Self-Published Saturday: August 21, 2021

It’s Saturday, and I’ll be reviewing only Self-Published/Indie books all day. Saturday is exclusively Self-Published/Indie. Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Indie authors market their books. As I always say, Self-Published/Indie authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. My hope is that this feature will give them a little help. Please remember that if you decide to review the book, leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and anywhere else you review the book. This is so important for Self-Published authors. Today I am featuring the wonderful Alice and Trudy mystery series by Valerie Fletcher Adolph, set in post World World II Yorkshire. I actually reviewed Books 2 and 3 for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. I haven’t written a book review for Book 1 yet, but I’m including a book description. My reviews for books 2 and 3 are below. They can all be read as standalones.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Fleeing an abusive husband, Trudy finds herself helping to run a private hotel (The Avalon Hotel) for elderly guests. But only a couple of weeks after her arrival, Alastair Mackie, one of its owners, is poisoned. Suspicion falls on Trudy and on Alastair’s wife, Alice.

Together, Trudy and Alice struggle to find the identity of the killer, or even a reason for the murder. They are helped along the way by Ben, a man from the moors, and by dear Doctor Taylor himself, beloved by the elderly residents of the hotel.

Only slightly in the way are Colonel Starr, who has difficulty telling one war from another, Calvin Hunt with his shocking remarks, the name-dropping Mrs Shand and the frequent fainter (but artistic) Fay Bowen. Oh! I almost forgot Miss Harriet – she is easy to overlook.

While Alice tries to discover the secret behind the killing, Trudy must fight with a husband who is determined to force her back.

Set in a large Victorian house in Yorkshire in 1947, this novel introduces readers to a new pair of detectives – Alice, raised in a country mansion by aristocratic parents, and Trudy, daughter of a butcher from the market.

BOOK REVIEWS

In England in 1947, Princess Elizabeth prepares to marry Phillip Mountbatten. And at the Avalon Private Hotel, sweet, elderly Miss Harriet is planning to marry John Prentiss. But there are obstacles in the way. Neither John nor Miss Harriet is particularly interested in wedding planning, there are issues agreeing on a church, and to top it all off, somebody wants to kidnap Miss Harriet! Alice, Trudy, Kenneth Wilson, the local police detective, and the guests at Avalon band together to try and keep the wedding on track and protect Miss Harriet. Tidbits from Elizabeth’s wedding are dropped throughout the book. This is the second in the wonderful Alice and Trudy Mystery series by Valerie Fletcher Adolph.

This is an entertaining read which alternates between the perspectives of Alice, the owner of the Avalon, and Trudy, who helps her run the hotel. In addition to wedding plans, we are caught up in the other residents—Fay, who is using her considerable talent as an artist to sketch the local dogs; Colonel Starr, whose mind is generally geared to military matters; Mrs. Shand, who does some uppity criticizing of the wedding planning, both royal and non-royal; Calvin, the elderly flirt; and Sophie, who tries to help out in every situation. Alice’s aristocratic family makes appearances, as do Ben, a local man, his dog Yan, and others.

This is a sweet, mild cozy mystery, softer and more comfortable than most. It is a relaxing read about post-World War II England. I loved the characters, especially the elderly hotel guests. Fans of weddings, cozy mysteries, and postwar novels will enjoy this book.

In post-World War II Yorkshire, Alice and Trudy are taken aback when Jeremiah Bickerstaff, the formidable patriarch of the rich and powerful Bickerstaff family, makes the surprising decision to move into a vacant room at the Avalon hotel while recovering from a stroke. Despite begging, conniving, and groveling from his family, he will not move back home. This makes things difficult for Trudy, as Bickerstaff is the grandfather of her abusive ex-husband, Jeremy. Then another young man enters the picture. He bears a strong resemblance to the Bickerstaff grandsons. Is he a long-lost heir? When a death happens on the premises, one of the elderly tenants is quick to point the finger. Was it an accident, or something more? This is the third book in the Alice and Trudy mystery series. It can be read as a stand-alone.

The elderly Avalon gang is back in another delightful mystery adventure. Led by hotel owner Alice and manager Trudy, the aged but active residents lend a hand and plenty of opinions after Mr. Bickerstaff joins their ranks. This series is such a delight to read. I truly enjoy all of these characters, especially Colonel Starr, who thinks everyone should join the Army, and Mrs. Shand, who is always ready with a comment, whether you want to hear it or not. You will laugh at the hijinks of this hilarious crew of lively lodgers. Fans of cozy mysteries will want to rent a room at the Avalon hotel, and stay long-term.

OVERALL COMMENTS

This is a warm hug of a cozy mystery series with characters who keep you chuckling. You will want to continue coming back to the Avalon Hotel.

BUY THE ALICE AND TRUDY MYSTERIES ON AMAZON

Click on each book cover to buy the books on Amazon. Kindle Unlimited Subscribers can read the whole series for free! They are also only $2.99 each to buy the ebook version.

Two Reminders before you go:

  1. If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books. This is very important to self-published authors.
  2. Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Upcoming #Book Reviews Historical Novels Review

Some of you may have noticed I haven’t been posting as much lately. That’s because it was deadline time for my most recent reviews for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. These reviews were for the August edition, and I reviewed 13 books this time. I cannot share them online until after they are published on August 1st, but I wanted to share with you the covers, links, and Amazon book descriptions for some of the books I’ve been reviewing. I cannot give my opinion at all at this time on these particular books, but I will definitely be sharing them on August 1st.

AMAZON BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Germany 1940. As secretary to Himmler, the leader of the SS, Magda spends her days sending party invitations to high-ranking Nazis, and her evenings distributing pamphlets for the resistance. But Magda is leading a dangerous double life, smuggling secrets out of the office. It’s a deadly game, and eventual exposure is a certainty, but Magda is driven by a need to keep the man she secretly loves safe as he fights against the Nazis…

Forty years later.Nina’s heart pounds as she steps into an uncertain future carrying a forged passport, a few bank notes, and a scribbled address for The Tower House taken from an intricate drawing she found hidden in her grandmother’s wardrobe. Separated from her family and betrayed by her country, Nina’s last hope is to trace her family’s history in the ruins of the past her grandmother ran from. But, when she finally finds the abandoned house, she opens the door to a forgotten story, and to secrets which will change everything: past, present, and future…

LINK TO BUY THE SECRETARY

AMAZON BOOK DESCRIPTION

Trudy can’t escape the Bickerstaffs. One by one they invade the Avalon until death intervenes.

Old Mr Bickerstaff, recovering slowly from a stroke, moves into Miss Harriet’s old room at the Avalon hotel. His family, inheritance in mind, demands his immediate return home. His grandson Jeremy is not prepared to wait – he wants his money now. His accident – was it an accident? Or did one of Mr Bickerstaff’s closest associates give him a push? And why is it so important that old Mr B should return home?

Mr B’s decision to move into the care of Alice and Trudy puts him in the middle of the Avalon crew – especially Mrs Shand, whose obsession with the aristocracy hides her secret. But his family can’t leave him to settle in peacefully. His wife, his sons, his daughter-in-law demand his return with tears, threats, hysteria. His grandsons, future lawyers all according to Grandmamma, confront him with their own drama. But then Perry arrives, not interested in the Bickerstaffs, their money or in becoming a lawyer. But he looks so much like the young Bickerstaff men…

LINK TO BUY THE PROBABLE SON

AMAZON BOOK DESCRIPTION

Restless with the familiarity of her Alabama home, Ellie Fields accepts a teaching job in a tiny Louisiana town deep in bayou country. Though rightfully suspicious of outsiders, who have threatened both their language and their culture, most of the people in tiny Bernadette, Louisiana, come to appreciate the young and idealistic schoolteacher as a boon to the town. She’s soon teaching just about everyone–and coming up against opposition from both the school board and a politician with ulterior motives.

Acclimating to a whole new world, Ellie meets a lonely but intriguing Cajun fisherman named Raphe who introduces her to the legendary white alligator that haunts these waters. Raphe and Ellie have barely found their way to each other when a huge bounty is offered for the elusive gator, bringing about a shocking turn of events that will test their love and their will to right a terrible wrong.

LINK TO BUY UNDER THE BAYOU MOON

I can’t wait to share my reviews of these books and more! Now that that’s done, back to my huge TBR pile and more reviews to come tomorrow.

Still Knife Painting

As you will soon see, I felt very strongly about this one. I can be a lenient reviewer, but hateful stereotypes really set me off. Unfortunately, that’s what I found in this new series.

Still Knife Painting is a new series about Miranda Trent, who has inherited her Uncle’s homestead in Kentucky, in the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest. She starts a unique business for tourists called Paint ’n Shine, providing a package which includes a scenic painting class, a Southern dinner, and a moonshine tasting.

I was excited to read this because like the protagonist, Miranda, I lived elsewhere, but spent all my summers in the mountains with my relatives, who were Appalachian locals (in my case from the mountains of North Carolina). Unfortunately my expectations for this book fell far short. The main character Miranda is very unlikable. Miranda is supposed to be from a local family, even though she has been living in New York, so she should have some empathy and understanding for the locals. Instead she looks down on them and is downright rude at times. Her thoughts are shown in italics, and are usually something mean about others. I really hated the approach of presenting her thoughts in italics, because whenever I saw italics coming up, I knew it was probably going to be something cruel or condescending.

Then there were the ridiculous stereotypes presented in this book. When the Sheriff’s Deputy showed up and is described as a “Barney Fife,” I rolled my eyes back in my head. Then he passed out at a crime scene. Too cheesy. Too ridiculous. Mountain people are not stupid. They are not Barney Fife. The police do not pass out at the scene of a crime. I really wanted to put the book down at that point.

In addition, she should have some understanding of the rich culture and traditions of the locals. Very little of that is brought forth. Instead she is rude, condescending, and standoffish with the locals. As someone whose families are locals, Miranda should at least have been sharing a lot more of the cultural stories and traditions of the area. Miranda is starting a business involving art, distilling moonshine, and cooking, but she doesn’t really spend much time tying that in with the rich history of each of these things in the mountains. We could have learned something in this book besides how the main character is annoyed and affronted by everyone and everything. A lot of potential was lost in this series. Her constant denigration of the locals really ticked me off. I know the locals in my mountain town to be loving, smart, resourceful, and talented. The book’s presentation of mountain locals as stupid, inconsiderate people who supposedly tried to limit Miranda’s art is really offensive.

And by the way, young people are taught to say “yes Ma’am” and “Yes Sir” in the South. It’s automatic. This is not an “insider/outsider” thing and should not have annoyed Miranda. After spending all her summers in this area, she should have known this. Miranda spent a lot of time complaining about the insider/outsider perception in the mountains. Although there is some of that, nobody in any town anywhere is going to open up to a rude person who looks down on others. At the same time she is complaining about the insider/outsider perception, she complains that mountain people share too much of their personal lives with her! This is contradictory.

There is no real strong cast of characters as there would be in a small town. Just another of many disappointments. None of the characters are memorable for me except Miranda, and that is only because of her horrible personality.

What started out as a series with potential fell flat for me. I will not be interested in reading anymore of these books. I cannot find anything likable about the main character. I was excited to see a series set in the Appalachian Mountains. That excitement faded pretty quickly. 

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

Link to my review on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/B07W8VL149/ref=acr_dp_hist_1?ie=UTF8&filterByStar=one_star&reviewerType=all_reviews#reviews-filter-bar

Link to My Goodreads Review (If you enjoyed this review, please put a Like on Goodreads):

A Deception at Thornecrest

A Deception At Thorncrest is the latest book in the Amory Ames mystery series. In this installment, a heavily pregnant Amory is visited by a woman claiming to be married to Amory’s husband! If that isn ‘t enough, relatives are coming out of the woodwork, and a local young man is shockingly murdered. Even though the baby’s arrival is imminent, Amory is on the case, determined to find the killer.

Amory’s wry sense of humor, even while thinking her husband might be a bigamist, is a delight. The mystery takes many twists and turns, and the true culprit is a surprise. Although this is book seven in a series, it can be read as a standalone. However, it may contain spoilers for the previous books.

Anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries with lots of humor and a strong cast of characters will enjoy this book. I would definitely read more of this series, and I rate it four stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

Link to the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Deception-Thornecrest-Amory-Ames-Mystery-ebook/dp/B084M1YJBC/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=A+Deception+at+Thornecrest&qid=1601728429&sr=8-1

Link to the author’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Ashley-Weaver/e/B00IN9UBPO/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Link to my review on Goodreads (Please like if you are so inclined) https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3550625941?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1