Beneath the Summer Sun (Every Amish Season #2) by Kelly Irvin

summer

Pages: 382 (eBook)

Publisher: Zondervan

Published: January 16, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Jennie lost her husband four years ago and she is struggling to make ends meet with seven kids. Atlee was not a nice husband and has forever scarred her emotionally to love again or so she thinks.

Nathan, a Mennonite bookseller, has fallen in love with Jennie over the years he has stopped by her place trying to sell her books. He thinks he wants to become Amish but us he doing it for the right reasons?

Leo used to be in love with Jennie when they were younger but life got in the way from him pursuing her further. Can he overcome his own demons and learn to love again?

I truly enjoyed this book even though it was not a light hearted Amish read as most. Kelly Irvin tackles abuse between husband and wife and child and father. She tackles death from all sides with the upside of new life. I feel as if she really gets down and deep into true Amish life as much as one can to keep the reader still interested. We read to escape reality in some way and don’t want constant reminders of the “real world”. Irvin has it down to a science to write about real subjects but not fully immersing in to real world. We still get our fairy tale ending.

This is the second book in the Every Amish Season series and both books are a true work of art. If you want an Amish fiction story with a little more grit I suggest starting with this book that can be read as a stand alone with no problems.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are my own.

The Battered Body (Supper Club Mysteries #5) by Ellery Adams

battered

Pages: 328 (eBook)

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: May 3, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Hint: A surprise that will take your breath away!

Life is amping up for James and his dad in the fifth book of the Supper Club Mysteries. It is Christmas time and James’ dad is getting married to Milla and James is looking to buy his first house. Milla’s sister is coming to Quincy’s Gap to bake the wedding cake. Her sister is known as the “Diva of Dough” and can be quite the handful. Unfortunately while visiting the “Diva” finds herself with a mouthful of batter and dead. Can the Supper Club figure out who the murder is and keep the wedding on for Christmas Eve?

I have to start off with THE CHEESE DOODLES make their appearance again. YAY! No matter how much James changes and grows if the cheese doodles are around I know he is still the librarian I have come to love. This series has become a true joy to read. It may be because I can relate to the yo-yo dieting and frustration of wanting to enjoy food and eat healthy all at the same time.

There is a surprise in this book that will make your jaw drop and tears come to your eyes. It is so precious and Ellery Adams handled it with such loving care that you will fall in love with James if you haven’t already.

I also found myself wanting to hug Ellery for how she handled Milla and James’ relationship. He may be an adult but he graciously accepts her as his stepmom and openly calls his dad and her his parents. I am a stepmom and sometimes that little acceptance goes such a long way. Beautiful.

If you like to read cozy mysteries and read about food this is a series you should seriously think about picking up on your eReader.

Room on the Porch Swing (Amish Homestead #2) by Amy Clipston

room

Pages: 336 (eBook)

Publisher: Zondervan

Published: May 8, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Laura has had a year of heartache. First her mom dies unexpectedly and then her best friend, Savilla, dies after a brief illness. She has having trouble with her boyfriend of four years as every time they are together there is a feeling of disconnect.

Allen, Savilla’s widow, needs help raising his daughter Mollie, when his mother-in-law suffers a terrible accident and will be laid up for several months. He turns to Laura asking for her help as a live-in nanny. Laura will do anything to honor her best friend’s memory even if it causes more friction between her and her boyfriend.

As time goes by Laura gets more attached to Mollie and her dad. Can Laura separate her feelings of friendship love and romantic love while caring for Mollie?

Book two in the Amish Homestead series is beautifully written and filled with sorrow, heartache and joy. Amy Clipston is a natural when it comes to writing about family and relationships. You will never be sorry to pick up one her books.

I instantly felt a connection to Laura even though I have never experienced (thankfully) losing my mom or best friend. She has this sweet nature about her but at the same time she does not let anyone run over her. She can be stubborn when it is most needed. I was impressed with her ability to just jump right in and help without a second thought.

This would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift for the reader in your life.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley from Zondervan. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Flowers and Foul Play (A Magic Garden Mystery #1) by Amanda Flower

flowers.jpg

Pages: 320 (eBook)

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: May 8, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fiona left Nashville, TN behind and all the memories, good and bad, of her rotten ex-fiancé. Her godfather left her his cottage in Scotland and she travels there to see what life has in store. Finding a dead body in the cottage garden within an hour of arrival is not what she was expecting. Fingers point to her because she is not Scottish but as clues start being pieced together the list of suspects is long and intriguing.

I adored this book! Fiona is one of the best female sleuths out there in cozy mysteries. She pulls herself up by her bootstraps and keeps on trucking. After being jilted by her fiancé for the cake decorator she flies by herself to Scotland, rents a car, drives and finds a dead body and she still does not run home and hide. Instead she starts investigating not knowing anyone in her new home. I am not sure I would have been brave enough to travel to a foreign country by myself much less investigate a murder on my own. She is caring, loving and genuine. You will find yourself a little in awe of her.

I am so excited for this new series. I usually do not read cozy mysteries set outside of the USA as I find them sometimes filled with too much detail explaining the customs and beliefs of the country it takes place in but Amanda Flower puts just the right amount of detail in the story not to be overwhelming. I am enchanted with the beauty she describes of the countryside in Scotland.

Magic is touched upon lightly throughout the book and makes it very interesting to see how it will unfold. I love the idea of a garden that blooms and rejuvenates on its own. Can you imagine watching such beauty unfold?

I don’t think you will be able to put this down once you start. I am interested to hear your thoughts once you grab a copy and lose yourself in the beauty of Scotland.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Stiffs and Swine (Supper Club Mystery #4) by Ellery Adams

stiffs

Pages: 288 (eBook)

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: March 27, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Flab Five have been so successful in solving murders around Quincy’s Gap, a local Hog Fest has asked them to be guest judges. The group decides it sounds exciting enough to give themselves the weekend off from dieting and enjoy BBQ and all the festival treats. Unfortunately, murder has followed them to the festival and they decide to solve it if it is the last thing they do.

This was an exciting read from beginning to end. We are starting to get more backstory on everyone in the Flab Five and seeing the true colors of some other characters. This book has a mystery within a mystery for James. He must try and figure out what is going on with the teenagers on Friday nights in the library and help solve a murder. I like how James is evolving in each book. He is coming to realize that he is not only just a librarian. He is a boyfriend, lover, son, friend and respected pillar of the community. Everyone looks to him when help is needed to figure out problems. What a wonderful trait to have that others trust and respect you enough to look up to you.

James’ romance life is still topsy turvy. Don’t be looking for smooth sailing in this book. I have mixed feelings on how things turned out. I cannot talk much as I don’t want to give too much away.

My biggest disappointment…cheese doddles did not make an appearance for the second book in a row. If James every needed comfort with his cheese doddles he needed them at the festival. Yes, I think of his cheese doodles as a character. They are part of who James is and I do not see that as a bad thing.

More yummy recipes are included in the back of the book just in time for a summer BBQ.

I have already downloaded the fifth book in the series to keep up with the Flab Five. Come on weekend so I can delve right back in.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley from Beyond the Page. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Chili Con Corpses (Supper Club Mystery #3) by J.B. Stanley (aka Ellery Adams)

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Pages: 275 (eBook)

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Published: January 1, 2008

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

James has finally lost some weight and got the girl but not for long. Lucy has been focusing all her time and attention on passing the physical test to become a policy officer for Quincy’s Gap, VA. As they struggle to come together they join a Mexican cooking class with the rest of the Flab Five. Will this heat up the relationship or will another murder cool it down even more?

This has been my favorite book of the series so far but all are wonderfully good. I find all the characters so real and relatable to whatever stage you are going through in your life. We have all had those relationships we couldn’t wait to get into and once we did things cooled after awhile and made us question if we were doing the right thing. James takes us through his experience and doesn’t hold anything back. He reminds us that love is hard and take work on all sides involved.

The recipes shared throughout the book sound so inviting and I cannot wait to have a Mexican themed dinner one night to try them. If you love Mexican food you need to read the book for the recipes alone. I found my mouth watering more than once. he recipes are for all levels off cooks from no experience to experienced.

Grab a margarita and pop open the book and enjoy!

The Amish Quilter (Women of Lancaster County #5) by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould

amish quilter

Pages: 352 (eBook)

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers

Published: May 1, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Linda may be the “Little Sister” of the family but she knows what she wants when it comes to a husband and family or so she thinks. As Linda explores her creativity in making quilts she learns of her grandmother’s artistic painting ability that was frowned upon so many years ago.

Issac has moved the area to take care of an aging relative and build his home painting business. He has a talent of his own with a paintbrush and canvas. He agrees to help Linda look into her family’s past but the closer they get to the past the more his past comes to the present.

Can Linda look beyond her rigid idea of the perfect husband to give love a chance?

I did not pay attention that this was the fifth book in a series until I got to the end. It read as a beautiful stand alone novel. This novel is not your typical Amish romance with more fluff than seriousness. The authors did not shy away from tackling heavy taboo topics such as autism, depression and family members growing apart. I found that the novel read quick even with such meaty topics. I would still feel comfortable giving this novel to a teenager to read as the romance was clean, no violent scenes and no foul language.

I cannot say that Linda is my favorite character of all time. I found her bit perturbing. She was a little whiney at times when it came to learning everyone but her knew something. She was not a good listener when she needed to be when others were trying to help her navigate her feelings for Isaac. I would get so frustrated with her that I wanted to throw the book. On a good note she kept my interest in the novel as I wanted to keep reading to see if she ever got off her high horse.

I am interested to read the other books in the series. The funny thing is I believe I have a few in my TBR pile. Maybe I should move those up closer to the top.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley from Harvest House Publishers. Any opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Fit to Die (Supper Club #2) by Ellery Adams

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Pages: 279 (eBook and audiobook)

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: February 26, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Flab Five is back at it again solving a murder when a new ice cream shop in Quincy’s Gap burns down with a body inside. Suspects are tallying up faster than one can lose weight with Witness to Fitness. Are they are on the right trail or are they cranky and out of sorts from the cardboard meals they must eat with their new diet plan?

I am gobbling this series up faster than I can eat my own cheese doodles. James, the librarian, is so likely and loveable that I just want to jump in the book and give him a squeeze but I’m afraid Lucy might come after me with her steely glare of jealousy. I enjoy his awkwardness because it makes me realize everyone has a little bit of awkwardness to them.

I enjoyed getting to know more about James’ dad and seeing another side of him. I am anxious to see how he is in the next book, Chili Con Corpses. Will he still be mellow and more understanding of his son or will he revert back to the grouchy old man?

It was pleasant not to read a love triangle per se but I am wondering if one is not on the horizon between James, Lucy and Murphy. I think Murphy has a little spunk in her that could make Lucy work harder for James’ affections. This could be a good love triangle and not one that is pesky and unnecessary.

I hope I continue to get new books mentioned by James and the twins to add to my already overflowing TBR pile. I love learning of new authors and what better person to get them from than librarians.

I am on to the third book in the series, Chili Con Corpses. The name is making me hungry because of the word Chili. Yum!

 

The Neighbor by Joseph Souza

the neighbor

Pages: 352 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 24, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Leah’s husband wants to own his own brewery and make it big. What’s a wife to do but move her two kids across country from Seattle to Maine to support her husband’s dreams. Nothing is what she expected. They live in an undeveloped neighborhood, she has made no friends and never sees her husband. Whether out of boredom or desperation or both Leah becomes fixated on their only neighbors, the Gaines particularly Clarissa Gaines. Leah starts sneaking in their house trying to get to know Clarissa better. Things heat up when a local college student goes missing and is feared dead. Is there a connection between her neighbors and the missing girl?

Talk about a stay up all night and read book, this is the book. I found myself turning the pages faster than you can say BOO. Every chapter seemed to have a twist that made me go “WHAT?” and keep reading to find out what was happening next.

The only issue I kind of had with the book was the racial tone at the beginning seemed forced and I wasn’t sure if it was necessary but as you read the book you came to understand why it was used and it makes the story so much more real. I do think it speaks of the current time we are in and what some of us experience in our communities.

This is the second book I have read by Joseph Souza and I plan on reading more. He is one of my top psychological thriller authors. If you have not read him, give him a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley from Kensington. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

The Amish Teacher’s Gift (Love and Promises #1) by Rachel J. Good

amish teacher

Pages: 384 (eBook)

Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

Published: April 24, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Nine months ago Josiah was widowed with a young son, Nathan, who lost his hearing at age two. Josiah and Nathan have not been able to communicate effectively and Nathan’s behavior has gotten out of control. Josiah enrolls him into the newly opened Amish school for kids with special needs. There he meets teacher Ada who has her own troubles at home. When her mom died she became the sole care giver to seven younger brother and sisters. Can Ada help Nathan and the other special needs students and still be able to take care of her family?

I was thrilled to read this book since it was on a topic close to my heart, special needs students. I hoped to learn something from the book I could take to my own classroom and I did! The biggest help was learning more about patience which is something that does not always come easy to me. Patience is common sense but we all need a reminder on common sense at times. I was also reminded that what you see is not always what you think. You need to get the full story before making assumptions. I try to remember that when I see children acting up in stores and restaurants. That child may be special needs and we not even know it.

The love story between Josiah and Ada is very sweet. I found it very believable.

This is a clean read that I would let a teenager or my ninety year old Mamaw read. Pick up your copy today and have a relaxing weekend with Josiah and Ada.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Love & Promises series
The Amish Teacher’s Gift 4/24/18
The Amish Midwife’s Secret 11/27/18
The Amish Widow’s Rescue Release date unknown