Murder in the Locked Library (A Book Retreat Mystery #4) by Ellery Adams

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Pages: 320 (eBook and Paperback)

Publisher: Kensington]

Published: April 24, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Jane has decided to add a relaxing spa to Storyton Hall so her guests can have a more pampering book vacation. Her twins are excited to watch the big machinery at work and while doing so they yell at the operator to stop. It appears there is a body buried on the premises. Most unusual is the body is buried with a book. Can the attendees of the Rare Book Conference help Jane discover who is buried in her backyard and why?

Every time I read a Book Retreat Mystery I want to visit but unfortunately it is a fictional place. Can you imagine being able to spend all your time among books and reading whenever without the guilt of having to participate in the real world?

Jane is the mom, friend, boss and sleuth all of us cozy mystery readers want to be as she always is on top of her game. She finds time to cook the twins designed pancakes and work jigsaw puzzles with them. She is understanding of her staffs needs and wants. She never blows off her friends in a time of need and she can always solve a mystery. The only thing not going her way is love of a significant other. She is seeing Edwin but he is currently off on another “job” and the cryptic messages he sends makes her question the relationship. Are the messages real or fake? I don’t know you will have to read to find out.

I am interested to see if Celia, the forensic anthropologist, will become a regular since there seemed to be a spark between her and Sinclair. At this point I think she would be a nice addition. She seems to share the love of books like everyone does at Storyton Hall.

You can read each book in the series as a stand alone but for maximum effect I would read in order:
1. Murder in the Mystery Suite
2. Murder in the Paperback Parlor
3. Murder in the Secret Garden
4. Murder in the Locked Library

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

An Amish Heirloom by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller and Kelly Irvin

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Pages: 380

Publisher: Zondervan

Published: April 10, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Four gentle Amish reads to lighten up any day.

A Legacy of Love by Amy Clipston
Leon let Susie go several years when he could not make the promise to marry her on day. Now Susie is engaged and has asked Leon to restore her grandparents’ rocking chairs for her new home. Can rocking chairs by the tie that binds?

 

The Cedar Chest by Beth Wiseman
Catherine is struggling in her marriage and has turned to her mother for comfort but does not reveal what is happening. Catherine finds her great grandmother’s chest in her parents basement and convinces her mom, Emma, to open it. They discover family love letters. Will the letters bring Catherine and Emma closer so Catherine can share her fears with her mom?

The Treasured Book by Kathleen Fuller
Shane met Lucy when he was restoring his house in Iowa and ever since then Shane has wanted to join the Amish faith to further his relationship with God. He is staying with his Amish friend in Ohio to learn more about the faith when he runs into Lucy. Lucy is taking care of a family member who has become ill. Lucy joins Shane on a trip to a local antique market where Shane buys a Bible. Will the contents within strengthen their bond?

The Midwife’s Dream by Kelly Irvin
The district’s midwife, Iris, wants a family of her own but has yet to find the love she is seeking. Mahon brings two English teenagers to her house when they stopped at his family farm asking for help as the girl was in labor. During the night Iris realizes Mahon is not just her best friend’s brother. Could he be the love she has been praying for all along?

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

The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet

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Pages: 448 (eBook)

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Published: April 17, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

As World War II blazes through Europe and Hitler becomes a menace, Augusta “Gusta” Neubronner is sent to live with her grandma she barely knows in Springdale, Maine. Her father was escorting her but in Providence they became separated so she trudges on until she finds her grandmother’s doorstep. She brings very few possessions but her treasured French horn as made the journey with her. As she learns her way in life and the new town will the French horn be able to save her and her family as family secrets start leaking out at the seams?

What a treasured read. The book is loosely based on the author’s own mother’s life as a child during wartime in Maine. You can see the trueness of the story shine through the words on the page. I was enthralled with this different aspect of a children’s book during World War Two. As a reader you learn about Alienation registration and how children treated other children who seemed un-American based on their name or look. At times it reminded me of what is going on the America today with the immigration disputes among people.

This may be a children’s fiction book but anyone who loves a good story, no matter the age, will find themselves cheering gutsy Gusta as she learns her way in life.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Candlewick Press through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the review are completely my own.

Town in a Strawberry Swirl (Candy Holliday Mystery #5) by B.B. Haywood

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Pages: 308 (Paperback)

Publisher: Berkley

Published: February 4, 2014

Rating: 4 stars

I LOVE this culinary series. It is closely getting ready to eke out the Hannah Swenson series as my favorite culinary series and that says a lot. There is something about candy that makes me happy when I read her. Maybe because I feel like I could be really good friends with her if she was real. She is down to earth and a really good person. She cares about her community, friends and family. I wish there was more people like her in the real world.

It is strawberry season (yummy!) and that means summer is beginning and time for a festival. Miles is the local strawberry supplier and has for over 30 years but there is a nasty rumor going around that he may be selling out. Does this mean that subdivisions are in the future of Cape Willington marring the beautiful farm land? Unfortunately Doc, Candy’s dad, finds Miles dead with a Blueberry Acres shovel next to him. Will Doc and Candy find themselves on the wrong side of the law?

Not only will you find yourself immersed in strawberry land as you read you will also be craving the delectable fruit. I am anxiously awaiting strawberry season here in Kentucky.

I enjoyed how this book brought the underlying mystery throughout the entire series to the forefront but still did not solve it. A mystery in a mystery is right up my alley. Again I was stumped on the whodunit until it came to light.

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

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Pages: 352 (eBook)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: April 10, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Maggie has been married to Dr. Noah for several years and has settled into being wife and mom to Noah’s son, Caleb. In the blink of an eye their lives are changed forever with a single phone call from Maggie’s daughter Anna. A daughter she did not talk about due to losing custody after fighting post partum psychosis. Anna moves in and starts tearing the family apart until one night she is found dead on Noah’s porch and all signs point to him. Can Maggie forgive Noah and move forward or will she believe Noah killed Anna in a fit of rage? Where does the truth lie?

After Anna had me guessing until the very end and I was still in shock as I turned the last page. These stand alone novels are my favorite of Lisa Scottoline’s work but truthfully I don’t think you can read a bad book by her.

This book made me think about what I would do in the situations Maggie found herself in for the past seventeen years. Could I have just walked away after the custody hearing no matter what my ex and his lawyers said? I would like to think I would have fought until my death to be apart of my child’s life no matter my mental illness. Especially when I found myself better after taking time to heal. Could I open my home and life immediately after being away for 17 years with pretty much no questions asked? I find it surprising when spouses make decisions that change the entire family without discussing it with the other spouse. I am not saying don’t take your daughter in but get to know who she is now verses what you remember her being at several months old. Would I believe everything my daughter said about my husband, the man I have been living with for several years? Could I forgive my husband for the transgressions he supposedly did against my daughter? Could I forgive him for murder?

Your heart will be racing faster than you can turn the pages in this emotionally packed novel. If you have a weak heart, take caution, but read the book. You will not regret it. I am already looking forward to her next stand alone novel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Road Home by Beverly Lewis

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Pages: 322 (eBook)

Publisher: Bethany House

Published: April 3, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

After unexpectedly losing both her parents in a tragic accident, eighteen year old Lena Rose is having to leave her nine brothers and sisters in Michigan and live with family in Pennsylvania. She is mot heartbroken at leaving, Chris, the youngest in the family at 8 years old as she has helped raise him since he was born and their bond is as strong as a mom and son’s bond. Lena Rose is also leaving her beau, Hans, behind and relying on a strong love to help her it alive long distance.

As she settles in with her Pennsylvania family she starts attending Singings with her new family. She meets Arden Mast, an eligible bachelor that wants to court Lena Rose. Will Lena Rose test the waters or will her love for Hans hold strong? Will she be able to find work back in Michigan to be closer to her family or will she stay in Pennsylvania?

Beverly Lewis is the quintessential Amish writer. She writes flawlessly with love and knowledge of the Amish community. Her stories are works of beauty.

In The Road Home you are transported back to 1977, before the internet and cell phones which the Amish usually don’t rely anyway. Lena Rose had to depend on snail mail and the occasional long distance call home (emergency only) for word on her families health and well-being and the love letters from her beau. I could not imagine being that far from the only home I’ve ever known and not being to readily contact the ones I love. You truly do learn to not take your love ones for granted by having to wait so long in between contacts.

Lena Rose teaches the reader about loving others fully, patience, faith and making the best of the situation and place you are currently. No matter what is happening Lena Rose puts her complete faith in God and listens to his responses. I would love to be able to live my life without worry by putting everything in His hands. That is something I work harder at every day.

Sit back and relax and enjoy your time with a gentler community that leaves you with a smile on your face and in your heart.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Pressing the Issue (Cookbook Nook Mystery #6) by Daryl Wood Gerber

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Pages: 350 (eBook)

Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing

Published: February 20, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Jenna is loving being back her hometown of Crystal Cove, CA especially during the Renaissance Fair. Her store, Cookbook Nook, is packed with tourists enjoying the yummy treats her resident chef has created and the books are flying off the shelves. Her close friend, Bailey, is getting married in a couple of weeks and wants Jenna to go with her to finalize some details at the venue, a local vineyard. Upon entering the vineyard’s stately mansion they discover someone did not think too highly of the owner. He is found dead by a winepress. Can Jenna solve the murder with so many possibilities floating around?

Pressing the Issue is the sixth book in the Cookbook Nook Mystery series but I am very happy I started with this book. I have been reading mixed reviews on the series but I am in love with it already. Jenna is cute, fun and fearless. She likes to see justice served whether by her or the local police chief, Cinnamon. Her cat, Tigger, is fun also. He makes me miss having a cat of my own.

I am not a fan of Renaissance Fairs but this book has definitely piqued my interest. I did not realize there was so much to do at one. I had to look up Renaissance Fairs to see if all were as active as this one and they truly are full of fun things to do. I always just thought you watched reenactments and ate food from that time period.

The recipes in the back of the book are extremely tempting. You can learn how to make rosewater, raspberry cheesecake bites and shepherd’s pie among a few other tasty treats. I am thinking of trying a few myself in the next several weeks.

The romance in this book is tasteful and not overbearing of the murder mystery. I hope it continues in that fashion.

I have added this to my growing list of summer TBR series. I am beginning to think it will become my summer/fall TBR list.

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

The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie

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Pages: 380 (eBook)

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Published: April 3, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A year ago a explosion topples a Chicago high rise and the lives of Cecily, Kate and Franny change in more ways than the obvious. Cecily lost her husband and best friend. Kate takes the opportunity to run away. Franny loses her chance to get to know her birth mother better. As the year anniversary takes over all forms of media, the secrets each woman has kept starts unraveling. Can they successfully keep their own secrets or will the secrets prove too much for each?

My initial reaction to this book when I finished was WHOA! what just happened? I could not put this book down. The dates show two days to finish but I read this book in under 24 hours. I was reading it every second I had free and even the ones I really did not have free. The twists and turns the book took at every chapter had me thinking I knew what was going on and then BAM! another twist would occur. If you are a fan of suspense and thrillers you have to run and get this book from your favorite bookseller or library. Just beware that once you open and read the first page you are not going to want to put it down.

Catherine McKenzie has blown my socks off once again. I would love to see this made into a movie as it has the greatest potential to be a hit.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Lake Union Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

A Nantucket Wedding by Nancy Thayer

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Pages: 305 (eBook)

Publisher: Random House Publishing

Published: April 3, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

In September Alison and David are going to start the rest of their life together by getting married on Nantucket but first they must get their respective grown kids and their families together. Alison plans on doing this by inviting all the families to David’s Nantucket house every weekend over the summer.

Alison has two daughters. Her oldest is Jane who has always been her rule following, corporate world daughter who is married with no children. Her other daughter Felicity has always marched to her own drummer and is married with two kids of her own. By visiting the island of Nantucket the girls have found a friendship in each other that they didn’t know was there but is everything as it seems in their married lives?

David has a son and daughter. His oldest is his daughter, Poppy. She is married with two kids and one on the way. Her goal is to take over the family business as soon as she can and it doesn’t matter who or what is in her way she will succeed. His youngest is Ethan. Ethan is happy living on his farm in Vermont growing flowers for this business and living life how he wants even though he has a daughter who lives with him except for summer break. Are they ready to share their dad, the business and their lives with new family?

I needed a pick-me-up book and this fit the bill. You have romance, family, and beautiful scenery. I would not classify this as a romance book but as a fiction book that anyone, male or female, would be interested to read. Thayer focus’ more on how families meld as older generations marry. You have plenty of generations covered from babies to what I call mid-life 50s and 60s. Thayer takes the time to develop each of life her characters are in and lets is follow them as they develop into the next of stage of life.

The scenery of Nantucket is breathtaking and inspiring. You can understand why Alison chose the Nantucket beach house as the place to bring the families together.

It is that time of year to start sitting outside in your favorite rocker with a glass of sweet tea and losing yourself in the world of books and this is the perfect start to spring/summer reading.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Random House Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Starting from Scratch by Kate Lloyd

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Pages: 354 (eBook)

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers

Published: April 3, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Eva has become an old maid at the age of 29 or so she thinks. During her rumspringa she has made some choices that has caused unsavory rumors to be spread. When her brother’s family moves into the family home she finds herself needing to find a job and a place to live. She finds both at the local plant nursery managing their café. There she meets Stephen, a Mennonite and starts asking herself if life would be better living in the English world. Shortly after starting her new job she learns the love of her life, Jake, is back to help his dad run the farm after a terrible accident. Will true love overcome past obstacles?

Eva, Eva, Eva. I liked her character but at the same time I wanted to shake her. She was so timid and meek it made me furious at her. I wanted to reach in the novel and tell her to grow a back bone. She let too many people, relatives and friends included, walk all over her. Starting with the day her sister-in-law, Marta, moved in. At 29 Eva should be able to stand up for herself but she rarely did until almost the very end of the novel. She had very little self respect for herself. I know the Amish are not to be proud and are non confrontational but I don’t think you are to let everyone run over you.

I don’t want to give the ending away but I don’t think Eva made the best choice in men. I was very disappointed in the ending due to that one fact alone.

Even though I was disappointed in the ending this was a great book and I enjoyed reading it. You don’t always get the ending you want in life or in the books you read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harvest House Publishers through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.