Playing With Fire by Mary Burton – #BookReview – Women’s Crime Fiction

Playing With Fire by Mary Burton

Book Blurb:

Playing with Fire by Mary BurtonAn unsolved mystery ignites a deadly game of chess in this scorching thriller from New York Times bestselling author Mary Burton.

A year after the infamous arsonist Nero was found dead in one of his latest fires, journalist Darcy Sampson receives a tip that the body found at the scene wasn’t Nero at all. Determined to solve the case, Darcy heads to her small hometown in Virginia to track Michael Gannon, an arsonist investigator who refuses to believe that Nero is dead.

But when a new series of fires in the area have a remarkable resemblance to the arsonist’s previous work, Darcy and Gannon are in a race against time to put a stop to Nero once and for all.

But Nero is ready and waiting for them, and he intends on teaching both Gannon and Darcy one last, fatal lesson.

His Review:

A firebug is terrorizing the Washington, D.C. area. Michael Gannon is an investigator whose primary mission is to apprehend the perpetrator. This particular criminal flaunts his crimes and leaves a matchbook with a very unique logo to flaunt his abilities.

Playing With Fire by Mary BurtonNine fires and twelve people died later, the man is identified only by the name “Nero”. The entire D. C. metropolitan area is paralyzed with fear. He always seems to be one step ahead of the investigators. However, in one of the fire scenes, a man found in a fetal position with evidence of the accelerants used on many of the fires leads the coroner to surmise the firebug has been caught in one of his own fires. The fires in the DC area suddenly stop.

Sometimes the worst enemy for investigators and law enforcement are the news people who try to scoop or break the story. The issue with the current string of arsons is a reporter who discloses confidential investigation information to help spark interest in his bylines. The arsonist realizes that the investigation may be getting too close and stops to let the dust clear.

Darcy Sampson is a reporter who decides to leave the DC area and go back to her hometown. Michael Gannon has retired and chooses her hometown as the place he will settle down in retirement. They meet at the strange scene of a fire in her hometown. Gannon’s abrasive demeanor instantly ignites a love/hate relationship.

CE WilliamsNero, the arsonist, misses the fires and the competition between him and Gannon. He happens to choose the same small town for his next fire. The competition is on for another incredible run. Gannon soon realizes that “Nero” the arsonist is certainly not dead. Can the newspaper reporter and Gannon become successful in stopping the arsonist? Fortunes and large properties hang in the balance. This is a fast-paced and gripping novel. Recommended! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Women’s New Adult & College Fiction, Women’s Psychological Fiction, Women’s Crime Fiction
Publisher: HQ Digital
ASIN: B09W8QYG7C
Print Length: 205 pages
Publication Date: May 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Playing With Fire [Amazon.com.uk]

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Mary Burton - authorThe Author: Mary Burton loves writing suspense, researching law enforcement and forensic procedures, morning walks, baking, books, and tiny dachshunds. She also enjoys hunting down serial killers, which she does in her New York Times and USA Today bestselling novels of suspense and romance. Library Journal has compared her work to that of Lisa Jackson and Lisa Gardner, and Fresh Fiction likened her writing to that of James Patterson.

Mary is routinely featured among the top twenty writers in Amazon’s Author Rankings for romantic suspense, and her recent novel The Last Move claimed the number ten fiction slot in the Kindle eBooks Store.

Research is a favorite part of Mary’s day. She never tires of learning more about police work, evidence collection and analysis. She’s known for taking a hands-on approach, whether it means interviews with professionals in the field, forensic seminars or lessons at the firing range.

A Richmond native, Mary has lived there for most of her life. She is a graduate of Virginia’s Hollins University and worked in marketing before she began writing full time. Her first book was published in 2000 and she’s now the author of thirty-four published novels, five novellas and four works of contemporary women’s fiction written as Mary Ellen Taylor.

A member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Novelists, Inc., and Romance Writers of America, Mary is known for creating multiple suspense stories connected by characters, such as her recent The Forgotten Files novels. Her new book, Her Last Word, and The Last Move, break that mold.

When not traveling for research or visiting with readers at bookstores, book festivals and conferences, Mary remains very much a homebody. She and her husband spend time alternately enjoying and lamenting their empty nest and spoiling their four-legged babies Buddy, Bella and Tiki.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Have a great weekend!

Somewhere in the South Pacific (The Todd Ingram Series Book 7) by John J Gobbell – #BookReview – #historicalthrillers

Somewhere in the South Pacific by John J Gobbell

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Somewhere in the South Pacific by John J GobbellInspired by the true story of John F. Kennedy’s daring naval mission at the height of World War II, this historical thriller brings the unanswered question of the past to life with fast-paced action and vivid detail.

After surviving a near suicidal mission on Mondo Mondo Island, Lieutenant Commander Todd Ingram is sent back to the States on a thirty-day leave—but the war waits for no one, and trouble is already rippling through the Pacific Theater.

Fresh from Stateside training, Lieutenant JG John Kennedy takes command of the PT 109, a torpedo boat in desperate need of repairs, for the upcoming mission to retake the Western Solomon Islands. But the war isn’t the only thing on Kennedy’s mind: he’s torn between his family’s expectations and his forbidden love for Inga Arvad, a beautiful Danish columnist who narrowly escaped Nazi occupied Germany.

When a disastrous attempt to interrupt Japanese supply lines slices Kennedy’s PT 109 in half, Ingram and his six destroyers must pick up where Kennedy left off. Can Ingram save Kennedy and his stranded men while defeating the Japanese? Ingram is prepared to fight to the end, but victory comes at a steep price behind enemy lines…

His Review:

Nineteen hundred forty-three is a major turning point in the war in the Pacific. John Gobbell writes a very interesting account of the PT boats which attacked and harassed Japanese shipping around the Solomon Islands. This narrative focuses on the cadre of officers and men who executed this part of the war. They were in wooden ships approximately 30 feet at beam and 80 feet long. With a complement of thirteen men, they had to be mostly self-sufficient.

Somewhere in the South Pacific by John J GobbellAmong these was a young Lieutenant Junior Grade named John Fitzgerald Kennedy. This account of his service cast an entirely new light on President Kennedy and his actions in the South Pacific! He was a bit of a rounder and a rascal taking care of his boat and shipmates with the actions of a scrounger.

Being assigned to the PT 109 was being assigned to a boat that was dry-docked with holes in the hull and many operational issues. Thirty-plus days were required to get her sea-worthy. Lt. J.G. Kennedy replaced the boats’ three Packard 1600 engines with those pilfered in shipping crates at the naval repair docs. Nothing seemed to be nailed down where Kennedy was concerned. He took care of his craft and crew like a jealous mother-in-law took care of her daughters.

Jack Kennedy was rather irascible in the treatment of others. He finally had his tail feathers clipped when a senior officer informed him that he was headed to the brig if any further ordinance or supplies were purloined from the supply area. By this time the PT 109 was one of the best equipped of the PT boats. This served him and his crew admirably in the months to come.

The function of the PT boats was to harass and attempt to sink Japanese shipping going through the slot in the Solomon Islands. This sea corridor was a major route for the Japanese supplying their troops in the Pacific theatre and sinking Allied Ships. Many islands in this island chain had thousands of Japanese entrenched in the hills and mountains through this passage.

CE WilliamsThe author has painted John F. Kennedy as a very likable commander and a champion for his men. He was also a very tenacious practical joker. The Japanese found him a worthy foe. The book is fun to read and shows another side of our very famous 35th president. I could not put it down. 5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Book Details:

Genre: Sea Adventures Fiction, Historical Thrillers, War Fiction
Publisher: Severn River Publishing
ASIN: B09KMHG4MS
Print Length: 404 pages
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Somewhere in the South Pacific [Amazon]

 

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John J Gobbell - authorThe Author: JOHN J. GOBBELL is a former Navy Lieutenant who saw duty as a destroyer weapons officer. His ship served in the South China Sea, granting him membership in the exclusive ATonkin Gulf Yacht Club.@ As an executive recruiter, his clients include military/commercial aerospace companies giving him insight into character development under a historical thriller format. A Code For Tomorrow is the second of four stand-alone novels in the Todd Ingram series. Altogether, he has written six novels involving U.S. Navy action and is currently at work on his seventh. He and his wife Janine live in Newport Beach, California. He can be reached at john@johnjgobbell.com

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Have a great weekend!

Dark Seas by Jerry Borrowman – #BookReview – Historical World War II Fiction

Dark Seas by Jerry Borrowman

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Dark Seas by Jerry BorrowmanAs captain of a destroyer in the US Navy, Merrill Kendrick plays a crucial and dangerous role in protecting the convoys that are essential to Britain’s survival in the Second World War. Despite pressure from his father to join the family company, a supplier of military radios, Kendrick chose to fight on the front lines of the war, a decision he’s never regretted. But when technical issues with his family’s Gatekeeper radios lead to devastating consequences in combat in the Atlantic, Kendrick needs answers. 

Joe Horiuchi, a second-generation Japanese American, gave up a prestigious future to fight in the merchant marine on behalf of the United States. Though he is faced with harsh discrimination, his brilliance with electronics proves invaluable. When his expertise is most needed, Horiuchi does not flinch in the face of danger—and he suffers the devastating consequences.

Kendrick is a seasoned veteran when it comes to battle—but facing off with U-boats is nothing like facing off with his own father, who may be guilty of treachery. With the help of Horiuchi and his radio communications expertise, Kendrick must uncover the truth of his family business before more lives are lost. 

His Review:

Germany’s U-boats and E-boats were a constant harassment in the North Atlantic Ocean. The German submarines were everywhere in the waters off the eastern coast of the United States all the way to England and France. If a ship is not sunk immediately, an SOS and ship’s position is sent along with the coordinates where the torpedo struck the ship. This would give the rest of the convoy the chance to avoid the area.

Dark Seas by Jerry BorrowmanJoe Horiuchi is the radioman. His orders are to send the final message in hopes that rescue would come for the stranded sailors. Being a Japanese serving in the merchant marines was extremely difficult at that time. Although a Nissei or second-generation Japanese American, Joe had gone to Tufts University and then Rensselaer Polytechnic in New York getting a degree in electronics.

A major defense contractor was cutting corners on preparing vital radio equipment for the military and many of the communications equipment was poorly manufactured. Joe was busy trying to prepare a satisfactory radio from three “junk radios” purchased prior to the voyage. Captain Birdsall had also attended Rensselaer and had a fondness for his Seaman Radioman. They were able to get the distress signal out before abandoning ship.

Running defense and interference for the merchant marine ships delivering defense weapons to England and the North African coast was always a very dangerous endeavor. Throughout the war, many tons of shipping were sunk in transit in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres of operation. In June of 1944 Captain Birdsall and his ship and crew were an integral part of the landing of troops and supplies to the Normandy Coast.

CE WilliamsThis book is an excellent memorial to the many men who fought and died freeing Europe from the Third Reich. The description of weapons used and tactics employed were quite illuminating. Catching companies who were cutting corners and seeking profits while endangering our troops was fascinating. I recommend the book to anyone who enjoys history and the saga of WWII. 5 stars – C. E. Williams

Much appreciation to the publisher and NetGalley for the complimentary review copy of this book that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions. 

Book Details:

Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, World War II Historical Fiction, Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Covenant Communications
ASIN: B09K38GLWN
Print Length: 170 pages
Publication Date: April 4, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: Dark Seas [Amazon]
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Dark Seas by Jerry BorrowmanThe Author: Jerry Borrowman is a best-selling and award-winning author of historical fiction, historical non-fiction, and co-authored biographies.

Compassionate Soldier won the 2018 Indies Gold (First Place) Award from Foreword Reviews in War and Military. Compassionate Soldier and Three Against Hitler (with Rudi Wobbe) are George Washington National Award Winners from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

Jerry has given voice to true heroes — Rudi Wobbe, a German boy who stood up against the Third Reich, Joe Banks in A Distant Prayer who served on 49 combat missions deep into German territory in a B-17 bomber, only to be shot down and taken prisoner of war, and Colonel Bernard Fisher, USAF, a career Air Force pilot who was awarded the Medal of Honor for Valor Above and Beyond the Call of Duty in Vietnam, (also known as the Congressional Medal of Honor).

But for those who enjoy historical fiction, his World War I and World War II series provides insight into the great European wars of the 20th Century in a unique and exciting way.

Here’s what Jennie Hansen, reviewer for Meridian magazine has to say: “Borrowman does a superb job of portraying life, including the values and prejudices of the early twentieth century. He brings a realism to that period that is slower and more innocent than teens experience today, yet the reader is led to an awareness of and learns to care about the hopes and dreams of these soon-to-be-men, who live in a time when automobiles are still new and airplanes are little more than toys…”

Jerry’s books are for readers of all ages, men and women. They will inspire you by the great sacrifices made by those who have fought for American freedom.

©2022 – CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint Publishing

Souvenirs from Kyiv: Unforgettable stories based on the heartbreaking experiences of Ukrainian families during WW2 by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger – #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

‘Russia has been trying to wipe Ukraine off the world map for thousands of years. They haven’t succeeded yet. Now, I’m picking up my stone and throwing it at Goliath. I want people to understand. I want to save this country.’ Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger, March 2022

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-BergerLarissa is a renowned embroiderer, surviving in occupied Ukraine during World War II as a seamstress in her ruin of a workshop. Surrounded by enemies, she expresses her defiance by threading history into her garments. But at what cost?

Mykhailo is a soldier on leave, returning to Ukraine from the front on Christmas Eve. As he travels through his country, he is confronted by the hardship the war has brought to his fellow countrymen. Will what he sees this Christmas change the course of his life forever?

Marusia and her family are woken early one morning by the arrival of the Nazis, who have come to search for her partisan brother. As the soldiers move through their house, her family has just moments to make choices that will determine their survival.

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger’s stories bring to life the true history of her Ukrainian family who fought to survive World War II. Laced with hope,Souvenirs from Kyiv celebrates the endurance and resilience of the human spirit.

Souvenirs from Kyiv was awarded 2nd Place in the 2014 HNS International Short Story Award and the collection won the silver medal in the IPPY Book Awards 2020 for Military and Wartime fiction.

His Review:

As the current attack by the Russians upon Ukraine continues, Souvenirs From Kyiv illuminates the continuing hazard in that part of the world. This country has been in the path of battles and armies since recorded history. The Russians have attempted to draw them into their country for centuries. The citizens of Ukraine have suffered continually.

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-BergerWorld War II found their male citizens being conscripted into the Nazi war machine. If they were unable to serve, they were kidnapped and forced to work on war materiel including bombs and bullets. The women were helping in the munitions factories as well and also conscripted to sew uniforms and other outfits including snow warfare camouflage gear.

Hiding some of the young men became the work of families. They would go to the forests and be part of the resistance. Families would take them in at very great risk to themselves. Should they be caught harboring these men, the whole family would wind up being shot. The Ukrainians also helped hide and protect large numbers of Jews. Harboring Jews was also a crime punishable by death.

Those members of the resistance saved many American and English pilots forced down in the fighting. The Ukrainians and Yugoslavian citizens helped to rescue the pilots as well as set up an underground system to spirit the pilots back to the west. Avoiding serving and being caught usually resulted in an immediate deployment to the Russian front.

The Ukrainians are not fond of the Russians. They hoped that the American forces would release their villages. The Russian troops had a reputation for gang raping the women and taking everything of value. The maturation of the war found the Ukrainian people praying the Allies would prevail and liberate their communities from the Nazis.

CE WilliamsStarvation was a major weapon of the Third Reich. The cities were blockaded and farmers and foodstuffs were taken by the German soldiers for the Fatherland or to feed the troops in the area. Small barley or wheat soup was the staple diet for the average citizen during the war. 5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Fiction Short Stories, Historical Russian Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09WF1MQ8K
Print Length: 159 pages
Publication Date: April 22, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Souvenirs from Kyiv [Amazon]
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Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger - authorThe Author: IPPY Book Award 2020 silver medal winner for SOUVENIRS FROM KYIV.

Long-listed in the Flash500 Novel Competition 2017 for No Man’s Land/The Breach.

Winner of the Flash500 Short Story Competition with an extract from Bolzano.

Winner of the Coffee Pot Book Club Book Award Box and Box Set of the Year 2019 for the Reschen Valley Box Set.

A Discovered Diamond, shortlisted for Book of the Month July 2019, Reschen Valley Box Set

Reader’s Favorite 5-star reviews for Bolzano, The Smuggler of Reschen Pass, and Magda’s Mark (featured in The Road to Liberation Collection).

HNS International Short Story 2nd Place Winner 2014 for Souvenirs from Kyiv (short story in the Souvenirs from Kyiv collection)

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger was born in Minnesota in 1969 and grew up in the culture-rich neighborhood of “Nordeast” Minneapolis. She started her writing career with short stories, travel narratives, worked as a journalist and then as a managing editor for a magazine publisher before jumping the editor’s desk and pursuing her dreams of writing and traveling. In 2000, she moved to western Austria and established her own communications training company. She has won several awards for her short stories and novels and now primarily writes historical fiction. During a trip into northern Italy over the Reschen Pass, she stood on the edge of Reschen Lake and desperately wanted to understand how a 15th-century church tower ended up sticking out of the water. What stories were lying beneath? Some eight years later, she launched the “Reschen Valley” series with five books and a novella releasing between 2018 and 2021, in parallel to her WW2 novels and short story collections.

For more on Chrystyna, dive in at inktreks(dot)com.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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Family Money by Chad Zunker – #BookReview – #crimethrillers

Family Money by Chad Zunker

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Book Blurb:

A dead man’s secrets put a family in peril in a twisting novel of suspense by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of the David Adams series.

Family Money by Chad Zunker - authorAlex Mahan is married to his high school sweetheart, Taylor. They have two daughters and a beautiful home, and Alex’s startup business is about to explode thanks to massive private funding from his compassionate and supportive father-in-law, Joe. With millions more to come, all is perfect—until Joe is abducted and murdered during a family trip in Mexico.

Alex’s world is about to be turned upside down. He can’t bear to tell his grieving wife why. The man they’ve both idolized has been keeping secrets. The pledged millions are nowhere to be found. The source of the original investment is a mystery, even to Joe’s financial adviser. No one, it seems, has any idea who the man they knew, loved, and trusted really was.

As Alex digs deeper into Joe’s shadowy life, the most shocking surprises are yet to come. Deadly ones, too, because every lie that Alex uncovers in Joe’s dark past puts his family in more danger.

His Review:

Everyone is excited to go on a fantastic trip to Mexico to see the pyramids with the whole family. The two young girls were totally spoiled by their grandfather. Joe is the type of man who couldn’t do enough for his family. He had been a little reticent to go but seemed to be really enjoying himself.

Family Money by Chad ZunkerThen the enjoyment of one of the excursions was broken by Joe being abducted by three men! They put a blindfold over his head and pulled him into an old van. He mouthed the words, “Sorry Alex”! But Alex cannot save him and watched as the van disappeared around the corner.

The local police said they could help, but would they? Alex and family waited for a ransom call but none came. The local authorities soon gave up the search and rescue attempts. Alex is on his own to try and recover Joe and began a saga of heroic proportions. He kept his search a secret from his wife and mother-in-law because he didn’t want them to worry.

CE WilliamsThe story expands into international intrigue and the understanding of who Joe is takes on a whole new character. You will become involved in the seamy side of governments and clandestine operations. Enjoy the adventure and unbelievable lengths Alex employees to protect his remaining family. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

We’ve read two in the David Adams legal thriller series, the last one Book 3, Runaway Justice in December 2020 and find the author’s writing style engaging and well-paced. We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Crime Thrillers, Murder Thrillers
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ASIN: B08SLW9ZL1
Print Length: 239 pages
Publication Date: March 1, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Family Money [Amazon] 
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Chad Zunker - authorThe Author: CHAD ZUNKER is the author of the David Adams legal thriller, An Equal Justice, as well as The Tracker, Shadow Shepherd, and Hunt the Lion in his Sam Callahan series. Chad has worked for some of the country’s most powerful law firms and serves at Community First! Village, a 51-acre master planned community that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness. He lives in Austin with his wife, Katie, and their three daughters, and is hard at work on his next novel. For more information visit http://www.chadzunker.com.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Chill--It's Sunday

The Darkest Web (Allison Barton Book 2) by Kristin Wright – #BookReview – #domesticthrillers

The Darkest Web by Kristin Wright

Book Blurb:

What is more dangerous? The lies she tells or the truth she’s hiding?

The Darkest Web by Kristin wrightJane Knudsen is an exceptionally private and intimidatingly beautiful workaholic attorney. Unflappable and cool, she’s the last person likely to suddenly snap and murder one of her firm’s senior partners. Yet she’s become the most likely suspect in the crime. She’s retained Allison Barton, her former law school roommate, to represent her. It’s Allison’s job to believe Jane, even if Allison never really knew her. No one did. Jane always made sure of that.

For Allison, getting close to her client now grows more complicated with each new development in the case. There may be other suspects in the victim’s orbit—his harried assistant, his wrathful wife, his overly attached daughter—but everything points to Jane’s guilt. She had opportunity, access, the weapon, and a motive—and she’s hiding something else. And Jane would rather go to prison for life than reveal the secrets that could save her.

But what secrets are worse than murder? And what will Allison risk to discover them? 

His Review:

Being the most beautiful girl in the county is not all it is cracked up to be; especially if you have an abusive step-father and a mother who does not protect you at all. Jane is raised in that environment and is sold to all of her step-father’s friends and contacts at an early age. Her mother assists in making sure she is available for all who are interested.

The Darkest Web by Kristin WrightJane is so pretty guys are afraid to approach her. Other girls will not befriend her but rather put her down to augment their self-esteem. Child abuse from every angle estranges Jane from society. Her college years are just as oppressive as she has an on again/off again friend in Allison. They both have completed law school and are junior associates in the same law office. The boss is a tyrant and makes all of his junior’s lives miserable.

He is discovered dead in his office and the person who finds him is Jane. She is immediately suspected of being the killer. Allison works to defend her and their relationship slowly builds as they both realize they had misjudged the other.

Kristen Wright writes a very believable tale of prejudice and manipulation. Her development of the characters illuminates the flaws in both their characters. Understanding the cutthroat world of the law makes me very happy I chose another line of work. Managing partners take the majority of the settlements in the cases they are involved in and work the juniors 14 or more hours per day. Saturdays are just another workday. (Practicing law appears to be a bad career choice.)

CE WilliamsThis eye-opening saga left me surprised at the law profession and the lengths lawyers will go to enrich themselves and burn their junior associates. Read this book and see if you agree with my assessment while being thoroughly entertained. 4.5 stars CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Legal Thrillers
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ISBN: ‎ 1542026350
ASIN: B0919RR68J
Print Length: 319 pages
Publication Date: April 12, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Darkest Web [Amazon]
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The Author: Kristin Wright is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and has simultaneously been a small-town general practice lawyer handling criminal defense and the vice president of the elementary school PTA. She lives in Virginia with her husband, sons, and two beagles. For more information about the author visit http://www.kristinbwright.com.

 

 

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Have a great weekend!

The Henna Artist: (The Jaipur Trilogy Book 1) by Alka Joshi – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Goodreads Choice Award nominee

Book Blurb:

Vivid and compelling in its portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel.

Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the most highly requested henna artist—and confidante—to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own…

Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow—a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still, she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does.

A REESE WITHERSPOON x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB PICK

“Captivated me from the first chapter to the final page.”—Reese Witherspoon 

My Review:

I grabbed at the opportunity to borrow this audiobook from my local library as I remembered it being a Reese Witherspoon book club pick when I was looking at celebrity book clubs. For one thing, it takes place in 1950’s India, and I could certainly relate to the moral ambiguities. There is the immersion into Indian society in that decade and, of course, an introduction to the kind of literature that Reese Witherspoon will be choosing for her book club picks. (I feel like I’ve come to know her in her Instagram stories–she really is adorable.)

The Henna Artist by Alka JoshiLakshmi flees from an abusive marriage at seventeen to establish herself in Jaipur. Years later she has not only become a renowned Henna artist of some stature, but quietly cares for many of her upper-class (female) clients with herbal remedies that allow them a certain additional “freedom.”

She counts heavily on her ability to be trusted with confidences and carefully contrives to build sufficient funds to build her own home. She is so close and her successful reputation will secure her dream.

That is, until her ex catches up with her with a thirteen-year-old girl in tow—a sister. Well, THAT’S a surprise! At first the high-spirited girl is reserved, unhappy. Neither has an easy job getting to know each other. It’s strained and puts a damper on the house in progress.

The problem is, the sister lacks the fierce drive Lakshmi has or interest in her trade, she is rough around the edges and doesn’t really care if she is trained in refinement or not.

And then a shock.

Mercy, what a problem! The 50s or choose the decade, teenagers can be difficult and control is tenuous. For the most part, I didn’t care for Radha’s character. She doesn’t seem to care one whit if she is ruining the seasoned relationships her older sister has cultivated—in fact—it appears she is purposefully trying to sink it.

“A reputation once lost is seldom retrieved.”

Lakshmi has gripped reader interest and as she struggles with losing her business(es—both of them), her character wields some sympathy. But, of course, as the old saying goes, “when one door closes…”

“Only a fool lives in water and remains an enemy of the crocodile.”

Lakshmi is nothing if not resourceful. The tale weaves through then family traditions, divulging secrets, and the tenacity of family. There is a myriad of characters, the women more empathetic, the men powerful, and it is fun to peek into the culture. I always enjoy the discussions of herbal remedies, some eons old (although these veered into sensitive areas), and eventually there is a blending of “modern” medicine with the ancient.

Lakshmi manages a brilliant maneuver and I was quite satisfied with the conclusion. An ending you probably wished for as well and brought a smile. The narrator does a great job of smoothing difficult words I’d have stumbled over often and definitely enhances the enjoyment of the tale. You may wish to choose the audiobook as well.

Book Details:

Genre: World Literature, Cultural Heritage Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Audio
ASIN: B07XVNLH7P
Listening Length: 10 hrs 56 minsNarrator: Sneha Mathan
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Henna Artist [Amazon]

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

Alka Joshi - authorThe Author: Alka Joshi was born in the desert state of Rajasthan in India. In 1967, her family immigrated to America. She earned a BA from Stanford University and an MFA from California College of Arts in San Francisco. Prior to writing The Henna Artist, Alka ran an advertising and marketing agency for 30 years. She has spent time in France and Italy and currently lives with her husband on the Northern California Coast.

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPflbk14yjY&t=2s

More at: https://www.instagram.com/thealkajoshi/

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