Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

louisiana

Pages: 240 (eBook)

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Published: October 2, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully written. The ending will bring you all the feels from sadness to happiness to love. Twenty four hours after finishing I am still moved to tears thinking about this book.

Louisiana Elefante is awakened in the middle of the night by her Granny and told they are leaving for good right then. As they cross the FL/GA state line Louisiana realizes she will never see her friends again and starts plotting in her head how to get back to Lister, FL. When Granny starts having dental problems and finding a dentist is the number one goal, Louisiana finds more than she bargained for in a new friend and the family she has always dreamed of being apart of.

If the cover with a little blond girl and a cute bunny barrette does not pull you in immediately you will be pulled in by the second page and falling in love with Louisiana. Her spunkiness and pure childlike look into the word will grip your heart and not let it go. You will admire her determination and strength as she navigates the hand that is dealt to her.

Louisiana’s Way Home is a book I will be re-reading for years to come and will be sharing with my students every year. A wonderful example of how you can overcome a rough start in life and with grit and determination you can decide on who you will become.

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.

The Cow Said Neigh! A Farm Story by Rory Feek

cow

Pages: 32 (eBook)

Publisher: Thomas Nelson Childrens Division

Published: October 2, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A very entertaining book for children up to kindergarten/first grade as they learn to read. The very young ones will love learning the sounds animals make and what sounds they should make. The illustrations are gorgeous. Very colorful.

I would definitely use this in any preschool classroom I am in.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson’s Children’s division through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Amish Christmas Letters by Patricia Davids, Sarah Price and Jennifer Beckstrand

letters

Pages: 304 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 25, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

In this collection of three stories from three wonderful writers of the Amish romance genre we meet Marybeth Martin in Marybeth’s Circle Letter. In order not to host her Great Aunt Ingrid she must match one more couple before Christmas. Her target is Josiah Weaver, a widower who is in need of a nanny but can that person also be his next love? In Love Delivered by Sarah Price we meet Katie Mae and her father who is wheelchair bound. Due to the unfortunate circumstances their farm is suffering. The bishop has a plan but will Katie Mae accept the help? In Sealed with a Kiss by Jennifer Beckstrand we get to catch up with Anna and Felty from her Huckleberry Hill series. Anna has sent Carolyn to be a babysitter for a large family that is too busy to see to the needs of their children. Will Carolyn fall in love with their uncle or will she run away in frustration?

All three stories start out with a letter known as a circle letter. Person A writes a letter to all and mails it to person B. Person B reads letter A, writes letter B and sends letters A and B to person C. The letters continue until it gets back to the original person who takes out the old letter of theirs and repeats. What an interesting way to communicate not involving electronic communication. I still believe old fashioned letters are the best kind.

This is the perfect book for a cold winter’s night of reading in anticipation to Christmas. The stories are romantic and sometimes full of laughter. You will find yourself immersed in the beauty of the Amish and cheering each woman on in her quest for fulfillment.

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

Framed in Lace (A Needlecraft Mystery #2) by Monica Ferris

framed

Pages: 260 (Paperback)

Publisher: Berkley

Published: October 1, 1999

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Betsy is still healing from the murder of her sister, Margot. Her new friend in Excelsor, MN, Jill has asked Betsy to accompany her to the raising of a ferry sunk in 1948. Upon the raising of the ferry, the divers find a skeleton who is believed to be a missing young woman who was believed to be having an affair with one of the Monday Bunches wives. Can Betsy solve the mystery as she did before?

This is the second book in the Needlecraft Mystery series and the second book I have read. It is not my typical cozy mystery style as I prefer culinary or book themed cozies but this series has grabbed my interest and I find myself wanting to return again and again. Betsy, the amateur sleuth, is a little older than your average sleuth which I think adds to the story. She has more life experiences to pull from to help her solve the mystery. She is not all bogged down with finding love and having a family. She is focusing on creating a new life in Minnesota and healing from a recent nasty divorce (from a pig, her words) and the death of her only sister.

I appreciate the knowledge the author has on needleworking and lace making. It shows through beautifully in this story. It made me feel much closer to my Mamaw who does the needlepointing and cross stitching. I remember the hours she would put in to each and every piece she created.

The killer was a little easier to figure out in this book versus the first one but the reasoning why was not as apparent to me until close to the end. Maybe I was just so wrapped up in the beauty of the items being created.

This is a nineteen book series that I am very interested in continuing.

Sadie: An Amish Retelling of Snow White by Sarah Price

amish sadie

Pages: 400 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 25, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sadie has tried and tried to be a good stepdaughter but to her detriment her stepmother, Rachel, is as jealous as ever. Rachel sees Sadie as everything she is not young, beautiful, and able to bear children when the time is right. In order to move on with her life, Rachel has decided to marry Sadie off to an ungrateful widower with many children. Sadie decides to take her future in to her own hands and runs away while on a buggy ride with the ungrateful widower. As she run away into the forest she finds herself awaking in a small cottage belonging to the seven Glick brothers who are outcasts in their Amish faith due to their small size. Will Sadie make a life with the brothers as chief cook and bottle washer or will her true love find her?

If you are a fan of retellings of fairytales and like the Amish genre then Sarah Price is your author. Her creativity of retelling Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and now Cinderella are a pure delight. I did not want to put any of the books down.

In Sadie: An Amish Retelling of Snow White, Sarah Price has taken the beloved fairy tale and moved it into the current real world. She tackles jealousy among women (especially stepdaughters and stepmoms), out casting others due to being different (little people/dwarfism) and the dangers of food allergies. I bring up the food allergy danger because it is getting more and more common and it is not just your usual peanuts and shellfish. Even with all real world problems tackled we still get our romantic ending.

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

Carrot Cake Murder (Hannah Swenson #10) by Joanne Fluke

carrot

Pages: 343 (Paperback)

Publisher: Kensington Mystery

Published: March 2008 (original publish date)

Rating: 3.5/4 stars out of 5

First, I want to start off that if you read some previous reviews before starting the book you will probably be turned off from this series. Second, even if I do not like a book I am not going to bash the author and other reviewers for liking a book I did not. Reading is to be fun and everyone likes different styles and wants to get something different from what they read. Let’s be nice to the author’s who work hard at what they craft and the readers who enjoy the results. Now, onto my review.

I enjoy this series as my “fun” reads. Does Hannah Swenson try to solve world peace? No. Does Hannah have issues in choosing the perfect man in her life? Yes, but didn’t (doesn’t) most of us. Consider yourself lucky if you found Mr. Perfect on your first try.

In the tenth Hannah Swenson mystery, Hannah is helping her business partner Lisa with her large week long family reunion out at Lake Eden. Lisa’s long lost Uncle Gus makes an appearance at the family reunion but it is not all hugs and love. It appears Uncle Gus was quite the ladies man and moocher. Hannah is sent on a mission to find Uncle Gus for the family photo and instead finds him belly up next to her infamous carrot cake. Who wanted Uncle Gus dead and why?

Carrot Cake Murder did not have the sense of danger around every corner as some of the other books in the series did and it did not keep me on the edge of my seat. But, I still had a hard time figuring out the killer until close to the end.

I admit I have not read the two books before I read this one so I am curious about a couple of items mentioned as to what occurred previously. It might make more sense as to what I have read about what happens in a later book regarding Hannah and her choosing a particular man as her husband.

Of course there are plenty of yummy recipes scattered throughout the book. A few I want to try salmon cakes, cocoa fudge cake, Mexican hotdish and funeral hotdish..

Royally Dead (A Stitch in Time #3) by Greta McKennan

royally dead

Pages: 214

Publisher: Kensington/Lyrical Underground

Published: September 11, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Highland Games have come to Laurel Heights, PA and Daria is using it to advance her business of being a historical seamstress. As she works the booth housing her wares her roommate, Aileen, has sent a bandmate to Daria asking for a real kilt to be created for a bagpipe competition. As Daria watches the games and looks at all the different kilts one of the athletes collapses during a competition. Daria finds herself, yet again, in the middle of investigating a murder.

I happened upon this series by accident one day reviewing NetGalley and am so glad I did. All three books have been enjoyable. I love how the author, Greta McKennan, weaves in history without making it dry and boring. The history in this book is probably one of my least favorite time periods but I was totally enthralled in learning about Scotland and the history of kilts and what haggis is and how it is made (I’m pretty sure I will never try it!).

You have the most unlikely group of characters with straight-laced Daria, hard rocker roommate Aileen, and ex-con brother Pete but it works beautifully. All the characters meld together to make a great team when it comes time to solve the crime.

This series has a light touch of romance but nothing over bearing and is a clean read. The most gruesome might be the initial death scenes but nothing too harsh. I would recommend this series to any cozy mystery read, new or experienced.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington/Lyrical Underground through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Premeditated Peppermint (Amish Candy Shop #3) by Amanda Flower

peppermint

Pages: 352 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 25, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It’s Christmas time in Harvest, Ohio and Bailey is excited to be sharing a small town Christmas with her Amish grandmother making treats for the shop and the Christmas Market on the Square. Her happiness soon fades when her ex-boyfriend walks in the shop with a TV crew wanting to film a reunion of their love and to showcase a real Amish Christmas. As Bailey tries to navigate her feelings for the local sheriff deputy with her ex standing nearby she finds the body of the executive producer of the show. Will Bailey help her ex clear his name or will she find out he really is a scoundrel only thinking of himself?

One can never go wrong reading a book written by Amanda Flower. My favorites are her Amish cozy mysteries.

The town of Harvest is a wonderful little town that will have you longing to visit. You will be hoping to run into Bailey, her grandmother and of course Jethro, the town’s polka dotted pig.

Premediated Peppermint will have you longing for Christmas and craving everything peppermint. There is a recipe for Peppermint Bark at the end that sounds divine and does not seem too hard to make.

I enjoyed the book and was riveted until the end. The ending is a swoon worthy ending that has me longing for the next book in the series, Toxic Toffee. I am on the edge of my seat to see how the relationship between Bailey and Aiden blossoms.

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

Town in a Sweet Pickle (Candy Holliday #6) by B. B. Haywood

pickle

Pages: 338 (Paperback)

Publisher: Berkley

Published: February 3, 2015

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

In book six, Candy Holliday finds herself questioning the balance between working as interim editor of the newspaper and working the blueberry farm with her dad. Candy and her arch nemesis and co-worker Wanda have organized an event for the local amateur cooks to show off their talent. They were even able to snag a popular cookbook author to be a guest judge. As Wanda goes around helping collect the goodies for the event she finds herself on the wrong end of a tasting. As she recovers, Candy is left to handle the event on her own. Things turn worse when a local favorite drops dead at the event consuming a pickle. Is someone targeting the event or all of Cape Willington?

I continue to enjoy this series the more I read it. Candy is so down to earth that you cannot help but like her. Her love for her dad and the farm is a beautiful addition to the story. Family plays a great role in cozies and this series highlights that wonderfully. The blueberry farm has very little role in this book and I did miss it.

I was saddened by the death of a particular character. I won’t mention who but if you have kept up with the series you will be saddened as well. There is a funeral in this book that will have you laughing and wondering do such things really happen?

Several recipes are included at the end of the book and I cannot wait to bake the Harvest Cookies for my hubby.