The Secret Staircase: A Mystery (Victorian Village Mysteries Book 3) by Sheila Connolly – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

From New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly, The Secret Staircase is the third Victorian Village Mystery, which finds Kate Hamilton discovering a long-dead body in a hidden staircase.

The Secret Staircase by Sheila ConnollyKate Hamilton is feeling good about her plans to recreate Asheboro, Maryland as the Victorian village it once was. The town is finally on her side, and the finances are coming together.

Kate’s first goal is to renovate the Barton Mansion on the outskirts of town. Luckily, it’s been well maintained in the century since the wealthy Henry Barton lived and died there. The only substantial change she’s planning is to update the original kitchen so that it can be used to cater events in the building. But when the contractor gets started, he discovers a hidden staircase that had been walled in years earlier. And as Kate’s luck would have it, in the stairwell is a body.

After her initial shock wears off, Kate is relieved when the autopsy reveals that the man had died around 1880. Unfortunately, it also reveals that his was not a natural death—he was murdered. And serious questions remain: who was he and what was he doing there?

Kate begins a hunt to identify the man and figure out what he was doing at the Barton Mansion. But when a second body is found—this time from the present day—Kate realizes that real dangers lie in digging up the past…

His Review:

A forgotten estate on a large parcel of land has been designated a historical landmark. Kate Hamilton is a city girl who has come back to her home town of Asheboro to make a tourist attraction of the Henry and Mary Barton mansion and grounds. Local donors and the Mid-Atlantic Power Company have provided funds for the renovation and refurbishing. Overall, the “bones” of the property are sound.

The Secret Staircase by Sheila ConnollyThe property was last lived in over 110 years ago and was basically locked and abandoned. Henry Barton had left an endowment to maintain the property and the grounds. One of the town mayors absconded with the money and the property has fallen on hard times. Kate loves her hometown of Asheboro and sets out to recreate the properties grandeur and opulence. She will work on the physical property and her good friend Carroll Peterson will research the history of the property and the family that lived there.

Henry and Mary Barton were the only couple to occupy the mansion. There is little record of them in the community although Henry was a captain of industry in the town, helping to employ most of its’ residents. First a shovel company and then a lighting factory soon gave the community a robust economy. Mary and Henry were reclusive and not much is known about them. Kate and Carroll set out to change that and develop a tourist attraction to help revitalize the community.

Sheila Connolly develops her characters well and attaches mystery and drama to the story. A hidden staircase is found behind a false wall in the kitchen and the drama blossoms. A hundred plus year old mummified corpse is found inside the staircase and the mystery begins to unfold. CE Williams

This story takes you on a rollercoaster ride of historical secrets. How did the body get there and who was the victim? Can the answers be found and the mansion turned into a city attraction? Read the story and see if you are satisfied by the outcome. 5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions. The book is set to release next Tuesday. [Note: I’ve read two other novels by this author, each in a different series: Digging Up History, and The Lost Traveller but wasn’t quite as thrilled as was the CE with this one.]

Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Amateur Sleuths, Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: ‎ 1250135907
ASIN: B0818PKLL1
Print Length: 299 pages
Publication Date: August 24, 2021Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Secret Staircase [Amazon] 
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Sheila Connolly - author
Sheila Connolly

The Author: After collecting too many degrees and exploring careers ranging from art historian to investment banker to professional genealogist, Sheila Connolly began writing in 2001, and has now published over thirty traditional mysteries, including several New York Times bestsellers.

Her series include the Orchard Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), the Museum Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), The County Cork Mysteries (Crooked Lane Books), the Relatively Dead Mysteries (Beyond the Page Press), and beginning in 2018, The Victorian Village Mysteries from St. Martin’s Press.

Her first full-length, standalone ebook, Once She Knew, was published in October 2012.

Connolly has also published a variety of short stories: “Size Matters” appeared in the 2010 Level Best Anthology, Thin Ice; “Called Home,” a short prequel to the Orchard series, was published by Beyond the Page in 2011; and “Dead Letters,” an e-story featuring the main characters from the Museum series, will be published by Berkley Prime Crime in February 2012. Beyond the Page also published “The Rising of the Moon,” and another Level Best anthology includes “Kept in the Dark,” which was nominated for both an Agatha award and an Anthony award for 2013.

She is passionate about genealogy, both American and Irish, and is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She is also an Irish citizen and owns a cottage in West Cork.

She lives in a too-big Victorian in southeastern Massachusetts with her husband and three cats. Find out more about her at her website, http://www.sheilaconnolly.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams – V Williams

Landscape of a Marriage: Central Park Was Only the Beginning by Gail Ward Olmsted – #BookReview – #biographicalfiction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Landscape of a Marriage by Gail Ward OlmstedA marriage of convenience leads to a life of passion and purpose. A shared vision transforms the American landscape forever.

New York, 1858: Mary, a young widow with three children, agrees to marry her brother-in-law Frederick Law Olmsted, who is acting on his late brother’s deathbed plea to “not let Mary suffer.” But she craves more than a marriage of convenience and sets out to win her husband’s love. Beginning with Central Park in New York City, Mary joins Fred on his quest to create a ‘beating green heart’ in the center of every urban space.

Over the next 40 years, Fred is inspired to create dozens of city parks, private estates and public spaces with Mary at his side. Based upon real people and true events, this is the story of Mary’s journey and personal growth and the challenges inherent in loving a brilliant and ambitious man.

His Review:

Fredrick Law Olmstead is arguably the most famous and well-known landscape artist in the world. During his lifetime he was sought after around the world for his talented approach to landscape design. Central Park in New York City and the design of the Worlds Fair and Exposition in Chicago in the late 1800’s is among many shining examples of his work.

Landscape of a Marriage by Gail Ward OlmstedThis author has scraped away the accolades and achievements and made the artist into a more personal figure. His wife Mary and he had many decades of a happy marriage despite the loss of a number of offspring. Mary was the linch-pin which held together his myriad of accomplishments. She led the family through many heartbreaking episodes and was often a sounding board for family events.

Looking at the accomplishments of the Olmstead clan, tragedies often clouded and overshadowed the triumphs. Losing a daughter and three sons is a tragic example of the challenges faced by the family. One in particular is Charlotte who lost her way as an adult and spent most of her life in an asylum. Mary kept her wits and steered the family through all the heartbreaks.

The author illuminated the importance of a strong matriarch in this family enterprise. Mary made lifelong friends who helped her through the darkest of days when children were lost and the future looked the darkest. Mr. Olmsted helped to develop and enhance some of the nations most prized national parks including Yosemite. This particular chapter is very endearing.

CE WilliamsThe end result is a very endearing tale of a family with vision and purpose. Fredrick Law Olmstead and his sons and daughter helped to leave a family legacy of unparalleled significance. Anyone who visits the national parks and many city and/or regional parks owe the majesty and authenticity of the landscape to the tenacity of this family. Read this book and enjoy the enlightening adventure. 5 stars – CE Williams 

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

Book Details:

Genre: Biographical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
ISBN: ‎1684337216
ASIN: B0947331QQ
Print Length: 315 pages
Publication Date: July 29, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Landscape of a Marriage [Amazon]
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Gail Ward Olmsted - authorThe Author: [Gail Ward Olmsted] I enjoy writing about quirky, lovable women in search of their happy ever after! My newest title- Landscape of a Marriage, is historical fiction. It’s the story of renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted told through the eyes of Mary, his wife of 44 years. Watch for it this summer!

A hopeless romantic, I am married to the love of my life. My favorite role is that of mom to two young adults and I enjoy reading, boating, knitting, music and traveling.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Striking Range: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery by Margaret Mizushima #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

A deadly secret is buried in the Colorado high country–and murder is only the beginning in the seventh gripping installment of Margaret Mizushima’s Timber Creek K-9 mysteries.

Striking Range by Margaret MizushimaHe was suspect number one–the man who tried to kill Deputy Mattie Cobb and may have killed her father thirty years earlier. But when Mattie and cold case detective Jim Hauck reach the Colorado state prison where they will finally get to interview him, he’s found dead in his cell. There’s only one clue: a map leading to Timber Creek and rugged Redstone Ridge.

Though she usually works with veterinarian Cole Walker, Mattie’s K-9 partner Robo has just sired a litter of pups, who require special, time-consuming care at Cole’s clinic. Left to explore the map’s clue without him, Mattie and Robo journey into the burned forest surrounding Redstone Ridge. But before they can finish their search they’re called to help investigate the death of a young woman found in a campground filled with elk hunters. Identification of the deceased points to her having recently given birth, but the infant is nowhere to be found.

As a deadly storm descends upon the mountains, covering everything with a layer of ice and snow, Mattie and her team search for the missing newborn. The storm batters the area, taking its toll on the team and forcing the sheriff to call in reinforcements. When new evidence surfaces, they decide that finding the woman’s killer will lead them to her baby, making them even more desperate to solve the case.

Then Cole goes missing, stranded alone in the high country with a person that Mattie now suspects is the mastermind behind several murders, including her father’s. She and Robo take to the trail to find Cole–but the killer has a cold-blooded plan that threatens them all.

My Review:

I just love it when author Margaret Mizushima comes out with a new installment in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series. This is the seventh and my new favorite in the series.

Striking Range by Margaret MizushimaProtagonist Deputy Mattie Cobb is partnered with her canine, Robo. The little Colorado town of Timber Creek is small but situated on major north/south, east/west roads and gets their fair share of action—even up in God’s country, those gorgeous pine covered mountains.

Mattie is still trying to clear her father’s reputation as a dirty cop and think she’s finally going to talk to the one guy who could shed some light on what actually happened all those years ago. When she arrives with California Cold-Case Detective Jim Hauck to interview him, however, he is discovered deceased in his cell. They find a map he has left marking locations of his activities that will generate an excursion into the high country.

In the meantime, the multi-layered plot begins to ease into other experiences such as the birth of a litter of puppies that Robo has sired and the discovery of a young woman’s body who has just given birth. The newborn infant, however, is missing.

I have really come to love the support characters, including her boyfriend, veterinarian Cole Walker and his two daughters. I always get to learn more about canine behavior and their amazing relationship with their handlers (or owners), their intelligence, intuition, and empathetic natures.

The writing style always manages to grip the scene and describe it down to the nuances of body language, inflection, and personality. They come alive on the page, as does the scent of the mountains, the chill of the temperatures, and the wind as it slices sideways through the heavy winter clothing.

The fast-paced plot lines make for a compulsive read. It’s gripping and never waivers or sags in the middle or constantly repeat gains.

The police procedurals remain authentic, realistic, and the interpersonal dynamics believable. As always, suspenseful and artful storytelling, building the tension as it shifts the scenes.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley and these are my honest and unbiased opinions. I started the series with Hunting Hour (Book 3) but my last reviews were Hanging Falls and Tracking Game. This is one of my very favorite authors and series and I’m always happy to recommend. Currently on pre-order.

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Animal Mystery, Cozy Animal Mysteries, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
ASIN: B08PYR6FN9
Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: September 7, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble Kobo

Margaret Mizushima - authorThe Author: Margaret Mizushima is the author of the award-winning and internationally published Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. Active within the writing community, Margaret serves as president for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, was elected the 2019-2020 Writer of the Year by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and is also a member of Northern Colorado Writers and Sisters in Crime. She lives in Colorado on a small ranch with her veterinarian husband where they raised two daughters and a multitude of animals. She can be found on Facebook/AuthorMargaretMizushima, Twitter @margmizu, Instagram at margmizu, and her website at http://www.margaretmizushima.com.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals by Laurie Zaleski –#BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating:  Five (+) Stars 5 stars

“The harder I work, the luckier I’ll get.”

Book Blurb:

Funny Farm is an inspiring and moving memoir of the author’s turbulent life with 600 rescue animals

Funny Farm by Lauri ZaleskiLaurie Zaleski never aspired to run an animal rescue; that was her mother Annie’s dream. But from girlhood, Laurie was determined to make the dream come true. Thirty years later as a successful businesswoman, she did it, buying a 15-acre farm deep in the Pinelands of South Jersey. She was planning to relocate Annie and her caravan of ragtag rescues—horses and goats, dogs and cats, chickens and pigs—when Annie died, just two weeks before moving day. In her heartbreak, Laurie resolved to make her mother’s dream her own. In 2001, she established the Funny Farm Animal Rescue outside Mays Landing, New Jersey. Today, she carries on Annie’s mission to save abused and neglected animals.

Funny Farm is Laurie’s story: of promises kept, dreams fulfilled, and animals lost and found. It’s the story of Annie McNulty, who fled a nightmarish marriage with few skills, no money and no resources, dragging three kids behind her, and accumulating hundreds of cast-off animals on the way. And lastly, it’s the story of the brave, incredible, and adorable animals that were rescued.

My Review:

This is a beautifully written memoir of triumph over abuse and the mother who grabbed her three children and ran. The author is a daughter of Annie McNulty. Her mother was an upper class lady of education with a strong instinct for survival when the patience ran out. Laurie has written a tribute to her mother filled with admiration and respect while describing how the rescue sanctuary came to be.

Funny Farm by Laurie ZaleskiComing from a privileged background, Laurie learns the depth of her ability to adapt to life in the shack by the pines to which she fled with her brother, sister, and mother when she was five. It’s a horrendous crash from the life they’d shared to one now of crushing deprivation.

“If this was camping, it was camping with all the discomfort and none of the s’mores.”

Her mother, a powerhouse of optimism and love, steered the children through those dark years while simultaneously exhibiting a deep love for the desperate animals that seemed to cross paths with the Zaleski’s that started with a dog adopted to help safe-guard the family.

The author builds the story from the death of her mother, taking us back to the childhood that started the rescue to the Funny Farm that fulfilled her mother’s dream. Tales of the animals are interspersed throughout the telling of the continued shocking abuse by her father. The stories, both of human and animal, are deeply emotional driving the need to keep reading, both the inspiration and perspiration,  that followed the children to adulthood and the variety of animals populating their world.

“The more you cry, the less you’ll pee.”

Absolutely amazing, the prose, so keenly in tune to the predicament of the animals that the reader’s heart is drawn more than once to tears—more often to love. The overwhelming theme of the novel. The thoroughly astonishing world of animals and their connection to humans. How could your heart not break at the treatment some receive?

This is a story that feeds the need to read. Glued to the pages, you can’t help but power to the heart-warming conclusion. Sweet, inspiring, humbling, mixed with shots of humor, this is truly a must read–your next novel—currently on pre-order–and I most heartily recommend that you find it at one the retailers listed below.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Sara Haring at St. Martins Press (thank you, Sara!) and NetGalley and these are my own opinions.

 

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Book Details:

Genre: Animal Rights, Biographies of Environmentalists and Naturalists
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
ASIN: B08R2KX6RD
Print Length: 256 pages
Publication Date:  September 7, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Lauri Zaleski - author[Goodreads] The Author: LAURIE ZALESKI is the founder of the Funny Farm, a charitable organization located in Mizpah, New Jersey. Since 2000, the farm has welcomed all kinds of rescue animals. Laurie is also the founder, president and CEO of Art-Z Graphics. She has been named a New Jersey Heartland Hero, is listed in the 2019 Who’s Who of Professional Women, and has received numerous awards and acknowledgements for her work to save animals and educate the public about animal abuse.

 

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Bad Medicine (The Medical Students Book 2) by James B Cohoon–#BookReview – #medicalthrillers

“Another nocebo effect in Room 12.”

Book Blurb:

Bad Medicine by James B CohoonFrom busy hospitals in San Diego to the barren deserts of Arizona, this tension-filled thriller, the second installment of The Medical Students series, follows the life and death challenges, the surprising twists and turns, and the ethical dilemmas of two young doctors in their quest to rid the profession of bad doctors who practice bad medicine resulting in bad outcomes.

Book One, Do No Harm, introduced Torrey Jamison and Matthew Preston. Torrey, with her genius IQ, gained acceptance to Stanford Medical School to pursue her dream of becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon in honor of her little sister, Leia, who died of brain cancer. At Stanford, she met her future husband, Matthew, who pursued medical school for the sole purpose of becoming a prison doctor in order to gain access to—and kill—his father’s murderer who was incarcerated in San Quentin. As their relationship deepened, Torrey was forced to confront the potential value and moral ambiguity of vigilantism.

In this page-turning, stand-alone suspense sequel, Bad Medicine, newlyweds Torrey and Matthew have graduated from medical school and are now new doctors at Kaiser hospital in San Diego. While there, they learn of a friend’s young niece who has fallen victim to a doctor who is running a phony cancer treatment center. Putting their careers and marriage in jeopardy, Dr. Jamison and Dr. Preston agree to help their friend’s family seek the ultimate revenge.

My Review:

While I greatly enjoy medical thrillers, particularly those that impart tidbits of knowledge of the medical field, I must admit to more than once scoffing at scenes in this narrative.

Bad Medicine by James B CohoonTorrey Jamison and Matthew Preston are newlyweds who have taken positions at Kaiser Hospital in San Diego. So far, so good (as my assumption with Kaiser doctors is that they are not particularly well seasoned). Torrey appears to be the brilliant pediatric neurosurgeon in the making, while Matthew is the hard-working nose to the grindstone GP. Matthew measures his responses while Torrey is the brilliant knee-jerk fireball and they both have issues, specifically Matthew who goes totally against his persona to work at San Quentin for the sole purpose of revenge.

However, having fulfilled that act of personal justice, now the wheels have flipped for Torrey and she is head and shoulders into stopping (forever) a doctor who is pulling in major bucks on a phony cancer treatment for children with terminal brain tumors.

I just wasn’t able to swallow that these two medical  residents would risk everything to devote any “extra” time they had to investigating the doctor and his phony practice. The author went for dramatic effect but pushed too unrealistic. The “nocebo effect” wasn’t something I was familiar with and the lack of medical attention afforded the casualty was callous. I couldn’t understand the flip in their moral codes or the choices made as persons of the profession to “do no harm” and found the writing style a bit awkward.

I didn’t read Book 1, but found this standalone a little too improbable. The pacing was a bit slow for me. There will be those who enjoy medical thrillers with twists and they will enjoy but perhaps it just wasn’t the book for me.

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

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Medical Thrillers, Vigilante Justice
Publisher: TouchPoint Press
ASIN: B097S4ZFK2
Print Length: 248 pages
Publication Date: June 30, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble 

 

James B Cohoon - authorThe Author: James Cohoon was the president of a Los Angeles based law firm until his early retirement in 2014. As a civil litigation lawyer for over 30 years, he frequently lectured and published legal articles. His daily work included writing legal briefs for judges and other lawyers which were, in essence, ‘stories’ to fit the facts of his hundreds of legal cases. He resides in California with his high-school sweetheart, Rozanne, with whom he has two children–Kristin, a lawyer who is presently a stay-at-home mother, and Travis, a doctor who is just starting a cardiology fellowship.

Besides playing with his grandsons–Everett and Beckett–James enjoys sighting Orca whales from the San Juan Islands shoreline, playing bridge, and mowing the lawn.

Do No Harm (The Medical Students, Book 1) is his debut novel. Book 2 in the series is in the works.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Vortex: An FBI Thriller by Catherine Coulter (Book 25) – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

#1 Best Seller in Psychic Suspense

Book Blurb:

#1 New York Times bestselling Catherine Coulter returns with a brilliant new novel in her FBI thriller series, in which agents Sherlock and Savich find themselves dealing with very powerful figures from the past who could wreak havoc in the present.

Vortex by Catherine CoulterSeven years ago, Mia Briscoe was at a college frat rave with her best friend, Serena, when a fire broke out. Everyone was accounted for except Serena, who was never seen nor heard from again. Now an investigative journalist covering the political scene in New York City, Mia discovers old photos taken the night of Serena’s disappearance and begins to uncover a sinister string of events going all the way back to that disastrous party. Working with Sherlock, the secrets begin to unravel. But some very powerful—and very dangerous—people will do anything to keep them from learning the truth.

CIA Operative Olivia Hildebrandt is a team leader on a mission in Iran to exfiltrate a betrayed undercover operative. She’s nearly killed by an exploding grenade and saved by a team member. But by the time Olivia is released from Walter Reed Hospital, that team member and a critical flash drive he was carrying have disappeared. When Olivia is attacked on her first night home, Savich suspects that the strike is a direct result of the compromised mission and the missing team member and flash drive. But what intelligence was at stake and who betrayed them?

His Review:

A young gamer is killed by an accidental punch in the face by Snake, a master gamer. They had been having a great time but things got out of hand. Snake claims it was an accident and her death was not intentional. Wrapped in an old tarp she is being forever lost to her family and friends.

Vortex by Catherine CoulterMia and her friend Serena are on their way to a rave. Mia is miffed at Serena because she seems to want to forego the party. Mia is angry because the rules for men and women are entirely unfair. How did things get so messed up?

Fraternity brothers were offering a drink called a “Crazy Mary,” guaranteed to make even the most virginal woman put out. Serena begins to act strangely and then winds up missing. How could this be? She did not even want to come to this party.

Seven years later Mia still wonders what could have happened to Serena. She currently has a position as investigative reporter for Guardian Magazine. Her current assignment is a political candidate.

Alexander Talbot Harrington is a very rich society climber who does as he wishes with women. He is tall and handsome and has no problem having opportunities. He is running for the mayor of New York City. Most of the population feels he is a shoo-in for the job. His “wing man” is his social equal but lacking in self-confidence. He is a possible candidate for weakest link in the crime and investigation.

Ms. Coulter is a master story teller with multiple plots happening simultaneously. The result is a continuously intriguing tale which is difficult to put down. With three police agencies working to solve this and other crimes, the criminals are quickly in their cross-hairs. Alex and his wing-man feel they are smarter than anyone and will not be caught. The writer puts them into their proper place.

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

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Psychic Thrillers, Psychic Suspense, Historical Thrillers
Publisher: William Morrow
ASIN: B08N18WD7Q
Print Length: 400 pages
Publication Date: August 10, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Vortex [Amazon] 
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Catherine Couler - authorThe Author: Catherine Coulter is the New York Times bestselling author of 87 books. Her numerous historical romances established her as an icon in the genre and a must-read for readers world wide. Coulter’s readership has also grown exponentially with her hugely popular “unputdownable” FBI thriller series, starring the husband and wife team FBI agents Savich and Sherlock. Her FBI thrillers have expanded to include a new international thriller series — A Brit in the FBI — co-written with popular thriller writer JT Ellison. This six-book series has also captured a dedicated readership with high-stakes, fast-paced international cases involving new characters Nicholas and Mike. Coulter has also added a new novella series, starring Grayson Sherbrooke (from the Sherbrooke historical romance series), titled The Grayson Sherbrooke Otherworldly Adventures. Currently there are four novellas — the 5th installment will be released later this summer. (The Grayson books are available only in ebook.)

Upcoming new release! The 25th book in her FBI thriller series, VORTEX, will be released on August 10th, 2021. Coulter lives in northern California with her thriller cat Eli and her thriller husband. She enjoys hearing from readers and posts on her Facebook page daily. Please visit her at her website http://www.catherinecoulter.com for more information.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

This Much Huxley Knows: A Story of Innocence, Misunderstandings and Acceptance by Gail Aldwin – #BookReview – Friendship Fiction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

This Much Huxley Knows by Gail AldwinI’m seven years old and I’ve never had a best mate. Trouble is, no one gets my jokes. And Breaks-it isn’t helping. Ha! You get it, don’t you? Brexit means everyone’s falling out and breaking up.

Huxley is growing up in the suburbs of London at a time of community tensions. To make matters worse, a gang of youths is targeting isolated residents. When Leonard, an elderly newcomer chats with Huxley, his parents are suspicious. But Huxley is lonely and thinks Leonard is too. Can they become friends?

Funny and compassionate, this contemporary novel for adults explores issues of belonging, friendship and what it means to trust. 

His Review:

Huxley is a very precocious young boy. His forté is understanding words by re-spelling them in his head. The fun in the story is his occasional misunderstanding of the meaning and the resultant chaos resulting from this error. His vocabulary is very advanced for his age group. However, in school he is often corrected by his teacher who recognizes his attempted faux pas, and he wonders why his jokes are curtailed.

This Much Huxley Knows by Gail AldwinHe has difficulty making friends. One of his friends is Leonard, a senior invalid in a wheelchair. Leonard understands his jokes and is often good for a small piece of chocolate. The adults in the school community take umbrage to his hanging around the school yard and giving candy to the children. Huxley cannot understand why he is restricted from seeing and visiting with Leonard.

The innocence of youth runs headlong into the wisdom of parents. He is told not to talk to Leonard or go near him. He is confounded by this directive and is hurt by his fathers’ lack of understanding about his friend. Many of the other parents, especially the fathers, take it upon themselves to correct the situation.

The story is replete with suspicion and innuendo. The ending is satisfied when the situation with Leonard is fully understood. Huxley is asked to curtail his visits with Leonard but still has the ability for an occasional visit. The author visits the situation from both the innocence of youth and the suspicion of the parents involved.

CE WilliamsThe manipulation of words by this young wordsmith make the reading fun and amusing. I highly recommend it. 5 stars – CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: British Contemporary Literature, Friendship Fiction, Coming of Age Fiction
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
ASIN: B0944Q8SGV
Print Length: 217 pages
Publication Date: July 8, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: This Much Huxley Knows [Amazon]
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Gail Aldwin - authorThe Author: Gail Aldwin is a British writer who has lived and worked in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Uganda and Spain. As well as novels, short fiction and poetry, Gail co-writes short plays and comedy sketches with 3-She, a collaborative group of three women writers. Their shows have been staged at theatres and arts centres in South West England. Follow Gail on social media – she loves to interact with readers and writers.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gailaldwin
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gailaldwinwriter/
Blog: https://gailaldwin.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams