What You Never Knew: A Novel by Jessica Hamilton – #BookReview – #ghostmysteries – @crookedlanebooks

Book Blurb:

Told in alternating points of view between the living and the dead, Jessica Hamilton’s debut novel will be perfect for fans of The Lovely Bones.

What You Never Knew - Jessica HamiltonIdyllic Avril lsland, owned by the Bennett family, where their hundred-year-old cottage sat nestled in acres of forest. Forty-year-old June Bennett believed that the island had been sold after the summer of her father’s disappearance when she was only twelve years old. It’s months after the shocking death of her older sister May in a fatal car accident, that June finds out that the cottage was never sold. Avril Island is still owned by the Bennett family and now it’s hers.

Still reeling from the grief of losing her sister, June travels back to Avril lsland in search of answers. As she digs, she learns that the townspeople believe her father may in fact have been murdered rather than having abandoned his family in the dead of night, as she was led to believe by her mother. And that’s when she begins to notice strange things happening on the island–missing family possessions showing up, doors locking on their own, unexplained noises in the night, shadowy figures disappearing into the woods. It takes June no time at all to realize that her childhood summers at Avril Island were not at all what they had seemed to be.

My Review:

Alternating chapters between May and June Bennett spark an interesting hook into this ghost mystery thriller. Extremely close, June loses her older sister May in a tragic auto accident only to set in motion the exploration of family secrets well hidden more than thirty years.

The daughters of well to do parents, they spent their summers on Avril Island. The idealistic laid back warm summer life spent in a gorgeous resort setting is well described and immersive. But their summers on the island ended when June was twelve with the sudden disappearance of her father. Their narcissistic mother divulges that he’d left the family and she subsequently sold the island.

Nope.

What You Never Knew - Jessica HamiltonJune has also recently divorced an overbearing, unemotional husband and left with two daughters of her own, and now without the sensitive support of her sister goes into deep grieving. She is shocked to learn she is sole owner of the island. Her daughters safely with her ex for the summer, leaves for the resort and the island to retrieve some of those good memories, the happy times, and hopefully a lessening in her grieving process.

The reader begins to learn about their mother, emotionally crippling and manipulative, but beautiful mother. She was the catalyst that drew the sisters closer, stronger in their common bond. The POV of May is compelling, drawing mental pictures of an ethereal sentient trying to “talk,” guide her sister—trying in her own way to remember events that led to the tragedy that split the family and those of her family from the local, year-round folks. May is still not sure why she has been drawn back or for what purpose.

Difficult to become engaged with forty-year old June, she is rather one dimensional. Ezra, the son of the family who did some caretaking of the island, is not fully developed either but characterized as being her only close childhood friend. I doubt June could have lived thirty years on royalties from a one-and-done book published in her twenties (or if still family money—how?). Ezra never married, thoroughly embroiled now in caring for his mother suffering from dementia.

The conclusion kinda veers off the rails but confirms what I suspicioned early on and wondered what took so long. The big reveal is certainly not a surprise. There is, however, a gotcha that you don’t see coming—one more little twist—that adds some fun.

There were some edits missed, it’s an ARC, and a couple contradictions that I’ll assume are fixed prior to release. Otherwise, it is certainly entertaining and for the most part keeps the reader engaged. Just a few points of disbelief to overcome and for a debut novel, an ambitious and worthwhile effort.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Ghost Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

  • ASIN : B08FZMZ6K2

Print Length: 297 pages
Publication Date: To be released April 13, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 

Jessica Hamilton-authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Jessica Hamilton was born in Australia but grew up in Canada. She has lived and worked in the Czech Republic, Taiwan, India and Japan. She studied writing at the Humber School for Writers as well as George Brown College. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, son and daughter. What You Never Knew is her first novel.

©2021 V Williams

The French Paradox (A Wind Country mystery Book 11) by Ellen Crosby – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

“According to Napoleon, in victory you deserve champagne, in defeat you need it.”

 Book Blurb:

Lucie Montgomery’s discovery of her grandfather’s Parisian romance unlocks a series of shocking secrets in the gripping new Wine Country mystery.

In 1949, during her junior year abroad in Paris, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis The French Paradox by Ellen Crosbybought several inexpensive paintings of Marie-Antoinette by a little-known 18th century female artist. She also had a romantic relationship with Virginia vineyard owner Lucie Montgomery’s French grandfather – until recently, a well-kept secret.

Seventy years later, Cricket Delacroix, Lucie’s neighbor and Jackie’s schoolfriend, is donating the now priceless paintings to a Washington, DC museum. And Lucie’s grandfather is flying to Virginia for Cricket’s 90th birthday party, hosted by her daughter Harriet. A washed-up journalist, Harriet is rewriting a manuscript Jackie left behind about Marie-Antoinette and her portraitist. She’s also adding tell-all details about Jackie, sure to make the book a bestseller.

Then on the eve of the party a world-famous landscape designer who also knew Jackie is found dead in Lucie’s vineyard. Did someone make good on the death threats he’d received because of his controversial book on climate change? Or was his murder tied to Jackie, the paintings, and Lucie’s beloved grandfather?

My Review:

I always enjoy these entries to the wine country mysteries, as I’m assured of learning new facts about viticulture and the historical areas of Virginia. In this episode, protagonist Lucie Montgomery (owner with her family of the Montgomery Estate Vineyard) discovers a DB (dead body) in her fields—the guy she was supposed to have met to consult about problems with her sickly grapes.

The French Paradox by Ellen CrosbyHer winemaker-fiancé Quinn is quick to provide support, but it’s just one of several threads and I’m still trying to decide whether or not I like the Jackie Kennedy inclusion. She is also anticipating the arrival of her 93 year old French grandfather for a birthday celebration with a local friend. There are enlightening discussions on the impact of climate change to certain grapes and a comparison of GMOs with hybrids. Additionally, a major sub-plot involves the daughter of her birthday friend and the big reveal regarding her book and the early women art masters tied into the mystery of Jackie O.

The well-plotted narrative delves deeply into the family drama anticipation of a mini-family reunion with her beloved grandfather and her artistic sister’s commission for the art exhibition that will feature renown paintings tied to the books’ announcement.

I really loved The Angel’s Share and Harvest of Secrets but the pacing of this series entry was a bit slow for me and my attention waned. I suppose in the end, part of my enthusiasm this time was the Jackie thread. Not a lot of elements of a cozy, listed as a traditional detective mystery—but didn’t feel that vibe either. Still, these can all be considered standalone and I’ll be looking forward to the next one.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Detective Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher: Severn House Publishers

  • ASIN : B08QNF14TD

Print Length: 243 pages
Publication Date: Happy Release Day! April 6, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Ellen Crosby - authorThe Author: Ellen Crosby is the author of the Virginia wine country mysteries, two mysteries featuring international photojournalist Sophie Medina and MOSCOW NIGHTS, a standalone. THE FRENCH PARADOX, the 11th book in the wine country series will be out 1/29/21 in the UK, 4/6/21 in the US and 3/1/21 as an ebook. Before writing fiction, Crosby–who has lived in England, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the former Soviet Union–worked as a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, an economist at the US Senate, and Moscow reporter for ABC Radio News. Visit her website at http://www.ellencrosby.com and follow her (very) occasionally on Facebook at EllenCrosbyBooks, sometimes on Twitter at @ellencrosby–but mostly on Instagram at ellencrosbyauthor. She also writes an erratic (but interesting) newsletter.

©V Williams

The Hiding Place: A Mercy Carr Mystery by Paula Munier – #BookReview – #readingirelandmonth21 – Cozy Animal Mystery

The Hiding Place by Paula Munier

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

“…she said a silent prayer to St Roch. The patron saint of dogs.”

Book Blurb:

Mercy and Elvis are back in The Hiding Place, the most enthralling entry yet in USA Today bestselling Paula Munier’s award-winning Mercy Carr mystery series. When the man who killed her grandfather breaks out of prison and comes after her grandmother, Mercy must unearth the long-buried scandals that threaten to tear her family apart. And she may have to do it without her beloved canine partner Elvis, if his former handler has his way….

Some people take their secrets with them to the grave. Others leave them behind on their deathbeds, riddles for the survivors to solve.

When her late grandfather’s dying deputy calls Mercy to his side, she and Elvis inherit the cold case that haunted him—and may have killed him. But finding Beth Kilgore 20 years after she disappeared is more than a lost cause. It’s a Pandora’s box releasing a rain of evil on the very people Mercy and Elvis hold most dear.

The timing couldn’t be worse when the man who murdered her grandfather escapes from prison and a fellow Army vet turns up claiming that Elvis is his dog, not hers. With her grandmother Patience gone missing, and Elvis’s future uncertain, Mercy faces the prospect of losing her most treasured allies, the only ones she believes truly love and understand her.

She needs help, and that means forgiving Vermont Game Warden Troy Warner long enough to enlist his aid. With time running out for Patience, Mercy and Elvis must team up with Troy and his search-and-rescue dog Susie Bear to unravel the secrets of the past and save her grandmother—before it’s too late.

Once again, Paula Munier crafts a terrific mystery thriller filled with intrigue, action, resilient characters, the mountains of Vermont, and two amazing dogs.

My Review:

Even as an adult I still gravitate heavily to dog stories, albeit a stronger more aggressive type than Lassie. This is the story of Elvis, a military trained, sharp as a tack, fierce, loyal, and gorgeous Belgian Malinois. Okay, the story includes Elvis, who is the canine protagonist, but I like him best.

The Hiding Place by Paula MunierThe third in the series examines parallel storylines, each complex and just as gripping: the mystery—which involves more than one active case as well as a cold case, and the entry of the prior owner/handler of Elvis seeking to retrieve his dog. He is another Army vet, original owner of Elvis and Mercy is adamant she won’t turn the dog over to be a support animal in Missouri.

Mercy’s grandfather’s deputy is dying and requests her presence to hand over a cold case in which he was involved and couldn’t shake. There is also the news that the person responsible for her grandfather’s death has escaped from prison. It would appear he is headed back to Vermont and that her grandmother might be in danger. Her grandmother doesn’t appear to be worried and doesn’t bestow additional reasons why or why not.

Mercy had a falling out with Troy Warner and Book 3 catches up the reasons for the break. Tensions still run high between them—although they are forced to work together on some cases, including the suspicious death of a game employee following a juvenile moose. Troy has a search and rescue dog, Susie Bear, a lovable Newfie.

As a veteran herself, Mercy is still working through her return to civil life, enjoying her grandmother Patience, and smoothing the contentious relationship with her mother.

It is a well-plotted and fast-paced narrative, never sagging in the middle, while she whittles away at clues and interviews, often times involving Troy.

The immersion into a winter in Vermont is frost-laden and beautifully described sufficient to see your breath and chill the bones. There are stunning descriptions of snow storms and cabins deep enough in the woods accessible only by snowmobiles. As several of the threads began to appear linked, pieces of the puzzle gradually fall into place.

I correctly surmised what happened to the abuse victim, and the author does a good job of unraveling all the clues, making sense of the chronology. I really enjoyed the strong inclusion of the working canines, as well as the cats, and the sensible resolution of the ownership question of Elvis.

I read Book 1, The Borrowing of Bones, and greatly enjoyed it. Somehow I missed Book 2, but was thoroughly engaged and entertained in this uncorrected digital galley received from the publisher through NetGalley. Assuming my quibbles regarding this novel, including several contradictions, the clarification of her income (she isn’t K9 police—so who pays her?), and one glaring error regarding ticks (they don’t jump), is correctly edited, I enjoyed this entry more than the first. I’m looking forward to Book 4 and can wholly recommend this to any who enjoy a canine/location driven mystery, interesting and complex male/female protagonist team, and the beauty of Vermont and their distinctive Yankee spirit.

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Book Details:

Genre: Small Town & Rural Fiction, Cozy Animal Mystery, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Minotaur Books

ISBN : 1250153077
ASIN : B08BYDK2DV

Print Length: 326 pages
Publication Date: Happy Release Day! March 30, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Paula Munier - authorThe Author: PAULA MUNIER is a literary agent and the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Mercy Carr mysteries. A BORROWING OF BONES, the first in the series, was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and was recently named the Dog Writers Association of America’s Dogwise Book of the Year. The second, BLIND SEARCH, pubbed in November 2019. The third, THE HIDING PLACE, will debut in March 2021.

Paula was inspired to write the series by the hero working dogs she met through Mission K9 Rescue, her own rescues, Newfoundland/retriever mix Bear, Great Pyrenees/Australian cattle dog mix Bliss, and Malinois mix Blondie, and a lifelong passion for crime fiction.

Paula also written three popular books on writing: PLOT PERFECT, THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO BEGINNINGS, and WRITING WITH QUIET HANDS, as well as the acclaimed memoir FIXING FREDDIE: A True Story of a Boy, a Mom, and a Very, Very Bad Beagle, and HAPPIER EVERY DAY: Simple ways to bring more peace, contentment and joy into your life.

She lives in New England with her family, her three rescue dogs, and a rescue torbie tabby named Ursula.

©2021 V Williams

A Matter of Life and Death: A Robin Lockwood Novel by Phillip Margolin – #BookReview – #legal thriller – #TuesdayBookBlog

Happy Book Release Day!

 Book Blurb:

A Matter of Life and Death by Phillip MargolinJoe Lattimore, homeless and trying desperately to provide for his young family, agrees to fight in a no-holds-barred illegal bout, only to have his opponent die. Lattimore now finds himself at the mercy of the fight’s organizers who blackmail him into burglarizing a house. However, when he breaks in, he finds a murdered woman on the floor and the police have received an anonymous tip naming him the murderer.

Robin Lockwood, an increasingly prominent young attorney and former MMA fighter, agrees to take on his defense. But the case is seemingly airtight—the murdered woman’s husband, Judge Anthony Carasco, has an alibi and Lattimore’s fingerprints are discovered at the scene. But everything about the case is too easy, too pat, and Lockwood is convinced that her client has been framed. The only problem is that she has no way of proving it and since this is a death case, if she fails then another innocent will die.

His Review:

Capital crimes require the best available defense attorneys. Robin Lockwood fits that description. A persons’ life hangs in the balance. The press and the prosecuting attorneys present the defendant as a cold blooded and ruthless killer. Robin is faced with the task of saving the life of the accused. All the I’s and T’s need to be dotted and crossed and no mistakes made!

A Matter of Life and Death by Phillip MargolinPhillip Margolin opens the reader’s eyes to the process. Robin is portrayed as a hands-on defense attorney charged with saving the arrested man’s life. Evidence can point one way and the truth takes another path. Knowing that a life hangs in the balance is the carrot driving the story line.

Unlike TV dramas this book reads more like a defense lawyers’ primer. Dig into the events, identify key witnesses for both the prosecution and the defense and strategize how the prosecutor will present the case. Build a solid timeline of the events leading up to the crime. The investigators of the crime and the forensic team will do their best to label your defendant as the perpetrator and how he is tied to the case.

Framing a patsy for the crime is an interesting process. Robin goes about the procedure with a fine-toothed determination. Certainly, the prosecutors are not cheating or manufacturing evidence. Can the actual killer be doing such a great job of manufacturing damning evidence? Reading this book is a way to learn what brilliant strategies culprits can employ.

I highly recommend this book as both an entertaining read and a satisfying use of time. The actual conclusion had enough twists to keep me totally engaged. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from publisher through NetGalley. These are my honest opinions.

[NB: I reviewed Book 3, A Reasonable Doubt, in April, 2020. There is a slight disparity in how I saw the protagonist. See that review here.]

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

Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thrillers, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Minotaur Books

  • ASIN : B08BYC5YSM

Print Length: 281 pages
Publication Date: 1st Edition, March 9, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: A Matter of Life and Death [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
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Phillip Margolin - authorThe Author: PHILLIP MARGOLIN has written over twenty novels, most of them New York Times bestsellers, including Gone But Not ForgottenLost Lake, and Violent Crimes. In addition to being a novelist, he was a long time criminal defense attorney with decades of trial experience, including a large number of capital cases. Margolin lives in Portland, Oregon. This text refers to the audioCD edition.)

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

5 Must-Know Indie Book Marketing Tips – Guest Post by Ricardo Fayet of Reedsy

5 must-know indie book marketing tips

January-February I start thinking about writing and publishing again, as this blog was born of the publishing of my grandfather’s manuscripts. Not having a clue what I was doing, of course, realized then I was faced with marketing. And marketing proved to be a huge hurdle, not unlike me to get things backwards.  

This time of year also reminds me of all the writing contests that the new year begins, and I wrote about that recently listing six popular sites—some free—some a second mortgage. If you missed that post, you can read here. On that same vein, and quite coincidentally (or maybe not), I was contacted by Savannah at Reedsy, wondering if I’d be interested in sharing an article from either she or Ricardo Fayet, CMO and one of the original founders of Reedsy, and it appeared his article following is just what I was talkin’ ‘bout! (By the way, they also have their own writing contests that you might check out.)

So I’m thrilled now to present Ricardo!

►►►►►►▼

5 Must-Know Indie Book Marketing Tips

The day you thought would never arrive is finally here: your book is complete and it’s time to start getting it into the hands of readers. Executing a successful marketing campaign can be a daunting prospect, though, especially if you don’t know which strategies work best or where to even start — a great writer does not automatically make for a great marketer, after all.

But don’t worry! I’m here to help you get that wide readership you always dreamed of. The following tips focus on getting organized, drumming up the right kind of “noise” around your book, and mastering the more technical elements of SEO marketing and advertising for an absolutely optimized launch. Let’s dive right in.

  1. Draw up a game plan

A well-considered timeline is an important part of any successful marketing campaign — but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to know which steps to take when. What’s more, you’ll need to think about both discoverability (how people find your books) and conversion (converting clicks on a page to sustained interest, and hopefully an eventual purchase) as early as possible.

This is because book marketing isn’t something that comes solely after your launch; it’s a process that should be integrated into every step of publishing a book. Drawing up a chronological game plan will help you keep track of what needs doing and when.

To give a few examples: market research on categories should ideally occur before you even write your book, so you can spot gaps in the market to try and fill. Book reviewers should be contacted months before your launch so they have time to read your book and write thoughtful reviews. In terms of plans for closer to your launch, algorithm-optimized advertising copy should be nailed down a few weeks ahead of time — and in the days before and immediately after, you should be reaching out to your own followers (more on that in a bit).

  1. Secure early book reviews

Again, getting early reviews of your book — or at least drumming up some conversation and a “buzz” around your release — is a crucial thing part of your marketing campaign. However, it’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem. How can you get good reviews to attract a readership, if you haven’t yet attracted a readership to leave you reviews?

That’s where book review blogs come in. You’ll want to get quality reviews of your book, so take the time to find trustworthy reviewers who a) have reviewed in your genre before (and therefore have a relevant audience) and b) are able to give a fair, comprehensive assessment of your work. Once you have a shortlist of places to contact, reach out way ahead of time (we’re talking months) with advance review copies of your book.*

Building a street team is another great way to get reviews from reliable people. Street teams consist of fans who get access to your work ahead of time, so they can read your book before publication and have reviews ready for your launch day. Just make sure they don’t identify themselves as your friends in Amazon reviews, as this is against Amazon’s guidelines!

Beyond this, you could reach out to blogs that organize reading challenges to get your book included; offer to write guest posts about your book for blogs; or consider more formal editorial pieces in newspapers and journals. All this should generate excellent fodder for cover quotes and pull quotes** for Amazon.

  1. Grow a mailing list

A mailing list is a tried-and-true way to develop a dedicated fan base for your work and keep readers in the know about your output. That said, the catch-22 at the heart of mailing lists (one not dissimilar from the book review paradox) has likely occurred to you — how can you promote your work and gain a following if you don’t already have one?

The best way to overcome this problem is reader magnets: what item(s) of value can you offer someone in exchange for their email address? Whether it’s an excerpt from an upcoming book, an exclusive webinar in which you share your most valuable skills, or exclusive illustrations to accompany a future release, an effective lead magnet can really help you build a strong mailing list from scratch. Of course, once you’ve attracted those readers (no magnet pun intended), you’ll need to keep the content coming so they stay engaged. Don’t be afraid to get creative — you will want to stand out from any other email lists to which they might be subscribed.

Finally, rather than going full-DIY with sending out these emails, find a suitable mailing list provider for your budget and timeframe. There’s MailerLite, ConvertKit, Flodesk and a whole host of other software that each have different price points, functionality, and features***. Shop around and have a look at what they offer to find the best fit for you.

  1. Hone your Amazon efforts

SEO, KDP, A9: it can be hard to cut through the jargon if you’re a marketing novice, but it’s essential to familiarize yourself with these things (search engine optimization, Kindle Direct Publishing, and the Amazon keyword algorithm) so your book can rank well in Amazon’s search results — and succeed on the marketplace overall.

This may seem like an impossible task when you consider just how many books there are on Amazon, but don’t lose hope! For indie authors (and honestly anyone publishing for the first time), it’s unlikely you’ll be climbing the Amazon Best Sellers or the Best New Releases list anyway. So what should you really concentrate on in terms of Amazon SEO?

Your best bet is getting your book added to specific niche sub-categories on Amazon. By avoiding the oversaturated categories, your book will have a much stronger chance of performing well. To go extra-niche, you can even reach out to the KDP support center to get added to more than the allotted two categories — and when it comes to keywords, make them as long and detailed as possible for maximum search matches from users.

  1. Evaluate your advertising platforms

Facebook icon in book graphicAmazon, Facebook, and BookBub are widely considered the “big three” of book advertising. Most indie writers will use one or multiple of these platforms to promote their books and, with any luck, boost their sales.

Of course, external ads can be costly, so you’ll need to make some calculations to assess the viability of your adverts (in terms of cost of advertising per unit you end up selling). But even if you’re strapped for cash, don’t discount such platforms without at least trying them first — for many authors, especially those without much of their own audience, major ad platforms are the best route to move copies.

Just keep in mind that you’ll eventually want to prioritize one over the others, based on whatever works best for you. Also make sure to test this separately from your other advertising efforts (e.g. don’t do Amazon ads and a big reader magnet push at the same time) so you can measure the effects as concretely as possible.

Get your plan in order, grow your audience, and master the relevant platforms — if you can manage all of this, you’re already exponentially closer to success than you were before!

***

Ricardo Fayet is one of the founders of Reedsy, and an avid SFF reader with a particular passion for high fantasy. He reads mostly indie-published fantasy series, and enjoys lighter YA themes as much as darker ones. 

Looking for a more comprehensive guide to book marketing than what’s covered here? Check out Ricardo’s new book, How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market. It’s free to download (and always will be!), but you can also buy the paperback version on Amazon.

The Reedsy Mission Statement

“Crafting beautiful books is at the heart of everything that Reedsy does. We’re changing the way books are published by giving authors and publishers access to talented professionals, powerful tools, and free educational content.

“Reedsy was founded in the summer of 2014 by Emmanuel Nataf, Ricardo Fayet, Vincent Durand and Matt Cobb. Since then, we’re proud to have built a network of world-class publishing professionals and helped produce over 10,000 books.”

Thank you so much to Ricardo for the guest post contribution to my blog today! I appreciate it and the contact from Savannah as well. And to my readers, please check out the Reedsy website where you’ll find a wealth of information in all things editing, writing, cover designs, marketing and a great deal more!

Ricardo Fayet

CMO, Spain
Voted ‘best beard in publishing’…
Probably

Savannah Cordova

Savannah Cordova - ReedsyContent Marketing, England
Loves puns and iced coffee

 

 

*Note: And I might add that your advance review copies should be available in multiple popular formats (digitally: mobi, ebook, and pdf)
**i.e., “editorial reviews.”
***US based MailChimp

©2021 V Williams

Happy Thursday!

The Blame: A totally gripping mystery and suspense novel by Kerry Wilkinson – a #BookReview – #Psychological Fiction

 

“People change and then they change again.” 

Book Blurb:

The Blame by Kerry WilkinsonPaige, Richard and me. We thought we’d be friends forever. But everything changed the day we took the short cut home from school along the old railway line. I wish we’d gone the long way. I wish we hadn’t seen our classmate, pale and still in the undergrowth. And I wish we hadn’t promised to keep one, awful detail a secret just between us…

Twenty years later, I have a brand-new life, and try never to think about my old one. But I’m dragged back when Paige calls out of the blue. Richard has been accused of something terrible. Everyone back home is whispering about the body we found years ago, and saying Richard deserves to be locked up…

Before I know it, I’ve returned to the small town I thought I’d never see again. Paige is almost the same as I remember – jet-black hair, slender frame – but why does she seem so nervous?

Revealing the truth about what we saw that day twenty years ago could clear Richard’s name… but will the blame fall on me? And can I really trust that Paige is on my side – or is she hiding her own dark secret?

When we find a strange note in Richard’s flat, only one thing is for certain: someone else knows the truth too. All three of us are in danger…

My Review:

Definitely different than the others I’ve read by this author. This novel began on a bewildering call that didn’t compute at the beginning and became a bigger question as the narrative progressed.

The Blame by Kerry WilkinsonOne of three close childhood friends, Harry is called away from his home in Toronto by Paige regarding the third, Richard. He is drawn back to the UK and his small hometown of Macklebury leaving his home(?) and his job(?). Richard has been arrested for the murder of a common former teacher. However, it’s been twenty years since he left and few things have not changed, including his two friends. Were they ever really that close? Now it appears he doesn’t really know them at all.

First, he’s at a loss to know what he’s doing—why he was actually there or what he could do. It’s Paige who declares they’ll have to search for the real perp, but she is quickly discovered to be on drugs and vacillates between manic and low key, depressive. Not like she is the only one depressing as his sister with whom he shares ownership of the family home is estranged, uncommunicative, allows him a room, not interested in “catching up.”

Richard is an obvious easy collar, having been associated with the discovery of one of his deceased classmates eighteen years prior in questionable circumstances. That murder was never solved, but as both he and Harry were at the scene, they share a secret harbored since. Too easy to look at Richard for this one, though there seems no strong connection to this victim; means, motive, possible opportunity? Seems they are more concerned with the cold case than the current one.

Too many questions here, holes I couldn’t fill, lack of affinity for any of the characters, and largely depressing and wretched conditions slowed the narrative for me. The pace doesn’t gain much momentum going into the conclusion with much of the investigation slotting in with Harry following Paige around on one of her manic objectives. Harry is not a strong protagonist and loathe to confront anyone, including Richard about a glaring omission in his statement. The conclusion cleared up few questions and provided no big surprises (I was right about the person but not for the reason), but then there was little burning desire to know more. Difficult read left me rather empty.

I believe this is meant to be a standalone. I’d previously read Last Night and two from his Jessica Daniel Thriller Series, The Unlucky Ones (Book 14), and A Cry in the Night and enjoyed all, giving the latter 4.5 stars and requested this one as soon as I saw the author come up. A disquieting theme, sad tale, and disappointing. Still, I won’t quit the author.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B08TM4D498

Print Length: 317 pages
Publication Date: Released February 19, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Kerry Wilkinson - authorThe Author: Kerry Wilkinson has had No.1 crime bestsellers in the UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa and Singapore. He has also written two top-20 thrillers in the United States. His book, Ten Birthdays, won the RNA award for Young Adult Novel of the Year in 2018 and Close To You won the International Thriller Award for best ebook in 2020.

As well as his million-selling Jessica Daniel series, Kerry has written the Silver Blackthorn trilogy – a fantasy-adventure serial for young adults – a second crime series featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter, plus numerous standalone novels. He has been published around the world in more than a dozen languages.

Originally from the county of Somerset, Kerry spent way too long living in the north of England, picking up words like ‘barm’ and ‘ginnel’.

When he’s short of ideas, he rides his bike, hikes up something, or bakes cakes. When he’s not, he writes it all down.

Recent and upcoming UK releases:
What My Husband Did: 17 Nov 2020
The Blame: 19 Feb 2021

Find out more at: http://kerrywilkinson.com or http://facebook.com/KerryWilkinsonBooks

©2021 V Williams

The Wise Ass by Tom McCaffrey – a #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

“You are a wise ass!” he said. “Better than a dumb ass,” I quipped.

 Book Blurb:

The Wise Ass by Tom McCaffreytAfter his brothers are murdered, a New York mob lawyer testifies against his associates and is forced to enter WITSEC (the Witness Protection Program). He and his wife are relocated to a rural area outside a small town in Colorado where he is compelled to adapt to his new life under the constant threat of mafia reprisal. Reflexively resisting his immersion into all things country, this life long city boy meets and adopts a loquacious mule and befriends his closest neighbors, who have even greater secrets to conceal.

A renegade US Marshall, a lesbian couple that includes a powerful psychic-medium-witch and an ex-army ranger complete his new circle of friends. When the mob associates are released due to the lawyer’s intentionally prejudicial testimony at trial, they come gunning for him before the retrial can occur. When Wise Guys meet the Wise Ass and friends all hell breaks loose.

My Review:

With a title like The Wise Ass and that picture on the cover, the book is not a difficult choice, but if you needed more than that, the blurb should do you in nicely. Still, that doesn’t even begin to introduce you to the brilliantly unique narrative the author has penned with copious prose and humorous passages. 

I was excited to read this one as I knew it would be different—I didn’t know just how different it would be. Forget trying to suss out the plot, just roll with it and enjoy.

The Wise Ass by Tom McCaffreyThe protagonist, Jimmy McCarthy, is so well developed the reader will become engaged almost immediately. He has a wacky sense of humor, family, and philosophy that pulls you in. His wife, Gina, is perfect, also well drawn and together with Jimmy create a strong, invested bond with the reader.

Jimmy, however, makes a questionable decision against his former Mafia family boss which lands him in the WITSEC program as Jimmy Moran in rural northern Colorado. In his own private Twilight Zone (cue in TZ music theme), he begins to meet his neighbors, both humans and otherwise. I loved all the support characters—each very special. (No “wise” guys here—all of those are back in New York.) I loved the author’s frequent references to Celtic lore and common Latin phrases, easily melding educational references with sci-fi nuances. The novel is peppered with wise cracks and quotables:

“…you don’t have to dig very deep to find the strong vein of superstition that permeates the soul of any Celt.”

“Sorry Sir! The Irish are fighting amongst themselves and the Lions refuse to come out.”

“No trespassing. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again.”

“I remembered what my sister always used to say to me when we were children whenever I was facing some seemingly insurmountable problem: ‘Leap and the net will appear.’” (American naturalist, John Burroughs)

The storyline progresses gently into the conclusion that suddenly goes all brilliant intense to THE STORM and switches POVs from each of the support characters to Jimmy, ending with… “Then the wind came…” Masterful way of building tensionOMG—such a dynamic way to hit, and hit hard, the climax.

This tale covers all the bases: humor, family, love, suspense, thriller, and the supernatural—somehow interwoven in a natural, almost believable way. Well-plotted, well-paced, and highly entertaining. The pulse-pounding climax alone is worth the price of the book, but don’t skip the rest, it’s just way too much fun.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. I can’t WAIT for the next installment!

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Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thrillers, Fantasy Action & Adventure, Paranormal & Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Black Rose Writing

    • ISBN-10 : 168433635X
    • ISBN-13 : 978-1684336357
    • ASIN: B08V9GR7FZ

Print Length: 242 pages
Publication Date: To be released February 18, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Tom McCaffrey - authorThe Author: Tom McCaffrey is a professional retread. Having successfully worked in NYC as an attorney in the entertainment field for decades, he moved with his wife to the outskirts of a small town in Northern Colorado, and pursued his first love, writing. He believes that a good writer is like a good attorney. His written work must convince his readers that the view he is sharing is honest and true.

[Goodreads] Tom McCaffrey is a born-and-bred New Yorker who, after a long career working as a successful entertainment attorney in Manhattan, relocated with his wife to a small town in Northern Colorado to follow a road less travelled and return to his first passion, writing. Despite the local rumors started by Claire the mule, he denies being in the Witness Protection Program.

©2021 V Williams