City of the Dead: An Alex Delaware Novel (Book 37) by Jonathan Kellerman – #BookReview – #crimethrillers

Book Blurb:

The past comes back to haunt psychologist Alex Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis when they investigate a grisly double homicide and uncover an even more unspeakable motive in this riveting thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense.

City of the Dead by Jonathan KellermanLos Angeles is a city of sunlight, celebrity, and possibility. The L.A. often experienced by Homicide Lt. Detective Milo Sturgis and psychologist Alex Delaware is a city of the dead.

Early one morning, the two of them find themselves in a neighborhood of pretty houses, pretty cars, and pretty people. The scene they encounter is anything but. A naked young man lies dead in the street, the apparent victim of a collision with a moving van hurtling through suburbia in the darkness. But any thoughts of accidental death vanish when a blood trail leads to a nearby home.

Inside, a young woman lies butchered. The identity of the male victim and his role in the horror remains elusive, but that of the woman creates additional questions. And adding to the shock, Alex has met her while working a convoluted child custody case. Cordelia Gannett was a self-styled internet influencer who’d gotten into legal troubles by palming herself off as a psychologist. Even after promising to desist, she’s found a loophole and has continued her online career, aiming to amass clicks and ads by cyber-coaching and cyber-counseling people plagued with relationship issues.

But upon closer examination, Alex and Milo discover that her own relationships are troublesome, including a tortured family history and a dubious personal past. Has that come back to haunt her in the worst way? Is the mystery man out in the street collateral damage or will he turn out to be the key to solving a grisly double homicide? As the psychologist and the detective explore L.A.’s meanest streets, they peel back layer after layer of secrets and encounter a savage, psychologically twisted, almost unthinkable motive for violence and bloodshed.

This is classic Delaware: Alex, a man Milo has come to see as irreplaceable, at his most insightful and brilliant.

His Review:

City of the Dead by Jonathan KellermanA gripping mystery of unsolved murders. The murderer is very sophisticated and leaves no physical evidence. A move into an upscale neighborhood is disrupted when a moving van hits a nude man at 4:00 in the morning. Everything comes to a complete stop as the investigation begins.

A gorgeous young thirty-something is found killed in her property a few houses away! Can these crimes be connected? The moving van operators are completely baffled by the accident and subsequent investigation. The nude body had appeared out of nowhere. At 4:00 in the morning, how is this even possible?  Could it have been a fraternity or sorority prank gone terribly wrong?

Jonathan Kellerman keeps the suspense clouded through much of the book. His development of criminal cases dovetailing upon each other without a tangible path is masterful. It took nearly three-fourths of the book to begin to piece together the sequence of events. Meanwhile, dead-end trails were skillfully knit into the narrative to keep me as a reader on the hook.

CE WilliamsI would suggest this book to anyone who is a fan of a well-developed who-done-it and enjoys a cunning read. 4.5 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.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thrillers, Murder Thrillers, Mysteries
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ASIN: B094GS94R4
Print Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: February 8, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: City of the Dead [Amazon] 
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Jonathan Kellerman - authorThe Author: Jonathan Kellerman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than three dozen bestselling crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher’s Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, Twisted, True Detectives, and The Murderer’s Daughter. With his wife, bestselling novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored Double Homicide and Capital Crimes. With his son, bestselling novelist Jesse Kellerman, he co-authored The Golem of Hollywood and The Golem of Paris. He is also the author of two children’s books and numerous nonfiction works, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children and With Strings Attached: The Art and Beauty of Vintage Guitars. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. Jonathan and Faye Kellerman live in California, New Mexico, and New York.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Christmas bough

The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Amazon Charts #17 this week 

Book Blurb:

The Dark Hours by Michael ConnellyThere’s chaos in Hollywood at the end of the New Year’s Eve countdown. Working her graveyard shift, LAPD detective Renée Ballard waits out the traditional rain of lead as hundreds of revelers shoot their guns into the air. Only minutes after midnight, Ballard is called to a scene where a hardworking auto shop owner has been fatally hit by a bullet in the middle of a crowded street party.

Ballard quickly concludes that the deadly bullet could not have fallen from the sky and that it is linked to another unsolved murder—a case at one time worked by Detective Harry Bosch. At the same time, Ballard hunts a fiendish pair of serial rapists, the Midnight Men, who have been terrorizing women and leaving no trace.

Determined to solve both cases, Ballard feels like she is constantly running uphill in a police department indelibly changed by the pandemic and recent social unrest. It is a department so hampered by inertia and low morale that Ballard must go outside to the one detective she can count on: Harry Bosch. But as the two inexorable detectives work together to find out where old and new cases intersect, they must constantly look over their shoulders. The brutal predators they are tracking are ready to kill to keep their secrets hidden.

His Review:

New Year’s Eve is never a good time to pull duty. Detective Ballard has been working the midnight shift for a number of months. She is partnered with another female, Detective Moore, who wanted the night off. Ballard is not a popular member of the Hollywood police unit. Everyone is happy she is on the night shift.

The Dark Hours by Michael ConnellyHer boss does not like her. His objective is to have her investigate and solve the crimes and then have them turned over to the day unit so he can take the credit. Ballard’s partner wants to have New Year’s Eve off and does not show for her watch. This is definitely a breach of protocol.

A group of thugs called “The Midnight Men” were committing brutal rapes in Ballard’s territory. She is tasked with investigating the case but is also forewarned that the case will more than likely be turned over to the day watch fairly quickly. The ugly job of interviewing the victims is given to her. Looking for a common modus operandi in three quick cases makes for a ton of paperwork. Ballard prefers field work and generating case work is less than satisfying.

Victims of crime are forced to relive the crime to help in solving them. This makes Ballard a very unpopular detective. Similarities in the way the crimes evolve lead to a very identifiable pattern. But finding out the sequence of events leaves the detective on the low end of the popularity scale.

CE WilliamsTrue to his understanding of the craft, Michael Connelly develops a very plausible sequence of events and the story becomes more gripping as time goes on. The clues in the book make the attempt to solve the crime more satisfying. This novel certainly will not disappoint. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

[Note: I previously listened to three audiobooks by this author, one from his Harry Bosch series (surprised to discover there is an Amazon Prime TV series Bosch), Two Kinds of Truth, one from Renée Ballard series, The Late Show, and one from the Mickey Haller series, The Law of Innocence. All audiobooks, I appreciated the latter the least, so decided it was time I got an eBook for the CE. He read this one.]

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–and interestingly enough–just about the same as mine.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Private Investigator Mysteries
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: ‎0316485640
ASIN: B08WLRG1L2
Print Length: 401
Publication Date: November 9, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Dark Hours [Amazon]
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Kobo

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Michael Connelly - authorThe Author: Michael Connelly is the bestselling author of over thirty novels and one work of nonfiction. With over eighty million copies of his books sold worldwide and translated into forty-five foreign languages, he is one of the most successful writers working today. A former newspaper reporter who worked the crime beat at the Los Angeles Times and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Connelly has won numerous awards for his journalism and his fiction. His very first novel, The Black Echo, won the prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1992. In 2002, Clint Eastwood directed and starred in the movie adaptation of Connelly’s 1998 novel, Blood Work. In March 2011, the movie adaptation of his #1 bestselling novel, The Lincoln Lawyer, hit theaters worldwide starring Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller. His most recent New York Times bestsellers include The Law Of Innocence, Fair Warning, The Night Fire, Dark Sacred Night, Two Kinds Of Truth, and The Late Show. Michael is the executive producer of Bosch, an Amazon Studios original drama series based on his bestselling character Harry Bosch, starring Titus Welliver and streaming on Amazon Prime. He is also the executive producer of the documentary films, “Sound Of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story’ and ‘Tales Of the American.’ He spends his time in California and Florida.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

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The Great Witch of Brittany: A Novel by Louisa Morgan – #BookReview – #historicalfantasy

The Great Witch of Brittany by Louisa Morgan

Book Blurb:

Return to the world of A Secret History of Witches with the bewitching tale of Ursule Orchière and her discovery of magical abilities that will not only change the course of her life but every generation that comes after her. 

Brittany, 1762

There hasn’t been a witch born in the Orchière clan for generations. According to the elders, that line is dead, leaving the clan vulnerable to the whims of superstitious villagers and the prejudices of fearmongering bishops.

Ursule Orchière has been raised on stories of the great witches of the past. But the only magic she knows is the false spells her mother weaves over the gullible women who visit their fortune-telling caravan. Everything changes when Ursule comes of age and a spark of power flares to life. Thrilled to be chosen, she has no idea how magic will twist and shape her future.

Guided by an ancient grimoire and the whispers of her ancestors, Ursule is destined to walk the same path as the great witches of old. But first, the Orchière magical lineage must survive. And danger hovers over her, whether it’s the bloodlust of the mob or the flames of the pyre.

A tale of magic and fate, triumph and heartbreak, and the powerful bonds between mothers and daughters unfold in the late 1700s in this spellbinding novel from master storyteller, Louisa Morgan.

My Review:

I’d guess it’s difficult to find any area around the world that has not at some point furthered the supposition of witches and witchcraft as the answer to unexplained phenomena, particularly any country with a history of gypsies, many now called Travellers. People, different, are labeled and viewed with suspicion.

The Great Witch of Brittany by Louisa MorganThis novel picks up the story of Ursule Orchière in her early teen years as she supports her mother in the telling of fortunes. Witch-hunting, however, is an ever-present danger and her mother Agnes doesn’t escape the notice of the superstitious villagers, particularly of those in the church seeking higher status. The ugly dispatch of witches by burning at the stake puts another notch on his mitre.

When her mother is dragged off one night to suffer that fate, Ursule must act without the aid of those in her clan. She is forced to flee her caravan in an effort to rescue her mother, aided by a clan canine and her familiar, a raven. But it’s an experience that changes her mother forever and Ursule is not yet aware of the magic she possesses.

They are fortunate in their circumstances, finding a safe haven on a farm where Ursule gradually realizes she has been chosen out of the Orchière line to carry the secrets, the power, the incantations, and the whispered knowledge of her ancestors. She has recovered the grimoire and studies the pages intently, gradually adding to her experience of the philters and potions.

“…the cost of magic did not always match its reward.”

As Ursule and Agnes cement their position on the farm, tending animals, Ursule finds a way to subtly protect and increase productivity, sweetening crops, as Agnes tends her gardens. When Ursule feels the biological clock hammering, mother and daughter conspire on arranging a relationship with a local traveling sightless musician. The relationship yields a daughter.

The plot expands to cover the travails of three generations while preserving the fourth. The author writes with convincing authority, three times three times, slipping in the prose, mixing the languages of French, Breton, and Romani, hardships, practices, and heavily scented descriptions of the land. Overlain all, the cloud of the imminent terror of being found out.

This novel might be considered a prequel to A Secret History of Witches, released September 17, 2017, that I reviewed early last year. That audiobook got me started with this series and I discovered The Age of Witches last year as well. This might also work well as a standalone. The series spurs the imagination and conjures scenes of history both horrific and fascinating. I’m hooked and happy to recommend. Currently on pre-order.

I received uncorrected advance content collected for this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Magical Realism
Publisher: Redhook
ASIN: B096RS2G56
Print Length: 446 pages
Publication Date: February 15, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Louisa Morgan - authorThe Author: Louisa Morgan lives and writes and rambles with her Border Terrier on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. A musician and a yogini, she finds inspiration in the artistic environment where she makes her home. [Amazon]

Louisa Morgan is the author of A Secret History of Witches, The Witch’s Kind, and The Age of Witches. She’s looking forward to the publication of The Great Witch of Brittany in 2022!

Louisa is a yogini, a musician, a mom, and a dog lover. She lives in scenic Northern Idaho with her family and her spirit familiar, Oscar the Border Terrier. Visit her at www.louisamorgan.net. [Goodreads]

©2021 V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

 

Twenty Years Later: A Riveting New Thriller by Charlie Donlea – #BookReview – #psychologicalthriller

Book Blurb:

Twenty Years Later by Charlie DonleaAvery Mason, host of American Events, knows the subjects that grab a TV audience’s attention. Her latest story—a murder mystery laced with kinky sex, tragedy, and betrayal—is guaranteed to be ratings gold. New DNA technology has allowed the New York medical examiner’s office to make its first successful identification of a 9/11 victim in years. The twist: the victim, Victoria Ford, had been accused of the gruesome murder of her married lover. In a chilling last phone call to her sister, Victoria begged her to prove her innocence.

Emma Kind has waited twenty years to put her sister to rest, but closure won’t be complete until she can clear Victoria’s name. Alone she’s had no luck, but she’s convinced that Avery’s connections and fame will help. Avery, hoping to negotiate a more lucrative network contract, goes into investigative overdrive. Victoria had been having an affair with a successful novelist, found hanging from the balcony of his Catskills mansion. The rope, the bedroom, and the entire crime scene were covered in Victoria’s DNA.

But the twisted puzzle of Victoria’s private life is just the beginning. And what Avery doesn’t realize is that there are other players in the game who are interested in Avery’s own secret past—one she has kept hidden from both the network executives and her television audience. A secret she thought was dead and buried . . .

His Review:

September 11, 2001 was an American tragedy. Crimes committed on that day were negated or over-shadowed by the event. The justice system realized that you could not try the persons killed in the blast. Avery Mason also realized this as she prepared for her highly-rated crime expose: ”American Events.”

Twenty Years Later by Charlie DonleaNetwork executives are very frugal when it comes to their expenditures. A low-ball offer is on the table for Avery and she is not happy. The network had offered her a paltry ¾ of a million per year for five years. A slap on the face with a rotten fish could not have been any more of a putdown. Her predecessor, Mack Carter, had been paid eight million a year for the same job!

She had closed the year out with the highest-rated show on television. Putting her life on the line to educate people on how to get out of a vehicle submerging in a lake closed the season with a bang! So why were the network executives offering such a low-ball offer?

Avery has more personal problems as well. Her father had been a Wall Street high flyer who was running a very effective Ponzi scheme. He had disappeared three years earlier with an estimated 15 million dollars of his investor’s money and the justice system wanted him badly.

Charlie Donlea spins a very interesting tale of greed and avarice among the New York and Wall Street elite. The “sins of the father” are hard to overcome in the dog-eat-dog world that is Wall Street business. This tale explores the problem with someone who is the offspring of one of these tycoons. Before Tammany Hall and the other rulers of Wall Street developed the methodology, the stage was set to fleece the rich persons’ greed.

CE WilliamsI found the book enlightening and a bit disgusting. The theme is that there is never enough money to satisfy the greed and avarice of the very rich. 5 stars – C.E. 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.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thrillers, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Kensington Books
ASIN: B091M75X6J
Print Length: 404 pages
Publication Date: December 28, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Twenty Years Later [Amazon] 
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Charlie Donlea - authorThe Author: Charlie Donlea is the #1 internationally bestselling author of Summit Lake, The Girl Who Was Taken, Don’t Believe It, Some Choose Darkness, The Suicide House and Twenty Years Later. Praised for his “soaring pace, teasing plot twists” (BookPage) and talent for writing an ending that “makes your jaw drop” (The New York Times Book Review), Donlea has been called a “bold new writer…on his way to becoming a major figure in the world of suspense” (Publishers Weekly). A late bloomer, he was twenty years old when he read his first novel––THE FIRM by John Grisham––and knew he would someday write thrillers. His books have now been translated into more than a dozen languages across thirty countries.

He was born and raised in Chicago, where he continues to live with his wife and two children. Visit him online at CharlieDonlea.com.

[He spends a part of each year fishing with his father in the far reaches of Canada, where the roads end and lakes are accessible only by floatplane. These majestic trips to “God’s Country” inspired the setting for his first novel, Summit Lake. Goodreads profile]

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

Rohm Around the Dial (A Max Harmon Mystery Book 2) by Micheal Maxwell – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

Rohm Around the Dial by Micheal Maxwell“You’re listening to the heart of Classic Rock here on KRHM…”

These are the last words Jeff Davis would ever speak before he gets strangled on air.

When a second disk jockey meets the same suffocating end, it gives dead air a whole new meaning.

A serial killer is on the loose in Rohm.

The rules have changed suddenly, and Max Harmon is on a high-stakes race against time to solve a spine-chilling mystery—one that might break him.

If you love fast-paced, clean detective mysteries, then you would love Micheal Maxwell’s latest addition to the nail-biting Max Harmon Mystery series.

His Review:

Riding the airways can be a lonesome gig. Radio transmission stations are usually located in remote areas because of the large array of equipment and antennas. A really accomplished broadcaster should be a shoo-in for a job when a slot comes open. Carson has the late shift, a job he can only face when he has enjoyed a sufficient number of libations. Tonight, would be no exception. He pulled into the parking dreading the beginning of his 2:00 a.m. shift.

Rohm Around the Dial by Micheal MaxwellA number of DJ’s were winding up being murdered with no explanation. There was no physical evidence and no way of finding a way to track the killer. Male or female made no difference. They were being choked while at the board in the night. Max Harmon, an experienced detective, is assigned to the case. Without a clue or any trace evidence to go on, where would he start the investigation?

Another murder occurs and still no evidence or clues to follow. The police chief is getting very aggravated at Max and is demanding results.  He adds an assistant to Max’s team, Paige Weaver. She is a rookie just out of school and anxious to start her new career. Max will be the perfect mentor.

Everyone is expecting a quick resolution to the case. Hard to accomplish without any trace evidence or leads! Max and Paige doggedly pursue every angle and possible lead.

The author has constructed an entertaining case with a satisfactorily evolving body of evidence and resultant resolution. Book 2 can be read as a standalone. Read and enjoy. 5 stars – C. E. 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.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Action & Adventure Literary Fiction, Serial Killers, Mystery Series

ASIN: B09K7Y4ZYV

Print Length: 189 pages

Publication Date: November 29, 2021

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Rohm Around the Dial [Amazon]

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Michael Maxwell - authorThe Author: Bestselling Amazon author Micheal Maxwell has traveled the globe on the lookout for strange sights, sounds, and people. Having visited over fifty countries, he’s always looking for a story to tell and interesting people to meet.

Mr. Maxwell has dined with politicians, rock stars, and beggars. He has rubbed shoulders with priests and murderers, surgeons and drug dealers, each one giving him a part of themselves that will live again in the pages of his books.

Micheal Maxwell has found a niche in the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Steampunk, Alternative History, and Time Travel genres. All of Maxwell’s books give readers clean, character-driven stories, with twists, turns, and page-turning plot lines.

Micheal Maxwell along with his lovely wife and travel partner, Janet, divide their time between a home Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, and their lake house in Washington State.

Follow Micheal on Facebook: https://www.amazon.com/Micheal-Maxwell/e/B00F20MDCG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1378671759&sr=1-1

Always be informed of new releases follow Micheal on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/micheal-maxwell

Currently Available:

The Cole Sage Mystery Series 1-10
The Adam Dupress Mystery Quadrilogy
The Time Pedaler Series 1-8
The Logan Connor Thriller Trilogy
Max Harmon Mysteries 1-2
The Simon Barlow Steampunk Alternative History 1-(2-coming soon)
The Flynt & Steel Mystery Series 1-5
Three Nails (A Tale of Tragedy, Testing and Triumph)
The First Chapter: The Collected Short Stories and First Novel: The Whistler 1964 -2017

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

Holiday Reads

Elinor: A Riveting Story (Daughters of the Lost Colony) by Shannon McNear – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

A Journey Full of Hope…
Elinor by Shanno McNearEscape into a riveting story based on the mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

Author Shannon McNear portrays history with vivid authenticity.

In 1587, Elinor White Dare sailed from England heavy with her first child but full of hopes. Her father, a renowned artist and experienced traveler, has convinced her and her bricklayer husband Ananias to make the journey to the New World. Land, they are promised, more goodly and beautiful than they can ever imagine. But nothing goes as planned from landing at the wrong location, to facing starvation, to the endless wait for help to arrive. And, beyond her comprehension, Elinor finds herself utterly alone. . . .
The colony at Roanoke disappeared into the shadows of history. But, what if one survived to leave a lasting legacy?

His Review:

Freedom of religion is one reason to come to “the New World.” Elinor and her husband braved the wild Atlantic Ocean to start a new life across the sea. England has been at war with both Spain and France and has learned to take what they want by force. However, the New World is already populated with indigenous people. How does one make a new country? The usual European way was by the force of arms.

Elinor by Shannon McNear - authorThe population of the New World has struggled for centuries with war between themselves. The primary problem with the newcomers were the radical new weapons they possessed. Therefore, it was easier to try to befriend the colonists and assimilate them into the native culture. The pilgrims thought that the natives were “heathens” and had no real god. Knowing the “True God,” they needed to indoctrinate the natives.

Planting, growing livestock, and building housing were the initial goals of the young colonists. The natives already had long houses that were shared by the entire tribe. The colonists set about making bricks and building stockades as well as individual houses for the inhabitants. They depended upon the generosity of the natives to help them get through the first winter. There was simply too much work and too little time to accumulate enough stores for the long winter.

Soon the natives realize that the interlopers would not contribute but rather attempt to take everything they needed by force. Another problem was the diseases that the colonists had brought to the new land, which ran rampant through the tribes and killed as many as 40% of the population. It soon became apparent that the interlopers needed to go. People who were hunting and gathering when caught alone were quickly dispatched.

Shannon McNear has written a very charming story of the “lost” first colonists to the new world. The moral dilemma faced by the principals in the story is very thought provoking. Every population throughout the history of humanity has faced such questions. This saga illuminates the struggles then and the continuing struggles that are going on today around the world. I highly recommend this story to anyone who is a student of history. 5 stars – C.E. 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: Christian Historical Fiction, Religious Historical Fiction, Historical Christian Romance
Publisher: Barbour Fiction
ISBN: ‎ 1643529544
ASIN: B09GJVTKTD
Print Length: 323 pages
Publication Date: December 1, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s): Elinor [Amazon] 
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Shannon McNear - authorThe Author: Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. A Midwestern farm girl who lived in Charleston, South Carolina, for more than two decades before being transplanted to North Dakota, she’s a military wife, mother of 8, and a member of ACFW and FHL. When not cooking, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

Last to Know: A Christmas Novella by Brandy Heineman – #BookReview – #HistoricalChristianRomance

Last to Know by Brandy Heineman

Book Blurb:

All she wants for Christmas . . . is an end to this terrible year.

Silver bells are ringing, but family drama and flaky finances have Nadine Notaro wrung out. The only bright spots this holiday season are her job at the Blissford Historical Society and her cheery, dependable co-worker, Chase Garren—until the City Council cuts their funding. The lost income will be bad enough, but what about Chase? Though quick to remind everyone they’re just friends, she can’t stomach losing him, too.

While packing up the Society’s record collections, Chase and Nadine discover a journalist’s cache of negatives pointing to a decades-old scandal and cover-up. Entanglements with the City’s biggest power players pull their strings, but every clue brings them closer to the truth—and each other—until Nadine finds evidence of a betrayal she never thought possible.

Casting light on the lies may ruin Christmas and their friendship, but it stands to cost them much more.

Because in Blissford, it’s beginning to look a lot like murder.

His Review:

Men can be so obtuse! Blissford’s Historical Society is being closed and the building sold. Nadine is tired of the struggle to keep the town’s heritage intact. The harder she tries the further she slides back. Why don’t the city fathers understand the necessity of keeping the area’s historical records available?

Last to Know by Brandy HeinemanChase Garren is a faithful volunteer helping her to pack up the museum. He is dependable and always quick with an encouraging quip. Nadine keeps her heart and emotions bottled up, however, because the last thing she wants is to have her heart broken again! Chase is kept at a respectably safe distance.

This story contrasts the difference between a man’s approach to relationships and a woman’s approach. Throughout the book the author delineates the necessity for caution and restraint to avoid a heartbreak. I found it confusing and at times aggravating to see the effort the protagonist expended to keep herself from disappointment and heartbreak.

I also enjoyed the battle between the haves and have-nots. The wealthy city fathers used the city and its’ resources as a personal chess game with the rest of the city merely pawns. The ending was a little rushed and disappointing and might have benefitted by expanding the storyline for additional explanation-clarification.  4 stars – CE Williams

We received an ARC 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: Four Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Christmas Romance Fiction, Christian Mystery & Suspense Romance
ASIN: B09K6Y317R
Print Length: 140 pages
Publication Date: November 1, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Last to Know [Amazon]

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Brandy Heineman - authorThe Author: BRANDY HEINEMAN writes stories seasoned with secrets from the past and mysteries of the faith. She’s a graduate of Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia with a degree in Business Administration and Communication, and has worked in financial services and marketing. When she’s not writing, she divides her free time between reading, scrapbooking, and genealogy sleuthing. Brandy and her husband, Michael, live in metro Atlanta. Whispers in the Branches is her first novel.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

 

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