Saturday, June 25, 2022

In Honor's Defense by Karen Witemeyer Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book

Book: In Honor’s Defense

Author: Karen Witemeyer

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: June 7, 2022

Luke Davenport has been fighting all his life–for respect, for country, and for those unable to fight for themselves. But now that his Horsemen brothers are domesticated, he’s left alone to battle the wildness within. When an opportunity arises to take a job on his own, tracking down a group of rustlers, he jumps at the chance.

Damaris Baxter has mastered the art of invisibility. Plain and quiet, she hides in books and needlework, content to be overlooked. Until her brother dies suddenly, leaving her custody of her nephew. She moves to Texas to care for Nathaniel, determined to create the family for herself that she never thought she’d have and to give him the family he desperately needs.

When Nate finds himself knee-deep in trouble, Luke’s attempt to protect him leaves Damaris feeling indebted to the Horseman. But suspicions grow regarding the mysterious death of Damaris’s brother. And the more questions they ask, the more danger appears, threatening the family Luke may be unable to live without.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Westerns are not my preferred genre but I have liked this series. Witemeyer does a good job of crafting godly cowboy heroes. Luke is a strong man but also one who falls head over heels for the woman he ultimately finds he must protect from harm. Damaris is a strong woman and it is fun to see how the two of them form a romantic bond.

The plot is good including cattle rustling and a teen expressing his grief at the loss of his father in a harmful manner. There are dastardly villains producing suspenseful times as they try to scare Damaris into selling the land she is preserving for her nephew. There is a good faith message as both Luke and Damaris must rely on the Lord for courage and safety. And Damaris' nephew, Nate, is learning how to trust God.

This is a good novel for readers who like westerns, strong characters, and a good romance. The plot might be a little predictable but I liked the novel as a whole. This is the last of Hanger's Horsemen to find the love of his life. I'll be looking for the next series from Witemeyer.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

You can read my reviews of the earlier books in this series: At Love's Command and The Heart's Charge.

About the Author

For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Voted #1 Readers’ Favorite Christian Romance Author in 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine, Karen is a multiple award-winning author and a firm believer in the power of happy endings. She is an avid cross-stitcher, tea drinker, and gospel hymn singer who makes her home in Abilene, TX with her heroic husband who vanquishes laundry dragons and dirty dish villains whenever she’s on deadline.

More from Karen

Meet Luke and Damaris

As the Hanger’s Horsemen series comes to a close, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Luke Davenport and Damaris Baxter. If you haven’t read the other books in this series, don’t worry. This one stands on its own just fine.

Luke

Luke Davenport is a former cavalry officer who is part of an elite squad of men known as Hanger’s Horsemen. Haunted by the horrors of war, this group of Texas legends has spent the last few years fighting for justice on behalf of those who cannot fight for themselves. Luke is Matthew Hanger’s right-hand man, but when Matt retires the Horsemen in favor of a more settled life with his new wife, Luke is left feeling adrift. So when a solo job comes his way to track down rustled cattle, he jumps at the opportunity.

Known for his strength, his size, and his skill with his fists, I modeled Luke after a pair of football players, Howie Long and JJ Watt. He’s a man of action with a bit of wildness inside, yet his ability to memorize Scripture earned him the nickname Preach. He’s a godly man with scars, seeking to find his place as his Horsemen brothers move on to new phases of life.

Damaris

Damaris Baxter has been invisible her entire life. Plain of face and quiet of manner, she it’s the epitome of unremarkable. While she dares heroic feats and grand adventures between the covers of her favorite books, life outside the pages consists of little more than needlework and dull conversation with her great aunt. Until her brother dies under suspicious circumstances and she travels to Texas to care for her nephew. Determined that the “Texas Damaris” will be bolder and braver than her former self, she sets out to win the heart of a grieving boy and ends up mixed up in a dangerous murder plot with a handsome cowboy who actually sees her.

When creating Damaris’s character, I gave her two of my favorite hobbies—reading and cross-stitching. She shares other similarities with me as well. She’s a quiet person who dislikes making waves, but when family needs her, there’s nothing she won’t do to help. Her questionable baking skills might also have found some inspiration in my personal experience. Just ask my husband about my famous transparent chocolate chip cookies. 

Opposites Attract?

I love to explore what brings people together, and while it’s a common idea that opposites attract, I’ve always believed that there must be some core commonalities beneath the differences to bind a couple together for a lifetime. So, while Luke and Damaris seem to be stark opposites—he an adventure-seeking soldier used to solving problems with guns and fists; she a quiet, proper lady used to escaping problems with books and needlework—they actually have several core commonalities. They both crave belonging and family, they both value God’s Word, and they both have a strong, protective instinct toward those they care about. This core common ground is what serves as the foundation for their relationship.

Now that you’ve been introduced to Luke and Damaris, I hope you’ll join them on the adventure that leads them to love.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 25

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, June 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 27

Book Looks by Lisa, June 27

Where Faith and Books Meet, June 27

Bliss, Books & Jewels, June 28

Daysong Reflections, June 28

For Him and My Family, June 29

Jeanette's Thoughts, June 29

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 30

Pause for Tales, June 30

lakesidelivingsite, June 30

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, July 1

Sylvan Musings, July 1

deb's Book Review, July 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 2

Jodie Wolfe - Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, July 2

Babbling BeckyL’s Book Impressions, July 3

Bizwings Blog, July 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 4 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, July 4

Inklings and notions, July 5

Simple Harvest Reads, July 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Connie's History Classroom, July 6

SodbusterLiving, July 6

Texas Book-aholic, July 7

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 7

Through the Fire Blogs, July 7

Splashes of Joy, July 8

Melissa’s Bookshelf, July 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away a Hanger’s Horsemen prize bundle consisting of autographed copies of all three books in the series, a custom mug, and Horsemen swag!! (U.S. Only)

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1f45c/in-honor-s-defense-celebration-tour-giveaway

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Friday, June 24, 2022

Free Fall by Nancy Mehl

About the Book:

The closer she comes to the truth, the deadlier her chase gets.

FBI behavioral analyst Alex Donovan and her colleague Logan Hart have been called upon to write a profile for a missing woman, but a little digging quickly turns up more disappearances in Virginia with the same physical description.

Alex is in a race against the clock to rescue the missing victims, so when the UNSUB makes demands of her in exchange for information, Alex takes the bait. But when her life is put in jeopardy, Logan must do whatever it takes to track them down before time runs out.

Alex works to think one step ahead of the suspect, but the more Logan and the BAU learn about the serial kidnapper, the more they fear Alex may not make it out alive.

You can read an excerpt here.

My Review:

This is the third novel in The Quantico Files series and, while it can be read on its own, it will be best appreciated if the earlier books are read first. It contains a good balance of the characters' personal stories and suspenseful action. The main characters are Alex and Logan. Alex experiences the suspense while Logan's character centers on his personal experiences.

The main characters are FBI agents in the Behavioral Analysis unit, profilers. I felt there wasn't as much about the actual task of profiling as there has been in the previous novels. There is a need to understand the villain, however, and Alex suffers when her analysis proves faulty. The end is quite suspenseful although I did feel it had the cavalry to the rescue feel to it.

The strength of this novel is the clear salvation message it contains. Both Alex and Logan must trust God for safety and a possible future.

This is a good novel for readers who like the FBI agent kind of suspenseful plot but with a good deal of personal life included.

You can read my reviews of the earlier books in the series: Night Fall, and Dead Fall.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Author:

Nancy Mehl (www.nancymehl.com) is the author of more than forty books and a Christy Award finalist, as well as a Carol Award winner, the winner of an ACFW Book of the Year Award, and the winner of the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense in the inspirational romance category. Her short story, "Chasing Shadows," was in the USA Today bestselling Summer of Suspense anthology. Nancy writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their puggle, Watson. Photo Credit: Photo by: Ginger Murray Photography

Bethany House, 352 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis

This is the first novel I have listened to by Fiona Davis and I liked it. It's a sweeping family story that has tragic aspects yet redeeming ones too.

A major aspect of the plot is an adult coming of age experience. In the 1910s New York, Laura tries to find her way in a society that dismissed women. I appreciated listening to how a woman might try to establish a journalism career only to be thwarted by a man who liked her work enough to steal it. When appreciation for who she is comes from a source other than her husband, she follows that path to its end.

In the 1990s Sadie has found her rewarding career, a deep passion for preserving literary works. Yet she has a relationship void, an issue she must face when a handsome investigator is hired by the New York Library to get to the bottom of stolen items.

I like to learn something when I listen to a novel and in this case it was about the New York Library itself. I appreciate the Author's Note explaining which parts of the novel are factual and which are the creation of Davis.

The only part of this otherwise wonderful novel I did not like was the descriptive kissing scene between Laura and her love. I felt it was a token scene and I have to admit, I fast forwarded through it.

I liked the novel, willing to overlook that one sensual scene because the rest of the book was so entertaining and informative.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

Fiona Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of six historical fiction novels set in iconic New York City buildings, including The Magnolia Palace, The Dollhouse, The Address, and The Lions of Fifth Avenue, which was a Good Morning America book club pick. Her novels have been chosen as “One Book, One Community” reads and her articles have appeared in publications like The Wall Street Journal and O the Oprah magazine.

She first came to New York as an actress, but fell in love with writing after getting a master's degree at Columbia Journalism School. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages and she's based in New York City. Photo: Deborah Feingold.

Dutton, 364 pages.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Hair Calamities and Hot Cash by Gail Pallotta Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book

Book: Hair Calamities and Hot Cash

Author: Gail Pallotta

Genre: Christian Fiction

Release date: 2018

What happens when a New York stockbroker crashes his car into Eve Castleberry’s North Carolina beauty shop … on the same day the young widow’s defective hair products are causing wild hairdos? Soon, Eve finds herself helping the handsome stranger hunt the thieves who stole his clients cash…and hot on the trail of two of the FBI’s most-wanted criminals!

Romance blossoms amid danger, suspense and Eve’s hair-brained plan to get back the money.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This was a fun novel to read. It is good entertainment, combining a mystery with a romance. The setting of a small town was good and added to the interesting interaction of the citizens.

Pallotta's writing style is straightforward and the novel moved at a consistent pace. The characters development was done relatively well although I do think the romance should have taken longer to develop. The answer to the mystery really came out of nowhere and I would have rather had at least some foreshadowing to it.

This is a light, easy to read and entertaining novel.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author

Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A 2013 Grace Awards finalist, she’s a Reader’s Favorite 2017 Book Award winner and a TopShelf 2020 Book Awards Finalist. She’s published six books, poems, short stories and several hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums.

More from Gail

Even mysterious events and robbery can’t stop the fun, laughs and romance that follow after New York stock broker Philip Wells crashes his car into Eve Castleberry’s beauty shop.

Hair Calamities and Hot Cash is a contemporary romance with mystery and comical scenes about a New Yorker and a lonely, young widow in the North Carolina Mountains who fall for each other amid a crisis, danger and suspense.

The story behind Hair Calamities and Hot Cash began many years ago in a small town at the foothills of the North Carolina Mountains, where my mother ran a beauty shop.

Her salon doubled as a meeting place where customers who knew each other discussed how to make the latest recipe, what to do about world affairs and everything in between, including family relations, births, deaths and weddings. Clients planned showers, graduation parties and get-togethers for new neighbors while hair flew.

Mostly townspeople showed up, and the spirit of the community overflowed. The residents had disagreements, but they didn’t abhor those who thought differently from them. They had close friends, acquaintances, people they tolerated and those they kept at a distance. As in most small environments, they gossiped and could be nosey. However, when someone grieved for a loved one, suffered from an illness or any other crisis, prayers went up and casseroles went out no matter whether the person was a best friend or someone held at a distance. They all were God’s children.

The walls of Mother’s beauty shop echoed the spirit of the community, and I wanted to bring it back.  I set the mystery, romance and shenanigans in the Western North Carolina Mountains. Many years ago, a friend my father knew in college came to visit us, and we drove him to the mountains. He said, “I’ve traveled the world over, and I’ve never seen a place any prettier than these hills.”  I wanted to share the awe-inspiring scenery. I believe we need those peaceful surroundings and the sense of community now more than when I wrote the book.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 22

Book Looks by Lisa, June 22

For Him and My Family, June 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 24

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, June 25

Texas Book-aholic, June 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 27

Inklings and notions, June 28

deb's Book Review, June 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 30

Jodie Wolfe - Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, July 1 (Author Interview)

Simple Harvest Reads, July 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Guild Master, July 2

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, July 3

A Baker’s Perspective, July 4 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 5

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Gail is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1f459/hair-calamities-and-hot-cash-celebration-tour-giveaway

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The Fragrance of Violets by Susan K Beatty Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book

Book: The Fragrance of Violets

Author: Susan K. Beatty

Genre: Christian Women’s Fiction

Release date: May 17, 2022

Life crushes us with its weight sometimes.

Fiona’s father abandoned her when she was twelve. So when she learns that he’s the groom’s father in the wedding she’s been assigned to manage, all the old hurts resurface. Maybe if he’d just explain himself and ask forgiveness, she’d get over the pain he left her with—pain she obviously hadn’t left behind after all.

When Nason discovered he wasn’t Fiona’s biological father, and when her mother tried to sabotage his marriage, he felt like he had no other option but to leave and never look back. Running into her again—awkward to say the least. And he can’t understand why she feels betrayed—why she expects him to seek forgiveness.

As if life weren’t complicated enough, Fiona meets Trevor, which sparks a possible romance. New faith, an overdose, and revelations combine with Trevor’s discipleship and shows her how forgiveness really works.

What will it take for Nason to swallow his pride and see how his actions hurt an innocent child?

The Fragrance of Violets—as Mark Twain once said, “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

It is not so easy to forgive. Yet we Christians are to forgive others as we have been forgiven so much. Beatty explores that difficult path to willing forgiveness. There may be pain that needs to be dealt with or pride needing to be addressed. It can be a terribly hard task to forgive but with God's grace and the encouragement of friends, it can be done.

Beatty gives readers a very realistic situation where Christians struggle with the command to forgive others. Fiona and Nason are good examples of relatively new Christians who have been hurt by the deeds of others. Each must overcome their own obstacles to forgive. Those characters are presented well as are support characters. It was interesting to see the difference between the encouragement from fellow Christians and the harsh criticism from nonbelievers.

Beatty's writing style is good and this novel was a pleasure to read. I recommend it to readers who would appreciate a good exploration of people following God's command to forgive others.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Author

Who says you can’t begin a new career after middle age? Certainly not Susan K. Beatty. She is passionate about writing about finding courage through faith and grit, particularly through the trials of breast cancer and other life trials. Her daughter is a metastatic breast cancer “thriver” and has been an inspiration for her writing. Susan’s first novel, Faces of Courage, debuted May 2021, as part of the Faces of Courage series, including several novelettes. She is also the author of An Introduction to Home Education (AKA California Homeschool Manual). Susan is a professional writer/journalist and is active in the writer community. She is proof you can begin a fiction writing career at any age.

More from Susan

The Fragrance of Violets’ story has yearned to be told for many years nowbefore I created my tagline, Courage: The Intersection of faith and grit. But it fits perfectly. A similar situation existed a long time ago in the life of an acquaintance. I thought all parties handled it badly, and I longed to make it right. Of course, being an outsider, the only way I could make it right was by creating a novel.

Fiona and Nason, the main characters, are total figments of my imagination, and the details of the story are substantially different. But the core, abandonment, the need to ask for and grant forgiveness, and the courage to meet them, is real and universal.

I desired to show that even when we think we’ve done nothing wrong, we need to seek the Lord and ask Him to reveal where we need to own up to our mistakes and seek forgiveness. Also, I wanted to show that although it is difficult to forgive when we’ve been horribly wronged (and how horrible to have the person you thought of as your father abandon you and with no apparent explanation or remorse), it’s possible with courage. The courage that comes from faith and action.

My prayer is that Fiona and Nason (despite his past) will inspire readers to find their own courage through whatever situations in which they find themselves.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 21

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, June 22 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, June 23

Inklings and notions, June 24

A Baker’s Perspective, June 25 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, June 25

deb's Book Review, June 26

Spoken from the Heart, June 27 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 28

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, June 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 30

Through the Fire Blogs, July 1 (Author Interview)

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, July 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 3

Splashes of Joy, July 4 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Susan is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1eff9/the-fragrance-of-violets-celebration-tour-giveaway


I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Cold Fear by Brandon Webb and John David Mann

About the Book:

Disgraced Navy SEAL Finn is on the run. A wanted man since he jumped ship from the USS Abraham Lincoln, he’s sought for questioning in connection to war crimes committed in Yemen by a rogue element in his SEAL team. But his memory of that night—as well as the true fate of his mentor and only friend, Lieutenant Kennedy—is a gaping hole.

Finn learns that three members of his team have been quietly redeployed to Iceland, which is a puzzle in itself; the tiny island nation is famous for being one of the most peaceful, crime-free places on the planet.

His mission is simple: track down the three corrupt SEALs and find out what really happened that night in Yemen. But two problems stand in his way. On his first night in town a young woman mysteriously drowns—and a local detective suspects Finn’s involvement. What’s worse, a SEAL-turned-contract-killer with skills equal to Finn’s own has been hired to make sure he never gets the answers he's looking for. And he's followed Finn all the way to the icy north.

My Review:

This is the second novel in an exciting rogue military agent series. The first book is called Steel Fear and should really be read first to understand what happens in this novel. You can read my review of Steel Fear here.

Finn is on his own mission to find out who really did the massacre he is accused of doing. Iceland is a unique location for a novel like this and I found it particularly interesting. Webb and Mann have done a good job of immersing readers in the climate and culture of the country.

The authors have done a good job crafting Finn as an able hero. He gets into all kinds of suspenseful situations while chasing the truth of his past. We get a good dose of the kind of training SEALS endure, providing Finn with the ability to foil his attackers. He's a one man army. He comes under the scrutiny of a local police detective and he tries to help her solve a murder while keeping his real identity and mission secret.

The plot is quite complex with secret agents, rogue agents, and a person with a new way to threaten the world. It is not until near the end of the novel that all of the mysterious events come together to a suitable resolution. In the meantime, we get a good dose of how governments work, covering up errors to their own benefit and pressuring potential harm for acquiescence in further action.

I enjoyed this engaging novel once I got into it a bit and began to understand Finn's mission in Iceland. Readers will find this situation suitably handled but with Finn on the way to his next adventure.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Authors:

Brandon Webb left home at sixteen to become a Navy SEAL. He completed four deployments to the Middle East. One of his many experiences was working as a SEAL sniper course manager. He was awarded several medals. He ended his military career early to spend more time with his family and focus on business. His digital media company has created hit TV shows, books and an award-winning documentary. He is the New York Times bestselling author of nonfiction, now focusing on a thriller series. You can find out more at https://brandontylerwebb.com/

John David Mann began creating careers as a teenager. He had a successful career as a concert cellist and prize-winning composer. He founded a journal on health and environmental issues and built a multimillion-dollar sales/distribution organization. He is the author of more than thirty books and has won numerous awards. He has logged in hundreds of hours of interviews with U.S. military personnel and their families and friends. You can find out more at https://johndavidmann.com/

Bantam, 432 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Shadow of the Gypsy by Shelly Frome Blog Tour and Giveaway

 Shadow of the Gypsy

by Shelly Frome

June 6 - July 1, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

A nemesis out of the past suddenly returns, ​forcing Josh Bartlett to come to terms with his true identity.

Josh Bartlet had figured all the angles, changed his name, holed up as a small town features writer in the Blue Ridge. He’d just give it a few weeks more and then begin anew, return to the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut and Molly (if she’d have him) and, at long last, live a normal life. After all, it was a matter of record that Zharko had been deported well over a year ago. The shadowy form Josh had glimpsed yesterday at the lake was only that—a hazy, shadow under the eaves. It stood to reason his old nemesis was still ensconced in Bucharest or thereabouts. No matter what, he simply wouldn’t travel over eight hundred miles to track Josh down, hook into his life, put him under the gun and ruin everything. Surely not now, not after all this.

"Sharp writing, and a keen pace keep this story rolling.”
– Lee A. Jacobus, author of Crown Island and Hawaiian Tales

“Shadow of the Gypsy is intriguing, complicated, and mysterious. . . ”
– Tina M. Zion, award winning author and international teach of intuition

“By turns charming and chilling, Shadow of the Gypsy is that rarest of gems, a crime novel that curdles the blood, even as it tugs on the heartstrings. . . “
– Jaden Terrell, author of A Taste of Blood and Ashes, River of Glass, A Cup Full of Midnight, and Racing the Devil

“Once you start, you won’t want to stop reading . ..”
– Jana Zinser, author of The Children’s Train: Escape on the Kindertransport and Fly Like a Bird

My Review:

It took reading into this novel quite a bit before I really began to understand what was going on. In fact, it is not until nearly half way through the book we get the real back story of Josh's early life that helps us understand his current adventure. This novel is a journey through the dark realms of the mafia and mobs on the upper east coast. Josh's attempts to clarify his past and live ready for the future form the plot. It's a complex journey filled with good and bad people, false starts and frustrated results. More than once I wondered where the novel was going, what some of the events meant, and the ultimate influence of some of the people.

Frome's writing style is difficult for me to follow at times. For example, Josh at one point says he would have to “venture more deeply into the here and now of Teddy Roosevelt's arena.” (1771/3687) At first read, I had no idea what Frome meant. Later I realized it was a reference to a credo from Teddy Roosevelt introduced much earlier in the book and in an entirely different setting. Frome's use of “arena” threw me and broke up the flow of my reading. This experience was one of many similar ones.

This novel seemed to have a rambling plot. I think I understood in the end that the plot involved some people wanting to take over drug trade from others. And speaking of the end, it came quickly. Suddenly everything wrapped up when it seemed all along it couldn't happen. This is a novel for readers who don't mind concentrating on the text as it takes concentration to follow Frome's writing style.

My rating: 3/5 stars.


Book Details:

Genre: Crime Fiction
Published by: BQB Publishing
Publication Date: May 5, 2022
Number of Pages: 330
ISBN: 1952782570 (ISBN13: 9781952782572)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Shadow of the Gypsy Book Trailer:

Read an excerpt:

Quickly, he was outside in the snow again, searching frantically for the Christmas present. Trudging through the stands of evergreens in his slippers, shivering so hard he couldn’t stand it, frozen crusted pine combs under foot till he spotted the van in a clearing. There were shouts and threats. There was a bloodcurdling scream. He thrust himself forward to see, though for the life of him he didn’t want to see, didn’t want to ever know. A dagger flashed in the moonlight. Zharko’s hand raised up and plummeted down over and over, finally cutting off the screaming for good.

Spinning around, Josh scurried over the pine combs and raced off, shaking with fear and cold, searching for the Christmas present. Longing to join the kids beyond the woods, snug inside, embraced by their mothers and the warmth of the hearth, glistening presents dangling under the tree laced with tinsel and garlands of spangled light.

He thrashed around seeking this first-ever Christmas present that would make everything nice but found only his pillow and woke with a start. He sat up. There was no going back to sleep opting for dreamy images of walking to school with Molly as the weather turned to spring, buttercups lining the path. No way to erase anything. He was left with the same chill again from this morning turning into an ache that had no name.

An ache it was useless to gloss over.

Quickly, he was outside in the snow again, searching frantically for the Christmas present. Trudging through the stands of evergreens in his slippers, shivering so hard he couldn’t stand it, frozen crusted pine combs under foot till he spotted the van in a clearing. There were shouts and threats. There was a bloodcurdling scream. He thrust himself forward to see, though for the life of him he didn’t want to see, didn’t want to ever know. A dagger flashed in the moonlight. Zharko’s hand raised up and plummeted down over and over, finally cutting off the screaming for good.

Spinning around, Josh scurried over the pine combs and raced off, shaking with fear and cold, searching for the Christmas present. Longing to join the kids beyond the woods, snug inside, embraced by their mothers and the warmth of the hearth, glistening presents dangling under the tree laced with tinsel and garlands of spangled light.

He thrashed around seeking this first-ever Christmas present that would make everything nice but found only his pillow and woke with a start. He sat up. There was no going back to sleep opting for dreamy images of walking to school with Molly as the weather turned to spring, buttercups lining the path. No way to erase anything. He was left with the same chill again from this morning turning into an ache that had no name.

An ache it was useless to gloss over.

***

Excerpt from Shadow of the Gypsy by Shelly Frome. Copyright 2022 by Shelly Frome. Reproduced with permission from Shelly Frome. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at UConn, a former professional actor, and a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He also is a features writer for Gannett Publications. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, Murder Run, Moon Games, The Secluded Village Murders, and Miranda and the D-Day Caper. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio: A History and a guide to playwriting and one on screenwriting, Shadow of the Gypsy is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

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I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Partners in Crime Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Book Tours.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)