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Book Review: The Bordeaux Betrayal by Ellen Crosby

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The Bordeaux Betrayal (Wine Country Mysteries #3)The Bordeaux Betrayal by Ellen Crosby

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love to read, learn about history, and drink wine. In the Wine Country Mysteries series by Ellen Crosby, I get all three at once… even better when I have a glass in one hand and the book in another. I found this series a few years ago, even though the debut book is approaching two decades in age, and read only the first two books. I enjoyed them but was searching to read a variety of cozies which meant I stopped… but now that I’ve picked a few series to finish out, catching up with The Bordeaux Betrayal happened this week. There are ~10 books in the series with a new one published just this year. I was glad to jump back into this lovely rural world in Virginia (not too far from Washington DC) where Lucie Montgomery is attempting to run a winery after her parents have passed away.

Lucie had a car accident years ago leaving her walking with a cane. Without it, she can barely move. With it, she feels at a disadvantage and works on her emotional and mental side to try to overcome the pain and loss. Her two siblings are distant, and a family friend turned out to be someone she shouldn’t trust. Even Quinn, the winemaker her father hired before his death, is trouble, but Lucie has a crush on him and enjoys the banter. Sometimes it’s a little too much reality in my opinion. In this book, Quinn’s ex-wife shows up in town on the arms of a local winery owner. The owner’s partner has donated a bottle of wine from the late 18th century intended for Thomas Jefferson from France. Is is authentic? It must be if someone wants to kill for it. New in town, Valerie, a woman flirting with Lucie’s on-again / off-again love interest from England, tells Lucie the bottle is possibly a problem for someone. What does she mean? Unfortunately, a car accident takes her life before she can meet Lucie to explain. Who killed her to keep quiet?

The book is great. It’s more of a slow-burner with a lot of focus on the winery business and comings and goings of the people around Lucie. The mystery is strong, but it’s never the primary driver in the story (in a good way). And before anyone asks, I didn’t have a Bordeaux, so I drank a Pinot Noir instead (my favorite red). Lucie’s relationship with the Englishman and an attraction to Quinn heat up… who will win and keep her heart? Or who will save her if she needs help (tho she’s usually good at protecting herself)? Just as she puts everything together, she encounters the killer(s) while visiting a nearby house with her elderly grandfather who’s on a visit from France. (He’s a great character, btw!).

Add in some WW2 drama over the German occupation of France, the spoils of war, the truth about how far people can be pushed, and some drama with fox-hunting, this book has lots of wonderful stories. I recommend the series and this book for anyone who likes a slower mystery with some drama and classic American rural history experiences. Lucie’s plain and simple, but direct and smart. I like her a lot. I already ordered the 4th book for later this month.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: A Stranger in France by Kim Knight

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Love comes in all forms. Sometimes you fall in love, then out of love. It happens. As it did in A Stranger in France by Kim Knight. Kate is a wonderful heroine. Unfortunately, she’s emotionally abused by an alcoholic husband. When he pushes her beyond reason, she escapes to France to visit a good friend. She meets a stranger and falls in love. Everything becomes quite wonderful quite quickly. But then it gets a little complicated. She wants out of her marriage. She wants to love her new boyfriend. Can she make it work? If she can’t, I’ll take ’em!

I’m not a romance reader. This book might change my mind. Knight builds a beautiful character in Kate, and I believe her journey and approach to how she wants to fix her life. I’m sad when she encounters trouble. I’m happy when she wins. It happens a lot and then Kate worries it’s not all real, but Knight made me a believer. Is there truly a prince charming (or princess!) out there for all of us? The thriller and mystery buff in me waited for the shoe to fall… I won’t say if/when/how it does. But… you’ll have to read to know.

Knight created a series of scenes and events that easily make you attached to her characters. For story and hope alone, I gave this 5 stars. But it’s quite a solid book and will bring lots of joy and curiosity to many. I like the casual yet structured style between phone calls, letters, text messages and emails. It is modern but old-fashioned. I love a fairy tale ending. I wish I could tell you if we got one here, but that’d be spoiling the story, wouldn’t it?

Kudos to Knight for telling a wonderful story. I must check out more of her work now!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Review: Black Notice

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Black Notice Book Review
3.5 of 5 stars (rounded up due to the topic in the book) for Black Notice, the 10th book in the “Kay Scarpetta” thriller and suspense series, written in 1999 by Patricia Cornwell. For me, this was a transitional book in the series, not so much from good to bad, but in the terms of who Kay Scarpetta is and what happens with the people in her life. If you are still reading the series, or think you will, don’t read the next few lines… then skip ahead to the next paragraph where it will be spoiler free. *** SPOILER *** Kay has lost Benton… and she needs to re-evaluate her life. Knowing what happens later in the books, and thinking about what we learn in this one and the previous one, I really questioned what Cornwell was doing in the series… and if it was just too many directional changes *** SPOILER END ***

So… the best part about this book is that there is the possibility of a werewolf. No… Cornwell didn’t delve into fantasy, but there is a disease that could make someone look like a werewolf and that’s where we go in this installment. Rather than cover the actual details of the story… think about the amount of effort and work Cornwell had to put into this book in order to write this story. It’s highly focused on extreme medical conditions, takes you across the continent, involves shipping procedures, politics, FBI investigations. This is not a normal everyday writer’s story… Cornwell may have a few downs in some of her books, but you can never question her ability to write a good story and to put the effort into surprising her fans. She excels in this area, and this book is one of those reasons for me. You don’t want to stop turning the pages and will end up reading it in one rather long sitting, just to understand what this werewolf thing is all about!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: Labyrinth

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LabyrinthBook Review
3.5 of 5 stars to Labyrinth, the first book in a three part series entitled “Languedoc,” written in 2005 by Kate Mosse. I enjoyed this book. Many people felt it was a bit boring and inconsistent. It was one of the earlier books I read in the adventure genre, around the time I got hooked on the Da Vinci code book and series. Ultimately, I love this genre… when you go back and forth in time periods, cover adventures, try to connect ancient peoples to someone current, find devastating secrets, a little bit of romance… all works for me. What appealed here was the French backdrop and the labyrinth puzzles. I quickly moved on to book two and recently learned of the third book, which I purchased and plan to read in June. I liked the main character, though she was a little distant at times… Enjoyed the descriptions and scenery. It had a bit of a fantasy / ghost appeal to it, too. Felt like it had a bit of everything for me. Not top notch in the genre, but still strong to me.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: Sepulchre

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Sepulchre4 of 5 stars to Sepulchre by Kate Mosse, the second in the “Languedoc” historical fiction (maybe a little fantasy) series. After I read the first book, I had to follow through on this one. And recently, I learned the third one was published a few years ago. I didn’t know there was another… but I will definitely finish this series. It takes place in the French mountains, how could you not love it?

The story is very complex, but very strong. The characters are memorable. The struggle between the past and the present drives this story. It is historical fiction, for a large part of it, so you have different time periods to focus on. But it’s handled well. Add in some ghosts, a little fantasy, mystery and suspense over the 100 year gap between the two time periods, and you’ve got a good story. You will keep trying to guess all the connections and be happy when you find out.

You should read at least the first two… and I’ll let you know whether the last one is important or not, once I read it! The connection between the first two books is surprising, so I am curious how the third one fits in.

It crosses a few genres without being too explicit in any specific one. For me, it’s the characters and the plot which kept me focused. I’d recommend taking a chance on it, but look at other reviews. Some folks didn’t care for it, finding it a bit messy and unfocused. Not me tho! And to them, I say:

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: Outlander

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Outlander
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In late 2015, I saw a book in Barnes and Noble (Written in my Own Heart’s Blood) by Diana Gabaldon and thought “This sounds amazing.” I picked it up (and it was nearly 1000 pages in harcover) and suddenly realized it was the most recent book in a series with books that were all practically a thousand pages long. I can’t read a series book without doing it in order, so I put it back on the shelf and said “Another time.”

Fast-Forward to 2016…

I sign up for the 2016 Reading challenge: 52 books in a year (1 a week). I can do it. Great start in January. Epic fail in February with 0 additions. Get myself started again in March. Epic fail in April with 0 additions. Epic fail in May with 0 additions.

OK, I’m not one to easily fail so I get myself back on track in June. June is going well, I’m averaging about 1 book every 4 to 5 days so that I can catch up by September. I finish reading a book in late June and realize I don’t have anything new to read… I head downstairs to my building’s small library and peruse the shelves (about 1000 books to choose from).

I see Outlander. I decide to buckle down and read the nearly 1000 page paperback version. I can do this. I can’t get it done in a week.

It took a little longer as I added in a last minute family visit / trip where I didn’t read for about 4 days… (but still had a great time!)

And I loved it! I suspend my disbelief at some things and at the amount of necessary repeated violence… then think perhaps I am a little whiny given what these characters go through without complaining. Could I take that much blood loss and hits? Vanity would probably kick in and I’d likely not make it through.

I am excited to read the series, but I need to catch up on my 2016 Reading Challenge before I take on another 1000 page book. Target: November when I hope to be almost ahead of where I should be with my 44 of 52 books at that point.

Read it. It’s part historical fiction, part fantasy (the whole time portal thing), part romance (without too much focus on it) and part pure character study.

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