The Shortest Day by Colm Toíbín – A #BookReview – Literature & Fiction – #readingirelandmonth21 – #TuesdayBookBlog

Our first contribution to this years’ #begorrahthon

Book Blurb:

The Shortest Day by Colm ToibinIn Ireland, a man of reason is drawn to a true mystery older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge in this enthralling story about ethereal secrets by New York Times bestselling author Colm Tóibín.

During the winter solstice, on the shortest day and longest night of the year, the ancient burial chamber at Newgrange is empowered. Its mystifying source is a haunting tale told by locals.

Professor O’Kelly believes an archaeologist’s job is to make known only what can be proved. He is undeterred by ghost stories, idle speculation, and caution. Much to the chagrin of the living souls in County Meath. As well as those entombed in the sacred darkness of Newgrange itself. They’re determined to protect the secret of the light, guarded for more than five thousand years. And they know O’Kelly is coming for it.

His Review:

Can archaeologists be considered scientists or grave robbers? Colm Toibin explores this question in this book. A site in Ireland called Newgrange or Bru’ na Boinne was built 3200 years before Christ as a resting place for those who have passed on. Professor O’Kelly is exploring the site and trying to decipher the meaning on various carved rock slabs at the site.

The Shortest Day by Colm ToibinThe spirits who inhabit the site are not particularly fond of this meddling educator. The secret of the site is the inclusion of light once a year that allows a spiritual energy rebirth for the inhabitants. This happens on the winter solstice when the entire chamber is alight. The local town folk prefer that the interloper stay away but he does not take the hint. The overall feeling is to let the dead rest in peace!

I enjoyed the interplay between the spirits and Professor O’Kelly. One of the more traveled of the spirits warns the others as the Professor comes near. Clever anecdotes between the spirits add a flavor of community to the site and are humorous to read. Road blocks are thrown in the professors’ way to help keep him from discovering the overall secret of the structure.

This quick read begs the question; should graves be exhumed or desecrated for historical and/or scientific knowledge? Many great treasures have been found in graves and monuments built thousands of years ago. True, we do learn some things from these discoveries but at what cost to the original inhabitants and their intent? The argument that we can discover how they lived during that time period doesn’t seem to be strongly valid to me. Exhuming a corpse, grave, or sarcophagus for historical knowledge seems a very selfish and weak argument.

The small town near the structure has kept the secret of the design of the structure. Shouldn’t mankind show the same reverence and consideration? 4 stars – C.E. Williams

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars 

Book Details:

Genre: 45-Minute Literature & Fiction Short Reads, Kindle Singles Literature & Fiction, Literary Short Stories
Publisher: Amazon Original Stories

  • ASIN : B08GBPRXQC

Print Length: 31 pages
Publication Date: November 3, 2020
Source: Local Library
Title Link: The Shortest Day [Amazon] 

Add to Goodreads

 

Colm Toibin - authorThe Author: Colm Tóibín is the author of four previous novels, The South, The Heather Blazing, The Story of the Night, and The Blackwater Lightship, which was shortlisted for the 1999 Booker Prize. He lives in Dublin.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

 

 

A Blind Eye: The Adam Kaminski Mystery Series Book 1 by Jane Gorman – a #BookReview

The Vicarious Blogger Reviews an Old One on #TBT

Book Blurb:

A Blind Eye by Jane GormanIn this darkly atmospheric suspense, a Philadelphia police detective visiting Poland gets involved when murder is suspected, and the local police turn away. Adam Kaminski, with a delegation to Philadelphia’s sister city, is meant to be a polite observer only. But a good man doesn’t walk away when he sees wrong being done, and he’s not about to start now.

Visiting his family’s homeland, Adam’s been warned by his superiors to be on his best behavior. In a country that has known centuries of wars and occupation, politics are complex and layered with old prejudices and loyalties impossible for foreigners to understand. But when Adam meets a Polish cousin in Warsaw who believes his daughter was murdered, Adam is troubled by the indifference of the police… and by the strange behavior of the delegation’s Polish liaison.

Adam begins uncovering clues that point to the killer, clues that lead him inexorably into an investigation of the intricate web of Polish politics and the legacy of the Secret Police. But the past isn’t always black and white, as Adam is forced to accept as he learns more about the killer and about his own family legacy. Will looking into the murder only beget more murder?

His Review:

A Blind Eye by Jane GormanThe plane touches down at the airport outside of Warsaw, Poland and a trade delegation from Philadelphia debarks. Meanwhile, a beautiful young woman is found floating in a Warsaw river. Adam Kaminski is a last-minute addition to the delegation representing the Philadelphia police department.

Poland experienced a very turbulent 20th century with two world wars and being swept into the Communist Block of countries. The capital was almost totally destroyed in the second world war and every citizen fought the Nazi attack and occupation and subsequent Moscow rule. Surviving in this meat grinder of personal identities required strong personal fortitude and cleverness. The people who survived learned to get ahead any way possible. Tomek Malak is one of those who appear to be rising to become President of the country.

Adam meets a distant cousin, Lukasz Kaminski, as he is drawn to investigate the death of the young lady. Her demise is adjudged a suicide but Adam is skeptical. The investigation is coordinated by Adam and his cousin while being thwarted by local authorities. Aiding in the investigation is Sylvia Stanko, a pretty blue-eyed beauty assigned by Mr. Malak. She assists Adam in getting access to records and government documents not generally available to the public.

His police chief in Philadelphia would rather Adam stick to the trade delegation duties and not try to solve a mystery in a country in which he has no police powers.  Student protests and demonstrations hinder the investigation. Sub-plots abound as the killers thwart the investigation and confound the two investigators. The twists are engaging and encourage reading late into the night.

CE WilliamsThe beauty of the city and the inhabitants is graphically displayed along with the attractiveness of the ladies. Personal attraction makes Adam very concerned about Sylvia’s safety. I appreciated the mental acumen of the writer and her ability to engage the sexual tension between Adam and Sylvia. The seemingly exhaustive attempts of the average citizen to get ahead would leave a less robust peoples grief-stricken and forlorn.

Dive into this tale and shiver with the cold fall in Poland. Marvel at the resilience and ingenuity of the people of this historic country. 4.5/5 stars CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery and Crime, Literature and Fiction, Political Thrillers and Suspense
Publisher: Blue Eagles Press
ASIN: B012IVZFXU
Print Length: 318 pages
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Source: Free from BookBub
Title Link: A Blind Eye

+Add to Goodreads 

 Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5-stars

Jane Gorman - authorThe Author: Jane Gorman is the author of the Adam Kaminski mystery series. Having worked as an anthropologist, a diplomat and a park ranger, Gorman turned to mysteries as yet another way to visit new worlds and meet new people.

Gorman’s books are informed by her international experiences, both as an anthropologist and through her work with the U.S. State Department. She has previously published in the field of political anthropology, negotiated international instruments on behalf of the U.S. government, and appeared on national television through her efforts to support our nation’s cultural heritage. Her books are each set in a different city or town around the world, building on her eye for detailed settings, appreciation of complex characters, and love of place-based mystery.

She lives in Cherry Hill, NJ, with her husband, who loves traveling even more than she does and has a voracious appetite for life, two cats who are very picky eaters, and a Pointer-Hound mix who wants nothing more out of life than to eat the cats.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Justice Gone by N Lombardi Jr #BookBlitz

Sage's Blog Tours - Book Blitz

I am so delighted today to provide a book blitz for you at my blog stop for Justice Gone by N Lombardi Jr on Sage’s Blog Tours.

Book Details

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi JrTitle: Justice Gone by N Lombardi, Jr

Genre: #Literature & Fiction, Crime, Thriller

Publisher: Roundfire Books

Print Length: 336 pages

Publication Date: February 22, 2019

  • ISBN-10:1785358766
  • ISBN-13:978-1785358760
  • ASIN: B07N175RZJ

Source: Author, Publisher, and NetGalley

Book Blurb

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down. A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase. Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers get there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture. Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge? Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr Tessa Thorpe, wrapped in the divisive issues of modern American society including police brutality and disenfranchised returning war veterans. N Lombardi Jr. is the author of compelling and heartfelt novel The Plain of Jars.

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

N. Lombardi Jr - authorN Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian). In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc. http://plainofjars.net 

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone, was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Sage's Blog ToursThanks to Sage’s Book Tours for the opportunity to provide a book blitz page for this heart-pounding fiction novel based on a real tragedy. The book will definitely stir an emotional cauldron. I read it. It did.

©2019 V Williams V Williams

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”

Freedom Road by William Lashner – a #BookReview

Freedom Road by William LashnerTitle: Freedom Road by William Lashner

Genre: Literature and Fiction, Thriller and Suspense, Action and Adventure

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: January 22, 2019

Print Length: 377 pages

ASIN:B07F6CLX1H

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Freedom RoadDepicts lonely flight

Book Blurb:

He’s taking a dangerous path in search of his missing granddaughter—the only part of his life worth saving.

Oliver Cross is fresh out of jail. His plans for the future are to live out his days in regret, back pain, and a bottle of Lone Star. But when he finds out his granddaughter, a wild child who reminds him of his late wife, has vanished—bless her hell-raising heart—Oliver jumps parole. With a sketchy teen and an abandoned dog, he hits the blacktop to find her.

On the road and on the run from a vengeful Russian drug dealer, Oliver finds himself on a trip across America and into his own past, fueled by fumes from a Ford F-250 and a reason to live. But from an exclusive club in Chicago to a seedy commune in the Rockies, a series of disastrous choices sends Oliver spiraling further from his goal and deeper into danger. It’s a journey that could all end in redemption or a hail of bullets. And either’s okay by him. 

My Review:

Perhaps Clint Eastwood is now too old to play the part of 72-year-old Oliver Cross, but he could have played the brooding, caustic, cantankerous man so believably that these pages would have quivered with the excitement. There were sooo many times I pictured him in this part, seeing Oliver as Clint has always been, the quintessential masculine hero who would triumph even at his own expense.

Oliver is a remnant of the ’68 Chicago Viet Nam anti-war demonstrations that have come to blows which actually introduces him to Helen, who will become the love of his life. Oliver is the product of a wealthy family, first-year law student, destined to become one of the good ole boys following in his father’s footsteps where the name Cross means wealth and power. But two things happen that will totally change the course of his life: He meets Helen and his brother, a soldier in ‘Nam dies a hero. Continue reading “Freedom Road by William Lashner – a #BookReview”

A Life for a Life by Lynda McDaniel – a #BookReview

A Life for a Life by Lynda McDanielTitle: A Life for a Life: A Mystery Novel (Appalachian Mountain Mystery Book 1)

Genre: Literature and Fiction, Mystery, Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Lynda McDaniel Books

Print Length: 341 pages

Publication Date: August 15, 2016

ISBN: 0997780800

ASIN: B01KGVUREG

Source: Direct Author Request

Title and Cover: A Life for a LifeSimple cover–subtle subject suggestion

Book Blurb:

One mysterious death. One lazy sheriff. Two seekers of truth.

Della Kincaid escaped to the mountains of N.C. to get away from it all. Didn’t work. She discovers a dead woman in the wilderness and gets embroiled in the investigation. The sheriff says suicide; Kincaid says murder. As a former reporter in Washington, D.C., she knows how to chase the truth. Without her usual sources, she turns to an offbeat cast of characters—friends, forger, former husband, and new neighbor Abit Bradshaw, a challenged boy who’s spent the first 16 years of his life plagued by small-town bullies and family lies. They team up to search for answers to the possible murder—and to make peace with their own lives. 

A Life for a Life is the first book in Lynda McDaniel’s internationally acclaimed Appalachian Mountain Mysteries series. Reviewers have compared her work to To Kill a Mockingbird and her storytelling style to that of Fannie Flagg. If you like page-turning dramas without over-the-top violence—but packed with suspense and character-driven stories—you’ll love this series. Continue reading “A Life for a Life by Lynda McDaniel – a #BookReview”

The Homecoming of Bubbles O’Leary by Jean Grainger – a #BookReview

The Homecoming of Bubbles O'Leary by Jean GraingerTitle: The Homecoming of Bubbles O’Leary (The Tour Series Book 4) by Jean Grainger

Genre: Literature & Fiction, Irish, Sagas

Publication Date: December 24, 2018

  • ISBN-10:1792633327
  • ISBN-13:978-1792633324
  • ASIN: B07MD964MJ

Print Length: 332

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: The Homecoming of Bubbles O’LearyPerfect Old World depiction

Book Blurb:

A luxury stay in an Irish castle, a handsome, experienced tour guide, and a secret that has never been revealed. Life as manager of the magnificent resort of Castle Dysert on Ireland’s wild Atlantic coast is never dull, and Conor O’Shea’s life to date has taught him to be prepared for the unexpected. Even he however, is not ready for the gang from Bubbles O’Leary’s bar in New York. A motley crew, from spinster sisters of a certain age, to exhausted social workers, they are all in Ireland for one reason. The fact that this bunch of unusual people arrive during Ireland’s biggest matchmaking festival just adds to the intrigue. But is everyone who they say they are? Are all their motives pure? Conor is ready to do his best to show the visitors his beloved Ireland, but his personal life takes a devastating turn and he finds himself torn, unsure how to proceed. Is the past best left there, or is there redemption to be found in opening old wounds? Wise and witty, heart-warming and deeply satisfying, Jean Grainger takes us once more on an unforgettable trip to the Emerald Isle.

My Review:

The Homecoming of Bubbles O'Leary by Jean GraingerThe author must have kissed that Blarney Stone more than once!  She can spin such a fable as to keep you glued to the pages, peeking inside the personalities of each of the characters and their stories. Of course, Conor is back, the protagonist who began as a tour guide and now operates Castle Dysert. He married Ana and they had twin boys, now eight years old. The tale is told of Bubbles O’Leary and his bar and immense humanity in New York; how he loved, respected, and regaled his patrons of accounts of his childhood in Ireland. And when he passes away unexpectedly, his closest friends vow to take him home to Dingle. He has cemented a special place in the hearts of each person.

The well-plotted saga begins to lay out a deeply entwined narrative of the individuals who undertake to return him home to Ireland, just when Conor is dealing with crushing family drama, but it is he who they must have to lead their memorial group. Each support character has his/her own story which contributes to the tours they take from the Castle, enjoying the sights. The characters are well developed and engaging.

There is an underlying sinister current that manifests later into the book that adds a mystery to what is an accounting of confronting serious illness, estrangements, lost and new love, and forgiveness. There is humor, the yarn flows easily, the prose so beautiful, the action realistic. You can picture the group in a loving circle with Bubbles’ ashes–an emotional farewell set with the awesome backdrop of the sun setting into the North Atlantic, soft strains of “Danny Boy” in the salty breeze.

I’ve read most of the books Ms. Grainger has published and I must say each has been totally engrossing, engaging, and enlightening. I believe my first book was gleaned through BookBub and noting she lived in Cork, wrote her immediately to ask a couple questions regarding one of the few hints dropped in my grandfather’s books regarding his origins. I’ve been a fan of hers since and loved each new book.

As Ms. Grainger notes, “if she had any Irish in her; she must have to explain the connection she felt with Ireland.” What is the draw? I don’t know, but the author delights the reader whether or not with remote Irish origins in her generous descriptions of the land, the origins, food, ancient artifacts, and sayings. Easy explanations and helpful pronunciations eliminate any off-putting of local colloquialisms and customs and adds to the enjoyment of the story.

I was allowed early ebook download of this novel by the author and greatly appreciated (as always!) the opportunity to read and review. Recommended to any who enjoy a thoroughly entertaining and emotional literary fiction.

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5 of five stars

Jean Grainger - authorThe Author:

JEAN GRAINGER – SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.

Jean Grainger's Author Circle Novel of ExcellenceWINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

‘Warm and wise, reading a Jean Grainger novel is like sitting in the kitchen of a friend. Her authentic writing welcomes you into the heart of Ireland.’ Kate Kerrigan, NYT Bestselling Author.

‘In the same magical tradition as classic Irish storytellers, Maeve Binchy and Frank McCourt, Jean Grainger transports the reader into a world where the characters not only come alive, but become friends, who stay with you long after you’ve closed the last page. I have no doubt that Jean Grainger will be considered one of the finest historical novelists of our time.’ Roberta Kagan, Bestselling author of ‘All My Love, Detrick’ series.

[See her full author bio on Amazon.] I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 150 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dog, a chi-chon called Scrappy-Do.

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years.

©2019 V Williams V Williams