Judy Moody and the Right Royal Tea Party by Megan McDonald

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Pages: 160 (eBook)

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Published: September 11, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Judy Moody has to make a family tree for third grade. While working with her Grandma Lou, Judy finds out she is related to royalty. Judy thinks she finally has a way to top her nemesis, Jessica Finch. Judy’s family visits a local castle and GASP who does Judy see none other than Jessica. Will Jessica overshadow Judy once again?

My school kids love Judy Moody and have gotten me reading her antics. I absolutely love her imagination. I hope with my kids reading her that they learn how to use their imagination. I would love to use this book as a tie-in with a class family tree project and maybe a writing project of someone in their family tree.

Little girls of elementary school age will love reading Judy’s adventures in royalty.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Candlewick Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

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Pages: 320 (eBook)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: September 4, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Whoa what a tumultuous read.

In a small town that America has forgot, is a young girl trying to raise her little sister Mattie wit little help from those around them. Sadie’s life is shattered when Mattie is found in a local orchard violently murdered. Sadie takes it upon herself to find the murderer and bring vigilante justice to him. As Sadie works her way across the miles she finds herself closer to the murderer but does she also find herself closer to her own death as well?

National radio personality, West McCray, hears Sadie’s story and finds himself unable to not get involved. The investigation he launches starts taking over his life and his hope is he finds Sadie before it’s too late.

I had no idea while reading Sadie that it was labeled as a YA read. Any fan of thrillers and mysteries will enjoy this book no matter their age. WARNING: there is plenty of violence, foul language and sensitive subjects (child abuse, child sexual abuse, drug use) throughout the book but all that is what makes this book unable to put down. I almost expected to look up from the book and her my West on the radio talking about a true case.

The book is written in two forms: a narrative when reading Sadie’s thoughts and actions and a podcast transcript when reading West’s thoughts and actions. The podcast transcript reading was different but fit this book.

You will be thinking about this book long after you have finished. It will keep you up at night even if you aren’t up reading.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed above are completely my own.

In Cold Chocolate (A Southern Chocolate Shop #3) by Dorothy St. James

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Pages: 263 (ebook)

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: September 11, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Penn” is still making her place in Camellia Beach, SC and finding her inner chocolatier. It is the season of sea turtle hatching and Penn wants to become a turtle volunteer. In order to do so she joins Althea and the other turtle volunteers to watch a nest for possible hatching. As they are watching they notice a house has left outdoor lights on. Althea goes to get cardboard to cover the light and Jody, Penn’s nemesis, shows up with guns a blazing, truly. Unfortunately, Jody finds herself on the wrong end of the law when all signs point to her in the murder of the beach’s playboy, Cassidy. Can Penn prove Jody’s innocence?

I have really enjoyed this series this year. Penn has grit and determination of a Southern lady even though she is from Wisconsin. She has her mother’s blood in her that is for sure. I enjoy her spars with the police chief and detective. Detective Gibbons is one of my favorite characters. I believe he has a crush on Penn. I’m not a big love triangle kind of person but I hope something starts to happen in the love arena between Penn and Gibbons. Harley needs a run for his money.

This is the perfect book for all sea turtle lovers and cozy mystery fans. An enjoyable read for any time of the year.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson

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Pages: 176 (eBook)

Publisher: Revell

Published: September 4, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Wendy and her son, Jackson, have been living in Cincinnati, OH and trying to cope with life after the death of her husband, his dad. Wendy’s grandfather passed away and left her his home in Seaside, Maine. Wendy plans on updating the home and selling it ASAP. They drive to Maine over Thanksgiving break and both fall in love with the house and town. Jackson wants to live there but Wendy sees no way to make a living and insists they must go back to Cincinnati. Will the townspeople, one in particular, change her mind and give a young boy his Christmas wish?

What a heartwarming, beautiful Christmas read. Melody Carlson writes with such love and hope that you can’t help but fall in love with Seaside. She makes the reader wish we could experience the Christmas season on the Maine coast with mornings of shelling, days filled with creating beauty within our home and evenings filled with delicious seafood meals.

I would like to see a return visit to Seaside with one of the other characters with an update to how Wendy and Jackson are doing.

I received a complimentary copy of this story from Revell through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Geared for the Grave (A Cycle Path Mystery #1) by Duffy Brown

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Pages: 288 (Paperback)

Publisher: Berkley

Published: December 2, 2014

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Welcome to Mackinac Island, the land of a slower lifestyle with no cars allowed and bicycles are the way to get around. Evie has volunteered to help her boss in Chicago by coming to Mackinac Island and assist Rudy, her boss’ father, in his bicycle shop. Rudy has broken leg and it is the height of the summer season. Evie walks in to the shop and witnesses an argument between Rudy and Bunny, a wealthy resident who would love for his shop to be shut down. Unfortunately during a delivery Evie finds Bunny as dead as road kill on the side of a Chicago highway. Can Evie solve the murder before having to call her boss to come get her father out of the slammer?

Oh my goodness, I have never laughed so much and so hard reading a book before. It seemed like I was constantly stopping and reading a snippet to my hubby. Evie is a pure delight. The entire book was a delight. You have a Detroit cop volunteering his time on the island, a Chicago girl who is used to creature comforts, and the mob. Can a cozy can any better? I enjoyed it so much I have already ordered the second book and am on pins and needles for it to get here.

My one complaint: there are only TWO books in the series so far. I haven’t researched yet but I really hope the author continues the series.

 

The Christmas Prayer by Wanda Brunstetter

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Pages: 176 (eBook)

Publisher: Barbour Publishing Inc. (Shiloh Run Press)

Published: September 1, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

In the wake of the Donner party, three wagons of strangers meet in Independence, MO to head to the land of gold, California. Eight months later December arrives and they have just reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains and have encountered a blizzard that could mean the end of the trip and themselves.

Cynthia is traveling with her fiancé and mother. As the trip has progressed she finds herself questioning if he is the man she thought he was, especially as she finds herself spending more time with the children on the trip. Christmas is approaching and the travelers are finding themselves getting bleaker and bleaker but will Santa come save them and show Cynthia the way to love?

I know whenever I pick up a Wanda Brunstetter book or novella whether Amish or not I am in for the perfect feel good read. Although I know the ending will be a happy one and love will always win the story to get to the ending is always beautiful. This is the perfect story to get you ready for the colder months and Christmas. Pick this book up for the romance reader in your life or yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

I received a copy of this story from Barbour Publishing Inc. through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

 

Dim Sum of all Fears (A Noodle Shop Mystery #2) by Vivien Chien

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Pages: 320 (eBook)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: August 28, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Lana is still working in her parents Chinese restaurant in Downtown Cleveland even though she would rather be working as a manager in the corporate world. Just as she thinks she has found the break she has been looking for her parents must fly to Taiwan to take care of her grandmother and have left her in charge of the restaurant with the Chinese New Year right around the corner. Everything is running smoothly until one morning she finds the owners of the shop next door brutally murdered. Can Lana leave the investigation to the police or will she find herself facing the murderer on her own?

This book was very enjoyable. I have already bought the first book in the series to take with me this weekend to read while traveling. Lana, amateur sleuth, is the reason we have cozies. Even though she lives in Cleveland, her community is Asia Village. A small village of Asian stores, restaurants and businesses. She may wish to work in corporate America but she is the force that keeps this little village alive. Her relationship with local law enforcement officer Adam is hilarious but serious at the same time. He wants her to stay safe and she just can’t help herself getting into trouble. I get this picture in my head of him just shaking his head in defeat but smiling at the same time out of love. I can’t wait to learn more about him as the series progresses.

This is the perfect series to begin if you are looking for a culinary cozy mystery series in a different setting. Be prepared to be craving everything Chinese as you are reading. I had to keep myself from drooling as I was reading.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Mending by Susan Lantz Simpson

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Pages: 288 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: August 28, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Malinda is happy to be out of the hospital in Ohio and heading back home to Maryland. As she settles back in the swing of home life she wonders if she will ever share the joy her friend Phoebe has with her boyfriend soon to be fiancĂ©. Malinda has Chron’s disease and feels she is a burden to everyone around her, especially her family.

Timothy has been in Malinda’s life for as long as anyone can remember as he is her older brother, Sam’s, best friend. Timothy has waited patiently for years for Malinda to grow up and be ready to accept suitors. Now that the time has come can he convince Melinda that she will never be a burden to him?

What a beautiful love story between Malinda and Timothy. The love and patience he has for Malinda would make any girl swoon, young or old, English or Amish. Both of them have a strong faith in God and the way it is portrayed is great. The author uses real life experiences to show how God is in each of our lives. The author writes with such knowledge that one would think you were reading a true story and not one of fiction.

This is the second book by Susan Lantz Simpson I have read and I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington Book through NetGalley and any all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

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Pages: 325 (eBook)

Publisher: Sourcebooks/Landmark

Published: August 28, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A powerful, raw, heartbreaking read. One of the best books I have read this year. Get your tissues ready as you read this based on a real picture story from Kristina McMorris.

In 1931, two years after the stock market crash, Ellis Reed, a local newspaper reporter, finds himself in the Pennsylvania countryside taking pictures of things that he finds interesting. He comes upon two young boys playing in the dirt on the porch of a rundown farmhouse. As Ellis takes their picture he notices a sign: 2 CHILDREN FOR SALE. Ellis begins to question the why behind the sign. He never intended the photo to go public but once his editor sees the photo he demands a story.

Lillian, the editor’s secretary, is the reason the editor saw the photo. The mother within her is heartbroken for the children and the mother who felt this was her last resort to survive these hard economic times.

Once the photo and story hit the news waves it leads Ellis and Lillian on a journey that neither expected. Can all parties involved find their way home again?

I finished this book several days ago and found I needed time to reflect on the emotions it stirred within me. My dad was born in 1931 in Maryland and I know from the stories he has shared with me how rough it was to grow up in the Depression. I could not imagine if his parents had had to resort to putting him on the porch with a sign that said, Child for Sale. The thought of any child experiencing that brings tears to my eyes. Take a look at your child/children and reflect on how you would feel if you had to “sell” them to survive. Unfortunately most children during the Depression that were separated from their family for whatever reason did not experience a loving childhood. As told my Ms. McMorris they were put to work on a farms at a very, very young age and treated worse than some farm animals.

Sold On A Monday is a perfect historical fiction read on a subject matter from the Depression that is not very wide known to our generation. This novel will make you think about how good of a life you truly have.

Every book I have read by Ms. McMorris has been an emotional and educational read. I find she is one of the best historical fiction writers. She writes with knowledge and feeling. You will do yourself a great favor in picking up any one of her novels.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Sourcebooks/Landmark through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Poisoned Pages (Booktown Mystery #12) by Lorna Barrett

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Pages: 320 (eBook)

Publisher: Berkley

Published: July 10, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

One of the best cozy mystery series out there. Lorna Barrett has written another 5 star Booktown Mystery.

In book twelve of the Booktown Mysteries, Tricia has finally moved back in her apartment over her bookstore after a terrible fire gutted the apartment. During her housewarming party, where she fixed all the delicious nibbles (a feat for Tricia), a guest dies from a poisoned stuff mushroom. Unfortunately Tricia finds herself trying to prove it was not her cooking that killed the guest. As Tricia tries to solve the mystery of the dead guest she also finds herself running for the president position at the Chamber of Commerce and putting the trial of the murder of her ex-husband to rest. Will Tricia find herself successful on all three accounts or be the next murder in Stoneham, NH?

This is my favorite cozy mystery series and I have a lot of them I love. Every summer I find myself barely able to contain my excitement for my annual visit with Tricia and friends. In Poisoned Pages, we start with Tricia listening to the sentencing of her ex-husband’s killer. The opening pages of this is heartbreaking. I found myself tearing up and wanted to comfort Tricia. I cannot imagine the emotions Tricia has had over this time. I hope the killer does truly rot in jail. I am not going to name the killer just in case you have not read this series or are not up to date.

To say I was shocked at who the perpetrator was in Poisoned Pages is putting it mildly. I would have never believed this person would turn out to be such a jerk and so evil. Well played Ms. Barrett, well played.

You can read these as a stand alone but I would NOT recommend it. You would lose the element of surprise in each beautifully crafted mystery.

For fans of cozy mysteries, mysteries and suspense this series should definitely be on your radar. It is time to be thinking of Christmas shopping and if I was you I would be asking Santa for this entire series under my tree.