Elizabeth and Monty: The Untold Story of Their Intimate Friendship by Charles Casillo – #BookReview – #Biographies of the Rich & Famous

“Monty, Elizabeth likes me, but she loves you.”
—Richard Burton
 

Book Blurb:

Elizabeth and Monty by Charles CosilloWhen Elizabeth Taylor was cast opposite Montgomery Clift in A Place in the Sun, he was already a movie idol, with a natural sensitivity that set him apart. At seventeen, Elizabeth was known for her ravishing beauty rather than her talent. Directors treated her like a glamorous prop. But Monty took her seriously, inspiring and encouraging her. In her words, “That’s when I began to act.”

To Monty, she was “Bessie Mae,” a name he coined for her earthy, private side. The press clamored for a wedding, convinced this was more than friendship. The truth was even more complex. Monty was drawn to women but sexually attracted to men—a fact that, if made public, would destroy his career. But he found acceptance and kinship with Elizabeth. Her devotion was never clearer than after his devastating car crash near her Hollywood home, when she crawled into the wreckage and saved him from choking.

Monty’s accident shattered his face and left him in constant pain. As he sank into alcoholism and addiction, Elizabeth used her power to keep him working. In turn, through scandals and multiple marriages, he was her constant. Their relationship endured until his death in 1966, right before he was to star with her in Reflections in a Golden Eye. His influence continued in her outspoken support for the gay community, especially during the AIDS crisis.

Far more than the story of two icons, this is a unique and extraordinary love story that shines new light on both stars, revealing their triumphs, demons—and the loyalty that united them to the end.

My Review:

Classic Hollywood—the era of the huge stars—beautiful and tragic. Guess that would describe both of these Hollywood legends.

Holy smokes! I certainly remember Liz Taylor and all her men but only a scant recollection of Montgomery Clift; saw few of his movies. (We never had money for movies back then.) Still, I might have lived the rest of my life not knowing the madness of Clift. Taylor was pretty much a headline ALL the time.

“Sexually, she was every man’s dream. She had the face of an angel and the morals of a truck driver.” – Eddie Fisher

I have to give it to author Casillo for all the research that went into this biography. Monty Clift was a successful Broadway actor when sixteen year old Elizabeth met him. Two polar opposites drawn to each other initially by their common experience of having been thrust into the spotlights by stage mothers.

“Before forty you have the face you were born with; after forty you get the face you deserve.” – Elizabeth Taylor

“If someone’s dumb enough to offer me a million dollars to make a picture, I’m certainly not dumb enough to turn it down.” – Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth and Monty by Charles  CasilloThe chapters trade off alternately Taylor’s experiences and then Clift’s experiences. There was a LOT of name dropping, most names easily recognizable, as well as some fascinating behind the scenes tidbits about films, particularly those in which both starred.

There is a great deal of description which is then repeated, portions spun, rinsed and repeated. With so many names involved in the narrative perhaps dropping a name more than once was appropriate. However, I got the point the first time.

We knew about Elizabeth’s penchant for men, for excitement, the thrill of the conquests and affairs (eight marriages), her tragedies, the drinking, the pills. We knew that Monty Clift was gay when it was dangerous to be so. We didn’t know of his destructive nature, the booze, the drugs, the pills and his propensity to go off the deep end into unnaturally offensive behavior, swiping dishes off the table in well-known expensive restaurants and then eating off the floor. Spinning into alcoholic, drug induced days, it became impossible to insure him for films, but he was already exhibiting self-destructive behavior before that horrific accident that changed forever that beautiful face. Currently on pre-order.

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

Rosepoint Rating: Four stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: LGBTQ, Biographies of the Rich & Famous
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B08GYBH611

Print Length: 352 pages
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Charles Casillo - authorThe Author: Charles Casillo is the author of the novels “The Fame Game,” and “The Marilyn Diaries,” the biography, “Outlaw: The Lives and Careers of John Rechy” (the authorized life history of the legendary writer and hustler), and a collection of stories “Boys, Lost & Found.” His latest book is a serious and comprehensive biography of Monroe: “Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon.” The author says, “It will introduce you to the Marilyn Monroe you always wanted to know.”

Casillo’s profiles, short stories, articles, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Washington Post, Vice, Interview, and many others. He has appeared in Monroe documentaries “Behind the Headlines: Marilyn and Her Men,” on Lifetime, and “Whatever Happened to Norma Jeane,”

His movies include “Let Me Die Quietly,” a neo-noir thriller and the dark comedy “Fetish”(with Joan Collins.)

Casillo was born in New York City. He has spent many years exploring and documenting his interests and obsessions, such as exceptionally talented people, strange encounters in various bars, Marilyn Monroe, eccentrics, sex, tragic figures, and antidotes to insomnia, insecurity, and loneliness. He has written about these and other subjects in his works. He divides his time between New York, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and other places where he hangs his hat.

©2021 V Williams

Bone Rattle: A Riveting Novel of Suspense (An Arliss Cutter Novel Book 3) by Marc Cameron – #BookReview – Conspiracy Thrillers

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

In the icy heart of Alaska, a series of gruesome murders leads Deputy US Marshal Arliss Cutter into a firestorm of searing corruption, clashing cultures, and bone-chilling fear…
 
Bone Rattle by Marc CameronIn Juneau, a young Native archeologist is sent to protect the ancient burial sites uncovered by an Alaskan gold mining company. He never returns.

In Anchorage, a female torso—minus head, hands, and feet—is washed ashore near a jogging trail by the airport. It is not the first.

At Alaska’s Fugitive Task Force, Arliss Cutter and deputy Lola Teariki are pulled from their duties and sent to a federal court in Juneau. Instead of tracking dangerous fugitives, Cutter and Lola will be keeping track of sequestered jurors in a high-profile trial. The case involves a massive drug conspiracy with ties to a mining company, a lobbyist, and two state senators. When a prosecuting attorney is murdered—and a reporter viciously attacked—Cutter realizes they’re dealing with something much bigger, and darker, than a simple drug trial. The truth lies deep within the ancient sites and precious mines of this isolated land—and inside the cold hearts of those would kill to hide its secrets…

What’s buried in Alaska stays in Alaska.

His Review:

Could an American Indian burial artifact really be worth a cool half million dollars? Marc Cameron weaves a very entertaining tale around just such a find. Couple that with a historic mining area around Anchorage and I could not put the book down. The lead character, Arliss Cutter, shines as a no-nonsense investigator for the United States Marshall Service.

Bone Rattle by Marc CameronAlaska has attracted some very independent and sometimes unscrupulous individuals. Ruthless in many ways, they will succeed with no regard to the needs of others or their lives. Cruelty and lack of compassion are front and center in this story. Greed goes all the way to the top of the food chain. Killing someone who gets in your way seems to be an accepted form of alternative management.

Harboring someone who stands in the way of these monsters puts everyone in the crosshairs. A Senator’s son has fallen for a young lady who has information that will bring the Senator down. He is called to his fathers’ office and upon disclosing the young lady’s location summarily eliminated.

Bone Rattle by Marc CameronThe use of the limited topography and motorboat escape routes adds a larger and more diverse area than the coastal lanes around Anchorage. Additionally, the use of language specific to the mining industry kept me asking Wikipedia for further clarification. Mines opened in the first part of the twentieth century captured my imagination. Claustrophobia takes hold as the search for the missing witness goes underground. Cutter with the aid of a local reporter sets out to find and rescue the young woman.

All of the characters are well developed and believable. The villains are palpable and even awaken memories of similar events happening in the last century. Read this book and enjoy an adventure into the world of corruption. 5 stars – CE Williams 

We were given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley and was thrilled with the opportunity to read and review. The other half read Open Carry (Book 1) and found it unputdownable with strong male/female characters, bits of humor, and a location that adds mystery and beauty to a well-paced storyline. I can recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a great action-adventure thriller. Currently on pre-order.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and these are my unbiased opinions. 

Book Details:

Genre: Conspiracy Thrillers, War & Military Action Fiction
Publisher: Kensington Books
ASIN: B08F2W2X1SPrint Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: To be released April 27, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Bone Rattle [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Marc Cameron - authorThe Author: A retired Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal, Marc Cameron spent nearly thirty years in law enforcement. His assignments have taken him from Alaska to Manhattan, Canada to Mexico and dozens of points in between. He holds a second degree black belt in Jujitsu and is a certified scuba diver and man-tracker.

An avid adventure motorcyclist, Cameron’s books heavily feature bikes and bikers–from OSI Agent Jericho Quinn’s beloved BMW GS to Harley Davidsons, Royal Enfields, Ducatis and…most everything on two wheels.

Cameron lives in the Alaska with his wife, blue heeler dog, and BMW GS motorcycle. Visit him at: http://www.marccameronbooks.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Skull attribution: Kensington Books via Amazon page

Dead Even (A Mattie Winston Mystery Book 12) by Annelise Ryan – a #BookReview – #mystery

#1 New Release in Doctors & Medicine Humor

Book Blurb:

In Sorenson, Wisconsin, a local bigshot is found with a pool cue through the heart—and Mattie Winston must untangle a web of lies to sink a killer . . .
 
Dead Even by Annelise RyanIn her previous career as a nurse, Mattie Winston’s job was to keep death at bay. Now, as a medicolegal investigator, she’s required to study death intimately—to figure out causes and timing, and help deduce whether it was natural or suspicious.

In the case of Montgomery “Monty” Dixon, a well-to-do Realtor, there can be little doubt: Broken pool cues do not embed themselves. Monty’s body is found in the game room of his lavish house, the walls adorned with photos of Monty and various celebrities. But as Mattie and husband Steve Hurley, a homicide detective, both know, money and connections can’t protect anyone from a killer.

The first suspect is Monty’s wife, Summer, who claims to have been at a cooking class at the time. When that alibi is served up as a fake, Summer moves to the top of the suspects list, but is soon joined by Monty’s ne’er-do-well son, Sawyer, who has racked up gambling debts he hoped his dad would pay off. Monty’s twin brother is engaging in shady financial deals. An affair, a Ponzi scheme, a disputed inheritance . . . there are as many motives as suspects, and soon Mattie and Hurley have turned up other, possibly related deaths.

Balancing a high-profile case with the demands of their increasingly stressful household isn’t easy. It’ll take all of Mattie’s skill—along with a lucky break or two—to stop a killer from racking up another victim . . .

My Review:

This Wisconsin nurse has turned her medical knowledge into the position of a medicolegal investigator with the coroner’s office. As her husband, police detective Steve Hurley, is in law enforcement, they find themselves being called out from time to time to the same scene. And that’s what happens in this episode of the series.

Dead Even by Annelise RyanThe victim in this case is a local successful real estate agent, found with a broken pool cue through his chest. His family dynamic is a strained one, blended, and as the investigation proceeds, opens into a complex and well-plotted narrative.

Mattie Winston has sustained a lot of changes in her life including the son they share, his daughter, and their new house. Their disparate schedules and the strain of the household has put a strain on Mattie, separate and in addition to their jobs. It’s a familiar strain—shared by most mothers dealing with multiple responsibilities—let alone a high powered job and apparently it’s time to make another change.

In the meantime, Mattie and Steve are interviewing possible candidates to help clean the house (a big load off), while dealing with three-year old Matthew and his unique personality as well as the household animals.

I enjoy Mattie’s close circle of family and friends, many of whom pitch in for the care of Matthew. Most of the support characters are well developed and lend to the vision of a real collage of persons intricately involved. Steve is a great character and Mattie is learning how to better handle her own volatile reactions to their interpersonal relationship.

Sprinkled liberally throughout are some of the more humorous aspects of dealing with her family and business associates in a realistic life situation. It’s a well paced novel, the characters engaging and thoroughly entertaining.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and these are my unbiased opinions.

Rosepoint Rating: 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Doctors & Medicine Humor, Lawyers & Criminals Humor, #Amateur Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B08CBMX13V

Print Length: 308 pages
Publication Date: To be released March 30, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Annelise RyanThe Author: Annelise Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Mattie Winston mystery series and a pseudonym for Beth Amos, who also writes the Mack’s Bar Mystery series under the pseudonym Allyson K. Abbott. Beth is a real life emergency room RN living in Wisconsin. She believes laughter is the best medicine, and with the Mattie Winston series she is hoping to “medicate” the masses.

For more Mattie Winston fun and to keep up with the latest news, visit http://www.mattiewinston.com

©2021 V Williams

Murder in an Irish Bookshop (An Irish Village Mystery Book 7) by Carlene O’Connor – a #BookReview – #cozymystery

“…in a murder inquiry everyone needs to be treated guilty until proven innocent.”

MY Third CONTRIBUTION TO THE #BEGORRAHTHON.

Book Blurb:

Murder in an Irish Bookshop by Carlene O'ConnorBetween training the new town garda and trying to set a wedding date with her fiancé, Macdara Flannery, Siobhán O’Sullivan is feeling a bit overwhelmed. She’s looking forward to visiting the new bookshop and curling up with an exciting novel—only to discover the shelves contain nothing but Literature with a capital L. The owner not only refuses to stock romances, mysteries, and science fiction, but won’t even let customers enter his store unless they can quote James Joyce or Sean Hennessey.  

Despite the owner deliberately limiting his clientele, he’s hosting a reading and autographing event featuring up and coming Irish writers who will be taking up residency in Kilbane for a month. Among them is indie author Deirdre Walsh, who spends more time complaining about the unfairness of the publishing industry and megastar bestsellers instead of her own creative works, causing a heated debate among the writers. She seems to have a particular distaste for the novels of Nessa Lamb.

Then Deirdre’s body is found the next day in the back of the store—with pages torn from Nessa’s books stuffed in her mouth. Now, Siobhán must uncover which of Kilbane’s literary guests took Deirdre’s criticisms so personally they’d engage in foul play.

My Review:

I do enjoy this series with protagonist Garda Siobhan O’Sullivan in the small village of Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland. Book 7 has the little town all excited over the opening of a new bookshop and as the owners have been rather private about it, pushed the buzz to a new level. Unfortunately, opening day finds a body near the bookshop, a real buzz kill…followed later by a second inside the shop during a storm blackout.

The new bookshop owners Padraig and Oran McCarthy had invited a host of well-known writers as well as an agent to help celebrate the opening, and now they as well as several of the townspeople are suspects as well.

Murder in an Irish Bookshop by Carlene O'ConnorGarda O’Sullivan is partnered with her betrothed, Detective Sergeant Macdara Flannery, as well as a new recruit, on hand to observe and learn. The investigation is as twisted as the manner of death—a new one to me. That is, not the agent, but the method of application—very unique! Lots of secrets, revealed in bits and pieces along with the red herrings.

Siobhan is part of the O’Sullivan Six, brothers and sisters in her care who are gradually growing up even as Siobhan turns another birthday—an important one. Maybe it’s time to set the date with Mac, but theirs is a very laid back relationship and she doesn’t seem to be feeling that biological clock ticking away quite yet. They do have a good working relationship but she’s still a bit of a mystery to me. I like the character of Mac, and what little I’ve gleaned of her siblings, though there is not a lot of development of the support characters, including those of the village.

That Irish sense of humor shines through in the prose, the dialogue, while the descriptions of the weather and the village paint a somewhat dreary picture. I’m cheered when she gets out her little pink Vespa—a sunny day. The back and forth between Siobhan and Mac and the identical twins Emma and Eileen Curley is a hoot as is the discussion of “No crying in the baseball,” and the side knowledge of books, authors, and writing styles shines throughout the book in little quotes and clues. I snickered every time I read about John Butler, owner of Butler’s Undertaker, Lounge, and Pub. At least you didn’t have to go very far…snort.

The mystery is not a hard one to solve, but as always, it’s the ride not the destination and these are always a fun ride. I also read Books 4, 5, and 6, Murder in an Irish Pub, Murder in an Irish Cottage, and Murder at an Irish Christmas and have enjoyed them all. Always an enlightening peek into life in Kilbane, atmospheric and entertaining.

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

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Craft & Hobby Mysteries, International Mystery & Crime
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B089NDHR36

Print Length: 258 Pages
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Carlene O'Connor - authorThe 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

2021 V Williams

 

Shucked Apart (A Maine Clambake Mystery Book 9) by Barbara Ross – a #BookReview – #cozyculinary mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Shucked Apart by Barbara RossThe Snowden Family Clambake Company has a beloved reputation in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. Almost as famous is the sleuthing ability of proprietor Julia Snowden, which is why an oyster farmer seeks her out when she’s in trouble.

When Andie Greatorex is robbed of two buckets of oyster seed worth $35,000, she wonders if somebody’s trying to mussel her out of business. Could it be a rival oyster farmer, a steamed former employee, or a snooty summer resident who objects to her unsightly oyster cages floating on the beautiful Damariscotta River? There’s also a lobsterman who’s worried the farm’s expanding lease will encroach on his territory and Andie’s ex-partner, who may come to regret their split. Before Julia can make much headway in the investigation, Andie turns up dead, stabbed by a shucking knife. Now it’s up to Julia to set a trap for a cold and clammy killer . . .

My Review:

If I can’t be on the left coast for some sumptuous fresh and sweet crab and clams, I’ll tap into the latest novel in the Maine Clambake Mystery series by Barbara Ross and join her on the right coast for some of their world-renown seafood—including oysters and lobsters. YUM! The subject of Book 9. Maybe you aren’t currently an oyster fan, but by the end of this cozy culinary, you’ll be searching for the fastest route to the Damariscotta River and Busman’s Harbor, Maine.

Shucked Apart by Barbara RossThe Snowden Family Clambake Company is gearing up for opening season, and Julie is responsible for finding appropriate seasonal staff when her boyfriend Chris asks her help for a poker buddy who was recently assaulted and her pails of oyster spat (baby oysters) stolen. Yes, it was reported to the police, but they are taking it as an assault and robbery and Andie knows it’s much more than that. First, Julia is a little put off that Chris has not been forthcoming regarding his “poker buddies” but on speaking with Andie, however, she sees a serious oyster farmer who has made for herself a respectable name and reputation as producing quality product.

Whether or not you’re interested in the farming of oysters, this is fascinating stuff and amazing how Ms. Ross weaves in information in Julia’s investigation to pique your interest not only in aquaculture but the history of the area and it’s evolution. And then there is the death of Andie (no accident there). Andie’s expansion plans may have spurred some backlash and there is some competition between the oyster and lobster farmers.

The author describes the area so beautifully, the fishermen so completely, the sights, sounds, and fragrant air plunks you into the middle of her scene. The well-developed characters make you wish you could sit at their table, reliving those fish stories or the best way to care for the upwellers.

In the meantime, the mystery is progressing through red herrings (chuckle) and twists, some too obvious not to be dismissed. Easy to have your own suspicions and the well-plotted and paced narrative progresses without repeated rehashing of salient suspicions.

I’ve had the opportunity of receiving two others in this series, Sealed Off and Stowed Away, both of which I enjoyed, and really these can be read as a standalone, but now I’m off to see if I can find an audiobook. These are atmospheric, engaging, and entertaining and I never come away without learning something.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest opinions. Releasing in February, this one is on pre-order now at your favorite retailer.

Rosepoint Recommended

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Book Details:

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

  • ASIN : B089N3KK89

Print Length: 189 pages
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Barbara Ross - authorThe Author:  Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries and the Jane Darrowfield Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at http://www.barbararossauthor.com

©2021 V Williams

Irish Parade Murder (A Lucy Stone Murder Book 27) by Leslie Meier – a #BookReview – #cozymystery

“’If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me.’ Alice Roosevelt Longworth, (Teddy’s daughter)”

Book Blurb:

Lucy Stone’s late-winter blues usually vanish by the time Tinker’s Cove goes green for its annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration. There’s just one wee problem that not even the luck of the Irish can fix—murder!

Irish Parade Murder by Leslie MeierAfter returning from her father-in-law’s funeral in Florida, Lucy can almost hear the death knell of her part-time reporter job the instant she meets new hire Rob Callahan. He’s young, ambitious, and positioning himself to become the Pennysaver’s next star reporter. Adding insult to injury, Lucy only gets assigned the local St. Patrick’s Day parade once Rob passes on the story. But before beer flows and bagpipes sound, Rob becomes suspected of destroying more than other people’s careers . . .

It’s a shock when Rob is suddenly charged with sending a corrections officer from town to a fiery death. Contrary to the evidence, Lucy seriously doubts her office rival committed murder, and she’s willing to follow that nagging hunch into the darkest corners of the community if it means shedding light on the truth . . .

As an unnerving mystery unfolds, a strange woman reveals news that could change everything for Lucy and her family. Troubles in her personal and professional life are colliding, and Lucy comes to realize that she’ll sooner discover a four-leaf clover than confront a killer with the gift of the gab and live to tell about it . . .

My Review:

Yikes! There have already been twenty-six books in this series, and this is my first experience with either the author or the series. Well, I know you’ve heard that before, not often I have the chance to start a series with Book 1.

Irish Parade Murder by Leslie MeierThis one, however, regards a small town journalist with the local weekly. Just when the few others in the office assume the owner is going to throw in the towel, they are astounded to learn the owner has partnered with the adjacent town’s paper and they will now cover twice the territory. And, icing on the cake, the owner has brought in a whiz-bang kid to really “get the story.”

And, somehow, I thought the novel would be about Lucy writing her stories, discovering a murder victim and she would go investigating.

Nope.

This cozy mystery centers on family. Protagonist Lucy Stone is married (also unusual for a cozy mystery) with four children. Two events occur about the same time—her father-in-law has passed away and Grandma Edna will come to live with them (her husband being an only child). About the same time, they get a letter proclaiming shared DNA by a woman they know nothing about.

St. Patrick’s Day is coming and Tinkers Cove is gearing up for their big annual parade followed by a newly instituted festival in adjacent Gilead. AND, Lucy is assigned to getting the school budget and parade master stories. In the meantime, she is fielding family matters, including her daughter’s “step-dancing” with which history I found interesting.

It’s not until about 50% into the book that an accident occurs deemed not to be an accident, and not unusually, the new kid on the paper is blamed for the murder. This sets off an interesting search into the possible corruption of the local sheriff’s department.       

I don’t know whether it was because I was coming into the series at Book 27 and finding more of a family drama than a cozy that was off-putting, but I had a problem becoming engaged in the narrative and couldn’t connect with the characters—which, at this point, character development has pretty much ended. Her husband Bill is wonderfully supportive, but the storyline just dragged for me. I didn’t really care what the school board was going to vote for or against. The conclusion only mildly increased attention—at that point, just happy for the conclusion. More focus on the murder investigation, contact with more appropriate individuals, interviews, something…would have added some tension. On pre-order now.

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

Rosepoint Rating: Three of Five Stars three stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Amateur Sleuth
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B087YSPKVC

Print Length: 283 pages
Publication Date: To be released January 26, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Leslie Meier - authorThe Author: [Leslie Meier] I started writing in the late ’80s when I was attending graduate classes at Bridgewater State College. I wanted to become certified to teach high school English and one of the required courses was Writing and the Teaching of Writing. My professor suggested that one of the papers I wrote for that course was good enough to be published and I sent it off to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine’s Department of First Stories. I got $100 for the story and I’ve been writing ever since. The teaching, however, didn’t work out.

My books draw heavily on my experience as a mother of three and my work as a reporter for various weekly newspapers on Cape Cod. My heroine, Lucy Stone, is a reporter in the fictional town of Tinker’s Cove, Maine, where she lives in an old farmhouse (quite similar to mine on Cape Cod!) with her restoration carpenter husband Bill and four children. As the series has progressed the kids have grown older, roughly paralleling my own family. We seem to have reached a point beyond which Lucy cannot age — my editor seems to want her to remain forty-something forever — though I have to admit I am dying to write “Menopause is Murder”!

I usually write one Lucy Stone mystery every year and as you can see, my editor likes me to feature the holidays in my books. Of course Christmas is one of my favorite times of year and my newest mystery {released September 2013} is called “Christmas Carol Murder.” I have always loved the Alistair Sims movie version of Charles Dicken’s ,”The Christmas Carol,” so I was excited to be able to have Lucy encounter some modern day versions of Dicken’s classic characters. In addition to the recent holiday mysteries I have written such as “Chocolate Covered Murder” {Valentine’s Day} and “Easter Bunny Murder”, I have written one travel mystery in which Lucy and her friends ,travel to London,”English Tea Murder”. Since I love to travel I can only hope that Lucy will be able to solve some mysteries in some other cities and countries also. My husband and I did stay in an apartment in Paris this past year {big hint!}

My books are classified as cozies but a good friend insists they are really “comedies of manners” and I do enjoy expressing my view of contemporary American life.

Now that the kids are grown — I now have four grandchildren — my husband and I are enjoying our empty nest on Cape Cod which we share with our new very frisky kitty, Sylvester. I am busy writing the next Lucy Stone Mystery which is due out this Spring. I do hope you will enjoy it!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

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

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