Wish You Were Here (The Wishing Tree Series Book 3) by Kay Bratt – #BookReview – #shortstories

“Wishes in branches tied with string. Someone’s hopes. Another’s dreams.”

Book Blurb:

Wish You Were Here by Kate BrattHenry Harmon has been married more than sixty years to his bigger-than-life and talk-of-the-town wife, Greta, when he begins to see signs of a problem. When her diagnosis comes to light, he struggles to keep his oath of in sickness and health, and to do it alone.

On the other side of their small town is Neva Cabot, who many years ago put her own mental health first when she cut friendship ties with Greta. But Neva is the kindest of kind and has been the face of hospitality for their town for decades. Even so, it will take some soul-searching for her to be able to step up and help walk Henry through the hardest days of his life.

Janie Stallard and her two daughters have just moved in to the old Johnson’s house when they can’t make the next rent and will be forced to move out. Neva offers Janie a job and her family a safe haven while they figure out what they want to do, and Neva tries to figure out why they are really there.

My Review:

My introduction to this series and an emotionally draining one at that. Neva Cabot is the Linden Falls quiet but powerful voice. She has a pulse on the people and knows when to step up. In this case, she is aware that Henry Harmon is exhausted with the care he is trying to provide his wife. She has had dementia for some time and is ill as well.

Neva knows both Henry (a past beau) and his wife Greta with whom she was friends until their conflict separated them. Despite the feelings left between the three, she feels it’s time Henry had some much-needed support—whether or not Greta accepts it.

…”suspicion and paranoia went hand in hand with dementia patients.”

Neva has come to the aid of Janie and her two daughters, hiring her as a housekeeper so she can provide a roof over their heads and in the meantime the girls are becoming acquainted with Greta, who, with Henry spent many years traveling the world, seeing the sights, and enjoying life.

Wish You Were Here by Kay BrattThey didn’t have children but Greta is delighting in telling the girls about the different countries, including Taiwan. And, oh, did that bring back my own memories! As she spoke of Sun Moon Lake, I was reminded of the amebic dysentery bout I experienced there I’d gotten as a result of eating the food from vendors parked over the benjo ditches in Taipei where we’d go in search of something to eat after *s..t*-kicker night at the Maag Club. (Wonderful concerts with Tammy Wynette and Jeannie Seeley to name a couple.) Well, anyway…

I was enjoying the simple and poignant narrative at times touching close to home. There are a couple pets that lighten somewhat the heavy atmosphere. Neva is a great main character, empathetic and caring. Henry is very sympathetic. I could also identify with Janie (although I wondered how authentic the girls could be) and going into the conclusion felt my heart clutch.

Then—that little bombshell at the climax. Whoa! What a twist! Sweet, if not wholly credible. A short story that packs a powerful punch. I’m sure there are many readers who can relate to the characters and situations and I have to give the author credit for providing that zinger. Totally unexpected but satisfying.

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

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars Four point Five Stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Friendship Fiction, Single Authors Short Stories, Short Stories
Publisher: Red Thread Publishing Group
ASIN: B09BDQ2H8R
Print Length: 155 pages
Publication Date: March 9, 2022
Source: Author’s promo
Title Link: Wish You Were Here [Amazon]

 

Kay Bratt - authorThe Author: Kay Bratt; Writer, Rescuer, Wanderer

As a writer, Kay used writing to help her navigate a tumultuous childhood, followed by a decade of abuse as an adult. After working her way through the hard years, Kay emerged a survivor and a pursuer of peace—and finally found the courage to share her stories. She is the author of more than two dozen books, with ten of those published by Lake Union Publishing. Kay writes women’s fiction and historical fiction, and her books have fueled many exciting book club discussions. Her works have been translated into German, Korean, Chinese, Hungarian, Czech, Estonian, and have made it into the hands of more than a million readers around the world.

As a rescuer, Kay currently focuses her efforts on animal rescue and is the Director of Advocacy for Yorkie Rescue of the Carolinas. As a child advocate, she spent a number of years volunteering in a Chinese orphanage, as well as provided assistance for several nonprofit organizations that support children in China, including An Orphan’s Wish (AOW), Pearl River Outreach, and Love Without Boundaries. In the USA, she actively served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected children in Georgia, and spear-headed numerous outreach programs for underprivileged children in the South Carolina area.

As a wanderer, Kay has lived in nearly three dozen different homes, on two continents and in states from coast to coast in the USA. She’s traveled to Mexico, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Philippines, Central America, Bahamas, and Australia. Currently she and her soulmate of more than 25 years enjoy life in their forever home on the banks of Lake Hartwell in Georgia, USA.

Kay has been described as southern, spicy, and a little sassy. Social media forces her to overshare and you don’t want to miss some of the antics that goes on with her and the Bratt Pack.

Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and then buckle up and enjoy the ride. You can find a full list of her published works at http://www.kaybratt.com — To be notified when new books are released, please sign up for my monthly email newsletter at http://www.kaybratt.com or at this link:

https://www.subscribepage.com/kaybrattnewsletter

©2023 V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

The Devil’s Own: A tantalizing historical mystery by Maria McDonald – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

A set of century-old diaries found in an attic draws an Irish couple into a tale of murder and madness, in this absorbing new suspense.

The Devil's Own by Maria McDonaldAfter forty years in the Irish army, Brian is looking forward to retiring and spending time with his wife—though he worries about adjusting to civilian life. While clearing the attic before they move house, he makes a discovery: three journals dating back to the early twentieth century.

One was written by Arthur, an ex-Connaught Ranger; another by Arthur’s wife, Edith, a colonel’s daughter; and the third by Henry, a British soldier and Arthur’s best friend.

Brian and his wife are soon engrossed in reading the diaries and following the intertwined stories of these three people from the past. But it soon becomes chillingly clear that these diaries contain more than the daily adventures of ordinary lives. Because one of the three is a killer . . .

My Review:

Well, how much fun was this?

This is one of those that I continued to read, fascinated, while my breakfast cereal became soggy.

A dual timeline novel that begins approximately 1880 to 1924 and the other present day. The main POV is that of Brian, retiring after spending forty years in the Irish army. His wife is thrilled with the new digs they’ve planned for years and eagerly looking forward to retiring with her hubby. It’s when Brian tackles the attic of the home previously occupied by myriad military families that he discovers journals hidden in a covered chest that date back a century where the real mystery suspense begins.

Brian and Jean become engrossed in reading what must have been the separate diaries of Arthur and his wife Edith, and that of Henry, Arthur’s best friend. The journals, however, turn rather dark and Henry’s diary becomes shocking.

The Devil's Own by Maria McDonaldThe journals take turns as the narrative progresses through the story of Arthur as an orphaned child and his eventual history with the Connaught Rangers. Edith has given up being the privileged child of an officer stationed in India at the Curragh Camp with all the privileges attendant to the British military of the time. Their union is marred by Arthur’s drinking encouraged by his army buddy Henry.

I loved the chapters with Arthur and Edith; Henry’s chapters turn grisly as he describes his exploits. The descriptions of the bases or camps are vivid with detail and include interesting tidbits of military life of the time. The characters are fully developed and evoke immersion into the storyline, creating a bond between both the current angst-filled Brian and the tragedy of Edith’s marriage.

So engrossing the laying out of the backstory of the individuals, it’s easy to be fully invested in them by the time the well-plotted and paced storyline plays out. I suspicioned Henry’s story early on, but the novel is so absorbing I had no problem burying myself in the pages in a race to the conclusion.

Gripping, it is indeed tantalizing and a particularly satisfying read. As with most journeys, the fun is not always in the destination—it’s the ride.

I previously read Charlie Mac back in May 2018 and enjoyed it. The author outdid herself this time–loved it. I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bloodhound Books and the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts. This is one that will make my suggested favorites list for #readingirelandmonth in March.

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical Thrillers, Psychological Fiction
Publisher: Bloodhound Books
ASIN: B0BQ6LP15Y
Print Length: 348 pages
Publication Date: January 11, 2023
Source: Bloodhound Books and the author

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Maria McDonald - authorThe Author: Originally from Belfast, Maria McDonald lives in Kildare, with her husband Gerry.

Maria is an avid reader who loves to write but only indulged in her passion for writing fiction after retirement. Since then, her short stories and articles have been published in Woman’s Way and Ireland’s Own, as well as numerous anthologies; Intermissions, Grattan Street Press Melbourne; Same page anthology, University College Cork; Fragments of Time, Amber Publishers. Maria is a founder member of Ink Tank Writing Group, based in Newbridge library and contributed to their anthologies, Timeless in Kildare and Let Me Tell You Something.

©2023 V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

Born and Bred Texan (Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles) Book 9 of 9 by Jinx Schwartz – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

Born and Bred Texan by Jinx SchwartzBlue Bonet, widowed and in mourning, returns to Magnolia Bluff in her home state of Texas. Her grandmother had bequeathed an old lake house to her, and she cherishes childhood memories there. She arrives at the lake and finds the house she remembers as being grand, is now in disrepair.
She tackles the repairs, and is determined to make a new life for herself,
It seems like an uphill battle.
A rollercoaster of ups and down conspire to destroy her dream, and she begins to wonder if you really can’t go home again.

My Review:

I was notified, as I am occasionally, by Amazon telling me one of my favorite authors is releasing a new book, this one by Jinx Schwartz. Oh my stars! Well, it’s been ages since I read and reviewed the last Hetta Coffey book, so of course I jumped on it. Even (gasp) paid for it and I don’t do a lot of those. I loved those Hetta Coffey books. I had so much fun with those short and sweet novels, most read prior to this blog, but I did review Just the Pits as a #ThrowbackThursday post back in 2017.

So, somehow I was thinking a new book, new series, I’d get in on the first of the series. Nope. It’s Book 9. Boy, I hate when that happens.

Born and Bred Texan by Jinx SchwartzNow, I’m wondering, if this seemed like the intro to a new series, what have I missed? Blue Bonet is widowed and in mourning returns to Magnolia Bluff in Texas. Her grandmother has bequeathed an old lake house to her and she remembers the home with fond memories as a child. Now, maybe not so much. It’s sadly outdated, in need of some serious repair and remodeling.

Well, mercy! The old place has good bones and she finds the perfect handyman (Handy) to fix it up—apparently a general contractor, carpenter, electrician, and plumber rolled into one. This guy is super and I loved his character, could easily picture him. Of course, there is a dog, Toto, seeking a new owner after hers’ is found deceased on the back forty, which introduces (at least to me) Sheriff Leslie.

Having gone to school locally, Blue has a network of old school chums that make for some interesting support characters (Gloria or Glory), as well as family not too far from Grams’s old place.

“…my neighbor raises chickens and the damned things live in Clucker Taj Majal.”

“I take a drug to help with depression, and then feel depressed that I need a drug?”

“…I need immoral support…”

As always with Schwartz’s books, there is that snarky sense of humor, although Blue dials back on the boozing, she’s up for hijinks and doesn’t balk at getting to the bottom of the mystery of the bodies on her property. I enjoyed the description of the area, the property, the lake, and the surrounding environs—including the wildlife. The work on the house sounded amazing and I would have loved a tour of the home and her separate studio.

I felt the pace of the book was a bit slow as I waited for something to happen and then it stayed low-key anyway while life went on. Maybe I was used to the pacing set by the Hetta Coffey books, but this seemed to veer a bit off the mystery several times as it delved into unrelated matters. And by the way, cousin Hetta does manage to make an appearance—loved it—with her dog Po Thang and SO Jenks.

The conclusion was likewise rather low key, already suspected. Fast and furious mop-up in the epilogue. You might appreciate a more domestic type of undercurrent mystery, interesting characters, and the Texas setting. You may not appreciate the edit misses or the insta-love.

These are my honest thoughts. I may try one more book in this series, but definitely prefer the pace and setting of the Hetta Coffey mysteries.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Detective Fiction, Amateur Sleuths, Cozy Animal Mystery
ASIN: B0BKX1SY36
Print Length: 258 pages
Publication Date: December 20, 2022
Source: Verified Purchase
Title Link: Born and Bred in Texas [Amazon]

 

Jinx Schwartz - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Jinx Schwartz is the USA TODAY Best-selling author of the award-winning Hetta Coffey series.

JUST ADD WATER, first in the series, introduces Hetta, a sassy Texan with a snazzy yacht, and she’s not afraid to use it. JUST ADD SALT, JUST ADD TROUBLE, JUST DESERTS, JUST THE PITS, JUST NEEDS KILLIN’, AND JUST DIFFERENT DEVILS get her into hot Mexican Waters. JUST PARDON MY FRENCH, BOOK 8, FINDS HETTA IN FRANCE and Book 9: JUST FOLLOW THE MONEY, takes a wild ride on two continents, and JUST FOR THE BIRDS, Book 10, gets her afowl of exotic bird smugglers. Book 11 finds her in Texas, and living in an RV until her boat goes missing back in Mexico, and in Just On Porpoise (12 ) her attention is drawn to the almost extinct Vaquita, and JUST SO WRONG (13) finds Hetta taking on the dogfighting trade. Her other books: The Texicans (Texas 1806-1836 Historical Western), Land of Mountains, a YA/TWEEN set in Haiti in the 1950’s, Troubled Sea, a thriller in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, and BAJA GET AWAY, suspensful romance in Mexico.

Jinx spends equal time in Arizona and Mexico.

Website – http://jinxschwartz.com

Twitter – @jinxschwartz

©2023 V Williams

Happy New Year - 2023

Revolution (America Book 3) by Mike Bond – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

Revolution by Mike BondThe 1968 Tet uprising plunges America deeper into the abyss of Vietnam. Martin Luther King is shot, and riots rage in 130 burning American cities. Students protesting the War take over American universities, and street battles in Paris nearly topple the French government. Senator Eugene McCarthy enters the Democratic presidential race against Lyndon Johnson, followed by Bobby Kennedy, who goes on to win the California Democratic primary.

Mick joins the Paris student street battles, then returns to the US to work in Kennedy’s presidential campaign. Daisy leaves Stanford to work also in Bobby’s campaign. Troy faces increasing dangers as the Vietnam War widens into Cambodia and Laos. American astronauts land on the moon and safely return to earth.

Tara and her band shine at Woodstock. The My Lai massacre is revealed, further darkening the tragedy in Vietnam, and America teeters on the edge of revolution.

His Review:

The draft is actuated in the mid-1960s and deferments were hard to get. Troy has re-upped for a second hitch in Vietnam because he is in love with a Vietnamese woman named Su Li. (For the life of me, I could not understand why our country went from the Korean War directly into the conflict in Southeast Asia!  The French had lost that war at Diem Bien Pu!)

Revolution by Mike BondThe political climate was supercharged with political parties split between following the French into Vietnam or allowing the country to unify under one communist government. The justification was to forestall the entire Asian continent become communist. John F. Kennedy tried to stop it as did his brother Bobby. Both were killed for their trouble. Meanwhile, the flower of American youth are being sent to this war with no opportunity to say no.

Mike’s older brother Troy is listed as a casualty of war. Mike does not want to go into the military although he has been issued a summons to have a physical examination prior to being inducted.  His avoiding this summons results in his arrest and potential ten-year sentence in a maximum federal prison for draft evasion.

The author likens the activities of our military akin to the atrocities leveled by Hitler. The casualties on both sides are exaggerated with death tolls of the enemy being enhanced and the American casualties minimized. Meanwhile, the fighting soldier has nowhere to go and is fighting a determined enemy in their own country.

CE WilliamsThis novel is a long overdue diatribe regarding the Vietnam War and the way that the American people were duped and lied to. Anti-war sentiments at most major universities highlighted the angst born by the average draft-age citizens. Read this enlightening exposé of corporate America making billions on the sale of war material. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Political Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher: Big City Press
ASIN: B09ZQ7ZTD3
Print Length: 316 pages
Publication Date: June 21, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Revolution [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Mike Bond - authorThe Author: Called “master of the existential thriller” by BBC, “one of America’s best thriller writers” by Culture Buzz, and “one of the 21st century’s most exciting authors” by the Washington Times, Mike Bond is a best-selling novelist, war and human rights journalist, and environmental activist. He has covered guerrilla wars, death squads, and military dictatorships in Latin America and Africa, Islamic terrorism in the Middle East, and ivory poaching and other environmental battles in East Africa and Asia.

His critically acclaimed novels take the reader into intense situations in the world’s most perilous places, into wars, revolutions, dangerous love affairs and political and corporate conspiracies, making “readers sweat with [their] relentless pace.” (Kirkus) and drawing them “into a land and a time I had not known but left me with my senses reeling.” (NetGalley Reviews)

His books have been named among the best of the year by reviewers and readers alike. He speaks multiple languages, has climbed and trekked over 50,000 miles on every continent from the Antarctic to Siberia, and is at home in some of the most primitive and dangerous places on the planet.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

Have a merry Tuesday!

The Devil You Know (The Detective Margaret Nolan Series Book 3) by P J Tracy – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

Darkness is nothing new to LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan, but in P.J. Tracy’s The Devil You Know, even she isn’t prepared for the scandalous deception of deadly proportions that shakes the very foundation of Hollywood and its untouchables…and leaves her entangled in its rotten core.

The Devil You Know by P J TracyLos Angeles has many faces: the real LA where regular people live and work, the degenerate underbelly of any big city, and the rarefied world of wealth, power, and celebrity. LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan’s latest case plunges her into this insular realm of privilege, and gives her a glimpse of the decay behind the glitter.

Beloved actor Evan Hobbes is found in the rubble of a Malibu rockslide, a day after a fake video ruins his career. It’s not clear to Nolan if it’s an accident, a suicide, or a murder, and things get murkier as the investigation expands to his luminary friends and colleagues. Meanwhile, Hobbes’s agent is dealing with damage control, his psychotic boss, and a woman he’s scorned.

My Review:

My first experience with LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan and perhaps that is part of my problem, this book being #3 in the series. Sometimes, it matters not; sometimes it’s best to have started with book 1.

The Devil You Know by P J TracyDetective Nolan is a hardened, experienced woman on the LAPD force borne of time spent negotiating with the men in the department as well as the three well-known layers of LA society; that of the underbelly, the regular people who work and pay taxes for the lower layer as well as the top layer of the privileged, wealthy, and powerful. It is the top layer she will deal with here.

First, I found that the book gets a slow start with excessive use of descriptive adjectives, losing me several times in the sheer volume of characters being introduced as well as the twenty-dollar words when two dollars ones would do.

“Crawford appeared in the doorway, interrupting her elegiac meanderings.”

There is the death of a popular and well-known actor that is determined homicide (not accident), followed by a multiple pile up of bodies. The slow pace eases somewhat as the sixteen-syllable words decrease, but still I could find no way to engage and lost the thread several times.

It doesn’t take long to discern the guilty party and then it becomes difficult to hang on long enough for the plot to catch up. The focus tends to spread when I wanted to concentrate on the whodunit. It seems like the storyline is carried along by the support characters until Maggie finally takes over towards the second half of the narrative.

I just could not seem to connect and stay connected and particularly wanted to after the invitation from Ms. Haring of St. Martin’s Press. I usually enjoy police procedurals—perhaps this was a bit cerebral for me and those who enjoy a twisty, intelligent crime thriller will embrace.

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 point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedurals, Crime Thrillers
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: ‎ 1250859948
ASIN: B09Y46NXKL
Print Length: 294 pages
Publication Date: January 17, 2023
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

P J Tracy - authorThe Author: PJ Tracy is the pseudonym of mother-daughter writing duo P.J. and Traci Lambrecht, authors of the New York Times and internationally bestselling MONKEEWRENCH series, and winners of the Anthony, Barry, Gumshoe, and Minnesota Book Awards.

After PJ’s death in 2016, Traci began writing the Detective Margaret Nolan series, set in Los Angeles, where she lived for many years. DEEP INTO THE DARK and DESOLATION CANYON are available now, and the third novel, THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, will be released in January 2023.

©2022 V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

Happy Holiday week!

Goodreads Choice Awards–The Best of the Winners and Losers 2022

Goodreads Choice Awards - 2022

 

How well did you do with your nominees in the annual Goodreads Choice Awards for 2022? I always participate in voting, searching for those books I’ve read and then seeing the final winner count in my choices. It’s always a surprise.

This year I was happy to note I chose more favorites. I don’t read such a wide variety that I have choices in every (17) categories.  I read humor, memoir and biography, as well as a few nonfiction and others, but my favorites, of course, are Mystery & Thriller, Historical Fiction, Fiction, and Debut novels.

The links below are to the Goodreads listings in those categories. Those with a thumbnail of the cover also have a link to my review.

Goodreads Choice Awards

2022 Goodreads Choice Awards

Nominees on my shelves:

Best Fiction

The Winners by Fredrik BackmanThe Winners by Fredrik Backman

This Time Tomorrow by Emma StraubThis Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

 

Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth StroutLucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout

 

 

The Winner:

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevil

… 

Best Mystery & Thriller

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St JamesThe Book of Cold Cases by Simone St James

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllisterWrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

 

The Night Shift by Alex Finlay  The Night Shift by Alex Finlay

The Winner:

The Maid by Nita Prose (This is a mystery/thriller??)

… 

Best Historical Fiction

Lessons in chemistry by Bonnie GarmusLessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

The Last House on the Street by Diane ChamberlainThe Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain

 

The Winner:

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Best Memoir & Autobiography

Funny Farm by Laurie ZaleskiFunny Farm by Laurie Zaleski

The Winner:

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

… 

Best Debut

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie GarmusLessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

The Winner:

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

 

Yes, this year I did choose a novel that ultimately made #1 this year, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus nominated in both the debut and historical fiction categories, winning Best Debut with 64,107 votes. Also, last year I enjoyed six nominees in three categories, while this year I had three in two categories (best fiction and mystery and thriller), two in historical fiction and one each in memoir & autobiography, and debut for a total of ten in my five categories.

 

So I have to ask:

  • How many of the above did you read?
  • In how many different categories do you participate?
  • Do you look for reading ideas from the Goodreads winners?
  • Will you be choosing one of the 2023 trending books next year?
  • And, lastly—have you gone to any movies or viewed series based on one of your choices?

I’ve always appreciated Goodreads for the extensive resource they are. In the past, I participated often with Giveaways until they changed the entry to land in the “Want to Read” column. Yes, I did, but I didn’t want it accumulating in that column particularly if I didn’t win the book. I recently went through the column, some entries dating back years, and deleted them.

Now, besides the forums in which I’m a participant, I do mine their New Releases section under “Browse” and often crosscheck those against the offerings in NetGalley. Are you feeling lucky? Well, are you?

How many ways do you use Goodreads?

©2022 V Williams

Swamp Story by Dave Barry – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times bestselling author and actual Florida Man Dave Barry returns with a Florida caper full of oddballs and more twists and turns than a snake slithering away from a gator.

Swamp Story by Dave BarryJesse Braddock is trapped in a tiny cabin deep in the Everglades with her infant daughter and her ex-boyfriend, a wannabe reality TV star who turned out to be a lot prettier on the outside than on the inside. Broke and desperate for a way out, Jesse stumbles across a long-lost treasure, which could solve all her problems—if she can figure out how to keep it. The problem is, some very bad men are also looking for the treasure, and they know Jesse has it.

Meanwhile, Ken Bortle of Bortle Brothers Bait and Beer has hatched a scheme to lure tourists to his failing store by making viral videos of the “Everglades Melon Monster.” The Monster is in fact an unemployed alcoholic newspaperman named Phil wearing a Dora the Explorer costume head. Incredibly, this plan actually works, inspiring a horde of TikTokers to swarm into the swamp in search of the monster at the same time villains are on the hunt for Jesse’s treasure. Amid this mayhem, a presidential hopeful arrives in the Everglades to start his campaign. Needless to say, it does not go as planned. In fact, nothing in this story goes as planned. This is, after all, Florida.

My Review:

What a breath of fresh air and a major hoot to boot! I love it when I can get my hands on a Dave Barry book. So much fun you can’t put it down. I also knew this one had to be shared with the CE, so his review is below.

SOOO much to write about, it’d be easy to give away too much, but by the blurb you already know it is about Jesse Braddock and her treasure discovery. She is living in a tiny Everglades cabin with egocentric Slater, a pretty boy who is the father to her infant daughter Willa. Not bad enough she is stuck here with Slater, but now he’s taken in a cohort, Kark, also not large on brains or abilities.

Meanwhile, Ken Bortle of Bortle Brothers Bait and Beer is busy hatching another hair-brained scheme to lure tourists to the long-since failed business he inherited with his brother, Brad. Only Dave Barry could develop these misfit characters as they concoct yet another fantastic idea to make their millions. The idea is so stupid, so idiotic, that it’s sure to get shut down immediately by their buddy Stu but it seems Stu likes the idea. Ken is going to attract tourists by making a video of the “Everglades Melon Monster” and they already have someone in mind to play the melon monster.

Swamp Story by Dave BarryNow it gets even more complicated: There are the bad guys out in the swamp looking for treasure and even worse guys looking for Jesse who found it. Hey, it’s Florida, the Everglades, the swamp, wild boars, alligators. Barry knows how to heap on the absurd with satirical bits of side-splitting observations, LOL analogies, and dialogue dead on to the character; the characters so real you want to either give them a hug or kick some behind. It quickly goes from crazy to wild and dangerous and hilariously tongue-in-cheek.

“That’s Buddy,” said Skeeter. “He’s my emotional support boar.”

This is a book loaded with twists, unique atmospherics, and an outrageously imaginative plot. Engaging, entertaining, and totally recommended. LOVED IT! 5 stars

His Review:

Dumb and Dumber meet the Three Stooges in this slapstick adventure in the Florida Everglades. A struggling business; Bortle Brothers Bait and Beer is trying to drive business to their store. They devise a plan to create a viral video of a “swamp monster.”

Dave Barry is a classic writer who weaves average intellect with personal avarice and jealousy. Between enjoying various illegal substances and devising a script for their story, Ken’s prime motivator is cash flow. Almost losing the store, Ken and his cohorts decide there needs to be a swamp monster that is being investigated by them. The dialogue between these individuals is absolutely hilarious as well as idiotic. A few bucks is all that it takes to motivate the participants.

The plot thickens when a young beauty stumbles across some Civil War gold hidden in Everglades National Park. She is trying to dump the father of her child who turns out to be a real dirtbag. He has already blown through her inheritance and left her nearly barefoot and penniless.

Brad is another character. He is unable to put together a coherent thought when Jesse is around and has fallen head over heels for her. He helps with her daughter while she tries to get the treasure. She is not sure who she can trust.

The video goes viral with the first installment of the search for the swamp monster. I kept laughing as I waded through the antics of the head of the Department of the Interior, the local news agencies, and the instigators. Read and laugh along with this hilarious tale. 5 stars – CE Williams

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from #Simon&Schuster and the author through @NetGalley that in no way influenced either review. These are our honest thoughts.

Definitely a #nottobemissed novel releasing next year, currently on pre-order, and our recommendation for a book that is engaging and humorously entertaining.

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Book Details:

Genre: Dark Humor, General Humorous Fiction, Humorous Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ASIN: B0BHTPVBCY
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: May 2, 2023
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

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

Dave’s most recent books are “Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland,” and “Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog.” His next book, “A Field Guide To The Jewish People,” which he co-wrote with his friends Adam Mansbach and Alan Zweibel, will be published September 24. Dave is not Jewish, but Adam and Alan are, so it’s kosher.

©2022  The CE and I

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