O’Brien’s Law: A Romantic Thriller by John McNellis – #BookReview – #financialthrillers

Book Blurb:

O'Brien's Law by John McNellisBrand-new lawyer Michael O’Brien has no clue the case his law firm handed him is a total loser. That’s because he would rather chase women, play basketball, or do almost anything other than practice law. O’Brien is struggling with the drudgery first-year associates face, especially since it’s the swinging ’70s in San Francisco.

He’s just too good-looking, easily bored, and cocky to care. But when Malcolm Knox, one of the city’s wealthiest men, drops dead, the young man from Boston is suddenly charged with finding $50 million in bearer bonds missing from the estate.

Given his myriad distractions-he’s wooing a former fashion model who owns a small bakery chain-O’Brien seems destined to fail. As missteps accumulate, and practicing law becomes dangerous O’Brien risks losing his job, his girlfriend, and even his life.

His Review:

Michael O’Brien is a confirmed bachelor and playboy. He passed the bar by having a surrogate take the bar exam for him. A prestigious firm in San Francisco is letting him work his first case. Fifty million dollars in bearer bonds and federal certificates are among the missing.

O'Brien's Law by John McNellisThe law firm gives him this assignment because they are sure he will fail. Remarkably he applies himself and with the help of his assistant is able to adjudicate the case and is on the verge of winning. One of the senior associates of the firm steps in to claim the victory and the commission. Michael will be shown the door for his trouble.

The loser in the case decides he must die in retaliation for taking the purloined nest egg of $50,000,000 and assigning it to the nephews. The executor of the funds had a plan to spend it while meting out a pittance to the “undeserving” nephews.

Michael and his lady, the owner of a local cookie franchise, are now targeted for elimination. The owner of the cookie franchise, Marybeth, is not the least bit interested in a relationship with this never do well. O’Brien’s life is in for a drastic change as he begins to court Marybeth.

CE WilliamsThis story moves quickly and is both engaging and entertaining. I have known some of the type of playboy that Michael engenders. Marybeth is accurate in trying to stay away from this player. Read and enjoy! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Financial Thrillers, Private Investigator Mysteries, Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Hubbard House
ISBN-10: ‎ 1736352512
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1736352519
ASIN: B0B7Z21KHD
Print Length: 316 pages
Publication Date: August 8, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: O’Brien’s Law [Amazon]

John McNellis - authorThe Author: A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Hastings College of The Law, John practiced law until he co-founded McNellis Partners, a Northern California shopping center development firm, in 1982.

John is a decades’ long member of the Urban Land Institute—a founding member of its Environmental Task Force—and the ICSC. He is a ULI Governor, has chaired two separate ULI Councils and served as both a Trustee and Council Councilor. He has also served on the board of directors for Lambda Alpha International (Golden Gate Chapter).

A frequent lecturer on real estate topics, John writes a monthly column for the San Francisco Business Times and is the author of the critically acclaimed books, Making it in Real Estate: Starting out as a Developer (First an Second Editions), an industry standard and taught in universities nationwide. His lecture series on YouTube is the most widely viewed of all of the ULI’s video presentations.

John is actively involved with Outward Bound USA, having served on its national board of directors and now on its advisory board. He is a past president of the board of directors of Rebuilding Together Peninsula and is a board member emeritus. He has also served on the board of directors for the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center and was a seventeen-year volunteer at the Palo Alto Downtown Streets Team’s Food Closet.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Happy Halloween!

A Dangerous Business by Jane Smiley – #BookReview – #historicalmysteries – @knopf

Book Blurb:

From the beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling author of A Thousand Acres: a rollicking murder mystery set in Gold Rush California, as two young prostitutes follow a trail of missing girls.

A Dangerous Business by Jane SmileyMonterey, 1851. Ever since her husband was killed in a bar fight, Eliza Ripple has been working in a brothel. It seems like a better life, at least at first. The madam, Mrs. Parks, is kind, the men are (relatively) well behaved, and Eliza has attained what few women have: financial security. But when the dead bodies of young women start appearing outside of town, a darkness descends that she can’t resist confronting. Side by side with her friend Jean, and inspired by her reading, especially by Edgar Allan Poe’s detective Dupin, Eliza pieces together an array of clues to try to catch the killer, all the while juggling clients who begin to seem more and more suspicious.

Eliza and Jean are determined not just to survive, but to find their way in a lawless town on the fringes of the Wild West—a bewitching combination of beauty and danger—as what will become the Civil War looms on the horizon.

As Mrs. Parks says, “Everyone knows that this is a dangerous business, but between you and me, being a woman is a dangerous business, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise …”

His Review:

Eliza Ripple was getting old for a young lady of marriageable age. She was nearly 18 and her parents feared she would not get married so they arranged for her to marry a man nearly twice her age and she was gone from the household. Her husband worked in the lumber industry in Kalamazoo, Mi. The lumber industry was very dangerous and he was killed within two years of her marriage. She was not unhappy about this because he had been physically abusive and very ridged with her. At last, she was free!

A Dangerous Business by Jane SmileyShe moved to Monterey, California, and with little skills was hired as a lady of the evening. Her fee was a dollar per trick and this provided her funds for room and the ability to buy food. Being a hooker in Monterey in the mid-1800s was a risky business and the madam kept a man at the house. Carlos kept his eye on all of the girls and threw out the men who were abusive.

Monterey was the leading seaport at that time. The entrance through the Golden Gate in San Francisco was not developed and the sailors preferred the port of Monterey. All is going fairly well but suddenly Eliza and her friend find a body in one of the arroyos with a creek leading to the ocean. The sheriff of Monterey seems to care less for the plight of the murdered young woman. As time goes on more bodies of young women are found in the area.

CE WilliamsJane Smiley develops a very sympathetic character in Eliza and her companion. The small port of Monterey has five or six brothels and law enforcement does not even pursue the killings. The young prostitutes are not worth investigating. Reading this book, I immediately commiserated with the plight of the girls. I enjoyed the interplay between the characters and the overall result of the plot. Even the horses and other animals were developed into key elements of the story. A fun and entertaining tale! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

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

 

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Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Literary Fiction, Historical Literary Fiction, Historical Mysteries
Publisher: Knopf

  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0525520333
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0525520337

ASIN: B09TZT8F9P
Print Length: 224 pages
Publication Date: December 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: A Dangerous Business [Amazon]

Jane Smiley - authorThe Author: Jane Smiley (born September 26, 1949) is an American novelist. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992 for her novel A Thousand Acres (1991). Born in Los Angeles, California, Smiley grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and graduated from Community School and from John Burroughs School. She obtained a BA in literature at Vassar College (1971), then earned an MA (1975), MFA (1976), and PhD (1978) from the University of Iowa. While working towards her doctorate, she also spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar. From 1981 to 1996 she was a Professor of English at Iowa State University, teaching undergraduate and graduate creative writing workshops, and continuing to teach there even after relocating to California.

Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Have a great weekend!

Beartown Series—Beartown Book 1 and The Winners Book 3 by Fredrik Backman – #audiobook – #BookReview – #TBT

Beartown Series Books 1 and 3

I had the opportunity to download the ebook of The Winners on NetGalley after I discovered Beartown, the audiobook at my local library on the advice of Lynne of Fictionophile who thought I’d appreciate the former better having read the first in the series. Of course, The Winners at 684 pages would have been a daunting read for me, so I turned it over to the CE who burns through books like he does sweets. I really thought the CE would love it. We all came away with wildly different views of the series.

Beartown

Editors' pick Best Literature & Fiction

Book Blurb:

2018 Audie Award Finalist for Fiction

The number-one New York Times best-selling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream – and the price required to make it come true. 

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semifinals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys. 

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semifinal match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made, and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. 

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world. 

My Review:

My first experience with a Backman novel and perhaps this might not have been the best choice. Genre is clearly noted as being sports fiction and this is definitely outside of my normal reading choices. As others have noted, however, it is a great deal more—my problem was in having the patience sufficient to get through the heavily weighted ice hockey game descriptions; game strategy, players, coaches, parents, rivalry, and ethics.

Of course, I loved that it is located in a tiny community in a deeply forested area of Sweden where one of the names of the major characters is Andersson since my grandmother was 100% Swedish and we still have distant relatives located there about six miles from the North Sea (if I’ve remembered it correctly. In the US, the family dropped the extra “S” that denoted the family name as Anders sons).

Beartown by Fredrik BackmanIt is the crushing isolation and the economic loss killing the little town that seems to force the only claim to fame it possesses—a junior ice hockey team extremely good at winning. Some of these kids are so good they are recruited to professional hockey. Too much weight on the shoulders of teenagers, however, builds the tension that eventually threatens to bury the last of their hopes.

It isn’t until two-thirds (or more) into the narrative that something tragic occurs that drives the plot slightly off the sports rail, much of it spent in chanting, “Beartown, Beartown, Beartown!”

The boys are a mix of low to well-to-do with the well-to-do kid one of the stars of the team and the nastiest of the group. The boy who wins my heart is the smallest (and fastest), Amat.

An emotional look at parenting, teenage angst, friendships, disloyalty, deadly rivalries, and the need to be accepted. I could understand the decisions made while at the same time railed at the loss it reflected.

I downloaded the audiobook from my local library that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Sports Fiction, Small Town & Rural Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Narrator: Marin Ireland
ASIN: B06XHMLMT4
Print Length: 13 hrs 11 mins
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Source: Local Library
Title Link: Beartown [Amazon]

↔ ↔ ↔ ↔↔ ↔ ↔ ↔↔ ↔ ↔ ↔↔ ↔ ↔ ↔↔ ↔ ↔ ↔↔ ↔ ↔ ↔↔ ↔ ↔ ↔↔ ↔  

The Winners: A Novel

#1 New Release in Sports Fiction

Book Blurb:

A breathtaking new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anxious People and A Man Called OveThe Winners returns to the close-knit, resilient community of Beartown for a story about first loves, second chances, and last goodbyes.

Over the course of two weeks, everything in Beartown will change.

Maya Andersson and Benji Ovich, two young people who left in search of a life far from the forest town, come home and joyfully reunite with their closest childhood friends. There is a new sense of optimism and purpose in the town, embodied in the impressive new ice rink that has been built down by the lake.

Two years have passed since the events that no one wants to think about. Everyone has tried to move on, but there’s something about this place that prevents it. The destruction caused by a ferocious late-summer storm reignites the old rivalry between Beartown and the neighboring town of Hed, a rivalry which has always been fought through their ice hockey teams.

Maya’s parents, Peter and Kira, are caught up in an investigation of the hockey club’s murky finances, and Amat—once the star of the Beartown team—has lost his way after an injury and a failed attempt to get drafted into the NHL. Simmering tensions between the two towns turn into acts of intimidation and then violence. All the while, a fourteen-year-old boy grows increasingly alienated from this hockey-obsessed community and is determined to take revenge on the people he holds responsible for his beloved sister’s death. He has a pistol and a plan that will leave Beartown with a loss that is almost more that it can stand.

As it beautifully captures all the complexities of daily life and explores questions of friendship, loyalty, loss, and identity, this emotion-packed novel asks us to reconsider what it means to win, what it means to lose, and what it means to forgive.

His Review:

Beartown and Hed have had a rivalry as long as anyone could remember. There are two hockey teams and the competition is manic. There have been players good enough to advance to the NHL but that is not the deciding advantage in the area. Even a losing season is overlooked as long as the losers beat the neighboring town’s hockey team.

The Winners by Fredrik BackmanRemoteness in a seemingly endless forest captures the young people in a never-ending rivalry as well. Dates between the towns’ young people almost require a secret encounter rather than a public display. The town fathers are hyper in their protection of the team and the efforts to recruit the best players from each town.

The seclusion fosters paranoia between the towns as well. Closely guarded practices and team meetings engender the best in spy craft. Knowing the other teams’ strengths and game plans insures that the other team will be on top at the end of the season.

The schism that exists creates a continuous rivalry that permeates the fabric of the community and the end result is competition that can at times turn deadly. This author has spun a fantastical story which drove me to stop reading early because of the hate engendered between the young people in the towns.

I found the narrative disturbing in so many ways and felt a deep sadness for the inhabitants of both of the cities. It was so difficult to read the hate engendered between the young people of the two towns, I failed to complete the entire novel.  Crushing theme of isolation failure, humanity.  3 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

Rosepoint Publishing: Three Stars three stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Sports Fiction, Small Town & Rural Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
ASIN: B09R2J1DXF
Print Length: 684 pages
Publication Date: September 27, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: The Winners [Amazon-US]
Amazon-UK
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Fredrik Backman - authorThe Author: Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, and two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime, as well as one work of nonfiction, Things My Son Needs to Know About the World. His books are published in more than forty countries. His next novel, Anxious People, will be published in September 2020. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter @BackmanLand or on Instagram @Backmansk.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams

The CE and I

#ThrowbackThursday

 

Dog Friendly by Victoria Schade – #Audiobook Review – #feelgoodfiction

Dog Friendly by Victoria Shade

Book Blurb:

A burned-out veterinarian takes a much-needed beach vacation, where a charming surfer makes waves in her love life, and a unique foster pup renews her passion for her work.

Exhausted veterinarian Morgan Pearce is feeling overworked and under-thanked, so when two favorite clients ask her to watch their special needs senior dog in their Nantucket home, she jumps at the chance for a summer break. She hopes her time on the island will be a reset from the stress of her everyday life, but her chill vacation vibe takes a hit when she gets roped into fostering a challenging, anxious dog and helping plan the local rescue group’s glittery annual fundraiser.

Her trip starts to feel more like a vacation when Morgan begins falling for Nathan Keating, an irresistible entrepreneur who thinks every problem can be solved on a surfboard. Just as the summer is shaping up to be the magical refresh she needs, thanks to a fling that feels like the beginning of something real and Hudson, the foster dog who reminds her how much she loves her job, a visit from her estranged brother and the discovery of who Nathan really is changes everything. Morgan finds herself at a crossroads, trying to determine if mistakes from the past must define the future, or if she should forgive, forget, and grab hold of a chance to finally rescue herself.

My Review:

How can you NOT love that cover? And really, the implied promise is delivered.

Not the first time this year you’ve caught me reading/listening to a romance. I know, I know, but in my defense, I just saw the dogs and read enough to know the storyline included dogs and I’ve been needing a feel-good doggy story.

I’ll bet you didn’t know “Feel-Good Fiction” was a real genre—I certainly didn’t. It’s summer and this is termed a “beach read.” Most definitely as it is located on Nantucket, descriptions of which almost had me packing for a beach read destination of my own.

This novel drips with sweetness–don’t get me wrong—it’s something we all need right now.  

Dog Friendly by VIctoria SchadeThe main character is a burned-out vet and although I’d had no clue being a veterinarian could be so stressful as to actually cause stress-related suicide, I could almost understand the problem of being a corporate vet as a major stress-inducer. Sounds like the same constraints placed on most corporate doctors these days—profit over practice.

But here is Morgan Pearce. She loves the animals. She loves most of the humans who bring their animals in for the expectation of care for their pets. She has seen it all; reactive dogs, lack of training, decent food, inappropriate discipline. It’s no wonder she jumps at the chance to get away and take care of one of her regulars with special needs for the summer. His humans are going on an extended trip and he’ll need the one-on-one care while they’re gone. They have a beautiful place on Nantucket Island, who wouldn’t go? Nope, she won’t go as a vet—she’ll go as a dog sitter/walker.

Okay, here comes the tension: she meets a gorgeous guy selling a proprietary homemade health juice from a push cart. Oh, and he’s a surfer. Did I mention Nathan is gorgeous? And dang—he has a dog! They’ll do dog walks!

And Tension #2: she can’t find a way to say no to a pooch who has been badly misunderstood by his human. He seriously needs to be retrained into being a real proper dog. (She’s now suspected of being one extremely savvy dog walker.) The fun here is the interaction with the dogs, dog personalities, introducing dogs to each other, insights into behavior, and body language.

Morgan’s family background is tenuous and ergo Tension #3 may be the catalyst for the Morgan and Nathan breakup. I’m not one for violins and roses, but this romance is handled pretty well. As a realist, however, I’d have some serious questions about the viability of the relationship.

The conclusion is handled sensitively and probably, for most readers, as expected, but still—it’s nice and I must say a sweet, fast, and engaging read.

I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts and I honestly think I’ll look for other titles by this author.

Book Details:

Genre: Feel-Good Fiction, Animal Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkley

  • ISBN-10: ‎ 059343739X
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0593437391

ASIN: B09HH3B81R
Listening Length: 8 hrs 29 mins
Narrator: Patti Murin
Publication Date: June 28, 2022
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Dog Friendly [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
 

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

 

Victoria Schade - authorThe Author: Victoria Schade has been a dog trainer and writer for over twenty years. During that time her dog duties have included working behind the scenes on Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl as the lead animal wrangler, appearing on two seasons of the Animal Planet show Faithful Friends, and creating dog training content and appearing in educational videos for a variety of pet-centric web sites. Victoria’s favorite way to share her dog knowledge is though her books, whether in a how-to manual like “Bonding With Your Dog” or woven into her novels like “Who Rescued Who” and “Lost Found & Forever.”

Victoria shares her 1850’s always-in- need-of- renovations home with Millie the Smooth Brussels Griffon (who wants you to know that she is not a skinny pug), Olive the mixed breed dog, the occasional foster pup, and her incredibly tolerant husband, Tom.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

happy thursday!

The Quarryman’s Girl by Melanie Forde – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

“Gossip was a major form of entertainment in the eighteen-nineties…”

Book Blurb:

The Quarryman's Girl by Melanie FordeLife seemed to be winding down for French–Canadian immigrant Rose Dowd. She had not been fighting the inevitable until Fate forced her to gear up for yet another chapter. Much like her adopted country, as America begins staking out a new international role in World War II, Rose must reinvent herself. Quickly. Before she can move forward, however, she needs to absorb the lessons from her past. Integral to that journey are Rose’s sharp-tongued sister Izzy; her perpetually worried son Vince, a resourceful shipyard worker; her long-dead Métis mentor Mère Agathe; her bright and bubbly but sickly granddaughter Netty; and Nate, the “Ragman’s Grandson,” a club-footed, pre-law student dreading his future and inching instead toward a career as a writer. The Quarryman’s Girl follows these vivid characters from the 1880s to the 1940s, from the hard-scrabble pig farms of Quebec to the granite quarries of Quincy, from the frozen St. Lawrence to the deep-channel Fore River. A compelling story from beginning to end, once again Melanie Forde has shown why she is a consummate storyteller and one of contemporary America’s finest writers.

My Review:

The wait is often worth it.

Such is the case with this beautifully penned literary novel deeply entwined with characters so well developed you want a hug them. They’re family.

I was introduced to this author back in 2019 with the request for participation in a book tour; one I was glad to accept for Reinventing Hillwilla (final novel in the Hillwilla trilogy) followed a few months later by Decanted Truths. I loved them both, each read as a standalone and each entirely unique.

“In the Irish culture, the gift of gab was equally distributed between the sexes.”

In this novel, Rose Dowd is staring down senior hood and doesn’t like what she sees. Thank heaven she has Vince, her youngest son, to help her meet day-to-day challenges she was formerly capable of handling on her own after her husband passed on. She also has others in her life well established near the granite quarries of Quincy (KWIN-zee—not KWIN-see) where she and estranged sister Izzy were abandoned after her large Irish family left Quebec and Quincy for Manitoba. The girls, barely teens, survived and thrived.

“You’ve heard of spring fever. You know what it really means? Scurvy!”

There are a number of threads interweaving through the well-plotted narrative and we get to know each of the characters, identify easily with people we know, care about, invest in. Descriptions of scenes are so well drawn that the reader is plunked into the middle of them. Loved the inclusion of the French phrases in the storyline as well as the Native American’s contribution to the shipyard efforts—the dialogue between Vince and Walter, a Mohawk, is priceless male banter.

The Quarryman's Girl by Melanie FordeTension builds as the characters are developed and Nate, the “Ragman’s Son” is sent to perform handyman jobs at Rose’s home and to report to Vince her slips of memory. Vince is frustrated with Rose’s senior moments as he tries in vain to glean grist for a thesis, unhappily facing law school.

And then there is Izzy, her sharp tongue alienating more than immediate family, who has a crisis of her own that may force Rose to deal with the upheaval that caused their rift so many years ago.

Oh, so bittersweet, examining the hurts, the love, the physical as well as the mental constraints that bind family and friends as easily as isolate. A unique story that scrutinizes senior cognitive decline, betrayal, aspirations, and, hopefully, reconciliation.

The story is full of emotion, raw, alternately filled with wry bursts of humor. It’s written in an intelligent, sensitive, and articulate style that pulls in the reader and doesn’t let go. The conclusion is both heartbreaking and tearfully satisfying and is heartily recommended. Not just family drama. Truly literary magic.

“Intense relationships never really died.”

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.

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Book Details:

Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Literary Fiction
Publisher: Mountain Lake Press

  • ISBN-10: ‎ 1959307002
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1959307006

ASIN: B0B7BM9KLX
Print Length: 325 pages
Publication Date: August 27, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon US   |   Amazon UK  |  Barnes & Noble

 

Melanie Forde - authorThe Author: For most of her writing career, Melanie Forde ghosted on international security issues. She published her first novel, Hillwilla, in 2014, followed by On the Hillwilla Road in 2015. Her West Virginia trilogy culminates in Reinventing Hillwilla, 2018. Melanie Forde - authorTwenty years in the making, her Irish-American family saga, Decanted Truths, was also released in 2018. In 2022, Forde mined the stories about her French Canadian ancestors, to publish another period novel and family saga, The Quarryman’s Girl.

Find more info about Melanie Forde here.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris – #BookReview – #historicalfiction – @SourcebooksLandmark

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Sold On A Monday—over a million copies sold!—comes a sweeping World War II tale of an illusionist whose recruitment by British intelligence sets her on a perilous, heartrending path.

The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorrisAs a little girl raised amid the hardships of Michigan’s Copper Country, Fenna Vos learned to focus on her own survival. That ability sustains her even now as the Second World War rages in faraway countries. Though she performs onstage as the assistant to an unruly escape artist, behind the curtain she’s the mastermind of their act. Ultimately, controlling her surroundings and eluding traps of every kind helps her keep a lingering trauma at bay.

Yet for all her planning, Fenna doesn’t foresee being called upon by British military intelligence. Tasked with designing escape aids to thwart the Germans, MI9 seeks those with specialized skills for a war nearing its breaking point. Fenna reluctantly joins the unconventional team as an inventor. But when a test of her loyalty draws her deep into the fray, she discovers no mission is more treacherous than escaping one’s past. 

Inspired by stunning true accounts, The Ways We Hide is a gripping story of love and loss, the wars we fight—on the battlefields and within ourselves—and the courage found in unexpected places.

His Review:

Fenna Vos bore a striking resemblance to Hedy Lamarr. Both women were in entertainment. Fenna is an associate of a stage magician. She works to develop escape acts and other performance mysteries. Misdirection is the standard fare for these well-trained escape artists, people able to get out of impossible situations. Fenna is one of the best.

The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorrisWorld War II finds Fenna working in a clandestine group called MI9. Their objective is to provide ways to help allied prisoners escape Nazi prisoner of war camps. Small hacksaw blades and cutting chains are inserted into such everyday games as Monopoly. The trick is to make the games transparent. The enemy allows such games to come into prison camps to help the detainees pass the time.

Fenna has a second asset to offer. In addition to her escape artist’s abilities; she can speak Dutch, as this was her mother’s native tongue.  She is working on a number of top-secret projects to enable prisoners of war to escape captivity. One very vital tool is the maps to help downed airmen find their way back to friendly territory.

She is inserted into Nazi-controlled Holland to assist the underground. She meets an old flame and finds the family of a very good friend. The friend has a child and the underground works to find a way to get mother and daughter back to allied territory. Regretfully the mother is killed in a Gestapo raid and her child is adopted by a childless German family. This situation is untenable to Fenna and the group in Holland. They work to help extract the young girl and spirit her to England.

This book is based upon some facts recently made public after World War II. Ms. McMorris has pulled together information regarding the female operatives during World War II in a most engaging novel. The success of this lady in a male-dominated world is nothing less than spectacular. The resultant book is a great tribute to the millions of women who worked unheralded and unrecognized during the second world war. 5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

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Book Details:

Genre: British & Irish Literary Fiction, Historical World War II Fiction, World War II Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ASIN: B09NCNP1KG
Print Length: 573 pages
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Ways We Hide [Amazon]
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Kristina McMorris - authorThe Author: KRISTINA MCMORRIS is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of two novellas and six historical novels, including the million-copy bestseller SOLD ON A MONDAY. The recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, she previously hosted weekly TV shows for Warner Bros. and an ABC affiliate, beginning at age nine with an Emmy Award-winning program, and owned a wedding-and-event-planning company until she had far surpassed her limit of “Y.M.C.A.” and chicken dances. Kristina lives near Portland, Oregon, where she somehow manages to be fully deficient of a green thumb and not own a single umbrella. For more, visit KristinaMcMorris.com.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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The Last Sentinel (Clayton White Book 2) by Simon Gervais – #BookReview – #terrorismthrillers

The Last Sentinel by Simon Gervais

Book Blurb:

From the celebrated author of The Last Protector comes an action-packed sequel about a man whose duty to his country threatens the life of the woman he has vowed to protect.

The Last Sentinel by Simon GervaisEx–Secret Service agent Clayton White doesn’t miss the relentless danger that defined his career. These days, he’s enjoying life at sea with his fiancée—who also happens to be the daughter of the double-dealing vice president, Alexander Hammond. But for the most part, Clayton has made peace with his old nemesis.

Then their ship, the NOAAS Surveyor, comes under attack. That same day in Miami, the Second Lady of the United States is assassinated. Hammond, who dodged the bullet meant for him, calls upon Clayton to help him hunt down the responsible party.

Clayton wants nothing to do with the notorious vice president, who boasts a violent and capricious history. But with his fiancée’s life in the balance, Clayton has no choice. He jumps back into the fray, where he’ll face off with enemies new and old. And unbeknownst to Clayton, a deep-rooted enemy has been waiting in the shadows and has now set his sights on him.

This time, it’s not just the world Clayton’s trying to save—but the woman he loves.

His Review:

Iran has not forgotten the control America holds over the region and the atrocities foisted on the country by Saddam Hussein. Reza Ashtari has not forgotten the American agent Captain Clayton White, who killed his father. He and his brother Nadar swore to get the killer.

The Last Sentinel by Simon GervaisISIS continues to expand its power over the middle east and Syria. The American’s attempts at containing the situation are marginal at best. However, the growth of America’s enemies in the area is growing exponentially as more families mourn the death of fathers, brothers, and other loved ones. The destruction of thousands of years of historical artifacts and national treasures continue to enrage the citizens.

China becomes involved in the melee when Reza and Nadar Ashtari approach them for military and financial support. The Ashtari’s feel that the United States will back off when they find out that China is now involved. Captain White and his fellow soldiers ignore the implied and assumed threat when China becomes allied with Iran.

Captain Clayton White is in charge of protecting Veronica Hammond, the daughter of the U.S. Vice-President who is working with the NOAA aboard a surveyor ship off the Florida Keys in the National Sanctuary. White and Hammond have become very close and are surprised when three boats come to attack the research vessel. Reza has targeted both Ms Hammond and Clayton for the death of his father at Whites’ hands.

One of their mutual friends is a reporter for a large eastern publishing syndicate. They become involved in reporting both the advances in oceanographic research and issues evolving from the middle eastern wars. All three of them become targets of the vindictive Ashtari family.

CE WilliamsThis well-developed plot leads to very interesting places and conclusions. The author keeps the action fast-paced and the dialogue entertaining. His writing expands the lengths that personal torture and vengeance can go. Enjoy! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

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

 

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Book Details:

Genre: Terrorism Thrillers, Military Thrillers
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ASIN: B09DCY7FZ1
Print Length: 281 pages
Publication Date: August 9, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: The Last Sentinel [Amazon]
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Simon Gervais - authorThe Author: Simon Gervais is a former federal agent specializing in protective operations and counterterrorism. He spent nearly twenty years in the military and in law enforcement. His assignments took him all over Europe and the Middle East. He’s the New York Times and #1 Amazon bestselling author of 4 exciting thriller series.

Robert Ludlum’s BLACKBRIAR: Robert Ludlum’s THE BLACKBRIAR GENESIS written by Simon Gervais (October 2022).

The Clayton White series: THE LAST SENTINEL (August 2022),THE LAST PROTECTOR (November 2021).

The Pierce Hunt series: TIME TO HUNT (November 2020), TRAINED TO HUNT (September 2019), HUNT THEM DOWN (January 2019).

[truncated]

Simon divides his time between Ottawa and The Bahamas. He lives with his wife and two children. He’s an avid boater and skier.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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