#ComingSoon – #romance #occult #cozy Looking For Some New Reading Ideas?

Amazing the way we choose the books we’ll read and how often, more than not, we choose because of the cover or the title. So I admit it, these three spoke to me, one way or another.

#comingsoon

The Secret Cove in Croatia (Romantic Escapes, Book 5) by Julie Caplin is a romance. Gasp! I know what you are thinking! Rosepoint doesn’t do romance. And normally that would be correct, except in this instance, Croatia is in the title. In 1995 we received an exchange student for his senior year of high school–from Croatia. (His country was at war and he promptly asked if he could stay. Now we call him our Croatian son.) So okay, I am #currentlyreading this one just released July 19th and will review on Friday, July 26th.

Book Blurb:

The Secret Cove in Croatia by Julie CaplinSail away to beautiful Croatia for summer sun, sparkling turquoise seas and a will-they-won’t-they romance you won’t be able to put down!

When no-nonsense, down-to-earth Maddie Wilcox is offered the chance to work on a luxury yacht for the summer, she can’t say no. Yes she’ll be waiting on the posh guests… But island-hopping around the Adriatic sea will more than make up for it – especially when Nick, her best friend Nina’s brother, is one of them.

Sparks fly when they meet onboard and Maddie can’t believe self-entitled jerk Nick is really related to Nina. But in a secret, picture-perfect cove, away from the real world, Maddie and Nick discover they might have more in common than they realise…

The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe is an occult fiction/literary saga. Ooh, sounds witchy, huh? I couldn’t resist. Something about that premise just grabs me. And behold that cover! Do you like it, too? It actually released June 25th, but I’m reading for a book tour and will review on my blog date August 9th.

Book Blurb:

The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine HoweConnie Goodwin is an expert on America’s fractured past with witchcraft. A young, tenure-track professor in Boston, she’s earned career success by studying the history of magic in colonial America—especially women’s home recipes and medicines—and by exposing society’s threats against women fluent in those skills. But beyond her studies, Connie harbors a secret: She is the direct descendant of a woman tried as a witch in Salem, an ancestor whose abilities were far more magical than the historical record shows.

When a hint from her mother and clues from her research lead Connie to the shocking realization that her partner’s life is in danger, she must race to solve the mystery behind a hundreds’-years-long deadly curse.

Flashing back through American history to the lives of certain supernaturally gifted women, The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs affectingly reveals not only the special bond that unites one particular matriarchal line, but also explores the many challenges to women’s survival across the decades—and the risks some women are forced to take to protect what they love most.

The Garden Club Murder (A Tish Tarragon Mystery Book 2) by Amy Patricia Meade is a cozy culinary mystery and I admit it, I saw that dog and my heart melted–it’s a Bichon Frise. I knew that because I have one. No way could my sweet Frosty be despised, so obviously this antagonist totally messed up with his puppy training techniques.

Book Blurb:

The Garden Club Murder by Amy Patricia MeadeLiterary caterer Letitia ‘Tish’ Tarragon is preparing her English Secret Garden-themed luncheon for Coleton Creek’s annual garden club awards, but when she is taken on a tour of some of the top contenders with the garden club’s president, Jim Ainsley, Tish is surprised at how seriously the residents take the awards – and how desperate they are to win.

Wealthy, retired businessman Sloane Shackleford has won the coveted best garden category five years in a row, but he and his Bichon Frise, Biscuit, are universally despised. When Sloane’s bludgeoned body is discovered in his pristine garden, Tish soon learns that he was disliked for reasons that go beyond his green fingers. Have the hotly contested awards brought out a competitive and murderous streak in one of the residents?

One of these appeal to you as well? If you’ve already read one, let me know what you think. So far I’m enjoying the romantic storyline in Croatia, but this one’s an exception. I still don’t do romance.

©2019 V Williams Blog author

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Goodreads Giveaways – Can You Find them on NetGalley?

Goodreads Giveaways - NetGalley

The good news is that there is a remarkable number of crossovers from Giveaways on Goodreads to those being offered by publishers on NetGalley for the mere promise of a review.

The bad news is that I could not search for five-star books I could recommend from any that I read and reviewed recently.  (My opinion, of course.) Oh, and the other bad news, I could not find a filter that would allow me to search for books other than (mainly) US. Apologies to my friends and readers across the pond, perhaps you get different listings?

There were some listed US and Canada. But actually, there were few filters, although you can search for Kindle format books. Why would they be limited to US? As you no doubt know, Giveaway books are listed as Featured, Ending Soon, Most Requested, or Recently Listed. Most of the books listed below appear on the Most Requested list…26 pages long. No filter for genres either and the following are mixed.

There are approximately 22 per page, although perhaps there is also a filter to increase per page views that I didn’t see. The last two appearing here were not found on NetGalley, but they are also by bestselling authors, the last of which will appear on the silver screens releasing August 9, 2019.

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

The Last Widow (Will Trent, #9)

by Karin Slaughter (Goodreads Author)

Print copy, US, Giveaway ends August 10, 2019

Release date: Aug 20, 2019

The highly-anticipated new Will Trent novel by #1 internationally bestselling author Karin Slaughter.

Also available for request on NetGalley from Harper Collins Publishers

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

Life and Other Inconveniences
by Kristan Higgins (Goodreads Author)

Print copy, US, Giveaway ends August 5, 2019

Release date: Aug 06, 2019

From the New York Times bestselling author of Good Luck with That comes a new novel about a blue-blood grandmother and her black-sheep granddaughter who discover they are truly two sides of the same coin.

Also available for request on NetGalley from Harper Collins Publishers

Blue Moon by Lee Child

Blue Moon (Jack Reacher, #24)
by Lee Child (Goodreads Author)

Print copy, US, Giveaway ends August 9, 2019 Listed among “Most Requested”

Release date: Oct 29, 2019

In the next highly anticipated installment of Lee Child’s acclaimed suspense series, Jack Reacher comes to the aid of an elderly couple . . . and confronts his most dangerous opponents yet.

Also available for request on NetGalley from Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Olive, Again
by Elizabeth Strout (Goodreads Author)

Print copy, US, Giveaway Ends July 29, 2019

Release date: Oct 15, 2019

Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment…

Also available for request on NetGalley from Random House Publishing Group

Water Lily Dance by Michelle Muriel

Water Lily Dance
by Michelle Muriel (Goodreads Author)

Print copy, US, Giveaway ends August 12, 2019

Release date: Aug 20, 2019

*SIGNED HARDCOVER BOOK EARLY COPIES OF WATER LILY DANCE FROM MICHELLE MURIEL BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF ESSIE’S ROSES*

Obsession. Rivalry. Revolution. Three brave women. Three centuries. One Paris.
The lives and secrets of three women, centuries apart, intersect at the artist Claude Monet’s garden in this emotional, imaginative portrait of loss, love, and second chances.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the Rain
by Garth Stein (Goodreads Author)

Print copy, US, Giveaway ends August 11, 2019

Release date: July 30, 2019

Based on the best-selling novel by Garth Stein, THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN is a heartfelt tale narrated by a witty and philosophical dog named Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner).

The Art of Racing in the Rain – In theaters August 9th!

Have you tried for a Goodreads Giveaway recently? How do you search? (I could use some hints!) I couldn’t resist Kristan Higgins book (above). Or, maybe Harper Collins and NetGalley will grant me a copy!

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Let’s Fake a Deal by Sherry Harris – a #BookReview

Let's Fake a Deal by Sherry HarrisTitle: Let’s Fake a Deal (A Sarah W Garage Sale Mystery Book 7 by Sherry Harris

Genre: Amateur Sleuth, Cozy Craft and Hobby, Cozy Animal Mysteries

Publisher: Kensington

  • ISBN-10:1496716981
  • ISBN-13:978-1496716989
  • ASIN: B07K5ZMBZB

      Print Length: 304 pages

Publication Date: To be released July 30, 2019

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Let’s Fake a Deal

Book Blurb:

SHE’S GOT THE GOODS . . .
As a former military spouse, Sarah Winston’s learned a little about organizing, packing, and moving. Her latest project sounds promising: a couple of tech-industry hipsters, newly arrived in her Massachusetts town, who need to downsize. Unfortunately, when Sarah tries to sell their stuff, she discovers it’s all stolen—and she’s the unwitting fence.

BUT SARAH’S PROBLEMS ARE JUST BEGINNING
Michelle, an old friend of Sarah’s from the Air Force base, is in line for a promotion—but not everyone is happy about it, and she’s been hit with an anonymous discrimination complaint. When one of the men she suspects is behind the accusations turns up dead in Michelle’s car, Sarah needs to clear Michelle’s name—as well as her own for selling hot merchandise. And she’ll have to do it while also organizing a cat lady’s gigantic collection of feline memorabilia, or they’ll be making room for Sarah in a jail cell . . .

My Review:

Let's Fake a Deal by Sherry HarrisYes, Book 7 of the series and I read Book 6! Has to be a record, huh? Our favorite garage sale guru protagonist, Sarah Winston is back. Her friends and acquaintances from the local air force base stemming from her marriage to military man CJ, now an ex, are also featured, including Seth, who has already uttered the “L” word. Once again, I appreciated the short explanation of military acronyms (it’s been a long time since my man was in the Navy) and general description of the military community as well.

Sarah really seems to know her business and can identify a valuable piece when she sees it. She is busy working a garage sale when the police show up, shut it down, and arrest her for receiving and selling stolen goods. About the same time, her enlisted friend, Michelle from the base is front and center person of interest when a body is found in her trunk. She has a complaint lodged against her and suspects it was the deceased.

Sarah begins wrestling with both issues as she takes on a new client, one that will take a great deal of time sifting through boxes of old treasures in the basement, finding and separating the more valuable and setting prices for all of the cat-related items from jewelry to paintings. The cat lady herself is pretty eccentric, making for a fun interlude between her running down leads and interviewing persons who might help with either her own arrest or the pending arrest of Michelle.

Dialogue is exchanged easily and believably between her friends, Seth, and her brother Luke, often punctuated with her own comical comebacks in self-talk. I like the way she thinks and it adds a humorous hue to the well-plotted, easy-going storyline. Since she’s been on her own, created and managed a business, Sarah has definitely gained in her ability to handle people. I particularly enjoyed her retort after a veiled threat from a ranking officer, “You may outrank him,” I tipped my head toward James, “but you hold no sway over me.” Bravo! And with that said, I believe you’d get a good idea about her character, whether the others are all well-fleshed in this series entry or not. Most receive sufficient general description to visualize the individual. I think each book could function well as a standalone within the series.

My problem was with the usual bull-headed police officer arresting or immediately jumping to conclusions regarding guilt with little regard to investigating the crime and leaving the leg work to an amateur sleuth. Still, the novel was engaging and easily invested in reading through to conclusion, solving both issues, neatly buttoned up.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. I really enjoy the Sarah Winston character and look forward to the next in the series. Recommended for those who enjoy a cozy mystery out of the food loop.

+Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars Four stars

Sherry Harris - authorThe Author: Agatha award-nominated author, Sherry Harris, started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series.

©2019 V Williams Blog author

 

The Lost Road to Key West by Michael Reisig – a #BookReview

The Lost Road to Key West by Michael ReisigTitle: The Lost Road to Key West (Book 10) by Michael Reisig

Genre: Men’s Adventures, Action-Adventure, Travel Adventure

Publisher: Clear Creek Press

ASIN: B07RV2KFZT

Print Length: 230 pages

Publication Date: May 13, 2019

Source: Author request

Title Link: The Lost Road to Key West

Book Blurb:

The novel you’re about to read is a work of fiction. But the premise of this story is true – it actually happened. If you enjoy tales of lost treasures, wild adventures, ancient civilizations, and governments that sometimes bury truths, you’re going to like this one.
M.R.
In one of the most incredible plots Michael Reisig has ever created, he blends modern history and an ancient Egyptian chronicle to forge a story that is based on actual, but nearly unbelievable facts. What if, at the turn of the 20th century, two intrepid explorers actually discovered the ruins of an ancient Egyptian city inside the towering walls of the Grand Canyon? What if those explorers were killed, their discovery hidden, and the artifacts they unearthed (along with the chronicles of one of the most remarkable sea-faring, and culture-founding accounts in history) were stolen, and hidden in the basement of one of America’s major historical institutions? 
If you’re looking for a white-knuckle adventure of courage, extraordinary friendships, and “complicated” love affairs, all woven around contemporary and ancient historical accounts, this is the book! So, put on your boots, buckle up, and follow Kansas Stamps and Will Bell into the adventure of a lifetime, or two. 

My Review:                                                                                                     

The Lost Road to Key West by Michael ReisigI always love the outlandish sense of adventure of these two guys, long time buddies, Kansas Stamps and Will Bell. If they can’t find it, you know it will find them and you can bet your book that with a new episode you will have something even more wild and crazy than before. The entertainment comes in the way that author Michael Reisig weaves the adventure where truth lies–then he has a little fun with it. Somewhere, somehow, Reisig finds (for the most part) completely unknown myths or fables and wraps his artistic fiction around it. So let the fun begin.

The Key West series Book 10 actually keeps us within the United States and within our own Grand Canyon. And it is grand–immense actually–with a river 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep it is mind-boggling beautiful, mysterious, and treacherous. Rather than Key West, Mexico, or South America, the author has found another astounding legend to key on. Or is this merely a legend? Don’t all legends begin with some truth, some kernel that is handed down through time?

Was it just a way to sell newspapers, or did the April 5, 1909 edition of the Arizona Gazette recount the actual discovery of a monstrous city-sized cavern that contained artifacts of…Egypt? Nah, couldn’t be. Right? But there were two men who disappeared shortly after relaying their story to the paper that killed evidence of it almost immediately. And the Smithsonian denied ever having had anything to do with Professor S. A. Jordan and G. E. Kinkaid. True, the entrance to the cavern would have changed a great deal in the several millennia following the initial settlement. The entry to the cave system is now 1500 feet down the side of the shear cliff into the canyon wall. Speculation was that it would have originally been river level. But don’t take my word for it. This is fascinating stuff, folks!

Here are the boys with Crazy Eddie and Tax and Jing. We’ve come to love the two offspring of Kansas and Will and in this installment Jing has saved the life of a baby Osprey who she has undertaken to tame and train and will become as valuable as the canines. Kansas still has his beloved dog, Shadow, and they’ve run across Dax, another old buddy who has his canine companion, Smoke. Dax **knew** a guy and he told his story to Kansas and Will. Uh oh.

The guys go into this one light, leaving the Hole in the Coral Wall Gang to their current endeavors. The author always throws in remarkable support characters to augment our main characters and this time it is Connor O’Connor. (If you couldn’t guess, an Irishman.) He has also been hunting for the entrance to the cavern and together they pool info and resources. O’Connor has a monkey and a donkey. Even with the circus, they are a formidable group against the baddies.

Reisig waxes poetic as he recounts sayings of their favorite rastamon, Rufus, and the narrative moves between disbelief and “what ifs.” Three things more or less real (you decide): (1) The Hopi insist they evolved from the “Inner World,” (2) we know that the Cherokee have DNA markers associated with the Berbers (native Egyptians), and (3) many of the areas around the north side of the canyon have Egyptian names, i.e., Isis Temple, Tower of Set, Tower of Ra. Well, it certainly opens the door for some lively discussion, huh?

This installment doesn’t come to a screeching halt like the others sliding in sideways in a haze of dust, sweat, and tears. The conclusion was quiet and somewhat reflective. The series is escapist amusement; sexist, engaging, entertaining, and always a celebration of that exuberant free-wheeling post-Vietnam era, music, booze, and adrenalin. (Ever heard the term “Go fly a bike?” The flyboys returning home had to have another outlet…) But his novels never fail to leave you with fascinating venues or myths to research. This one was a mind-blowing douzy that I (obviously) had a lot of fun with!

While this is Book 10 of The Road to Key West series, each book can be read as a standalone. I received this ebook as a beta-read and later an ARC from the author in hopes of a read and review and these are my own opinions. Recommended as men’s adventures, buddy adventures, and travel adventures full of laugh and scratch.

Rosepoint Recommended

Four point Five of Five Stars Four point Five of Five Stars

 

Michael Reisig - authorThe Author: Michael Reisig has been writing professionally for 20 years. He is a former Caribbean adventurer turned newspaper editor, award-winning columnist, and best-selling novelist. After high school and college in Florida, he relocated to the Florida Keys. He established a commercial diving business, got his pilot’s license, and traveled extensively throughout the southern hemisphere, diving, treasure hunting, and adventuring.

Reisig claims he has been thrown out of more countries in the Caribbean Basin that most people ever visit, and he admits that a great many of the situations and the characters in his novels are authentic – but nothing makes a great read like experience…

He now lives in the mountains of Arkansas, where he hunts and fishes, and writes, but he still escapes to the Caribbean for an occasional adventure.

©2019 V Williams Blog author

 

Lance: A Spirit Unbroken by Walter Stoffel – a #BookReview

Lance: A Spirit Unbroken by Walter StoffelTitle: Lance: A Spirit Unbroken by Walter Stoffel

Genre: Dog Care, Pet Dogs (Doggy Memoir)

Publisher: Diamond Publishing International

  • ISBN-10:0986150002
  • ISBN-13:978-0986150005
  • ASIN: B01LZWMUF2

Print Length: 244 pages

Publication Date: August 19, 2016

Source: Direct author request

Title Link: Lance: A Spirit Unbroken

Book Blurb:

Marley meets… Cujo ?

What would you do if there was a dog in your neighborhood forced to live outside day in/day out, at the mercy of abusers, wild animals and brutal weather?

Walter does nothing—at first. Then, an accidental meeting with Lance, a Border Collie, sets the wheels in motion for a down-to-the-wire, life-saving rescue and a disappointing discovery: Lance turns out to be a threat to anyone he can get his teeth on—including his rescuers!

Their lives turned upside down by this semi-feral “pet”, Walter and his wife Clara are forced to answer a painful question: do they euthanize the dog they rescued?

Making their life-or-death choice even more difficult is Lance’s hilarious quirkiness; when not threatening, he’s incredibly entertaining—though a State Trooper, the local drug dealer, and a Megan’s Law parolee, among many others, would beg to differ.

This rollicking, thought-provoking, and—at times—heart-wrenching true-life account of the unorthodox rescue of an unorthodox dog is guaranteed to captivate:
-Dog lovers
-Recovering addicts (there are numerous passages that the 12-step community will relate to)
-Survivors of child abuse (the author reveals his own poignant connection with Lance)
-Any reader who can laugh, cry, or enjoy having her/his faith in humanity restored.

(Note: This book was noted in my associate’s book list and he couldn’t resist also reading. His review follows mine.)

My Review:

Lance: A Spirit Unbroken by Walter StoffelThis dog should never have lived the ten long years chained in the yard subject to extreme abuse when he wasn’t either starving, freezing, or both. And unfortunately, living through the abuse, the spirit in this animal that absolutely would NOT give up is discovered (after Walter and Clara adopt him) to carry mountains of baggage. Walter had seen the dog on his walks in the neighborhood before but most likely had no clue of the extreme cruelty he was being subjected to. It is after he begins a dialogue with Anna, a neighbor who has befriended the dog, cleaned his space and provided fresh water, food, and an occasional neighborhood walk that he begins to get the picture of a dog desperately in search of rescue.

His previous owners have left him with an extreme case of PTSD; he is psychotic, schizophrenic. Is he salvageable? Probably not. Yet, there is an intangible something there. A highly intelligent Border Collie who has managed to survive will have many cards hidden under his paws. Absolutely unpredictable behavior, the only thing for sure they can count on, is not being able to pet their new rescue.

So what drives a person, or couple, to take on this challenge? Could it ever be worth the sacrifice–and heaven knows they’ll make many of those. First, Walter was probably the only one in a jillion who could begin to glean some understanding of just how traumatic this dog’s life had been–and sympathize–no wonder he reacted like he did!

The conundrum here is not so much Lance as Walter. His canine experience either totally lacking or his confidence in turning the dog around grew to extremes in lack of common sense (something he freely admits) when dealing with a highly intelligent Border Collie. Knowing the dog was a biter and lacked any kind of predictable behavior, he walked with the dog unleashed into the woods. Huh? Talk about a train wreck!

Cats, kids? No problem. Completely unpredictable for a normal dog, this dog seemed to have no problem being around children. How many times did this dog rescue his rescuers? He could show compassion, sympathy, and there were times he had them totally entertained, mesmerized with his antics.

Bottom Line: Loved the book, cringe-worthy as much of it was. Yes, I can think of even worse canine abuse, but you have to give this duo some kudos for fortitude. Still, what bothered me was the seven years of shocking trials of off-leash stories, car rides (a serious threat to not only themselves but to anyone else on the road), and the continued abuse of new animals by the previous owners with no one stopping those idiots getting a new dog. Also, I must note the amount of redundancy, although some of which did introduce new arguments for or against. The conclusion, though expected, is hard to take. Thrilled, and terrified at the same time, that the dog could actually get those years to get out and run like the wind, bound over rocks, trees, and into ponds like a normal dog.

I received a request from the author for an honest opinion of his memoir of Lance in exchange for a free copy. Hard to put this book down, the storytelling is compelling. I did so enjoy the story and appreciate the opportunity to read and review.  Recommended for any fan of dogs or pets. Research the breed–all canines are not born equal–but they all get into your hearts.

“Some of our greatest…treasures we place in museums; others, we take for walks.” Roger Caras, wildlife preservationist.

Associate Reviewer - C E Williams

His Review:

A highly intelligent Border Collie abused for the first ten years of his life! This book shows a love and fortitude seldom seen. I was extremely moved by this lovingly crafted account. Bravo to the author! CE Williams free from the author for an honest opinion.

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars Four point Five of Five Stars

Walter Stoffel - authorThe Author: Walter Stoffel is a freelance writer and publisher who specializes in human interest memoir and fiction. Though having previously participated in multiple dog and cat rescues, nothing prepared him for his life with the title character in Lance: A Spirit Unbroken. The author has a rich work history that currently includes teaching GED and counseling inmates at local correctional facilities. He also has experience as a certified mental health screener. For many years, he lived and worked in various South American countries. Most unique occupation: chipping excess concrete off the undersides of bridges in Virginia. All his coworkers were wearing prison stripes. Mr. Stoffel is a member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group, Pennwriters and Barbara’s Writing Group, a critiquing association. When not writing, he loves to read, travel, work out, and watch bad movies. The author has a B.A. in psychology and is a credentialed alcoholism and drug counselor. He lives in Canadensis, PA with his wife Clara, their dog Buddy (a rescue) and their cat Winky (another rescue). Personal accomplishment: after having hip replacement surgery, Walter entered a marathon and finished it – dead last. Extra special personal accomplishment: surviving seven years living with the devil dog (Lance). Please visit Walter at http://www.Lance: A Spirit Unbroken.com, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

©2019 V Williams Blog author

The Body in the Wetlands by Judi Lynn – a #BookReview

The Body in the Wetlands by Judi LynnTitle: The Body in the Wetlands (A Jazzi Zanders Mystery Book 2) by Judi Lynn

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Women Sleuths

Publisher: Lyrical Underground

  • ISBN-10:151610840X
  • ISBN-13:978-1516108404
  • ASIN: B07FZN7CVT

Print Length: 268 pages

Publication Date: April 23, 2019

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: The Body in the Wetlands

Book Blurb:

High summer in River Bluffs, Indiana, is always sweltering and sweet. But the heat is really on when a decidedly dead body turns up in the neighborhood.

When established house flippers Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod donate a week’s worth of remodeling work to Jazzi’s sister Olivia, they’re expecting nothing more than back-breaking roofing work and cold beers at the end of each long, hot day. With Jazzi’s live-in boyfriend and partner Ansel on the team, it promises to be a quick break before starting their next big project—until Leo, an elderly neighbor of Olivia’s, unexpectedly goes missing.

When the friendly senior’s dog tugs Jazzi and the guys toward the wetlands beyond Olivia’s neighborhood, they stumble across a decomposing corpse—and a lot of questions. With Jazzi’s pal Detective Gaff along to investigate, Jazzi finds her hands full of a whole new mystery instead of the usual hammer and nails. And this time it will take some sophisticated sleuthing to track down the culprit of the deadly crime—before the killer turns on her next . . .

My Review:

The Body in the Wetlands by Judi LynnMy second book with the series and author and must admit it’s one of the few books I’ve read with a location in Indiana–and flippin’ houses? Oh, yes! Hubby and I tried that for many years, though heaven knows not so easily, quickly, or successfully as this series would imply. We worked nights (after work), weekends (for years), and spent every dime we made on repairs. Old houses mean old electrical, pipes, floors, and cabinets–don’t get me started with the rest. Heaven help you if you had to open a wall.

At any rate, this narrative again picks up with Jazzi working with her cousin Jerod and newly moved in boyfriend Ansel–her Viking God. Tall and gorgeous, you’ll hear more about him and often. Jerod is a happily married family man. This house again has those “good bones,” so much of the work will be cosmetic as opposed to the sledgehammer they took to the walls of the last house. Still, besides painting, they were redoing floors and gutting bathrooms and the kitchen. In the middle of the remodeling, Ansel is called back to the old family farm to help with their repair problems and her cousin comes down with the flu his little ones bring home from school. (THAT sounds normal, huh?)

Guess that’s a good thing, as Jazzi and the neighbor’s dog find (not one, but) two bodies near their flipper.  With Jerod sick, Jazzi is free to flit with Detective Gaff, whom she got to know very well last episode. Detective Gaff, it would appear, loves to invite her along on his interviews. And, unfortunately, that is not the end of finding bodies.

I did love the cover and there are two wildly different dogs appearing as support characters. Jazzi still has the whole family over every Sunday (mercy!) and Ansel really enjoys the family time, but most especially her cooking. The mystery moves at cozy pace with snippets of remodeling interwoven with new red herrings and twists. The characters take the spotlight. I’m still not overly thrilled with Jazzi as protagonist and neither she nor Ansel seemed really trusting at being apart for the two weeks he’d be at the farm. Two weeks? Really? And the romance, both prior to his leaving and after he got back? Didn’t need it.

Bottom Line: I do enjoy this series, the setting and characters become engaging, and I will continue to look for the next one. The pacing is even and well-plotted into a downplayed, almost anticlimactic conclusion. While dialogue is clean and for the most part natural, I still felt some relationship problems between she and Ansel. There is more fleshing on Ansel and some quirks that didn’t set well, as well as the explanation of Jazzi’s reticence due to previous relationship difficulties. The antagonist began to materialize as a bit obvious rather soon after he was introduced. So, my problems: (1) Disbelief in the speed and description of the rehabbing process, (2) too much romance in the cozy mystery, and (3) support role with the detective–unrealistic.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest opinion and appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for those who enjoy a different type of backdrop in a cozy with some romance.

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing: Three-point Five of Five Stars Three point Five of Five Stars

Judi Lynn - authorThe Author: [Judi Lynn is a] USA Today Best-selling author for The Body in the Attic.
When I started self-publishing, I wrote urban fantasy as Judith Post. Then my wonderful agent, Lauren Abramo, suggested I try to find a publisher by writing romance, and she was right. I sold my Mill Pond romances to Kensington’s Lyrical Press. After six romances, my equally wonderful editor, John Scognamiglio, asked if I’d like to try to write a mystery. Ironic, because I started writing–forever ago–by writing mystery short stories and selling them. I decided to write about a fixer-upper because my husband and I bought a 1920s small bungalow when we got married, and it needed lots of work. We’re still working on it. And cooking crept into the stories because I LOVE to cook and have friends over to eat supper with us. A lot of my passions have ended up in my books:)

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Darwin’s Cipher by M A Rothman – a #BookReview

Darwin's Cipher by M. A. Rothman

Five Stars Five stars

Title: Darwin’s Cipher by M. A. Rothman

Genre: Medical Thriller, Hard Science Fiction, Technothriller

  • ISBN-10:1790271231
  • ISBN-13:978-1790271238
  • ASIN:B07KTFX1N2

Print Length: 354 pages

Publication Date: February 15, 2019

Source: Direct author request

Title Link: Darwin’s Cipher

Book Blurb:

Juan Gutierrez, a cancer researcher, has spent years studying the genome of animals that exhibit immunity to some types of cancer. Over the course of his study, Juan discovers a pattern that allows him to predict the course of a species’ evolution across thousands of generations. 

Using the algorithm he’s developed from the pattern, Juan uncovers what he believes to be the key to conquering humanity’s susceptibility to cancer.

Others are interested in using what Juan has dubbed “Darwin’s Cipher,” however, instead of cancer research, they see very different applications for the new genetic algorithm.

Nate Carrington, an FBI forensic analyst has been struggling with several cold cases when he’s alerted to an incident at a nearby ranch. It’s a case of a newborn calf who is found in the middle of a herd of dead cattle. It provides a single link to Nate’s other cold cases: the DNA analysis of the calf doesn’t match anything in the FBI’s database.

Somewhere in a rural hospital in West Virginia, four hospital workers are dead and a newborn child has been transported to the NIH’s level-4 bio-containment unit.

It’s only when the NIH sends out an alert to all hospitals and law enforcement agencies that the world realizes the danger that faces them.

My Review:

Darwin's Cipher by M.A. RothmanDo yourself a favor and go grab this techno-thriller by USA Bestselling author M. A. Rothman. The man knows his science and this intelligent, highly engaging medical thriller will hook you immediately and then hold you fully engaged until you read the last word in the highly satisfying conclusion. But–the dog? OMG. Nooo….(But if the last little ditty about Jasper is the hook for Book 2, count me in!)

Two main characters here working in tandem, Juan Gutierrez, a cancer researcher and Special Agent Nathaniel Carrington, an FBI forensic analyst. Gutierrez is a researcher working for AgriMed closing in on a mutating algorithm in DNA. Wait! Does this sound like a SciFi? Well, maybe you’d think so. But this is chocked full of so much biological technology that you’ll find more fact than fiction. And fascinating study it is. Thank you Kindle for including that instant dictionary or search component so I can clarify what some of these terms were; not familiar with all of them. No, not unless I had an advanced degree. But does that slow you down? NO. Because there is so much to be learned here, not the least of which a strong GMO component study (and you’ll get both sides of that argument).

I loved these guys! But more than that, Rothman throws in some ordinary folk, like empathetic Frank O’Reilly and his wife and their cattle ranch and their daughter. Their daughter, Kathy, is not ignorant of AgriMed. Cancer research gone awry–with disastrous results sometimes resulting in collateral damage. Gutierrez explains his DNA manipulations and eventually I was beginning to understand it–that in itself pushes fearful tension. The science (“which is not just an ingredient of the story, but a key part of it…”), the art of discovery, the race to solution in this well-plotted thriller will have you burning the midnight oil and flipping pages.

“When the virus invades, the pieces of DNA that it carries merge with the DNA in that cell. The cell isn’t otherwise damaged, it’s modified. What you end up with is essentially an updated version of the cell.”

This is an alternately chilling and intriguing story as it weaves through a fascinating story of the science of discovery. The dialogue is clever and natural, the characters compelling, and the tension-building scenes deliver an impact. Unique plot, slightly outside of my normal genre–and found it absolutely refreshing, honest, and unputdownable. Even if you don’t think this is your genre, you’ll discover the gritty subject will pull you in. I was contacted directly by the author for an honest opinion of his book in exchange for a free eBook. You will be thrilled with this unusual book. Go look for it and get your copy. Thank you, Mr. Rothman! Contact me again for your next book (please).

His Review:

Associate Reviewer - C E Williams
C E Williams

Gene therapy thriller!
Is there a way to lengthen life or cure incurable diseases? Explore exciting scientific studies within a real-life setting. This novel will scare and excite you. 5 Stars

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M. A. Rothman - authorThe Author: USA TODAY bestselling author, M.A. Rothman, is one of the most unlikely novelists you’ll ever meet. He’s an engineer first and foremost, with a background in the sciences, and somehow or another, this writing habit of his has turned into a bit more than just a run-of-the-mill hobby.

He primarily writes stories that focus on two things: technology and international intrigue. This writing tends to span the genres of science fiction, techno-thriller, and mainstream thrillers.

When not writing, he enjoys cooking, learning about new technology, travel, and spending time with his family.

Find him at Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/MichaelARothman and Twitter – @MichaelARothman

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Restaurant Weeks Are Murder by Libby Klein – a #BookReview

Restaurant Weeks Are Murder by Libby KleinTitle: Restaurant Weeks Are Murder by Libby Klein

Genre: Cozy Culinary Mystery, Amateur Sleuths, Cozy Animal Mysteries

Publisher: Kensington

  • ISBN-10:1496713079
  • ISBN-13:978-1496713070
  • ASIN: B07DBQBVYJ

 Print Length: 304 pages

Publication Date: February 26, 2019

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Restaurant Weeks Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery Book 3)

Book Blurb:

Cape May, New Jersey, is the site of a big culinary competition—and the knives are out . . .

Poppy McAllister is happy about opening a Jersey Shore B&B—but working in a professional kitchen has always been her real dream. Now it’s coming true, at least briefly, as she teams up with her former fiancée, Tim—and his condescending partner, Gigi—during the high-profile Restaurant Week challenge. Poppy’s specialty is pastries, despite her devotion to a Paleo diet. But if anyone can make glorious gluten-free goodies, it’s Poppy.

Things get heated quickly—especially when some ingredients get switched and Tim’s accused of sabotage. Relatively harmless pranks soon escalate into real hazards, including an exploding deep fryer. And now one of the judges has died after taking a bite of Poppy’s cannoli—making her the chef suspect . . .

Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!

My Review:

Restaurant Weeks Are Murder by Libby KleinMs. Klein has ramped up her cooking expertise in Book 3 of her Poppy McAllister series. Poppy and her Aunt Ginny are finishing up the touches on their Butterfly Wings Bed and Breakfast. Tim, Poppy’s one-time fiancé, has asked her to team with him and Gigi in the Restaurant Week Challenge where she will create her specialty desserts and pastries. The competition of seven days comprises three stages that include a “mystery basket” of ingredients and is judged by well-known celebrities, if possibly questionable, local judges and is to be recorded to show on Jersey area daytime TV.

One of the six teams is comprised of Gia, a steamy, mcDreamy Italian for whom Poppy has been supplying some of her pastries for him and his mother’s Italian restaurant. Teams include a head chef, a sous chef, and a pastry chef per each restaurant team. It’s obvious from the beginning that this is a serious competition, each vying for the prize of $10,000 as well as the notoriety, air time, and press. Unfortunately, few of the team members get along with each other and the judges are brutal. So, this being a cozy is not too difficult to guess who will be the victim.

Before the mics are on and the cameras are rolling, there is sabotage (changing labels of food ingredients), bickering, materials are disappearing, and a fight breaking out between two of the competing chefs. You can almost visualize Chef Ramsey delivering a scathing review to one of the dishes as the 10-year-old looks on teary-eyed.

The author’s wicked sense of humor sparks off the characters, including her Aunt Ginny who is up to her usual antics and her naughty kitty Figaro who figures out which judge housed in their B&B is allergic to felines and does his best to make sure she is sneezing and miserable. The dialogue ranges between snarky, hilarious, and believable in an honest conversational tone. The secondary characters work well with the main characters and protagonist providing that tension in a real kitchen competition atmosphere, scrambling to the pantry for their ingredients only to have another chef snatch it out from under them.

The characters have been developed in previous series entries and there is little further fleshing here, although with the plot focus on food could still work as a stand alone. It is a very well paced plot, albeit slow to deliver a victim as the focus is the restaurant challenge and all the outrageous events happening while trying to film each day’s segment concluding with judging scores. Red herrings, twists, and new discoveries every chapter lead to a conclusion you may have guessed, but it’s been fun.

I had two problems, and yes, it is acknowledged that her aunt is an active, saucy octogenarian, but she and her friends were referred to constantly as the “biddies and cronies.” (Ouch) And, the dreaded romantic triangle. (I’m so over it–can we move on now?). Also the judge, “Stormin’ Norman,” weatherman. (Perhaps Ms. Klein is unaware of the scandal that took place in the 80s out west and it did give me icky pause.)

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review. The author has a writing style I enjoy, characters that engage, and I’m looking forward to Book 4.

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars Four point Five of Five Stars

Libby Klein - authorThe Author: Libby Klein graduated Lower Cape May Regional High School sometime in the ’80s. Her classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. She loves to drink coffee, bake gluten free goodies, and befriend random fluffy cats. She writes from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard. Most of her hobbies revolve around eating, and travel, and eating while traveling.

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Lessons from Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog by Dave Barry – a #BookReview

Lessons from Lucy by Dave Barry

Five Stars  Five stars

Title: Lessons from Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog by Dave Barry

Genre: #1 United States Literary Criticism, #2 in Cat, Dog, and Animal Humor

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

  • ASIN: B07CL5PVDB
  •  ISBN-10: 1501161156
  • ISBN-13: 978-1501161155

      Print Length: 241 pages

Publication Date: Happy Release Date! April 2, 2019

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Lessons from Lucy

Book Blurb:

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and bestselling author of Dave Barry Turns 40 now shows how to age gracefully, taking cues from his beloved and highly intelligent dog, Lucy.

Faced with the obstacles and challenges of life after middle age, Dave Barry turns to his best dog, Lucy, to learn how to live his best life. From “Make New Friends” (an unfortunate fail when he can’t overcome his dislike for mankind) to “Don’t Stop Having Fun” (validating his longtime membership in a marching unit that performs in parades—and even Obama’s inauguration), Dave navigates his later years with good humor and grace. Lucy teaches Dave how to live in the present, how to let go of daily grievances, and how to feel good in your own skin. The lessons are drawn from Dave’s routine humiliations and stream-of-consciousness accounts of the absurdities of daily life, which will leave you heaving with laughter and recognition.

Laugh-out-loud hilarious, whether he’s trying to “Pay Attention to the People You Love” (even when your brain is not listening) or deciding to “Let Go of Your Anger,” Dave Barry’s Lessons From Lucy is a witty and wise guide to joyous living.

#1 New Release in Mid-Life Management

My Review:

Lessons from Lucy by Dave BarrySoon as I saw a book offered in NetGalley from Dave Barry, I jumped on the request. And a book about his dog, Lucy? YES, please! I have long been a fan of this author’s columns and would catch it in whatever vehicle I had that ran it. Paper? Sure before they gave way the same as eight-tracks. His columns never failed to provide a knowing nod, a chuckle, or laugh out loud moments. And while I don’t agree with all of Mr. Barry’s philosophy, I certainly agree that the man can find humor in just about anything and this book highlights that ability.

While the narrative doesn’t open new doors in wisdom, create new cosmic thought on life with dogs (or life itself), it is certainly written in an entertaining and satisfying manner. The author points out seven major lessons bestowed on Dave and his family by Lucy, their ten-year-old mixed-breed rescue. Dave’s keen wit and inspired observations of human behavior, metaphors for dog behavior, generally hit just where you’ve been. He sums up each lesson:

Lesson 1: Make New Friends, (And Keep The Ones You Have) Just don’t try to find them in a bar amazing them with your ability to smell asparagus metabolite.

Lesson 2: Have Some Fun Getting old sucks. (Or is that AARP?) Join something like the (World Famous) Lawn Rangers (yes, they use a broom and a lawn mower and perform in parades). Or as Barry did, join the Rock Bottom Remainders termed by Roy Blount as “Hard Listening,” composed of famous authors such as Stephen King and Amy Tan (but I doubt you’d recognize her), among others.

Rock Bottom Remainders on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

Lesson 3: Pay Attention to the People You Love (Not Later, Right Now) Please, don’t ask him about “diversity training” as opposed to “mindfulness training.”

Lesson 4: Let Go Of Your Anger, Unless It’s About Something Really Important, Which It Almost Never Is. Among his list of top five things he is exceptionally good at, besides sarcasm and ridicule (that’s just too easy cause you already knew that!), is his knack for developing an instantaneous hatred for people he doesn’t know. (That would definitely include the cable TV company, “Bomcast”)

Lesson 5: Try Not To Judge People By Their Looks, And Don’t Obsess Over Your Own. (…a book by its cover.)

Lesson 6: Don’t Let Your Happiness Depend On Things; They Don’t Make You Truly Happy, And You’ll Never Have Enough Anyway. Learn the definition of GAS – “Gear Acquisition Syndrome” and the necessity of storing lentils.

Lesson 7: Don’t Lie Unless You Have A Really Good Reason, Which You Probably Don’t. Two reasons not to lie: (1) It’s wrong, and (2) It’s stupid. Be like Lucy, “if you mess up, fess up.” A dog can look amazingly guilty, whether or not they are, but they usually know when they are.

This is a pseudo-self-help book from a skeptical self-help book hypocrite. He doesn’t ascribe to them. Even he can’t believe he wrote it. Normally, he is a snarky, cynical Pulitzer prize-winning columnist and bestselling author. It was intended to be a book about dogs. But there were so many parallels he could draw from his reflections.

It’s honest, sincere, and authentic. Also humorous, appealing, and a feel-good novel about dogs. As the author says, every dog he has ever owned has been THE BEST DOG EVER. It is a great read that I wholeheartedly recommend. I received the ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley. I so appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Thank you!

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Dave Barry - authorThe Author: The New York Times has pronounced Dave Barry “the funniest man in America.” But of course that could have been on a slow news day when there wasn’t much else fit to print. True, his bestselling collections of columns are legendary, but it is his wholly original books that reveal him as an American icon. Dave Barry Slept Here was his version of American history. Dave Barry Does Japan was a contribution to international peace and understanding from which Japan has not yet fully recovered. Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys is among the best-read volumes in rehab centers and prisons. Raised in a suburb of New York, educated in a suburb of Philadelphia, he lives now in a suburb of Miami. He is not, as he often puts it so poetically, making this up. Find Dave Barry at http://www.davebarry.com/

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Reinventing Hillwilla by Melanie Forde – a #BookTour #BookReview #Irelandmonth

It’s March and I’m participating in the Reading Ireland Month for 2019, this beautiful literary fiction being the second. I will post a complete list of my reads for Reading Ireland on Sunday, March 10. Stay tuned!

Reinventing Hillwilla 

I am absolutely delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Reinventing Hillwilla by Melanie Forde on Sage’s Blog Tours.

Book Details: Five stars

Title: Reinventing Hillwilla: A Novel by Melanie Forde

Genre: Literary Fiction, Romance, Animals

Publisher: D Street Books, a division of Mountain Lake Press

Print Length: 339 pages

Publication Date: November 4, 2018

  • ISBN-10:1730785492
  • ISBN-13:978-1730785498

ASIN: B07K6TQC3R

Source: Publisher and Sage’s Book Tours

Title and Cover: Reinventing Hillwilla – Cover depicts farm overseer, Ralph

Book Blurb:

Life on a llama farm, set in remote “Seneca County,” West Virginia, transitions from contented to chaotic in this final novel in the Hillwilla trilogy — all under the watchful eye of canine guardian Ralph. Five years after we first met northern urban transplant Beatrice Desmond, she is finally adapting to her mountain hollow among the wary “born-heres” and is more open to the blessings in her life. She has developed a rewarding mother-daughter relationship with troubled local teenager Clara Buckhalter and is inching toward marriage with dashing, but complicated entrepreneur Tanner Fordyce. Meanwhile, Clara sets off on a productive new path, one that would have been unthinkable had Beatrice never come into her life. All of that progress is suddenly jeopardized by Clara’s scheming mother Charyce. Ultimately, the upheaval touched off by Charyce’s schemes serves as the catalyst for new beginnings for the Seneca County misfits (even Ralph).

My Review:

Reinventing Hillwilla by Melanie FordeOh, Mercy! Sucked in immediately in the prologue when you realize you are reading the POV of an English setter, beloved dog, and pack leader of the llamas (Ralph’s Pack) gracing this farm, it’s impossible not to continue reading. Then I was devastated when I realized that Ralph had passed away. NOOO…

Still, protagonist Beatrice Desmond is such a powerful, torn, and emotive character that the pages turns themselves as you become totally lost in the hollow in Seneca County, West Virginia. There is a divide in West Virginia. Between the “born-heres” and the “come-heres.” Beatrice falls in the latter and tends her animals. Clara Buckhalter, at thirteen and a product of a destructive family life, connected however remotely to Beatrice, had come to live with Beatrice temporarily. As these things sometimes evolve, temporary becomes permanent with Beatrice taking full charge of loving mother duties, something Clara had not received from her own mother. Now Clara is at Beatrice’s alma mater on a scholarship. Beatrice is thrilled and proud, but lonely.

In the meantime, Beatrice continues to wrestle with the proposal of marriage from globe-trotting Tanner Fordyce, off on yet another mission while Beatrice works out of her home office telecommuting as a translator and editor. Unfortunately, her old boss is gone and the new one isn’t working out–for Beatrice. Tanner, like Beatrice, had experienced a less than stellar childhood of Irish roots, Beatrice’s family from Boston. Tanner often harkens to the ancient Irish endearment “mo mhuirnin” (my darling) when signing off on his long distance calls.

The author weaves in the artful and knowledgeable handling of the llamas as Beatrice begins to experience strange happenings around the farm. She desperately misses Ralph, who would have alerted her to anyone on her property, but she does take security measures.

Clara’s mother is written as a despot; beyond comprehension how she could treat her daughter as she does, and creates a tension building conflict when Clara is left on the farm alone. (Beatrice has had to leave temporarily.) Clara is young, naive, and sure her own mother could not willfully scheme against her or Beatrice, although it’s difficult to imagine how she could not knowing her mother’s past deeds. The character produces a glut of protracted revulsion and sets the reader on edge, anxious to perceive how the author will produce a satisfactory remedy. In the meantime, it’s easy to get incredibly angry with Clara for not understanding Beatrice is the “real” mother here, protecting her even against her wishes.

The well-paced, well-plotted story creates that bond with characters struggling through discordance with others, the loneliness, catastrophic illness, coming of age, long-distance romance, and the struggles of survival in harsh, bitter winter conditions. The dialogue is natural and believable, the characters fleshed so well, you cheer for the little triumphs and wish Clara were close enough to slap her up long-side the head. She’s eighteen now! Get a grip! And Ralph, even I missed him. Or maybe not–didn’t we see him–once or twice?

A unique story for me! The animals are sweet. Then the plummet and anger, followed by a glimmer of hope. Emotions pulling one way, then the other. And always, always, wondering when or how is she going to get another dog? (You can’t replace a Ralph. Hubby and I also had one–a yellow lab–too smart for us but we loved him.) The author has an intelligent, articulate writing style that pops with little glimmers of Irish humor. The satisfying conclusion closes the trilogy. This is the first I’d read of the trilogy, but had no problem reading as a standalone. Sage's Blog Tours

I was given this ebook download by the author through Sage’s Blog Tours for a read and review and absolutely loved the book! It’s an amazing read–totally recommended.

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five stars

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. Twenty years in the making, her Irish-American family saga, Decanted Truths, was also released in 2018.

©2019 V Williams V Williams

The Puppy Who Knew Too Much by V.M. Burns – a #BookReview

The Puppy Who Knew Too Much by V.M. BurnsTitle: The Puppy Who Knew Too Much (A Dog Club Mystery Book 2) by V.M. Burns

Genre: Thriller and Suspense, Cozy Mystery, Amateur Sleuth, Animals

Publisher: Lyrical Underground

Print Length: 242 pages

Publication Date: Happy Release Day! February 12, 2019

ASIN: B07D233MVK

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Puppy Who Knew Too MuchPuppy pictures always catch the eye!

Book Blurb:

Lilly Echosby and her toy poodle Aggie find a fresh start in Chattanooga, Tennessee, spoiled by the scent of murder . . .

Having solved the shooting death of her cheating husband, Lilly’s left behind the drama of Lighthouse Dunes, Indiana, to start over in the hometown of her best friend, Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson. As she gets settled in her new rented house, Lilly gives Aggie, short for Agatha Christie, her own fresh start by enrolling her in the Eastern Tennessee Dog Club, where Dixie is a trainer.

But drama seems to hound Lilly like a persistent stray. Her cranky new neighbor appears unfamiliar with Southern hospitality and complains that Aggie barks too much and digs up his prized tulips. But what the poodle actually unearths is the buried body of a mysterious man who claimed ownership of the lost golden retriever Lilly recently rescued. Now it’s up to Lilly and Dixie to try to muzzle another murderer . . . Continue reading “The Puppy Who Knew Too Much by V.M. Burns – a #BookReview”

Freedom Road by William Lashner – a #BookReview

Freedom Road by William LashnerTitle: Freedom Road by William Lashner

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

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: January 22, 2019

Print Length: 377 pages

ASIN:B07F6CLX1H

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Freedom RoadDepicts lonely flight

Book Blurb:

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

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

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

My Review:

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

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

Killer Lawyer by Mark Nolan – a #BookReview

Killer Lawyer by Mark NolanTitle: Killer Lawyer (Jake Wolfe Book 3) by Mark Nolan

Genre: Thriller and Suspense, Assassinations

Publication Date: December 19, 2018

Print Length: 420 pages

ASIN: B07L5GLJQ1

Source: Direct Author Request

Title and Cover: Killer Lawyer – Series cover

Book Blurb:

Attorney by day, assassin by night. Jake Wolfe is a young lawyer who leads a secret life. Trained by the CIA, he now wants peace and quiet, practicing law and living on a boat with his war dog. But when his city is shocked by a serial killer and he’s framed for the murder of a friend, Jake must race against time to find the killer before he strikes again.

Drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse; at every step Jake and his loved ones are being hunted by the clever, twisted madman. As the city is gripped in fear of the seemingly random shootings that could strike anybody, Jake investigates and uncovers ominous clues until a shocking reversal of fortune changes everything.

With the clock ticking and lives at stake, will Jake be able to find and stop the killer in time, or will he become the next victim?

Buckle up for a wild ride as Jake Wolfe and his exceptionally intelligent dog, Cody, return to action in this page-turning thriller in Mark Nolan’s bestselling series that has earned thousands of 5-star ratings on Amazon and Goodreads. Continue reading “Killer Lawyer by Mark Nolan – a #BookReview”

Fractured Truth by Susan Furlong – a #BookReview

Fractured Truth by Susan Furlong

My First #fivestar Read of the Year

Title: Fractured Truth (A Bone Gap Travellers Novel Book 2)

Genre: Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Animals

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: December 18, 2018

Print Length: 288 pages

  • ISBN-10:1496711696
  • ISBN-13:978-1496711694
  • ASIN: B07BVDNVC9

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Fractured Truth – February snow in the mountains

Book Blurb:

When the mutilated remains of a young woman are found in an Appalachian Mountain cave, newly sworn-in deputy sheriff Brynn Callahan is forced to track down a killer driven by twisted motives . . .  

Not long after donning the uniform of the McCreary County Sheriff’s department in Bone Gap, Tennessee, ex-Marine Brynn Callahan faces her first official homicide. On a cold February morning, a lone cross-country skier stumbles across the mutilated body of a young woman. Sent to investigate, Brynn is shocked when she recognizes the victim as a fellow Traveller, Maura Keene.

Maura held a solid standing both within the Travellers’ insular community and among the settled townspeople—a fact that makes her murder all the more disturbing to Brynn, who also straddles the two worlds.  After her trained K-9, Wilco, digs up human bones, and then a scrap of paper scrawled with arcane Latin phrases is uncovered, Brynn finds evidence leading her to question those closest to her—and closing the case becomes a deeply personal matter.

While trying to suppress local superstitions and prejudices, Brynn discovers that Maura was keeping a dangerous secret. And as the bones Wilco found are analyzed by forensics, Brynn harbors the troubling suspicion that she knows who they belong to. Still struggling with PTSD, Brynn must put her career on the line and her life at risk to find justice for a woman not unlike herself—haunted by her past, and caught in a vicious cycle she may never
escape . . .
  Continue reading “Fractured Truth by Susan Furlong – a #BookReview”

To Fetch A Thief by Teresa Inge, Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, and Rosemary Shomaker #BlogTour #Spotlight

Welcome to the spotlight at my blog stop for To Fetch A Thief by Teresa Inge, Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, and Rosemary Shomaker on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.

To Fetch a Thief by Teresa Inge, Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, and Rosemary Shomaker

Book Details

To Fetch A Thief
Cozy Mystery Anthology
Light, humorous, dog-themed mysteries.
Bay Breeze Publishing, LLC (November 8, 2018)
• Number of Pages 274  

Book Blurb 

To Fetch a Thief by Teresa Inge, Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, and Rosemary ShomakerTo Fetch a Thief, the first Mutt Mysteries collection, features four novellas that have gone to the dogs. In this howlingly good read, canine companions help their owners solve crimes and right wrongs. These sleuths may be furry and low to the ground, but their keen senses are on high alert when it comes to sniffing out clues and digging up the truth. Make no bones about it, these pup heroes will steal your heart as they conquer ruff villains.

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About the Author (s)

Teresa Inge - authorTeresa Inge grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Today, she doesn’t carry a rod like her idol, but she hotrods. She is president of Sister’s in Crime Mystery by the Sea Chapter and author of short mysteries in Virginia is for Mysteries and 50 Shades of Cabernet.

Website: www.teresainge.com
Connect with Teresa on Facebook, and Twitter

Heather Weidner - authorHeather Weidner, a member of SinC – Central Virginia and Guppies, is the author of the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, Secret Lives and Private Eyes and The Tulip Shirt Murders. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series and 50 Shades of Cabernet. Heather lives in Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers, Disney and Riley. She’s been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. Some of her life experience comes from being a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, IT manager, and cop’s kid. She blogs at Pens, Paws, and Claws.

Website and Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com

Pens, Paws, and Claws Website and Blog: http://penspawsandclaws.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherWeidner1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherWeidnerAuthor

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

Jayne Ormerod - authorJayne Ormerod grew up in a small Ohio town then went on to a small-town Ohio college. Upon earning her degree in accountancy, she became a CIA (that’s not a sexy spy thing, but a Certified Internal Auditor.) She married a naval officer and off they sailed to see the world. After nineteen moves, they, along with their two rescue dogs Tiller and Scout, have settled into a cozy cottage by the sea. Jayne is the author of the Blonds at the Beach Mysteries, The Blond Leading the Blond, and Blond Luck. She has contributed seven short mysteries to various anthologies to include joining with the other To Fetch a Thief authors in Virginia is for Mysteries, Volumes I and II, and 50 Shades of Cabernet.

Website: www.JayneOrmerod.com

Blog: www.JayneOrmerod.blogspot.com

Rosemary Shomaker - authorRosemary Shomaker writes about the unexpected in everyday life. She’s the woman you don’t notice in the grocery store or at church but whom you do notice at estate sales and wandering vacant lots. In all these places she’s collecting story ideas. Rosemary writes women’s fiction, paranormal, and mystery short stories, and she’s taking her first steps toward longer fiction, so stay tuned. She’s an urban planner by education, a government policy analyst by trade, and a fiction writer at heart. Rosemary credits Sisters in Crime with developing her craft and applauds the organization’s mission of promoting the ongoing advancement, recognition, and professional development of women crime writers.

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8121853.Rosemary_Shomaker

More Links:

Website: http://muttmysteries.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MuttMysteries

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MuttMysteries1

Amazon: Purchase Link

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

Tour Participants:

December 10 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST

December 10 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 10 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 11 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 11 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 12 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

December 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 13 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

December 13 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 14 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

December 15 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 15 – Varietats – REVIEW

December 16 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

December 16 – Lori’s Reading Corner – GUEST POST

December 17 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

December 17 – The Book’s the Thing – GUEST POST

December 18 – Rosepoint Publishing – SPOTLIGHT

December 18 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 19 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

December 19 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

December 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE – DOG TREAT

December 20 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST

December 20 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

December 20 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

December 21 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 21 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 21 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours 

Thank you to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to present this spotlight!

 

 

Chasing the Blue Sky by Will Lowrey – a #BookReview

Chasing the Blue Sky by Will LowreyTitle: Chasing the Blue Sky by Will Lowrey

Genre: Animal Care and Pets, Animal Rights, Dogs

Publisher: Lomack Publishing

Publication Date: November 3, 2018

  • ISBN-10:173293990X
  • ISBN-13:978-1732939905
  • ASIN: B07K5MM6WJ
  • Print Length: 191 pages
  • Source: Author Request

Title and Cover: Chasing the Blue SkyImmensely appealing cover instantly tells the story

Book Blurb:

In the sweltering heat of a Clay County summer, a chained dog gives birth to a spirited, black puppy named Toby. Taken from his mother’s side at just a few weeks old, Toby soon wins the love of an adoring family. But just as quickly, he finds himself struggling to survive in the unforgiving world of the county animal shelter.

But he’s not alone – a motley cast of homeless dogs and a devoted pair of shelter workers will give anything to make sure Toby makes it out alive.

Chasing the Blue Sky is the compelling, emotional story of one dog’s journey to find his place in the great big world.    Continue reading “Chasing the Blue Sky by Will Lowrey – a #BookReview”

Tandem Demise by Duffy Brown – #BookReview

Tandem Demise by Duffy Brown

Tandem Demise: A Cycle Path Mystery (Book 3)

Genre: Mystery, Cozy, Women Sleuths

  • ISBN-10:1729374786
  • ISBN-13:978-1729374788
  • ASIN: B07JRB373X
  • 298 pages
  • Date Published: October 27, 2018

My Review:

Not a problem that this is book 3 of the Cycle Path series, as Tandem Demise can work just fine as a standalone. There is enough here to check off the list of most everyone reading a cozy and Ms. Brown knows just the right pace to lead you along!

Evie Bloomfield must be the most inept bicycle rider ever that owns a bicycle rental shop, Rudy’s Rides, on the touristy island of Mackinac Island, Michigan. But you have to give it to her–she decorates and names each bike such that they take on a personality. It’s the perfect place to have a bicycle rental shop–there are no cars allowed. There are, however, plenty of horses. The description of the island already has me planning a trip in the summer (as it definitely wouldn’t appeal as a winter-time destination).

Evie is apparently a single thirty-something who is eyeing Nate Sutter, the police chief and transplanted Detroit cop. Her best buddy is Fiona, a newspaper editor. There is a wealth of well-developed support characters, including Evie’s mother and Cal, her ex-Marine shop assistant. The names of the local shops are quaint and the island inviting. She has two kitties, Bambino and Cleveland. There is a wedding planner running interference and a couple of casualties and Evie discovers both.

The author leads with snarky, snappy dialogue and the pace and never slows the narrative. The well-plotted storyline runs into twists and becomes apparent that there is a more complex story here than immediately apparent. Packed with a LOL sense of humor, the mystery carefully weaves in and out of island exposé. You may guess the antagonist correctly prior to conclusion, but the exciting reveal held one final little twist you didn’t see coming. The only problem I had was the number of edit misses.

I was given this ebook download by the author through BookFunnel for a spotlight that I’ve previously published on this blog and greatly enjoyed the opportunity to read and review. Highly recommended for fans of cozy mysteries. Fun and fast. Not my first Duffy Brown book and I look forward to many more!

Add to Goodreads

Book Blurb:

After solving two murders, bike shop owner Evie Bloomfield thought life on Mackinac Island would settle into boredom until she finds out Nate Sutter, island police chief and once-upon-a-time under cover cop is on the run. Some badass guys from Nate’s Detroit days think he stole money from them in a champagne smuggling operation and now they’re headed to the island to get their loot. Evie is determined to help Nate because he’s a good cop, Nate is determined to keep interfering Evie and island locals out of harms way, and the crooks are determined to get their money.
To add to the island’s problems there’s a dead guy on the dock and the new wedding planner is more interested in playing bedroom bingo than ordering bridal bouquets.
With the help of Fiona, Evie’s BFF and local newspaper editor, Evie is determined to prove Nate innocent, figure out how champagne smuggling, bodies on the dock and a bad wedding planner are tied together and not wind up taking a long walk off a short pier herself. 

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

About The Author:

Duffy Brown - authorDuffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She has two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, her license plate is Sherlok and she conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own for Berkley Prime Crime. Duffy’s national bestselling Consignment Shop Mystery series is set in Savannah and the Cycle Path Mysteries are set on Mackinac Island.

Author Links:

Website – http://www.duffybrown.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com

©2018 V Williams V Williams

 

A Midwinter’s Tail by Bethany Blake #BookTour #BookReview

A Midwinter's Tail by Bethany Blake

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for A Midwinter’s Tail by Bethany Blake on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Book Details

A Midwinter’s Tail (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (November 27, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496717333
ISBN-13: 978-1496717337
Digital ASIN: B07B7C8XQY
 

Book Blurb

To bark or not to bark . . .

Professional pet sitter Daphne Templeton loves the holidays in Sylvan Creek, Pennsylvania. And nothing gets her into the spirit more than the town’s annual Bark the Halls Ball. The whole community will be there to wag their tails, especially this year’s special guest—Celeste “CeeCee” French, founder of a national chain of pet care franchises, who’s returning home to announce plans for a bright new flagship store.

But not everyone’s celebrating CeeCee’s homecoming. Daphne’s friend Moxie Bloom, owner of Spa and Paw, a unique salon for people and their pets, has plenty to growl about. So when CeeCee is found face down under Sylvan Creek’s town Christmas tree, stabbed with a distinctive pair of professional-grade pet shears, suspicion lands squarely on Moxie. Despite Daphne’s promises to Detective Jonathan Black, she quickly reprises her role as amateur sleuth. Ably assisted by her basset hound sidekick, Socrates, she must hurry to prove her friend’s innocence before a killer barks again . . .

Includes recipes for homemade pet treats!

My Review

A Midwinter's Tail by Bethany BlakeIt’s Christmas time in beautiful Sylvan Creek, Pennsylvania and pet sitter Daphne Templeton is gearing up by providing lots and lots of treats for the community yearly event Bark the Halls Ball. She will be taking her basset hound Socrates and accompanied by BFF Moxie and possible romantic interest Detective Jonathan Black. It is a very pet-friendly town and she is a proud owner of storefront Lucky Paws Pet Sitting Service and Flour Power. She also has a surly black Persian named Tinkleston, whom she calls Tink.

At the annual showing of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” a successful local graduate, CeeCee French, comes back to town to make the announcement that she will open a large outlet of her pet supply franchise in town. The announcement is shocking and not met with a lot of excitement and she is later found murdered and left under the town Christmas tree. As the owner of the Spa and Paw, it is Moxie who is the first person of interest and as the well-plotted and even paced story is laid out, several others later as well all with equally plausible motives.

This is an amazingly well projected anthropomorphic narrative with Daphne frequently speaking to her animals and their obvious telegraphed responses. I’ve often looked at my own Bichon Frise and thought I knew looking into those eyes just what she was thinking and sure I knew her response as well. We’ve often commented, she may not speak English, but she certainly has no problem communicating. In this case, Daphne certainly had a dog whispering touch with those animals left in her care.

I enjoyed the well-developed characters and although this is apparently the fourth in the series had no problem following the protagonist or the support characters. Also noted the many cliffhanging chapter endings, necessitating the reader jump to the next chapter. I did, however, have a small problem with Moxie and Sebastian, her white rat allowed a bit too much freedom. Additionally, I am not usually a fan of romantic tension in a well-executed mystery.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley for a book tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review what appears to be a delightful cozy mystery series with some engaging characters. Recommended for the younger set who enjoy a cozy mystery they’ll have to work to solve and then may not guess correctly.

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

Bethany Blake - authorBethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she’s not writing or riding horses, she’s wrangling a menagerie of furry family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, a blind goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care.

Author Links 

Webpage  BookBub    Twitter    Facebook

Purchase Links

Amazon  B&N  Kobo    Google Play   IndieBound   BookBub  

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

Tour Participants

November 26 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

November 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

November 26 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 27 – Here’s How It Happened – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 27 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

November 27 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

November 28 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 28 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

November 29 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

November 29 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 29 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

November 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

November 30 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE, GIVEAWAY

November 30 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY

December 1 – My Devotional Thoughts – REVIEW

December 1 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 2 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

December 2 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

December 3 – Carla Loves to Read  – REVIEW

December 3 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 4 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

December 4 – The Cozy Pages – REVIEW

December 4 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

December 4 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 5 – Melina’ Book Blog – REVIEW

December 5 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 5 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56–HELLO Friday!

Book Beginnings-Friday 56

In October I began participating in Book Beginnings who is hosted by Gillian at Rose City Readers. Every Friday you have the opportunity to share the first sentence of the book you are currently reading. Include the title of the book and the author’s name. You may wish to share your impression of the book to date as well. Also please share your post with Mister Linky on her blog site. This week I am spotlighting The Midwinter’s Tail by Bethany Blake.

“The weather outside was beyond frightful, with near-blizzard conditions pummeling the quaint, pet-friendly town of Sylvan Creek, Pennsylvania, and burying the surrounding Pocono Mountains under a thick blanket of fine, icy snow.”

(Because there is a natural tie-in to The Friday 56, it is common to combine the two.)

The only rules are for participation in The Friday 56 is to grab a book, any book or the one you are #currentlyreading, turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader, and find a sentence (or a few, but don’t spoil it!), post it, and then add your post URL to the Linky on the host site Freda’s Voice – there yah go! How’s that for easy!

Preview-Friday 56

Friday 56:

“As Fidelia drove away, and I helped Snowdrop and Socrates into the truck on a dark and gloomy evening, I hoped that my afterlife–at least as portrayed on a high school stage–would be downright dull.

“Yet, deep in my heart, I doubted that would be the case.”

Add to Goodreads

So what am I thinking?

I’m a sucker for doggy or kitty related cozy mysteries, no surprise I’m sure to anyone who noticed my last Book Beginnings/Friday 56 was The Long Paws of the Law. I am enjoying The Midwinter’s Tail so far and will be posting my review here on the book tour scheduled for Sunday, December 2, 2018.

In the meantime, curl up with your little fur buddy and read!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

The Body in the Attic by Judi Lynn #BlogTour #BookReview

The Body in the Attic by Judi Lynn

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for The Body in the Attic by Judi Lynn on release day for the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Book Details 

The Body in the Attic (River Bluffs #1)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Lyrical Underground (November 27, 2018)
Paperback: 218 pages
ISBN-10: 1516108396
ISBN-13: 978-1516108398
Digital Print Length: 280 pages
ASIN: B07B741L6N

Book Blurb

Welcome to River Bluffs, Indiana, a cozy small town populated with charming homes, close-knit families, and the occasional deadly secret . . .

House-flipper Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod have found their latest project. The property, formerly owned by the late Cal Juniper, is filled with debris that must be cleared before the real renovation begins. But a trip to the attic reveals something more disturbing than forgotten garbage—a skeleton wearing a locket and rings that Jazzi recognizes . . .

Tests confirm that the bones belong to Jazzi’s aunt Lynda, who everyone assumed moved to New York years ago after breaking up with Cal. Soon enough, the whole family is involved, sifting through memories and rumors as they try to piece together what really happened to Lynda—and the baby she gave up for adoption. In between investigating and remodeling, Jazzi is falling for the old house’s charms—and for her gorgeous contractor, Ansel. But with surprises lurking in every nook and cranny, a killer might be waiting to demolish her dreams for good . . .

My Review

The Body in the Attic by Judi LynnWhat a delightfully different premise for a cozy mystery! A house flipper–and a female at that–and I can testify to having been involved in that activity and confronted just exactly the scenario described in walking through the house shortly after closing the auction. It has “good bones” and they will be only be doing cosmetic work. This is the home of the former fiancé of her Aunt Lynda, who disappeared before she and Cal married, never to be heard from again. Devastated, he never married.

Jasmine (Jazzi) and her cousin Jerod have done this before. It’s not their first rodeo, although thank goodness they made money on one of them and seem to have the cash to finish the job (and then some!). Jerod is a solid family man with two little ones at home. I loved his character! He is knowledgeable, capable, level-headed, and “two years older” than Jazzi. Jazzi, as the protagonist, may be around 25 and has a strong family network. There are several engaging support characters, including the 6’5″ Viking god, Ansel. He is a “construction” contractor. On their walk-through inspection, the trunk in the attic is found to contain a skeleton.

The location of River Bluffs, Indiana, sounded ideal, except for the humidity which is painted in vivid sweat-producing detail. I learned to love the town and quickly wondered if it’d make a beautiful little Sunday ride. The author writes with a keen sense of humor, and the well-plotted storyline folds out in a steady, even pace.

The protagonist, however, while interested in the question of her Aunt Lynda, can’t get me completely invested, and doesn’t appear to go sleuthing as much as she works with Ansel and Jerod in the rehab of their project. But Jazzi seems to have some kind of rapport with the detective who begins to invite her along on his investigation and little by little whittle at the mystery. The “cosmetic” work begins with a sledgehammer and appears to require no permits. The investigation ramps up when they find a second body out back of much more recent origin.

The narrative begins with a hook and engages interest through to the conclusion. The writing style is easy, fast, the dialogue natural, and I appreciated the affection intonated between family members, including the protagonist and her sister. The antagonist becomes a bit obvious and perhaps too soon. There is a romantic tic that interrupts the mystery and seemed a bit fast although is explained in plausible terms.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Good start for a new series! I’ll be interested in the next entry to the series and be looking for a more complete fleshing of Jazzi next installment as well as further exploration of Ansel, without the romance. Recommended for any who enjoy a cozy with a different premise.

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

Judi Lynn - authorJudi Lynn received a Master’s Degree from Indiana University as an elementary school teacher after attending the IPFW campus. She taught 1st, 2nd, and 4th grades for six years before having her two daughters.  She loves gardening, cooking and trying new recipes.

Readers can visit her website at www.judithpostswritingmusings.com and her blog writingmusings.com.

Purchase Links

Amazon    B&N    Kobo

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

Tour Participants:

November 26 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 26 – The Montana Bookaholic  – REVIEW

November 27 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

November 27 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

November 27 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

November 28 – My Devotional Thoughts – REVIEW

November 28 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 29 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

November 29 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

November 30 – Varietats – REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 30 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

December 1 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 1 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 2 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

December 2 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 3 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST

December 3 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

December 4 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

December 4 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 5 – The Avid Reader  REVIEW

December 5 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Murder at Harbor Village by G. P. Gardner #BlogTour #BookReview

Murder at Harbor Village by G P Gardner

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Murder at Harbor Village by G. P. Gardner on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Book Details  

Murder at Harbor Village (A Down by the Bay Mystery, Book 1)
Cozy Mystery
New Series
Lyrical Underground (November 13, 2018)
Paperback: 216 pages
ISBN-10: 1516109007
ISBN-13: 978-1516109005
Digital ASIN: B079WM9X29

Book Blurb

Young retiree Cleo Mack is trading in academia for a second act in Harbor Village, a community for active seniors in coastal Alabama. But someone in this picture-perfect coastal town is burning the candle at both ends . . .

It’s love at first sight when Cleo arrives in Fairhope, Alabama, after taking early retirement from her longtime position as professor of social work. Touted as “the nicest town in the world,” Fairhope is home to an eclectic community of retirees. Harbor Village boasts classes in painting, pottery, and photography, not to mention being a buyer’s market for husbands. It seems an ideal place to make new friends and rediscover life. Until a dead body is found in the pool.

When the victim turns out to be the unpopular director of senior living, Cleo is named acting director. Now she must rely on her well-honed people skills to uncover a killer in a place where short-term memory isn’t what it used to be, and age is just a number. And if Cleo keeps snooping around, her number may soon be up . . .

My Review

Murder at Harbor Village by G. P. GardnerSo nice to have a protagonist of (almost) retirement age, albeit a social work professional at an Atlanta university, who is offered an incentive for early retirement. Cleo Mack is weighing possibilities when she discovers Fairhope, a beautiful iconic Alabama coastal town, and is almost immediately drawn in by friendly local Nita Bergen, a resident at Harbor Village, touted as an active senior community with an ideal mix of activities, services, and opportunities for meeting and engaging with others of the same generation.

In short order Cleo is sold and finds herself clearing her desk at the university, arranging for an estate sale of her belongings, and accepting Apartment No. 8 keys at Harbor Village along with a promised part-time position as Resident Services Manager, as she’ll still be juggling finances. But it seems even before she can fully settle into her cozy little apartment, the corporate bigwig, Lee, whom she met just briefly, is discovered in the pool. Jaime, the curt Director of Assisted Living, was showing her around when Lee made sure she met the new assistant. Lee appears to have drowned but is quickly determined to have been murdered.

Jaime is immediately “kicked upstairs” and is out of there leaving Cleo thrust into the unlikely position of Executive Administrator in Jaime’s place. It doesn’t take long before Cleo begins to dissect the situation, discovering there were a lot of problems just under the surface of what appeared an idyllic situation. Along with realizing the enormity of her employment situation, she is dealing with the apartment cat who has decided it was time he came home and inspected the new occupant, along with complex discrepancies that include missing rental deposits and painkiller meds in the skilled nursing section of the community.

Dealing with her daughter and her ex, Travis McKenzie, Cleo discovers a shocker, that he is part owner of the complex (as well as others under the same umbrella) and Lee was his new bride. Lee used to drop in the complex on an infrequent basis and was universally disliked by everyone. There is a whole host of interesting and colorful support characters (including Nita’s husband), and I loved the author’s sense of humor in naming them…Patti (Wagon), Police Chief Boozer. There is no confusion with characters. The discovery of the calico provided a sub-plot in learning the name of the feline who turned out to have a perfectly charming name as well.

The well-plotted storyline goes into some detail with outlining a schedule for running the community, discoveries such as the number of units and those rented legitimately, all the employees and their roles, the layout of the different resident and support buildings, and the services provided (or lacked) that needed to be addressed. The logistical plan for fact-finding worked seamlessly into the subtle search for the antagonist, although the who was not really a surprise. The conclusion was weaved in a restrained and delicate delivery.

I received this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. This is a debut in a new series and sets a promising stage for some delightful retirement community adventures. I’m interested in seeing these characters grow (particularly Patti). Recommended for those who enjoy a cozy mystery, beautiful geographic setting, and cantankerous and quirky characters.

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

G P Gardner - authorBorn and raised in Alabama, G. P. Gardner earned BS and MA degrees in Psychology from the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL) and an MBA from Jacksonville State University (Jacksonville, AL). She also attended the University of Georgia (Athens, GA), where she studied biopsychology and primatology. But her heart belongs to Talladega College—an HBCU and the first educational institution in Alabama to admit students without regard to race—where she taught business. Her writing life began with short stories, some of which were published in regional literary journals and some of which won prizes. She enjoys the classic mystery writers as well as contemporary whodunits but reads widely. She is a knitter and once owned a knit shop in Fairhope, AL. She studied mystery writing with Terry Cline, another Fairhope resident. Murder in Harbor Village is the first in her series about social worker Cleo Mack. You can visit her at gpgardner.com.

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – Google Play

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

Tour Participants:

November 13 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

November 13 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 14 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 14 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews -SPOTLIGHT

November 15 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews  REVIEW

November 15 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT  

November 16 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 16 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

November 16 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 17 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

November 17 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 18 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

November 18 – Varietats – SPOTLIGHT

November 19 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 19 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

November 19 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST Great Escapes Book Tours 

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

 

A Cold Brew Killing by Lena Gregory #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

A Cold Brew Killing by Lena Gregory

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for A Cold Brew Killing by Lena Gregory on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter for your chance to win this very special Giveaway!

Book Details

A Cold Brew Killing (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Lyrical Underground (November 6, 2018)
Print Length Approximately 250 Pages
Digital ASIN: B079R5Y14L

Book Blurb

When an ice cream vendor discovers a frozen stiff, Florida diner owner Gia Morelli has to serve up some just desserts . . .

Gia has become good friends with Trevor, a fun, flirtatious bachelor who owns the ice cream parlor down the street from her popular All-Day Breakfast Café. Trevor has the scoop on all sorts of local attractions and activities. But when he bursts into her diner, trembling and paler than a pint of French Vanilla, she can tell something’s very wrong. Trevor points her toward his shop then passes out cold. When Gia runs down to his shop, she discovers a chilling sight—a dead body in the open freezer. But the ice cream man’s troubles are just beginning. The police suspect him of this murder a la mode, especially when details of his questionable past surface. Gia believes in her friend and is determined to clear his name and find the real cold-blooded killer before someone else gets put on ice . .

My Review

A Cold Brew Killing by Lena GregoryThis is the third book of the All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series and my second with the series and author. All the special characters of the series are back including protagonist Gia and her BFF Savannah Mills, possible heart-throb and acting captain Hunter Quinn, owner of the Storm Scoopers, Trevor Barnes, and Thor, a Bernese Mountain dog, who is definitely growing into his paws. I think my favorite support staff, however, is Earl (first customer ALWAYS in the morning) along with Cole, who works the grill in this Boggy Creek, Florida cafe.

Gia is trying to spread her wings and her menu by adding a cold brew which is not catching on as fast as she’d like. After arriving early to greet her staff, she is confronted by Trevor who has discovered a man in his walk-in freezer. Frozen, of course. Trevor is a good buddy and she positively, absolutely, without doubt knows Trevor couldn’t have done it, but you know he’ll get hauled in any way, setting her up for some sleuthing.

The well-plotted and engaging storyline delves into political headlines with candidates unfit to win and the games played in high school. The author puts quite a spin on the conspiracy and includes a number of red herrings, and if you haven’t paid attention you’ll keep guessing the antagonist. Gotcha! This is one you won’t have caught! (Okay, I didn’t. Maybe you will.)

I love the little scenes with Thor, who still thinks he’s a lap-puppy. And the dialogue is very natural, particularly between Gia and Savannah. But between her and Hunt?

“It’s just a scratch, Gia.” “It’s a bullet wound.” Hunt laughed. Laughed! The nerve. “Don’t worry, the EMT’s will fix you up. I’m pretty sure they have Band-Aids.” “Band–?”

(Well, I’m insulted, too!) In Book 2, he was “Tall, Dark, and Compelling.” In this one, he is “Tall, Dark, and Snippy.” (I’m ready to dump his ass but I guess she is more forgiving.)

Gia has collected a solid group of homebodies willing to cover her back and given her early childhood is just what she needs–driving home a theme of family. The conclusion wraps up all the loose ends that seamlessly includes a small subplot. My only complaint is the heavy description of food service, although I must admit she sounds like a well-choreographed juggler.

The town reads like small town USA and has a comfortable sense to the area. On the whole, the author has put together a solid group of main and support characters that can be read as a standalone.

I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for southern cozy mystery readers and those who enjoy the adventures of women sleuths.

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Giveaway

Don’t miss your chance to enter this special giveaway for a (3) $10 Amazon Gift Card in this Rafflecopter giveaway 

About the Author

Lena Gregory - authorLena Gregory lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children.

When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.

Author Links:

Website:  http://www.lenagregory.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lena.gregory.986

Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/Lena.Gregory.Author/?fref=ts

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LenaGregory03

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14956514.Lena_Gregory?from_search=true

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/lenagregoryauth/

Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N  Kobo

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

Tour Participants:

November 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 6 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

November 7 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 7 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

November 8 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – Jane Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 11 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 11 – cherylbbookblog – SPOTLIGHT

November 12 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

November 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

November 13 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

November 13 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

November 14 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 15 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

November 16 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

November 16 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 17 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 17 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

November 19 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

The Long Paw of the Law by Diane Kelly – a #BookReview

The Long Paw of the Law by Diane KellyTitle: The Long Paw of the Law (A Paw Enforcement Novel Book 7) by Diane Kelly

Genre: Thriller & Suspense, Cozy, Animals, Police Procedural

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Publication Date: Happy Publication Day! October 30, 2018

ASIN: B079DW9LW3

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Long Paw of the LawLove the series covers-Tells you exactly what it’s about!

Book Blurb:

One night, while on duty with her four-legged crime-fighting companion, Meg gets an urgent call from her boyfriend Seth, who works for the Fort Worth fire department. A baby girl has turned up at the station with only two clues to her identity: One is a peace-sign symbol stitched into her blanket. The other is a word, written in string: help.

Megan follows every loose thread and, along with Brigit, ends up on a twisted path that leads to the People of Peace compound, the site of a religious sect on the outskirts of the city. Its leader, Father Emmanuel, keeps his followers on a short leash—and his enemies even closer. Could this be the abandoned baby’s original home? And if so, why was she cast out? Now that Megan and Brigit are on the case, the secrets of this reclusive cult are bound to be dug up. . .

Diane Kelly is back with The Long Paw of the Law, the seventh installment in her drool-worthy Paw Enforcement series. Continue reading “The Long Paw of the Law by Diane Kelly – a #BookReview”

Meme’s Much? Book Beginnings and The Friday 56–HELLO Friday!

Today I am participating in two memes, the first called Book Beginnings who is hosted by Gillian at Rose City Readers. Every Friday you have the opportunity to share the first sentence of the book you are #currentlyreading. And as with The Friday 56, include the title of the book and the author’s name. You may wish to share your impression of the book to date as well. Also please share your post with Mister Linky on her blog site. See below for further details.

Book Beginnings on Fridays

“It was two in the morning on a late September Thursday when the Father waited in the dark parking lot of a former convenience store on Rosedale.”

Because there is a natural tie-in to The Friday 56, it common to combine the two.

The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice

The only rules are for participation in The Friday 56 is to grab a book, any book or the one you are #currentlyreading, turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader,  and find a sentence (or a few, but don’t spoil it!), post it, then add your post URL to the Linky on the host site Freda’s Voice – and there yah go! This week I am spotlighting:

The Friday 56

“…I aimed for the People of Peace compound. As usual, I stopped at the top of the hill and pulled out my binoculars to take a peek.”

Add to Goodreads

Goodreads Book Blurb:

One night, while on duty with her four-legged crime-fighting companion, Meg gets an urgent call from her boyfriend Seth, who works for the Fort Worth fire department. A baby girl has turned up at the station with only two clues to her identity: One is a peace-sign symbol stitched into her blanket. The other is a word, written in string: help.

Megan follows every loose thread and, along with Brigit, ends up on a twisted path that leads to the People of Peace compound, the site of a religious sect on the outskirts of the city. Its leader, Father Emmanuel, keeps his followers on a short leash—and his enemies even closer. Could this be the abandoned baby’s original home? And if so, why was she cast out? Now that Megan and Brigit are on the case, the secrets of this reclusive cult are bound to be dug up. . .

The Long Paw of the Law is the seventh installment in her drool-worthy Paw Enforcement series.

So what am I thinking?

Loving it so far! (How could you not? Just look at that cover!) Enjoying the author’s sense of humor and her jumps inside the head of her shepherd, Brigit. Megan is a very capable Fort Worth K-9 handler and on the road to becoming a detective. In the meantime, she has an amazing appreciation and understanding of her partner. This is a series I can follow with fervor.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Darkest Before the Dawn – a #BookReview

Darkest Before the Dawn by Mike MartinTitle: Darkest Before the Dawn (Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series Book 7) by Mike Martin

Genre: Thrillers and  Suspense, Supernatural, Ghosts, Cozy

Publisher: Ottawa Press and Publishing

Publication Date: September 27, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

266 pages

Title and Cover: Darkest Before the DawnCover depicts coastal Newfoundland setting

Book Blurb:

Darkest Before The Dawn is the latest adventure in the Sgt. Winston Windflower mystery series, the popular Maritime tales about a Mountie who finds himself with a new family and a new life in tiny Grand Bank, Newfoundland. Ghosts, mysterious deaths, and a new, perplexing character confront Windflower, Tizzard and the other police officers in Grand Bank as they unearth secrets that have been lying hidden in the sleepy hamlet for decades. A fast-moving mystery, Darkest Before The Dawn is also a story of love, loss and learning how to grow old gracefully; a tale of family, community and looking after each other, of not giving up hope, just before the dawn. Continue reading “Darkest Before the Dawn – a #BookReview”