Gamblers, Fools, and Fate On the Road to Key West by Michael Reisig – a #BookReview – #traveladventures – #TuesdayBookBlog

Gamblers Fools and Fate by Michael Reisig

 Rosepoint Rating: Five stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Once again, The Hole In The Coral Wall Gang is up to their eyeballs in wild misadventure and incredible circumstance!

The hundred-year-old Coiba Penal Colony off the coast of Panama is an island swarming with convicts, inside and outside the prison walls, and yet, by the strangest of fates, this extraordinary tropical isle possesses an ancient, incredibly valuable secret that could change the world.

Kansas and Will along with their team, find themselves challenging this strange island while trying to dodge wild desperadatos, prison soldiers, and a crazed island commandant.

If that weren’t enough, there’s the South Florida mafia, who also want what the team has discovered. Then there are the two hired crazies from the bizarre “Last Resort” chasing Will and Kansas because they failed to die in a timely fashion, and didn’t pay their bill.

Startling! Clever! And very funny in places.


THIS IS ALSO A GREAT STAND ALONE READ

My Review:

Gamblers Fools and Fate by Michael ReisigI love it when author Michael Reisig comes out with another novel in his On the Road to Key West series! I know I’ll always get an exciting journey along with the Hole in the Coral Wall Gang to some exotic location for an unusual treasure, this time involving terraformation. And who doesn’t enjoy treasure hunting?

All the favorites are included beside Will and Kansas, the main characters. Crazy Eddie, Cody and Travis are back (I love these guys). Their offspring Tax and Jing along with Jing’s amazing hawk Cielo is included. In this narrative we are introduced to Diego Tarras and the singularly torturous Coiba Island Penitentiary off the western coast of Panama. (And btw, this was a real facility, built in 1919.)

“It was like de Garden of Eden run by the devil.”

Then the wild and fertile imagination of the author takes over and another richly drawn tale is borne of tangible components, the island prison, and the flora and fauna.

“Diego stared at him. ‘Because this is Central America, amigo, not Texas. I would be dead two days after they confirmed what I have.’”

Of course the Gang is going to want to be part of this adventure and together they plan an…extraction. In your heart, however, you know there will be the bad guys and these guys are not just bad, they are heinous bad. Atrociously bad—and seems they will stop at nothing. Sheesh!

It may be the “magic juice” that’ll keeps you reading, the amazing characters, or the outrageously descriptive jungle, but I’ve always found Reisig’s writing style to be immensely poignant, his sense of humor lively, and his obvious love of man and animals endearing.

I’ve read most of Reisig’s novels and enjoyed each and every one, including the last Gods, Guns, and Money and thought each was better than the former. The characters are richly drawn, infused with charm and wit while the dialogue is fresh and natural in the wild adventures you’ve come to expect in a Reisig novel.

As always, a delightful escapade, one that fills my head with sights and sounds, heart-pounding exploits, the intelligence of animals, and the themes of love and life. Thoroughly enjoyed and recommended. Just Released, get your copy and escape into adventure!

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical Caribbean & Latin American Fiction, Sea Adventures Fiction, Travel Adventure Fiction
Publisher: Clear Creek Press

  • ASIN : B09FN8L8ZD

Print Length: 235 pages
Publication Date: September 8, 2021
Source: Author’s ARC 
Title Link: Amazon

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.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

The Sea Bandits (Bold Women of the 17th Century Series Book 2) by Amanda Hughes–#BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating:  Five Stars 5 stars

“Boo hags are creatures that feed off the breath of human beings.” 

Book Blurb:

The Sea Bandits by Amanda HughesFor readers who like history with a bit of a love story.

The West Indies 1680-it is a world of violence, greed, and anarchy. Swept into this whirlwind of treachery are two disparate characters: Mercedes Zamora, a former Spanish aristocrat, and Abraxas Kaphiri, a ruthless Egyptian pirate. She is clever and seductive. He is dangerous and powerful. Together they hatch a plan to terrorize the high seas seeking vengeance and plunder. Their enemies call them The Sea Bandits, and they reign supreme as the most hated and feared corsairs in the West Indies and the Barbary Coast. But everything changes when they clash with a malicious nobleman who knows too much. His relentless pursuit threatens to destroy not only their operation but everything they love.
Join Amanda Hughes as she sweeps you back to the days when buccaneers and adventurers ruled the waves, and larger-than-life legends were born.

My Review:

There is a reason Amanda Hughes is one of my favorite authors, she consistently delivers a delicious tale laced with adventure, well-researched tidbits, and a touch of romance.

This novel begins in the year 1677 in Cusco, Peru and develops protagonist Mercedes Zamora as the spoiled offspring of landed aristocrats. She is expected to marry well and a wedding is arranged between she and Felipe Ortiz y Gasset. Felipe, however, is a spoiled monied son with few boundaries and quickly loses his ardour when she becomes pregnant.

The wedding dowry arrangement between families chill considerably when badly managed finances fail resulting in the loss of their home. Felipe (and his family) determines he will move the family to San Juan Bautista and Mercedes finds herself in a new land, new home, no husband, and no way to provide for herself and her twin boys.

The Sea Bandits by Amanda HughesMercedes hasn’t been totally out of the business loop, however. She is smart and has gained sufficient insight to proceed into a shipping business. She has a small, efficient, and loyal team. Then she meets Abraxas Kaphiri, widely known as a Egyptian pirate. Abraxas, much like Jack Sparrow, isn’t all bad, however. In fact, hmm, he actually has some admirable qualities (and he’s easy on the eyes).

I loved the dance between Mercedes and Abraxas that eventually leads to banding together against a common enemy.

The storyline never falters or slows in this well-paced and plotted novel. It’s swash-buckling adventure coupled with Barbary Coast tales of treasures, cargo, rum, and the daily struggle of life in the late 1690’s.

This is Book 2 of the 17th Century series. I also read Book 1, The Firefly Witch. No problem where you come in to each series, whether 17th, 18th, 19th, or 20th Centuries, each is a standalone and can be read in any order. I’ve read at least two books in each century, including the most recent, Vagabond Wind, The House of Five Fortunes, Beneath a Blazing Sky, and The Image Seeker.  If you like strong, trail-blazing womens stories, you’ll greatly enjoy these gripping novels, all different and unique. These are all highly recommended. The Sea Bandits just released and is available now. (Loved it.)

His Review:

The cross-breeding between the Inca and Spanish resulted in beautiful copper skinned offspring. Mercedes Zamora y Huaman de Ortiz was just such a woman. Marriages were often arranged in the 1600’s and the participants often had very little choice in the matter. Class hierarchies were common and inter-marriages between the social stratus were uncommon.

At fourteen, Mercedes is married to Felipe, an eighteen-year-old. The early months were amorous until pregnancy occurred. Then Felipe left for greener pastures and Mercedes was to raise their twin boys.  Her position as an aristocrat in Cusco, Peru left few opportunities for the young mother. Once pregnant her husband had no interest in staying around or visiting her bed. (It was against Catholic doctrine to have sex while pregnant.)

Senora Mercedes Ortiz had to avoid relations with Felipe after the birth of their children. He was also a very poor businessman and had lost a large portion of their lands. As a result, he was moving the family to San Juan Bautista. Mercedes was leaving her home and everything she knew and suddenly Felipe Ortiz was nowhere to be found.

Mercedes is tasked with managing the household and plantation and it becomes a full-time job. She begins running a shipping warehouse and import-export business but additional lands are taken away by a conniving relative.

Mercedes starts Zamora Enterprises and begins a new stage in her life. She sends her sons to Spain for a more formal education and meets Abraxas Kaphiri. This reputed pirate leads her life in a whole new direction.

Amanda Hughes has created a delightful tale of intrigue and danger in a love story between a pirate and a “she-merchant”. You will find it hard to put down. 5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and these are our honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical Caribbean and Latin American Fiction, Sea Stories, US Historical Fiction
Publisher: Lillis and Jaymes
ASIN: B09BKHCNLF
Print Length: 253 pages
Publication Date: Just Released! August 19, 2021
Source: Author contact 
Title Link: The Sea Bandits

Amanda Hughes - authorThe Author: Bestselling and award-winning author, Amanda Hughes is a “Walter Mitty”, spending more time in heroic daydreams than the real world. At last, she found an outlet writing adventures about bold women through the centuries. Well known for her genre-busting books, she is the winner of the Gems National Medal for Writing, featured in USA Today and is nominated for the 2017 Minnesota Book Award. Amanda is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, and when she isn’t off tilting windmills, she lives and writes in Minnesota. Don’t miss these page-turning novels for readers who like historical fiction with a just bit of a love story. All of her books are stand-alone and can be read in any order.

The Bold Women of the 17th Century: The Firefly Witch Book 1

The Bold Women Series of the 18th Century: Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry Book 1 The Pride of the King Book 2 The Sword of the Banshee Book 3

The Bold Women Series of the 19th Century: The Grand Masquerade Book 1 Vagabond Wind Book 2 The House of Five Fortunes Book 3

The Bold Women Series of the 20th Century: The Looking Glass Goddess Book 1

Interested in her new books or a free novelette? Go to http://www.amandahughesauthor.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams The CE and I

The Forever Home by Sue Watson – #BookReview – #psychologicalfiction

Happy Release Day! 

Book Blurb:

The Forever Home - Sue WatsonCarly had thought they’d always live there. The beautiful Cornish cliffside house they’d taken on as a wreck, that Mark had obsessively re-designed and renovated – a project that had made him famous. It was where they’d raised their children, where they’d sat cosily on the sofa watching storms raging over the sea below. It was where they’d promised to keep each other’s secrets…

Until now. Because Mark has fallen in love. With someone he definitely shouldn’t have. Someone who isn’t Carly. And suddenly their family home doesn’t feel like so much of a safe haven.

Carly thinks forever should mean forever though: it’s her home and she’ll stay there. Even the dark family secrets it contains feel like they belong to her. But someone disagrees. And, as threats start to arrive at her front door, it becomes clear, someone will stop at nothing. Because someone wants to demolish every last thing that makes Carly feel safe. Forever.

My Review:

Mark chose the eve of their 25th wedding anniversary to announce he was seeing someone else—not that he had a choice. It was tell Carly or her best friend would. Okay, not a huge surprise, he’d been a womanizing the entire length of their marriage. A sham, really, because the brand they’d created together by redesigning and renovating houses would not allow for other than being a perfect family. Beautiful home, two gorgeous children, and finally enough money to live comfortably.

A lie.

Carly Anderson had tolerated…everything. They had secrets. Behind those closed doors, there were things not to be shared with the public. And Mark was crazy occupied with his public persona. This, too, would be spun. The public would get a version. Maybe not the truth, but a version.

A slow burn.

The Forever Home by Sue WatsonI had a problem getting into the family drama. The divorce back and forth turning ugly. Carly would keep the house. Her house. She’d inherited the one of a kind Cornish cliffside home from her mother, but his new girlfriend wanted it—had wanted it all her life. Carly had been the power behind the face that Mark put on for his adoring public. Now it was quietly being undermined. Would she lose the house to Mark and his pregnant girlfriend?

“…an interview in the Daily Mail with Gemma Hough, the lead groupie and yummy mummy who virtually accosted me at the hair salon.”

Lots of tell not show; stories from Carly regarding the characters surrounding she and the family, the building of the brand, the celebrity. Slow, with repetition of salient plot points. Mark is beyond narcissistic but I eventually got tired of Carly as well. Okay, okay. She’d worked just as hard. It was her house. She’d put up with him all those years. He held her secret, although threatening her with revealing it was getting old, and the secret easy to guess. She didn’t love him; hadn’t for a long time.

I’d have been happy with much of the repetition deleted, the chapters instead making progress toward the end reveal (which, btw, was also guessed well ahead of the conclusion), and Carly showing a little more of the gumption that it took to get both of them to the status. I needed more empathy in at least one of the characters and didn’t feel it for Carly.

The author has a large fan base and dedicated followers. While this may not have been my cup of tea, no doubt her fans will appreciate her new release. FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my unbiased opinions.

Rosepoint Rating: Three stars three stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B08YDCN27S

Print Length: 391 pages
Publication Date: June 4, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

 Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo 

Sue Watson - authorThe Author: Sue Watson was a TV Producer at the BBC until she wrote her first book and was hooked.

Now a USA Today bestselling author, Sue has written eighteen novels, many have been translated into several languages. Sue is now exploring the darker side of life with her thrillers OUR LITTLE LIES, THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR, THE EMPTY NEST, THE SISTER-IN-LAW, FIRST DATE and her latest, THE FOREVER HOME.

Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives with her family in Worcestershire where much of her day is spent writing – okay, procrastinating. Her hobby is eating cake, while watching diet and exercise programmes from the sofa, a skill she’s perfected after many years of practice.

more info visit Sue’s website; http://www.suewatsonbooks.com/

Sue would love to meet you on FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/suewatsonbooks

Follow Sue on Twitter @suewatsonwriter

©2021 V Williams

The Cuts That Cure by Arthur Herbert – #BookReview – #medicalfiction

#1 New Release – in Western Horror Fiction

 Book Blurb:

From its attention-grabbing first sentence, The Cuts that Cure is a truly extraordinary novel as Arthur Herbert- a surgeon himself- shows why he is one of the most exciting new voices in the suspense genre.

The Cuts That Cure by Arthur HerbertAlex Brantley is a surgeon whose desperation to start a new life outside of medicine leads him to settle in a sleepy Texas town close to the Mexican border, a town that has a dark side. Its secrets and his own past catch up with him as traits he thought he’d buried in the deserts on the frontiers of the border rise up again to haunt him.

To the citizens of Three Rivers, Henry Wallis appears to be a normal Texas teenager: a lean, quiet kid from a good family whose life seems to center around running cross-country, his first girlfriend, and Friday night football. That Henry is a cultivated illusion, however, a disguise he wears to conceal his demons. Both meticulous and brutally cruel, he manages to hide his sadistic indulgences from the world, but with that success, his impulses grow stronger until one day when a vagrant is found murdered.

When Alex and Henry’s paths cross, it starts a domino effect which leads to mangled lives and chilling choices made in the shadows along la frontera, where everything is negotiable.

His Review:

Most of us wish the best for our families. The Brantley family was no exception and when their son Alex graduated from medical school they were overjoyed. Being a doctor, especially a surgeon in the United States, usually means a prosperous life for the graduate. The problem is that the work is not always glamorous.

The Cuts That Cure by Arthur HerbertAlex Brantley has discovered that his chosen profession is a continuous grind. Working in the emergency room of a major metropolitan hospital means working with anyone who comes in. Gunshot wounds and children with broken bones who apparently “are accident prone,” begin to take a heavy toll on ones’ mental stability. Saving the victim is often met with disdain because you could have done better.

The tipping point comes when a particularly battered boy comes into the emergency room and Dr. Brantley is faced with sewing him up. X-rays show old healed fractures and broken bones. The parents explain that he is accident prone and they do everything to protect their boy. One particular bruise is of a steel toed cowboy boot at the point of impact causing the injury. Alex is furious. Vandalizing the fathers’ car gets him arrested and his license is suspended.

He has had all he can take as a surgeon. He applies for a job as a science teacher in a small Texas town. They are happy to have him as the new teacher but his duties will also include assisting with the cross-country track team. Far away from the rigors of twelve-hour surgery shifts Alex starts his new life. His best runner is a young man named Harvey Wallis. Harvey is a loner but an excellent runner.

Sociopaths take many forms and sometimes start at a very young age. Harvey’s parents find him with a young rabbit over a campfire. He is enjoying watching the poor animals’ struggles as it tries to flee the terrible heat. Harvey is required to get help from a psychiatrist but there is little progress made. Harvey has no moral compass and simply revels in watching others in pain.

Medical school is very expensive and Alex has been left with a $350,000 student loan debt. As a teacher he will never be able to service the debt. How can he get by with the debt and low salary? One of the towns’ successful businessmen decides to help Alex and takes him under his wing. The source of the cash flow enjoyed by this businessman is remarkable.

This well written tale is a roadmap for life’s trials and obstacles. Enjoy the narrative and experience the twists. 5 stars – CE Williams 

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and these are my unbiased opinions.

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars 

Book Details:

Genre: Western Horror Fiction, US Drama and Plays, Medical Fiction
Publisher: White Bird Publications, LLC
ASIN: B08XYR3TQG
Print Length: 298 pages
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
Source: Author
Title Link: The Cuts That Cure [Amazon] 
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Arthus Herbert - authorThe Author: Arthur Herbert was born and raised in small town Texas. He worked on offshore oil rigs, as a bartender, a landscaper at a trailer park, and as a social worker before going to medical school. He chose to do a residency in general surgery, followed by a fellowship in critical care and trauma surgery. For the last seventeen years, he’s worked as a trauma and burn surgeon, operating on all ages of injured patients. He continues to run a thriving practice.

His debut novel, The Cuts that Cure, launched on May 11, 2021 through White Bird Publishing in Austin Texas. He’s begun work on his second novel.

Arthur currently lives in New Orleans, with his wife Amy and their dogs.

Arthur loves hearing from readers, so don’t hesitate to email him at arthur@arthurherbertwriter.com.

©2021 V Williams

Hell’s Half Acre (Coffin Cove Mysteries Book 2) by Jackie Elliott – #BookReview – #noircrime – #tuesdaybookblog

Happy Release Day! 

Book Blurb:

AN ADDICTIVE MUST-READ WHODUNNIT FROM THE NEWEST TALENT IN CRIME FICTION

One betrayal.
Two suspects.
Three murders.

Hell's Half Acre by Jackie ElliottAndrea “Andi” Silvers thought moving to the tiny fishing village of Coffin Cove, on the Vancouver coast, would be a fresh start. But she got shot during a murder investigation.

Her boss at the Coffin Cove Gazette keeps telling her to take it easy. But she’s back on the booze and won’t get help. Instead, she’s going to do what she does best and follow her next lead.

Now Ricky, the former mayor’s son, has disappeared. The police don’t seem to care. Ricky runs the town’s new cannabis shop.

Then two dead bodies are discovered in an abandoned chapel.

Has Ricky finally turned up?

Discover a web of murder and mystery laced with humour and a thread of romance in this fast-paced whodunnit set on the gorgeous coast of Western Canada.

My Review:

I love a good mystery with a particularly atmospheric setting, such as fictional Coffin Cove on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. Oh, the memories it brought back! Fond memories of our ride into Canada one year to Glacier National Park of Canada where we caught Canadian Hwy 1 west through Revelstoke and Kamloops eventually to catch the ferry to Nanaimo. Gorgeous, gorgeous country. Well, anyway, Nanaimo is mentioned in this novel as being “an hour” away from the fictitious Coffin Cove. So, yes, I was quickly pulled into the narrative.

Hell's Half Acre by Jackie ElliottProtagonist Andrea “Andi” Silvers works as a journalist and assistant editor at the Coffin Cove Gazette. She is recovering from a gunshot wound received in the process of her last big story and is now looking into the cold case of the disappearance of the son of the former mayor. The old mayor was not particularly liked but definitely had in place a network of good old boys. Ricky’s body is found on private property in the process of finding interesting locations for a museum historical walk, one of the new mayor’s ideas for revitalization. Jade Thompson has promised a new day for the town.

In the plans to regenerate the town, they will repair, rebuild, and modernize, but Coffin Cove has a dark past that includes biker gangs, drugs, and murder. There are stories, unfortunate and sad, that haunt the village, unsolved, that continue to linger like a pall over the residents. Ricky’s body isn’t the first to be found but it does seem to have set off a spate of retributions.

Andi is dealing with her explicable attraction to RCMP Inspector Andrew Vega while she also has another interest, his more so than hers. I liked the characters of her editor, Jim Peters new recruit PC Matt Beaufort, and Clara Bell, the retired museum curator living off the grid. The storyline gets complex, expands on characters, and introduces clues and twists that continues to leave the reader in confusion, although there is a gradual dawning and suspicion.

I enjoyed the historical aspects of the location, the descriptions of the area, and the immersive characters and I can see this series doing well. The conclusion settles most of the dust, exposes the perp (correctly guessed), and suggests possible scenarios for the next installment although this as Book 2 can be read as a standalone.

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

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Noir Crime, Serial Killers, Murder
Publisher: Joffe Books

  • ASIN : B093X49XFF

Print Length: 247 pages
Publication Date: Happy Publication Day- May 11, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 
Title Link(s): Hell’s Half Acre [Amazon]

Jackie Elliott - authorThe Author: Jackie [Elliott] is originally from the UK, but she settled on Vancouver Island, Canada in 2004. She’s married to Bob, a commercial fisherman and accomplished storyteller – like most fishermen!

It was a culture shock to swap a fast-paced city life for Island living. It wasn’t at all how Jackie had expected. She was intrigued by the pioneer spirit of their small communities, and the fight to hang on to traditional ways of living. In her experience, small towns ‘with a heart’ have claws and teeth as well and that makes the perfect back drop for a good murder!

Jackie has written several non-fiction books about her sober journey and a cook book with her husband, featuring stories about from his fishing days.

When Jackie’s not writing, she is gardening, reading, or poking around local museums, looking for inspiration.

©2021 V Williams

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 Wine 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