Hunting Season: An Anna Pigeon Novel by Nevada Barr – An #Audiobook Review – #crimethriller – #TBT

“What’s the use of a load of manure if you can’t spread it around.” 

Hunting Season by Nevada Barr

Book Blurb:

When Anna answers a call to historic Mt. Locust, once a producing plantation and inn on Mississippi’s Natchez Trace Parkway and now a tourist spot, the last thing she expects to encounter is murder. But the man Anna finds in the stand’s old bedroom is no tourist in distress. He’s nearly naked, and very dead, his body bearing marks consistent with an S & M ritual gone awry. On a writing table nearby is an open Bible, ominous passages circled in red. It seems the deceased is the brother of Raymond Barnette, local undertaker and a candidate for sheriff, who wants to keep any hint of kinkiness out of the minds of the God-fearing populace. Ray may be hiding a house full of secrets in the old family homestead, but before Anna can start her investigation, she’s waylaid by malevolent poachers, peevish coworkers, and a suddenly turbulent romantic life. And when hidden agendas and old allegiances are revealed, it’s suddenly Anna’s life on the line.

My Review:

My introduction to the Anna Pigeon series, this audiobook also introduced me to the Mississippi Natchez Trace. Yes, of course, most of those in the US have heard of the Trace, the lush landscape of the south as well as the racial history, but like me—really don’t know the exact location, what it is (literally an early Native American trail)—fascinating as it is.

Hunting Season by Nevada BarrThis series started way back in 1993 and ended in 2016 after 19 in the series. Few garnered at least four stars but appear to have remained popular. In Book 10, protagonist Park Ranger Anna Pigeon is called to the circumstances of a deceased, oversized man left in a compromising position but the circumstances don’t make sense with the way he died. And, perhaps separately, or maybe not, poaching has become serious. When she has a deadly encounter on her way home and her vehicle is demolished, she steps up her investigation.

An additional problem is that her management position here was unexpected and the male co-workers are a bit disgruntled. And then there is her involvement with Paul Davidson, separated for some time from his wife who won’t grant a divorce. Perhaps she should take a more jaundiced eye to that situation. (Deep and heavy sigh…life is never simple…)

Okay, first, I must admit that so many times, it’s the narrator who makes or breaks an audiobook for me. And this narrator hooks you in and, I suspect, keeps the listener interested where a reader’s interest might wane a bit through the middle minutia weeding out the details of whose land is whose.

Intense investigation, witticisms, Southern mores, and history mingle to lull you into story listening mode, digesting the further development of Anna and particularly her main support deputy Barth—a character I really found engaging. Of course, Anna is engaging as well, an effective strong female in a male dominated position.

The pieces of the puzzle get scattered until finally drawn together in a heart-pounding conclusion. I have to admit, however, to having correctly guessed the perp, although it made perfect sense unless it was going to be one of those barely mentioned names in an off-hand remark as sometimes happens. Not this one, but the trip up the Trace is worth the time and I was thoroughly entertained and will look for another—probably closer to the end of the series this time. I listened as a standalone and at Book 10 gleaned sufficient information to progress toward Book 19. Recommended. 

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thrillers, Women Sleuths, Suspense
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B0002QUWR8
Listening Length: 10 hrs., 57 mins.
Print Length: 348 pages
Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat
Publication Date: July 22, 2004
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Hunting Season [Amazon]

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 Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Nevada Barr - authorThe Author: Nevada [Barr] was born in the small western town of Yerington, Nevada and raised on a mountain airport in the Sierras. Both her parents were pilots and mechanics and her sister, Molly, continued the tradition by becoming a pilot for USAir.
Pushed out of the nest, Nevada fell into the theatre, receiving her BA in speech and drama and her MFA in Acting before making the pilgrimage to New York City, then Minneapolis, MN. For eighteen years she worked on stage, in commercials, industrial training films and did voice-overs for radio. During this time she became interested in the environmental movement and began working in the National Parks during the summers — Isle Royale in Michigan, Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, Mesa Verde in Colorado, and then on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.

Woven throughout these seemingly disparate careers was the written word. Nevada wrote and presented campfire stories, taught storytelling and was a travel writer and restaurant critic. Her first novel, Bitterweet was published in 1983. The Anna Pigeon series, featuring a female park ranger as the protagonist, started when she married her love of writing with her love of the wilderness, the summer she worked in west Texas. The first book, Track of the Cat, was brought to light in 1993 and won both the Agatha and Anthony awards for best first mystery. The series was well received and A Superior Death, loosely based on Nevada’s experiences as a boat patrol ranger on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, was published in 1994. In 1995 Ill Wind came out. It was set in Mesa Verde, Colorado where Nevada worked as a law enforcement ranger for two seasons.
The rest is, shall we say, HISTORY! Nevada’s books and accomplishments have become numerous and the presses continue to roll, so in the interest of NOT having to update this page, books, awards, status on the New York Times Best Seller List — and more — will be enumerated with the relevant books else where on this website.

Barbara Rosenblat - narratorThe Narrator:

Barbara Rosenblat has been narrating for more than 20 years, and even had the honor of performing the first book ever recorded at Audible in 1999.

She has also appeared on screen such as in the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black as Miss Rosa. Rosenblat was born in London, England and raised in New York City. Upon returning to the US, she read books to the blind for four years at the Library of Congress.[2] On Broadway she appeared in The Secret Garden and Talk Radio. Barbara Rosenblat has narrated more than 400 audiobooks including:

– The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

– The Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters

©020 V Williams V Williams

Murder Ballad Blues: A Mystery (Appalachian Mountain Mysteries Book 4) by Lynda McDaniel – a #BookReview #thriller #tuesdaybookblog

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars Five Stars

This is the fourth novel—a standalone novel—in the Appalachian Mountain Mysteries series. 

Book Blurb:

Murder Ballad Blues by Lynda McDanielLaurel Falls, N.C. 2005  A mysterious death in the North Carolina mountains. Then a second. By the third, the FBI finally gets involved. Trouble is, they’re looking in all the wrong places.

Abit Bradshaw has a theory, but of course the FBI doesn’t take him seriously. When he teams up with musicologist Wallis Harding, bluegrass music becomes more than something to practice and perform. It’s key to finding the serial killer.

Della Kincaid, a former crime reporter in Washington, D.C., can’t seem to escape her past. Now living in the small town of Laurel Falls, she’s busy investigating a fraud case that gets darker at every turn. She’s about to give up when a secretive whistleblower pulls her in again—and back to D.C.

Abit and Della team up once again to convince the FBI to help them with both their crime investigations.

Will Abit and Wallis discover the killer’s pattern … before he strikes again?

Can Della make sense of the whistleblower’s clues before the fraud case is closed for good?

You’ll love this suspenseful mystery because everyone longs to find justice in this crazy world. 

My Review:

Murder Ballad Blues by Lynda McDanielYou know I don’t often read a book straight through, but this one wouldn’t allow a lot of interruptions. Once again I was drawn into the characters, so richly described and developed. The main character is Abit Bradshaw, his POV, until we begin to alternate between his and that of Della Kinkaid, her POV. My heart aches for Abit, now a man—married to Fiona, “queen of the Irish gypsies” with a boy of their own. But he will fortunately never receive the sole-crushing emotional (and physical) abuse his own father meted out to him. He was “a bit slow” and that stuck at his school, his family, the town. And his name became Abit.

The mountains of North Carolina and the Appalachians have a reputation for being an enclave unto itself. Tight, suspicious. Abit was taken under wing, however, by those who saw more in him–a school more appropriate. It was discovered he had beautiful latent talents all his own. For one, he and his wife now play prominently in a bluegrass band they call the Rollin’ Ramblers.

Della is an ex-DC journalist, now writing a small column with a pen name and can’t help but notice the thread to a crime taking place under their noses. Additionally, their little corner of the world has recently experienced two murders and Abit begins to notice something. These things nagging at him, refuses to let go until he is totally, thoroughly wrapped up in what appears a diabolical serial killer. A lot of the music of the Appalachians came from Scotland and Ireland and one such became bluegrass. Tying the mystery to old folk ballads and numerology is brilliant.

The author skillfully assumes the dialect of the area, that particular form of speech, and seamlessly added the Cockney of a visiting Englishman. Dastardly things are afoot. The well-plotted storyline never misses a beat between the POVs and the active investigations, raising the blood pressure, tension, and urge to help. It’s immersive, engaging and leads to a satisfying conclusion without pages of explanation.

I previously read A Life for a Life and was hooked by these characters, most especially Abit—completely sympathetic. As an ARC member, I received an early copy for my honest review. I thoroughly enjoy this series, the author’s sense of humor, prose, and little pieces of fascinating locale and premise trivia. Unique and wholly recommended.

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Book Details:

Genre: Serial Killer Thrillers, Murder Thrillers, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Lynda McDaniel Books

  • ASIN : B08BG61CVC

Print Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: To be released September 15, 2020
Source: Publisher and Author Request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 

Lynda McDaniel - author
Lynda McDaniel

The Author: [Lynda McDaniel] I love writing page-turners–both fiction and nonfiction. And I love helping others to do the same, living into their dreams of writing books. I believe my success comes down to a respect for my readers and clients. I know I’m easily bored, so I work hard to engage and inspire my readers.

After all, we’re all busy these days, and I want to deliver value–whether that’s a gripping mystery filled with memorable characters or books on writing that give you the tools to write your own fiction and nonfiction. Both make me happy.

I got my start as a writer in the most unlikely place–a town of 200 people in the mountains of North Carolina. But living there changed my life in so many positive ways. Decades later, I realized that everything I value today, I was introduced to there. My Appalachian Mountain Mysteries–“A Life for a Life,” “The Roads to Damascus,” “Welcome the Little Children”–pay homage to the people of Appalachia who taught me so much. And to Mollie the Wonder Dog, who plays a role in both “The Roads to Damascus” (aka Millie) and in “Welcome the Little Children (as Millie and Mollie).

To keep up to date with Abit, Della, and the gang (and receive a free novelette that pulls back the curtain on Abit’s and Della’s lives before they met in Laurel Falls), head over to http://www.LyndaMcDanielBooks.com. No spam, no pestering, just the free novelette, a 12-part serialized preview of my upcoming Book Four (via my blog), and special offers/updates.

Over the years, I’ve written more than 1,200 articles for major magazines, hundreds of newsletters and blogs. I’m proudest of the 18 books I’ve written. My nonfiction books include “Words at Work,” which I wrote straight from my heart, a much-needed response to all the questions and concerns people have about writing today. (It won top honors from the National Best Books Awards.) I’ve also written two Amazon Bestselling Books: “How Not to Sound Stupid When You Write” and “Write Your Book Now!” (with Virginia McCullough).

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, but I’ve lived all over this country–from the Midwest to the Deep South to Appalachia to the Mid-Atlantic to the Pacific Northwest. Whew! I finally settled in Santa Rosa, California, a place that reflects the values I learned while living in the mountains of North Carolina, all those years ago.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Hawthorn Woods by Patrick Canning – a #BookReview – #Mystery #Thriller

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Hawthorn Woods by Patrick CanningSeeking to rediscover herself after a divorce, a detective-minded woman embarks on solving the small mysteries of a Midwest neighborhood, only to learn the secrets hidden there are more horrifying than she could have ever imagined.

Summer, 1989. Reeling from a catastrophic divorce, Francine Haddix flees San Francisco for a two week stay at her sister’s house in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. The quaint neighborhood of shady trees and friendly neighbors seems like the perfect place for her to sort through her pain and move on with her life.

But Francine quickly discovers the “idyllic” neighborhood is hiding a number of disturbing mysteries. Behind every door and window there’s marital strife, simmering grudges, and a secret so terrible, someone will kill to keep it quiet.

Francine rewrites her prescription from relaxation to investigation. If she can remember how to trust herself, she might discover what’s hidden in Hawthorn Woods. She might even be able to believe the future can be good again, assuming she stays alive long enough to be in it…

My Review:

Well, here I go again with one of Patrick Canning’s books. This author writes such off-the-wall stuff you know going in it’ll be a ride. The question is just how crazy will this roller-coaster be? Answer: Subtle, confounding, twisty, and who can you trust?

Hawthorn Woods by Patrick CanningFrancine is reeling from a devastating divorce in 1989 in San Francisco when her sister Ellie suggests a child/housesitting stay at her home in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois while they take a European vacation. It certainly looks benign enough, quaint, friendly, and attractive. A nice getaway when she needs one.

A bon voyage-welcome party turns a bit ugly, however, when one of the guests throws a drink in Francine’s face. True, you never know what goes on behind closed doors and there are certainly enough neighbors here to offer a variety of single and married, tempers, secrets, and fears. Her sister’s best friend Laura Jean is a strong ally and there are a number of interesting support characters. When Francine discovers the death of Brownie (a goat), she decides it’s time to start investigating the neighbors more deeply.

And what a smorgasbord of characters there are! You are not meant to like them all. Hers is not the only temporary stay in the hood and it is Bruno that brings a special light to Francine’s eyes as they collaborate together in his own secret research.

Francine is fragile and easy to invest in; Bruno a history teacher smothered in cliché right up to his bow tie and brown corduroy trousers and I really liked them both. Obvious red herrings, teenage boy, nasty HOA lady, ex-Marine. It’s a slow burn but weirdly compelling. What IS going on here? Are you confused yet?

The conclusion brings a shock you never saw coming and a head-shaking surprise you can’t compute. Yes, yes, you knew the one answer, but… I loved the little questionnaire questions her ex left with her at the beginning of each chapter setting your nerves to jangling and the tension rising.

“In most marriages, one or both partners are unhappy. [x] True [ ] False.
“I often think: ‘I wish I were a child again.’ [x]True [ ] False.
“I am so touchy on some subjects that I can’t talk about them. [x] True [ ] False.

The author’s writing style is beguiling, clever, and wily fun. Keep reading and watch his mind twist you in the wind. I’ve read one of his books before, The Colonel and the Bee back in July, 2018 and if I didn’t recognize that signature…um, just wait…of his, I wouldn’t know it was the same author–and I really enjoyed that one. This is a suspense thriller that leaves you shaking your head, just shy of a book hangover. A mystery thriller you shouldn’t miss. Totally recommended.

Rosepoint recommended

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuths, Women Sleuths
ASIN: B08CS2RK9S
Print Length: 283 pages
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Source: Direct author request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Patrick Canning - authorThe Author: Patrick Canning was born in Wisconsin, grew up in Illinois, and now lives in California with his dog, Hank.

He is primarily focused on turning coffee into words, words into money, money back into coffee.

Find him at patrickcanningbooks.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

What You Don’t See (The Chicago Mysteries Book 3) by Tracy Clark – a #BookReview

A top vanity magazine owner didn’t get to be a media empress without stepping on a few toes.

Book Blurb:

What You Don't See by Tracy ClarkVonda Allen’s vanity magazine has taken the Windy City by storm, and now she’s on her way to building a one-woman media empire. Everybody adores her—except the people who work for her. But who’s sending her flowers with death threats?

As Vonda’s bodyguard, off-duty cop Ben Mickerson could use some backup—and no one fits the bill better than his ex-partner, Cass Raines. But when two of Vonda’s staff turn up dead, Ben and Cass are suddenly locked in battle with an unknown assailant. And when Ben is attacked in the media chaos of a public appearance, Cass is left to find out what secrets Vonda is keeping, who might want her dead, and how she can bring Ben’s attacker to justice.

My Review:

Oh yes, had to grab this one–a mystery, an ex-(female)cop from the Chicago PD. I’m still fascinated with the love affair so many seem to have with Chicago–having moved to “Chicagoland” myself a few years ago and almost nightly tune in to distressing news–I’m amazed there are still people who view the Windy City with affection. (No worse than any large city, I guess, and my son certainly loves working there.) Still so much to learn, however, and the city is pretty amazing.

Cassandra (Cass) Raines is a former Chicago Police Officer now private investigator. She’s been approached by her former partner, Ben Mickerson, pulling off-duty cop assignments, to join him in what is supposed to be an easy, but very profitable assignment. Vonda Allen made it to the top publishing her vanity magazine, but now seems to have garnered the animosity of someone who is sending flowers with death threats. Someone doesn’t like her.

What You Don't See by Tracy ClarkUnfortunately, their first outing with the narcissistic publisher at a bookstore ends in a life and death struggle with Ben ending in the hospital. She failed to follow the assailant, opting instead to stay with Ben in an attempt to save his life. But now it’s personal. She quits Vonda and while Ben is still being stabilized in and out of complications, there are two deaths in connection to the publisher. Cass begins her own investigation.

First, it’s obvious the author has an intimate knowledge of Chicago and I loved the ride-alongs. Cass is streetwise, complex, takes no s**t from anyone. Still, she might go home and dissolve into tears, her tender side overwhelming her. She is sympathetic and compassionate. A survivor. A defender. Dialogue is smart, sassy, and peppered with bits of sharp-witted retort. Also, she has a new love interest.

Characters range from the loathsome (the cop who almost got her killed) to immensely empathetic. I really enjoyed the author’s descriptive writing style.

“My eyes narrowed to reptilian slits.”

“…then fought the cars full of sugared-up shorties streaming into the zoo’s parking lot before naptime.”

In particular, I enjoyed the snappy repartee between Cass and Angela Dotson-Hughes. Dotson-Hughes is a majorly fun character, someone easily pictured in the role she was playing. Unnecessary to know what color she is, she is fun, sharp, fast, serious. Cass continues to search for clues and makes gradual headway even as the well-plotted narrative gathers steam.

There are red-herrings, and I loved the unexpected twist near the conclusion, spiking into a well-crafted climax. Oh, that was neat! Cass’s “family” provides a strong emotional backdrop for her, including an introduction to the father who abandoned her when she was twelve–just a couple little sub-plots here–all neatly tied together. I love it when the conclusion melds so beautifully, leaving the reader with a satisfied smile.

I received this digital download from the publisher and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. My first experience with the series and author, but felt it can work fine as a standalone. Oh, yeah, I’m hooked and looking forward to Book 4. Engaging, entertaining, clean, sweet read. Coming up on release date–look for it!

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Book Details:
Genre: Private Investigator Series, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Kensington
ASIN: B07TT3WSQH
Print Length: 352 pages
Publication Date: To be Released May 26, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Purchase Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 Rosepoint Publishing:  Four-point Five of Five Stars 4.5-stars

Tracy Clark - authorThe Author: Tracy Clark works as an editor in Chicago. In addition to her Cass Raines novels, she has had a short story published in the anthology “Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African-American Authors.” A native Chicagoan, she is currently working on her next mystery.

[Author photo and bio from Goodreads] Tracy Clark, a native Chicagoan, is the author of the Cass Raines Chicago Mystery series, featuring ex-cop turned PI Cassandra Raines, Her debut, BROKEN PLACES, made Library Journal’s list of the Best Crime Fiction of 2018 and was short listed in the mystery category on the American Library Association’s 2019 Reading List. CrimeReads also named Cass Raines Best New PI of 2018. The novel was nominated for a Lefty Award for Best Debut novel, an Anthony Award for Best Debut Novel and a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel. Her second Raines novel, BORROWED TIME, was nominated for the 2020 Lefty Award for Best Mystery Novel. She is the winner of the 2020 G.P. Putnam’s Sons Sue Grafton Memorial Award. You can visit Tracy on Facebook, or go to her author website at tracyclarkbooks.com.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

A Reasonable Doubt: A Robin Lockwood Novel by Phillip Margolin – a #BookReview #legalthriller

A Robin Lockwood Novel Book 3

Book Blurb:

A Reasonable Doubt-Phillip MargolinA magician linked to three murders and suspicious deaths years ago disappears in the middle of his new act in New York Times bestseller Phillip Margolin’s latest thriller featuring Robin Lockwood

Robin Lockwood is a young criminal defense attorney and partner in a prominent law firm in Portland, Oregon. A former MMA fighter and Yale Law graduate, she joined the firm of legal legend Regina Barrister not long before Regina was forced into retirement by early onset Alzheimer’s.

One of Regina’s former clients, Robert Chesterfield, shows up in the law office with an odd request—he’s seeking help from his old attorney in acquiring patent protection for an illusion. Chesterfield is a professional magician of some reknown and he has a major new trick he’s about to debut. This is out of the scope of the law firm’s expertise, but when Robin Lockwood looks into his previous relationship with the firm, she learns that twenty years ago he was arrested for two murders, one attempted murder, and was involved in the potentially suspicious death of his very rich wife. At the time, Regina Barrister defended him with ease, after which he resumed his career as a magician in Las Vegas.

Now, decades later, he debuts his new trick—only to disappear at the end. He’s a man with more than one dark past and many enemies—is his disappearance tied to one of the many people who have good reason to hate him? Was he killed and his body disposed of, or did he use his considerable skills to engineer his own disappearance?

Robin Lockwood must unravel the tangled skein of murder and bloody mischief to learn how it all ties together.

My Review:

I came into Book 3 not having read the previous two. (No surprise there, huh?) While I read as a standalone, I suspect the first two dealt more with character Regina Barrister than Robin Lockwood, who appears to have taken over her spot in the Portland law firm. Not easy to live up to the legend known as ” the Sorceress,” Robin is quickly making a name for herself as the rising criminal defense attorney of the firm.

A Reasonable Doubt by Phillip MargolinWhen magician Robert Chesterfield appears at the offices looking for Regina, he is told she retired and is directed to Robin. But his is an unusual request and she is not the proper attorney. She investigates his question and says buh-bye, especially after she checks with Regina regarding her former client and discovers he was charged with two murders and an attempted murder. Regina takes us back twenty years (a couple times) to the case and introduces us to a number of new characters.

Back to Robin’s reign, an invitation to appear for a special, private showing of Chesterfield’s show-stopping trick does just that with his untimely death. More characters are introduced. That death seems to set off a spate of deaths, tied to the much earlier case, along with an attempted murder. Now Robin does more investigating and coordinates with all the local detectives, along with Jeff and an infamous ADA Peter Ragland, relegated to the smaller office after his humiliating defeat by Regina.

Now we get to know a little more about Chesterfield (the sleaze), not exactly a character you’ll come to love and no one else did either including his present wife, about Robin’s early experience with the MMA while attending Yale Law School, and about her new co-occupant with privileges, investigator boyfriend Jeff Hodges. The storyline goes a bit off-track, becoming somewhat convoluted, with attempts at throwing in some red herrings.

First, I couldn’t get into Robin’s shoes and Jeff left me a bit cold. He didn’t just take a backseat, he wasn’t in the same vehicle. As Barbara noted in her review recently at Flippin’ Pages Book Reviews, “I’m not sure why, but so many authors who want to write strong, independent female characters think that they have to make them angry, acerbic, domineering, selfish, etc. and that they have to pair them with milksop male characters.”


Thank you! I find that so often as well and while I really enjoy a strong female protagonist, they don’t all have to box or be a black belt in an obscure ancient Asian martial art form. While Jeff wasn’t exactly milksop, he easily slept through Robin’s prep to go out in the middle of the night to confront the antagonist. I know, I know… She is smart, strong, independent. But he was right there–couldn’t she have used a backup?

Another of my pet peeves: characters that start with the same letter. Why? Regina, Robin. I see this so often and, for me, sometimes gets confusing. (Maybe it’s just my age.) The plot didn’t move with quite enough speed for me, slowing in the middle, losing my interest. While I do enjoy a legal thriller and certainly a mystery, this one doesn’t really pull off the latter since it was guessed correctly pretty early on. The conclusion wraps most loose threads but really at this point rather anti-climatic.

I received this digital download from the publisher through NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read. This author has quite a track record and following and it’s quite possible this might have been a bit under his usual standards. You may very well enjoy the novel and remember these are my honest and unbiased opinions. You are free to differ with me. Up for a discussion?

Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thrillers, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Minotaur Books

  • ISBN-10:1250117542
  • ISBN-13:978-1250117540
  • ASIN: B07S8K7J4Q

Print Length: 289 pages
Publication Date: March 10, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: A Reasonable Doubt (Amazon)
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three-point Five of Five Stars 3.5-stars

Phillip Margolin - authorThe Author: [Phillip Margolin] I grew up in New York City and Levittown, New York. In 1965, I graduated from the American University in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor’s degree in government. I spent 1965 to 1967 in Liberia, West Africa, as a Peace Corps volunteer, graduated from New York University School of Law in 1970 as a night student. I went nights and worked as a junior high teacher in the South Bronx to support myself. My first job following law school was a clerkship with Herbert M. Schwab, the chief judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals, and from 1972 until 1996, I was in private practice, specializing in criminal defense at the trial and appellate levels. As an appellate attorney I have appeared before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Oregon Supreme Court, and the Oregon Court of Appeals. As a trial attorney, I handled all sorts of criminal cases in state and federal court, and have represented approximately thirty people charged with homicide, several of whom faced the death penalty. I was the first Oregon attorney to use battered women’s syndrome to defend a woman accused of murdering her spouse.

Since 1996, I have been writing full-time. All of my novels have been bestsellers. Heartstone, my first novel, was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for an Edgar for best original paperback mystery of 1978. My second novel, The Last Innocent Man, was made into an HBO movie. Gone, But Not Forgotten has been sold to more than twenty-five foreign publishers and was made into a miniseries starring Brooke Shields. It was also the Main Selection of the Literary Guild. After Dark was a Book of the Month Club selection. The Burning Man, my fifth novel, published in August 1996, was the Main Selection of the Literary Guild and a Reader’s Digest condensed book. My sixth novel, The Undertaker’s Widow, was published in 1998 and was a Book of the Month Club selection. Wild Justice (HarperCollins, September 2000) was a Main Selection of the Literary Guild, a selection of the Book of the Month Club, and was nominated for an Oregon Book Award. The Associate was published by HarperCollins in August 2001, and Ties that Bind was published by HarperCollins in March 2003. My tenth novel, Sleeping Beauty, was published by HarperCollins on March 23, 2004. Lost Lake was published by HarperCollins in March 2005 and was nominated for an Oregon Book Award. Proof Positive was published by HarperCollins in July 2006. Executive Privilege was published by HarperCollins in May 2008 and in 2009 was given the Spotted Owl Award for the Best Northwest Mystery. Fugitive was published by HarperCollins on June 2, 2009. Willamette Writers gave me the 2009 Distinguished Northwest Writers Award. My latest novel, Supreme Justice, was published by HarperCollins in May 2010. My next novel, Capitol Murder, will come out in April 2012.

On October 11, 2011, HarperCollins will publish Vanishing Acts, my first Young Adult novel, which I wrote with my daughter, Ami Margolin Rome. Also in October, the short story “The Case of the Purloined Paget,” which I wrote with my brother, Jerry, will be published by Random House in the anthology A Study in Sherlock.

In addition to my novels, I have published short stories and nonfiction articles in magazines and law journals. My short story “The Jailhouse Lawyer” was selected for the anthology The Best American Mystery Stories 1999. The House on Pine Terrace was selected for the anthology The Best American Mystery Stories 2010.

From 1996 to 2009 I was the president and chairman of the Board of Chess for Success. I am still heavily involved in the program, and returned to the board after a one-year absence in 2010. Chess for Success is a nonprofit charity that uses chess to teach study skills to elementary- and middle-school children in Title I schools . From 2007 to the present, I have been on the Board of Literary Arts, which sponsors the Oregon Book Awards, the Writers in the Schools program, and Portland Arts and Lectures.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

 

The Missing Sister by Elle Marr – a #BookReview #thriller

Did CE, the Vicarious Blogger* love this one?

Book Blurb:

An Amazon Charts bestseller.

The Missing Sister by Elle MarrIn Paris, her twin sister has vanished, leaving behind three chilling words: Trust no one.

Shayna Darby is finally coming to terms with her parents’ deaths when she’s delivered another blow. The body of her estranged twin sister, Angela—the possible victim of a serial killer—has been pulled from the Seine. Putting what’s left of her life on hold, Shayna heads to Paris. But while cleaning out Angela’s apartment, Shayna makes a startling discovery: a coded message meant for her alone…

Alive. Trust no one.

Taking the warning to heart, Shayna maintains the lie. She makes a positive ID on the remains and works to find out where—and why—her missing sister is hiding. Shayna retraces her sister’s footsteps, and they lead her down into Paris’s underbelly.

As she gets closer to the truth—and to the killer—Shayna’s own life may now be in the balance…

My Thoughts 

Debut author Elle Marr apparently hits it out of the ballpark with The Missing Sister.

Officially released on April Fool’s Day, she has garnered more than 3,000 ratings on Goodreads but at less than a 3.61 average. At kinder, gentler Amazon, just over 500 ratings (as of April 2) with a 3.9 average rating (one day after release). Someone did one bang-up job of promoting and marketing because it certainly had the buzz before it hit the official board.

The location of Paris is a crucial component of the well-plotted suspense identical twin device. Shayna, the twin purportedly favored by their parents for being the serious goal-driven half, has come to identify and return home with the body of her sister. But the message she finds in Angel’s apartment contradicts that the body they possess at the Paris morgue might be she. Trust no one should mean that…but Shayna is also the damaged twin.

It is Angela that received the wild side, at times pushing her twin well beyond her boundaries. Angela appears to have found a more accepting “family” in the Parisian academic scene, where she was pushing through a doctoral degree. It would seem she had a comfortable safe location close to her studies and specifically the catacombs underneath the city–until she disappeared and “found” days later in the River Seine.

Here is my problem: Shayna has a finite amount of time to either claim the body and return home with it, or, feeling she would have “felt” it if her sister died, has the same short time to find her alive. But why would she be hiding? And the pace slows

Shortly upon her arrival, the reader is introduced to the first of a number of suspicious characters, red herrings, lovely jaunts through the city and atmospheric street-side cafes. (Brought back so many memories, though most of ours consisted of the cathedrals since that was where we were singing.) In between the sojourns, she digs into Angela’s papers, belongings, anything looking for additional twin-type clues. She finds an occasional clue, but they come painfully slow. The process doesn’t get really serious until near the conclusion and Shayna makes some bad choices in between.

There is shared history to examine, the relationship between the twins (as with my own father, the identical twin deemed the bad one), and the secret–that awful secret between them that drives what appears to be a permanent wedge. (In the case of my dad and uncle also a permanent one. I never understood that, until additional information came out long after his death.) In this case, I couldn’t identify with either Shayna nor Angela, and while I enjoyed the travelogue, didn’t the French characters. The big reveal doesn’t exactly come as a shock–you might have guessed it all along–but I did enjoy the hair-raising climax and finally getting the real skinny.

A meaningful effort for a debut and I can see where this author will grow into a compelling storyteller–this was a good start. Just wish it hadn’t been spoon-fed quite so sparingly. This is one you’ll either connect with or won’t, but may provide some entertainment in the meantime. I received this digital download from the publisher through NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a name you’ll see on award lists. 3.5/5 stars

His Thoughts

The Missing Sister by Elle MarrIdentical twins are at times a psychological mystery. Elle has wrapped this up masterfully in this tale of intrigue and suspense involving identical twins. They have many of the characteristics I have read about including developing their own language and calligraphy.

Families always seem to have dominant and recessive individuals within siblings. Our twins, Shayna and Angela, are no exception to the rule. Angela is the strong dominant twin and Shelby is the recessive twin, or is she? A death of both their parents while Angela is completing a Doctorate at the Sorbonne in Paris puts this conjecture to the test.

Angela is missing! Shayna is called to Paris to identify a body in the morgue and possibly send it back to San Diego, California for burial. The morgue is closed for the weekend so Shayna goes to her sister’s apartment to pack her things.

The psychic alarm in Shayna’s head has not gone off! She is certain that were her sister dead she would have felt something in the ether. Thankfully Angela’s boyfriend Sebastian is there to help her pack and go through Angela’s things. A whiteboard in Angela’s apartment has a cryptic message in their personal script, “Alive: Trust No One!”

CE WilliamsOur author, Elle Mann, develops twists and turns more explosive than a roller coaster. Who can she trust to help her solve the mystery of her sister’s disappearance? Skillfully the reader is drawn into intrigues which include over two hundred miles of catacombs under Paris. Read this book and enjoy the intrigue which is “The Missing Sister!” 5 stars CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Kidnapping Thrillers, Women’s Detective Fiction, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ISBN: 1542006058
ASIN: B07QYMXX41
Print Length: 294 pages
Publication Date: April 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Missing Sister (Amazon)

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Two Five of Five Stars Four and One Quarter Stars

Elle Marr - authorThe Author: Originally from Sacramento, debut author Elle Marr explored the urban wilderness of Southern California before spending three wine-and-cheese-filled years in France, where she earned a master’s degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris. She now lives and writes outside Portland, Oregon, with her husband, son, and one very demanding feline. Connect with her online at http://www.ellemarr.com, on facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

*As coined by Nina of The Cozy Pages

The Lost Boys of London – A Bianca Goddard Mystery (Book 5) by Mary Lawrence – a #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5-stars

The Lost Boys of London by Mary LawrenceBook Blurb:

In the twilight years of Henry VIII’s reign, alchemist’s daughter Bianca Goddard uses her skills to aid the living, and help seek justice for the dead . . .

While her husband fights the Scots on behalf of King Henry VIII, Bianca Goddard earns her coin by concocting medicines that offer relief to London’s sick. Some unfortunates, however, are beyond any remedies she can provide—like the young boy discovered hanging from a church dripstone. Examining the body, Bianca finds a rosary twisted around the child’s neck. A week later, another boy is found dead at a different church. When Fisk, the impish little son of Bianca’s acquaintance, goes missing, she fears he may become the third victim .

There are many villains who would prey on wayward, penniless boys. But Bianca suspects the killings are not brutal acts of impulse, but something far more calculated. In her room of Medicinals and Physickes she examines the sole piece of evidence: a sweet-smelling, dark-stained cloth. If Bianca can unravel its secret, reputations and lives will be saved. But the expected hour of the next murder is approaching, and a single misstep may mean another boy is lost forever . . .

My Review:

The Alchemist of Lost Souls by Mary LawrenceWhen I received a request to read Book 5 of the Bianca Goddard Mystery Series, The Lost Boys of London, I jumped at the offer. Last year when I read Book 4, The Alchemist of Lost Souls, I knew I had a new go-to author. And this one certainly retains that high standard of Renaissance fascination with the waning days of King Henry VIII and the upheaval in the deeply dividing controversy of church and state.

The Lost Boys of London by Mary LawrenceThe book drips with atmospheric description, turning the nose at the smells of the dark alleyways and watering the eyes. The reader is there in the Dim Dragon Inn, sharing a pint amid the boisterous crowd, the cacophony of ale infused men bidding attention from the barmaids with their swishing skirts and jostling tankard laden trays. The author has the Tudor language down to a gnat’s eyeball. AYE! I’m responding in kind as the dialogue is so immersive in the period!

Bianca is a strong protagonist, existing by her wits and finding ways to keep herself together and continue her work while often wondering about her beloved, thirsting for news–any news–of the men at the front while the reader is sent to the inhospitable winter-time borderlands of Scotland where John Grunt, her husband, is also fighting to stay alive.

But it’s the deaths of young boys that have caught her attention, somehow tied to the churches, and the disappearance of young Fisk. Bianca had planned to employ young Fisk to help search for the plants she uses for her Medicinals. She sells her Medicinals and Physickes through Meddybemps, a streetseller. But worry for Fisk has her ramping up her efforts to solve the mystery of the young boys and she continues her deftly investigation.

While the reader follows Bianca’s investigation, John’s precarious plight takes form. Bianca follows her clues and instincts to flush the antagonist in a heart-pounding climax drawing the reader to a sole satisfying conclusion.

I received this beautiful book from the author in expectation of a review. These are my honest and independent thoughts. If you have interest in historical fiction, this book and series are a must read. You’ll be as enthralled as I. Totally recommended.

Rosepoint Publishing recommended

Book Details:

Genre: Medieval Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ISBN-10:1496715330
  • ISBN-13:978-1496715333
  • ASIN: B07TV1FMM7

Print Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: To be released April 28, 2020
Source: Direct Author Request
Title Link: The Lost Boys of London

Book will be available at:

Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble

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Mary Lawrence - authorThe Author: Mary Lawrence is the author of the Bianca Goddard Mysteries. Set in Tudor London in the final years of Henry VIII’s reign, Book I, THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER, released in April, 2015 and was named by Suspense Magazine a “best historical mystery” in 2015. Book 2, DEATH of an ALCHEMIST released in 2016 and Book 3, DEATH AT ST. VEDAST released in January, 2017. THE ALCHEMIST OF LOST SOULS (May 2020), won a second “Best Of 2019” by Suspense Magazine. THE LOST BOYS OF LONDON releases May 2020 from Kensington Books.

Mary grew up in Indiana and moved to Maine after completing a degree in cytotechnology. She has worked in hospitals and labs and written indexes for several small publishers. Recently she started a berry farm in southern Maine with her husband. She is an avid reader of historical fiction and nonfiction and concentrates on Tudor/Elizabethan history. Her articles have appeared in several publications most notably, The Daily Beast.

(From Goodreads Author’s Profile) The Bianca Goddard mysteries are meant to entertain and to engage readers who might not pick up period historicals as a first choice. The Tudor era is an intriguing period, full of superstition, and the makings for interesting characters. Believe me, my books have a lot more personality than this author profile.

Check me out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/marylawrence…
Twitter  @mel59lawrence
Visit her at http://www.marylawrencebooks.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Author’s Photos from Amazon and Goodreads

Shattered Justice (A Bone Gap Travellers Novel Book 3) by Susan Furlong – a #BookReview #thriller

Gritty, raw, and unrelenting but war-damaged ex-Marine Irish Traveller. Where is the justice?

Shattered Justice by Susan FurlongBook Blurb:

In the Appalachian town of Bone Gap, Tennessee, backwoods justice is more than just blind. It’s swift, silent, and shockingly personal. Especially for Irish Traveller turned deputy sheriff Brynn Callahan . . .
 
“Hear No Evil.”

The first message is found in a playground. A few feet away, a  pair of human ears hang from the monkey bars. Deputy sheriff Brynn Callahan isn’t sure what to make of this grisly scene. Do the ears belong to a murder victim? And if so, where is the body? One thing Brynn is sure of: the earring on one of the earlobes belongs to a man she met at a party the previous night.  . .
 
“Speak No Evil.”

The second message is discovered next to a human tongue on a park pavilion. Once again, no body is found. Brynn can’t help but wonder if the crimes are rooted in the town’s long-simmering tensions between Bone Gap locals and the barely tolerated Travellers who’ve settled there.
 
“See No Evil.”

For Brynn, the investigation hits too close to home—forcing her to confront the demons of her own past. But time is running out. Brynn has to track down the culprit before a third message is delivered—and a third victim is claimed. Rich, atmospheric, and brilliantly chilling, Shattered Justice is the third Bone Gap Travellers novel from the acclaimed author of Splintered Silence and Fractured Truth.

My Thoughts

Shattered Justice by Susan FurlongAnother intense, book-hooking entry to the Bone Gap Travellers series that has you alternately cringing and then reading faster. Ex-Marine Brynn Callahan returned to her family home after an IED ended both her tours and that of her cadaver dog, Wilco. But it wasn’t easy to return to the Appalachians with her Irish Travellers (or Pavees) and assume a job with local law enforcement (the “settled”), straddling both sides from a community that keeps to themselves and wields their own sense of law enforcement.

Brynn is still suffering from PTSD, as is her dog, and daily struggles with staying clean of the relief she found in dealing with the pain and trauma of those horrific scars. Her first-person dialogue plops you squarely in her head and the fight is unrelenting. Brynn languishes on the fringe between the settled, answering to Pusser who directs her investigations as she deals at home with her own tight-knit neighbors.

Obviously, this novel sets the old saying on edge as ears are found followed by a severed tongue, but the plot won’t be that simple and soon revisits the closely held secret of her beloved Gran setting a strong distraction.  There must be two bodies, but they are missing. Are they connected to the Pavee brought in, Mo’s husband?

The author has an amazing writing style, often producing quotable moments, “…gray, that undefined color in between black and white, the color of limbo, the zone between life and death,” and

“Did you learn anything from your slip, Brynn?” My eyes snapped back to Margaret…Why, yes, Margaret, I learned that Black Label whiskey is worth every damn penny…”

“And when they surface, we suddenly know: we are all victims of our past and vulnerable in our present.”

Brynn is intelligent, flawed, and damaged but between her investigation and Wilco’s help, she’ll ferret out the truth, as deeply buried as it is. The well-developed support characters provide a graphic mindset along with descriptions of the deeply wooded mountains, foreboding and sinister, hides more than the Travellers. A profoundly disturbing depiction moves forefront along with some stomach-turning descriptions. The dialogue is brutal, many times raw, threatening, and the tension builds to a massively intricate conclusion and one you won’t guess. Actually, it could be assumed you stopped trying and just raced through to the heart-stopping climax.

I was given a digital download by the publisher and NetGalley and am extremely grateful for the opportunity to read and review my third book in this series–and looking forward to Book 4. Recommended to any looking for a unique premise and genuinely engaging mystery. This might standalone, but you’ll miss a lot of backstory if you don’t start at the beginning. 4.5/5 stars

His Thoughts

Justice in the backwoods of Tennessee. Can there be such a thing? Ms. Furlong writes a compelling novel about just such a query. This novel is fast moving and at times graphically gruesome. Add a war broken detective and a three-legged dog and you have a read hard to put down!

Brynn is the detective who is scarred from three tours with the US Marines. She has internal demons as well as the perpetrators she is working to bring to justice. She and her dog are both victims of an IED (improvised explosive device). Pain pills and other drugs as well as alcohol are also demons that must be defeated by our detective.

The perpetrators are a related family of women who work to bring justice to their part of the world. A moral code inherent in this society of misfits called Travellers or Pavees cloud the investigation. The women show extraordinary abilities to evade their pursuers.

The layout of the book and the end result left a little to be desired. The reason for the violence is a thread throughout the book which seems apparent. One suicide which was not a suicide, inept police work and inter-clan justice and you have a web full of holes.

Following the clues to the killer or killers is not easy. Ms. Furlong throws in the struggles that many returning military face trying to meld back into society. I found some of them to be red herrings that tended to leave my crime-solving forensic training yelling “WHAT?!”

As with many cozy type mysteries, I find the denigration of the males in the police force a little tedious. Certainly one would expect clashes between the male and female detectives, but not to the extent posed by Ms. Furlong and Harris. It is a common perception by society and the interaction of men and women in the work force. However, this seems a little gratuitous. As society evolves, the movement to have total equality in all areas seems contrived. The issue is well developed in Ms. Furlong’s plot.

The ending of the book is why I did not give it five stars. Out of nowhere another antagonist emerges. Again, a female who seems to be as bent on justice as the primary villain. This is a serious blindsiding in the development of the plot and its’ conclusion. The gruesome crimes seemed overdone and the end story left me asking the question, WHY? Associate Reviewer - C E Williams

Ms. Furlong’s discussion narrative at the end of the novel is a good planning tool. It certainly helps to develop the overall novel in the reader’s mind. I can see where a group discussion may very well lead to a better understanding of the issues and problems faced by veterans in general. My hat is off to her as a very good writer and an understanding human being. 4/5 stars CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thrillers, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ISBN-10:1496711726
  • ISBN-13:978-1496711724
  • ASIN: B07NX1X3HP

Print Length: 304 pages
Publication Date: Happy Publication Day! December 31, 2019
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Shattered Justice

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Susan Furlong - authorThe Author: Susan Furlong the author of several mystery series including the acclaimed Bone Gap Travellers series. She also contributes to the New York Times bestselling Novel Idea Mysteries under the pen name Lucy Arlington. She has worked as a freelance writer, academic writer, ghost writer, translator, high-school language arts teacher, and martial arts instructor. She and her family live in central Illinois. Visit her on Facebook or at http://www.susanfurlong.com.

©2019 V Williams V Williams

A Cold Trail (Tracy Crosswhite Book 7) by Robert Dugoni – a #BookReview

It’s an unusual Tracy Crosswhite mystery away from her Seattle station and home and into a whole new and dangerous setting.

A Cold Trail by Robert DugoniBook Blurb:

The last time homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite was in Cedar Grove, it was to see her sister’s killer put behind bars. Now she’s returned for a respite and the chance to put her life back in order for herself, her attorney husband, Dan, and their new daughter. But tragic memories soon prove impossible to escape.

Dan is drawn into representing a local merchant whose business is jeopardized by the town’s revitalization. And Tracy is urged by the local PD to put her own skills to work on a new case: the brutal murder of a police officer’s wife and local reporter who was investigating a cold-case slaying of a young woman. As Tracy’s and Dan’s cases crisscross, Tracy’s trail becomes dangerous. It’s stirring up her own haunted past and a decades-old conspiracy in Cedar Grove that has erupted in murder. Getting to the truth is all that matters. But what’s Tracy willing to risk as a killer gets closer to her and threatens everyone she loves?

My Review:

Boy was I excited to see another of the Tracy Crosswhite series coming out! I’ve read several of Dugoni’s books, including one not in the Crosswhite series and enjoyed each one. While Book 7 may be read as a standalone, you might wish to begin with Book 1 to really get how each of the main characters has evolved to this point.

A Cold Trail by Robert DugoniIn A Cold Trail, Tracy is a new mom with a two-month-old (Daniella) still on maternity leave from Seattle while her attorney husband, Dan, has arranged for their return to their hometown of Cedar Grove to the former home of his parents while they are renovating their home in Seattle. Dan has taken on a client fighting the sale of his downtown business and building. Most of the others sold for a nominal price with the promise they would be completely rehabbed and brought up current codes with new dynamic owners.

But Tracy is barely getting acquainted with the nanny Dan arranged for help with the baby before she is approached by the former police chief to look into the death of a journalist and a former attorney turned PI. The young woman (the journalist) was investigating the cold case of a woman who was murdered more than twenty years previous. Putting her homicide detective hat back on has both disturbed Dan and Tracy as well, questioning her safety while leaving an infant at home.

The well-plotted storyline quickly divides between that of her investigation in the cold cases and Dan’s legal maneuvers with regard to the revitalization of the downtown area and the handling of the properties. The legal complexities get interesting and educational while the cold cases Tracy is working on beginning to worry the antagonist.

The cast of support characters shift somewhat with them being in Cedar Grove and in their stead are more support characters with lots of personality, full fleshed (Vic). The Irish nanny is super until deemed at risk and whisked away for safer climes. The reader gets that old mother’s conundrum, staying home or working away from her child (especially an infant and in this case in a hazardous profession) while the men are free to carry on with their careers with no public ramifications.

I like that Tracy is still, at heart, a strong, independent, and intelligent woman and skillful at her job. She can handle most any situation. If Dan didn’t think he wanted her working out of the house away from his baby, why then hire the nanny, who got awfully convenient. The narrative begins to swing back and forth between her cases and his, trading off in a melding or juxtaposition of timeline. Clever! The book hooks you in and holds the reader in a riveting and complicated tale through the great reveal, one you might have guessed, but still surprised.

Tracy working an active investigation, however, and expressing (two bottles) of breast milk for the nanny to use while she was off just didn’t ring true for me. (You might wish to revisit the issue of breastfeeding, Robert.)

I received this ARC digital download from the publisher through NetGalley and was thrilled for the opportunity to read and review. I really enjoy this series and greatly look forward to Book 8. Recommended for all mystery fans and I think you’ll also enjoy the courtroom tactics.

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedurals, Women Sleuths, Murder
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ISBN: 1542093228
ASIN: B07NXPN3B8
Print Length: 355 pages
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: A Cold Trail
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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5-stars

robert dugoniThe Author: Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and #1 Amazon bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite police detective series set in Seattle, which has sold more than 5 million books worldwide. He is also the author of The Charles Jenkins espionage series, and the David Sloane legal thriller series.

His stand-alone novels include The 7th Canon, Damage Control, and the literary novel, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell – Suspense Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year, for which Dugoni’s narration won an AudioFile Earphones Award; as well as the nonfiction exposé The Cyanide Canary, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year. Several of his novels have been optioned for movies and television series.

Dugoni is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction and the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest. He is also a two-time finalist for the International Thriller Award, the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, the Silver Falchion Award for mystery, and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award.

Robert Dugoni’s books are sold in more than twenty-five countries and have been translated into more than two dozen languages.

Visit his website at http://www.robertdugoni.com, and follow him on twitter @robertdugoni and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorRobertDugoni

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Desolate Shores by Daryl Wood Gerber – a #BookReview

Title: Desolate Shores (An Aspen Adams Novel of Suspense Book 1) by Daryl Wood Gerber

Desolate Shores by Daryl Wood GerberBook Blurb:

Daryl Wood Gerber, the national bestselling and Agatha Award–winning author of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, returns with a novel of gripping suspense . . .

A chilling murder, an elusive killer, and a family mystery that hits too close to home . . .

After finding the body of her best friend on the icy shores of Lake Tahoe, Aspen Adams refuses to stand by and watch as the local sheriff’s department begins their search for the killer. Launching her own investigation, she’s soon confronted with a growing array of secrets—both about the friend she thought she knew and about many of the people in her own life. As fragmentary clues and escalating dangers threaten to derail her, she must also cope with the disturbing behavior of her deadbeat sister and troubled teenage niece.

Determined to overcome her personal demons over past failures, Aspen is driven to unravel the conflicting evidence and a shifting range of suspects to bring the killer to justice, even as a family trauma unfolds that threatens to upend her life. And as her investigation inexorably leads her to a shocking discovery and taunts her with a solution that is just out of reach, Aspen realizes that the killer wants nothing more than to see her and her niece dead . . .

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Beyond the Page

  • ISBN-10:1950461203
  • ISBN-13:978-1950461202
  • ASIN: B07V9PP2R4

Print Length: 239 pages
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Desolate Shores

Desolate Shores by Daryl Wood GerberMy Review:

Aspen Adams fled to the beautiful mountains of Lake Tahoe when her therapy practice crashed in on her. (And I must say, the author had me at Lake Tahoe–love that area, those mountains, the memories, and the cabin we shared a couple blocks from the shore.) Aspen was invited to work with her aunt Max in her detective agency and was hoping to elevate to private investigator. She is thrust into the position when her best friend, Vikki Carmichael, is murdered and she lacks trust in the local sheriff’s department to find and bring her killer to justice.

The author weaves a well-plotted mystery while she extols the beauty, the activities, and the unique location of the premier ski resorts at the California/Nevada border, favoring Alpine Meadows (not my favorite). Her descriptions of the scenes with the protagonist and her aunt, contacts, and Detective Sergeant Nick Shaper put you in the area and bloomed so real, you could smell the pine trees.

Aspen’s sister, unfortunately, has a drug habit that has driven a wedge between them, but she is unable to deny her niece, Candace, a safe haven when her sister unceremoniously dumps her there for the week. It’s not long before a sub-plot develops with juggling the care of her niece with her investigation which moves at a good pace.

The author has infused a wide cadre of characters, including Karen Brandon, a seasoned detective who appears to have an alcohol problem, favorite haunts around the lake, and the bitter cold of winter in the Sierras. Aspen is floored to realize she really didn’t know Vikki as well as she thought. In the meantime, she begins to get flutters when she is in the presence of sexy Detective Shaper.

There is sufficient backstory of Aspen to get a grasp of who and why she is, though is a bit difficult to fully invest. Her niece is woven sympathetically. I liked Gwen at the bar and her aunt and they will prove to be strong support characters in the future but have reservations on the possible romance aspect with Shaper. Ummm, nah.

The author draws a careful and believable conclusion, possibly confirming who you thought was the culprit all along; just not the how or why. If so, you may have missed in the twists the subtle clues to how it would all interlink.

I received this ebook digital download from the publisher and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Either as a standalone or as book 1 in a new series, the narrative is off to a terrific start keeping the suspense throughout. Recommended to fans of Ms. Gerber (of cozy fame) and anyone who enjoys a clean, well-paced mystery with sufficient suspense that piques your interest for a second.

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 4.5-stars  

Daryl Wood Gerber - authorThe Author: SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER, which comes out once a month and with a new release
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Tasty, zesty, dangerous!

Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber writes the bestselling COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERIES and FRENCH BISTRO MYSTERIES. As Avery Aames, she pens the bestselling CHEESE SHOP MYSTERIES. In addition, she writes stand-alone suspense thrillers, including GIRL ON THE RUN and DAY OF SECRETS and DESOLATE SHORES. Fun tidbits: Daryl jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, and she hitchhiked around Ireland by herself. Also, as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to read, cook, and golf. She has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!

Thank you so much for visiting my page. Follow my PROFILE for important updates. And thank you for your reviews!

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Digging Up History by Sheila Connelly – a #BookRevieew

Digging Up History by Sheila ConnollyTitle: Digging Up History (A Museum Mystery) by Sheila Connelly

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Women Sleuths

Publisher: Beyond the Page

  • ISBN-10:1950461157
  • ISBN-13:978-1950461158
  • ASIN: B07T85Q684

 Print Length: 221 pages

Publication Date: June 25, 2019

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Digging Up History

Book Blurb:

When a summer intern at the Preservation Society discovers an aged document hidden in the binding of an antique book, Society president Nell Pratt is intrigued by the possibilities: is it a valuable historic document or just a useless scrap of paper? When analysis reveals that it’s a hand-drawn map of one of Philadelphia’s oldest neighborhoods, Nell learns that the area is being excavated for a new real estate development and may hold long-buried secrets from the city’s historic heyday.

Determined to get to the bottom of the map’s origin and what it might tell her about the mysterious plot of land, Nell will have to contend with a construction company owner who disappears, a former Society board member who’s harbored a dark secret her entire life, and a remarkable discovery that may have the dead turning over in their graves . . .

My Review:

Digging Up History by Sheila ConnollyWell, isn’t this a cozy of a different color! The blurb piqued my interest and I always enjoy reading historical tidbits, this one taking place in Philadelphia. Yes, the eighth in the series and my first, although I’d read one other in a different series by the same author.

The protagonist is Nell Pratt, the president of the Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiquities. The society has recently been bequeathed a collection of books from Harriet Featherstone, a long time resident of the city and a former active member. It is from this collection that intern Dylan discovers a map hidden between the old, disintegrated cover and the new cover of a book that starts them on a journey of discovery.

Nell discusses the find with her significant other, James, an FBI agent, who informs her they can actually glean an image and the words from the faded map. When the map appears of historic interest, Nell contacts Marty Terwilliger, a former board member. Marty confesses to a grisly discovery she made decades ago at the location and together they set out to see what, if anything still exists. Across the street, however, a construction project has stalled due to the discovery of hundreds of skeletons that had been buried under a parking lot. Are the two related? Or even of the same time period?

While Nell proceeds with the investigation, bringing into the mystery the police as well as additional historic experts, they discover deeper secrets that turn darker with each new development. I didn’t find Nell fully fleshed as she was probably well developed in previous series entries. She did, however, manage to form more theories, ideas, and arguments for what might have happened than I ever could have imagined.

Two main mysteries to solve, not the least of which is first to determine the event century given the obvious deterioration of the remains. Century resolved, now to investigate deeds and records that could possibly shed some light on who, why, what, and when. The where they’ve got. Not all characters are well developed or engaging.

Interesting possible scenario in the shocking discovery presents thought-provoking visions during an era of extreme turmoil in our country–the city among the forefront of the turbulence. The author, however, repeats the discovered facts numerous times and then proceeds with additional theories. The skeletons are referred to as bodies, but given how old the remains, really couldn’t have much flesh left. Twists are confronted, but not all add significance to the outcome and the conclusion clouds a bit having already been deduced.

I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for those with a penchant for early American history and a clean, victim-free cozy.

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three point Five of Five Stars Three point Five of Five Stars

Sheila Connolly - authorThe Author: After collecting too many degrees and exploring careers ranging from art historian to investment banker to professional genealogist, Sheila Connolly began writing in 2001, and has now published over thirty traditional mysteries, including several New York Times bestsellers.

Her series include the Orchard Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), the Museum Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), The County Cork Mysteries (Crooked Lane Books), the Relatively Dead Mysteries (Beyond the Page Press), and beginning in 2018, The Victorian Village Mysteries from St. Martin’s Press.

Her first full-length, standalone ebook, Once She Knew, was published in October 2012.

Connolly has also published a variety of short stories: “Size Matters” appeared in the 2010 Level Best Anthology, Thin Ice; “Called Home,” a short prequel to the Orchard series, was published by Beyond the Page in 2011; and “Dead Letters,” an e-story featuring the main characters from the Museum series, will be published by Berkley Prime Crime in February 2012. Beyond the Page also published “The Rising of the Moon,” and another Level Best anthology includes “Kept in the Dark,” which was nominated for both an Agatha award and an Anthony award for 2013.

She is passionate about genealogy, both American and Irish, and is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She is also an Irish citizen and owns a cottage in West Cork.

She lives in a too-big Victorian in southeastern Massachusetts with her husband and three cats. Find out more about her at her website, http://www.sheilaconnolly.com

Prologue to Murder by Lauren Elliott – a #BookReview

Prologue to Murder by Lauren ElliottTitle: Prologue to Murder (Bookstore Mystery) by Lauren Elliott

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Amateur Sleuths

Publisher: Kenginston

  • ISBN-10:1496720202
  • ISBN-13:978-1496720207
  • ASIN: B07G6S6B1Q

 Print Length: 304 pages

Publication Date: April 30, 2019

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Prologue to Murder

Book Blurb:

After a career working with rare books at the Boston Public Library, Addie Greyborne is back in her seaside New England hometown—where unfortunately, murder is not so rare . . .
 
Gossip columnists love a bold-faced name—but “Miss Newsy” at Greyborne Harbor’s local paper seems to specialize in bald-faced lies. She’s pointed a finger of suspicion at Addie after librarian June Winslow never makes it home from a book club meeting. And when June’s found at the bottom of a steep flight of stairs, Addie’s not only dealing with a busybody, but a dead body.

It’s a good thing the guy she’s dating is the police chief. But both the case and her love life get more complicated when a lanky blonde reporter from Los Angeles shows up. She’s trying her hardest to drive a wedge between the couple . . . as if Addie doesn’t have enough problems dealing with angry townspeople. Despite all the rumors, Addie doesn’t know a thing about the murder—but she plans to find out. And the key may lie in a book about pirate legends that June published. Now she just has to hunt down the clues before she becomes a buried treasure herself . . .

My Review:

Prologue to Murder by Lauren ElliottAddie Greyborne has returned to her roots in coastal New England. She has inherited the rare book and curio shop and employs Paige. Her BFF is Serena and she has begun a relationship with the town Police Chief, Marc. Great, great, great, Greyborne is a founding father but unfortunately she has not successfully been enfolded back in the loving arms of the townsfolk. She’d cleared her name and solved the last murder and now the librarian is missing, eventually found deceased and Addie has taken it upon herself to clear her name once again after “Miss Newsy” published a nasty rumor about Addie possibly being behind both.

June, the librarian was found in an underground tunnel that history of the town proves an integral part of pirate lore, hidden treasure, and family feuds. The mystery creates an interesting premise and Addie begins sifting the clues, chasing down her aunt’s old books in the attic as well as haunting museums and other bookstores and pirate shops for details on the intricate set of tunnels, closed by the town council for being unsafe. Few are privy to those tunnel plans, but Addie begins to wonder about pirate treasure being a motive for the murder of June, who’d possibly found more in her research than the city fathers were comfortable with.

Well, all that part is fun. The twists are fun. That whole area of the New England coast is rife with pirate lore, rich with pirate enclaves, and many of the most successful hid vast treasures in hurricane safe havens, most never again found. What I had a problem with were the introduction of so many new characters, and Simon–another possible love interest. (Oh, no, not the dreaded love triangle!) The protagonist herself was less than a reliable narrator, caught in contradictions and fabrications, and few of the support characters fared any better. Marc comes off as being wishy-washy, warning her with one breath of leaving the investigating to him while asking for her thoughts and help with the next. Huh? Lacy is just plain nasty. Dialogue runs snarky and at times rather juvenile.

Bottom Line: While the mystery is a good plot device, the pace is too slow for this reader, and I could not find any of the characters worth investing in. The history is engaging but the narrative falls flat. The antagonist as revealed in the conclusion is not wholly unexpected, although I did like that little bit that Addie does with the pirate shop operator at the end.

This is the second in the series and might well be read as a standalone. I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review.

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Lauren Elliott - authorThe Author: Lauren Elliott grew up devouring the entire Nancy Drew series and then graduated to Victoria Holt, Agatha Christie, Barbara Erskine, Lynn Kurland, and Michael Crichton to name a few of her favorite authors. When it came time for post-secondary education, journalism seemed like the logical choice as she had written for as long as she could remember. Soon after graduation, while working for a small publication, she discovered that reporting wasn’t what fueled her writing passions. As someone with an additionally strong background in professional theater who had the love of storytelling and captivating and holding an audience, her fiction-writing career began to take center stage.

Lauren Elliott’s new Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery series promises to keep readers guessing right up until the last chapter. Plot twists and an array of colorful characters make for page turning, whodunit adventures filled with suspense, mystery, murder and just a touch of romance.

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Magickal Mystery Lore by Sharon Pape – a #BookReview

Magickal Mystery Lore by Sharon PapeTitle: Magickal Mystery Lore by Sharon Pape (An Abracadabra Mystery Book 4)

Genre: Women Sleuths (Paranormal, Cozy, Witches and Spells)

Publisher: Lyrical Underground

  • ISBN-10:1516108736
  • ISBN-13:978-1516108732
  • ASIN:B07FS2GCW3

 Print Length: 246 pages

Publication Date: April 16, 2019

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Magickal Mystery Lore

Book Blurb:

This spells trouble . . .
 
The New Camel Day Fair is a fun-filled event for residents of this upstate New York town. Kailyn Wilde, a modern-day witch of ancient lineage, leaves her potion shop, Abracadabra—and her feline familiar, Sashkatu—to attend with her fortune-telling Aunt Tilly. Joining them is legendary wizard Merlin, who’s discovering new pleasures of time-traveling to the modern world, including curly fries and kettle corn—but the appeal of the Tilt-a-Wheel is beyond his mystical imagination.

The real wild ride begins later, when neighboring sweet shop owner Lolly rushes into Abracadabra with news about a dead body. The victim has one of Lolly’s fudge knives stuck in her back, but in spite of the sticky evidence, Lolly is only one of several suspects with ample motive and opportunity. Meanwhile, Merlin’s research into old family scrolls and electromagnetic ley lines is causing some unusual mix-ups. As the two investigations collide, Kailyn will have to do everything in her power to prevent disaster…

My Review:

Magickal Mystery Lore by Sharon PapeI do love getting into a book, cozy mystery or not, that is quite a bit different than what I usually get with the genre. And genre? This one is pegged as “women sleuths.” Nah…the main character is a witch–still discovering her full potential (powers). She has, also, quite the number of spells in her repertoire. Kailyn Wilde is a contemporary witch but her lineage goes way back. She owns an old family potion shop called Abracadabra (potions and creams of which she infuses with spells from time to time). Her aunt Tilly has a tea and fortune-telling business nearby. Together, they’ve been invaded by Merlin, the magician of ancient times, who got stuck in one of Kailyn’s spells gone awry and was pulled into the Wilde’s world. He is still working on figuring out why, but at the same time discovering all the gleeful treats in today’s world has him lingering just a bit.

This is the fourth in the series and it seems coming in to this author and series at this point I’ve missed a number of major plot-building threads, one being just how Merlin is pulled into the here and now. So no, I wouldn’t say it could function as a standalone, and there is a decided lack of fleshing in the protagonist as well as her sweetie, Travis, a news reporter. He tends to participate with her in the sleuthing activities and is aware of her paranormal capabilities. However, there is enough going on with this well-plotted, unique storyline, and support characters to keep the reader engaged and turning pages.

The whole premise of magic and the inclusion of Merlin just adds a completely comical element to the story as he is living with aunt Tilly and keeps her exhausted with his searches, discoveries, and disheveled appearance. (She works on that.) His appetite and sweet tooth know no boundaries. AND, so many new terms I’ve learned, i.e., ley lines, familiars. That cat? Sashkatu is perfect. Just look at the cover!

Okay, I’ve gotten ahead of myself. New Camel (upstate New York) is holding their annual festival and both Kailyn and her aunt normally have a booth as well as the merchants in her small enclave of touristy shops. Unfortunately, one of their own, Lolly, a close friend and shop owner comes home to discover a body in her backyard. Of course, she’ll be number one on the local police persons-of-interest and Kailyn and Travis will work to discover the whodunit.

I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s obvious sense of humor, observations, and pokes of fun at things that can go wrong with magic and relationships including the appearances of her mother and grandmother who had passed on (crossed the veil). Nothing is ever simple and the murder mystery twists and turns in the wind with new discoveries and begins to reach further afield. Most threads are pulled in to a rather convoluted conclusion and one that left me somewhat frustrated–the ending leaving you scratching your head.

Still, I enjoyed the well enough to look for Book 5. I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended to all who enjoy a different kind of cozy with a decidedly distinctive appeal.

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars Four stars

Sharon Pape - authorThe Author: [Sharon Pape] I started writing stories as soon as I learned how to put letters together to form words. From that day forward, writing has been a part of my life whether it was my first attempt at a novel in seventh grade or the little plays I wrote for my friends to perform for neighbors and family. After college, when I was busy teaching French and Spanish to high school students, I was also writing poetry — often in French.

After several years, I left teaching to be a full time mom, and when my two children started school, I went back to writing. To my delight I found that the muse was still there, still waiting patiently for me to come around. My first novel, Ghostfire, was published at that time. It went on to be condensed in Redbook magazine (the first paperback original the magazine had ever condensed.) Then came The God Children and The Portal. Redbook also published my first short story, which was subsequently sold to several foreign magazines. With two great kids, a golden retriever and a loving, supportive husband (whom I’d met at the beach when I was fourteen — but that’s a story for another day), I felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be in my life. But fate had another plan for me, and it went by the name of “breast cancer.”

Looking back, I realize how fortunate I was that the cancer was discovered at such an early stage, but at the time it was all very overwhelming. Once I was back on my feet, I wanted to help other women who were newly diagnosed, worried and afraid. I became a Reach to Recovery volunteer for the American Cancer Society and went on to run the program for Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. A number of years later, with the help of my surgical oncologist and two other volunteers, I started Lean On Me, a nonprofit organization that provides peer support and information to breast cancer patients. When Lean On Me celebrated its tenth anniversary it no longer required as much of my time, and I once again found myself free to pursue my first love — writing.

©2019 V Williams Blog author

The Bones She Buried by Lisa Regan – a #BookReview

The Bones She Buried by Lisa ReganTitle: The Bones She Buried (Detective Josie Quinn Book 5) by Lisa Regan

Genre: Police Procedurals, Crime Thrillers, Serial Killers, Women Sleuths

Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN: B07MNV2ZKN
  • ISBN-10: 1786816407
  • ISBN-13: 978-1786816405

Publication Date: HAPPY RELEASE DATE! March 27, 2019

Print Length: 342 pages

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: The Bones She Buried

Book Blurb:

Josie works until her arms ache, until the paramedics arrive and pull her gently away from the woman’s cold, fragile body. Noah’s voice cracks beside her as he calls the time of death for his own, beloved mother.

Arriving with her partner Noah for dinner at his family’s immaculate countryside home, Detective Josie Quinn is devastated to find Noah’s mother, Colette, lying lifeless in the back garden, her mouth clogged with soil.

Searching the house for answers, Josie’s team don’t know what to make of the rosary beads buried in the dirt near the body, or the hidden file labelled “Drew Pratt”, the small town of Denton’s most famous missing person.

As she delves deeper into Pratt’s case, Josie quickly discovers he had a brother whose body mysteriously washed up on the banks of a river. There’s also a diary entry suggesting that Collette may have met him on the last day he was seen alive. Can Josie believe the unthinkable, that a kind old soul like Collette might have been involved in their murders? And, will Josie’s new relationship with Noah survive the accusation?

Josie’s only hope lies in tracking down Pratt’s daughter. But when she arrives at her home to find she’s been murdered just minutes before, Josie knows the real killer is one step ahead and won’t stop until Colette’s secret is buried forever. With many more innocent lives on the line, how deep is Josie prepared dig to reach the truth? Continue reading “The Bones She Buried by Lisa Regan – a #BookReview”

Murder Wears a Little Black Dress by Debra Sennefelder #BlogTour #BookReview

Murder Wears a Little Black Dress by Debra Sennefelder

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Murder Wears a Little Black Dress by Debra Sennefelder on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Book Details

Murder Wears a Little Black Dress (A Resale Boutique Mystery) Book 1
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Lyrical Underground (January 22, 2019)
Paperback: 200 pages
ISBN-10: 1516108965
ISBN-13: 978-1516108961
Digital ASIN: B07CR2CG63

Book Blurb

Manhattan fashionista Kelly Quinn thought she’d left her upstate New York town far behind . . . until the Seventh Avenue expat returns home to revamp her grandmother’s

consignment shop into an upscale boutique—and unwittingly sets a trend for murder . . .

After her rising career as a Manhattan buyer is derailed, Kelly has mixed feelings about relocating back to Lucky Cove, in spite of her big plans for the soon-to-be-renamed Curated by Kelly Resale Boutique. What’s left of her luck starts running out when a customer puts on a black lace dress that triggers visions of someone being murdered. As if the haunted “Murder Dress” isn’t enough to kill business, the psychic’s doppelganger cousin has just been found bludgeoned to death.

Was Maxine LeMoyne the real target or was it a case of mistaken murder? With some creepy pre-Halloween bargain hunters walking the night and Kelly suddenly a person of interest, a second murder rocks the close-knit town. Now Kelly could be the one who ends up talking to dead people when she’s stalked by a killer determined to take her out in high style . . .

My Review

Murder Wears a Little Black Dress by Debra SennefelderAh, I love actually getting in on Book 1 of a new series and one that promises a hint of paranormal with the cozy, girly stuff, even better. Kelly Quinn has been drummed out of her high-fashion, up and coming position in New York in humiliating circumstances about the time her grandmother passes away and leaves her the decades old and established resale/consignment shop in Lucky Cove.

True to cozy standards, Kelly fled her small town trials and tribulations for the bright lights and excitement of the fashion world only to find herself back home living above Granny’s shop, re-establishing all her previous contacts and relatives. She’s had devastating experiences that left her guilt ridden which she’ll now have to confront and finally come to terms with.

The twenty-six-year-old protagonist tries to bring some of that New York sophistication to her granny’s shop with a general do-over, creating a higher-level boutique experience catering to a younger crowd. She’s studied colors, arrangements, retail and now must concentrate on bringing an aging, dusty inventory current. The problem is that during an initial three-day event, the town psychic tries on a black lace dress that gives her the vision of a murder. And as it normally does in a small town. Word gets around. Especially after Kelly discovers the body of the psychic’s sister. This can’t be good for business!

There are a number of support characters to get to know in Book 1, not all of whom are well-fleshed, but exhibit engaging personalities, including Liv, Kelly’s bestie. Then there is Pepper, her grandmother’s contemporary, best friend, and co-worker who resists even the slightest change to the shop in which she’d worked so many years. Her uncle and aunt perform duties close to antagonists while twists and turns abound as Kelly is yanked first on one trail then another to discover the truth behind the “murder dress” and then proceeds to defend her own culpability in any crime. She has inherited a cat and confronts a cousin that is more hinder than help.

Kelly is ready to run away again, but fights the notion, and gets everyone’s opinion whether she should stay and battle it out or run. She is alternately at a loss while brain-storming new promotion ideas for the boutique. In the meantime, we are given the down-low on designer labels, accessories, and fashion trends. Prada would be proud! There are unanswered questions here–backstory on the estrangement of Kelly with her sister being one. The series has lots of room to grow and it’s fun to start at the beginning and see where this one will take you.

I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley for the book tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review.

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About the Author

Debra Sennefelder - authorDebra Sennefelder and is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.

Born and raised in New York City, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in pre-hospital care, retail and publishing. Her writing companions are her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzus, Susie and Billy. Find out more about her at her website, http://www.DebraSennefelder.com

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

Tour Participants:

January 21 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

January 21 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 22 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 23 – My Reading Journey – REVIEW  

January 23 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 24 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

January 24 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 25 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW  

January 25 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 26 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 26 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 27 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 27 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

January 28 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

January 28 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 29 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

January 29 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 30 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

January 31 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 31 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

February 1 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 2 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 3 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW

February 3 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Baby Daddy Mystery by Daisy Pettles – a #BookReview

Baby Daddy Mystery by Daisy PettlesTitle: Baby Daddy Mystery: Shady Hoosier Detective Agency (Book 2)

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Women Sleuths

Publisher: Hot Pants Press LLC

Publication Date: December 8, 2018

Print Length: 216 pages

ASIN: B07KV79P7M

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Baby Daddy Mystery – Fun cozy mystery cover

Book Blurb:

It’s spring in Pawpaw County, Indiana, and everybody has a bad case of hanky-panky pants. Senior sleuths Ruby Jane Waskom (RJ) and Veenie Goens are on the run, chasing down cheating heart jezebels and shaking child support out of deadbeat daddies. After Avonelle Apple’s husband, William, the esteemed town dentist, passes away, she receives a child support letter from a self-proclaimed mistress. Suspicious, she hires the Shady Hoosier Detective Agency, to determine if her late husband was a philandering baby daddy. The case seems simple until Avonelle’s son, Bromley, heir to his father’s dental empire, and well-known King of the Pawpaw County Hanky-Panky Pants Club, pops up dead in a scarecrow costume. The mounting romantic mysteries come to a surprise head as the senior sleuths outrun shotgun showers to close in on the answers at the Moon Glo Motor Lodge, the Original Home of Hillbilly Hanky Panky. Veenie and RJ have to buy an extra case of Bengay and a buttload of BBs just to keep up with the romantic misadventures in this humorous crime classic. Continue reading “Baby Daddy Mystery by Daisy Pettles – a #BookReview”

Oh Holy Fright by Teresa Trent – a #BookReview

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, to all my Favorite Readers–You!

Christmas review-Oh Holy Fright by Teresa Trent

Title: Oh Holy Fright by Teresa Trent

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Women’s Fiction, Women Sleuths

ASIN: B07JFNSC11

Publication Date: October 31, 2018

Page Length: 255 pages

Source: BookBub

Title and Cover: Oh Holy Fright-That cover will get you

Book Blurb:

It’s Christmas in Pecan Bayou, Texas. Join Betsy (aka The Happy Hinter) for a good old small-town Christmas complete with Christmas carols, over the top light displays, delicious food, loving friends and…a Christmas Creeper. One of the residents of Pecan Bayou has a secret and you’d better lock the door because that isn’t Santa out there or even a stray elf. Enjoy spending Christmas with the town and family you’ve come to know in the Pecan Bayou Series. Recipes and helpful hints included!

My Review:

Oh Holy Fright by Teresa TrentCute cozy with a curious concept! Yay, another cozy with an atypical plot! Betsy Livingston, the local paper’s “Happy Hinter” of rural, small-town Pecan Bayou, Texas is preparing for Christmas with her blended family. (Another plus, unusual family setting, low-key on the romance angle and sexual tension.) Part of her extended family also includes a neurologically handicapped family member, everyone is preparing for Christmas, contending with an off-key, ear-splitting soloist in the choir, and confronting a Christmas Creeper.

Unfortunately, a beloved mailman is murdered in the street which may implicate her aunt Maggie as she recently armed herself against the intruder. In the middle of it all, an instant Christmas store hawking super sales on coveted technical or electronic gift items, including Play Stations, and have her boys on a Christmas campaign.

There are enough threads here to keep you busier than a one-armed paper-hanger, yet the well-plotted mystery dragged somewhat for me. I appreciated the focus on the family situation since that scenario is quite common as well as the sympathetic and sensitive handling of Down’s Syndrome, Danny, whose sweet character was well developed. There is humor in the strangest situations and that was another takeaway, also appreciated.

What had me scratching my head was the obtuseness of the characters, including (once again) the local constabulary. Some of this stuff is pretty obvious so there are few surprises. The narrative examines reverse mortgages and the financial plight of the elderly, as well as offspring with drug problems and exes, the push to get the little ones out to sell subscriptions, scammers, and counterfeit money.

This is book 8 of the series, but I felt could easily work as a standalone as we see enough fleshing to understand the major characters and those who have reoccurring roles. We received this free download through BookBub and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. I say “we” as I thought it might be one my associate reviewer would also enjoy. (His review appeared on Goodreads, November 28, 2018, I’ve since combined.)

His Review: C.E. Williams - Associate Reviewer

Combining small-town drama with mystery and suspense makes this read a hoot. A bit of Nancy Drew meets Perry Mason. Predictable but with some good belly laughs along the way. CE Williams 4/5 stars

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars Four of Five Stars

Teresa Trent - authorThe Author: Teresa Trent writes the Piney Woods and the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series from Houston, Texas where she loves the people and even the weather. Teresa includes Danny, a character with Down Syndrome in her Pecan Bayou family and in real life is the mother of an adult son with Down Syndrome/PDD. Creating the character of Danny and all of the other inhabitants of Pecan Bayou has been a joy for her. Even though she lives in the big city, her writing is influenced by all of the interesting people she finds in small towns and the sense of family that is woven through them all. ©2018 V Williams V Williams

Tandem Demise by Duffy Brown – #BookReview

Tandem Demise by Duffy Brown

Tandem Demise: A Cycle Path Mystery (Book 3)

Genre: Mystery, Cozy, Women Sleuths

  • ISBN-10:1729374786
  • ISBN-13:978-1729374788
  • ASIN: B07JRB373X
  • 298 pages
  • Date Published: October 27, 2018

My Review:

Not a problem that this is book 3 of the Cycle Path series, as Tandem Demise can work just fine as a standalone. There is enough here to check off the list of most everyone reading a cozy and Ms. Brown knows just the right pace to lead you along!

Evie Bloomfield must be the most inept bicycle rider ever that owns a bicycle rental shop, Rudy’s Rides, on the touristy island of Mackinac Island, Michigan. But you have to give it to her–she decorates and names each bike such that they take on a personality. It’s the perfect place to have a bicycle rental shop–there are no cars allowed. There are, however, plenty of horses. The description of the island already has me planning a trip in the summer (as it definitely wouldn’t appeal as a winter-time destination).

Evie is apparently a single thirty-something who is eyeing Nate Sutter, the police chief and transplanted Detroit cop. Her best buddy is Fiona, a newspaper editor. There is a wealth of well-developed support characters, including Evie’s mother and Cal, her ex-Marine shop assistant. The names of the local shops are quaint and the island inviting. She has two kitties, Bambino and Cleveland. There is a wedding planner running interference and a couple of casualties and Evie discovers both.

The author leads with snarky, snappy dialogue and the pace and never slows the narrative. The well-plotted storyline runs into twists and becomes apparent that there is a more complex story here than immediately apparent. Packed with a LOL sense of humor, the mystery carefully weaves in and out of island exposé. You may guess the antagonist correctly prior to conclusion, but the exciting reveal held one final little twist you didn’t see coming. The only problem I had was the number of edit misses.

I was given this ebook download by the author through BookFunnel for a spotlight that I’ve previously published on this blog and greatly enjoyed the opportunity to read and review. Highly recommended for fans of cozy mysteries. Fun and fast. Not my first Duffy Brown book and I look forward to many more!

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Book Blurb:

After solving two murders, bike shop owner Evie Bloomfield thought life on Mackinac Island would settle into boredom until she finds out Nate Sutter, island police chief and once-upon-a-time under cover cop is on the run. Some badass guys from Nate’s Detroit days think he stole money from them in a champagne smuggling operation and now they’re headed to the island to get their loot. Evie is determined to help Nate because he’s a good cop, Nate is determined to keep interfering Evie and island locals out of harms way, and the crooks are determined to get their money.
To add to the island’s problems there’s a dead guy on the dock and the new wedding planner is more interested in playing bedroom bingo than ordering bridal bouquets.
With the help of Fiona, Evie’s BFF and local newspaper editor, Evie is determined to prove Nate innocent, figure out how champagne smuggling, bodies on the dock and a bad wedding planner are tied together and not wind up taking a long walk off a short pier herself. 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5 of five stars

About The Author:

Duffy Brown - authorDuffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She has two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, her license plate is Sherlok and she conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own for Berkley Prime Crime. Duffy’s national bestselling Consignment Shop Mystery series is set in Savannah and the Cycle Path Mysteries are set on Mackinac Island.

Author Links:

Website – http://www.duffybrown.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com

©2018 V Williams V Williams

 

Murder in Her Stocking by G. A. McKevett #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Murder in Her Stocking by G A McKevett

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Murder in Her Stocking by G. A. McKevett on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Murder in Her Stocking (A Granny Reid Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Kensington (October 30, 2018)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716264
ISBN-13: 978-1496716262
Digital ASIN: B079KTKPH2
Book Blurb

As the Moonlight Magnolia Agency revisits old memories on Christmas Eve, Granny Reid takes the reins back thirty years to the 1980s—back when she went by Stella, everyone’s hair was bigger, and sweaters were colorful disasters. But murder never went out of style . .

Christmas has arrived in sleepy McGill, Georgia, but holiday cheer can’t keep temperamental Stella Reid from swinging a rolling pin at anyone who crosses her bad side—and this season, there are plenty. First an anonymous grinch vandalizes a celebrated nativity display. Far worse, the scandalous Prissy Carr is found dead in an alley behind a tavern. With police puzzled over the murder, Stella decides to stir the local gossip pot for clues on the culprit’s identity . . .

Turns out Prissy held a prominent spot on the naughty list, and suspects pile up like presents on Christmas morning. Unfortunately, the more progress Stella makes, the more fears she must confront. With a neighbor in peril and the futures of her beloved grandchildren at risk, Stella must somehow set everything straight and bring a cunning criminal to justice before December 25th . . .

My Review

Once again, my introduction to the author and a new series entry intended as a prequel to the well-established Savannah Reid series. As such, this functions well as a standalone, although it took me a few chapters to get into the unique writing style. Very folksy; had me thinking it was not so much a cozy as literary fiction and slow southern, small town, down-home style of McGill, Georgia, at that.

Not so sure it is as much mystery as it is the story of the Reid family. Strong characterizations–Granny is bigger than life. Bless her heart, Granny Reid, is the self-proclaimed caretaker of her seven grandchildren, her grand-angels. She pours her heart and soul into these kids. They come first. And Savannah (who will grow up to be second generation sleuth), the oldest at twelve, has had to grow up very quickly due to the fact that her absentee trucking father is on the road–most of the time. Their mother occupies her bar stool–daily–and almost exclusively. The home is not a home, it’s barely a house. But Granny has enough love for all of them and it’s only later that their mother casts a jealous eye toward her mother-in-law.

The story starts with Stella Reid (better known as Granny Reid) holding her great-grandchild at a Christmas gathering. She begins musing thirty years previous to more tumultuous times and a whole other Christmas. The artfully laid out plot is heavy with clichéd sayings and little glimmers of Granny’s wisdom bestowed with love and guidance to the little ones. Heaven knows they get none from their mother, Shirley.

“Shirley had yet to learn that control wasn’t power. Love was power.”

And the storyline is peppered with colloquialisms:

“Harder than a mustard bottle gets squeezed on the Fourth of July.”

“I’d rather chew bumblebees…”

“…feel like a rubber-nosed woodpecker in a petrified forest.”

“…she clams up tighter than a bullfrog’s keister in a bucket of ice water.”

These are good God-fearing righteous folk, trying to do good in this world.

There is a murder and Granny takes on some sleuthing, along with Sheriff Gilford, though I loved that the sleuthing doesn’t control the story–the Reid family does. And they have quite the story to tell and a lot of lessons to be learned along the way. I think my favorite was “…we treat people–“”I know. I know. According to who we are, not who they are.””

It’s a sweet story told in slow, cozy style and y’all better not expect a barn-burner. It is, however, well paced, keeping the reader engaged. There are good people in the world and people trying to do good. And even the antagonists can’t be bad all the time.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and review. Recommended as a great Christmas season entry to your TBR. This narrative will captivate cozy readers, literary fiction readers, and those who enjoy the work of women sleuths.

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Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win one of (3) Print Copy Murder in Her Stocking (A Granny Reid Mystery) by G. A. McKevett – Hardcover (U.S. Only) in this Rafflecopter giveaway  

About the Author

G. A. McKevett - authorG.A. McKevett is the author of the acclaimed Savannah Reid mystery series. Also writing under the name Sonja Massie, she has authored over 60 books ranging from cozy mysteries to historical romances, to nonfiction works on the history of Ireland. Her earthy humor and fast-paced plots delight her fans, while critics applaud her offbeat characterizations and incisive observations on human nature. Irish by ancestry, she has lived in Toronto, Ireland, and Los Angeles, but now resides in New York.

Author Links

Website: www.SonjaMassie.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GAMcKevett

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gwendolynnarden.mckevett

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2xQwQKz

Purchase Links

Amazon  B&N  Kobo Google Play   Book Depository

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

Tour Participants:

November 5 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

November 5 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

November 6 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

November 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

November 6 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

November 7 – The Montana Bookaholic – SPOTLIGHT

November 7 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

November 7 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT         

November 8 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 8 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

November 9 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 10 – My Devotional Thoughts – REVIEW

November 10 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW,

November 11 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 11 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

November 12 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

November 12 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

House of Ashes by Loretta Marion #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

House of Ashes by Loretta Marion

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for House of Ashes: A Haunted Bluffs Mystery by Loretta Marion on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win this super Giveaway!

Book Details

House of Ashes: A Haunted Bluffs Mystery
Supernatural Mystery
1st in Series
Crooked Lane Books (November 13, 2018)

Hardcover, 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1683318439
ISBN-13: 978-1683318439

Book Blurb

A family patriarch’s dying proclamation, an enigmatic disappearance, and a century-old curse converge in the shadows of a majestic home on Cape Cod’s craggy coast.

Thirty-seven-year-old painter Cassandra Mitchell is fourth-generation to live in the majestic Battersea Bluffs, a brooding Queen Anne home originally built by her great-grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, and still standing despite tragedies that have swept the generations. Local lore has it that there was a curse placed on the family and the house is haunted, though opinions are divided on whether it’s by malicious or benevolent spirits. Cassie believes the latter―but now she stands to lose her beloved home to mounting debt and the machinations of her dream-weaving ex-husband.

Salvation seems to arrive when a nomadic young couple wanders onto the property with the promise of companionship and much-needed help―until they vanish without a trace, leaving behind no clue to their identities. Cassie is devastated, but determined to discover what’s happened to the young couple…even as digging into their disappearance starts to uncover family secrets of her own. Despite warnings from her childhood friend, now the local Chief of Police―as well as an FBI agent who pushes the boundaries of professionalism―Cassie can’t help following the trail of clues (and eerie signals from the old house itself) to unravel the mystery. But can she do so before her family’s dark curse destroys everything in its path?

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My Review

House of Ashes by Loretta MarionCassandra Mitchell is the great-granddaughter of Percy and Celeste Mitchell who built the gorgeous Battersea Bluffs mansion in Whale Rock, Massachusetts, Cape Cod where she now lives alone. She is 37 years old and tenaciously clings to the family Victorian despite its history, local folklore, and apparent supernatural experiences.

The author sets up a time warp storyline that begins with the events that set the stage for the tragic deaths of her great-grandparents. There is an apparent curse that has followed them from England and has followed generations of their male descendants. Cassie has weathered a disastrous marriage and impending divorce and her scoundrel ex pretty much spent every dime he could lay his hands on before he split. She is presently facing foreclosure and looking at the possibility of having to ask her older and geographically estranged sister for another loan. She refuses the idea of selling.

Not without some form of income, she does what she can to bring in food money though she inherited an artistic gift from her mother which she has been too depressed to exercise. Sinking deeper into the funk that has enveloped her in the situation, she meets a young couple, Ashley and Vince, on her property, accompanied by a German Shepherd, and impressed with them and taken by the moment invite them to stay with her for a while in exchange for their work on the carriage house.

Ms. Marion flips both chronological timelines as she brings in further details of Cassie’s family, both current and 80 years ago. Chapter headings clearly tell in which timeline the narrative is heading and it doesn’t take long to get into the rhythm. It is Cassie’s belief that her great-grandparents frequently visit her, signaling their presence by a distinctly pleasant odor, depending on the situation.

The couple suddenly disappears without explanation which sets off a chain of investigations that begins with local law enforcement and extends to the FBI. There is an attraction to the FBI agent, and Cassie appears to be in full rebound mode. The romance of Cassie and her suitors weaves in and out of the well-plotted story adding tension to the already increasing pressure to find the kids and confirm their well-being.

She is consumed with the problem of figuring out what happened to the kids after they’ve nearly completed the remodel of her carriage house and made a place in her heart. She flits between responsible and irresponsible as she gleans little clues to follow and discovers she didn’t know them, really at all. Not where they came from, not where they may have gone or what happened to them. Happy with having the couple around, they had created in her the urge to paint again and she is facing a large gallery showing by a friend and local art gallery owner who had previously handled some of her mother’s paintings.

I had a little difficulty getting into the well-developed protagonist’s shoes. She has that artist’s aura about her, tormented but talented. Headstrong and smart, she seemed to make less than informed decisions, while craftily planning her next move toward solving the mystery of the couple. The dog, Whistler, has become as much a part of her life as did his owners and she is happy to care for him, as he is now protecting her.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for any who enjoy a mystery, supernatural or paranormal qualities, thriller and suspense, and strong women sleuths.

Giveaway

Sign up for  your chance to win (1) GRAND PRIZE – One $50 Barnes & Noble gift card Two signed hardcover copies of House of Ashes (one for the winner and one for a friend) Two signed paperback copies of The Fool’s Truth (one for the winner and one for a friend) Plus two book bags (one for the winner and one for the friend) (U.S. Only) in this  Rafflecopter giveaway 

About the Author

Loretta Marion - authorAn author of fiction, Loretta Marion’s writing bridges the genres of mystery and suspense and women’s fiction, always with hints of romance and humor, sometimes delving into the psychological and paranormal. She creates strong but flawed and struggling characters as appealing as the rich atmospheric settings in which the stories take place.

Loretta is a true bibliophile and has loved reading and creating with words since she was a young girl. And that affection for the written word followed her like a shadow throughout her life as she put pen to paper crafting marketing and advertising copy, educational brochures and newsletters. But her passion for writing fiction evolved from the unlikely world of hospice. As a volunteer, she set out to establish a Legacy Story program to honor and preserve the rich heritage of the fascinating people who were soon to leave this world. The meaningful experience inspired her to create her own interesting characters and stories. Her debut novel, The Fool’s Truth, was a twisty and suspenseful mystery with whispers of romance. Her newest novel, HOUSE OF ASHES – A Haunted Bluffs Mystery, is the first in a series published by Crooked Lane Books.

Though born and raised in the Midwest, Loretta fell in love with New England and has made it the setting for much of her writing. When not whipping out words on her laptop, she is traveling, enjoying outdoor pursuits, or is curled up with a delicious new book. Loretta lives in Rhode Island with her husband, Geoffrey, and their beloved Mr. Peabody, a sweet, devoted and amusing “Corgador” (Corgi-Labrador cross).  (www.LorettaMarion.com)

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

Tour Participants:

November 1 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

November 1 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 2 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

November 2 –  A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 3 – fundinmental – REVIEW

November 3 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

November 4 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST 

November 5 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW, GUEST POST 

November 5 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

November 6 – Valerie’s Musings – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 6 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

November 7 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 8 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT  

November 8 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 9 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 9 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

November 10 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

November 10 – Curling Up by the Fire – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours 

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Yeast of Eden by Sarah Fox – a #BookReview

Yeast of Eden by Sarah FoxTitle: Yeast of Eden (A Pancake House Mystery Book 4) by Sarah Fox

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Suspense, Women Sleuths

Publisher: Lyrical Underground

Publication Date: October 30, 2018

ASIN: B079KV2WD3

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Yeast of EdenCute, compelling cozy cover

Book Blurb:

In USA Today bestselling author Sarah Fox’s delicious new Pancake House Mystery, it’s up to Marley McKinney to discover the waffle truth behind a rival’s murder . . .
 
Winter has come to Wildwood Cove, and riding in on the chill is Wally Fowler. Although he’s been away for years, establishing his reputation as the self-proclaimed Waffle King, the wealthy blowhard has returned to the coastal community to make money, not friends—by pitting his hot and trendy Waffle Kingdom against Marley McKinney’s cozy pancake house, The Flip Side. Wally doesn’t see anything wrong in a little healthy competition, until he’s murdered in his own state-of-the art kitchen.

Marley isn’t surprised when the authorities sniff around The Flip Side for a motive, but it’s her best friend Lisa who gets grilled, given her sticky history with the victim. When a second murder rocks the town, it makes it harder than ever for Marley to clear Lisa’s name. Marley’s afraid that she’s next in line to die—and the way things are looking, the odds of surviving her investigation could be stacked against her. Continue reading “Yeast of Eden by Sarah Fox – a #BookReview”

Malice at the Manor – a #BookReview

Malice at the Manor by J Marshall GordonTitle: Malice at the Manor (Penny Summers Mystery Book 2) by J. Marshall Gordon

Genre: Mystery, Women’s Fiction, Woman Sleuth, Private Investigations

Publisher: Taylor & Seale Publishing

Publication Date: April 27, 2018

Source: Happy Book Reviews and author

Title and Cover: Malice at the Manor – Beautiful cover conveys subject background

Book Blurb: Penny Summers bones up on Renaissance garden design until she finds a dead docent and finds herself up to her tramp stamp unraveling a Civil War battle flag scam.

In North Carolina where “The Recent Unpleasantness” between the North and the South is still romanticized, the problem of a dead docent in a famous garden leads ex-Navy public affairs officer Penny Summers to a Civil War battle flag scam, a deadly reenactment, and a search for a man in black. With the help of Kalea, an eleven-year-old C.S.I.-wannabe, and Aaron, her handsome Navy friend working undercover, Penny discovers more than she bargained for. She thinks if she had studied psychology, it might have turned out differently. Probably not.

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(This was a publicist request that I thought both the C.E. and I might enjoy and review together–you’ll note the CE often holds a different opinion although many times generously so.)

My Review:

I must confess that this is the first quasi-cozy whose protagonist is a Master Gardener/landscape designer. Ex-Navy Penny Summers enrolls in Madison Lerrimore’s residential design course in Maryland which leads to a visit with the instructor to North Carolina.

The author does a masterful job of interlacing fact with fiction, the names in our recent history, and fascinating locations in this country’s civil war including the little-known site of a short skirmish in Asheville, NC. I must say, it incites interest in visiting civil war sites and some of these gorgeous old southern mansions and their gardens. This one, whether or not fictional, sounded fascinating enough to warrant a closer inspection (especially if the bridges where the public would be allowed are unsafe).

This is actually the second in the series. Among the recurring major characters are her Aunt Zelma and Navy sweetie, Aaron Hunt. In this narrative, Penny gets to know her instructor on a personal level, including Madison’s daughter, Kalea, a precocious eleven-year-old and Madison’s partner. The author includes a touch of paranormal with his first-person Penny who often hears her “Grandpa Jack” making comments in her ear, and her great-aunt Zelma is said to have “second sight.” Additionally, backstory is added to Penny’s own childhood that appears to have some impact on current events.

It doesn’t take long before Penny is stumbling across a docent face down in a creek bed who turns out to be a relative of Madison which unintentionally opens a can of worms. The multi-layered plot forks off with absorbing peek into history, Madison’s twisted tale, and Aunt Zelma’s hosting prowess with food and the ever-present chardonnay. And there is always “money” as motive in civil war memorabilia. Penny concocts an idea to wheedle out the antagonist using her sweetie, soon to be lover, and manages to pull off a coup at the conclusion with the help of local law enforcement and Henderson County detective, Coleen Jackson.

The description of the gardens and associated local plant species was interesting, the civil war history interesting, and the sights and flavors of the south interesting. However, there were times when Kalea appeared to be smarter than the adults who were supervising her, and the growing romance between Penny and Aaron was just annoying unnecessary. The characters were not wholly engaging although the narrative moved at a nice pace, and the dialogue (except for exaggerated southern drawl) believable.

On the whole, a relatively quiet conclusion, albeit without a complete resolution to all questions. The antagonist seems apparent and as they note, “Maybe the how will suggest the why. And then the who will become obvious.” 4/5 stars [V Williams] V Williams Continue reading “Malice at the Manor – a #BookReview”

Shelved Under Murder #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Shelved Under Murder by Victoria Gilbert

I am super-excited today to provide a review at my blog stop for Shelved Under Murder by Victoria Gilbert on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter the Giveaway!

Book Details

Shelved Under Murder: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (July 10, 2018) (Happy Release Day!)
Hardcover: 300 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683315957
Digital: ASIN: B075QJHPR9

Autumn leaves aren’t the only things falling in the historic Virginia village of Taylorsford—so are some cherished memories, and a few bodies.

October in Taylorsford, Virginia means it’s leaf peeping season, with bright colorful foliage and a delightful fresh crew of tourists attending the annual Heritage Festival which celebrates local history and arts and crafts. Library director Amy Webber, though, is slightly dreading having to spend two days running a yard sale fundraiser for her library. But during these preparations, when she and her assistant Sunny stumble across a dead body, Amy finds a real reason to be worried.

The body belonged to a renowned artist who was murdered with her own pallet knife. A search of the artist’s studio uncovers a cache of forged paintings, and when the sheriff’s chief deputy Brad Tucker realizes Amy is skilled in art history research, she’s recruited to aid the investigation. It doesn’t seem to be an easy task, but when the state’s art expert uncovers a possible connection between Amy’s deceased uncle and the murder case, Amy must champion her Aunt Lydia to clear her late husband’s name.

That’s when another killing shakes the quiet town, and danger sweeps in like an autumn wind. Now, with her swoon-inducing neighbor Richard Muir, Amy must scour their resources to once again close the books on murder.

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My Review 

Shelved Under Murder by Victoria GilbertThis is the second of the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series and continues with Amy Webber as the Library Director of the Taylorsford, Virginia library. The library is gearing up for the big annual Heritage Festival which celebrates their local history as well as showcasing residents arts and crafts. Amy is living with her Aunt Lydia and still seeing Richard Muir, who was introduced as a romantic interest in book 1. Richard is a classical dancer, choreographer, and a neighbor, having inherited the house next door.

In conjunction with the upcoming festival, the library will assist in fundraising by offering books as well as local artists’ canvases. Unfortunately, when she and Sunny Fields, her assistant, travels out to the artist’s home to pick up the promised donations, she finds the artist has been murdered and her husband in absentia. As Amy also studied art history, she is recruited to help in the investigation after they discover a hidden cache of forged paintings. Of course, there is a connection–to Amy’s deceased uncle. Now starts a road rutted with misdirection, twists, and turns.

With the exception of the art expert brought in to assess the hidden treasure, most support characters were introduced in book 1 and are not developed more widely in this offering. Amy as a protagonist is not wholly sympathetic, exhibits some insecure issues especially where it concerns Richard and is prone to chewing her “pinkie” nail. The well-plotted story slowly unwinds with Sunny and her beau, Chief Deputy Brad Tucker, the local gendarme charged with investigation. When a second body turns up, all bets are off, and you might be back to guessing the whodidit in the whodunit. Perhaps Kurt Kendrick is of most interest in the plot-driven book, as he cannot be easily pegged. A new addition to the storyline is almost of immediate suspicion.

I felt the original subject, that of the library fundraising took a third chair behind the art history lesson, which quickly took over as the main focus, and the romance. I can definitely do without the romance, and it’s not the first time I’ve found Richard to be a bit creepy. The subject of the art masters and the forgeries they’ve generated is an interesting discussion, however, as well as the formula for divining original artists, paints, and materials.

Still, between the lengthy exploration of forged canvases and the romances, my attention not only sagged somewhat but dropped out completely and I found it difficult to maintain any engagement, making the read longer than it should have. Attention returned somewhat as it progressed to conclusion, but then it waffled again with an unnecessary wrap-up party. Perhaps the plot was just a bit too slow for me.

I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley through the blog tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for those who enjoy an intelligent cozy mystery sans recipes, women and amateur sleuths.

Giveaway

Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway for your chance to win One (1) signed hardcover copy of Shelved Under Murder “with some swag” on the Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Victoria GilbertVictoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. She has worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and library director.

When not writing or reading, Victoria likes to spend her time watching films, gardening, or traveling. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers, and is represented by Frances Black at Literary Council, NY, NY.

Victoria lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats. This is her first Blue Ridge Library mystery.

Author Links:

Website/blog: http://victoriagilbertmysteries.com/

Facebook author page:  https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaGilbertMysteryAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VGilbertauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/VictoriaGilbert

Purchase Links:

Amazon     B&N         Books-A-Million      Indie Bound 

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

Tour Participants:

July 9 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 9 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

July 9 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 10 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

July 10 – Curling Up by the Fire – REVIEW

July 10 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 11 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

July 11 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

July 11 – Varietats – SPOTLIGHT

July 12 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

July 13 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 13 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 14 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

July 14 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

July 15 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

July 15 – 3 Partners in Shopping Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

July 16 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

July 16 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 16 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

July 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

July 17 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 17 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 18 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

July 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

July 19 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 19 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 20 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

July 20 – Island Confidential – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 20 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST 

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Confound It by Maggie Toussaint – a #BlogTour #BookReview and #Giveaway

Confound It - a Dreamwalker Mystery by Maggie Toussaint

I am super-excited today to provide a review for my blog stop for Confound It by Maggie Toussaint on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Confound It (Dreamwalker Mystery #5)

Book Details

Cozy Mystery – Paranormal

  • Series: A Dreamwalker Mystery (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Camel Press (June 1, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10:1603815953
  • ISBN-13:978-1603815956

Book Blurb

Confound It by Maggie ToussaintWhile hosting out-of-town guests at her Georgia home, Dreamwalker Baxley Powell is called upon to help investigate a suspicious fire. One of her guests, close friend and fellow dreamwalker Deputy Sam Mayes, accompanies her to the scene. A meth cook is dead, and when Baxley visits her beyond the Veil of Life, she determines that the woman was murdered. Baxley pities Mandy Patterson, a single mother with aspirations for her teenage son Doodle. Unconcerned about the death of a criminal, the authorities pursue the drug-supply chain angle. Baxley worries about Doodle and vows to find out who killed his mother. As the case grows more baffling, Baxley struggles against her attraction to Sam. Although her husband is missing and declared dead, she does not feel free to love again until she is sure of his fate. Two suspects have the strongest motive, but Baxley has reason to believe they are pawns in a deeper game. And unless she can stop them, the world will never be the same. Book 5 in the Dreamwalker Mystery series. Continue reading “Confound It by Maggie Toussaint – a #BlogTour #BookReview and #Giveaway”

A Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates #BlogTour #Spotlight #Giveaway

The Spook in the Stacks Lighthouse Library Mystery by Eva Gates

The Spook in the Stacks: A Lighthouse Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Crooked Lane Books (Happy Publication Day!! June 12, 2018)
Hardcover: 250 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683315803
Digital ASIN: B075QJ59PX

I am super-excited today to provide a spotlight at my blog stop for The Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Book Blurb

The Spook in the Stacks by Eva GatesHalloween in North Carolina’s Outer Banks becomes seriously tricky when librarian Lucy Richardson stumbles across something extra unusual in the rare books section: a dead body.

Wealthy businessman Jay Ruddle is considering donating his extensive collection of North Carolina historical documents to the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, but the competition for the collection is fierce. Unfortunately, while the library is hosting a lecture on ghostly legends, Jay becomes one of the dearly departed in the rare books section. Now, it’s up to Lucy Richardson and her fellow librarians to bone up on their detective skills and discover who is responsible for this wicked Halloween homicide.

Meanwhile, very strange things are happening at the library―haunted horses are materializing in the marsh, the lights seem to have an eerie life of their own, and the tiny crew of a model ship appears to move around when no one is watching. Is Lucy at her wit’s end? Or can it be that the Bodie Island Lighthouse really is haunted?

With The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on everyone’s minds and ghoulish gossip on everyone’s lips, Lucy will need to separate the clues from the boos if she wants to crack this case without losing her head in The Spook in the Stacks, the delightful fourth in national bestseller Eva Gates’ Lighthouse Library mysteries.

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Giveaway

The author will be giving away one (1) print copy of her book (US only) in this Rafflecopter giveaway!

About the Author

ava gatesVicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than twenty-five books:  clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing three cozy mystery series: the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House and, under the pen name of Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library series, for Crooked Lane Books.

Vicki lives and writes in bucolic Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.  Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards.

Visit Vicki at www.vickidelany.com. On Facebook at www.facebook.com/evagatesauthor. Twitter @vickidelany @evagatesauthor

Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N   Kobo     Google Play       BookBub

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

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 10 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

June 10 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

June 10 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 11 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST

June 11 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 12 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

June 12 – Varietats – REVIEW, GUEST POST

June 12 – Rosepoint Publishing – SPOTLIGHT

June 13 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

June 13 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

June 13 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

June 14 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 14 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 15 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

June 15 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

June 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 16 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

June 16 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

June 17 –  Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 17 –  A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

June 18 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

June 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 18 – The Book Diva’s Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 19 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

June 19 – Curling up by the Fire – REVIEW

June 19 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 20 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

June 20 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 20 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 21 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW, GUEST POST 

June 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

June 21 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog –  CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 22 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 22 – The Montana Bookaholic – CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 22 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 23 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 23 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

I was granted a spotlight date of The Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates through tour host Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours–thank you!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Reading on the #Cozy Side with a Little #Sci-Fi, #K-9, or #HistFic for Spice

#TBR - #Cozies

It’s not true that I’ve gone to the Cozy side, but sometimes it does appear that way, huh.

Take for instance these five on my current #TBR pile. It would appear at least four are cozy, and you’d be part right. Obviously, however, Bad Time to be In It by David Burnsworth is a Blu Carraway mystery, actually classified by Amazon as “hard-boiled.” You may remember I used that term in the discussion on Family Noir.

A Souffle of Suspicion by Daryl Wood GerberThat would leave three with the cozy, women sleuth, and amateur sleuth designation, because (**surprise**) Soufflé of Suspicion by Daryl Wood Gerber has the additional distinction of also being classified as culinary. (Do you see more recipes in my future? The cover even SAYS “Includes Recipes.” But Nope!)

I really do enjoy a cozy mystery or two, particularly between heavier genres, such as the Irish historical fiction I recently reviewed or the sci-fi, or even the hysterically funny, campy, and definitely unique Ray vs the Meaning of Life by Michael F Stewart. If you missed it, see my review here.

At most, there may be a conceived pattern. If you detect the upcoming pattern is filled with food or decadent desserts, it would appear that food or desserts are a necessary ingredient for the genre. But please, no more recipes for me, unless it includes a pleasing classic cocktail.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Deja Moo – a #BookReview

Deja Moo by Kirsten WeissTitle: Déjà Moo (Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum #3) by Kirsten Weiss

Genre: Currently #10266 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Women Sleuths

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Publication Date: To be released March 8, 2018

Source: Midnight Ink and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Deja Moo – Inventive title-compelling cover

San Benedetto, a small town near Sacramento in the wine country, erects a Christmas Cow every Christmas and every Christmas the town square cow goes up in flames. Protagonist Maddie Kosloski, owner of the Paranormal Museum, is not a fan–it draws crowds from her shop, which is a tourist draw, so this year she has added historic Christmas bells to her holiday display.

This year will be different. For one thing, her mother is on the Ladies Aid committee coordinating with the local Dairy Association, and they are determined to guard the 30′ flammable cow through the season, the schedule having been laid out. So it is that her mother is playing guard duty when the straw cow is set ablaze. Unfortunately, the other guard is also hit by an arrow and killed. Continue reading “Deja Moo – a #BookReview”

Splintered Silence – a Book Review

Splintered Silence by Susan FurlongTitle: Splintered Silence (A Bone Gap Travellers novel) by Susan Furlong

Genre: Currently #956 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Women Sleuths

Publisher: Kensington Press

Publication Date: December 26, 2017

Source: Kensington Press and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Splintered Silence – Backwoods road, country setting

Former Marine MP Brynn Callahan and Wilco (her cadaver dog) have returned to the Appalachians of Tennessee to stay with her grandparents who raised her after three tours with the Marines. Brynn and Wilco (Will Comply) are both suffering from PTSD after an IED explosion ended their tour. Splintered Silence is the first in the Bone Gap Travellers Mystery series, featuring the Irish Travellers. Often in conflict with the “settled” of the nearby town of McCreary, the Irish Travellers prefer to keep to themselves as a strong knit clan. Brynn’s Human Remains Detection (HRD) dog reverts to his training when he detects a body in the nearby woods.   Continue reading “Splintered Silence – a Book Review”

Smoke – a Book Review

Smoke by D. B. BortonTitle: Smoke by D. B. Borton

Genre: Currently #19277 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Women Sleuths

Publisher: Boomerang Books

Publication Date: November 20, 2017

Source: Direct request by author

Title and Cover: Smoke – Great cover showing frame painting

Backstory during the Iranian revolution at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art sets the plot of stolen masterpieces, some of which later turn out to be fakes.

Decades later, Marge Smith, as an active agent of Quixote, Ltd. is sent to The Elms to recover from a broken leg received in a motorcycle accident when she is swept up in a geriatric production of Macbeth. The production introduces her to three friends starring as witches, each on short term in the nursing facility, when suddenly one of the witches dies unexpectedly. Continue reading “Smoke – a Book Review”

#AmReading – A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

#AmReading-A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert

This week I am presenting Victoria Gilbert and her book A Murder for the Books: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery. I received an ARC from the publisher Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley. The book will be released on December 12, 2017. Amazon classifies the novel as a cozy mystery, thriller & suspense, and women sleuths and is 336 pages.

I will be presenting my review on Sunday, but in the meantime, here is the

Book Blurb: (Blurb from Amazon)

Fleeing a disastrous love affair, university librarian Amy Webber moves in with her aunt in a quiet, historic mountain town in Virginia. She quickly busies herself with managing a charming public library that requires all her attention with its severe lack of funds and overabundance of eccentric patrons. The last thing she needs is a new, available neighbor whose charm lures her into trouble.

Victoria GilbertAbout the Author: (From the Amazon Author page)

“Victoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. She holds a B.A. in Theatre, a M.A. in Library Science, a second M.A. in Liberal Studies, and is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, gardening, or traveling. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats.” ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

#AmReading – The Tell All: A Locust Point Mystery by Libby Howard

 

#AmReading - The Tell All by Libby Howard

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! Today I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and (part of) my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Libby Howard and her book The Tell All: A Locust Point Mystery (Volume 1). I received the download in exchange for a fair review by Erin Zarro, an assistant for Ms. Howard. The book was released in July, 2017 the first in the series of three. Amazon classifies the novel as a cozy mystery, thriller & suspense, and women sleuths and at only 156 pages will be a very fast read for most of you bibliophiles!

I will be presenting my review shortly, but in the meantime (from Amazon), here is the:

Book Blurb:

Life at sixty isn’t quite what Kay Carrera expected. She’s working as a skip-tracer for a PI who is desperate to land his own reality TV show. She has a new roommate who arrived with more than the usual amount of baggage. And her attempts at knitting are less than stellar – way less than stellar. Worse, the cataract surgery that restored her sight has also delivered an unexpected and disturbing side-effect. Kay sees ghosts. And when the dead turn to her for help, she just can’t say no.

Author:

(Amazon) Libby Howard lives in a little house in the woods with her sons and two exuberant bloodhounds. She occasionally knits, occasionally bakes, and occasionally manages to do a load of laundry. Most of her writing is done in a bar where she can combine work with people-watching, a decent micro-brew, and a plate of Old Bay wings.

©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

#AmReading – Stay Calm and Collie On by Lane Stone

#AmReading - Stay Calm and Collie On by Lane StoneWelcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget promoting blue skies, following seas, and the Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Lane Stone and her book Stay Calm and Collie On (A Pet Palace Mystery). I received an ARC from the publisher Lyrical Underground and NetGalley. The book will be released on November 7, 2017. Amazon classifies the novel as a mystery, thriller & suspense, cozy mystery, and women sleuths at 164 pages will be a coffee break read for most of you bibliophiles!

I will be presenting my review shortly, but in the meantime (from Amazon), here is the

Book Blurb: Buckingham Pet Palace is known for treating dogs like royalty-until murder dethrones its good reputation! As owner of an upscale doggy daycare and spa, animal-lover Sue Patrick pampers pooches for the most elite clients in Lewes, Delaware. Surely she can survive a weeklong visit from Lady Anthea Fitzwalter, her well-to-do business partner from England. But before Sue can serve her guest a spot of tea, she discovers more-than-a-spot of blood inside the company van-and all over the driver’s dead body . . .

Someone abandoned the van full of dogs at the Lewes ferry terminal and got away with murder, leaving Sue and Lady Anthea pawing for clues. With a fundraising gala approaching and Buckingham Pet Palace facing scandal, can two very different women work together to fetch the culprit from a list of dodgy suspects-or are they heading toward a proper disaster?

Author: (Goodreads) Lane Stone is a native Atlantan. She, her husband, Larry Korb, and their dog, Abby, live in Alexandria, VA during the week and in Lewes, DE on the weekend. Lewes is the setting of her new cozy mystery series, Buckingham Pet Palace mysteries. Her volunteer work is extensive and includes media & communications for the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation… She’s a graduate of Georgia State University, with a degree in Political Science, and is currently pursuing a post-graduate certificate in Antiquities Theft and Art Crime. She tweets as Abby, The Menopause Dog (@TheMenopauseDog) and her Facebook page is LaneStoneBooks (https://www.facebook.com/Lane-Stone-B…); go follow! Check out her book here www.LaneStoneBooks.com. ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!