The Promise of the Pelican by Roy Hoffman – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

The Promise of the Pelican by Roy Hoffman

Book Blurb:

The Promise of the Pelican by Roy HoffmanAt once a literary crime novel and an intergenerational family drama, The Promise of the Pelican is set in the multicultural South, where justice might depend on the color of your skin and your immigration status. Hank Weinberg is a modern day Atticus Finch, recently retired as a defense attorney in Mobile, Alabama, and a Holocaust survivor, who fled the Nazis as a young child. With his daughter in rehab, he’s now taking care of his special needs grandson. Mourning his dead wife, spending mornings fishing on the pier with other octogenarians, he passes the rest of his days watching over his sweet grandson with the help of Lupita, a young Honduran babysitter. When her brother Julio, an undocumented immigrant, is accused of murder, Hank must return to the courtroom to defend him while also trying to save his daughter and grandson’s life from spinning out of control. The Promise of the Pelican takes its title from the legend that a pelican will pierce its own breast for blood to feed its starving chicks, a metaphor for one old man who risks all to save the vulnerable.

In a crisp prose style Harper Lee called “lean and clean,” Hoffman writes from an enormous well of compassion. He fills his new novel with a cast of finely drawn characters of all ages and abilities facing life’s harshest challenges and rising to meet them with dignity.

For fans of Harper Lee and Rita Mae Brown, Roy Hoffman’s new novel is steeped in a sense of place–coastal Alabama–with its rich tapestry of characters caught in a web of justice not for all.

His Review:

The Promise of the Pelican by  Roy HoffmanLife is a series of conflicts for most individuals. Struggling against drug use is a rabbit hole difficult to get extricated from. Helping someone who has been stabbed can be a very dangerous undertaking. These are but a few of the trials these main characters face. Society and especially law enforcement espouse innocent until proven guilty. However, it is hard to prove innocence from inside a prison cell.

Escaping alcoholism is also very trying and at times a seemingly impossible endeavor. Family will be supportive for awhile but finally even the ones who love you abandon the quest to get you healed. This book explores some of these afflictions with painful clarity! Children are often caught in the middle, with grandparents or other family members taking up the mantle of guardianship.

CE WilliamsThe author helped me to realize that my own childhood was a cakewalk compared to some of the trials faced by others. Drug use is particularly egregious and there must be a way that society can educate the young to avoid this calamity at all costs. The problem is that some of the richest get their fortunes from this very malady. They are the ones that should face legal action and prison. Regrettably, they can afford the dealers and lawyers to keep their hands clean. I found myself trying to figure out the cure for this national affliction. Read and see if you agree. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Jewish Literature, Southern United States Fiction, Southern Fiction
Publisher: Arcade Crimewise
ISBN-10: ‎ 1950994341
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1950994342
ASIN: B09MV544WS
Print Length: 297 pages
Publication Date: March 15, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Promise of the Pelican [Amazon] 
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Roy Hoffman - authorThe Author: Roy Hoffman is author of the novels, “The Promise of the Pelican,” (2022), a literary crime novel of social justice in the Deep South, “Come Landfall,” a story of hurricanes and war, “Chicken Dreaming Corn,” endorsed by Harper Lee, about Romanian Jewish immigrants to the Deep South, and “Almost Family,” in a 35th Anniversary Edition, about a Black family and a Jewish family in Alabama. He’s author of two nonfiction books: “Back Home,” and “Alabama Afternoons.” A native of Mobile, Ala., Roy worked as a writer in New York for 20 years before returning south. He’s written for the New York Times, Wall St. Journal and Washington Post, covered features for the Mobile newspaper, and received the Lillian Smith Award in fiction and Clarence Cason Award in nonfiction. A graduate of Tulane, he teaches fiction and nonfiction in Spalding University’s Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing. http://www.royhoffmanwriter.com, @roybhoffman, http://www.facebook.com/royhoffmanwriter

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

Cajun Kiss of Death: A Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron – #BookReview – #cozymystery

“Try is a fail word…Because it gives you an out.”

 Book Blurb:

The next shot from Cupid’s bow may be fatal in USA Today bestselling, Agatha Award-winning author Ellen Byron’s hearty and delightful seventh Cajun Country mystery.

Cajun Kiss of Death by Ellen ByronIn Pelican, Louisiana, Valentine’s Day has a way of warming the heart, despite the February chill. But the air at Crozat Plantation B&B turns decidedly frigid when celebrity chef Phillippe Chanson checks in. And when the arrogant Phillippe–in town to open his newest Cajun-themed restaurant–perishes in a fiery boat crash, Maggie Crozat’s dear friend JJ lands in very cold water.

Did JJ, proprietor of Junie’s Oyster Bar and Dance Hall, murder Phillippe because he feared the competition? Might Maggie’s mother, Ninette, have bumped off the chef for stealing one of her cherished recipes? Or was the culprit a local seafood vendor, miffed because Phillippe was somehow able to sell oysters for a remarkably reasonable price, despite an oyster shortage?

Maggie had planned to devote her February to art lessons in New Orleans, a present from her sweetheart, Bo. But now she has to focus on helping her friend and her mother cross a murder charge off the menu. Meanwhile, Maggie receives a series of anonymous gifts that begin as charming but grow increasingly disturbing. Does Maggie have an admirer–or a stalker? And are these mysterious gifts somehow related to Phillippe’s murder?

Blood may be thicker than water, but this case is thicker than gumbo. And solving it will determine whether Maggie gets hearts and roses–or hearse and lilies–this Valentine’s Day.

My Review:

Book 7, rumored to be the last in the series, begins a multi-layered plot with plans for Valentine’s Day. It’s Pelican, Louisiana, near New Orleans and Pelican has a new Cajun themed restaurant to celebrate—until it’s arrogant owner dies in a fiery boat crash. Well, come on, the man was stealing old family recipes and he made more enemies than friends, so the suspect list isn’t short.

Cajun Kiss of Death by Ellen ByronGran got married about the same time Maggie Crozant married her policeman beau, Bo and she is knee deep in fundraising plans that includes a lively senior participation. Bo got her art lessons in New Orleans—she is an artist or thought she was—but is this really going to work? The teacher doesn’t really appreciate any of her stuff.

And then there is her stalker. Shopping for gowns. And another death. Good grief—so many issues.

I enjoy the atmospheric description that puts you right into the middle of the culture. She has her family and the business, Bo is a detective, and there are a lot of peripheral characters, names swapped back and forth. The author infuses her narratives with a sense of humor and the delicious fragrances of the local dishes.

“Like the saying goes, worry is paying interest on a debt you may not owe.”

So I’m not sure why this one didn’t quite click with me. It was slow moving and filled with the minutia of daily life, the struggles, the southern philosophies of life. The mystery was there, just not quite at the forefront, suspense was lacking, and the ending was an obvious wrap. I’ve read two others in this series, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard and Fatal Cajun Festival and loved both but this one fell short for me.

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: Southern United States Fiction, Southern Fiction, Cozy Culinary Mystery
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08N6SMX1J

Print Length: 329 pages
Publication Date: August 10, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo


Ellen Byron - authorThe Author
:
Ellen writes the USA Today bestselling Cajun Country Mysteries and Catering Hall Mysteries (under the pen name Maria DiRico). MARDI GRAS MURDER won the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel and was nominated for a Best Humorous Mystery Lefty Award by Left Coast Crime. A CAJUN CHRISTMAS KILLING and BODY ON THE BAYOU, both won the Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery, and were nominated for Agatha Awards in the category of Best Contemporary Novel. PLANTATION SHUDDERS, the first book in the series, was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. Cajun Country Mysteries offer “everything a cozy reader could want,” according to Publishers Weekly, while Library Journal says, “Diane Mott Davidson and Lou Jane Temple fans will line up for this series.” HERE COMES THE BODY, the first book in her Catering Hall Mysteries, is inspired by her real life. LONG ISLAND ICED TINA, the second in the series, recently launched, with both books in the series garnering great reviews.

Ellen’s TV credits include Wings and Just Shoot Me; she’s written over 200 magazine articles; her published plays include the award-winning Graceland and Asleep on the Wind. She is a native New Yorker who lives in Los Angeles and attributes her fascination with Louisiana to her college years at New Orleans’ Tulane University. She also worked as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing. Have an early copy of Martha’s first book, ENTERTAINING? Ellen’s standing right next to her in the group shot.

©2021 V Williams –

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel by Kim Michele Richardson – A #BookReview #historicalfiction

A book club of the month selection. But do I agree with their assessment?

Do I agree with the Book Club?

Book Blurb:

The New York Times and USA Today bestseller!

“…a hauntingly atmospheric love letter to the first mobile library in Kentucky and the fierce, brave packhorse librarians who wove their way from shack to shack dispensing literacy, hope, and — just as importantly — a compassionate human connection.”—Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything—everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.

Cussy’s not only a book woman, however, she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.

Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere—even back home.

My Review:

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

In an effort to find a local book club that I could actually attend (preferably during daylight hours), I went back to the one that sets out a book of the month that everyone would read and then hold a discussion. The February read was The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, released May of last year. The popular book club has met for twenty years.

This was a doozy of a book for my introduction to a live book group. I love it when I learn new things, and this a story in my own country and a state I know little about, except for riding through a portion of it in 2004. Add to boot, a historical fiction–and you know I love those–about the WPA project endorsed by Roosevelt during the depression. The Pack Horse Library Project delivered books to families in the remote areas of the Appalachians between 1935 and 1943, mostly by women. It was isolating and dangerous.

Closed off, desperately poor, with little hope for better times, the families welcomed even the normally shunned blue-skinned Pack House Librarian receiving books, magazines, and old newspapers that had been donated and brought to a central location there to be redistributed among those on her routes, sometimes covering as much as twenty miles. Cussy lived with her father, a miner, with black lung disease. There were many times, failing a family member who could read, she stayed to read to them.

A strongly patriarchal society, her father didn’t like her working, but beginning to fail himself and both of them starving, grudgingly allowed her the job. The book in first person tells the story of herself as well as those on her routes, desperate for any news and help. Those who could, contributed recipes or patterns, items that were added to scrapbooks divided into areas of interest–gardening, maintenance, quilting, etc. Mountain, home-grown remedies. These were extremely remote areas and winter only added to the burden.

So many issues in this book besides prejudice, illiteracy, backwoods justice, starvation, abuse, folklore, and illness. It’s a different culture steeped in tradition. The vernacular puts you on the mule behind Cussy as she winds through narrow canyon trails and heavily wooded landscapes to visit her patrons. There are politics and societal issues and the author deals with many of these through the experience of her own harsh childhood. Her prose strikes more than one cord, “…wailing for Henry and all the Henrys in these dark hollows who’d never be a common grown-up. Stuck forever as Peter Pans.”

“You tell a horse and ask a donkey.”

The conclusion comes rather abruptly after suffering some heartbreaking and brutal scenes, failing to explain a few threads, things I didn’t understand and would have loved an explanation. Extremely well researched, there are scenes drawn in a raw and descriptive manner and I can heartily recommend this unique, compelling novel.

There appears to be an interesting schedule on tap at this location into July and I will be returning in March to share Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. If you’ve read that, I’d love a heads up on your view. In the meantime, I found another group just starting this month in my area, also an afternoon meeting and I’m currently reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Bet you haven’t read that one either! What have I gotten myself into? I’ll be reviewing that book on Thursday, February 27.

Book Details:

Genre: Southern Fiction, Small Town and Rural Fiction, US Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1492671525
ASIN: B07LGD67ZZ
Print Length: 322 pages
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Source: Third Monday Book Club, Crown Point IN
Title Link: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
 
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Book Club Rating-Rosepoint Rating

Kim Michele Richardson - authorThe Author: Kim Michele Richardson lives in Kentucky and resides part-time in Western North Carolina. She has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, building houses, and is an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence, partnering with the U.S. Navy globally to bring awareness and education to the prevention of domestic violence. She is the author of the bestselling memoir The Unbreakable Child, and a book critic for the New York Journal of Books. Her novels include, Liar’s Bench, GodPretty in the Tobacco Field and The Sisters of Glass Ferry. Kim Michele currently finished her fourth novel, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek about the fierce and brave Kentucky Packhorse librarians. Coming Spring, 2019.

You can visit her websites and learn more at: http://www.kimmichelerichardson.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Photo attributions: Picture backgrounds and open book Canva.com
Book Trailer: YouTube

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