Such a Beautiful Family by T R Ragan – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Such a Beautiful Family by T R Ragan

Book Blurb:

A riveting novel of psychological suspense about perfect lives and hidden secrets by New York Times bestselling author T.R. Ragan.

Such a Beautiful Family by T R RaganNora Harmon has a lot to be thankful for: two great kids, a stable marriage, and now, a dream career. Software consultant Jane Bell wants Nora on her team. She’s offering a fantastic salary, flexible hours, and a chance to travel the world. It sounds too good to be true, but Jane won’t take no for an answer.

Jane acts more like a friend than a boss, and Nora’s personal and professional boundaries begin to blur. Jane is smitten with Nora’s perfect family—particularly her daughter—and far too attentive to Nora’s husband. Nora can’t help but feel insecure and unsettled.

Maybe Jane is everything she says she is: a lonely woman in need of feeling the love of a kind and decent family. Maybe Nora is just being paranoid.

Maybe not.

My Review:

If it sounds too good to be true…well, you know that old saying…

Trust T R Ragan to pour on the suspense in what would seem a routine domestic drama. The perfect life; but somehow Jane Bell catches Nora Harmon just about the time Nora is beginning to feel stagnated in her current position. It’s a good job, but she’s no longer excited to get to work in the morning. Even worse, she is beginning to realize her children are growing up at a time when she has even less time to enjoy them.

In steps Jane Bell, a software consultant, who offers Nora twice the money, more time with her family. No, no traveling, just a cushy office. So why are those caution bells ringing wildly in her ears? What is the catch here?

Nora is getting comfy in her new position with IMPACT when Jane begins to lavish her with little surprises. She accepts a couple at the beginning but the hairs have been raised on the back of her neck and she’s beginning to get nervous, particularly when Jane begins to make inroads with her husband and daughter. Only her son, Trevor, (smart kid that he is) is watching Jane with a jaundiced eye.

Okay. Is it too late to put on the brakes? Change the dynamic?

Backstory info is beginning to seep in to muddy the waters. Give her the benefit of the doubt? I don’t THINK so!

Where did Jane come from? Where did she really get the money for her start-up?

The suspense is ramping up, the tension is spiking. Nora’s hubby and daughter think Jane is a benefit fairy and they’re loving the attention. But as Nora gleans additional clues, her grateful reservations begin to elevate from anger to fear and jealousy. And, she is beginning to see the secrets she’d tried to keep hidden are about to be revealed.

The conclusion is wrapped in a heart-twisting conflagration of threats and revelations, physical confrontation. Well, mercy.

It’s a head-scratching nail-biter. The well-plotted and paced mystery hooked and kept engagement. The protagonist for the most part is sympathetic although maddening at times. Her family perhaps too good to be true—especially the daughter’s flip near the climax—hmmm, I wondered about that. On the whole an entertaining saga. I read Count to Three, as well as others, greatly enjoyed, and have become a solid Ragan fan.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts. Currently on pre-order.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ASIN: B09LC5K3BH
Print Length: 266 pages
Publication Date: December 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 

T R Ragan - authorThe Author: T.R. Ragan (Theresa Ragan) has sold over four million books and is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling mystery and thriller author.

Readers interested in signing up for a monthly newsletter or getting their name in a TR RAGAN book should check out her website at http://www.trragan.com

Facebook • Twitter • Instagram: @trraganauthor

 

LIZZY GARDNER SERIES
FAITH MCMANN TRILOGY
JESSIE COLE SERIES
SAWYER BROOKS SERIES

Don’t Make a Sound

Out of Her Mind

No Going Back

Count To Three – 12/21

Such A Beautiful Family – 12/22

Theresa Ragan Novels: Return of the Rose, A Knight in Central Park, Finding Kate Huntley, Dead Man Running, Having My Baby, An Offer He Can’t Refuse, Taming Mad Max, and Here Comes the Bride!

©2922 V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

Mining for Murder (A Happy Camper Mystery Book 3) by Mary Angela #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Mining for Murder by Mary Angela

It is my privilege to provide a review for you today at the blog stop for Mining for Murder by Mary Angela on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

“Underestimate me. That will be fun.”

Book Details

Mining for Murder (A Happy Camper Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – South Dakota
Lyrical Press (April 5, 2022)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 275 pages
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0992TPJ24

Book Blurb

Zo Jones is enjoying the sunny season at her Happy Camper gift shop in Spirit Canyon, South Dakota—when a murder reminds her all that glitters isn’t gold. . 

The South Dakota Gold Rush might be long over, but Zo Jones feels like she’s hit the mother lode when she and her friends browse an estate sale, where a rare old book about the history of Spirit Canyon is causing quite a commotion. In addition to local stories and secrets, the book may even contain the location of a famous stash of gold—a treasure worth killing for.

Zo’s friend Maynard Cline wins the bid on the book, to the chagrin of many interested parties, including the historical society and college history department. But when Zo and Hattie head to Maynard’s mansion to borrow the book for a library event, the only thing they find is Maynard—at the bottom of the mountain. The valuable book is gone. Zo knows this must be murder because there’s no way a germophobe like Maynard would have voluntarily dived into a pile of dirt. Now she’ll have to dig into a new case, and go prospecting for a perpetrator . . .

My Review

The third in the series Mining for Murder continues the saga of the Happy Camper mysteries which takes place in mystical Spirit Canyon in the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota. The area is a tourist mecca in the summer central to major attractions such as Mount Rushmore.

Mining for Murder by Mary AngelaThis is where Zo Jones set up her Happy Camper gift shop. She offers everything from souvenirs to memorabilia. Her unique ideas for decoration and promotion keep her shop lively and sustainable through the long non-tourist months.

Jules, a (spirit) shop owner herself, plays a strong supportive role and Max, a forest service ranger, is back as the growing love interest.

When a long time resident with a substantial collection passes away, a valuable book on the history of the area goes missing about the time the man who outbid those who should have received the book is found dead. Zo would like to find the book as she is sure it will contain a possible clue to her birth mother—as well as help to find the perp.

But the missing book may contain more than the hint of her origins—it may also include information on The Theon Stone and clues to gold mines long rumored about the explosive gold mining era—riches hidden just waiting to be discovered.

There are a number of support characters that build interest in the population of the little town, including law enforcement who’s had to warn Zo before to let him do his job while she tends her shop.

I greatly enjoyed the first book in the series, Open for Murder, and looked forward to a well-plotted and fast-paced book with well-drawn characters. Also appreciated are the descriptions of the area, the topography, quirky weather, and wildlife. As with the previous entry, there is strong dialogue patterns that sound natural and personal growth in the protagonist.

“The past is never really the past, is it?”

I love reading about the history of these areas, steeped in folklore, indigenous peoples, and wild west experiences. I had a few problems, however, with her descriptions of riding (her Kawi motorcycle—perhaps she doesn’t ride?) and the reveal in the conclusion.

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Giveaway

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About the Author

Mary Angela is the author of the Happy Camper cozy mystery series, the Professor Prather academic mystery series, and several short stories. When Mary isn’t penning heartwarming whodunits, she’s teaching, reading, traveling, or spending time with her family. She lives in South Dakota with her husband, daughters, and spoiled pets. You can find out more about her loves, including her writing, at MaryAngelaBooks.com.

Author Links

Website: www.maryangelabooks.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/maryangelabooks

Twitter: @maryangelabooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15342425.Mary_Angela

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maryangelabooks/

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Apple – Google Books – Kobo

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

April 5 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

April 5 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 6 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT

April 6 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

April 7 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

April 7 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 8 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

April 8 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT

April 9 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

April 9 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

April 10 – Books Blog – SPOTLIGHT

April 10 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

April 11 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

April 11 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

April 12 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT

April 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 12 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

April 13 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

April 13 – Rebecca M. Douglass, Author – REVIEW

April 14 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT

April 14 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 15 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW

April 15 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

April 16 – This Is My Truth Now – REVIEW

April 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

April 17 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – REVIEW

April 17 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 18 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  

April 18 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!

©2022 V Williams V Williams

The Art of the Decoy (A Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery Book 1) by Trish Esden #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

The Art of the Decoy

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for The Art of the Decoy by Trish Esden on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Scroll down to enter your chance to win a special Giveaway!

Book Details

The Art of the Decoy (A Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery)
Traditional Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Vermont
Crooked Lane Books (April 5, 2022)

Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643859641
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643859644
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B098PXZNDF

About the Book

Perfect for fans of Jane K. Cleland and Connie Berry, Tricia Esden’s series debut is sure to please.

After her mother is sent to prison for art forgery, Edie Brown returns to Northern Vermont to rebuild her family’s fine art and antiques business. She’s certain she can do it now that her mother is gone. After all, butting heads with her mom over bad business practices was what drove Edie away three years ago, including a screwup that landed Edie on probation for selling stolen property.

When Edie scores a job appraising a waterfowl decoy collection at a hoarder’s farmhouse, she’s determined to take advantage of the situation to rebuild the business’s tarnished reputation and dwindling coffers. In lieu of payment, Edie intends to cherry-pick an exceptional decoy carved by the client’s renowned Quebecoise folk artist ancestors. Only the tables turn when the collection vanishes.

Accused of the theft, Edie’s terrified that the fallout will destroy the business and land her in prison next to her mom. Desperate, she digs into the underbelly of the local antiques and art world. When Edie uncovers a possible link between the decoy theft and a deadly robbery at a Quebec museum, she longs to ask her ex-probation officer, and ex-lover, for help. But she suspects his recent interest in rekindling their romance may hide a darker motive.

With the help of her eccentric uncle Tuck and Kala, their enigmatic new employee, Edie must risk all she holds dear to expose the thieves and recover the decoys before the FBI’s Art Crime Team or the ruthless thieves themselves catch up with her.

My Thoughts

Protagonist Edie Brown has grown up in the family’s fine art and antiques business. Unfortunately, her mother landed in the slammer for art forgery, implicating Edie in the process for which Edie paid with probation for selling said property.

Now she is back in Northern Vermont to take over the business with a little help from uncle Tuck.  When she is approached with a waterfowl decoy that may be the tip of an iceberg, Edie sees a huge possibility in scoring a collection from a hoarder’s farmhouse with hopes of securing lucrative auctioning rights.

“For me, researching folk art was like setting a beagle free in a park full of squirrels.”

Edie definitely gets in over her head as she fails to ignore warnings, including one from an ex-lover. While I had a few problems getting into Edie’s head, I appreciated several other main characters including Kala and Shane. There is a murder off-page, the craft of antiquing, and descriptions of the area and proximity to Canada.

For a debut novel and the first in the series, the author appears to have set up quite the storyline as well as several remarkable characters. Definitely a good start and an interesting introduction to the world of buying, trading, pricing, and selling of antiques. The well-plotted narrative, however, tends to sag a bit and do a repeat of motives, slowing the pace, and could have used a bit more fleshing of Edie and Shane.

An interesting start for a promising new series in the world of antiquing.

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Giveaway

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About the Author

Trish Esden loves museums, gardens, wilderness, dogs, and birds, in various orders depending on the day. She lives in northern Vermont where she deals antiques with her husband, a profession she’s been involved with since her teens. Don’t ask what her favorite type of antique is. She loves hunting down old bottles and rusty barn junk as much as she enjoys fine art and furnishings.

Author Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Trish-Esden-author-108247488016132

Twitter: https://twitter.com/patesden

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/trishesden/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/patesden/_created/

Website: https://trishesden.com

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/trish-esden

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21662893.Trish_Esden

Purchase Links – Amazon – IndieBound – Barnes & Noble – Books-a-Million – Kobo

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

March 29 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

March 29 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 30 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, RECIPE

March 30 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW  

March 31 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

March 31 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST

April 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 1 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT

April 2 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 2 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

April 3 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW

April 3 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

April 4 – Novels Alive – REVIEW

April 4 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

April 5 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST

April 5 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

April 6 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

April 6 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST

April 7 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

April 8 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 9 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

April 10 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

April 10 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

April 11 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Chill--It's Sunday

Moment in Time: A Novel by Suzanne Redfearn – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookblog

“I believe in a better world where chickens can cross the road without their motives being questioned.”

Book Blurb:

From the bestselling author of In an Instant comes a heartrending story about the power of friendship during the most challenging moments in life.

Moment in Time by Suzanne RedfearnIt’s been eight years since a tragic accident changed Mo Kaminski’s and Chloe Miller’s lives forever. Now in their midtwenties, they’re sharing an apartment in San Francisco and navigating the normal challenges of early adulthood. Along with their roommate, Hazel, they are making their marks on the world—Mo revolutionizing the news with her media start-up, Hazel using her big brain to anticipate the future, and Chloe rescuing abandoned strays in the city.

But when Hazel disappears after being sexually assaulted, Mo’s and Chloe’s lives are again suddenly ripped apart. And when the perpetrator turns up drugged and beaten, the mystery of where Hazel is deepens. Intensely worried and desperate to discover the truth, they set out to find Hazel and bring her home.

Mo and Chloe are no strangers to tragedy, but this journey will test them in ways they never imagined. The stakes are high; the future uncertain; the need for justice essential.

Will their commitment to their friend bring them closer together—or ultimately drive them apart?

My Review:

I was really thrilled to get this book as I’ve read the author’s previous works, including In An Instant, and discovered this book is somewhat of a sequel. Searching for that designation, however, could not find it.

Moment in Time by Suzanne RedfearnThis one explores two survivors, Mo and Chloe, of a horrendous accident that changed their lives as well as their families, eight years ago. Neither are really over that accident and now in their twenties, rooming with Hazel, establishing themselves. Chloe is now a veterinarian. They are dealing with their issues when Mo decides to go out with Hazel, a wallflower, who needs a push into the social scene.

Unfortunately, Hazel is drugged and sexually assaulted and then goes missing. Introducing Hazel to a sketchy friend from school wasn’t Mo’s best decision nor was taking a phone call away to privacy, leaving Hazel to fend for herself.

The two pull together to find Hazel and in the background are a couple rather vague sub-plots. I’m not quite sure what happened with this novel and was a bit disappointed it didn’t have the driving emotional, compelling plot of the previous, forcing always the next page read. While there was some thoughtful prose, quotables, I kept questioning the decisions these two were making. “Most people think that in the face of terror, the choice is fight or flight, but Mo knows a third, far more likely choice exists: freeze.” (And don’t I know that feeling and was sorry to discover of myself!) An insta-love addition to the plot was distracting, annoying, and over the top and twists didn’t feel authentic.

This one didn’t leave me breathless, exhausted, wanting more. It used the two characters from In An Instant, as well as others, recapping scenes from the previous book, so this time they were a little flat (assumed familiar) and I couldn’t engage. I’m not sure I’d recommend this as a standalone. Still, I’m a fan of the author and look forward to her next novel.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Three-point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Friendship Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Literary Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
ISBN: 1542037212
ASIN: B09DYDQCCK
Print Length: 287 pages
Publication Date: March 8, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 

Suzanne Redfearn - authorThe Author: Suzanne Redfearn is the bestselling author of four novels: Hadley & Grace, In an Instant, No Ordinary Life, and Hush Little Baby.

Born and raised on the east coast, Suzanne moved to California when she was fifteen. She currently lives in Laguna Beach with her husband where they own two restaurants: Lumberyard and Slice Pizza & Beer. In addition to being an author, Suzanne is an architect specializing in residential and commercial design.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

The Doomsday Medallion: A VanOps Thriller by Avanti Centrae – #BookReview – #Technothrillers

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

The Doomsday Medallion by Avanti CentraeAikido black belt Maddy Marshall is celebrating the completion of her black ops training when news of a military takeover in the South China Sea shocks the world because it was predicted by a sixteen-year-old French student. When intel chatter spells danger to Avril, the young seer, VanOps Director Bowman assigns Marshall and her twin brother, Will Argones, to protect the girl.

Emotions between the siblings are running hot due to their aunt’s recent stroke, which has reminded them of the childhood accident that scarred both his chin and her heart. Tensions ratchet higher when they arrive at Avril’s home to find the instant social media star has been kidnapped, leaving them with only clenched fists and cryptic clues that lead to a formula encoded on an etched-bronze medallion.

While Taiwan fears an invasion that will set off an apocalyptic chain of events, Marshall and Argones race through medieval French towns, Italian cathedrals, and ancient Greek temples attempting to find Avril before their enemies use the girl to discover the Holy Grail of military intelligence. If the team fails, they won’t need a crystal ball to know millions of innocent souls will be destined to join Nostradamus in the afterlife.

The Doomsday Medallion is an electrifying, globe-trotting thriller that delves into humankind’s timeless fascination with prophecy and illuminates the mesmerizing and dangerous potential of a weaponized oracle.

Fans of Dan Brown, Steve Berry, and James Rollins will get an adrenaline rush turning the pages of this standalone thriller.

His Review:

Countries have looked for centuries for ways to predict the future. Nostradamus was a world-class prognosticator who encoded many predictions that have proven to be true. Major world powers caught wind of a walnut box left to his offspring that may hold some predictions having world affecting results. A mad scramble has begun to find the box and utilize its’ potential.

The Doomsday Medallion by Avanti CentraeAvril is just sixteen and has been told about the box by her grandparents. Her mother was tragically lost when she was born. She made a prediction that China would attack and take control of a small island near Taiwan. This has happened and now and the major world powers want to know how she could have known! A couple of operatives are sent from the Lake Tahoe, California region to find and protect the young girl. Of course, the U.S. has a vital interest in discovering how she is able to make predictions and utilize her talents. China also sent a very skilled team to capture her and bring her back to the homeland.

Avanti Centrae is very adept at keeping and building suspense throughout her story. Young Avril, like most teenage girls, values her independence and does not wish to be controlled by any foreign power. At her age, her major fault is that she feels competent enough to do everything on her own. She ditches the people sent to protect her and rushes headlong into a foreign powers’ clutches.

Can Avril be found in time or will she disappear into the dark world of espionage and be forever lost to the world as she knows it? Ruthless bounty hunters from a number of countries confound the situation.

CE WilliamsThis saga is very entertaining and will keep most readers flipping pages of the well-plotted, fast-paced technothriller. 5 stars – CE Williams

My first book by the author and we enjoyed as a standalone. We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Occult Suspense, Technothrillers, Psychic Suspense
Publisher: Thunder Creek Press
ASIN: B09H1VHL5X
Print Length: 378 pages
Publication Date: March 8, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Doomsday Medallion [Amazon] 
Barnes and Noble
Kobo 

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Avanti Centrae - authorThe Author: International multi-award-winning and Amazon #1 bestselling author who blends intrigue, history, science, and mystery into pulse-pounding action thrillers.

http://www.avanticentrae.com – First six chapters FREE!

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Avanti Centrae is the author of the international multi-award-winning VANOPS thriller series. An instant Barnes and Noble Nook bestseller, THE LOST POWER took home a genre grand prize ribbon at the Chanticleer International Book Awards, a bronze medal at the Wishing Shelf Awards, and an Honorable Mention at the Hollywood Book Festival. SOLSTICE SHADOWS won a bronze at the competitive Readers’ Favorite Awards, the Global Thrillers Genre Grand Prize at the most recent Chanticleer Awards, and was a #1 Amazon bestseller in both the U.S and Canada. Her father served as a U.S. marine corporal in Okinawa, gathering military intelligence during the first decade after the Korean War. Her work has been compared to that of James Rollins, Steve Berry, Dan Brown, and Clive Cussler but has a voice all its own. She resides in Northern California with her family and German Shepherds.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Enjoy your Sunday

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead: A Mystery by Elle Cosimano – #Audiobook Review – #womansleuths

Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle Cosimano

Book Blurb:

Finlay Donovan is – once again – struggling to finish her next novel and keep her head above water as a single mother of two. On the bright side, she has her live-in nanny and confidant Vero to rely on, and the only dead body she’s dealt with lately is that of her daughter’s pet goldfish.

On the not-so-bright side, someone out there wants her ex-husband, Steven, out of the picture. Permanently. Whatever else Steven may be, he’s a good father, but saving him will send her down a rabbit hole of soccer moms disguised as hit-women, and a little bit more involvement with the Russian mob than she’d like.

Meanwhile, Vero’s keeping secrets, and Detective Nick Anthony seems determined to get back into her life. He may be a hot cop, but Finlay’s first priority is preventing her family from sleeping with the fishes…and if that means bending a few laws then so be it.

With her next book’s deadline looming and an ex-husband to keep alive, Finlay is quickly coming to the end of her rope. She can only hope there isn’t a noose at the end of it….

From Edgar-Award nominee Elle Cosimano comes Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead – the hilarious and heart-pounding follow-up to Finlay Donovan is Killing It. 

A Macmillan Audio production from Minotaur Books.

My Review:

Yes, it’s the dreaded sophomore novel, the sequel to the hilarious Finlay Donovan is Killing It, and always a nail-biter wondering if it will mirror Book 1. I was really looking forward to this one and got the audiobook (again), although this one through NetGalley. I loved that debut, the first in what appears to be a successful series in the making if you can believe the cliffhanger in this one.

Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle CosimanoMy favorite characters are back—of course, Finlay and her close buddy, nanny, accountant, and crime partner, Vero. These two can get into more trouble than a gaggle of two-year-olds with a bowl of chocolate pudding.

It’s another “in the story in the story” concept, Finlay is struggling with a strong case of writer’s block. Her agent is hounding her for the book that was promised but she’s easily distracted as we know by now and discovers that “Fed Up” has posted a hit request aimed at her ex on a female chat forum. Well, not that she wouldn’t do it herself, but she needs him to hang around for his kids who truly love him. And, let’s face it, he is a good father.

In one short stint as an accidental hit woman who’s totally inept, she’s experienced Russian mobs, detectives, corpses, and a variety of threats. Somehow no matter how far afield she gets in ca-ca, she still manages to come up smelling like a rose. And Vero either assists or comes up with the next crazy idea. These two are Laurel and Hardy. It’s slap-stick comedy with virtual pratfalls.

And always, at the worst possible timing, another call from her agent, but it’s beginning to look like she’s got this. Book 2, though, just didn’t quite have that humorous level of innocent bumbling quality as the first for me. Perhaps, while they still don’t know what they are doing, they are getting better at what they don’t know?

And what of the two possible romances of the first book? Nick and Julian. There must be some sort of romance, I guess. Her sister, a cop, is a great character among a number of engaging characters. The writer levels her brand of humor at the reader in staccato-like patterns with advance and retreat schemes. I didn’t hear a lot of Fin’s two youngsters and since Vero was with her most of the time, sometimes wondered who was watching them. The narrator tended to lapse into aggravating kiddie dialogue voice when they did appear. The conclusion left an obvious in for Book 3.

Okay, novel 2 done. I’m looking forward to Book 3—the characters provide a chuckle or two, the mysteries are well-plotted and entertaining, and the tension ramps up nicely into a satisfying conclusion.

My thanks and appreciation to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for the copy of the audiobook.

Book Details:

Genre: Women Sleuth Mysteries, Women Sleuths
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B094DRV832
Listening Length: 9 hrs 20 min
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

 

Elle Cosimano - authorThe Author: Elle Cosimano is the Edgar-nominated and award-winning author of the acclaimed young adult novels Nearly Gone, Holding Smoke, The Suffering Tree, and Seasons of the Storm. Her debut novel for adults, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, kicked off a witty, fast-paced contemporary mystery series, which was featured as a People Magazine Pick and one of New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2021. In addition to writing novels for teens and adults, her essays have appeared in The Huffington Post and Time. Elle lives with her husband and two sons in Virginia. You can learn more about her at her website: http://www.ElleCosimano.com.

Photo courtesy of Powell Woulfe Photography

Angela Dawe - narratorThe Narrator: Angela Dawe is originally from Lansing, Michigan, and currently calls Chicago home. Her work includes film, television, theater, and improvisational comedy, as well as audiobook narration.

 

 

 

©2022 V Williams V Williams

happy thursday!

Enter a Wizard, Stage Left (A Zodiac Mystery) by Connie di Marco #BlogTour #BookReview – #Giveaway

Enter a Wizard Stage Left by Connie DiMarco
I am delighted to provide a review for you at my blog stop today for Enter a Wizard, Stage Left by Connie di Marco on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Enter a Wizard, Stage Left (A Zodiac Mystery)
Traditional Mystery
Prequel Novella
Suspense Publishing (October 26, 2021)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 111 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09JGV526H

Book Blurb

Julia Bonatti wasn’t always a crime-solving San Francisco astrologer. She was a young woman, engaged to the love of her life, preparing for a teaching career when tragedy struck. Her fiancé was killed in a hit and run accident. As Julia struggles with her loss and attempts to find meaning in her life again, she takes refuge with her grandmother Gloria. But there’s little time for grief or rest because Gloria, a retired seamstress, needs Julia’s help. Gloria’s been hired to create costumes for a production of Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death at the newly opened Theatre Mars in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood.

Theatre Mars is a stunning jewel, the cast is supremely talented and the script is brilliant. What could go wrong? Julia gets the first hint of trouble when her new friend, the owner of The Mystic Eye bookshop, warns that all might not go well. Opening night will take place during the dark of the moon, the last three days before the new moon, a time that bodes disaster for any new project. The dire prediction comes true when the lead actress is murdered before the final curtain, echoing the play itself. Julia discovers a vital clue to the murder, but a clue that puts Gloria’s life in grave danger. Can Julia rescue her grandmother before it’s too late? And will a black cat play a leading role?

My Review

Thank heaven for Grandmother Gloria’s welcoming and understanding home after the sudden fatal accident that killed Julia Bonatti’s fiancé. Julia badly needed a different scene, a waystation to give her the necessary time to push through the grieving process.

Enter a Wizard, Stage Left by Connie di MarcoGloria is a retired seamstress and is involved in the local theatre group facing opening night. They’ve requested Gloria deliver the costumes for a dress rehearsal and to fix any costume problems they may be facing with the various actors and the diva busy making life miserable for all in the cast. She asks for Julia’s help. The production is an Agatha Christie mystery, Appointment with Death. Oops! That title may be prophetic.

Julia takes the opportunity to check out The Mystic Eye Bookshop next door, but the owner promptly warns her that the timing, astrologically-speaking, is asking for disaster. Unfortunately, the prediction comes true when the nasty lead actress is actually murdered before the opening night final curtain.

Ah, I love the subject of astrology and dove into this prequel to the series having previously jumped into the Tale of the Dragon. It’s a fascinating study and Julia begins the research and analysis that leads to her own astrology clinic. There is a lot to the Zodiac and the author imparts a few interesting tidbits along the way.

While Julia is an interesting protagonist, I really enjoy support characters Gloria and Kuan. And let’s not forget the kitty! Fun, fast little mystery, though I was left scratching my head a bit over the search and rescue.

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Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win one of (10) Digital Copies of Enter a Wizard, Stage Left (A Zodiac Mystery) by Connie di Marco on the Rafflecopter giveaway.

Connie di Marco - authorAbout The Author: With the Zodiac Mysteries, featuring Julia Bonatti, a crime-solving San Francisco astrologer, Connie di Marco has combined her fascination with astrology and her love of writing mysteries.  Writing as Connie Archer, she’s the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime.  You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook.  She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.  She lives in Los Angeles but dreams constantly of the San Francisco fog.

Author Links

Website:  http://www.conniedimarco.com/

Blog:  http://www.conniedimarco.com/blog/

FaceBook:  https://www.facebook.com/zodiacmysteries/  or https://www.facebook.com/zodiacmysteries/

Amazon:  https://amzn.to/3HdGb25

Twitter: @Connie di Marco

GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard?ref=nav_profile_authordash

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/connie_di_marco/

Purchase Link – Amazon

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

January 5 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

January 5 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

January 6 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

January 6 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, GUEST POST

January 7 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

January 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 8 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

January 9 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW

January 11 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 12 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 14 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

January 15 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 16 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW, GUEST POST

January 17 – I Read What You Write – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 18 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book -SPOTLIGHT Great Escapes Book Tours

Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!

©2022 V Williams V Williams

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