Jun 27, 2022

Book Tour: Shadow of the Gypsy by Shelly Frome

Shadow Of the Gypsy by Shelly Frome: On Tour

Shadow Of the Gypsy by Shelly Frome

Publisher:  Boutique of Quality Books (May 3, 2022)
Category: Amateur Sleuths, Crime Thriller, Love Story

Description: Shadow Of the Gypsy by Shelly Frome

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

Josh Bartlett had figured all the angles, changed his name, holed up as a small-town features writer in the seclusion of the Blue Ridge. Only a few weeks more and he’d 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 of the activities building. It stood to reason his old nemesis was still ensconced overseas in Bucharest or thereabouts well out of the way. And no matter where he was, he wouldn’t travel thousands of miles to track Josh down. Surely that couldn’t be, not now, not after all this.

 Guest post by Shelly Frome on creating her fictional gypsy character 

Story and the Advent of the Gypsy

by Shelly Frome

In creating fiction, there is a longstanding issue over writing what you know or fabricating a plot and filling in the blanks with a little research. By the same token, there’s also a disagreement over character driven action and sheer narrative. But the actual process in search of something sustaining and meaningful can’t be distilled to any surefire approach. As a case in point, you really can’t go on until you understand the special world you find yourself in.

For instance, Shadow of the Gypsy began with a sense of refuge in a small town in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina. There was also a debt I seem to have incurred as a very small child which I never understood, William Faulkner’s dictum that the past is never past, and a fanciful  image of a recurring nightmare stemming from a plunging dagger. When the image became more intriguing along with the notion of an early childhood trauma, the need for a shadowy figure became more pressing.

Admittedly, only an incurable storyteller would be faced with the need for someone foreign and volatile; the time-worn cliché headstrong, unscrupulous band of travelers and wild women with dangling earrings, juxtaposed against the actual Romany people who want to assimilate into society. Thus in order to propel this tale, Zharko Vadja had to become the gypsy, not a gypsy. A rogue gypsy, if you will, with his special backstory and quirks, a nefarious outlook and aim, a jaded scheme that wouldn’t quit. He would have to earn his role as a nemesis.  

After a great deal of research, he began to come alive for me when, imaginatively, he scrawled his response on his lawyer’s coffee table book of Romany life:

Oh, for sure, Novac, you think I going to settle down, sweet Romany life, grow crops, start business? Forget what I know from old country, corruption, paying protection money?  Parasites (good word no?) living off workers? Shell companies and shell bank accounts? As much or more corruption here in U.S. lousy government I hear. As bad or much worse everywhere you go—payoffs under table or what have you got. Race is to the swift so I hear. Winners and losers, zero sum game. This is what I know.  


From this moment on I could give Zharko free rein as the tale truly started to become self-generating.

My comments on Shadow of the Gypsy :

Written in the traditional style of crime fiction, the novel slowly reveals the story behind Josh's past, which he thought he had left behind when he changed his name and began working at a small town newspaper in the Blue Ridge mountains. But normal life escapes Josh when a gypsy from his past shows up to demand a favor, or else....

 The action is paced in this crime fiction, with some suspense but a more relaxing read than a thriller. Zharko, the gypsy in question, is unusual, perhaps a bit stereotypical, even though the author describes him as a rogue gypsy. His character as described and developed fits well into the role of villain. 

An enjoyable crime novel. 

Thanks to Virtual Author Book Tours and Teddy Rose for a review copy of this book and for the invitation to tour. Visit the site for other reviews on this book tour. 

 Memes: It's Monday: What Are You Readingand  Stacking the Shelves

Jun 26, 2022

Sunday Salon: Death Doesn't Forget by Ed Lin

 Book Arrival:

Death Doesn't Forget


The fourth of Ed Lin's Taipei mystery series is as hilarious and poignant as ever.

Jing-nan, the proprietor of a food stand at Taipei's largest night market,
is framed for a string of high-profile murders in the city.

 This could jeopardize his relationship with Nancy, his girlfriend, and with his workers Dwayne and Frankie the Cat, who are facing their own personal trials. For Jing-nan,  everything is on the line. Worst of all, he could lose followers on social media. (publisher)

Thanks to Soho Crime for a hardcopy of this book, for possible review. 

E-book ARCsI have tons to read, plus several library books, in all genres. The problem is, which of them to read first, then next, then after that? It comes down to my mood, especially inbetween chores. 

Gardening is taking up a lot of time, ever since we took down a huge tree limb that covered half the back yard. We now have the sunlight and the space to be more creative, but it is taking a lot of weeding, replanting, planting, and mulching. All to be done inbetween the very hot weather and the rain!

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday

Jun 19, 2022

Sunday Salon: A Climbing Thriller and a Romantic Comedy

 Currently reading:

Breathless (click on title for my review). 

Published May 3rd 2022 by Anchor Books
Setting: Manaslu, Nepal - the eighth-highest peak in the world

About the book: A high-altitude thriller that will take your breath away--Journalist Cecily Wong is on her most dangerous climb yet, miles above sea level on a mountain in Nepal. But the elements are nothing compared to one chilling truth: There's a killer on the mountain.

I'm half way through, and find it very suspenseful and informative about the dangers and thrills of alpine climbing and mountaineering. 

And now for another rom com, 

Bad Cruz

Kindle Editionpublished November 10th, 2021

I'm enjoying this  romantic comedy on Kindle Unlimited

About the book: Two unlikely people - a quarterback turned beloved small town physician and a single mom with a bad reputation - find themselves thrown together on a pre-wedding cruise meant for their entire families. Several factors could prevent them from getting along.

See my goodreads review. 

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday  

Jun 12, 2022

Sunday Salon: New Mysteries for Review

 Books received for review: 

Murder on the Vine

(Tuscan Mystery #3)

Genre: cozy culinary mystery, international mystery/crime
About: The latest installment in Camilla Trinchieri's Tuscan Mystery series finds ex-NYPD homicide detective Nico Doyle investigating the murder of a local eighty-year-old bartender.

Shadow of the Gypsy

About: A nemesis from the past suddenly returns, forcing Josh Bartlett to come to terms with his true identity.
Josh Bartlett had figured all the angles, changed his name, holed up as a small-town features writer in the seclusion of the Blue Ridge. 
Zharko had been deported well over a year ago. 

Outside of blogging and reading: Gardening, visiting an art museum, dim sum breakfast in Cleveland.

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday  

Jun 10, 2022

The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian: Book Beginning


The Lioness

Published May 10th 2022 by Doubleday Books

About the book: A luxurious African safari turns deadly for a Hollywood starlet and her entourage in this historical thriller set in Tanganyika, now Tanzania.

Book beginning/First paragraph:

Katie Barslow

She was watching the giraffes at the watering hole after breakfast, no longer as awed by their presence as she had been even four days ago, when she'd had first seen a great herd of them eating leaves from a copse of tall umbrella acacia, their heads occasionally bobbing up to stare back, unfazed and not especially alarmed by the humans. 

Page 56: 

"No," she told him, feeling more like his mother than his wife. "You're right to be scared. We should be. But..."


Click on the title, The Lioness, to see my Goodreads review.  

 Would you read on?

The Friday 56. Find any sentence that grabs you on page 56 of your book. Post it, and add your URL to Freda's Voice. Also visit Book Beginnings at Rose City Reader.

Jun 6, 2022

First Chapter: Murder Is No Picnic by Amy Pershing

Murder Is No Picnic

(Cape Cod Foodie Mystery #3)

A search for the world's best blueberry buckle turns into a search for a killer in this delicious installment in the Cape Cod Foodie Mysteries by Amy Pershing.
 What could be better than a DIY clambake followed by the best blueberry buckle in the world? Sam has finally found the perfect recipe in the kitchen of Clara Foster, famed cookbook author and retired restaurateur.

But when Clara dies in a house fire blamed on carelessness in the kitchen, Sam doesn't believe it. Sam needs to find Clara's killer before the fireworks really start..

First chapter/first paragraph:
"Ladies and gentleman, I have an announcement," I said grandly.
My friends paused from wolfing down various decadent desserts and glanced at one another skeptically. They were not used to me saying anything grandly....
"My search for a blueberry buckle worthy of our upcoming Fourth of July is finally at an end," I said, still in grand mode. 


Would you read on ?
First Chapter/Intros meme is  hosted by Yvonne @ Socrates Book ReviewsEach Tuesday post the first paragraph or two of a book you are reading or plan to read soon

Jun 5, 2022

Sunday Salon: A New Book and Recently Read


Mud Lilies

by ublished May 21st 2022 by Cormorant Books
Genre: urban fiction, literary fiction 
Source: publisher review copy

About the book: The night fourteen-year-old Chanie Nyrider ran away from her abusive parents, she was saved by an older woman who  offered Chanie a new life working as a prostitute. With nowhere to turn, Chanie was drawn into Edmonton’s dark underbelly, where she survived until arrested four years later. She was given two options: jail or a high school program for troubled youth. Mud Lilies is the powerful story of a young woman finding a path of hope in the darkest of places and defiantly choosing to pursue it.

“Harrowing, hopeful, and informed by Ramayan's own experiences as a runaway to Edmonton, Mud Lilies is a hymn to the power of one young woman's defiant spark of life, a story of grit and wisdom set against a backdrop of cruelty and indifference.”  Grace O’Connell, Open Book

Recently read:


Harvee rated a book it was amazing
The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang
The Family Chao
by Lan Samantha Chang (Goodreads Author)
It's amazing that a chance encounter with a stranger, Zhang Fujian, carrying a small fortune in his bag would lead to the downfall of the Chao family patriarch, owner of the Chao restaurant, and lead to suspicion falling on the three sons. I enjoyed the characterization of each son, so different from one another, and the denouement of the plot in this domestic drama. There is a murder to be solved, also, but I liked that the brothers join together in the face of being children of immigrants in a small American town, and in the face of possible, pending tragedy.

Harvee rated a book  
The Boy With the Bookstore by Sarah Echavarre Smith
The romance between Max and Joelle began and blossomed early in the book, which surprised me, as I wondered, where the story would go from there. I liked that family plays such an important role in Joelle's life and that Max comes to value the idea of family as something he never had. I also liked that problems with Max's bookstore and Joelle's bakery also moved the story forward.

The romance could have had more internal challenges, however, instead of all from outside conflicts. Also, the constant praises for Joelle as a dutiful daughter, praises from Max and from her family were a little overdone throughout the book. But overall, this was a pleasant read, a contemporary young romance novel.

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday  

Empresses of Seventh Avenue by Nancy MacDonell: Historical Novel

 Fashion in Paris and New York City during WWII   Empresses of Seventh Avenue World War II, New York City, and the Birth of American Fashion...