Kins, however, taps her for just a bit of help in his active kidnapping case and as Crosswhite begins her journey into Cold Cases finds a thread that might provide a crossover.

Big hook at the beginning gets the ball rolling into her cold case while Kins’ investigation adds dimension to the active case. Crosswhite still struggles with some of her history and the kidnapping cases heap on the anxiety and apprehension.

The author does an amazing job of gradually upping the tension (the pacing is perfect) with Kins’ active missing person case as well as Crosswhite’s Cold Case, slipping into the house as a fly on the wall of three brothers living in their parents old home, persons of interest in the missing person’s case. Dugoni has a way of eeking out the most sinister despots, highlighting all the warts, the character development coursing seamlessly between Crosswhite’s team, their investigation, and the scheming predators.

Crosswhite is relentless, focused. The well-plotted storyline just flows, grabs and holds attention as it builds toward a pulsing, overwhelming sense of urgency—so close…hurry!! And so satisfying. Should I mention the little red herrings and one devil of a shocker near the end I NEVER saw coming in Kins’ case (while I’d correctly guessed the resolution to Crosswhite’s Cold Case).

I’ve read a number of Dugoni’s books, including a couple from the Charles Jenkins series, as well as three others in the Crosswhite series, Close to Home, A Steep Price, and A Cold Trail. This one, however, may be my favorite, until another comes out, that is. Highly recommend this thriller and the series, though this could work as a standalone if this one is your introduction to the series. (Trust me, you’ll catch up quickly.) On pre-order now.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Kidnapping Crime Fiction, Kidnapping Thrillers, Murder
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

  • ASIN : B087Q1QNTL

Print Length: 340 pages
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble 

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 detective series set in Seattle, which has sold more than 7 million books worldwide. He is also the author of The Charles Jenkins espionage series, and the David Sloane legal thriller series.

His stand-alone novels include The 7th Canon, Damage Control, and the literary novel, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell – Suspense Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year, for which Dugoni’s narration won an AudioFile Earphones Award; 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 the two-time winner of the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest. He is also a two-time finalist for 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 two dozen languages.

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

©2020 V Williams V Williams

A Big Fat Greek Murder (A Goddess of Greene St Mystery Book 2 of 2) by Kate Collins – a #BookReview – #cozymystery

Book Blurb:

A Big Fat Greek Murder by Kate CollinsSingle mom Athena Spencer is back in Michigan working at her family’s garden center, raising a pet racoon, and digging up clues in the smart new mystery series by the New York Times bestselling author of the Flower Shop Mysteries . . .

The entire family has been put to work when a big fat Greek wedding rehearsal is booked at the Parthenon. All hands are needed for rolling grape leaves, layering moussaka, and keeping the bride calm. But then the groom goes MIA and there’s far more to worry about then just whether Yiayia’s lemon rice soup has gone cold.

No matter how tangy the tzatziki, everyone’s appetite is ruined when the groom is found dead, a pair of scissors planted in his back. When the bride accuses Athena’s sister Selene, a hairstylist, of seducing and stabbing her fiancé, it’s all-out war—and it’s up to Athena to dig up the dirt on the suspects and nip these suspicions in the bud . . .

My Review:

The second in the Goddess of Greene St Mysteries and another fast, fun cozy. There is that strong family theme with the Greek families’ enclave in Sequoia, Michigan, and the tie to the nursery family business and the little mascot that comes to get his peanuts. The family also has a restaurant, the Parthenon, which was to be graced by the Athena statue her grandfather found and brought in. Too large, it ended up at the garden center. But it was a way to introduce Case to Book 1 who plays a very prominent part in Book 2.

A Big Fat Greek Murder by Kate CollinsIn this installment, the restaurant is hosting a rehearsal dinner for Mandy Black and Brady Rogers. Protagonists’ Athena’s sister was to be one of the bridesmaids, but when the groom doesn’t show up, he is later found murdered. Uh oh. The police will point to the one obviously set up person who wouldn’t have done it, her sister, so Athena will get involved, along with Case, who helped her solve the mystery in Book 1 to clear her sister.

A little side tongue-in-cheek gig that slides just under the main storyline is Athena’s blog—unknown to her family (mostly)—known as “Goddess Anon.” Fun little snipes regarding what is going on in her family, the joys of a large family with all the drama, relationships, and idiosyncrasies of the individuals—i.e., her mother will feed anyone—including the people at the jail.

She and Case have a direct prosecutorial courtroom style of questioning; double-teaming those on their interview list until the list gets bullied down to three possible perps. Of course, it’s not terribly difficult to figure out who is the culprit and in the meantime I enjoy the steps they take to each new clue. Athena is smart, if not wholly open to a relationship—and you know that’s brewing between she and Case. The bits with the family are always entertaining, and the side trips to the Goddess blog fun.

You might wish to begin this series with Book 1, Statue of Limitations, to get more background. Could be read as a standalone, however, as there are bits of background info snuck in. The conclusion is satisfying and a wrap-up of details, which we’ve pretty much sussed out at this point. Engaging characters, descriptive locale, and entertaining storyline. However, there is a monkey-wrench thrown in at the end which worries me about a possible partner in Book 3? Say it isn’t so…and I’ll be watching for it.

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

Rosepoint Rating: Four Point Five of Five 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuths, Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B085LTLH4P

Print Length: 258 pages
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

 Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Kate Collins - authorThe Author: Kate Collins is the author of the best-selling Flower Shop Mystery series. Her books have made the New York Times Bestseller list, the Barnes & Noble mass market mystery best-sellers’ lists, the Independent Booksellers’ best-seller’s lists, as well as booksellers’ lists in the U.K. and Australia. All Flower Shop Mysteries are available in paperback, hardback and large print editions. The first three books in the FSM series are now available on audiobook.

In January of 2016, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel aired the first Flower Shop Mystery series movie, MUM’S THE WORD, followed by SLAY IT WITH FLOWERS and DEARLY DEPOTTED later that year. The movies star Brooke Shields, Brennan Elliott, Beau Bridges and Kate Drummond.

In December of 2017, a Christmas novella featuring the whole cast from the Flower Shop Mystery series was released in e-book format. MISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE is the first mystery to be released digitally, with plans for many more stories to come.

Kate started her career writing children’s stories for magazines and eventually published historical romantic suspense novels under the pen name Linda Eberhardt and Linda O’brien.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Hideway by Nora Roberts – An #Audiobook Review – #romanticsuspense

Editors’ Pick for Best Romance 

Book Blurb:

A family ranch in Big Sur country and a legacy of Hollywood royalty set the stage for Nora Roberts’ emotional new suspense novel, Hideaway.

Hideaway by Nora RobertsCaitlyn Sullivan had come from a long line of Hollywood royalty, stretching back to her Irish immigrant great-grandfather. At nine, she was already a star – yet still an innocent child who loved to play hide-and-seek with her cousins at the family home in Big Sur. It was during one of those games that she disappeared.

Some may have considered her a pampered princess, but Cate was in fact a smart, scrappy fighter, and she managed to escape her abductors. Dillon Cooper was shocked to find the bloodied, exhausted girl huddled in his house – but when the teenager and his family heard her story, they provided refuge, reuniting her with her loved ones.

Cate’s ordeal, though, was far from over. First came the discovery of a shocking betrayal that would send someone she’d trusted to prison. Then there were years spent away in Western Ireland, peaceful and protected but with restlessness growing in her soul.

Finally, she would return to Los Angeles, gathering the courage to act again and get past the trauma that had derailed her life. What she didn’t yet know was that two seeds had been planted that long-ago night – one of a great love, and one of a terrible vengeance….

My Review:

Caitlyn Sullivan has a long, strong legacy of Hollywood royalty going way back so I guess it isn’t a surprise that she’d become a star already in her childhood. She’s experiencing one of many large family gatherings at her grandfather’s home in Big Sur at age ten when she is kidnapped.

Hideaway by Nora RobertsShe’s smart, however, level headed and brave and she manages an escape. In the process, she meets a ranching family that includes a young boy. Uh oh. Did I miss that this was going to be a romance? I saw Nora Roberts and thought I’d bite, but what did I get myself into?

This is one of those slow moving, although the first few chapters certainly set the hook quickly enough, romance that takes (predictably) years. Eventually, you just give up and think, “Come all, already. We know where this is going.”

In the meantime, we get all the middle story about her horrible mother, the slimeballs who kidnapped her, her foray into romance with guys from New York, her induction into her life’s work—which I gotta say sounded wonderful. I did get tired of the Sullivan dynasty money, the privileges, the estates, and the showers of love and support, rinse, repeat.

To sprinkle in some suspense—it is after all called a romantic suspense—she gets weird calls, veiled threats over the years. Not difficult to find her after she moves home. Heavily themed with family, love, and connection, there is also those darker issues of betrayal and vengeance. (And talk about patience…sheesh)

Glad I got to listen to it when I gardened, cooked, and cleaned. Not sure I could have stuck through all that middle minutia if I were reading it. My introduction to Nora Roberts and I’m sure her fans will appreciate this one. I enjoyed the multi-lingual narrator, January LaVoy (see her short video below–she’s lovely).

Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Romantic Suspense
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B07YBJG9CL
Listening Length: 15 hrs and 45 min
Narrator: January LaVoy
Publication Date: Audible.com release May 26, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook selections)

Title Link: Hideaway [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads Rosepoint Publishing:  Three point Five of Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

Nora Roberts - authorThe Author: Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including Hideaway, Under Currents, Come Sundown and coming in November 2020 — The Awakening — the first book in The Dragon Heart Legacy. She is also the author of the futuristic suspense In Death series written under the pen name J.D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.

The Narrator: January LaVoy

©2020 V Williams V Williams

 

Leave No Trace (An FBI K-9 Novel Book 5) by Sara Driscoll, Jen J Danna – a #BookReview – #animalfiction – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars5 stars

The “Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are descendants of those resisters” (who refused to go on the Trail of Tears).

Book Blurb:

Leave No Trace by Sara DriscollOne arrow through the heart could be a tragic hunting accident. A second one, within days, looks more like a crime. That’s when Meg Jennings and Brian Foster of the FBI’s Forensic Canine Unit head to Georgia to investigate. With their dogs Hawk and Lacey, Meg and Brian are enlisted to follow the scent of a killer. At first, nothing seems to connect the two victims–a county commissioner and State Patrol officer.  But the blood sport around the southern town of Blue Ridge is just beginning.

As the body count rises, the compound bow killer becomes even more elusive, appearing and vanishing like a ghost. However, with each new slaying Meg is beginning to suspect the grim design that’s escalating in the shadows. At its heart, a tragic event that reaches back nearly two centuries in Georgia’s history is now turning Blue Ridge into a hunting ground. But as Meg gets closer to solving the puzzle, the closer she is to stepping into the crosshairs of an elusive murderer with deadly aim, and motives as deep and dark as the woods . . .

My Review:

Book 5 of the FBI K-9 mystery Leave No Trace will be coming out late December and I couldn’t resist getting a jump of one of my favorite series about the awesome dogs and their handlers who work so effectively with law enforcement.

Leave No Trace by Sara DriscollThe author manages to craft a remarkable canine-human story, but teach as well. In this case McCord is back and his character weaves in some amazing history, heading each chapter with points of interest in the early US Native American account of the Cherokee, one of the five Eastern tribes later known as the “Five Civilized Tribes” or providing a heads up for what’s coming. But more than that—the background of early Georgia–some really remarkable and little known history of the development of hydroelectric power in that area.

Protagonist Meg Jennings is back with her black Lab, Hawk. Her partner is Brian, whose dog is a German Shepherd, Lacey. They’ve been called in to track a killer using a compound bow that quickly escalates into a series of murders. Tracking high in the Appalachians is not easy. But it not only the expert bow hunter that’s deadly—so are those mountains.

Meg and Brian go from one peril to another, often caught in deadly situations that only the young and extremely fit could survive. It’s action packed, bringing training into the fore when called on.

The well-plotted and fast paced narrative grabs the reader in scenes of extreme danger and pushes the pulse-pounding experience to start flipping pages faster. Lots of drama here: critical information regarding bows, survival techniques, doses of fascinating history, police procedures and communication, and in between the larger picture, the personal issues confronting those prominent in the immediate team, including Meg’s guy.

I also read two others in the series, No Man’s Land and Storm Rising, and the CE read one in her new series NYPD Negotiators, Exit Strategy, and loved them all. Of course I love the interaction between dog and handler. The conclusion answers the whodunit, but not all the questions, issues, things you might have wanted to know. Still, the ride has been non-stop and immersive, the characters engaging, and the narrative wholly entertaining and thought-provoking. Totally recommended.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Pet Dogs, Animal Fiction
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B086R8ZHBQ

Print Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: Available now on pre-order. Releases December 29, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Jen J Danna - authorThe Author: A scientist specializing in infectious diseases, Jen J. Danna works as part of a dynamic research group at a cutting-edge Canadian university. However, her true passion lies in indulging her love of the mysterious through her writing.

With Ann Vanderlaan, she writes two series. Under Danna and Vanderlaan, they craft suspenseful crime fiction with a realistic scientific edge. Their five Abbott and Lowell Forensic Mysteries include DEAD, WITHOUT A STONE TO TELL IT; NO ONE SEES ME ‘TILL I FALL; A FLAME IN THE WIND OF DEATH; TWO PARTS BLOODY MURDER; and LAMENT THE COMMON BONES.

Under the joint pseudonym of Sara Driscoll, they write the FBI K-9s mysteries series, starring search-and-rescue team Meg Jennings and her black lab, Hawk. The series includes LONE WOLF, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE, and STORM RISING. The fourth book in the series, NO MAN’S LAND, will release in December 2019.

Jen is also the author of the upcoming NYPD Negotiators thriller series, with the first book, EXIT STRATEGY, releasing in August 2020.

Jen lives near Toronto, Ontario with her husband, two daughters, and three rescued cats, and is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada. You can reach her through the contact page on her website or by email at jenjdanna@gmail.com.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Wine Tastings are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery Book 5) by Libby Klein – a #BookReview – #cozymystery

Book Blurb:

Wine Tastings Are Murder by Libby KleinIt’s vintage Poppy when the gluten-free baker and B&B owner tries to solve a murder at a Cape May winery in Libby Klein’s fifth deliciously witty, paleo-themed Poppy McAllister Mystery.

When Poppy and Aunt Ginny agreed to host a Wine and Cheese Happy Hour for a tour group at their Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast on the Jersey Shore, they never anticipated such a sour bunch. Grumpy guest Vince Baker should be in a better mood–he’s filthy rich and on his honeymoon with his much younger wife Sunny, who seems to dote on him almost as much as her high-spirited teacup Pomeranian, Tammy Faye Baker.

But the honeymoon is over when Vince drops dead the next day touring the Laughing Gull Winery. Turns out he’s been poisoned, and it seems like everybody on the tour is hiding something. Now Poppy has to put her gluten-free baking on the back burner and bottle up her feelings for the two men in her life while she charges after a bitter killer with a lethal case of sour grapes…

My Review:

Book 5 of the author’s special writing style and that outrageous sense of humor has us wondering if the dreaded triangle will finally be over. More on that later. I started on the series in 2018 with Book 3 and 2019 with Book 4.

“Miss Thing mooned a grin at Gia like he was the last piece of chocolate cake on a PMS cruise.”

Wine Tastings Are Murder by Libby KleinIn this installment, protagonist Poppy McAllister will host a small happy hour of guests that will join a larger group tour of the Laughing Gull Winery, including a May-December couple, a couple on a “babymoon,” a single lady who arrives late, and a couple without reservations that apparently decided to follow the daughter’s powerful CEO daddy in the aforementioned marriage. Of course, those two ladies will clash from the beginning and continue throughout the narrative.

Poppy hosts her B&B along with her octogenarian Aunt Ginny who has obviously reverted—WAYYY back. She has a pack of cronies often referred to as “the biddies” that sets my teeth jangling every time I read it. Poppy has a kitty she calls Figaro who instantly takes a dislike to the pampered Pomeranian brought by the May side of the May-December marriage. In the meantime, her aunt is interviewing for a new chambermaid and hires Victoryna Rostyslavivna Yevtushenko—let’s go with Victoria. Victoria, it turns out has narcolepsy. Perhaps you are getting now that the narratives are loaded with unique and crisis-instigating support characters.

“He was stuck to him like the IRS on a small business.” (Boy, can we identify with THAT!)

Of course, there is a body, although it doesn’t occur until almost 28% into the novel. There are ample descriptions of cat-dog squabbles, broken china, stolen food. Red herrings are liberally scattered throughout. And the inevitable comparisons of the two men in the triangle, Gia or Tim, neither of whom I felt an appropriate match…the music swells…the dreaminess scenes begin…which one, which one? (I don’t care! Sorry, not sorry, I was over that in Book 3.)

By Book 5 you won’t have a lot of character development—lots of focus on food, most of which sounds delightful (and there are recipes at the back of the book). It’s fairly well paced, if not constantly interrupted, chaos, outrageous, slow to pull out the perp. The conclusion was somewhat a surprise—which was gratifying and not guessed correctly. And while it appears the eenie, meenie, minee, mo had been determined, the rug was then pulled out from under the reader. GEES! The obvious gotcha for Book 6. I’ll read it, NOT for the romance, but because the humor in the book is a hoot and I read it for the grins.

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

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Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Culinary Mystery, Cozy Craft & Hobby Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B085LTRQ3P

Print Length: 311 pages
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Libby Klein - authorThe Author: Libby Klein graduated Lower Cape May Regional High School sometime in the ’80s. Her classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. She loves to drink coffee, bake gluten free goodies, and befriend random fluffy cats. She writes from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard. Most of her hobbies revolve around eating, and travel, and eating while traveling.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Parabellum by Greg Hickey – A #BookReview – Noir Crime

Si vis pacem, para bellum: “If you want peace, you should prepare for war”. 

Book Blurb:

Parabellum by Greg HickeyA mass shooting at a Chicago beach leaves several dead and dozens injured. In the year before the crime, four individuals emerge as possible suspects.

An apathetic computer programmer.
An ex-college athlete with a history of hits to the head.
An Army veteran turned Chicago cop.
A despondent high school student.

One of them is the shooter. Discover who and why.

“Parabellum is taut, slow-burning crime fiction at its best. And it’s a great deal more than that.” – Paul Flower, author of The Great American Cheese War

If you like nuanced literary crime fiction that explores the depths of the human psyche, you’ll love Greg Hickey’s compelling and unforgettable novel.

His Review:

Parabellum is an interesting study of human failures and broken relationships. I found the book hard to follow because I never felt invested in any one character. A young budding soccer star who is given a scholarship to USC but has to withdraw and loses her scholarship because of a concussion related injury was sympathetic and tragic. Her parents’ struggle to get her back into society were commendable.

Parabellum by Greg HickeyA veteran who returns from the desert storm conflict with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who has a very difficult time because of repeated dreams and lack of sleep is sympathetic. However, this is another character I could not get fully vested in. The issue was the continued complaint and lack of regard for the dedicated medical staff at the veterans’ medical facility in Chicago. The veteran was receiving psychiatric evaluation. The complaint of lack of understanding of the individual problems and pill pushing became exasperating.

A young couple who tried to build a relationship was intriguing. However, the young man’s brother was killed in a gangland type shooting. He continued to frequent the area where the killing occurred because it was his childhood neighborhood. He was thereby marked as someone who could be bullied by the local thugs and gang members. He had real artistic potential but then again deferred to something more lucrative and ignored his talents.

Yes, I could have found these characters sympathetic but the structure of the narrative was such that being engaged in the characters was not possible. Each of their stories was presented shotgun style within the book and as soon as my interest was peaked another character was introduced. It might be two or three chapters before the person you wanted to follow was reintroduced. I found this to be a serious irritant and required me to push through rather than flow with the book.

The end focus of the book was a diatribe against the ownership of guns. This was poorly disguised in the staccato approach to the lives of each of the characters. I suspected early in the reading that something like this must be afoot.

An obvious red flag went up almost immediately on one of the individuals and a couple of the other characters were also leaning towards anti-social activities. The end event was predictable and the narrative a text book type of psychological exercise. 3/5 stars -CE Williams

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

 Book Details:

  • Genre: Noir Crime, Hard-Boiled Mysteries, Literary Fiction
  • ASIN : B08L1NPNWB

Print Length: 315 pages
Publication Date: October 10, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Parabellum [Amazon]

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Greg Hickey - authorThe Author: Author of entertaining stories for smart readers. Download the short novel The Theory of Anything for free at https://www.greghickeywrites.com/anything-amazon.

Greg Hickey wrote his first novel, Our Dried Voices, while spending a year in Sundsvall, Sweden and Cape Town, South Africa, playing and coaching for local baseball teams. That novel was published in 2014 and was a finalist for Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Science Fiction Book of the Year Award.

Today, he still loves sharing stories while staying busy with the other facets of his life. He is a forensic scientist by day and endurance athlete and author by nights, lunches, weekends and any other spare moments. After his post-college travels, he once again lives in his hometown of Chicago with his wife, Lindsay.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

The Secret of Rosalita Flats by Tom W Jackson – a #BookReview – #International Mystery and Crime – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

The Secret of Rosalita Flats by Tim W JacksonMost people dream of being stuck on a tropical island, but Cal Batten just wants to sell his dad’s ramshackle, football-shaped house, fly home and pay off his creditors. Problem is, his dad’s will’s gone missing, what passes for an attorney has his own agenda and the wacky locals may tear the house apart to get at the gold and jewels they reckon are hidden inside. There’s also his childhood former-best friend, now a beautiful scuba instructor, who just might drown him out of spite. Cal has to dodge sharks–on land and under water–if he’s to unload the house and escape the crazy little rock.

The Secret of Rosalita Flats is a smart, funny tropical misadventure for anyone who’s ever dreamed of chucking it all and running off to the Caribbean. From the author of Blacktip Island.

My Review:

If there was ever an island that would convince you not to run off to the Caribbean, this would be it. Although fictitious, I get the sense it’s not all that big, but it seems to be populated with all the crazies the other islands couldn’t tolerate. But that’s where protagonist Cal Batten travels to settle the estate of his late father, Rhodes, whom he had not seen since the age of twelve.

The Secret of Rosalita Flats by Tim W JacksonThe author paints Blacktip Island in some amazing visuals, from the ironshore surface with death-defying cliffs and gumbo-limbo trees and cactus, to the mosquitoes, merquatches, duppies, and boojums. Sounds fun, huh? But all Cal wants to do is sell and settle the place and head home to his little shop in Naperville, IL.

Unfortunately, what he finds is a confusing mess of a shack shaped like a football and a housekeeper that refuses to quit, showing up whether fired or not, to clean what is no longer cleanable. And then there are those who show up to buy the place, junk and all, as is, au naturale, immediately so he could be on his way. There are scraping sounds that wake him nightly along with the warnings to leave. Problem is—he can’t. He must have the paperwork—the deed, the will, the legal conveyances of which he can’t find in all the mess—though he’s certainly caught the housekeeper searching for it. And when he leaves, comes home to find the place tossed.

Cal remembers many of the island’s citizens and one would reintroduce him to scuba diving if he can get over his manic fear of sharks. They were friends when children but she doesn’t seem to know much more about his dad than he. The rest of the population has his dad pegged at weird and reclusive more than friendly but they all suspect he was hiding—what and how much—they are not sure.

Euler anglesInteresting tidbits about diving, Fibonacci number sequence, and Euler angles—remote stuff I love to learn and won’t remember two days from now—unless perhaps someone mentions it. Okay—that’s not going to happen, huh, unless you’re familiar with Euler angles.

As Cal digs deeper into the mystery, the gentle re-acquaintance with Marina begins to develop as the tension tightens into the who and why. Above and underwater scenes prove an exciting push into the conclusion which gradually settles the waters and works things out very satisfactorily.

I read Blacktip Island back in 2016 and thoroughly enjoyed the author’s tongue-in-cheek humorous writing style brought forward here (the stench from the booby pond), while working tangible bits of information into a plausible scenario. It’s a Blacktip Island novel, perhaps classified as Book 2, but certainly a standalone. Only the island is the constant. It’s a lingering build of conflict coupled with twists and red herrings that keep the pages turning. You may not always identify with the characters, but they are thoroughly entertaining and the storyline amusing—comical at times. A lovely get-a-way when we all need one. Recommended and looking forward to Book 3.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: General Caribbean Travel Guides, Travel, International Mystery & Crime
Publisher: Devonshire House Press

  • ASIN : B08BQCH6TJ

Print Length: 211 pages
Publication Date: September 18, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Tim W Jackson - authorThe Author: Tim W. Jackson‘s first taste of scuba diving came at the age of six when he sneaked breaths off his dad’s double-hose regulator in the deep end of the pool. Later, as an ex-journalist armed with a newly-minted master’s degree in English, he discovered he was qualified to be a bartender, a waiter or a PhD student. Instead he chose Secret Option D: run off to the Cayman Islands to work as a scuba instructor and boat captain by day and write fiction at night. Two decades later, he still wishes that was half as interesting as it sounds. Or even a quarter . . .

Jackson is the award-winning author of the comic Caribbean novels Blacktip Island and The Secret of Rosalita Flats, as well as The Blacktip Times humor blog. His “Tales from Blacktip Island” short stories have been published in literary journals worldwide. He is currently concocting his next Blacktip Island novel and still enjoys scuba diving with his dad’s old double-hose reg.

For more insider info, visit his website, http://www.timwjackson.com, the Blacktip Times (www.blacktipisland.com) or follow him on Facebook (Tim W. Jackson) and Twitter (@timwjax).

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Photo attribution: Euler angles-courtesy Wikipedia

Rosepoint October Reviews Recap—If November is Upon Us, Can December Be Far Behind?

Rosepoint Reviews-October Recap

Yes, I’m one of those who enjoy decorating for the season, Trick or Treaters or not. This time of year, the flowers are Mums (which I’ve never been crazy for), but they do add a pretty colorful bloom to the front yard. Inside the house, a critical look at the bedroom filled with fifty year old furniture (bought in Taiwan), and my standard burgundy colors. Sooo, old school. Still I do love the color, so went to work doing a slight redecorating of the bedroom—changed things up a bit in the living room. How many of you have tried those Himalayan salt bulbs? Maybe I’m the only one—but hey, they are orange—a good color for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Halloween

So yes, November is upon us. The garden is gone, the only thing left one sad-looking butternut squash (don’t tell my husband).

Still fighting with the block and classic editor, finally found (well hidden) the old classic editor. One of my posts kept switching back and forth between the two and I’m still congratulating myself for not kicking in the monitor. (Not the monitor’s fault.) I don’t think I’m the only one with “block” issues. After one of my complaints to the happiness engineer, his reply was basically, “get used to it.” Maybe if we all rose en masse?

There was a mix of fifteen books reviewed, blitzed, or toured in October, shared between the CE and I. If you missed any reviews, just click on the links below the graphic.

     The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves  Watch Her Vanish by Ellery A Kane  Blood Money by Chris Riedel     Murder at an Irish Christmas by Carlene O'Connor  Deadly Weapon

Leap by Michael C Grumley   Silent Bite by David Rosenfelt  Bending the Paw by Diane Kelly  Wolf Pack vs The Bitterroots - #audiobooks  Mainely Power by Matt Cost

Mordecai’s Ashes by Alana Crane
Without a Brew by Ellie Alexander
I Jonathan by George WB Scott (a CE review)
The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves (audiobook)
Hiding Cracked Glass By James J. Cudney
Watch Her Vanish by Ellery A Kane
Blood Money by Chris Riedel
Come Marching Home by Hazel West
Murder at an Irish Christmas by Carlene O’Connor
Deadly Weapon by Mark Nolan (a CE review)
Leap by Michael C Grumley (a CE review)
Silent Bite by David Rosenfelt
Bending the Paw by Diane Kelly (a CE review)
Wolf Pack vs The Bitterroots by C J Box (audiobooks)
Mainely Power by Matt Cost

Only four of these were from NetGalley (yeah, I can’t believe it myself). It would seem most were author review requests or audiobooks.

So my Challenges?

  1. Audiobooks – (Stenographer level 10-15) completed at 20 (so far)
  2. Historical Fiction – Renaissance Reader level of 10—completed
  3. Goodreads—Revised goal of 160—now at 139—just over 10 books/month remaining for the year. Even that’s a push with the way things are going. Must be having too much fun somewhere…Time to buckle down!
  4. NetGalley – Four, giving me 73—2, count’m, 2 short—achievable

Have I learned anything about taking on too many challenges? Nah—but may have to seriously consider which ones are attainable next year before signing up. Have you had to revise your challenges?

Coming up: Time to start going through my 4.5-5 star books for the months to date to wheedle out my ten favorites. I know many of you note your monthly favorites as you go along—makes it easier the end of the year! Contemplating making changes next year? Maybe a new theme? New feature? Drop an old feature? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

In the meantime, lovely readers and authors, take care, stay safe. (And I thought I was thrilled to see the end of 2019. Who could have predicted 2020?)

Autumn Rosepoint

And, as always, thank you for your likes and comments!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Mainely Power (A Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery Book 1) by Matt Cost – a #BookReview – Private Investigator Mysteries

“…Do you know that in olden times the newspapers would send people to the taverns to find stories to write? When the news was slow, they’d send a man down, tell him to ‘go sip a beer’ and keep his ears open. Over time, this got shortened to gossip.”

Book Blurb:

Mainely Power by Matt Cost

Was Harold Dumphy killed to cover up something at the nuclear power plant where he was the head of security?
This is what Harold’s widow asks Goff Langdon, private detective, to find out. Langdon is a laid back, slacker detective, happy with his work, friends, and way of life in the town of Brunswick, Maine. To compliment his income in small town Maine’s scarce private detective market, Langdon also owns and operates a mystery bookstore named after his trusted companion, Coffee Dog.
Does Langdon stand a chance against corrupt cops, crooked politicians, greedy millionaires, radical environmentalists, and a deadly assassin named Shakespeare?
With the help of Bart, the bear of a cop; Jimmy 4 by Four, the hippie lawyer; the immigrants Jewell and Richam; and his true desire and employee, Chabal—Langdon sets out to do just that. And then he is framed for not one, but two murders, and events become very complicated.
Follow Langdon and his band of friends as they attempt to untangle the web of intrigue and return Brunswick to “the way life should be.”

My Review:

The author has created the first installment in his Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery series and kicked it off with some memorable characters with such names as (attorney) 4 by Four and Peppermint Patti. And his dog? That’s Coffee Dog. You know I’m a sucker for a story with a dog in it, but a little disappointed this one didn’t get more press time. Still, I enjoyed the back story of 4 by Four.

Mainely Power by Matt Cost

Protagonist Goff Langdon is a twenty-something mystery bookstore owner and a (I’m guessing) newly minted part-time private detective in Brunswick, Maine.  His wife up and split with their precocious three year old, Missouri (I told you he chose some unusual names).

I’m not sure if the town is just that small or if there are no other PI’s out there, but he is approached by a voluptuous lady to look into the death of her husband, an apparent suicide. (After all, there is a life insurance policy to consider.) He was head of security at DownEast Power, an aging nuclear power plant.

He has an interesting cadre of support, from his twin brothers, to Bart, a local cop and Chabal, his young assistant at the book store. They hold a confab after Goff and his little girl are threatened to back off and they divvy up the investigation issues. The immediate antagonist, Lawrence Shakespeare, drops the crux of the whole thing and at that point it’s a matter of staying alive long enough to get the guy giving orders to Shakespeare.

In the meantime, there is a lot of hanky-panky, an additional victim, suspense, blackmail, and less than stellar decisions on how to proceed. There are red herrings and rehashing of the salient points, but they do manage to wheedle out the perp, although that is not a revelation more than a confirmation of the reader’s suspicions.

The protagonist is not wholly fleshed, no doubt more on him in Book 2. The women enjoy a dalliance or two (or more) as well as the appreciative looks by the men. An occasional profane word or two are sprinkled in as well as implied sexual content.

A well-plotted, albeit not unique, plot well paced. A character-driven narrative that has you shaking your head more than once—the protagonist is not a Mensa candidate, but he loves his daughter—and dog.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Private Investigator Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Encircle Publications

  • ASIN : B08FMXQFNV

Print Length: 304 pages
Publication Date: September 18, 2020
Source: Direct author request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Matt Cost - authorThe Author: Matthew Langdon Cost has wanted to be a writer since age eight. “I Am Cuba” is his first traditionally published novel. He has also self-published another work of historical fiction, “Joshua Chamberlain and the Civil War: At Every Hazard”. Encircle Publications will be publishing his Mainely Mystery trilogy over the course of the next year: “Mainely Power” is due out in September, “Mainely Fear” in December, and “Mainely Blackmail” in May of 2021. Over the years, Cost has owned a video store, a mystery bookstore, and a gym. He has also taught history and coached just about every sport imaginable. He now lives in Brunswick, Maine, with his wife, Harper. There are four grown children: Brittany, Pearson, Miranda, and Ryan. A chocolate lab and a basset hound round out the mix. He now spends his days at the computer, writing. You can keep up with Matt by visiting facebook.com/matt.cost.3, http://www.mattcost.net, and on Twitter, @MattCost8.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Wolf Pack (A Joe Pickett Novel Book 19) vs The Bitterroots (Cassie Dewell Book 5) by C J Box – #Audiobook Reviews #crimethrillers

Wolf Pack vs The Bitterroots - #audiobooks

I’ve tried a couple times to get an ARC from the publisher (through NetGalley) for one of this author’s Joe Pickett books. No, they said. Nuh uh. Nada. And then I discovered the series, or most of them, at my local library audiobook section and while some are on a waiting list, I managed to snag these two—back-to-back. Wow—same author, huh? But then I realized these aren’t the same series—not nearly (or the same narrator). And these two are apples and oranges—

Wyoming–the Cowboy State, Equality State and Montana–Big Sky Country

big sky country

Mountains and treacherous terrain, wild animals, desolation, and weather that can turn on a dime and leave you stranded. Common to both states. So, yes, I loved the descriptions of the locale, especially in Montana, having ridden my motorcycle through Lolo Pass—FUN road! It’s gorgeous up there. And frighteningly isolated. This my introduction to the author, plunked into the middle of both series, found either would work as a standalone as there is enough backstory slipped in to bring you quickly up to speed. However, as with all series, sometimes you can watch the evolution of the character(s) if you go back and start with the first.

Wolf Pack-Book Blurb:

Wolf Pack by C J BoxWyoming game warden Joe Pickett encounters bad behavior on his own turf–only to have the FBI and the DOJ ask him to stand down–in the thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times-bestselling author C.J. Box.

The good news is that Joe Pickett has his job back, after his last adventure in The Disappeared. The bad news is that he’s come to learn that a drone is killing wildlife–and the drone belongs to a mysterious and wealthy man whose son is dating Joe’s own daughter, Lucy.

When Joe tries to lay down the rules for the drone operator, he’s asked by the FBI and the DOJ to stand down, which only makes him more suspicious. Meanwhile, bodies are piling up in and around Joe’s district in shocking numbers. He begins to fear that a pack of four vicious killers working on behalf of the Sinaloa cartel known as the Wolf Pack has arrived. Their target seems to be the mystery man and everyone–including Joe, Nate, and others–who is associated with him.

Teaming up with a female game warden (based on a real person, one of the few female game wardens at work in Wyoming today) to confront these assassins, Joe finds himself in the most violent and dangerous predicament he’s ever faced.

Wolf Pack Review:

Joe Pickett is a Wyoming state game warden and he has his hands full dealing with unmonitored animal traps and drones driving herds of deer and elk to exhaustion, some to death.

Wolf Pack by C J BoxIn this case, the leg traps have initials on them—duh. Not too difficult then to find the owner and then discovers the drone’s owner as well. Joe has three daughters, the last of which is dating the grandson of the drone’s owner living out on a well fortified and secluded acreage compound.

One of the series main characters, Nate Romanowski is an experienced falconer and it doesn’t take much for the bird to bring down the drone—which doesn’t sit well with the owner. It’s not a pleasant confrontation and when he and Kate (another series regular) tries to corral his activities is brought up short by the FBI. Huh?

You know when the FBI gets involves, the case will go sideways, and it does. When bodies begin to show up, the case goes well beyond animal protection. The Wolf Pack is a far more serious threat than the four-footed fur-bearing animals and it’ll take some work to track them down. Can they really be more cunning than the wolves? Certainly more deadly!

It’s a dark and profane narrative, graphic at times, in a well-plotted novel, fast moving story on a collision course with an explosive conclusion. I won’t even mention the epilogue. I’m not sure I needed that. On the whole, a shocking introduction to the author’s writing style—glad I listened to this audiobook second!

Book Details:

Genre: Murder Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher:  Recorded Books

  • ASIN: B07JGB5PG9

Print Length: 381 pages
Listening Length: 9 hrs, 51 mins
Narrator: David Chandler
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Wolf Pack

Add to Goodreads4.39 average of 1,044 reviews

The Bitterroots-BookBlurb:

2019 Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year

The Bitterroots by C J BoxA riveting new audiobook from New York Times best-selling and Edgar Award-winning author C. J. Box.

Former police officer Cassie Dewell is trying to start over with her own private investigation firm. Guilty about not seeing her son and exhausted by the nights on stakeout, Cassie is nonetheless managing…until an old friend calls in a favor: She wants Cassie to help exonerate a man accused of assaulting a young girl from an influential family.

Against her own better judgment, Cassie agrees. But out in the Big Sky Country of Montana, twisted family loyalty runs as deep as the ties to the land, and there’s always something more to the story. As Cassie attempts to uncover the truth, she must fight against the ghosts of her own past that threaten to pull her back under.

With The Bitterroots, master storyteller C. J. Box delivers another audiobook featuring fan favorite Cassie Dewell from the Highway Quartet series.

The Bitterroots Review:

My first introduction to this author and the series, Cassie Dewell has separated herself from the police department, going out on her own as a private investigator. She is thinking this will give her some more latitude with her time as Ben, her son, and her hippie mother lives with her in Bozeman, Montana.

The Bitterroots by C J BoxHer last case left her with no small amount of PTSD and she still cringes whenever an eighteen-wheeler dusts her doors. She owes one to an attorney friend, so when she calls to pull in the favor, Cassie will grudgingly oblige—against every fiber in her being—the investigation into the rape of a fifteen year old. The attorney is playing defense and wants to know how strong the prosecution’s case is. Of course her client asserts his innocence. A quick perusal of the file has her convinced of his guilt—after all, look at all the evidence!!

But off she goes to Lochsa County to talk to his family and those officials connected with the case. The family appears to have a strangle-hold on their ranch and the area around them, including the officials. I got a strong sense of the more well known male dominated clans—and must say the mother of the girl is one hell of a character. No one wants to talk with her and she’s warned out of there.

In the meantime, her life continues to remain involved in her son’s activities as she continually referees issues between her mother and Ben. And then there is the big black semi who keeps showing up—to just sit and watch. Okay, he’s a creep.

After awhile, I had some sympathetic pangs for the accused and sorry that did not end well. I had a problem with the narrator, more than once, as she attempted different voices—the attorney in particular. And the mother of the victim…the way she handled the voice of the mother going into the conclusion was priceless. Did not see that coming!

Book Details:

Genre: Private Investigator Mysteries, Crime Thrillers, Police Procedurals, Women Sleuths
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio

  • ASIN: B07ND36RSR

 Print Length: 307 pages
Listening Length: 9 hrs, 49 mins
Narrator: Christine Delaine
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Bitterroots –
Cassie Dewell #4
The Highway Quartet #5

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4.02 average rating of 729 reviews

Overall Impression:

These will continue to be similar/dissimilar. While one is a great deal more established, i.e., long term main characters, locale-driven plots, atmospheric fast-paced and graphic (Joe Pickett), the other will build a strong female protagonist, character-driven plots, toned down language (somewhat) and exhibit more feminine issues and concerns. I didn’t care for the epilogue in the Wolf Pack but that same little ploy in The Bitterroots was a classic feminine “gotcha.” Oh, yes, that brought a smile to my face. But you know what? If I get a chance for another audiobook in either series, I’ll grab it.

C J Box - author

The Author: C. J. Box is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 24 novels including the Joe Pickett series. He won the Edgar Alan Poe Award for Best Novel (Blue Heaven, 2009) as well as the Anthony Award, Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, two Barry Awards, and the 2010 Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Award for fiction. He was recently awarded the 2016 Western Heritage Award for Literature by the National Cowboy Museum as well as the Spur Award for Best Contemporary Novel by the Western Writers of America in 2017. The novels have been translated into 27 languages.

Box is a Wyoming native and has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, a small town newspaper reporter and editor, and he co-owns an international tourism marketing firm with his wife Laurie. They have three daughters. An avid outdoorsman, Box has hunted, fished, hiked, ridden, and skied throughout Wyoming and the Mountain West. He served on the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. Box lives in Wyoming.

–from the author’s website

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Bending the Paw (A Paw Enforcement Novel Book 9) by Diane Kelly – A #BookReview – #cozymystery – #TuesdayBookBlog

Happy Publication Day!

Book Blurb:

A MURDER WITHOUT A BODY IS LIKE A DOG WITHOUT A BONE
Bending the Paw by Diane KellyA bloodbath is a shocking new challenge for Megan and Brigit when Detective Audrey Jackson calls them to the scene of what could only be a brutal murder. But the one thing the nightmarish scene is missing is a victim. The frantic homeowner’s husband is gone, seemingly without a trace—and so is the money he was holding. Has a vicious killer committed what might just be the perfect crime?

Meanwhile, it’s hailing cats and dogs all over Fort Worth, and roofing contractors have descended on the city in droves. With plenty of damage and continuing storms, work delays are building up like so much runoff, but Megan is suspicious that one roofer may be a scam artist. Determined to leash every lawbreaker she and her K-9 partner find, Megan is building a case for prosecution, all while Brigit has her nose to the ground for a murderer…

His Review:

Can a person live with a loss of over 2 quarts of blood? Diane Kelly has written a very interesting novel around this question. Medical science explains that a person will expire with this amount of blood loss. Megan Luz and her K-9 partner are called to a grizzly scene where there is blood everywhere but no body present! The K-9 partners’ name is Bridgit and she begins to examine the scene to see if she can identify where the victim could possibly be.

Bending the Paw by Diane KellyDiane Kelly has presented this tale from three and sometimes 4 perspectives, the perpetrator, the detective, the dog and the aspiring detective, Megan Luz. The trail ends near the garage where the body was supposedly loaded into the back of a car for disposal. Switch to the perpetrator and his attempts to hide the body and evidence and the plot thickens.

Very little evidence is available as to what type of weapon was used to slash the victim and cause all of the blood loss. With very little evidence to go on the case stands on the brink of being put into an unsolved cubbyhole. Meanwhile other crimes in the Fort Worth area are happening which keep our beat K-9 duo occupied. Weather related storm damage and the need for repair acts as a magnet for all unscrupulous individuals to harvest money from other peoples misfortune.

Megan responds quickly to the needs of the lead detective, Ms. Jackson, whenever called. Most crimes can be solved with the assistance of a highly trained police dog. Diane Kelly writes from the perspective of the dog and at times it is very enlightening. Working on one case confuses the animal who recognizes a possible scent of the criminal in the other crime. Yes, the answer can be as plain as the nose on your face, particularly if you are a dog!

CE WilliamsThe conclusion is very entertaining and I did not expect it. Dogged police work (pun intended) helped to solve the case. Again, the actual ending was totally unexpected. I highly recommend this book to those who would like to learn some interesting police procedures while being totally entertained. 5 stars – CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Sara Beth Haring of St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Animal Mysteries, Police Procedurals
Publisher: St Martin’s Paperbacks

    • ISBN-10 : 1250197392
    • ISBN-13 : 978-1250197399
    • ASIN : B084M1NGYF

Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: Happy Release Day! October 27, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Bending the Paw [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:

Barnes and Noble | Kobo

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Diane Kelly - authorThe Author: A former tax advisor, Diane Kelly inadvertently worked with white-collar criminals. Not surprisingly, Diane decided self-employment would be a good idea. Her fingers hit the keyboard and thus began her Death and Taxes romantic mystery series. A graduate of her hometown’s Citizen Police Academy, Diane Kelly also writes the hilarious K-9 cop Paw Enforcement series and the new House Flipper cozy mystery series. Look for her moonshine series debut in June 2021!

Be the first to receive book news by signing up for Diane’s newsletter at http://www.dianekelly.com/ “Like” Diane on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/dianekellybooks. Follow her on Instagram at dianekellybooks and on Twitter @dianekellybooks.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

So, You Need an Escape – #GuestPost by Randy Overbeck – author Crimson at Cape May

Guest Post by Dr Randy Overbeck

I am thrilled to present today author Dr. Randy Overbeck, author of Blood on the Chesapeake, Book 1 of The Haunted Shores Mysteries. I participated in a book blitz for the book on July 23, 2020, my spot on a book tour and was very taken with the description of the paranormal mystery published April 10, 2019. So when I got an invitation to read and review Crimson at Cape May, I was happy for the opportunity—and loved it! I posted that review on September 13, 2020. The narrative captured my imagination sending me to the delightful coastal touristy town of Cape May and I jumped on the internet to scour pictures—so beautiful—so Victorian—and I so wanted to go there! So, of course, when he offered this guest post, I was delighted to accept. Let me introduce you to Dr. Overbeck’s thoughts about “getting away.”

Cape May from the sea
Cape May from the sea. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Dr. Overbeck

Right about now—seven long months into this pandemic, still not able to do much and smack dab in the middle of an ugly election season—could you use a getaway? Have you had to restrain your impulse to throw something at the TV during the latest Coronavirus update or when another negative political ad comes on? Couldn’t you just picture yourself on a sun-drenched beach, toes in the warm sand and a frosty drink on your hand? Or maybe sailing across blue green waters, waves lapping peacefully at the sides of your sailboat with the shoreline around you exploding with color?

I’m right there with you!

That’s why, when I decided to write my new series, the Haunted Shores Mysteries, I decided to set each story in a great getaway location. But not just any getaway. I mean, everyone knows about places like Hilton Head or Malibu or Daytona Beach. For my stories, I was searching for unique, even unforgettable locations that I could introduce readers to, places that would leave a lasting impression.

For me, my first choice was obvious since it’s been a favorite destination of ours for years. The setting for BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE is, well, the Chesapeake Bay. Or to be more precise, the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, which I believe is one of the undiscovered gems in the country.

Thousands of miles of undulating shoreline, some of the best seafood you’ll ever eat, and sunsets over the water that would melt your sheltered, hardened heart. Not to mention the scene of variegated foliage covering she shores that can match even peak autumn in New Hampshire. If you close your eyes, you might be able to picture yourself in the middle of the Bay aboard a two-masted sailboat, rocking gently on the waters. Or you could just let my novel take you there.

Don’t you wish you were standing on the deck of that sailboat right now? Well, you can almost.

Here’s a brief excerpt from BLOOD.

blood on the shesapeakeA few stray clouds chased each other across an azure sky which turned the water to an aquamarine. A light breeze filled the two white and gold sails and stirred the water, creating only small waves which rocked the sloop gently. Across the horizon, a few white sails punctured the beautiful blue that wrapped around them. Gusts of wind filled the two triangle sails and flapped the four-square Maryland flag at the rear. Along the rock-strewn shoreline, charming Cap Cods with Adirondack chairs in front competed with two-story Colonials wearing their white clapboard siding and green sloped roofs like their Sunday best.

Cape May

For the second entry in my series, I went for something quite different, but just as intriguing in its own way. CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY is set in a quintessential resort community, with expansive white sand beaches for the sun-worshipper, a famous getaway for more than 150 years. With over a hundred unique Victorian houses and mansions—think “the painted ladies”—lining the shore and filling the streets of this quant town and you have a setting and a sight unmatched anywhere in the U.S.

Cape May

And, the fact that the town is the most haunted seaport on the Eastern Seacoast made it a no-brainer for the setting for my second narrative. A few pages into this novel and I promise you’ll forget the present doldrums of Covid-19 and find yourself in another place and time, one you’ll enjoy.

Here’s a brief excerpt from Crimson.

They crossed at the light, and Darrell took in the sight ahead of them—a near perfect, expansive sandy beach edged by crystal blue water that seemed to stretch on forever, merging with a perfect azure sky. Smudges of white dotted the heavenly canvas, and small curls of white-topped breakers were sprinkled along the waters farther out. Quiet waves gurgled up upon the sand before leaking back into the watery expanse. Throw in the meticulous architecture of all those Victorian mansions and B & B’s and you have resort few places could match.

Cape May

Of course, my novels are far more than mere escape reads. Both include a cold-case murder mystery, a haunting ghost story and a bit of romance, all with some unforgettable characters. And each novel tackles a serious social problem, BLOOD confronting racial injustice and CRIMSON exposing the horrors of human trafficking. But don’t let all that fool you. Both entries in the series will transport you to a much better place and time than the here and now. (insert cover art for both books) Perhaps, one of the Amazon reviewers put it best:

“Was your vacation canceled this year? I know ours was put on the back burner, but I can recommend a great get-away that won’t cost much. Read the book Blood on the Chesapeake: A Cold Case Murder Mystery. It’s a vacation to a beautiful seashore with characters you’ll love and some you’ll hate. Of course, everyone wants a vacation with a happy ending, and I won’t spoil the book for you, but you’ll smile about the ending after you put it down.”—Tami A, an Amazon reviewer

If you haven’t had the chance to discover either, click any of the links below to grab your copy and escape the present.

Here are just a few things reviewers and readers are saying about these ★★★★★ and award winning novels.

  • “It’s a ghost/mystery story filled with suspense and action. The plot is so engrossing it had me hooked from the very first page.” ★★★★★—Nana’s Reviews, Greece
  • “Overbeck’s pace is spot on and makes for a thoroughly engaging and quick read… A Gold Award Winner!” ★★★★★—Literary Titan
  • “An absolutely chilling ghost story wrapped around an even scarier piece of history – or perhaps it’s the other way around. Recommended. BEST BOOK!” ★★★★★—Chanticleer Reviews and Media
  • “This book was riveting and full of mystery, romance, and suspense. I could not put this book down once I was past the first chapter. I would find myself reading late into the night telling myself “just one more chapter”- just one more chapter would turn into 50 or 60 pages. Excellent book with a hint of history lessons to enrich our lives.”—An Amazon reviewer
  • “Thrilling! Haunting! Convincing! Loved it as much, if not more, than “Blood on the Chesapeake!” Began reading the book on Monday and finished it at midnight on Tuesday!”—an Amazon reviewer

Purchase Links

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

BookBub

Goodreads

Author LinksRandy Overbeck

randyoverbeck@authorrandyoverbeck.com

www.authorrandyoverbeck.com

@OverbeckRandy

FB: Author Randy Overbeck

BIO

Dr Randy Overbeck - authorDr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, writer and speaker who has earned recognition in the Midwest and beyond. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.

©2020

Leap by Michael C Grumley (Breakthrough Book2) – A #BookReview #technothriller

Book Blurb:

ONE OF THE GREATEST BREAKTHROUGHS IN HUMAN HISTORY.
AN ACHIEVEMENT THAT STUNNED THE ENTIRE WORLD.
AND IT WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING.

Leap by Michael C GrumleyFacing the cold, clear glass, Alison Shaw stared nervously into the giant seawater tank.
It was just one year ago that she and her team of marine biologists had stunned the world with their incredible breakthrough. And now, they were about to do it again.

But an ocean away, something strange was unfolding. Along a lonely coast in South America, an experimental Russian submarine, long thought to have been dismantled, has suddenly resurfaced. And the U.S. Navy has taken notice, sending officers John Clay and Steve Caesare to investigate.

The sub has been studying a group of unmarked soldiers. Disappearing into the jungle each night beneath the cover of darkness. Something has been discovered…something big.

And it’s about to fall into the wrong hands. Unless Alison Shaw and her team can find something that no one else can.

His Review:

Search for the Fountain of Youth meets interspecies communications. Michael Grumley mixes scientific speculation with current world reality. Many years ago my communications class explained that we transmit information 60% by facial expression and 40% by words. As with most academia this was abridged to be 55/38/7. That is 55% of our communications is body language, 38% voice tone and 7% actual words. This was postulated by Mr. Mehrabian in 1967. I find that if anything can be confused, the academic world will do it.

Leap by Michael C GrumleyThis book is very entertaining when using the above ratios and consider inter-species communications. What if you cannot see the animal before it charges or leaps or is trying to warn you? A rattlesnake shaking its’ tail is a complete communication without necessarily a visual component, but I digress. One main feature in this tale is a new communications device called IMIS. Dolphins communicate with various sounds and clicks and this IMIS system when aimed directly at the creatures translates these sounds into a kind of abbreviated language like pig-Latin. The complete sentences are not there and yet the researchers and the animals communicate.

A concurrent plot is a Chinese war ship parked in the harbor of Georgetown, Guyana. A US Naval research ship and the dolphins are sent to investigate. Under the cover of darkness, the Chinese are harvesting something from the jungles of Guyana. A very rich man wants to find out why one of the monkeys in his “nature retreat to protect animals” has lived to be nearly one hundred years old. The animal is observed trying to untie the netting in the forest compound to free his fellow animals. When they try to capture the animal, he escapes and the team, including IMIS, are hired to help find him. He is a Capuchin Monkey and the “humanitarian” wants to find out how he is living so long.

When arriving near the Georgetown harbor an old Russian submarine is detected. There is some very innovative equipment on the sub which seems to eliminate its’ navigational footprint. Putting these factors together, the US Navy becomes involved in trying to figure out what is happening. Why would a Chinese naval warship be in Caribbean waters? Both questions became a part of a very entertaining plot.

CE WilliamsThe outcome is surprising and also very entertaining. A modicum of science fiction adds to the overall plot and the ending is satisfying. This accomplished author includes a gateway to another segment and an additional novel. The villain is really just a man getting older and is too rich to want to leave this life. He theorizes there must be a genetic anomaly that will lead from his drinking of the fountain of youth. With enough money to make his dream a possible reality he sets out to find the secret. Read the book and see if he was successful. 4.5/5 stars CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Sea Adventures, Techno-thrillers

ASIN : B00LXRJICK
Print Length: 486 pagesPublication Date: July 14, 2014
Source: BookBub
Title Link: Leap

Add to Goodreads

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

Michael C Grumley - authorThe Author: For years, Michael Grumley dreamed of writing thrillers the way he thought they should be written; complex, multi-genre stories with unique plots that ‘move’. Enter BREAKTHROUGH, AMID THE SHADOWS, and THROUGH THE FOG: all deeply human stories with endings you will never see coming.

Michael C. Grumley lives in Northern California with his two young daughters. He’s an avid reader, runner and most of all father. He dotes on his girls every chance he gets. His website is http://www.michaelgrumley.com and his email address is michael@michaelgrumley.com

He is currently working on the next Breakthrough story.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Deadly Weapon (Jake Wolfe Book 5) by Mark Nolan – a #BookReview #thrillerbooks

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”—Carl Jung

Book Blurb:

Deadly WeaponIn Alaska, a lethal threat is unearthed from the frozen ground. Near Maui, a shipwrecked submarine holds a frightening secret, and on the California coast, war veteran Jake Wolfe races against time to uncover a conspiracy.

When a master plan emerges that has the potential not only to threaten Jake’s city, but to kill off targeted populations around the world, Jake embarks on a desperate search-and-destroy mission in order to protect the lives of everyone he knows and cares for. His target? A group of rogue operatives planning mass murder.

With assassins on his trail, and the clock ticking, Jake must trace the path that will finally bring him face-to-face with the psychopathic genius who wants to remake the world.

Deadly Weapon is part of a series, but may be read as a stand-alone novel.

My Thoughts

This is Book 5 of the Jake Wolfe series and how many have I read? ALL OF THEM. I just love the duo of Jake and Cody—well, Cody maybe a little more—but these two are beyond engaging. Intelligent, fast, cunning, capable, but tender and hot at the same time—and that’s just the dog! There is something overwhelming in the attraction of Jake—perhaps that “animal magnetism.” (snicker, snicker)

In this series entry, Jake’s Alaskan holiday is interrupted by a call to action and he’s swept up and away to a mission not wholly successful…it will continue back home in the Bay Area of California. He is living gratis in Sausalito on the yacht Far Niente thanks to a buddy across the pond for a year. Damn, I get such pangs when he gets to describing the Pacific, that wonderful all pervading salt water open ocean air atmosphere. “He felt the need for some vitamin sea.”

Anyway, it’s a nasty consortium of people (working towards a one-world totalitarian oligarachy) bent on eliminating certain populations around the globe. The mission will be undertaken in fits and starts as they gain intel. Jake (Jukebox) is a Marine combat veteran, but not out of the “above top secret” classification that has pulled him in before on classified missions. Highly trained, athletic, weapons ready, and deadly, he takes Cody without question of his orders.

“Sometimes I think the hardest part of war is coming home.”

So much intelligence here, both in weapons, locations, and personnel, it’s scary—hard to separate fact from fiction except that this narrative barrels through heart-stopping action (okay—some over-the-top action even) that has you groaning at the odds and cheering at the accomplishments. (Reference to the U-505 submarine on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago—I’ve seen it—OMG!) Page-turning, non-stop action that includes many of his previous Marine buddies (also back to civilian life), including his best buddy Terrell Hayes (Grinds), SFPD Homicide Detective. This plot is just a little close to current global events and difficult to put down.

Deadly WeaponThe author’s writing style has evolved, relaxed a bit in Book 5, becoming more graphic, letting that ole testosterone fly, and having Jake speaking more brazenly—irreverent—and I blinked several times, but even so, the well-plotted novel is descriptive, immersive, and prose laden. There is the thread of a romance between Jake and Sarah, a veterinarian, but it weaves that thread carefully through the outline, allows the plot to naturally progress to a conclusion that has you craving Book 6.

Yes, it’s a series, and you don’t have to start at Book 1, this can work as a standalone, but you’d be missing out on a lot of fun. You’ll have no problem getting to know these series characters and fall in love with that dog as well. Full of suspense, take your blood pressure medication, as this action-thriller will have you hanging by a nail. Wildly entertaining, tales with fascinating bits of information slipped in before you realize you are learning something, wonderful strong studly characters (man and dog). This one is for you and it’s out now.

(Links to my reviews for series books 1-4 below in the author bio.) 

FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

His Thoughts

Clandestine operations are not for the faint of heart. Jake Wolfe is never really on vacation. His summer getaway is interrupted by a frantic call and a helicopter taking him to a remote Inuit village. Salmon fishing and an escape with his wartime K-9 survivor dog Cody, is curtailed. Can they stop a diabolical group of billionaires from getting their hands on an active strain of the deadly 1918-19 flu virus? They have dug up a body containing the virus buried in an old Inuit graveyard.

Controlling the world population through germ warfare has been attempted throughout history. The number of potential fatalities from this flu strain is staggering to consider. Can the perpetrators be stopped before developing a massive biological weapon? Mark Nolan examines this issue with his usual masterful storytelling capability. I would never want to be in Jakes’ or his dogs’ shoes.

Cody, a decorated war dog and hero, accompanies Jake on most elements of the case. His tracking and identification capabilities are integral to solving most cases. Time is always a key factor in stopping those who would do great harm to our nation. Cody has the rank of sergeant in the Marine Corp while Jake is a corporal. Cody will warm up to anyone given instructions to do so. Casual petting without being invited to do so can result in loss of body parts.

This is my second book by Mark Nolan and I enjoy his writing style, although he portrays the world as a place with few hidden safe spots. Jake continually looks for reasons why the Feds and his handler can locate him so quickly, which adds spice to the stories. CE Williams

I find the use of some of the weapons to be extremely graphic and frightening. As a normal citizen I’d rather not know some of these facts. I find the stories engaging, although I lost a little sleep over this novel. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Action-Thrillers. 5 stars CE Williams

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Medical Thrillers, Financial Thrillers, Sea Adventures Fiction
ASIN : B08BFCV7GR
Print Length: 308 pages
Publication Date: August 31, 2020
Source: Author Request

Title Link: Amazon

Mark Nolan - authorThe Author: Mark Nolan was born near the sea shore and has enjoyed boating, fishing, scuba diving and exploring in Florida, Mexico, California, Hawaii, etc. If you like dogs, boats, ocean beaches, and action movies … you’ll probably enjoy reading Mark’s books.

Mark’s books in order: 1. Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie. 2. Vigilante Assassin. 3. Killer Lawyer. 4. San Diego Dead. 5. Deadly Weapon. 6. Key West Dead.

Subscribe to Mark Nolan’s reader newsletter for updates, specials, and to be notified when a new book is available. Please visit marknolan.com.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Murder at an Irish Christmas (An Irish Village Mystery Book 6) by Carlene O’Connor

“She only speaks music.”

Book Blurb:

Murder at an Irish Christmas by Carlene O'Connor

Garda Siobhán O’Sullivan’s holiday plans hit a sour note when murder rearranges the yuletide carols into unexpected eulogies . . .
 
This December in Kilbane, if you’re planning to warm up with a cuppa tea at Naomi’s Bistro, you may have a bit of a wait—the entire O’Sullivan brood has gone off to West Cork to spend the holidays with brother James’s fiancée Elise’s family, including her grandfather, the famous orchestral conductor Enda Elliot. Siobhán is so happy for James and Elise but also quietly disappointed that she must put her own wedding to fellow garda Macdara Flannery on hold. Mac will have to join them later, so he can spend part of the holidays with his mam.
 
When the O’Sullivans learn everyone will choose a name from a hat to buy a music-related Christmas gift for someone else at the gathering, it seems like their greatest concern—until the cantankerous conductor is discovered crushed under a ninety-pound harp in a local concert hall.
 
With the extended family—including Enda’s much-younger new wife Leah, a virtuoso violinist—suspected in his murder, it’s up to Siobhán to ensure the guilty party faces the music. But as a snowstorm strands both families in a lavish farmhouse on a cliff, Siobhán had better pick up the tempo—before the killer orchestrates another untimely demise . . .

Book Review:

Oh my stars is this novel packed with characters! Normally, that overwhelms me, but not this time—these are large families—but not like we’ll get to know them all.

In this entry to the series, protagonist and Guarda Siobhán O’Sullivan is out of her element as well as district when she puts her own wedding aside to join brother James and his fiancé Elise at her family’s estate in West Cork for the Christmas holiday celebration.It’s not just a full house, but the cottages as well as they begin the task of creating their own Christmas decorations while they join with Elise in her family’s Christmas traditions, which includes a “secret Santa” style of gift-giving. Her extended family includes her grandfather, a famous orchestral conductor as well as his much young wife. His orchestra is poised to present an outstanding concert and all the members are present. Unfortunately, it is he who is picked off shortly after the O’Sullivans get settled.

Murder at an Irish Christmas by Carlene 'Connor

I enjoy this series, the female Guarda O’Sullivan, even if she is tall, red-haired, and pretty. Her own fiancé, Macdara Flannery, is no slouch. Despite trying to stay out of the murder investigation, you know that won’t happen and sooner or later Dara joins her. Then it’s a long list of suspects between the family drama, the mystery, and the orchestra members.

I always enjoy the immersion into Irish culture, lore, food, unpronounceable names…and descriptions of the countryside. (If you missed my review of Book 4, read it here, Book 5 here.) The well-plotted narrative is an easy pace and often punctuated with that great Irish sense of humor I’ve come to expect from the author and the enlivening and perceptive dialogue. There are an abundance of red herrings and twists, and the conclusion may surprise the reader. It’s been fun and I’m looking forward to Book 7.

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

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars

4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery and Crime, Cozy Mystery

Publisher: Kensington Books

ASIN : B085LT73HG

Print Length: 252 pages

Publication Date: to be released October 27, 2020

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Links:

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Carlene O'Connor - author

The Author: Carlene O’Connor comes from a long line of Irish storytellers. Her great-grandmother emigrated from Ireland to America during the Troubles, and the stories have been flowing ever since. Of all the places across the pond she’s wandered, she fell most in love with a walled town in County Limerick and was inspired to create the town of Kilbane, County Cork. Carlene currently divides her time between New York and the Emerald Isle.

http://www.carleneoconnor.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Come Marching Home by Hazel West – #fantasy #giveaway – #bookreview

Come Marching Home Blog Tour

Synopsis:

After being away for over a year, Alfonse Keller has returned from the trenches on Teuton’s western front, fighting in the war that’s broken out against the Steppes. He should feel relieved now that’s he’s back in his own village in the care of his brother Ernst, but he’s not. It seems like nothing has changed except for him, like he’s a traveler from a different world.

When Alfonse left to join the army, he was a natural magician making a name for himself, but after a tragic incident resulting in the death of his friend, and his own crippling injury, he no longer has the ability to use magic.

Suffering from constant nightmares and revisited trauma, Alfonse can’t get the trenches out of his head. Ernst tries to help, but he doesn’t really understand either. How can he, when Alfonse doesn’t really understand himself? He feels like a phantom, standing on the outskirts of a life he’ll never live again.

As Ernst tries to do everything he can for his brother, he can’t help but feel like Alfonse is slipping away, that maybe part of him never left the trenches at all. But how can he save his brother when Alf refuses to let anyone in?

My Thoughts

come-marching-homeI definitely went into this one without remembering that it is a fantasy-history fantasy. Sergeant Major Alphonse Keller has returned to Coldbrooke from the Teutonic-Steppes war a different man than the boy who left home and his older brother, Ernst, a healer. It was deemed that Ernst was of more service in the little village than at the western front.

It’s a bewildering and confusing time and Alfonse has returned with a horrendous case of PTSD before it was truly given a name and understood and guilt over having lived (albeit with serious injuries of his own) when his childhood friend and war buddy died.  

He is still beset with ugly nightmares, terrors, and sweats and is a greater problem to heal than his brother has confronted prior. Ernst cannot get a handle on how to treat him, care for him, or get him over this to once again return to a normal, or near normal, life. Alphonse rescues a dog, more savagely wounded than he, and he finds a temporary respite in caring for the dog.

Alphonse used to be a magician and he wielded his magic against his enemies until that fateful skirmish in the tunnel. Even after a truce is declared and the remaining men of the village return, it seems Alphonse continues to revisit the trenches and the tunnel incident that sent him home. Each man has compartmentalized their experience in their own way–some better–several as bad. 

Regardless the age, the country, or the century, war is hell. And war, no matter when, exacts the same terrible price on those who would fight. Has Alphonse forever lost his way back to his brother and those who would heal him? 

Pre-Order Info

If you pre-order Come Marching Home or just order a copy of it by the end of October (extending because the paperback won’t be available for preorder) You can email the receipt of your purchase to sirwilliamssquire@gmail.com with your address and Hazel will send you a goodie pack!

Link to Amazon 

Goodies

-A bookmark
-A sticker with art by H.S.J. Williams @h.s.j._williams
-A playlist curated by Hazel
-And if you order the paperback, you will get a signed bookplate

Social Links

Blog: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com
Come Marching Home on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54493656-come-marching-home
Goodreads Author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5289626.Hazel_B_West
Twitter: https://twitter.com/artfulscribbler
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/modern_bard67/
Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/hazelwest

Purchase links

Smashwords
Kindle 

Giveaway

Click for your chance to win one of two signed copies of the book plus swag packs in this Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Details

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Publisher:

  • ASIN : B08K8SNKD8

Print Length: 279 pages
Publication Date: October 13, 2020

About the Author

Hazel West - authorHazel B. West is the author of several novels including historical titles like On a Foreign FieldBy Blood or By BondWolfsblood, a book about werewolves in Roman Britain and the Modern Tales of Na Fianna series, which feature modern Irish warriors with swords and fast sports cars and lots of faeries.

Hailing from Purgatory (aka, Florida) Hazel is an indie author, book wyrm, and coffee connoisseur. She typically enjoys writing books with an unconventional flair, probably with a bit of folklore and mythology, most definitely with a lot of siblings or brothers-in-arms. When she’s not writing, she manages an Etsy shop, drinks a lot of coffee, listens to music, haunts conventions, or just holes up like an eldritch horror and binges her favorite shows—for inspiration. If you meet this rare creature on the street, she has been known to respond to the offer of coffee and old bookstores. But it’s probably best you try to contact her online first. 

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Watch Her Vanish: (Redux of the) Rockwell and Decker Book 1 by Ellery A Kane  – A #BookReview  – #policeprocedural

OOPS! The CE finished the book, gave me his review and I published it on September 27. See that review here. However, we were invited by Gail Torr as part of Galaxy Media USA to participate in the book tour currently unfolding. Mia culpa—in the meantime—I’ll repeat his review and please enjoy the tour!

Watch Her Vanish by Ellery Kane

 

Readers love Watch Her Vanish:

PERFECTION! Be prepared to skirt your responsibilities because you won’t want to put this book down… keeps you guessing until the end. I cannot wait for the next installment!’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars

A taut fast-paced thriller in every sense of the word. Dark and oozing with suspense. Well plotted and stunningly written. Loved it!’ Kelly Russo Reviews, 5 stars

WOWZA!!!… I cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment in this series!’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars

Absolutely fantastic… I couldn’t put it down once I started.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

A scream!…  Grabs a hold of you and keeps you reading till the end!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Loved!! Everything about this book was spot-on!…  I was pulled in from the beginning and it didn’t let up once! Can’t wait for book 2.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘A fantastic book. Like wow! I really got into this read This book will draw you in and you won’t be able to stop.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Grabs you by the heart, then grabs you by the throat and shakes up all your cells.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Book Blurb:

The beam from the lighthouse slices through the dawn sky as she runs down the rocky stairway to the beach. She tries to take it all inthe waves crashing against the cliffs, the whip of salt grass in the windbefore finally dragging her eyes down to the innocent girl’s blonde hair, strewn across the bottom step like seaweed…

Returning home to Fog Harbor, California, to be closer to her little sister, Olivia Rockwell is struggling to adjust to life in a town so small she can hardly breathe. That is, until the sound of a scream leads her to the body of a local teacher in the shallows nearby. All the evidence points to Olivia’s most threatening criminal psychology patient, Drake, who is safely locked up behind bars…

Convinced of Drake’s innocence—and desperate to believe in the system that’s keeping her murderer father in prison and away from her sister—Olivia gets to work on her own suspect list. All her life she’s run towards trouble, but this time she’s treading on the toes of Detective Will Decker, whose past mistakes mean this case is his last chance to make amends.

Then a second woman’s body is discovered, strangled while out on an evening jog. The strip of blue material used to choke her implicates Drake once again, forcing Will to admit he needs Olivia’s special talent for understanding the minds of killers. It’s clear more innocent women will die if they don’t get one step ahead of the murders, and Olivia knows she will need her estranged father’s help to get close to Drake.

But when Olivia’s profile leads them to believe Drake could be masterminding murders from within the prison walls, a message written on a scrap of paper found in the latest victim’s car leads them to a terrifying realization: Olivia’s little sister will be next…

An addictive and unputdownable crime thriller that will keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of Melinda Leigh, Kendra Elliot and Mary Burton.

His Review:

Watch Her Vanish by Ellery KaneMurder intricately designed in a maximum-security prison. Ms. Kane has developed characters that are both engaging and exasperating. Heap that on a prison system with type A personalities and both officers and inmates jostling for position and control and the plot develops. Both the men and women charged with rehabilitating the criminals and the criminals themselves seem hell-bent on controlling the entire system.

Olivia Rockwell is a Doctor of Psychology who strives to rehabilitate these hardened convicts. A mysterious murder of one of the workers at the prison opens the narrative. She and her younger sister Emily are working at the prison and trying to make the prisoners lives better and more productive. But at what personal psychological costs do these prison workers pay for their attempts at helping? Law enforcement and the wardens at times seem to be on the opposite end of this rehabilitation tug-of-war.

Crescent Bay State Prison set in northern California’s north coast is the place where dangerous killers and hardened career criminals reside. The other residences are career prison workers who have been washed out of other California prisons. They are all very smart and crafty and have been trained by the hard knocks of the California Penal System. Add to this the dregs of Bay Area gangs like The Oaktown Boys who wield tremendous influence in all prisons and the plot matures.

I found myself wondering why seemingly intelligent and highly trained women would devolve into situations which led them to being at risk. The further into the narrative I got, the more I began to wonder; can these people be so naïve and stupid? After a couple of similar killings, I would have expected the characters to wise up and not put themselves in threatening and exposed positions. Foggy and cold nights on the northern California coast are not really inviting times to be on the backroads at night, especially knowing there have been some gruesome killings.

Will Decker is a career law enforcement officer who is attracted to Olivia and is charged with finding the killer or killers. The prime suspect is a career criminal who has written a best-selling novel. He is closely watched by everyone and held in maximum security and yet appears to get out and commit the crimes.

The twist at the end of the book caught me unprepared. I recalled dealing in psych wards with people who seemed very normal and suddenly turned into psychiatric basket cases. I did not expect this to happen with people who had so much education and training. My kudos to the author for delving into that aspect. I also appreciated the lack of gratuitous hot sex scenes. Rather, this author made the characters more believable by pointing out their insecurities. CE Williams

I recommend you set aside a good time period to read this tale, as it really isn’t one you can take all at once—at times moving at a rather slow pace. I had a few problems with the protagonist and Detective Decker is a bit cliché. Be aware of the cliffhanger ending. A good pot of coffee or a glass of wine will help. CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural, Serial Killer Thriller, Organized Crime Thriller
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B08D3X8Y2X

Print Length: 441 pages
Publication Date: October 9, 2020
Title Link: Watch Her Vanish [Amazon]

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Ellery A Kane - authorThe Author: Forensic psychologist by day, novelist by night, Ellery Kane has been writing–professionally and creatively–for as long as she can remember. Just like many of her main characters, Ellery loves to ask why, which is the reason she became a psychologist in the first place. Real life really is stranger than fiction, and Ellery’s writing is often inspired by her day job. Evaluating violent criminals and treating trauma victims, she has gained a unique perspective on the past and its indelible influence on the individual. And she’s heard her fair share of real life thrillers.

Ellery lives in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, a picturesque setting that provides the backdrop for many of her novels. If you don’t find Ellery interviewing murderers behind prison walls or pecking away at her latest novel, she is probably at the gym landing a solid jab-cross to a punching bag; riding bicycles with her special someone; or enjoying a movie the old-fashioned way–at the theater with popcorn and Milk Duds.

Ellery was previously selected as one of ten semifinalists in the MasterClass James Patterson Co-Author Competition, and she recently signed a three book deal with Bookouture for her new Rockwell and Decker mystery thriller series. The first book is scheduled for release in 2020.

If you’d like to receive a notification when new books are released, please sign up for Ellery’s newsletter at ellerykane.com. Ellery also signs e-books on authorgraph.com.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

The Darkest Evening: A Vera Stanhope Novel: Vera Stanhope Book 9 by Ann Cleeves – An #Audiobook Review – #policeprocedural

“From Ann Cleeves – New York Times best-selling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows – comes the stunning new Vera Stanhope novel, The Darkest Evening.” 

The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves

Book Blurb:

On the first snowy night of winter, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope sets off for her home in the hills. Though the road is familiar, she misses a turning and soon becomes lost and disorientated. A car has skidded off the narrow road in front of her, its door left open, and she stops to help. There is no driver to be seen, so Vera assumes that the owner has gone to find help. But a cry calls her back: a toddler is strapped in the back seat.

Vera takes the child and, driving on, she arrives at a place she knows well. Brockburn is a large, grand house in the wilds of Northumberland, now a little shabby and run down. It’s also where her father, Hector, grew up. Inside, there’s a party in full swing: music, Christmas lights, and laughter. Outside, unbeknownst to the revelers, a woman lies dead in the snow.

As the blizzard traps the group deep in the freezing Northumberland countryside, Brockburn begins to give up its secrets, and as Vera digs deeper into her investigation, she also begins to uncover her family’s complicated past.

My Review:

Ugh! I really hate it when I discover a new author (to me) and then realize I had no clue just how well established or far-reaching the author is—apparently to the rest of the world. Why am I always the last to know?

So, my first experience with the author, much less the character of Vera, a DCI in Northumberland. She is a what? Gasp! Not just a woman—also a “mature” woman.  Well, not so sold or engaged in probably the first quarter of the book—not like there was a lot of backstory going on. After the initial scene—that of Vera discovering a car off the road in a snowstorm…with the doors open…with a baby strapped inside—things tend to bog down just a tad.

The Darkest Evening by Ann CleevesIt’s the estate of distant relatives, aristocrats with which her family was estranged, and they are having a party in the country house. No cell service, she slogs to the house with the toddler to notify her office and get some help finding the person who abandoned the car. Who would seek help but leave a baby with the doors open? They do find the mother’s body, but she didn’t freeze to death. Lorna Falstone had a history of mental health issues, including anorexia, and was a single mother.

It’s a small, tight-knit community with the haves and have-nots and few secrets—except perhaps for the identity of the baby’s father. Character-driven, a study in the dysfunction of the well-to-do as well as those working their land.

I was sympathetically engaged with Vera—she was fighting an uphill battle in her position—but now add her age to that and she sees her share of discrimination. She is supported by a team, that of DS Joe Ashworth (not so supportive) and DC Holly Jackman (guardedly supportive and) smart enough to watch the master at work and learn. Vera is often the target of Joe’s wife who says he works too hard and too many hours. I appreciated the character of Holly—she is content being unconsciously mentored by Vera—and she’s a sponge. There is a grudging and growing respect between both of them. Holly often sees the path Vera is taking—anticipating the path—and providing timely support.

As Vera continues to interview and investigate, gradually gleaning clues and pursuing leads, little secrets and family dynamics are peeled back and exposed. Vera leads with a strong protagonist, no-nonsense, take no prisoners attitude.

The well-plotted storyline leads inexorably to the perpetrator with one further casualty into the investigation and a thrilling heart-stopping conclusion. Janine Birkett does an admirable job as narrator, quietly adding emotion and tension. The atmospheric woodsy setting, dark and cold, hand-warming tea cups and biscuits or brandy paints a quiet, rural, but deadly setting and adds to the creepiness of the scenes bringing to the forefront the poem by Robert Frost:

“…The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”

And I didn’t even know I was a (Robert Frost) Ann Cleeves fan. But I do now. And I’ll be looking for more of her books (and probably the TV series as well).

Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery & Crime, Women Sleuth Mysteries, Police Procedural Mysteries
Publisher:  A Macmillan Audio production from Minotaur Books

  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:

ASIN: B084D6ZP74
 Print Length: 379 pages
Listening Length: 11 hrs, 16 mins.
Narrator: Janine Birkett
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Darkest Evening

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

Ann Cleeves - authorThe Author: Ann [Cleeves] is the author of the books behind ITV’s VERA, now in it’s third series, and the BBC’s SHETLAND, which will be aired in December 2012. Ann’s DI Vera Stanhope series of books is set in Northumberland and features the well loved detective along with her partner Joe Ashworth. Ann’s Shetland series bring us DI Jimmy Perez, investigating in the mysterious, dark, and beautiful Shetland Islands…

Ann grew up in the country, first in Herefordshire, then in North Devon. Her father was a village school teacher. After dropping out of university she took a number of temporary jobs – child care officer, women’s refuge leader, bird observatory cook, auxiliary coastguard – before going back to college and training to be a probation officer.

While she was cooking in the Bird Observatory on Fair Isle, she met her husband Tim, a visiting ornithologist. She was attracted less by the ornithology than the bottle of malt whisky she saw in his rucksack when she showed him his room. Soon after they married, Tim was appointed as warden of Hilbre, a tiny tidal island nature reserve in the Dee Estuary. They were the only residents, there was no mains electricity or water and access to the mainland was at low tide across the shore. If a person’s not heavily into birds – and Ann isn’t – there’s not much to do on Hilbre and that was when she started writing. Her first series of crime novels features the elderly naturalist, George Palmer-Jones. A couple of these books are seriously dreadful.

In 1987 Tim, Ann and their two daughters moved to Northumberland and the north east provides the inspiration for many of her subsequent titles. The girls have both taken up with Geordie lads. In the autumn of 2006, Ann and Tim finally achieved their ambition of moving back to the North East.

For the National Year of Reading, Ann was made reader-in-residence for three library authorities. It came as a revelation that it was possible to get paid for talking to readers about books! She went on to set up reading groups in prisons as part of the Inside Books project, became Cheltenham Literature Festival’s first reader-in-residence and still enjoys working with libraries.
Ann Cleeves on stage at the Duncan Lawrie Dagger awards ceremony

Ann’s short film for Border TV, Catching Birds, won a Royal Television Society Award. She has twice been short listed for a CWA Dagger Award – once for her short story The Plater, and the following year for the Dagger in the Library award.

In 2006 Ann Cleeves was the first winner of the prestigious Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award of the Crime Writers’ Association for Raven Black, the first volume of her Shetland Quartet. The Duncan Lawrie Dagger replaces the CWA’s Gold Dagger award, and the winner receives £20,000, making it the world’s largest award for crime fiction.

Ann’s success was announced at the 2006 Dagger Awards ceremony at the Waldorf Hilton, in London’s Aldwych, on Thursday 29 June 2006. She said: “I have never won anything before in my life, so it was a complete shock – but lovely of course.. The evening was relatively relaxing because I’d lost my voice and knew that even if the unexpected happened there was physically no way I could utter a word. So I wouldn’t have to give a speech. My editor was deputed to do it!”

The judging panel consisted of Geoff Bradley (non-voting Chair), Lyn Brown MP (a committee member on the London Libraries service), Frances Gray (an academic who writes about and teaches courses on modern crime fiction), Heather O’Donoghue (academic, linguist, crime fiction reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement, and keen reader of all crime fiction) and Barry Forshaw (reviewer and editor of Crime Time magazine).

Ann’s books have been translated into sixteen languages. She’s a bestseller in Scandinavia and Germany. Her novels sell widely and to critical acclaim in the United States. Raven Black was shortlisted for the Martin Beck award for best translated crime novel in Sweden in 200.
Bio and photo from Goodreads.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Reference and partial quote in the book from the poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost (1874-1963)

I Jonathan: A Charleston Tale of the Rebellion by George WB Scott – A #BookReview – #historicalfiction #TuesdayBookBlog

“The book is pro-South, but not pro-Confederate.” …

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars

5 stars

Book Blurb:

NEW CIVIL WAR NOVEL SEES CONFLICT THROUGH NEW EYES

First-time novelist George WB Scott debuts a novel that offers a thrilling glimpse of Civil War Charleston through the eyes of a newcomer from Boston.

Readers join the main character of “I Jonathan, A Charleston Tale of the Rebellion” on his journey as a young man, marooned in a strange city just as the Civil War begins. His relationships with working men and women, slaves, merchants, planters, spies, inventors, soldiers, sweethearts and musicians tell the story of a dynamic culture undergoing its greatest challenge. Scott’s novel shows the arguments and trials of a wealthy cosmopolitan community preparing to fight a nation superior in manpower and arms.

“I wanted to tell a personal story built on the framework of history,” says Scott, “and the real story is Charleston’s challenges and experience in the war.

“The book is pro-South, but not pro-Confederate. It’s anti-war and anti-slavery. I wanted to go beyond stock characters and themes. I hope this encourages readers to reflect on a people who lived through a fundamental change of their society.”

His Review:

This is a magnificent civil war saga as told by a non-combatant. I was immediately immersed in the confusion and blockade that was the conflict between the North and the South during the American Civil War. Mr. Scott has distilled a myriad of letters into an eye-opening tale of survival during the conflict. I was swept away into another time and developed a kinship to the protagonist, Mr. I. Jonathan Vander.

Raised by a doting mother who falls ill and dies, Jonathan is sent to France by his father after an affair with a younger step-sister. Then his father falls ill and he is sent a bank draft to cover the voyage back to his boyhood home in Boston. The return voyage is interrupted by a rogue wave and Jonathan winds up in Charleston due to needed ship repairs. He misses the boat back to Boston and now being low on funds he is forced to stay in Charleston.

The relationship between the rich and poor in Charleston is apparent throughout the conflict. The rich land owners were able to escape the low country and retreat to the mountains to be cooler during the summers. The plight of the African American slaves was a bit different than expected. They too had a caste system which separated them into very distinct groups. Those that were freed were able to own businesses and controlled other groups of slaves. Jonathan being destitute was hired by one of these freed slaves. This entrepreneur dealt in all kinds of commodities and Jon was able to move easily through the area to collect and deliver the goods.

I was particularly intrigued by the blockade running enterprise of some of the traders. Avoiding Yankee blockades, the blockade runners were able to go to the Bahamas or Nassau and procure everything needed to make life a little more comfortable in the blockaded city. Jon is constantly harassed by the Confederate military because he was young and of the age of conscription. He was carrying papers which detailed his reasons for not being in the military. Being a Boston-Yankee, he avoided fighting with either side but simply fought to survive.

His relationship with a young woman that he saved from a fire is particularly moving. Their near poverty lives came together in comfort during this tumultuous time. Disease was always prevalent and yellow fever and sleeping sickness played a part in everyone’s lives. It seemed nobody was immune from the heartbreak and sorrow that living in marshlands during the summer can bring.

The development of instruments of war is also well described. The ballistics of the weapons and the distances they could shoot with accuracy amazed me. Thirty-five pound cannon balls lobbed into Charleston with various incendiary devices seemed particularly cruel. Simply starting a fire in this timbered city could wipe out major portions of the city and leave inhabitants destitute. This became an everyday event in the latter parts of the war.

CE Williams

Give yourself a block of time to allow yourself to be taken back to this era. It’s frighteningly eye-opening. The relationships of the inhabitants and their struggles are a rewarding infusion of knowledge. The tale is an immersion into another time and place. 5 stars CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Kindle eBooks (Historical Fiction)

Publisher: Archetype Imprints

ASIN : B08GH3YPJ1

Print Length: 442 pages

Publication Date: August 21, 2020

Source: Direct author request

Title Link: I Jonathan [Amazon]

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George WB Scott-author

The Author: George WB Scott was born in Stuart, Florida where he lived until he went to college in North Carolina. He graduated from Appalachian State University and went into television news in Tennessee. He is now an independent video producer and lives in Knoxville with his wife Mary Leidig.

His childhood memoir “Growing Up In Eden” explores experiences of his youth and of Martin County during the 1960s and 1970s. It includes more than a hundred photographs, mostly taken by the author just before the 2004 hurricanes, and has a CD with a screensaver of photographs and music by Gatlinburg acoustic guitarist Bill Mize.

In autumn of 2020 he will release his first novel, “I Jonathan, a Charleston Tale of the Rebellion.” More information is available on my blog at http://www.southernrocket.net/i-jonathan

(c) 2020 CE Williams – V Williams

V Williams

Without a Brew: A Sloan Krause Mystery Book 4) by Ellie Alexander – a #BookReview #cozymystery

“Life is what happens between coffee and beer.”

Book Blurb:

Amateur sleuth Sloan Krause delves into a murderous winter wonderland in another delightful mystery from cozy writer Ellie Alexander, Without a Brew.

It’s winter in the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, Washington, which for local brewmaster Sloan Krause means lots of layers, pine and citrus-flavored craft beers, and getting the new guest rooms at Nitro into pristine condition before visitors flood in for IceFest—a local tradition filled with fireworks, ice carving, and winter games of all varieties. But Sloan and her boss Garrett quickly learn that being brewkeepers turned innkeepers may not be as idyllic as it sounded.

While one couple staying with them seems completely smitten, a flashy group arrives in the evening demanding rooms. Sloan and Garrett are less than impressed, but agree to rent to them anyway. The night takes a turn when brewery patron Liv Paxton finishes her frothy pint and, with no previous plan for an overnight stay in Leavenworth, eagerly takes Sloan up on the offer of sanctuary from the snow—until she has a strange run in with some locals and the other guests. Sloan could be imagining things, but when Liv’s room is found trashed the next morning, a hateful message painted on her car, and Liv herself is nowhere to be found, Sloan is convinced another mystery is brewing. With many of the potential suspects hunkering down under Nitro’s roof, she knows her co-workers and friends won’t be safe until she serves up the killer a hoppy pint of justice.

My Review:

I really enjoying tearing into this series as soon as the next book is available. Not a beer drinker, but this series is written so well I’m almost ready to try–it’s right there with soliloquies about wine. Such an art—I’ll bet you never knew!

“The beer thief, or sample thief, as they were sometimes called, was a long plastic device with a gravity valve on the base.” Hmmm…okay.

Sloan Krause is the product of the foster care system, but has found a strong family and idyllic home in Leavenworth, Washington, where she has joined Garrett in crafting unusual beers made from specialty hops and crops unique to the area and the season. They’ve gradually added more services, light snacks and soups and are now looking forward to opening rooms above Nitro as a limited B&B. Her ex is from a strong German family where she honed the knowledge of her craft and learned to love the family she never had. She also has a teenage son, Alex.

In this episode, they are gearing up for IceFest and testing their B&B quarters which has resulted in an eclectic group of guests—opposites on the social pole with one group downright obnoxious, as well as a couple celebrating an anniversary, and a single woman stranded for the night.

So many strong layers here to enjoy: the description of the delightful Bavarian style town nestled in the high mountains of Washington state and the citizens, the information regarding the art of brewing, the equipment, the nuances, ingredients and recipes, Sloan’s mysterious background coming to the fore and its possible connection to her (soon-to-be ex) in-laws, and the mystery itself expertly woven smoothly together. It’s okay that it’s Book 4, the author easily adds bits of pertinent data (no info dump), although these are fun enough to go back and start with Book 1.

The protagonist herself, Sloan, is not an in-your-face amateur sleuth. She doesn’t generally put herself at risk. She is good with people, quietly putting them at ease, and usually gets the clues she’s looking for without their being any the wiser. Also, she works well with local police Chief Meyers, herself an intelligent woman, effective, exchanging hints.

The mystery rides the tide with Sloan’s personal life growth and that of the service industry and occasionally slips in a quick recipe explanation or two. The mystery is not without twists or red herrings. Not like you won’t get a sense of the perp (although once again, not one I wanted it to be). The author builds her characters so three-dimensionally, the reader becomes engaged and except for the rude and crude one, not easy to assign guilt.

Fully invested and rolling in all the layers, the conclusion comes whether or not you’re ready. The storyline has resolved several issues, set up for the next book, and fully cemented you in the series. The only issue I had was of “the sharp edge of the shovel.” Just not sure that’s one you’d walk away from.

I missed the first, but have read and thoroughly enjoyed Books 2 and 3. You should check out this atmospheric and character-driven series. On pre-order now, this one releases in November.  

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my unbiased thoughts.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars

4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Culinary Mystery, Amateur Sleuths

Publisher: Minotaur Books

ASIN : B084M1SDGK

Print Length: 304 pages

Publication Date: November 10, 2020

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

About The Author:

ELLIE ALEXANDER is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses and breweries nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails of Southern Oregon and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. She is the author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series and the Sloan Krause Mysteries. Follow her on social media to learn more about her books, see her recipe videos, and participate in fun giveaways!

Find out more about Ellie and her books by visiting her here:
Website: https://www.elliealexander.co/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ellie_alexander
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/elliealexanderauthor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elliealexanderauthor
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/BakeshopMystery
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/elliealexander

(C) 2020 V Williams

V Williams

Mordecai’s Ashes (Larsson Investigations Book 1) by Alana Crane – a #BookReview

Your next PI/Crime Fiction–#mustread

Book Blurb:

Karl Larsson is an out of work roughneck, home from the oil fields of Alberta and back on the coast for the first time in years. His wife has left him and his future looks bleak. Becoming a detective is the last thing on his mind, but when Karl learns that he has inherited his estranged grandfather’s agency he decides to take a chance.

He doesn’t expect much action in a city as small as Victoria, BC, but Karl soon finds that Victoria is only the base of operations. His grandfather’s business took him across the length and breadth of Vancouver Island, and the Island is a world unto itself, with a culture all its own.

When a reporter from a national news agency asks him to investigate a drug running operation on the Island, Karl is drawn into a dangerous game. Finding the truth sounds simple in theory, but as Karl delves deeper he begins to realize that more than his life may be at stake.

My Review:

You’ll excuse me if I’m at a loss for words—still sniggering, shaking my head, totally but happily surprised with that little twist at the end of the book and enjoying that afterglow of a hoot of a book that has me amazed this is a debut author.

Karl Larsson is the youngest of his siblings and at the moment out of a job, out of a marriage, and out of luck. He’s currently shuffling aimless when he gets a call from his sister that his aunt Matilda passed away and she’d appreciate it if he would help his mother clear her rental. Following the funeral and reading of her will, he is dumbfounded to discover he has inherited his grandfather’s (Mordecai’s) building and detective agency in Victoria, BC.

He’s young. What does he know? He’s naïve, lacks a lot of street knowledge, but the building and the agency gives him a direction. No license? No prob. What he is is a sympathetic protagonist, an underdog you’ll root for immediately. His head is on straight—he’s a good kid just trying to get along in this world. You can’t help but love him.

Then comes his cousin, Kelsey—she’s only 19—smart as a whip, intuitive, ingenious. She is clever, resourceful, and enormously engaging. You might have grudging respect for her, but she earns it—time and again when she proves an invaluable resource for Karl. You can’t help but love her.

The light-sided search and serve side of the detective agency moves along until a journalist (a former client of Mordecai) comes with a very serious investigation and soon Karl is heavy into the case with the initial support of Kelsey, which quickly turns grim.

The author carefully introduces the circumstances building her characters background, her main characters, and a well-plotted drug running operation into a fast-paced and immersive storyline. I enjoyed the description of the island and the little coastal BC communities. She builds sympathy for Karl; he’s naïve and a quick study, but the reader becomes fearful for him as he succeeds getting deeper into a situation that will not be easy getting out of. Kelsey speaks her mind with knee-jerk reaction and the reader is quickly drawn to her creativity and smarts. She is a strong co-protagonist. Can Karl keep Kelsey safe, much less himself?

The narrative cruises into the conclusion and the dust settles quietly, until little plot points, threads, begin tying off. There were questions, issues to be resolved (after all, this is Book 1) and the reveal at the end is one that will elicit a chuckle. My only problem is the edit misses—but the story and characters really win the day. Brilliant twist. Master storyteller. I’m so looking forward to Book 2!

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts—loved it.

Rosepoint Publishing: Just Shy of Five 

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Book Details:

Publisher: Big Tree Press

Genre: Private Investor Mysteries, Crime Fiction

ASIN : B089LG7BB9

Print Length: 260 pages

Publication Date: June 1, 2020

Source: Publisher and author request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Arlana Crane - author

The Author: Arlana Crane is a fourth generation Vancouver Islander, currently living in Calgary, Alberta with her husband James. She loves to read, write, knit, play the ukulele and attend the theatre. Summer vacations will find her back on her beloved Island, enjoying the ocean and spoiling her niece and nephews. For more information please visit arlanawrites.com.

(C)2020 V Williams

V Williams

Your next crime fiction.

Rosepoint September Reviews Recap—Ouch! It’s October! (And I’m Not Ready.)

What happened to summer? We here in NWI are being plunged into a premature cold start to autumn.

The trees are turning colors and dropping leaves. I’m not a cold weather person and this portends an early and hard winter. NOT a fan. The garden, late starting, underperforming, and just plain embarrassing this year is no longer trying to fake being a vegetable garden, but the mums are beginning to look good in the flower bed. Hum bug.

I’m finally getting used to the old, old WordPress editor and had forgotten how archaic it was, but it’s either that or unrelenting blocks—blocks for text, blocks for pictures, blah, blah, blah. When I looked in vain for indents and symbols (including the copyright symbol I use at the bottom of my posts), I was told, Indents and symbols are not yet available in the block editor, but it’s being worked on all the time with new features being added on a regular basis.” HUH? They’re not kidding. Anyone else having a problem with their new block editor? Did they ever get indents or symbols added? Between the two, I’ll opt for archaic editor.

There was a mix of seventeen books reviewed, blitzed, or toured in September. If you missed any of the reviews, just click on the links below the graphic.

 As the Stars Fall by Steve N Lee  Song for a Lost Kingdom by Steve Moretti The German client by Bruno Marchio Murder Ballad Blues by Lynda McDaniel Final Second by John Ryder Crimson at Cape May by Randy Overbeck One Good Deed by David Baldacci One by One by Ruth Ware Act of Revenge by John Bishop MD The Body from the Past by Judi Lynn Netflix vs Audiobook - Call the Midwife Watch Her Vanish by Ellery A Kane Back Bay Blues by Peter Colt

The Ninth Passage by Dale O Cloninger (a RABT book tour)
As the Stars Fall by Steve N Lee (author request)
Song for a Lost Kingdom by Steve Moretti (a CE review for Digital Reads Book Tours)
The German Client by Bruno Morchio (a CE review – publisher’s request)
Murder Ballad Blues by Lynda McDaniel (author request)
A Girl Like You by Michelle Cox (for iRead Book Tours – audiobook)
Final Second by John Ryder
Crimson at Cape May by Randy Overbeck MD (author request)
The House of the Setting Son by Nancy Cole Silverman
One Good Deed by David Baldacci (audiobook)
One by One by Ruth Ware
Act of Revenge by John Bishop MD
The Body from the Past by Judi Lynn
Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth (Netflix series-audiobook)
Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder by Tina Kashian
Watch Her Vanish by Ellery A Kane (a CE review)
Back Bay Blues by Peter Colt

Only seven of the above are from NetGalley, while another four were author requests, and the three audiobooks are from my library.

Goal AchievedThe challenges: I surpassed my Audiobooks challenge of 15 (Stenographer level 10-15) now at 18. Also achieved 11 for my Renaissance Reader level of 10 in the Historical Challenge. (I didn’t add Call the Midwife.)

climbing out of hole in the wallNetGalley: Seven this month giving me 69 towards my goal of 75. That should be doable.

Goodreads goals—Mercy! I was three behind my goal of 170 when I realized I’d have to revise my goal for the year to 160 as it was becoming obvious that’d be more of a push than I could accomplish. I’m climbing out of a hole but getting there!

Which of the above have you read? On your TBR?

How are you doing with your challenges? Have you had to revise any? Achieved some? Catch up with my challenges here.

In the meantime, fellow bloggers, authors, and lovely readers, take care, stay safe. Once again I’m hoping that wherever you are, you and your situation is getting better and that you remain successful in staying healthy.

And, as always, thank you, I so appreciate your likes and comments!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery Book 5) by Tina Kashian – a #BookReview – #cozymystery

Book Blurb:

Not even her impending nuptials can keep Lucy Berberian, manager of her family-owned Kebab Kitchen, from the Jersey Shore’s annual Polar Bear Plunge. But her dive into the icy ocean is especially chilling when she finds a fellow swimmer doing the dead man’s float—for real . . .
 
Who would kill a man in cold blood during Ocean Crest, New Jersey’s most popular winter event? When Lucy learns the victim is Deacon Spooner, the reception hall owner who turned up his nose—and his price—at her wedding plans, she can’t help wondering who 
wouldn’t kill the pompous caterer . . .

Perhaps the culprit is the wedding cake baker whose career Deacon nearly destroyed? Or the angry bride whose reception he ruined? With her maid of honor, Katie, busily planning Lucy’s wedding without her, Lucy will have to get to the bottom of this cold-hearted business in time for Kebab Kitchen’s mouthwatering Christmas celebration—and before her hometown’s holiday spirit washes out to sea . . .

My Review:

Not my first go-round with this author and series, and while it would function just fine as a standalone, I started remembering Lucy the protagonist and her support characters. My favorite is always Katie, her BFF, and in this entry to the series pushing Lucy to proceed with her engagement and wedding plans. Lucy has obstinately dug in and refused to budge.

Visiting a possible venue, the owner is seriously rude (to potential clients??!) that she crosses that one off immediately. However, as she’s embroiled in the Polar Bear Plunge, she and Katie brave their way in and leaving the water discover said nasty venue owner on the sand and not moving. She’s not been the only person he was rude to and universally disliked. (Beyond me how he could stay in business.)

One of the universally abused is her friend Susan, owner of the bakery Susie’s Cuties. Having had a run-in or two with the deceased and also in the same frigid water at the same time, the local detective has decided she’s numero uno suspect. You know the drill.

While the quest to clear her friend becomes a driving force, Katie is still busy pushing the wedding bell blues; venue, cake, dress, food, music, photographer…although I must hand it to Katie, she is up front with helping Lucy in her pursuit of the real killer (yes, shh! he was held underwater).

It is a well-plotted book but I had a difficult time getting into the mystery when it slogged along just under the wedding plans and her reticence of making the engagement announcement or wrestling with her qualms of marriage to Azad. He seems like a nice enough guy, hard worker, successful chef in her parents restaurant. Personally, I think that’s a done deal.

The parents and their loving bickering is par for the course. The kitty is a personality as well as her rather nosy landlady. There is naturally a lot of foodie talk—most of it sounded yummy. I was sorry to see revealed in the conclusion the one I suspected but hoped it wasn’t. Also chagrined to see the reason behind the mayhem. Really? I also read One Feta in the Grave but think I actually enjoyed it more.

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

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Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five of Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Culinary Mystery, Amateur Sleuth, Cozy Culinary Mysteries
Publisher: Kensington

  • ASIN : B082WR6DMT

Print Length: 293 pages
Publication Date: To be released September 29, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Tina Kashian - authorThe Author: Tina Kashian, previously published as Tina Gabrielle, is an Amazon bestselling author, an attorney, and a former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. Tina spent her childhood summers at the Jersey shore building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business, as her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. Tina’s books have been Barnes & Noble top picks and on the B&N bestseller’s list. Please visit her website at http://www.tinakashian.com to join her newsletter, receive delicious recipes, enter free contests, and more!

You can also find Tina at:
Facebook: facebook.com/TinaKashianAuthor
Instagram: instagram.com/tinakashian
Twitter: @TinaKashian1
Website: http://www.tinakashian.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

TV Netflix Series vs Audiobook – Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times (The Midwife Trilogy #1) by Jennifer Worth

A True Story of the East End in the 1950s

Netflix vs Audiobook - Call the Midwife

Book Blurb:

Call the Midwife’ is a most extraordinary book and should be required reading of all students of midwifery, nursing, sociology and modern history. It tells of the experiences of a young trainee midwife in the East End of London in the 1950’s and is a graphic portrayal of the quite appalling conditions that the East Enders endured.

My Review:

If you ever feel badly about your childhood, tune into either the Netflix series or the audiobook of Call the Widwife by Jennifer Worth.  At least we had an outhouse—wasps in the summer, black widows otherwise. To hear the deplorable conditions of the East End of London in the 50s, however, is unimaginable. The conditions were horrid. The TV series gives you glimpses, and by the glimpses, I mean also the smells.

The Netflix Series

We discovered this series and immediately set about binge watching. We blazed through the first three episodes and beyond. Inspired by the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, Call the Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse, and Farewell to the East End, the series stays remarkably true to the original trilogy. However, the series took on a life of its own and grew far beyond the original characters into ten episodes with eleven being in the offing and eight, hour long episodes each. How many of those on Netflix? Actually, Season nine isn’t scheduled until 2021.

The show is, of course, a work of fiction, although Worth’s daughters Suzannah Hart and Juliette Walton loves that the performance of Jessica Raine (as Jenny)was terribly anxious that we should be happy with her performance and I think she’s got it just right.” Many of the characters and situations early on were borrowed from the memoirs.

It is Vanessa Redgrave, herself an icon, who narrated three series and then appeared on screen.

It’s eye-opening watching Jenny Lee learn about the slums of postwar Poplar. The characters of Sister Julienne, Cynthia, Chummy, Sister Evangelina, and Sister Monica Joan (among others) are introduced early and quickly claim a place in your heart—cast so exquisitely, and very true to what Worth’s daughters remember. Even the handyman Fred and all his shenanigans are recounted with relish.

The real life Nonnatus House was moved to Birmingham during the 70s. Jennifer Worth died in 2011 at the age of 75. The first episode aired in 2012.

The Audiobook

I’ll admit to being thrown just a bit starting the audiobook, wherein there was a prologue not introduced to the first BBC series episode. Not to fear—it quickly catches up and proceeds with memories, characters, and stories played so well in the TV series that it was easy to remember the episode and circumstance.

What I enjoyed in the audiobook were the jumps into some retrospection of the characters. We get a bit of backstory of the nuns and how they came to be midwives at the Nonnatus House.

Remarkable stories, as are some of the recreations of the accounts of several of the more difficult deliveries, especially as Jenny is being indoctrinated into the system of the House, the nuns, and the other midwives. Talk about heroes. Absolutely jaw-dropping tales of the 50s in London, the men, the women prior to any kind of birth control, the lack of sanitary conditions, clean and accessible water and toilets, and the unfortunate back alley remedy of unwanted pregnancy.

A powerful book relayed in realistic conversational tones of an amazing story, mesmerizing, full of heart and emotion, at times euphorically happy and triumphant and others tragically bewildered or heartbroken.

Overall Impression

If this isn’t a novel you’ve already discovered, I certainly recommend the audiobook. If you have Netflix available and haven’t already binge watched—check it out. Either way, this is a win-win.

Book Details:

Genre: Biography
Publisher:  Audible Audio

  • ASIN: B01N8XUV0Y
  •  Print Length: 352 pages

Listening Length: 12 hrs 1 min
Narrator: Nicola Barber
Publication Date: September 10, 2012
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)

Title Link: Call the Midwife [Amazon]
 

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Jennifer Worth - authorThe Author (Goodreads): [Jennifer] Worth, born Jennifer Lee while her parents were on holiday in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, was raised in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. After leaving school at the age of 14, she learned shorthand and typing and became the secretary to the head of Dr Challoner’s Grammar School. She then trained as a nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, and moved to London to receive training to become a midwife.

Lee was hired as a staff nurse at the London Hospital in Whitechapel in the early 1950s. With the Sisters of St John the Divine, an Anglican community of nuns, she worked to aid the poor. She was then a ward sister at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in Bloomsbury, and later at the Marie Curie Hospital in Hampstead.

She married the artist Philip Worth in 1963, and they had two daughters.

Worth retired from nursing in 1973 to pursue her musical interests. In 1974, she received a licentiate of the London College of Music, where she taught piano and singing. She obtained a fellowship in 1984. She performed as a soloist and with choirs throughout Britain and Europe.

She later began writing, and her first volume of memoirs, ‘Call the Midwife’, was published in 2002. The book became a bestseller when it was reissued in 2007. ‘Shadows of the Workhouse’ (2005; reissued 2008) and ‘Farewell to the East End’ (2009) also became bestsellers. The trilogy sold almost a million copies in the UK alone. In a fourth volume of memoirs ‘In the Midst of Life’, published in 2010, Worth reflects on her later experiences caring for the terminally ill.

Worth was highly critical of Mike Leigh’s 2004 film Vera Drake, for depicting the consequences of illegal abortions unrealistically. She argued that the method shown in the movie, far from being fairly quick and painless, was in fact almost invariably fatal to the mother.

Worth died on 31 May 2011, having been diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus earlier in the year.

A television series, Call the Midwife, based on her books, began broadcasting on BBC One on 15 January 2012.

The Narrator: Nicola Barber is an Audie Award-winning narrator whose voice can be heard in television and radio commercials and popular video games such as World of Warcraft. Nicola is also an Audie nominee in the Solo Female Narration category for her work on Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen and Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth. –This text refers to the audioCD edition.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Attribution: Worth’s personal information from interview with her daughters at Radio Times

The Body from the Past (A Jazzi Zanders Mystery Book 5) by Judi Lynn – a #BookReview – #cozymystery #TuesdayBookBlog

Happy Publication Day!

 Book Blurb:

The Body from the Past by Judi LynnA closed room in her newest fixer-upper leads Indiana house-flipper Jazzi Zanders to reopen a chilling cold case involving a high school girl . . .

Jazzi, her cousin Jerod, and her husband Ansel are preparing to renovate a charming house that reminds her of an English manor. Before purchasing it, they had inspected the house for structural issues, but now when they do a more thorough walk-through, they discover a teenage girl’s bedroom that clearly hasn’t been touched in years. Dust covers the pink canopy bed, clothes still hang in the closet, and a hope chest remains full of journals and memorabilia. They’ve stumbled on a shrine to a dead girl.

They learn Jessica was killed in the middle of her high school graduation party. The murderer was never identified, but the brother-in-law of Jazzi’s friend, who went to school with Jessica, was suspected and never lived it down. He implores Jazzi to review the cold case and finally prove him innocent. Now it’s up to the house-flipper to nail a killer who will do anything to close the door on the past . ..

My Review:

Can’t believe we are already at Book 5 of this series from this prolific writer. This entry to the series veers off just a tad from previous plot lines in that they don’t discover a body in their newest fixer—they discover a locked room that had been the bedroom of the deceased. It’s still the open case of a murder.

The Body from the Past by Judi LynnJazzi, her hubby Ansel, and cousin Jerod are working on another flipper, this time in the little town of Merlot. The room they discover locked was actually that way when the last owner bought and not needing the room simply left it as is. The house has been sold with furnishings and the room in particular left just as the teenager had prior to her untimely death.

They don’t get too deeply into the project before Jazzi is asked to dig into the cold case as the girl’s boyfriend was the prime suspect but never arrested or charged. Still, he is left with the stigma and would like to be cleared, once and for all.

Ah, youthful energy!! Jazzi balances her full on rehab work with the boys as she also prepares their lunches and snacks, meets the girls for their weekly gab fest, and provides a big family dinner every Sunday, as has been her routine now for some time. They have a pug, George, and two kitties that they tend. In between, she begins to read the journal left by the young graduating high schooler. It’s enlightening, but not wholly revealing.

Then a body is found obviously connected to the case which involves Gaff, their local police connection who manages to show up for a lot of lunches (just to exchange information, of course). Now she’ll ramp up her efforts and begin systematic interviews with all involved.

The narrative is well-plotted, the mystery just under the surface, as the three work through their plan for renovation, choosing colors, textures, materials, appliances, and equipment. Having also worked on rehabbing old houses for years, I’m always fascinated with the description of what and how they go about it. Of course, styles and colors have changed a LOT since we worked nights and weekends on our projects while working full-time.

I enjoy the characters and having read several of the books now (including The Body in the Attic and The Body in the Apartment), see a subtle change in dynamics of the main characters. The pacing is just right, working on the mystery, working on the house, working on the family relationships, and working on some pretty interesting food dishes (several included at the back). An easy-in conclusion and the promise of Book 6 and I’m a happy reader.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Lyrical Underground

  • ASIN : B082WRCXS3

Print Length: 204 pages
Publication Date: September 22, 2020

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

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

Judi Lynn - authorThe Author: [Judi Lynn] USA Today Best-selling author for The Body in the Attic.
When I started self-publishing, I wrote urban fantasy as Judith Post. Then my wonderful agent, Lauren Abramo, suggested I try to find a publisher by writing romance, and she was right. I sold my Mill Pond romances to Kensington’s Lyrical Press. After six romances, my equally wonderful editor, John Scognamiglio, asked if I’d like to try to write a mystery. Ironic, because I started writing–forever ago–by writing mystery short stories and selling them. I decided to write about a fixer-upper because my husband and I bought a 1920s small bungalow when we got married, and it needed lots of work. We’re still working on it. And cooking crept into the stories because I LOVE to cook and have friends over to eat supper with us. A lot of my passions have ended up in my books:)

Connect with Judi on Facebook and her blog at Judi Lynn Writes

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Act of Revenge: A Medial Thriller (A Doc Brady Mystery) by John Bishop MD – a #BookReview #medicalthriller

I have a question for you: Can you really enjoy reading a medical thriller? The CE and I read this one.

 Book Blurb:

Act of Revenge by John Bishop MDPlastic surgeon Lou Edwards’s life is complicated by two major issues.

One, his wife has lupus, possibly due to leaking silicone from breast implants Edwards himself inserted. And two, his malpractice insurance has been canceled, as it has been for many other plastic surgeons, due to the burgeoning breast implant problem.

But it gets worse.

Shortly after Edwards threatens an insurance company president on national TV, the president is found murdered in his penthouse.

Dr. Jim Bob Brady once again finds himself doing a bit of investigating, this time on behalf of a colleague. But how well does he know this colleague? Is the investigation worth the threat to Jim Bob’s own life? Will he discover that it was a burglary gone bad? A lover’s quarrel? Or is this an act of revenge?

My Review:

Oh yes, refreshing as it is with down home Dr. Jim Bob Brady. Yeah—Jim Bob. From Texas. He’s an orthopedic surgeon, who, at the age of 51 has decided he’s paid his dues and slacked back a bit from the grind. He has to put in continuing education time for his license—why not a conference in Snowmass, Colorado for a little bit of February skiing?

“He had a full head of thick black curly hair and was ruggedly handsome. I disliked him immediately.”

Act of Revenge by John Bishop MDIf you’ve ever snow skied, you know it’s that last run of the day when your legs feel like jelly but you JUST don’t want to give it up that accidents are most likely to happen. And it does. Doc Brady plows into a lesser skier who turned into his path. And wouldn’t you know? He’s another doctor from his own area of Houston.

No, Jim Bob won’t do the surgery but they do get him back home and one of Brady’s colleagues does the surgery. Dr. Brady and his wife, Mary Louise keeps up on his progress while Mary Louise befriends Lou Edward’s wife. She has lupus and is in ill health due to breast implants Edwards himself insisted she undergo. Of course that opens the disclosure that Dr. Edwards, a plastic surgeon, having been sued in regard to related silicone breast plant injuries, had his malpractice insurance cancelled. Come to find out, so has many other plastic surgeons with the same kind of practice. Their insurance based right in the Houston area.

Hooboy, you do get some medical jargon, but it’s fascinating stuff and really doesn’t slow the well-plotted storyline. I really enjoy that personable Dr. Brady and his family, his friends, the local police with whom he’s worked before. This is Book 3 of the series, but even if you’d not started with Book 1, this would work just fine for you. The characters all work well and it doesn’t take long before you become engaged. So medical malpractice insurance and breast augmentation discussion and can be interesting.

An entertaining medical thriller mystery with a protagonist full of wit and charm, that oozes a sense of humor that’s contagious. (I also enjoyed Book 2, Act of Deception, also an easy read.) It’s a writing style full of tenderness and affection.  The author keeps it on the lighter side. He’s a doctor who is brilliant at what he does and he does enjoy getting into an investigation, even when it appears to be getting dangerous. The 1990s setting puts the reader in an era of medical discovery and technology. The conclusion comes about as easy and satisfying as the rest of the narrative without extended blow-by-blow discussion that extends the page count another twenty. Very entertaining. Trust me.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts. Book 4, please.

His Review:

Could some people need to be dispatched? I nominate Paul Thompson, the head of a malpractice insurance firm, as a possible candidate. He is a bully, rude and despicable to say the least. Doctor Jim Bob Brady, Orthopedic Surgeon, should refrain from investigating. But his friend, Dr. Lou Edwards is missing and presumed to be the villain.

The writer, John Bishop MD, seems to have a lot of time on his hands. He is a practicing physician but still has time to concoct tales of a surgeon who solves crimes in his spare time. Dr. Bishop is good at his hobby! This book is suspenseful and engrossing. I can understand Jim Bob’s attempt to save his friend’s life and reputation but at what cost? Engaged by the Houston Police Department, he investigates the crime while trying to exonerate his associate. They met during a ski accident at Snowmass in Aspen, Colorado. This is a novel way to get new patients.

The locales are colorfully described, particularly the hospital and medical school in Houston. Dr. Bishop also develops his characters with an eye to beauty and detail. The ladies are all beautiful and well educated. Mr. Thompsons’ office has four dedicated and lovely ladies who handle the books and do the daily work as well as the financial tasks.

Self-centered and egotistical Paul pushes everyone around with no care but for himself. As the novel develops his character turns into a despicable victim. Any sympathy for the victim evaporates as you progress through the novel. The drama is captivating and spell-binding. The climax is a surprise and I did not suspect or see it coming.

CE WilliamsI suggest a block of time be set aside to read this tale. Mary Louise, Dr. Jim Bob’s wife, is an empathetic character who would be a jewel for any man. She supports her would be detective husband and the other doctor’s wife throughout the story. The Houston police department accepts the novice’s assistance in solving the crime because of his association with the suspect. A really fun twist to the story. I had trouble sleeping until I finished the book. 5 stars – CE Williams

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Book Details:

Genre: Medical Fiction, Medical Thrillers, Amateur Sleuth
Publisher: Mantid Press

    • ISBN-13 : 978-1734251142
      • ASIN : B08F11BVVW

Print Length: 256 pages
Publication Date: September 10, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 Rosepoint Publishing: Four Point Five of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

John Bishop - author
John Bishop MD

The Author: Lost for over 20 years, Act of Murder is the first rediscovered novel in a new medical thriller series set in the changing environment of medicine in the mid-1990s. Bishop’s sense of humor and surprising wit create a story of medical miscreants capable of murder, mayhem, and greed. His 30 years as a practicing orthopedic surgeon give the reader a unique glimpse into the medical world with all its problems, intricacies and complexities, while at the same time revealing the compassion and dedication of most health care professionals.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

One Good Deed by David Baldacci – An #Audiobook Review – Action & Suspense

Book Blurb:

The number one New York Times best-selling author David Baldacci introduces an unforgettable new character: Archer, a straight-talking former World War II soldier fresh out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit. 

One Good Deed by David BaldacciIt’s 1949. When war veteran Aloysius Archer is released from Carderock Prison, he is sent to Poca City on parole with a short list of do’s and a much longer list of don’ts: do report regularly to his parole officer, don’t go to bars, certainly don’t drink alcohol, do get a job – and don’t ever associate with loose women. 

The small town quickly proves more complicated and dangerous than Archer’s years serving in the war or his time in jail. Within a single night, his search for gainful employment – and a stiff drink – leads him to a local bar, where he is hired for what seems like a simple job: to collect a debt owed to a powerful local businessman, Hank Pittleman. 

Soon Archer discovers that recovering the debt won’t be so easy. The indebted man has a furious grudge against Hank and refuses to pay; Hank’s clever mistress has her own designs on Archer; and both Hank and Archer’s stern parole officer, Miss Crabtree, are keeping a sharp eye on him.  

When a murder takes place right under Archer’s nose, police suspicions rise against the ex-convict, and Archer realizes that the crime could send him right back to prison…if he doesn’t use every skill in his arsenal to track down the real killer.

My Review:

The year is 1949. Aloysius Archer is an Army veteran who has just been released from Carderock Prison. The parole board sent him to Poca City—located somewhere in the southwest I’d guess by the description of wind and sand.

First thing he is supposed to do is check in with his parole agent and get himself established, beginning with a job. His parole officer hands him a full list of do’s and don’ts—mostly don’ts—including booze, bars, and broads. (Hey, it’s 1949—the manner of speech was different then…and this is classic 40s noir.) Of course, the first thing he does is head to the local dive. He might not be looking for trouble, but trouble finds him.

One Good Deed by David BaldacciThe writing style is third person, short and unemotional. It’s impersonal—distant. Not an old TV black and white version of Friday, and definitely on the other side of the law, but close. Archer doesn’t speak a lot of himself but rather his observations. They are jaded, fashioned from the war and his term in prison for a crime of which he was innocent. And there are a lot of observations—telling—not showing.

Still, there is this “job” he’s had dumped into his lap. It’ll mean $100 and also keep him from having to do the job he was to be assigned (which will be described later and enough to turn your stomach). He goes about the investigation-collection cautiously, intelligently, during which we learn a great deal more about the support characters. By learning about the support characters and his interaction with them, we get to know more about Archer. The man. The Army veteran. The ex-con.

There is some rough language, although the reader is not accosted with the liberal use of the F-word like sometimes happens today. There is no sexual content—though it’s implied. It’s a slow burn and for some reason, keeps the reader (or listener) engaged. Like listening in on the neighbors on the other side of paper-thin walls. Gees!

There are some real mean men—a rather realistic, crude, and rude reality check to the way it was back then. The suspense continues to build and the whole storyline goes into a pre-conclusion with both barrels (over and under). Then, just as quickly, like a dispassionate epilogue, pulls all the loose threads together.

I don’t know what I expected. The narrator did an excellent job of keeping his narrative low-key, forcing you to listen to the story and the dialogue. This is a well known author. I’ve certainly seen and recognized the name. Perhaps this is a departure of his normal writing style. I wouldn’t know. This is entertaining but is Book 1 of the series and unless there is an Archer Book 2, may be the first and last. I will say, however, that even were it not, I would sample another of Baldacci’s novels. I’ve got to see if this is his normal writing style.

Book Details:

Genre: Action, Thriller & Suspense Fiction, Historical Fiction, Action, Adventure Fiction
Publisher: Hachette Audio
ASIN: B07STDLH47
 Print Length: 464 pages
Listening Length: 11 hrs, 41 min.
Narrator: Edoardo Ballerini
Publication Date: July 23, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: One Good Deed [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

David Baldacci - authorThe Author: David Baldacci has been writing since childhood, when his mother gave him a lined notebook in which to write down his stories. (Much later, when David thanked her for being the spark that ignited his writing career, she revealed that she’d given him the notebook to keep him quiet, “because every mom needs a break now and then.”)

David published his first novel, ABSOLUTE POWER, in 1996. A feature film followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 41 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers and several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into over 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries, with 150 million copies sold worldwide. David has also published seven novels for younger readers.

David received his Bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, after which he practiced law in Washington, D.C.

David is also the cofounder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across the United States.

David and his family live in Virginia.

Edoardo Ballerini
Edoardo Ballerini – Photo courtesy Wikipedia

The Narrator: (From his website) Edoardo Ballerini is a two time winner of the Audiobook Publishers Association’s Best Male Narrator Audie Award (2013, Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter; 2019, Watchers by Dean Koontz). He has recorded nearly 300 titles, from classic works by Tolstoy, Dante, Kafka, Whitman and Camus, to best-sellers by James Patterson and David Baldacci, and spiritual titles by The Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hahn.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The House of the Setting Son: A Misty Dawn Mystery (Misty Dawn Mysteries Book 3) by Nancy Cole Silverman – a #BookReview – #ghostmysteries

“…the former “Hollywood Psychic to the Stars”… 

Book Blurb:

The House of the Setting SonWhen Misty Dawn, the former “Hollywood Psychic to the Stars,” receives a phone call in the middle of the night, she knows it can’t be good news. Dorine Witherspoon, an actress and former client is in town for the opening of her touring musical and tells Misty the show’s leading lady, Cassie Marx, has disappeared, and the understudy had to go on for her on Opening Night! Misty immediately suspects foul play and when she and Wilson, Misty’s psychic shade, arrive at the theater the next morning, they discover LAPD’s Detective Cesar Romero meeting with the cast and crew. Events on both sides of the veil take a dark turn when Romero asks Misty off the case, and Wilson appears out of his depth with ghosts who want nothing to do with him. Death, close calls, and forces on both sides of the veil threaten to undo Misty and destroy her relationship with Wilson unless she can find Cassie and restore order to the show.

My Review:

Wow, I loved and cover and really wanted to love the book as I enjoy psychic ghost stories. You know I do. But I must have some level of veracity and this falls short.

The House of the Setting Son by Nancy Cole SilvermanMy first experience with the author and the series and I’m still getting used to some of the terminology used for ghosty or psychic stories. I think this is the first time I’ve ran across the term “shade” as it is used for a ghost who is caught behind the veil but not allowed to cross over. In this instance, that’s Wilson. Wilson is just a little TOO over-the-top handy on this side of the veil if he is capable of driving a car. Uh huh…

I like the location of LA/Hollywood and the premise of the old theatre that is going to celebrate one last hurrah—the run of My Fair Lady. Unfortunately, the aging star is murdered and the younger sister—far the better woman for the part—is missing and assumed the perpetrator. A little too obvious, that one. The theatre, with it’s old history, has it’s own ghosts and Wilson manages to get into a hassle with the theatre’s resident ghost.

I also like that Misty, the co-(living)protagonist is a mature person with a plausible history of being a psychic to the stars—and there is some name-dropping here with a well-known politician’s wife who did indeed engage her own. While she coordinates with the LA police, they are reluctant to return the favor.

There is a number of possible perps, some interesting support characters, and the buzz and excitement of the lights and cast, but the thought of the car winding it’s way through LA without a visible driver is just a bit much for me. The conclusion is not really a surprise, and this one may have resolved Wilson’s cross-over. Of course, this is rumored the last in the series, although there is now the specter of a romance between Misty and an ex.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Psychic Mysteries, Ghost Mysteries, Cozy Mystery

  • ASIN : B08F65LCBJ

Print Length: 305 pages
Publication Date: September 4, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 Rosepoint Publishing: Three of Five Stars three stars

Nancy Cole Silverman - author
Nancy Cole Silverman

The Author: After twenty-five years in news and talk radio, Silverman retired to write fiction. In addition to her short stories, Silverman has two series with Henery Press, THE CAROL CHILDS MYSTERIES, featuring a single-mom whose day-job as a radio reporter often leads to long nights as a crime-solver, and the MISTY DAWN MYSTERIES, centered on an aging Hollywood Psychic to the Stars, who supplements her readings working as a consultant to LAPD and the FBI. Silverman lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a thoroughly pampered standard poodle.

©2020 V Williams V Williams