A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall

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Pages: 208

Publisher: WaterBrook and Multnomah

Published: September 24, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: If you enjoyed The Christmas Remedy last Christmas you will enjoy A Christmas Haven. It is filled with friends, family, and romance along with a lot of hope and kindness.

Woodsmall has taken the time to research the Swartzentruber Amish sect and how it differs from Old Order and written a romance that leaves you all smiles.

Ivy’s progression from short-sided adult to one who sees the picture is a beautiful journey.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, WaterBrook and Multnomah, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Old Order Amish Ivy Zook is wrestling with her need to shed her community’s ways so she can grow the business of her dreams: planning parties. As long as she’s stuck living without modernization, she can barely get her business on its feet. But if she leaves too soon, she’d cause trouble for her sister, Holly, who is planning her wedding to Joshua Smucker. All of their plans become twice as complicated when an old car crashes into the storefront of Greene’s Pharmacy, carrying a Swartzentruber (ultra-conservative sect) Amish man, Arlan, and his very ill sister.

The Zooks take in Arlan and Madga, tending to the woman’s illness and Arlan begins helping around the family farm. Ivy and Arlan are on different tracks, one wanting to leave her community and the other to return to his. But both young people are trying to discover what God has in store for their futures and what miracles might lie around the corner this Christmas season.

Berried Motives (A Cranberry Cove Mystery #6) by Peg Cochran

Pages: 211

Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing

Published: November 17, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I found this series on a whim and started in the middle and went back and got caught up. I really enjoy it. I usually gravitate towards cozy mysteries centered around books and cooking and although this series does have baking and recipes it is really about a farm. I have learned so much regarding cranberries. I have started thinking about different ways to incorporate them into savory dishes outside of Thanksgiving time.

I am excited for the next book as I can’t wait to see how Monica runs with her new path in life. I love the addition of Hercules, the dog. He is a joy and adds the right amount of fun.

You can start this series with any book and be just fine. The author does a great job of giving enough background on each character.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Beyond the Page Publishing, through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: An ambitious TV personality takes a star turn in murder in the new Cranberry Cove Mystery from USA Today bestselling author Peg Cochran!

With the cranberry farm in full harvest mode, Monica is thrilled to learn that they’ll be the featured guests on a local TV news show. Certain the exposure will give her bakery products and the farm’s store a welcome boost, she’s also nervous about how she’ll come across on-screen. But her real worries begin when the show’s ruthless star is found bludgeoned to death on a side road of the farm—and Monica’s own brother heads up the list of suspects.

Launching an investigation to find the real killer and clear her brother, Monica discovers there was no love lost between the victim and those closest to her. From the dead woman’s husband, a calculating politician with his sights set on more lucrative pastures, to the timid cameraperson she repeatedly bullied, there’s no shortage of suspects or motives. And when Monica unearths a compromising secret that turns the spotlight on one of them, she suddenly realizes the solution has been staring her in the face. As she closes in on the killer, she’ll need sharp wits and steely nerves to avoid taking her final bow . . .

Includes tasty recipes!

The Deeds of the Deceitful (Hope Street Church Mystery #6) by Ellery Adam and Tina Radcliffe

Pages: 196

Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing

Published: November 10, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I am so happy this series has been continued. There is something comforting every time I read the series.

Cooper is such a sweet character. She makes me think that there are still good people out there not ready to make one over on someone. I am so happy about the direction her life has taken. I think she is on the right path with her love life.

This is a clean read (except for murder but no grisly scenes) that you will not want to put down. I found myself devouring it in less than 24 hours because I couldn’t wait to get back to my friends in the Sunrise Bible Study Group.

Yummy recipes are included and just in time for the holidays!

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. Beyond the Page Publishing, through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: It’s June in Virginia, and the scent of flowers and the sound of wedding bells are in the air, an unwelcome reminder to Cooper Lee of the long-distance relationship she recently ended. When Cooper and her Bible study group are invited to spend a weekend at a newly renovated historic inn, it’s the perfect chance to get away with friends and put her bittersweet memories behind her—until the inn’s pompous co-owner is murdered and one of the suspects is Cooper’s own mother.

Certain that someone on the inn’s staff must have done the cruel deed, the Bible study group begins piecing together the clues, only to learn that everyone there has a motive for murder. When they discover that a valuable painting has also been stolen from the inn, they know they’re up against a particularly shrewd evildoer. Determined to bring the culprit to justice and save her mother, Cooper and her friends devise a risky scheme to trap the killer, because sometimes even the Bible study group must work in mysterious ways . . .  

Includes heavenly recipes from Magnolia Lee’s kitchen!

A Picture of Love (Amish Inn #1) by Beth Wiseman

Pages: 336

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: November 3, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: What a delightful read! I am still laughing at the antics the two sisters pulled during this novel.

The book focuses on the trials and tribulations of love Naomi has experienced but the true winners are the sweet elderly sisters, Esther and Lizzie, that Naomi works for at the sisters’ inn. They are a hoot. I absolutely adore how Wiseman made them so real. Yes, they are Amish and believe in turning the other cheek and being mild but we all know that sometimes you just have to express yourself. Lizzie will have you rolling on the floor laughing when she spars with Grumpy Gus who in turn thinks she is the grumpy one. Plus, her teeth debacles!

Gus, a tenant on the sisters’ property, shows his tender side with Esther during her medical scare. I really hope we get to learn more about him in future books. I don’t think he wants to be as grumpy as he appears.

This is a must-read for Amish fiction/romance fans. You will want to gobble it up as quick as the Thanksgiving turkey. A clean read that will leave you smiling and holding your tummy from the laughing.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Zondervan, through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Sweet Naomi Byler cooks meals for the guests at The Peony Inn, where Amish sisters and owners of the inn Esther and Lizzie love her like a granddaughter. She’s as happy there as a young woman can be, considering that her fiancé, Thomas, has left her to court someone else. She knows she’ll get over the love of her life in due time, but she assumes marriage will never be a part of her future.

Amos Lantz and his mother are guests at the inn, visiting town for a cousin’s wedding. Attending a wedding is the last thing Amos wants to do since his own fiancée, Sarah, died tragically just a year ago.

Naomi and Amos understand each other’s grief and become quick friends when they discover their mutual love of painting. As the two begin to paint through their sadness together, Esther and Lizzie play matchmaker—a risky move with the potential to backfire. And when Thomas makes an unexpected return intending to win back Naomi, she realizes she no longer knows her own heart.

In this new Amish series from bestselling and award-winning novelist Beth Wiseman, true love takes root in the deepest of wounds.

Candy Slain Murder (Country Store Mystery #8) by Maddie Day

Pages: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 29, 2020

Rating: 3.5/4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Although this was not my favorite in the series I still found it a good read which is why I gave it 4 instead of 3 stars. I read cozy mysteries to escape the real world and this one did not let me do that this time around. There was a lot of political views expressed throughout the entire book.

I am excited for the next book as I cannot wait to see how Robbie adapts to her new role with her love.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington, through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: As December sweeps through South Lick, Indiana, Robbie’s life seems merry and bright like the string lights glistening around town. But strange happenings signal a bumpy ride into the holidays. First a man raises eyebrows at Pans ‘N Pancakes when he claiming to be the long-lost half-brother of Robbie’s assistant. Then a fire destroys the home of a controversial anesthesiologist, exposing skeletal remains in his attic. Helplessly intrigued, all Robbie wants for Christmas is to stop her winter wonderland from becoming a real nightmare. With a decades-old mystery taking shape, can she run as fast as she can in pursuit of a killer who’s harder to crack than a stale gingerbread man?

Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy by Nancy Naigle

Pages: 280

Publisher: Hallmark Publishing

Published: November 3, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A joyous read that lets you feel it is ok to slow down and enjoy the life around you. Evergreen is the small town we all dream of living in during the Christmas season. A much-needed book for the crazy year we have all experienced.

All three books in the Christmas in Evergreen are a treat that is best enjoyed with a hot cup of cocoa piled high with marshmallows and a cozy blanket. Each can be read as a standalone.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Hallmark Publishing, through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: An unexpected encounter…An extraordinary discovery…Welcome back to the town of Evergreen.

Katie, an author struggling to write her second novel, heads to Evergreen, Vermont for a holiday retreat—only to get an assignment to write an article about the town. On the train, she meets Ben, a former big-city reporter who’s now a librarian in Evergreen.

Katie’s initially skeptical about Evergreen’s love of Christmas; the place seems too good to be true. Meanwhile, Ben’s wary of Katie’s intentions. He’s protective of his small town, and he knows all too well how cynical the media can be. Then a hunt for a fifty-year-old time capsule leads to a remarkable discovery. As Katie and Ben get caught up in the community’s past and present, they both begin to envision new possibilities for the future.

This feel-good Christmas romance includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Cranberry Crostini.

The Blended Quilt by Wanda and Jean Brunstetter

Pages: 288

Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Published: November 1, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: The Blended Quilt lets us revisit with the girls from The Hawaiian Quilt and The Hawaiian Discovery. The story mainly focuses on Sadie, the last of the girls to be single. She finds herself unhappy with her boyfriend and to work through her doubts she creates a quilt that blends the Hawaiian and Amish cultures. During the process, she writes a book on the quilts and the blending of the cultures. Unfortunately, the process creates strife with several loved ones.

The story was fast-paced and interesting. The reason it was not a 5-star read was I found Sadie a tad off-putting. As the story progressed she was more and more greedy and seemed to think everyone else was the problem. She is for sure and certain not one of my favorite Amish characters.

You do not have to read the other books to read The Blended Quilt. Each book is written as a stand-alone. The Blended Quilt is a clean, Christian read with only one trigger warning. There is a scene dealing with miscarriage.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Barbour Publishing, Inc., through NetGalley. Any opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Will pursuing Sadie’s dreams mean leaving a romance behind?
 
Sadie Kuhns has a lot happening in her life. She is creating a unique quilt by blending a traditional Amish pattern with a Hawaiian pattern as a tribute to her time spent in the islands, and she is working on a self-published book. But her relationship with Wyman Kauffman has stagnated after six months of courtship. He can’t seem to commit to a profession that would secure a future, and he is jealous of the time Sadie gives to her own pursuits. Is there really any reason to drag this courtship out? Only time will tell in this new novel from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, writing with her daughter-in-law Jean Brunstetter.

The Key Lime Crime (Key West Food Critic Mystery #10) by Lucy Burdette

Pages: 320

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: August 11, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

I admit I started this series with book 9 and am mad at myself for waiting so long to start the series. It was very easy to start with books 9 and 10 as the author does a fantastic job giving enough background to know who is who and what is what. One of my reading goals for 2021 is to get caught up on this series.

In book 10 we visit Key West the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Hayley’s mother-in-law comes to visit and excitement seems to have followed her down. The mother-in-law was a little snooty for my tastes. Her comments on food/eating were bothersome. Why make your new daughter-in-law question her food choices and eating habits? First, she just met Hayley, and second, it is Hayley’s job to enjoy food. I hope the mother-in-law softens up her hard edges before visiting again.

There are plenty of yummy recipes included and not all revolve around Key Lime. I also liked that the book quotes at the beginning of each chapter. I have found some new authors to try.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, through NetGalley. Any opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: National bestselling author Lucy Burdette’s tenth Key West Food Critic mystery is piping hot with pie-enthusiasts and murder suspects.

When a fierce rivalry between key lime pie bakers leads to a pastry chef’s murder, food critic Hayley Snow is fit to be pied.

During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, the year-round population of Key West, Florida, faces a tsunami of tourists and snowbirds. It doesn’t help that outrageously wealthy key lime pie aficionado David Sloan has persuaded the city to host his pie-baking contest. Every pie purveyor on the island is out to win the coveted Key Lime Key to the City and Key Zest food critic Hayley Snow is on the scene to report it.

Meanwhile, Hayley’s home life is turning more tart than sweet. Hayley’s new hubby, police detective Nathan Bransford, announces that her intimidating mother-in-law is bearing down on the island for a surprise visit. Hayley offers to escort Nathan’s crusty mom on the iconic Conch Train Tour of the island’s holiday lights, but it becomes a recipe for disaster when they find a corpse among the glittering palm trees and fantastic flamingos. The victim–Au Citron Vert’s controversial new pastry chef–was a frontrunner in Sloan’s contest.

It’s bad enough that Hayley’s too-curious mother-in-law is cooking up trouble. Now, the murderer is out to take a slice out of Hayley. Can she handle the heat of a killer’s kitchen?

For Whom the Book Tolls (An Antique Bookshop Mystery #1) by Laura Gail Black

Pages: 264

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: September 8, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A great start to a new series. Plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing up to the revealing of the murderer.

I liked the fact that the amateur sleuth has a questionable past. I am hoping we have a future book where she solves what really happened in Charlotte.

I only have two not really complaints but wish it was different. I did not like her being so weak in her relationship in Charlotte. Her boyfriend/fiance was a JERK! Good riddance. Her new romance was very quick. Too quick for my liking.

I am ready for book two and have high hopes this will become a “must-read” series for me.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, through NetGalley. Any opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: In this cozy series debut from Laura Gail Black, Jenna Quinn finds her uncle murdered in his antique bookstore, and Jenna–his primary beneficiary–becomes the prime suspect.

Trouble follows Jenna Quinn wherever she goes. Fleeing some unsavory doings in her hometown of Charlotte, Jenna accepts her uncle’s gracious invitation to stay with him in small-town Hokes Folly, NC. In exchange, she’ll help him out in his antiquarian bookstore. But soon after she arrives, Jenna finds her uncle’s body crumpled at the base of the staircase between his apartment and the bookstore.

Before the tragedy even sinks in, Jenna learns that she’s inherited almost everything her uncle owned: the store and apartment, as well as his not-so-meager savings and the payout from a life insurance policy…which adds up to more than a million dollars. This is all news to Jenna–bad news, once the police get wind of her windfall. An ill wind, indeed, as a second murder cements Jenna’s status as the prime suspect in both deaths.

Jenna can hit the road again, taking her chances that she can elude trouble along the way. Or she can stick it out in Hokes Folly, take over the bookstore, and try to sleuth out her uncle’s killer. On the one hand, she’s made some wonderful new friends, and she feels she can thrive in the genial small-town environment. On the other hand, trouble knows her address–and so does the killer, who is determined to write the final page of Jenna’s story.

Christmas Charms by Teri Wilson

Pages: 280

Publisher: Hallmark Publishing

Published: October 6, 2020

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

My Review: A fun, sweet, feel-good read that leaves you warm and fuzzy ready for Christmas.

Teri Wilson is quickly becoming one of my go-to Christmas authors that are a must-read. I love the whole idea of a magic charm bracelet. For me it made the story of boy-girl meet up again after a disastrous breakup into something fun and new. I really hope a movie is in the future.

Is the cover not beautiful??? It drew me in immediately and made me want to dive right in and experience Christmas in Owl Lake.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Hallmark Publishing, through NetGalley. Any opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: She never dreamed her holiday would include her hometown, a dog, or a firefighter. But a mysterious charm bracelet predicted it all…

Ashley’s supposed to be having the Christmas of her dreams. After four years of working at an upscale jewelry store in Manhattan, she’s finally going to get a little velvet box of her own—from her boyfriend Jeremy, who’s taking her on a romantic trip to Paris. What could go wrong?

Well, everything.

Ashley heads home to Owl Lake instead, falling asleep on the train ride there…and waking up with a beautiful antique charm bracelet on her wrist. Soon, she realizes that each silver charm predicts an event that happens in real life. What does this mean for her and Jeremy…or her and Aidan, her former high school boyfriend, who’s now a local firefighter? Is there still a chance that she could have the perfect Christmas?

This small town Christmas romance includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Spiced Walnut Crust Cookies with Chocolate Ganache and Sea Salt.

Cold Conviction (An Aspen Adams #3) by Daryl Wood Gerber

Pages: 242

Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing

Published: October 27, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I am addicted to this series. Finding a new book in the series is like finding a Christmas present you forgot to open.

In book three we get to learn more about the night Aspen’s parents were killed and how it affected Aspen and her sister. I never expected the killer to be who it was. My mouth dropped to the floor when revealed.

I am very ready for the next book and cannot wait.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Beyond the Page Publishing through NetGalley. Any opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Agatha Award–winning author Daryl Wood Gerber returns with private investigator Aspen Adams taking on a cold case that has haunted her for years . . .

When her parents were murdered fourteen years ago, Aspen Adams coped as best she could as a college freshman and numbly moved on when the case was never solved. Living since then with almost daily reminders of how the tragedy shaped the lives of her and her sister, she’s always known that someday she would launch an investigation of her own. And now, with her sister in crisis, she draws on all her experience as a private investigator to untangle a case that left the police baffled and her family in ruins.

Interviewing the detectives who worked the case, scouring endless pages of their notes, and even tracking down the original suspects, Aspen discovers aspects of the crime and her parents’ lives she never knew about—and ignites a menacing series of events that threaten to engulf everyone near her. Certain she’s on the trail of the killer and unwilling to be deterred, Aspen faces down her own fears about what she’ll find in her search for answers—and justice—before a killer who scarred her life can resurface to wreak havoc on her family once again . . .