Cocos Island Treasure by Stanley Mcshane – a #BookReview

It’s March and I’m participating in the Reading Ireland Month for 2019. This one is an action-adventure fiction by Irish author and artist Stanley McShane. He was my grandfather and you can read about the discovery of his manuscripts, paintings, and poems in my “About Us” page here.

March!

 Title: Cocos Island Treasure by Stanley McShane

Genre: Sea Adventures, Historical Fiction

Publisher: Rosepoint Publishing

  • ASIN: B007D58KZC
  • ISBN-10: 1468177338
  • ISBN-13: 978-1468177336
  • Print Length: 204 pages

Publication Date: October 8, 2012

Title Link: Cocos Island Treasure

Book Blurb:

Cocos Island Treasure by Stanley McShaneWhere did those rasty, barbaric theft-driven pirates bury their treasures in the 17th and 18th Centuries? Perhaps just a little south of the main South Sea shipping lane in a secluded harbor where a short paddle through shark-infested waters to the steamy, fetid jungle island could yield fresh water, food, and gold! Turn-of-the-20th Century fortune hunters from the schooner, Bessie, hunt where only ghosts inhabit–or are they all merely apparitions? Captain Dan was ready to retire until he gained access to a secret cipher–one that he felt sure was authentic enough to reap him millions and willing to risk one more salty adventure to seek the insanely rich treasures of Cocos Island.

Editorial Reviews:

“This book has it all, adventure, mystery and a touch of romance.” – Catmarie

“Cocos Island Treasure is an old school nautical adventure. This work is a window into the by-gone era where maps that detailed the bounty of famous pirate treasure was indeed plausable.” – S Mellen

“Not my usual subject of interest, but a recent documentary on Blackbeard peaked my interest. The author really seems to know his stuff about the subject, and the island itself.” – mpytlikhusb

“I haven’t read a good pirate novel since I read the Sea Wolf as a teenager. Cocos Island Treasure was even more interesting because it is a true story.” – Terry W Sprouse

“It was quite a trip to go back in time, not only considering the setting of the story, but the book’s birth three decades ago. A cross between Stevenson’s Treasure Island…full of the language of the day.” – N Lombardi Jr. author Justice Gone

My Review:

My grandfather wrote this book back in the late 1920s. My mother can remember him tapping out the manuscript with his two index fingers on an old Underwood–older, I’m sure, than the one I use for my logo. While I may be a bit prejudiced, I rated it a five star because I know he was there, walked that beach (Chatham Bay), climbed through those jungles and did his best not to disappear in the many bogs and crevices. (He later noted in a letter what a fun little trip it was!)

The author described this island down to the gnat’s eyeball. Since I’ve researched the island, I’ve found descriptions echoing his down to the wild pigs that were brought to the island and allowed to go feral. He wrote the manuscript over 90 years ago, turning his sailing adventure into a novel affirming the well-known rumors or stories of all the pirate treasures buried on the island, including the “Loot of Lima.” The treasure stolen by Captain William Thompson, commander of the Mary Dear, was purportedly the largest treasure ever hidden by pirates. So many stories abound regarding the captain and whether or not he survived. More stories published regarding whether or not the treasure was found. That treasure, however, was not the only one to be buried on the island by pirates. (The island is now closed to tourists or treasure hunters.)

It’s a fun, quick read and takes you back almost a century to sail on the schooner, Bessie. The book was written using sailing jargon and colloquialisms of the day and was kept faithful to his original manuscript. The narrative, however, remembers another famous pirate, Edward Davis. (It is said that he was one of the earliest buccaneers to have buried treasure on Cocos Island where he anchored in Chatham Bay as well. Cocos Island is approximately 340 miles southwest of Costa Rica.)

There were two additional sea adventures published, one describing the gruesome art of whaling in Lucky Joe and another after his year-long fishing experience out of Grimsby, England he called Sons of the Sea.

It is the anthology published in 2015, Sole Survivor, in which I pulled together several of his short stories, introduction to Lucky Joe, paintings, and poems. With the possible exception of Cocos Island Treasure, all are available in both paperback and ebook, now for free through Kindle Unlimited. (Busters of Bitter River is available only in ebook form.)

Add to Goodreads

Patrick John (Stanley McShane) Rose

See the amazing story of the painting that provides an updated cover version of Sole Survivor here. (Three of the above covers were provided by paintings.)

The Author: Stanley McShane is the pen name of Patrick John Rose and the author of one novel published during his lifetime in 1936, “Bitter River Ranch” by Phoenix Press. Patrick was born in 1872 aboard his father’s vessel, the Marguerite, and was the sole survivor when she sank. He sailed as a captain aboard his own ship until some time after the turn of the 20th century, whereupon he caught Alaskan gold fever and ventured north. It was in the late 1920’s/early 30’s that he eventually settled down to write about all of his adventures–both land and sea. “Cocos Island Treasure,” “Sons of the Sea,” “Lucky Joe,” and “Hot Air Promotions” were published posthumously through Rosepoint Publishing by his granddaughter. An eBook historical western novella was published in May, 2014 called “Busters of Bitter River.” McShane’s short stories, poems, and paintings were gathered in a fiction adventure anthology called “Sole Survivor” in 2015.

The vocal music background on the book trailer is provided by Marc Gunn, self-proclaimed Irish and Celtic Music celtfather. In addition to his albums, he offers a delightful podcast which was available for download on iTunes. Otherwise, check him out here.

My grandfather had an unusual writing style, often filled with slang, sailing terms, and sensitivities (or lack thereof) of his day. Have you attempted to publish one of your ancestor’s manuscripts? I’d love to hear about your journey!

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Advertisements

Reading Ireland – Author Amanda Hughes Interview

Author Amanda Hughes Interview

I am thrilled today to present an interview with author Amanda Hughes who has written edge-of-your-seat adventures about bold women of the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries.

The Bold Women Series

To highlight the March, Reading Ireland theme, I just want to mention that one of my favorites from the 18th Century Series, Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry, is set, in part, in Ireland, as is The Sword of the Banshee.

This theme, Bold Women, is so timely. While the stories include just a touch of romance, the women are no shrinking violets. They are strong, independent, and capable main characters that hold your interest and quickly get you invested.

Thank you, so much, Amanda, for joining me today! Let’s talk about your Bold Women Series to begin:

You began your Bold Women Series with the Bold Women of the 18th Century and wrote three in the series, three in the 19th Century, one in the 17th Century, and one in the 20th Century in April of 2017. I get the feeling we are due another shortly for the 20th Century. Can you tell us about it?

You are so right. I am just completing Book Two in the “Bold Women of the 20th Century Series”. After listening to my father’s stories about riding the rails during the Great Depression, I decided to write a book about a bold woman who rides the rails in the 1930s. Her adventures take her back and forth across the country and eventually she becomes an accomplished photojournalist. The book culminates in Berlin when she has to smuggle a renowned scientist out of Nazi Germany.

WOW! That does sound exciting and I’m looking forward to the release already, apparently scheduled for April. We’ll be looking for it!

Do you have any plans for writing a standalone?

All the books in the Bold Women Series are standalones. Each one is set in a different time period and about a different woman. Sometimes readers ask me if I am interested in writing a series about men. So far, I have had no wish to write about men’s adventures. It has been done to death! We need books about audacious women.

Do you dream about your characters or see them in a scene you can use?

Yes! Sometimes I do dream about my characters, but so far they have been in those odd, surrealistic settings. Unfortunately, there has been nothing I can use in my books. But I do know that my best writing happens in the morning right after I wake up. Maybe my brain is still in creative overdrive.

The “Bold Women” series is compelling and an empowering and topical theme. How did the distinctive sub-title come about?

It was not something I set out to do. It sort of evolved as a promotional tool. Knowing that readers love a series, I decided to pull my first three or four books together in some way. I had to find a common theme, and it was easy to identify. First, my novels were always about women in a historical setting and second these women were plucky, fearless, and often reckless survivors. They were bold women.

Do you carefully lay out an outline to follow or let it flow and see where it goes?

I know many writers follow an outline, and that it works well for them, but I do not. I have no idea where my book is going. My characters whisper their stories in my ear, and I write them down—rather like that classic movie, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. The book is as much of a surprise for me as it is for the reader.

Do you research popular female and male names for the century of the book? How do you create your character’s names?

That is such a fun question! No one has ever asked me that before. A lot of research going into the creation of my main character’s name. And yes, I try to keep the name within the historical context. I also want the name to reflect my protagonist’s character. In my most recent book, my main character goes on to work as a photojournalist, so I wanted her name to sound like a reporter, short and snappy. I named her Billie Bassett. The name of the love interest in the book is equally important. I research baby names popular in that particular portion of the century, and then I run my choices past my daughters for final approval. They never mince words and have no problem telling me if it is a dumb name.

Do you look for real characters in the century that you can loosely base your novel on? Which book closely follows a real story?

So far I have not based, even loosely, any of my “Bold Women” on anyone who actually lived. My secondary characters though are sometimes real people. Frances Marion, also named “The Swamp Fox,” shows up in The Sword of the Banshee, and the villain in The Looking Glass Goddess is based on Kid Cann, a notorious mobster in Minnesota.

Once begun, how long does it generally take to write your books?

Always around a year.

Do you shoot for a total word count in your novels?

I try to keep it under 100,000 words, but I am not always successful. Much over that is overwhelming for a reader. I know it is for me!

Do you set a daily word count goal or is there an average?

No, whatever I do in a day, I do in a day.

The Looking Glass Goddess by Amanda HughesWhat kind of awards have you received?

The Looking Glass Goddess was nominated for The Minnesota Book Award in 2017 which made me very happy, and I was awarded the Gems National Award for Writing.

It appears you’ve had more than one designer create your covers. Who are you currently using and do they receive a synopsis of the book in order to more creatively fit the cover? 

Most of my book covers have been designed by The Killion Group. They have a detailed questionnaire for writers to fill out before the design process begins and then Kim (the cover designer) works directly with you to make sure your vision for the cover matches hers.

And now personally, Amanda, have you been able to retire and write full time?

I write full time and love every minute of it.

What did you do before discovering your writing talent?

I have a degree in Therapeutic Recreation and for many years I worked in mental health settings, from locked units in psychiatric hospitals to group homes with developmentally disabled people. You can see these themes again and again in my books and in my choice of characters especially in The Pride of the King.

Family? Children and/or grandchildren?

I have three children who are now grown and my first grandchild just came along five months ago—a little girl. It is as much fun as everyone says it is.

Where are you currently living?

I live in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Do you read all your reviews?

I try to read every one, and I really appreciate them.

Where can we easily find you? Your own website and social media?

I LOVE hearing from my readers. I will always respond to you if you write a note. I am at www.amandahughesauthor.com and you can find me on Facebook as well at https://www.facebook.com/amanda.hermannhughes

I can’t thank you enough for inviting me to your blog. What great questions. I hope it was as much fun to read as it was to write!

It certainly has been for me! It has been my absolute pleasure and I so appreciate the time you took to be with us today. To my faithful readers and followers, please check out the Bold Women Series by Amanda Hughes and enjoy a woman protagonist who can hold her own against the world. Click the link on one of the books noted above or view her Amazon author page to see all her books. We would both love to hear your thoughts!

About the Author

Amanda Hughes authorBestselling and award-winning author, Amanda Hughes is a “Walter Mitty”, spending more time in heroic daydreams than the real world. At last, she found an outlet writing adventures about bold women through the centuries. Well known for her genre-busting books, she is the winner of the Gems National Medal for Writing, featured in USA Today and is nominated for the 2017 Minnesota Book Award. Amanda is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, and when she isn’t off tilting windmills, she lives and writes in Minnesota. Don’t miss these page-turning novels for readers who like historical fiction with a just bit of a love story. All of her books are stand-alone and can be read in any order.

©2019 V Williams Blog author

 

Return to Robinswood by Jean Grainger – a #BookReview

It’s March and I’m participating in the Reading Ireland Month for 2019. This one is historical fiction by popularly acclaimed author Jean Grainger. Jean is a USA Today Bestselling Author and was selected by BookBub readers in the top 19 of historical fiction books AND is the winner of the 2016 Author’s Circle Historical Novel of Excellence.

March!

Return to Robinswood by Jean GraingerTitle: Return to Robinswood: An Irish family saga. (The Robinswood Story Book 2) by Jean Grainger

Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, British and Irish

Print Length: 289 pages

Publication Date: February 19, 2019

  • ISBN-10:1797471155
  • ISBN-13:978-1797471150
  • ASIN: B07NVN3G7L

Source: Direct author request

Title Link: Return to Robinswood

Book Blurb:

One Irish house, two very different families, and a war that changed everything.

Robinswood Estate, County Waterford, Ireland. 1946.

Years of neglect and abandonment have left the family seat of the Keneficks almost derelict, but the new Lord Kenefick and his charming young wife Kate, are determined to breathe life into the old house once more.

The war is over and they have survived, so now they must set about making a bright future for themselves and their family. But the shadows of the past are ever lurking, and there are many who are not willing to see the new Lady Kenefick as anything more than the housekeeper’s daughter.

Kate’s family, the Murphys, find themselves once more, inextricably entwined with both the Keneficks and Robinswood, but this time everything is different. Or at least they hope it is.

The legacy of the war cannot be erased, and the events of those fateful years will not be forgotten. Can Robinswood provide a haven for those who need it, or are the scars of the past too deep? Continue reading “Return to Robinswood by Jean Grainger – a #BookReview”

The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey – a #BookReview

Five Stars Five Stars of Five Rating

the-beantown-girls--cellTitle: The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

Genre: Literature and Fiction, Historical, War, Military

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Publication Date: February 5, 2019

Print Length: 366 pages

  • ASIN:B07FTBNVGK
  • ISBN-10: 1542044529
  • ISBN-13: 978-1542044523

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Beantown Girls – Photo representative of the era

Book Blurb:

A novel of love, courage, and danger unfolds as World War II’s brightest heroines—the best of friends—take on the front lines.

1944: Fiona Denning has her entire future planned out. She’ll work in city hall, marry her fiancé when he returns from the war, and settle down in the Boston suburbs. But when her fiancé is reported missing after being shot down in Germany, Fiona’s long-held plans are shattered.

Determined to learn her fiancé’s fate, Fiona leaves Boston to volunteer overseas as a Red Cross Clubmobile girl, recruiting her two best friends to come along. There’s the outspoken Viviana, who is more than happy to quit her secretarial job for a taste of adventure. Then there’s Dottie, a shy music teacher whose melodious talents are sure to bring heart and hope to the boys on the front lines.

Chosen for their inner strength and outer charm, the trio isn’t prepared for the daunting challenges of war. But through it all come new friendships and romances, unforeseen dangers, and unexpected dreams. As the three friends begin to understand the real reasons they all came to the front, their courage and camaraderie will see them through some of the best and worst times of their lives. Continue reading “The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey – a #BookReview”

A Pirate’s Road to Key West by Michael Reisig – a #BookReview

A Pirate's Road to Key West by Michael ReisigTitle: A Pirate’s Road to Key West – Lafitte’s Gold – Book Nine

Genre: Caribbean and Latin America, Action and Adventure, Sea Adventures, Historical Fiction, Travel

Publisher: Clear Creek Press

259 pages

ASIN: B07JHJXF6V

Publication Date: Happy Publication Day!! October 17, 2018

Source: Author request

Title and Cover: A Pirate’s Road to Key West – Beautiful cover hints at island setting

Book Blurb:

In the ninth novel of his bestselling “Road To Key West” series, Reisig once again locks his readers into a careening odyssey of hidden fortunes, mercurial romance, conscienceless villains, and bizarre friends.

From Caracas to New Orleans, into the dark fringes of Haiti, down through the Windward Islands, then back into The Florida Keys, Kansas Stamps, Will Bell, and The Hole In The Coral Wall Gang chase a stolen Pre-Columbian treasure. Then there’s the Voodoo-practicing drug boss, a vengeful Columbian Don, and a highly artful assassin. Before you can catch your breath, it all rolls together into a turbulent Key West Fantasy Fest finale.

So, sit back, pour yourself a margarita, and slide into the islands one more time. You’re on “The Road” again.

My Review:

You know it’s going to be a fun read when the name of the bar is Eddie’s Bar and Swill.

I was introduced to the author, Michael Reisig, some years ago and have been a solid fan ever since. Mr. Reisig has a poetic way with words, his prose is almost beautiful. The man can spin a yarn and has a winning series in his Key West books, this being the ninth. Once again, he brings in intrepid protagonists Will Bell and Kansas Stamps as they involve the Hole in the Coral Wall Gang in the latest crazy South American adventure.

Whether Reisig sets the scene in the Caribbean in 1821 or Key West in 1989, you get that these two have a long history of adventure and survival, finding treasure, losing it, and regaining it. Will and Kansas have each other’s back and a high standard of morals–cleaving more right than wrong. They have a wonderful cadre of close comrades, several of whom are ‘Nam veterans who have survived whatever life threw at them. In their recent adventure, they picked up a new companion (besides Shadow, Kansas’s dog) named Arturio whose method of survival included a game that well prepared him for any that Will and Kansas were involved in. Arturio is an amazing character, street smart and fast.

Sundance was also recently introduced, a figure left in the shadow who has a habit of emerging with the most propitious timing. Sundance is a confirmed hypochondriac whose constant battle with the latest that he is suffering rises to new heights of hilarity. And Sundance has a peculiar way of securing free meals. (Another testament to the sense of humor the author infuses in his novels.) Still, with characters well developed or fairly new to the series, each entry to the series are different standalone adventures with new and heinous antagonists and luscious women best kept on the outside–looking in.

No strangers to the jungles of Venezuela, the boys have retrieved a treasure previously discovered, only to lose it, and form plans to get it back–again. The fun is in the execution–and I use that term advisedly. Reisig’s books always capture your attention immediately and then prepare you for a non-stop roller-coaster adventure that includes beautiful and quotable prose along the way.

A Pirate's Road to Key West by Michael Reisig“The gladiator rarely sleeps well the night before he salutes Caesar.”

“The wind pulled at me like a desperate lover.”

“It was like doing business with a viper–you watched the head at all times and hoped it bit the enemy.”

“…as selfish as it sounded, I didn’t want someone else’s life with me in it. I wanted my life with someone else in it.”

Descriptions set such a vivid scene, the reader is caught wincing at desperate situations or melting at the sight of a gorgeous view of the ocean and the calming sounds of the sea. Dialogue sets a solid feeling of menace or tender feelings of love with unerring tenderness and believability. These characters are so real you believe this all may have happened, the characters real persons, real experiences, and you are in the middle of it. Wild escapades, sometimes laugh out loud comical situations, but always entertaining.

Each time a new Reisig book comes out, it becomes my new favorite. I truly loved this one; such a rich experience, compelling and easy to read right straight through. I received an ARC from the author and, as always, thrilled and delighted to read and review. Recommended for any who enjoy action-adventure, sea adventures, pirate and treasure adventures, travel and exotic locations, and wild tropical thrillers. Shed your old tropes and discover excitement!

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five BIG Stars Five Stars of Five Rating

Michael Reisig - authorThe Author:

Michael Reisig has been writing professionally for 20 years. He is a former Caribbean adventurer turned newspaper editor, award-winning columnist, and best-selling novelist.
After high school and college in Florida, he relocated to the Florida Keys. He established a commercial diving business, got his pilot’s license, and traveled extensively throughout the southern hemisphere, diving, treasure hunting, and adventuring.
Reisig claims he has been thrown out of more countries in the Caribbean Basin that most people ever visit, and he admits that a great many of the situations and the characters in his novels are authentic – but nothing makes a great read like experience…
He now lives in the mountains of Arkansas, where he hunts and fishes, and writes, but he still escapes to the Caribbean for an occasional adventure.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

The Colonel and the Bee – a #BookReview

The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick CanningTitle: The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning

Genre: Currently #4792 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, Action & Adventure

Publisher: Evolved Publishing LLC

Publication Date: June 1, 2018

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: The Colonel and the Bee-Love that cover

Hoo-boy is this one a douzy! This novel was so much fun I couldn’t keep it to myself and shared with the C.E., whose review will follow mine. The novel hit all my buttons: unique, intriguing, adventurous, historical, surprisingly sharp (and young) female protagonist coupled with the swash-buckling theatrics of a male co-protagonist and absolute non-stop action. First, wrap your head around a  four-story house-sized balloon, and if that doesn’t set your imagination reeling, nothing will. (Think steampunk!)

Beatrix is a barely teenaged female acrobat in a 19th-century European traveling circus held captive owing her age by an abusive ringleader. The dashing and mysterious English Colonel James Bacchus attends the same private showing where she performs and she contrives to join him in a getaway following his ellicit treatise with the wife of their exclusive estate’s host. With the Oxford Starladder (the Ox) the colonel is in pursuit of a heinous criminal as he drifts across the continent in search of a precious jewel, the Blue Star Sphinx, which value in turn has attracted the warring factions of two families. (Think Hatfields and McCoys)

With every additional description of the Ox, I badly wanted to climb aboard and explore each and every crevice, descend the spiral stars, partake of the gourmet meals presented by the colonel, and peak into the horticultural room where the fresh vegetables were grown. What a delightful imaginative fantasy–but one that seemed within grasp it was made so real. The rich nineteenth-century dialogue, $50 words, and formal English prose was a delight but I was many times grateful for the built-in dictionary of my Kindle. Continue reading “The Colonel and the Bee – a #BookReview”

#ThrowbackThursday – Two Rivers (The Great Peacemaker Series #1) by Zoe Saadia

#ThrowbackThursday - spring

Renee began the #ThrowbackThursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).

Two Rivers - The Peacemaker series by Zoe SaadiaThis week I am highlighting Zoe Saadia, another terrific, prolific author who wrote several series, this one Two Rivers of the Peacemaker series number one of four, which I reviewed on Goodreads. This historical fiction novel was published in 2013. She consistently runs approximately 4.5 stars for any of her books sold on Amazon.

Originally posted October 15, 2015

Book Blurb:

Having survived the failed raid on the enemy lands, Tekeni had no illusions. He was nothing but an enemy cub, adopted into one of the clans, but not accepted, never for real. To fit in was difficult, to run away – impossible. To get into trouble, more often than not, was the only available option. They did not expect anything else from him, anyway.

However, when a meaningless row during a ballgame grew out of proportion, resulting in a fight, Tekeni has found himself in a truly grave trouble. Neither he nor anyone else could have foreseen the chain of events the consequences of this fight would release, when the highly esteemed but controversial Two Rivers decided to help Tekeni out.

Two Rivers was a strange person with unacceptable notions and ideas. He maintained that to war on and on was a mistake of disastrous consequences. He went as far as suggesting a negotiation of peace with some of the neighboring nations. Even Tekeni, the despised enemy, thought such ideas to be far-fetched and wild. And yet…

With their trouble mounting and the revengefulness of some people around them growing, both Tekeni and Two Rivers find themselves pushed beyond limits. Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – Two Rivers (The Great Peacemaker Series #1) by Zoe Saadia”

Charlie Mac – a #BookReview

Charlie Mac by Maria McDonaldTitle: Charlie Mac: A Story of Ordinary People Who Lived in Extraordinary Times by Maria McDonald

Genre: Currently #37389 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Historical Fiction

Publication Date: March 30, 2018

Source: Direct request by author

Title and Cover: Charlie MacThe chair holds significance but doesn’t wholly convey the tragedy that it included.

This is the fictional account of the life and death of Charlie McMullen, great-grandfather of the author which follows three generations through one of the most tumultuous times in the history of Ireland–specifically in Belfast.

Charlie was born in 1873 and died just after the Irish Home Rule Campaign ended with the establishment of the border dividing Ireland. A city fella, he married a country girl, Mary Jane from County Down. Her life experience was totally opposite his, as was her religion; hers being Catholic. We can’t help who we fall in love with and sometimes that will forever shape our destiny. But neither his Belfast neighbors nor their respective families were happy with the marriage. The couple thought, however, that the strength of their union would overcome objections. It couldn’t and didn’t, resulting in tragedy. Continue reading “Charlie Mac – a #BookReview”

For the Love of Ireland – #BookReview

For the Love of Ireland by Judy LeslieTitle: For the Love of Ireland by Judy Leslie

Genre: Currently #535 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Historical Fiction, Irish

Publisher: CreateSpace

Publication Date: April 22, 2013

Source: BookBub

Title and Cover: For the Love of IrelandSubdued cover represents a Victorian female journalist

This is a mesmerizing fictional story of how these real historical figures affected society and the lives they touched in their efforts to help secure a free Ireland in the late nineteenth century. The story captures successful journalist Irish born Margaret Sullivan living in Chicago writing for a major newspaper under a nom de plume. This is a time when women would not have been allowed any career outside of the home. The book also examines the role of women in business–still a struggle as well. Continue reading “For the Love of Ireland – #BookReview”

The Rock Child, a Book Review

The Rock Child by Win Blevins
Hardcover edition cover

Title: The Rock Child, A Novel of a Journey

Genre: Currently #173 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Historical Fiction, United States

Publisher: Wordworx

Publication Date: March 27, 2013

Source: BookBub

Of Love and Demons by Win BlevinsTitle and Cover: The Rock Child – Title and covers have undergone changes

A wild skirmish between a Tibetan Buddhist nun’s family and kidnappers result in the death of an entire family and a nun (Sun Moon) shanghaied and brought to America. It is 1862 and one thousand in gold could buy almost anything. Mix that with Native-American/Anglo protagonist Asie Taylor who becomes entangled in a life of music and a famous English explorer, Sir Richard Francis Burton, and you have the beginnings of a gripping Win Blevins’ novel. Continue reading “The Rock Child, a Book Review”

Rosepoint #Reviews – January Recap

Congratulations to you for surviving the holidays and making it through January! Isn’t that considered the worst of winter is over? We can only hope! It’s certainly been a frantic month for me, back to reading, reviewing, and concentrating on “stats.” (Yes, I know. I’m not supposed to think about those, but…)

I have achieved some goals: 

Books to Cell
Photo attribution: Shutterstock

Blog stats (hit 1,000 followers–Thank you all–again!), Goodreads stats (made my Book Challenge!), Amazon reviewer status (now down under 15K), and NetGalley stats achieved 80%–gonna keep it that way and pushing for my 50 reviews badge. (As a new reviewer on NetGalley, it’s easy to fall into that trap–BOOKS! All those BOOKS! I want them all–no, wait…oops!)

So, besides the ARC’s from NetGalley, there was #ThrowbackThursdays highlighting two of my favorite authors (Jodie Bailey and Linda McDonald). Spent some heavy time doing #AmReading posts, #TBR posts, and #Bookstagrams, the latter of which has fired up new ideas for “staging” books and that’s been fun.

Eleven January reads, most ARC’s through NetGalley and one read (#11) by my associate, the CE (If you haven’t caught his review yet, check it out!):

  1. January 02 – No Turning Back by Nancy Bush
  2. January 04 – The Last Homecoming by Dan Chabot (author request)
  3. January 07 – Grist Mill Road by Christopher J Yates
  4. January 09 – Strangers by Ursula Archer and Arno Strobel
  5. January 10 – Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
  6. January 14 – An Engineered Injustice by William L Myers Jr
  7. January 16 – Dark Ocean by Nick Elliott (author request)
  8. January 21 – Deep Zero by V S Kemanis
  9. January 23 – An Eye for an Eye by Caroline Fardig
  10. January 28 – Curses, Boiled Again by Shari Randall
  11. January 30 – The Yanks Are Starving by Glen Craney (author request)

See anything here that catches your eye? These run the gamut from historical fiction to psychological and legal thrillers and I know you’ve read at least one of them.

I’m having a tough time keeping up with reading and commenting on all your reviews! I comment when I can and I enjoy receiving all your comments here as well as the likes and comments on Bookstagram.

Photo attibution: lifewithdogsandcatsMaybe you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, it just takes us longer. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them! ©2018 V Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

#ThrowbackThursday – Author Amanda Hughes – Book Reviews

#ThrowbackThursday on It's Book Life blogRenee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, “It’s Book Talk” to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! My TT posts will not come from current ARCs or new releases. Means I’ll be going back over some of my oldies but goodies, my favorite authors, and some of my favorite stories from authors you might not have previously experienced. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out.

  • This week I am highlighting another terrific, prolific author, Amanda Hughes. Ms. Hughes writes about bold women of the 18th, 19th, and (now the) 20th centuries, but they are all stand alone books and do not carry the protagonist from one to the next of the same series. She just released The Looking Glass Goddess (Bold Women of the 20th Century Series, Book 1) on April 26, 2017. I’ve read the three highlighted below from her Bold Women of the 18th Century Series and I loved them all. First one we’ll look at is…

Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – Author Amanda Hughes – Book Reviews”

An Echo of Murder – a Book Review

An Echo of Murder by Anne PerryTitle: An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry

Genre: Currently # 62 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Books, Literature & Fiction, British & Irish, Historical

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: To be released September 19, 2017

Source: Ballantine Books and NetGalley

Title and Cover: An Echo of Murder – Attractive cover creates slight hint of historical quality

Having come into An Echo of Murder: A William Monk Novel by well-established author Anne Perry, I knew I’d missed something important when there were references to Mr. Monk’s amnesia. This being the 23rd of the series, the back story of Monk’s amnesia was obviously the plot of a previous book. This installment gets bits and snatches of it and I was left wondering how in the world then did he ever get to be Commander of the Thames River Police.

In this offering, there is an appalling series of murders of London’s Hungarian citizens. Yes, it is an historical fiction novel set in London. Hester Monk, his wife, certainly his equal and perhaps then some, has a strong history with the Crimean War in which she attended to front line casualties as a nurse. The end of the war precipitated an influx of alien citizens to the area. Continue reading “An Echo of Murder – a Book Review”

2016 Goodreads Choice Book Awards-Did You See the Book Trailers?

Book Trailers!

I’ve written about them before, including those trailers I published for my grandfather’s books, as well as one I created for Jean Grainger, an Irish author. Ms. Grainger published “So Much Owed – An Irish World War 2 Story” on December 1, 2013. I enjoyed the book so much that I felt compelled to create a short book trailer, which I uploaded to YouTube on March 6, 2017.

Given that I’m a member of the Book Trailer Group on Goodreads, I keep bumping up against book trailers; fascinated with most. Some amateur trailers are amazing good, some professionally produced piss-poor. But everyone sees a trailer, whether movie or book, in their own eyes. So I got to wondering about the 2016 Goodreads Choice Book Awards. How many winners had book trailers? Continue reading “2016 Goodreads Choice Book Awards-Did You See the Book Trailers?”

The Mystery of Her – a Book Review

The Mystery of Her by Patricia CatacalosTitle: The Mystery of Her by Patricia Catacalos

Genre: Currently #2164 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Historical

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, LLC

Publication Date: May 2016

Source: Submitted by author for review

Title and Cover: The Mystery of Her – Cover hints at era

Lady Kiera Everett is pretty darned sure her father was murdered and how it could have been viewed as anything else, even in London in 1888, is beyond me given the nature of the manner in the first of the Zane Brothers Detective Series, “The Mystery of Her” by Patricia Catacalos. I’m a fan of historical fiction, particularly mysteries, and this was not my first rodeo, so perhaps my expectations were a bit high. Continue reading “The Mystery of Her – a Book Review”

A Far Road To Key West – a Book Review

A Far Road to Key West by Michael ReisigTitle: A Far Road To Key West – The Road To Key West Book 7

Genre: Currently #1 in Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Historical Fiction, Caribbean & Latin American AND

#3 in Books, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Men’s Adventure

Publisher: Clear Creek Press

Publication Date: June 18, 2017

Source: ARC from author

A Far Road to Key West – Cover continues the series brand

I became a solid and enthusiastic fan of Michael Reisig after reading “Brothers of the Sword/Children of Time.” The swashbuckler reaches back into time and secures and hides the treasure that following the split of the book into the Caribbean Gold series became “The Treasure of Tortuga” and “The Treasure of Time.” (Additionally, there is a third in the Caribbean Gold series.) The way this author reaches back into time and places you square in the middle of the action is riveting.

In the meantime, I’ve been privileged to become one of his pre-readers, a beta reader of the Key West series of novels, and with this, the 7th in the Road to Key West series, his characters remain those steadfast, but true, robust men brought forward with the same kind of spirit as the former. Continue reading “A Far Road To Key West – a Book Review”

Charbonneau-Man of Two Dreams–A Book Review

Charbonneau-Man of Two DreamsTitle: Charbonneau-Man of Two Dreams

Genre: Currently #3 in Best Seller’s Rank in Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoor, and Adventurers & Explorers

Publisher: Wordworx

Publication Date: September 2012

Charbonneau-Man of Two Dreams – Dreamcatcher on Cover is a Nice Touch!

Charbonneau-Man of Two Dreams by Win Blevins is a beautifully written story woven in and around Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, (variously known as Baptiste or Paump) born of Sacajawea and his French-Canadian father, Toussaint, at the Lewis and Clark winter camp, Ft. Mandan, ND in 1805. A fur trapper, Toussaint was far less support for the westward expedition of Lewis and Clark to the Pacific than was the better-known Sacajawea (a Lemhi Shoshone), who provided excellent trail guidance as well as interpretive services in dealing with the other tribes of the northwest. Continue reading “Charbonneau-Man of Two Dreams–A Book Review”

Of Ashes and Dust – a Book Review

Of Ashes and Dust by Marc GrahamTitle: Of Ashes and Dust by Marc Graham

Genre: Currently #54444 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Literature & Fiction, Literary (Historical)

Publisher: Five Star Publishing

Publication Date:  March 2017

Of Ashes and Dust – Cover conveys roughly the subject of the second half of the book.

In this debut novel by Marc Graham, he has created a heart-rending, soul-searching story of a man reflecting on his life as it literally ebbs away.

Of Ashes and Dust follows James (JD, or Jade) Robbins as the son of a poor sharecropper, more comfortable with the Negro slaves in the fields of Arkansas in 1846 than that of his close, but upper class landowners.

Growing into his teen years, he falls hopelessly in love with the daughter of the owner of the land on which his family works, and gives his heart and soul to her, pledging his undying devotion until they are split by the Civil War. He is forced to leave his family and his love, finally changing from a beautiful, passionate young man into a world weary, combat wounded veteran. The emotionally charged descriptions of the Civil War battles stab at the heart and cries with the protagonist, until he is finally mustered out to heal and rejoin his love. But things have tragically changed back home as well.

Graham poignantly paints a deeply ravaged person mourning the loss of his soul mate to another, reducing the reader to helpless tears.

Seeking to leave that grief behind, Jim Robbins finds work and leaves the state with his buddy Dave to join the railroad expansion effort toward the west. He and Dave continue their work toward the Pacific after they successfully join the rails at Promontory Point.

The author provides rich descriptive detail of the struggle laying the rail west with unerring historical accuracy, the interaction and tragedy of confronting native peoples, and the immigrant Chinese working the railroad; human lives deemed expendable. It is out west that Robbins eventually finds another love with whom he believes he can share a mutual passion and life philosophy, but it seems that Robbins is again to be denied an enduring love. Dave forces him to go on and together they sail for Australia to help complete railroad construction there.

The characters are fleshed out so well, you ache to have them somehow survive–where is my “happy ever after?” Jim Robbins is immensely empathetic. The dialogue is so natural; the author might have taken it from civil war reports or newspaper accounts along the way.

This story grabs you by the collar from the beginning, and inexorably builds upon itself until, while you know what is going to happen, don’t know exactly how until the end…and then it’s soul crushing. Sometimes you read a book that stays with you after “the End.” This is one of those.

Bullseye!I was given the book in exchange for an honest review. It is packed with intense sensitivity, love, power, loss, regret, and triumph. Recommended for anyone interested in a book that won’t let you go.

Marc Graham - authorRosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars

The Author: Marc Graham is an “actor, singer, bard, engineer, Freemason, and whisky aficionado.” If he is not actively hiking the Colorado’s Front Range with his wife and dog, he is either on his computer or on the stage. ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Gone on Sunday-A Cotton Lee Penn Mystery – a Book Review

Gone on SundayTitle: Gone on Sunday by Tower Lowe

Genre: Currently #10598 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Historical, Mysteries

Publisher: Create Space IPP

Publication Date:  January 2017

Gone on Sunday – A Cotton Lee Penn Historical Mystery – Cover conveys mood

Gone on Sunday by Tower Lowe attempts to give us two distinct murder stories within the same book separated as has been previously noted by 40 years. Continue reading “Gone on Sunday-A Cotton Lee Penn Mystery – a Book Review”

10 Amazing Sub-Genre’s in Historical Fiction

10 amazing thingsHistorical Fiction as a literary genre is generously broad and notoriously ambiguous in that the beginning of man can be included in the same spectrum of writing as our own recent Wild West. It was bound to happen then that sooner or later sub-genres would be broken out.

What is Historical?

In that it depicts and closely associates the period social conditions, manners, clothing, and environmental factors, the story can capture any century or millennia from the dawn of man. Generally, “historical” refers to publications written at least 50 years after the event. Considering an extended time frame, therefore, an author would usually be assumed to be writing from research rather than from experience. (In the relatively unusual case of my grandfather’s manuscripts, however, they were written some time shortly after his “sailing, mining, prospecting, and cowpoke days,” over 90 years ago but only recently published by myself.)

So if it’s all historical fiction, what are the ten sub-genres? Continue reading “10 Amazing Sub-Genre’s in Historical Fiction”

Maggie Elizabeth Harrington-Review

Maggie Elizabeth HarringtonMaggie Elizabeth Harrington by C. J. Swykert

Genre: Currently #3071 in Best Sellers Rank for Kindle ebooks, Literature and Fiction-Historical

Publisher: Cambridge Books

Publication Date: March, 2016

Submitted by author for review

Maggie Elizabeth HarringtonMaggie Elizabeth Harrington Two Covers–One for print and one for Kindle. The Kindle cover includes a wolf in the background, but a modern-day woman.

This powerful story of thirteen year old Maggie Elizabeth Harrington was set in a copper mining town of Michigan in 1893. Maggie Elizabeth is the daughter of a miner who lives with her grandmother and her father (who against everything that Maggie Elizabeth believes in, drowns every new litter of kittens). Her mother passed in childbirth; the father barely speaks to her, the grandmother isn’t much better, and she attributes this to the death of her mother–which she considers must be her fault. Continue reading “Maggie Elizabeth Harrington-Review”

It’s Almost NaNo Time Again–Get Ready!

Nano CrestOn Sept 27, 2015, I wrote regarding my introduction to NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month website created by Chris Baty in 1999 and succeeded by Executive Director, Grant Faulkner in 2012. Think you still have a book in you? November is the month to find out. Just 50,000 little words, only 1,667 words per day in 30 days. Think you can do it? How about if you had help, a coach, or several coaches, hints, information, word count, encouragement, and other participants pushing to complete their book in the same month? It’s a band of engagement–join the fun!

National Novel Writing Month is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The experience is free–yes–they’ll accept donations and getting into the spirit of the thing, you can order NaNoWriMo mugs, clothing, books, and posters. And it’s so simple: Continue reading “It’s Almost NaNo Time Again–Get Ready!”

Successful Blogging – What Is Your Niche?

So much talent out there to help, mentor, encourage, and push an entrepreneur into successful blogging. Or from successful blogging to successful freelancing, promotion, or sales. I love writing–one thing it’s not–is boring. There are so many creative ways to exercise the expertise or talent. And it is always a resourceful and satisfying outlet. Fortunately, now you can find so many experts out there, there is little you can’t satisfy by researching successful bloggers. I have several “go-to” bloggers that seem to have no limits on topical advice.

 

The Take Action WAHM

One of my faves is The Take Action WAHM (work at home mom). I spend a LOT Of time reading–that is in addition to my review reading. Always something new to study–here it’s the “niche.” Goodness! I’ve read numerous articles on identifying my target audience and to be honest, it is not something I can zero in. If the goal is sales of historical fiction novels, my grandfather’s books seem to cross all boundaries. Women buy for the men. Men buy for their…sons(?) The young buy for their grandparents; the elder for their grandchildren. Only those who have to study it in school do not love history. And McShane’s stories are full-on Irish blarney–hard to separate fact from fiction.

 

 

Kelly writes for stay-at-home moms, the pearls and perils. She contributes to her family’s finances through affiliate marketing and freelance writing. She has a vast archive of information on her pins “Blogging A to Z.” Kelly found her niche. Continue reading “Successful Blogging – What Is Your Niche?”

Just Enjoy Reading or Bibliophile Qualified?

Just Enjoy Reading or Bibliophile Qualified?

There are usually one or more bibliophiles in your life–besides yourself! Whether they are out having fun, reading, or just too busy for interviews is another whole subject.Roberta

However, I did get a response from my former Yuma RV lot-mate, retired librarian, Roberta, who wrote, “I do love books, but I’m not a voracious reader. I probably read a few books a month on average.  I belong to a book group, so I read what we’ll be discussing each month.  Depending on how long that takes me, I’ll read one or two books that I want to read.  I listen regularly to NPR & it’s a great source of recommended books for me.”

Roberta enjoys her book group and actively participates at times leading a book discussion. As part of that responsibility, she admits to doing quite a bit of research on the author and topic. RobertaReading for her own enjoyment, she gleans books from all the major sources: public library, Kindle and Barnes and Noble online, although she admits to be more kinesthetic, as she prefers the “real books”, soft or hard cover to digital or eBooks. Roberta

Not wedded to any one genre, Roberta enjoys historical fiction, mysteries, family sagas and psychological fiction as well as travel. Extending into non-fiction, topics that hold her interest are history, biography, and the arts, and that incorporates many of her favorite authors, including Ivan Doig. She will follow some contemporary authors on Facebook, but does not join e-mail lists and although aware of Goodreads, doesn’t use it. The librarian in her still makes notes to herself about books that she’s read, although she does not rate or review them publicly.

Roberta is married, has grandkids in another state and enjoys an active life outdoors including traveling, hiking, cycling, Jeeping, cooking, writing in her journal and keeping up with personal letters. While she is not sure she qualifies as a true bibliophile, I’m not sure there is an absolute number that would elevate you to the category. However–three or four books a month?? There are people who haven’t read anything since high school! I’d say she does very well!Virginia WilliamsResource Box

 

The Happy Surprises in Publishing

Day 17 Prompt: What has been the biggest surprise about writing/publishing your book? What has been the most enjoyable or most memorable aspect?

What has been the biggest surprise? Way too easy! As most people know by now, I’ve published my grandfather’s manuscripts who wrote under the pen name of Stanley McShane. He also painted and sold various paintings with some dubious success under both his pen name and that of J. Wesley Rose. The paintings I have on little pasteboard 8″ x 10’s” were meant to illustrate his books.

  1. Discovering that my mother really knew little about her father’s life; nor had been sufficiently interested enough to ask or get some of the most basic facts.
  2. Reading and writing his manuscripts, discovering the tale we grew up with (that of his being born on board his father’s ship the “Marguerite” off the coast of New York) may not have been wholly true. MargueriteIndeed, in succeeding manuscripts, he offers two additional accounts of his birth–including the one of his birth in a maternity home in New York while his father’s ship was being loaded as it was mentioned more than once that his mother always sailed on the Marguerite (which was named after her) with her husband, the captain. There are no birth records.
  3. Stumbling over 90 year old English common of the day and sailing jargon also common during the turn of the 20th Century as he claimed to have sailed into the early 1900’s.
  4. Walking in his shoes through streets still dusty from the choking red clay powder surrounding ghost and near-ghost towns where he sought riches. Rhyolite Casino
  5. Among the most enjoyable or memorable aspects would have to be the people; those who’ve bought and shared their stories; authors with whom I’ve created a rapport. Among the latter, I would have to note Michael Reisig, who wrote the Road to Key West series as well as my favorite historical swashbuckling, page-turning adventure, the Caribbean Gold series.

But the most amazing and happy surprise?

Sole SurvivorThe discovery of a fella named Gary Long, coincidentally from Idaho where I published the books; claimed he had been in the possession of a McShane painting with one of his poems on the back. The poem stuck with him the rest of his life, although unfortunately the painting went missing. He had apparently been researching the name on the internet and wrote me. I was totally astonished and asked if I could use some of his story in the anthology I’ve been working on. I’ll be sending him a copy that includes his story when I complete and release Sole Survivor“, due out in a few days.

This writing thing–sure opens up the world to you–doesn’t it.

Virginia Williams