Hidden Agendas (A Dr. Kyle Chandler Thriller Book 2) by D Marshall Craig MD – #BookReview – #medicalthrillers

Book Blurb:

Hidden Agendas by C Marshall Craig MDWhen busy trauma surgeon Dr. Kyle Chandler goes to a medical symposium in London, he agrees to two innocent meetings for his friend Ian Griffin, who runs a private investigation firm. During his time in England, Dr. Chandler stumbles on a mysterious system of illegal smuggling to the United States. How could the smuggling of products in bulk wine carriers have anything to do with the shipping of French antiques? As Kyle continues his investigation, he soon realizes he faces a powerful, complex network involving organized crime. At the same time, escalating threats to him reveal the truth—and the truth nearly costs him his life.

My Review:

Interesting novel with a trauma surgeon becoming involved in all manner of medicine, intrigue, smuggling, and organized crime. (Perhaps a trauma surgeon isn’t as busy as I’d assumed.)

Hidden Agendas by C Marshall Craig MDDr. Kyle Chandler (KC) has quite a network of business associates, former patients, and outside interests. These contacts led him to agreeing to two easy missions while in London to attend a medical symposium. The problem is that while he can easily discern the answers to one (a problem of reproduction of French antiques) the other only leads to further investigation and that becomes a very sticky-wicket.

A bulk wine carrier, a one-time use only bladder of sorts that is easily transported and disseminated into bottles upon destination, was a new one for me though it certainly makes more sense than shipping umpteen glass bottles across the pond. So, it’s easy to figure that someone would be able to use the idea to further one’s own applications.

The doc can’t resist following up and each link leads to another until he finally attracts a bit too much attention. These guys don’t play fair but they do play for keeps. KC also has a love interest with whom he’d like to get to know on a deeper level than the occasional romp in the hay, but their schedules clash a bit. She is also a high-producing professional and I really liked her character.

So, several thoughts: First Book 2 is the first I’ve read in the series. I know Chandler is a widower, but not the whole backstory on him. He has a lot of tentacles out there, which is a good thing as he discovers a lack of interest by the feds in resolving his dispute with the mob leaves him on his own. That may be, or may not, a good thing as it almost gets him killed. He’s going to have to watch his back but has definitely earned some street cred. He and his romantic partner dissolve into calling each other by sarcastic titles which I found rather juvenile. And, I’m having a difficult time believing the mob could be handled in such a manner—scratching my head over some of the dialogue.

However, the narrative was entertaining and engaging. Unfortunately, while I didn’t note that this was an uncorrected digital proof, the copy I received was so rough as to be difficult to read sometimes for stumbling over edit misses. Otherwise, I found the story premise interesting, a bit unusual, and would read another—hopefully with benefit of additional editors.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Three Stars three stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Medical Thrillers, Organized Crime Thrillers
Publisher: White Bird Publications, LLC
ASIN: B09LC35T1D
Print Length: 297 pages
Publication Date: February 8, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

C Marshall Craig, MD
C Marshall Craig, MD

The Author: Across a 30-year career in medicine, I accumulated plenty of wild stories and met more than my share of interesting characters. I always thought they might one day make for a good book. Then in 1995, when large insurance companies started muscling their way into the healthcare industry, providing a natural antagonist, I decided to put pen to paper. Or in this case, fingers to a little bitty vintage Dell laptop.

After a year of early-morning writing sessions, and two unsuccessful years of mailing manuscripts to dozens of publishing houses, the book sat on the digital back-burner for almost two decades. Inspiration struck again in the summer of 2019, and I set about revising and re-promoting the work. Through determination, persistence, and the help of my partners at White Bird Publications, I’m proud to be able to present to you Cut to the Chase, a Dr. Kyle Chandler Thriller.

©2022 V Williams

Have a great week!

Red Burning Sky: A WWIINovel Inspired by the Greatest Aviation Rescue in History by Tom Young – #BookReview – #HistoricalFiction

Book Blurb:

From the author of Silver Wings, Iron Cross comes a suspenseful and thrilling saga based on the true story of one of World War II’s most daring and successful rescue missions.

Red Burning Sky by Tom YoungSummer 1944: Yugoslavia is locked in a war within a war. In addition to fighting the German occupation, warring factions battle each other. Hundreds of Allied airmen have been shot down over this volatile region, among them American lieutenant Bill Bogdonavich. Though grateful to the locals who are risking their lives to shelter and protect him from German troops, Bogdonavich dreams of the impossible: escape.

With three failed air missions behind him, Lieutenant Drew Carlton is desperate for redemption. From a Texas airbase he volunteers for a secretive and dangerous assignment, codenamed Operation Halyard, that will bring together American special operations officers, airmen, and local guerilla fighters in Yugoslavia’s green hills. This daring plan—to evacuate hundreds of stranded airmen while avoiding detection by the Germans—faces overwhelming odds. What follows is one of the greatest stories of World War II heroism, an elaborate rescue that required astonishing courage, sacrifice, and resilience.

Red Burning Sky is a riveting and ultimately triumphant military thriller based on true events, all the more remarkable for being so little known—until now.

His Review:

Yugoslavia is between Italy and Romania and Romania is the source of oil for fuel for the Nazi’s. The “Miss Carolina’s” mission is to disrupt the oil field and production of fuel for the Nazi’s. The mission is never easy and the flight path is over Yugoslavia where they are in the midst of a civil war between the Partisans led by Marshal Tito and the Chetniks.

Red Burning Sky by Tom YoungThe B-24 has taken heavy fire and many of the crew are dead. The order must be given to bail out as the plane is no longer able to be controlled. Bogdonavich is the gunner in the nose compartment. He sees nearly eight Messerschmitt BF109’s attacking the plane. The plane shudders and reports of burning wings and engines cause the pilot to order the evacuation of the plane.

Bogdonavich leaves the plane and his parachute opens before he gets whipped by the trees approaching the ground. He wonders how many men were able to exit the aircraft. Cutting his parachute cords he approaches a tree-line and sees three people approaching him; a young boy, an old man, and a pretty young lady. They take him to a farmhouse but make no effort to hide him. The young boy is part of the Chetnik group that is aiding downed allied aircrew. A bullet in the head is their reward if they are caught.

Nearly 500 US and allied airmen are rescued by these freedom fighters! The one rescuing Bogdonavich is a 17-year-old named Vasa the Wolf. The people of Yugoslavia are assisting downed pilots from being captured by the Germans. They supply hiding places, food, and medical assistance to the airmen at the peril of instant death.

This saga is about a mission in WWII that was classified top secret during the war. The final reward for the rescue of the pilots was silence and deniability by the war department. No air medals nor ribbons for bravery were ever awarded. This is the first exposure of this small part of the war. That 500 airmen could have been rescued by the Chetniks and never recognized seems unthinkable particularly because the Partisans under Marshall Tito wound up the ruling faction after the war and the Chetniks were considered the enemy.

CE WilliamsI recommend this book as a means of understanding the sacrifices for anyone who is a war buff. The writing will help to understand some of the unsung heroes of WWII. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, Historical Thrillers
Publisher: Kensington Books
ASIN: B0964FXLFS
Print Length: 300 pages
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Red Burning Sky [Amazon] 
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The Author: Thomas W. Young has logged nearly 5,000 hours as a flight engineer for the Air National Guard in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, and elsewhere, including Latin America, the Horn of Africa, and the Far East. Military honors include three Air Medals, three Aerial Achievement Medals, and the Air Force Combat Action Medal. He retired from the military as a Senior Master Sergeant.

He holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and studied writing there and at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, among other places. He is also the author of the oral history The SpeedFour  of Heat: An Airlift Wing at War in Iraq and Afghanistan, and contributed to the anthology Operation Homecoming, edited by Andrew Carroll.

 More information about Tom Young and his work can be found online at TomYoungBooks.com.

©CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

 

 

 

The Texas Job by Reavis Z Wortham – #BookReview – Small Town & Rural Fiction

Book Blurb:

The Texas Job by Reavis Z WorthamTexas Ranger Tom Bell is simply tracking a fugitive killer in 1931 when he rides into Kilgore, a hastily erected shanty town crawling with rough and desperate men—oil drillers who’ve come by the thousands in search of work. The sheriff of the boomtown is overwhelmed and offers no help, nor are any of the roughnecks inclined to assist the young Ranger in his search for the wanted man.

In fact, it soon becomes apparent that the lawman’s presence has irritated the wrong people, and when two failed attempts are made on his life, Bell knows he’s getting closer to finding out who is responsible for cheating and murdering local landowners to access the rich oil fields flowing beneath their farms. When they ambush him for a third time, they make the fatal mistake of killing someone close to him and leaving the Ranger alive.

Armed with his trademark 1911 Colt .45 and the Browning automatic he liberated from a gangster’s corpse, Tom Bell cuts a swath of devastation through the heart of East Texas in search of the consortium behind the lethal land-grab scheme. 

His Review:

Early 20th Century east Texas was a wide-open territory. Texas Ranger Tom Bell has a very dangerous job. The mob has infiltrated the area because of quick riches from the discovery of oil. A forest of oil rigs blight the once open range and forest lands. Where money flows, greed and corruption closely follow. One of the get-rich schemes was to marry the ladies who owned the land and then kill them to inherit the land and the wealth stream.

The Texas Job by Reavis Z WorthamThe mob has no compassion for people, their problems, or their needs. Take whatever you can and if someone dies in the process, oh well! Author Wortham weaves a very interesting tale of bravado and heroism against wanton killing and conniving. I found his tale engaging and entertaining. His writing style harkens back to western authors of old. The characters who became Texas Rangers were smart and cared for the people of east Texas.

The weapons and attack methodology were reminiscent of WW I war tactics. The mob sent in large groups of killers with the instructions to “take care of the problem.” Ranger Tom Bell is one of those “problems.” Six men are sent down from Hot Springs, Arkansas to accomplish the goal. Their problem was a lack of understanding the abilities of Tom Bell.

Segregation was rampant in Texas at that time. The African American youth were considered slightly less valuable than cattle. African American women were considered ignorant and were generally ignored. Therefore, Tom has a ready source of intelligence because the criminals gave them little consideration. The Black population, however, knew everything that was going on and appreciated being treated fairly.

CE WilliamsEnjoy this tale from a gifted writer. Set aside time because you will not want to put the book down. 4.5 stars- CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions. Current on pre-order.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Small Town & Rural Fiction, Murder
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
ASIN: B096L96MP1
Print Length: 272 pages
Publication Date: February 15, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s):  The Texas Job [Amazon] 
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Reavis Z Wortham - authorThe Author: As a boy, award-winning writer, Reavis Z. Wortham hunted and fished the river bottoms near Chicota, Texas, the inspiration for the fictional setting for The Rock Hole and The Red River Mystery Series. He was born in Paris, Texas, but lived in Dallas. “We grew up in the city and went to school there, but every Friday evening my parents put us in the car and made the 120-mile drive to Chicota, where we truly lived at my grandparents’ place in the country until Sunday evening, when we came back to the city. Our real home was that little scratch farm in Lamar County.”

 [Amazon bio Truncated…]

Reavis also penned Doreen’s 24 HR Eat Gas Now Café. More than 2,500 newspaper and magazine articles bear the byline of this award-winning Texas writer. The Rock Hole was a finalist in the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Award presented by the Independent Book Publishers Association, is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the Writers’ League of Texas, International Association of Crime Writers (North American Branch), and International Thriller Writers.

He lives with his wife, Shana, in northeast Texas.

(Reavis Z. Wortham retired in 2011 and now works harder than before as the author of the critically acclaimed Red River historical mystery series. Kirkus Reviews listed his first novel, The Rock Hole, as one of their Top 12 Mysteries of 2011. True West Magazine included Dark Places as one of 2015’s Top 12 Modern Westerns. The Providence Journal writes, “This year’s Unraveled is a hidden gem of a book that reads like Craig Johnson’s Longmire on steroids.” Wortham’s new high octane contemporary thriller from Kensington Publishing, Hawke’s Prey, featuring Texas Ranger Sonny Hawke was released in June, 2017. [Goodreads])

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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Roaring Liberty: The Queenstown Series – Book 4 by Jean Grainger – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

#1 New Release in Historical Irish Fiction

 Book Blurb:

New York City, 1922

Roaring Liberty by Jean GraingerHarp Devereaux is torn. Part of her desperately wants to return to Ireland to finish what she and her family and friends started, and to witness the departure of the British forces from Ireland after eight hundred long years. But the other part finds life in America during the Roaring Twenties too exciting to trade for the sleepy streets of County Cork.

She and JohnJoe are united and determined to sample all that life after the Great War has to offer, but life Stateside is not as free and easy as Harp first imagines and soon she finds herself longing for the simplicity of her homeland.

She wants to live life on her own terms but life is never simple, on either side of the Atlantic, and there are sinister forces at work, determined to bring them all down..

My Review:

Book 4 of the Queenstown series wraps it up in classic style, managing to resolve all the issues in a fast-moving and immersive conclusion.

While I was not able to walk in Harp’s shoes, I do so enjoy all the characters, especially JohnJoe and in this entry to the series Jerry, Elliot, and Celia. Harp and JohnJoe hesitantly form a vaudeville act upon the insistence of Jerry who will act as manager and promoter, as well as Elliot (on violin) and Celia, their bookkeeper and seamstress.

Roaring Liberty by Jean GrainerAfter Rose and Matt return to Ireland, Harp feels free to live as she wants to live her life and that’s as a performer—beginning in New York where they find a lucrative level of success, particularly after Elliot pens an original that is picked as a favorite in their venues.

But there are issues back home and Jerry opens an opportunity to play in Dublin allowing Harp to see her mother again. While in Ireland, however, they discover the tentative and long-awaited peace treaty with Britain divides their country between those who are agreeable to the terms and those who are not, creating a dangerous climate and turning former friends to enemies.

Also, there is the issue of the home that Harp inherited when her “father” claimed her as his heir, bypassing his own brother who took possession of Cliff House following their hasty exodus to the states.

The well-paced narrative slowed somewhat in the middle as issues having been introduced were more carefully examined and possible remedies posited, while song lyrics were introduced (including the iconic Irish ballad “Danny Boy” (which always brings tears to my eyes) or repeated. I must say the lyrics of Elliot’s “original song” “Your Heart Will Know” is absolutely, hauntingly beautiful.

There are themes of the struggle of women in society (“Until all women were free, none were”), lifestyle, as well as the continued troubles with the British and class distinction.

I am one of the lucky few to receive an advance reader’s copy of this author’s works. I’ve enjoyed all of them, including The Harp and the Rose, Book 3, and find each delightful, atmospheric, and educational as well as engaging and entertaining. Book 4, Roaring Liberty is out now and highly recommended although you might wish to begin (if you haven’t already) with Book 1, Last Port of Call.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: British Historical Literature, Historical Irish Fiction, Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Fiction
ISBN: ‎B09QFC6LNB
ASIN: B09DBWW184
Print Length: 480 pages
Publication Date: January 17, 2022 – Just Released!
Source: Author request
Title Link: Roaring Liberty  [Amazon] 

Jean Grainger - authorThe Author: JEAN GRAINGER – USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.

WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

Hello and thanks for taking time out to check out my page. If you’re wondering what you’re getting with my books then think of the late great Maeve Binchy but sometimes with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 200 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dogs, called Scrappy and Scoobi.

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years.

My current series, The Queenstown Series, centres on twelve year old Harp Devereaux and her mother Rose and the first book opens on the day Titanic sails from Queenstown, Co Cork on her last fateful journey. It is a bestselling series and people really seem to connect to the precocious Harp and her hard-working mother as they battle to survive in a society where conforming and playing by the rules was paramount. It is so far a three book series, The West’s Awake, and The Harp and the Rose being the next two books but I’m currently writing book four…

[truncated…]

Many of the people who have reviewed my books have said that you get to know the characters and really become attached to them, that’s wonderful for me to hear because that’s how I feel about them too. I grew up on Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell and I aspired to being like them. If you buy one of my books I’m very grateful and I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or even if you don’t, please take the time to post a review. Writing is a source of constant contentment to me and I am so fortunate to have the time and the inclination to do it, but to read a review written by a reader really does make my day.

Read her complete bio on Amazon or visit her website at Jean Grainer.com

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Enter a Wizard, Stage Left (A Zodiac Mystery) by Connie di Marco #BlogTour #BookReview – #Giveaway

Enter a Wizard Stage Left by Connie DiMarco
I am delighted to provide a review for you at my blog stop today for Enter a Wizard, Stage Left by Connie di Marco on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Enter a Wizard, Stage Left (A Zodiac Mystery)
Traditional Mystery
Prequel Novella
Suspense Publishing (October 26, 2021)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 111 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09JGV526H

Book Blurb

Julia Bonatti wasn’t always a crime-solving San Francisco astrologer. She was a young woman, engaged to the love of her life, preparing for a teaching career when tragedy struck. Her fiancé was killed in a hit and run accident. As Julia struggles with her loss and attempts to find meaning in her life again, she takes refuge with her grandmother Gloria. But there’s little time for grief or rest because Gloria, a retired seamstress, needs Julia’s help. Gloria’s been hired to create costumes for a production of Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death at the newly opened Theatre Mars in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood.

Theatre Mars is a stunning jewel, the cast is supremely talented and the script is brilliant. What could go wrong? Julia gets the first hint of trouble when her new friend, the owner of The Mystic Eye bookshop, warns that all might not go well. Opening night will take place during the dark of the moon, the last three days before the new moon, a time that bodes disaster for any new project. The dire prediction comes true when the lead actress is murdered before the final curtain, echoing the play itself. Julia discovers a vital clue to the murder, but a clue that puts Gloria’s life in grave danger. Can Julia rescue her grandmother before it’s too late? And will a black cat play a leading role?

My Review

Thank heaven for Grandmother Gloria’s welcoming and understanding home after the sudden fatal accident that killed Julia Bonatti’s fiancé. Julia badly needed a different scene, a waystation to give her the necessary time to push through the grieving process.

Enter a Wizard, Stage Left by Connie di MarcoGloria is a retired seamstress and is involved in the local theatre group facing opening night. They’ve requested Gloria deliver the costumes for a dress rehearsal and to fix any costume problems they may be facing with the various actors and the diva busy making life miserable for all in the cast. She asks for Julia’s help. The production is an Agatha Christie mystery, Appointment with Death. Oops! That title may be prophetic.

Julia takes the opportunity to check out The Mystic Eye Bookshop next door, but the owner promptly warns her that the timing, astrologically-speaking, is asking for disaster. Unfortunately, the prediction comes true when the nasty lead actress is actually murdered before the opening night final curtain.

Ah, I love the subject of astrology and dove into this prequel to the series having previously jumped into the Tale of the Dragon. It’s a fascinating study and Julia begins the research and analysis that leads to her own astrology clinic. There is a lot to the Zodiac and the author imparts a few interesting tidbits along the way.

While Julia is an interesting protagonist, I really enjoy support characters Gloria and Kuan. And let’s not forget the kitty! Fun, fast little mystery, though I was left scratching my head a bit over the search and rescue.

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Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win one of (10) Digital Copies of Enter a Wizard, Stage Left (A Zodiac Mystery) by Connie di Marco on the Rafflecopter giveaway.

Connie di Marco - authorAbout The Author: With the Zodiac Mysteries, featuring Julia Bonatti, a crime-solving San Francisco astrologer, Connie di Marco has combined her fascination with astrology and her love of writing mysteries.  Writing as Connie Archer, she’s the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime.  You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook.  She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.  She lives in Los Angeles but dreams constantly of the San Francisco fog.

Author Links

Website:  http://www.conniedimarco.com/

Blog:  http://www.conniedimarco.com/blog/

FaceBook:  https://www.facebook.com/zodiacmysteries/  or https://www.facebook.com/zodiacmysteries/

Amazon:  https://amzn.to/3HdGb25

Twitter: @Connie di Marco

GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard?ref=nav_profile_authordash

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

Purchase Link – Amazon

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

Tour Participants:

January 5 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

January 5 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

January 6 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

January 6 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, GUEST POST

January 7 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

January 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 8 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

January 9 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW

January 11 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 12 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 14 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

January 15 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 16 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW, GUEST POST

January 17 – I Read What You Write – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 18 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book -SPOTLIGHT Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2022 V Williams V Williams

The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel by Helene Wecker – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker - banner

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 

Book Blurb:

Audie Award Finalist, Fiction, 2014

Helene Wecker’s dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

Struggling to make their way in this strange new place, the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their neighbors while masking their true natures. Surrounding them is a community of immigrants: the coffeehouse owner Maryam Faddoul, a pillar of wisdom and support for her Syrian neighbors; the solitary ice cream maker Saleh, a damaged man cursed by tragedy; the kind and caring Rabbi Meyer and his beleaguered nephew, Michael, whose Sheltering House receives newly arrived Jewish men; the adventurous young socialite Sophia Winston; and the enigmatic Joseph Schall, a dangerous man driven by ferocious ambition and esoteric wisdom.

Meeting by chance, the two creatures become unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures, until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful menace will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again, threatening their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

Marvelous and compulsively listenable, The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of folk mythology, historical fiction, and magical fable into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.

My Review:

Okay, don’t say it.

            This one is definitely not my usual genre. But there’s a reason for that.

I went hunting for audiobooks in which George Guidall narrates. He is one of my very favorite narrators and another reason I listen to so many Longmire audiobooks (written by Craig Johnson). This one caught my eye and oh my gosh! What an amazing journey!

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene WeckerMiddle Eastern fiction woven beautifully with historical fantasy—so much to learn—so fascinating. A major atmospheric classic in fairy tale proportions. And the names, the language, the insight into Jewish culture, literature—all very smoothly rolled off Guidall’s tongue like a man reciting romantic poets, bathing the reader softly in the moment, caressing the ears.

This is a book to be read leisurely, digested, and enjoyed. The pace is languid through introduction of main characters and into backstories, explanations of the who and why. The backstories provide a greater understanding of present-day activities, the protagonist’s issues, proclivities, limitations, and each their separate and not necessarily complementary powers.

The author also examines the lengths at which each, both golem (Chava) and jinni (Ahmad) (supernatural beings) had to go to manifest normal human characteristics—the toll that extracted from each—and the extreme relief each must have felt when they were finally able to expose themselves to the other.

Take the time. It’s worth it. The characters, both main and support, are amazing. Easy to become invested, engaged. Arbeely, the Rabbi, Maryam Faddoul, empathetic. Michael Levy, poor guy—and Dr Saleh (Ice Cream Saleh), poor guy–sympathetic.

It’s an immersive fantasy brought to life with characters that create an enchanting tale of the ancient arts and magic.

The last 15-20% of the book brings the whole tale into one giant wizardy conclusion that has your head spinning with visions. All but one issue satisfying. BUT.

[Spoiler ahead]

I hate what happens to Michael and is the only reason I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this as a 5+ star narrative. Surely there is an alternative! His only fault is his innocence. He loved the golem and I felt would have accepted her, knowing her powers, albeit some unfortunate. ARGH!

The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker[Note: You may be interested to know that the author has produced a sophomore release called The Hidden Palace: A Novel of the Golem and the Jinni. Declared “well worth the wait,” it was released June 8, 2021 and was also narrated by George Guidall.]

Book Details:

Genre: Historic Middle Eastern Fiction, Jewish Literature, Jewish Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy
Publisher:  HarperAudio
ASIN: B00BU8DV2K
Listening Length: 19 hrs 42 mins
Narrator: George Guidall
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link(s): The Golem and the Jinni [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

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

Helene Wecker - authorThe Author: Helene Wecker’s first novel, THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI, was awarded the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature, the VCU Cabell Award for First Novel, and the Harold U. Ribalow Prize, and was nominated for a Nebula Award and a World Fantasy Award. A sequel, THE HIDDEN PALACE: A TALE OF THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI, will be published in June 2021. A Midwest native, she holds a B.A. in English from Carleton College and an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from Columbia University. Her work has appeared in literary journals such as Joyland and Catamaran, as well as the fantasy anthology The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and children.

George Guidall - audiobook narratorThe Narrator: George Guidall is a prolific audiobook narrator and theatre actor. As of November 2014, he had recorded over 1,270 audiobooks, which was believed to be the record at the time. Wikipedia

 

 

©2022 V Williams V Williams

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Where There’s a Will (Roland Sinclair WWII Mysteries Book 10) by Sulari Gentill – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

2021 NED KELLY AWARD NOMINEE, BEST CRIME FICTION

Book Blurb:

Hell hath no fury like a family disinherited…

Where There's a Will by Sulari GentillAmerican millionaire Daniel Cartwright has been shot dead: three times in the chest, and once in the head. His body is found in Harvard Yard, dressed in evening attire. No one knows who he planned to meet there, or why the staunch Oxford man would be caught dead at Harvard—literally.

Australian Rowland Sinclair, his mate from Oxford and longtime friend, is named executor of the will, to his great surprise—and that of Danny’s family. Events turn downright ugly when the will all but disinherits Danny’s siblings in favor of one Otis Norcross, whom no one knows or is able to locate. Amidst assault, kidnapping, and threats of slander, Rowly struggles to understand Danny’s motives, find the missing heir, and identify his friend’s killer before the clock—and his luck—run out.

A deft blend of history and mystery, WHERE THERE’S A WILL offers an alternately charming and chilling snapshot of Boston and New York in the 1930s, with cameo appearances by luminaries of the day including Marion Davies, Randolph Hearst, Errol Flynn, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and an arrogantly ardent Joe Kennedy, who proves no match for Rowly’s sculptress friend Edna…

My Review:

I love it when I can get into daily life of the 1930s crowd, although these characters are all so wealthy it was difficult for me to identify.  The background is Boston, New York, and North Carolina and name-dropping throughout the narrative brought some jolting moments. Not that old, but these support or peripheral characters are names even most younger people would recognize.

The protagonist, Rowland Sinclair, and his cronies are Australian called from Singapore to Boston upon notice of the death of a close and dear friend, David Cartwright. Rowland is accompanied by Edna (who he insists on calling Ed), Clyde, and Milton. To Rowland’s horror, he has been named executor of David’s will. Upon reading of the will, however, the family discovers the bulk of David’s wealth is to go to one Otis Norcross—assuming he can be found. The Cartwrights are not happy.

In languid prose, the narrative proceeds with no one breaking out a sweat to find Otis—although that is the declared objective from the beginning as well as the discovery of who killed David. In the meantime, the novel introduces all manner of early to mid-thirties characters, invoking scenes in which Marion Davies, Joseph Kennedy, or William Randolph Hearst might appear. (Followed by Errol Lynn and Orson Wells.)

“Reputation is what you are supposed to be; character is what you are.”

There are gangsters, both Irish and Italian, formal dress codes for dinner, fashions, sights and sounds of the time along with delightful and entertaining quotes from news reports as intro to new chapters.  I also enjoyed the lively scenes of the dance halls, noting the Savoy in New York and the creation and popularity of the Lindy Hop.*

There are twists, turns, and shenanigans that sidetrack the MCs and I loved the tidbits regarding some of those historical figures as well as F Scott Fitzgerald and Monopoly (the Parker Brothers game that saved the company). So many historical luminaries woven into the story!

I must admit that my attention waned several times throughout the book as the gain in the whodunit was rather slow, then something would happen to spark my interest again. Took a while to get to the heart of the matter, the histories of the victim and the missing Otis, and I’d guessed the antagonist shortly after introduction to the plot.

My first experience with the author and the series, it’s obvious that Rowland and Ed have a thing, have had for some time, so I wasn’t particularly thrilled about the solution in the conclusion but any history buff would enjoy the Louella Parsons worthy gossip.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Trigger Warning: Homophobia

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Organized Crime, Historical Mysteries
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
ISBN: 1464214905
ASIN: B09158FKZ2
Print Length: 386 pages
Publication Date: January 18, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Sulari Gentill-authorThe Author: After setting out to study astrophysics, graduating in law and then abandoning her legal career to write books, Sulari now grows French black truffles on her farm in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains of NSW. Sulari is author of The Rowland Sinclair Mystery series, historical crime fiction novels (eight in total) set in the 1930s. Sulari’s A Decline in Prophets (the second book in the series) was the winner of the Davitt Award for Best Adult Crime Fiction 2012. She was also shortlisted for Best First Book (A Few Right Thinking Men) for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2011. Paving the New Road was shortlisted for another Davitt in 2013.

[Goodreads] Sulari lives with her husband, Michael, and their boys, Edmund and Atticus, on a small farm in Batlow where she grows French Black Truffles and refers to her writing as “work” so that no one will suggest she get a real job.

* The Lindy Hop is an American dance which was born in the African-American communities in Harlem, New York City, in 1928. [Wikipedia]

©2022 V Williams V Williams

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