A Cowboy in Amish Country (Book 2 in the Amish Country Haven series) by Patricia Johns

Pages: 384

Publisher: Harlequin Heartwarming Larger Print

Published: July 26, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Print copy from the author

Available Formats: Digital and Print

Review: A delightful lighthearted read that touches on serious subjects but doesn’t weigh the reader down.

A Cowboy in Amish Country is book two in the two-book series (book 1: A Deputy in Amish Country) but can be read as a standalone. I have not read book one (yet) and had no problem. Book one is waiting by my side.

Wilder is taking care of the ranch he and his brother inherited and needs to hire a part-time ranch hand until his brother returns from his extended honeymoon. The perfect ranch hand applies and he soon finds out it is ex-Amish Sue whose family lives right next door. In fact, her niece is a regular visitor to the ranch. Sue is hiding a secret from everyone until she can’t hide it any longer. She is pregnant and trying to decide how she should proceed. Return to the Amish fold or continue as a single Englisch mom. Will love find a way to give Sue and her Amish family their wishes?

Romance stories like this one are a balm to crazy, stressful days. Once you open the book you are transported and calm returns to your soul.

This book touches on addiction and how it affects those around you and the struggle for the addicted to staying on the right path after coming clean. This touched me personally due to a current family situation and helped me understand addiction more. Authors that can help readers make sense of real-world problems through fiction are ones to read. That is a gift indeed.

I received a complimentary copy from the author. All opinions expressed above are entirely my own.

Goodreads: His new ranch hand…

Has a little secret

Ranching in Amish Country is both a challenge and a joy for Wilder Westhouse. Though he’ll never be fully accepted, he relies on his neighbors. Hiring Amish runaway Sue Schmidt as a ranch hand could cause problems, especially since her family lives next door. And falling for the beautiful and pregnant cattlewoman will strain relations further and complicate both their lives. Unless love can mend fences…and families.

His Amish Sweetheart (Petersheim Brothers #3) by Jennifer Beckstrand

Pages: 352

Publisher: Zebra Books

Published: June 28, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Digital Book through NetGalley/Audiobook through Hoopla

Available Formats: Digital, Print, and Audiobook

Review: I read this book when it was to be originally published during the pandemic but waited to write my review. Well, I wanted to read it again and ended up listening to the audiobook which was phenomenal.

I have yet to read a Jennifer Beckstrand book I didn’t like. Each series warms your heart and finds a way to stick with you. Even though this series is about the three older brothers the twins make it, Alfie and Benji are two little imps that you can’t help but love.

Austin and Hannah have been friends for years and he is too smitten with another Amish girl, Scilla, to see the love Hannah has for him. Through ups and downs in building a business, Austin questions his feelings for Scilla. Will he see where his true love belongs before Hannah walks away for good?

Even though His Amish Sweetheart can be read as a standalone I suggest reading the series in order. This will give you the best experience with the twins. I hope one day we get another book(s) or a novella on the twins when it comes time for them to fall in love.

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

Goodreads: Fondly nicknamed “The Peanut Butter Brothers,” Andrew, Abraham, and Austin Petersheim skillfully run one of Wisconsin’s most cherished family businesses. But their mischievous younger twin siblings have a talent all their own—for matchmaking . . .

Between work and keeping his little brothers out of trouble, Austin Petersheim barely has time to think, much less court the most popular maidel in town. But if he can establish a local market to direct-sell his family’s goods, he’ll stand out as a potential husband. He’s so grateful for the help of his longtime friend, Hannah Yutzy, who has such practical ideas—and is so easy to talk to . . .

While Austin embarks on his plan, his siblings have a plan of their own: to give Austin and Hannah a little nudge to show them they’re made for each other. When their antics wreak havoc with a rival family emporium, Hannah must help Austin set things right. And as she does just that, Austin is stunned to realize his best friend could be his perfect wife. Now he’ll just need the courage and faith to find out if she agrees . . .

A Perilous Pal (A Friend for Hire #2) by Laura Bradford

Pages: 304

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

Published: July 5, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital, Print, and Audiobook

My Review: This was the perfect book to read while being laid up with a serious respiratory infection. It made me forget how bad I felt.

In book two of the Friend for Hire series, we meet Kim. Kim is experiencing the empty nest syndrome coupled with her husband of 30 years leaving her for a younger model. She has come to realize she doesn’t know what to do with herself as she gave all to her family. She contacts Emma to hire her as a friend. While getting to know one another, Kim’s husband is murdered. Can Emma free Kim before the real murderer gets everything they want?

There is so much going on with this series that makes it wonderful. You have Emma, a young lady, learning about life in ways we don’t often take time to explore. She befriends Big Max who is challenged but she sees the love he offers everyone. Dottie, the curmudgeonly octogenarian, is the seasoned grandma she didn’t know she needed who keeps her on her toes. Stephanie is the sister that is more her style than her own. And then you have lovely Jack, the love of her life who offers a ready-made family. I always feel happy when I finish a book in this series.

There has to be a third one. The ending was a bombshell in many ways. I need answers! Like now!!!

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

NetGalley: Entrepreneur Emma Westlake’s new business is booming until her latest client is arrested for murder in this new Friend for Hire Mystery by USA Today bestselling author Laura Bradford.

Emma Westlake, proprietor of A Friend for Hire, finds a heart-wrenching email from a prospective client in her inbox. The email is from Kim Felder, a woman struggling with empty-nest syndrome and an out of left field divorce. Determined to help get Kim in a better headspace, Emma suggests she draft a bucket list of things she has always wanted to do in life but has put off in favor of taking care of everyone else.  

Together, they fill that list with fun baking classes, traveling, and dancing in the middle of the street for no reason. Kim also adds in some hilarious items about getting even with her ex. But all laughter ends when Kim’s ex winds up dead via one of the ideas Kim proposed. Now, Kim is Deputy Jack Riordan’s lone suspect in a murder Emma knows she did not commit. Emma will have to put her budding relationship with the deputy on the line to corner a cunning killer.

Concession Stand Crimes (A Ballpark Mysteries Book 2) by Nicole Asselin

Pages: 231

Publisher: Pandamoon Publishing

Published: June 29, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Digital Copy from Author

Available Formats: Digital and Print

My Review: Are you a cozy mystery fan? Do you love baseball? If you answered yes to both questions then Concession Stand Murder is the book for you. It is book two in the Ballpark Mystery series.

I have been a baseball fan since I was a wee little girl. Here in Louisville, KY we have a minor league team called the Riverbats (which used to be the Redbirds) and there is nothing better than watching a game with a breeze blowing off the river and eating a hot dog.

In Concession Stand Murder, Madeline is trying to move past the scary murder and kidnapping at her family’s ballpark (book one) when unfortunately a beer heiress is found dead in their craft beer concession stand. Will Madeline find the killer or will she be watching baseball from the heavens above with her beloved grandpa?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have already downloaded book one to catch up. The Armadillos (a great team name) are a Massachusetts independent team who looks up to the Boston Red Sox (being a Yankees fan this was hard). While reading you get the fun of little league night and an 80s night. By the end of the book, you will be ready for a hot summer night of beer and baseball.

Thank you to the author for a copy to read and review. All opinions expressed above are entirely my own.

Goodreads: MADELINE BOUCHER is still reeling from her first few weeks of working for her family’s Independent League Baseball Team, the Abington Armadillos. She found a dead body and survived a kidnapping before finally clearing her brother of a murder. She didn’t think anything could be as dramatic as that, but she was wrong.

Her parents have given her more responsibility in running ballpark events in the hopes that they could retire and leave the team in her hands. Her brother is moving on to the big leagues, so this is her time to shine. Her first task? Deal with a concession stand kerfuffle. Redmond Brewery heiress, Alaska Redmond, storms her way into the ballpark making demands.

The next day, the son of the concession’s manager finds Redmond’s body in one of the beer stands along the ballpark concourse. Again, Madeline finds herself immersed in an investigation. While the suspects start piling up, including a promising young player on the team, Madeline knows she must get involved. With the help of Davis, her new love interest and head of the security department, she delves deeper into the death of the heiress.

Trying to run team events, solve a murder, and have a normal life take their toll as Madeline comes to depend on those in her baseball-loving community, including Bronia, her old family friend who runs a garden center and helps her make sense of things. She even chances a psychic for advice while at a Salem Warlock’s away game. Will anyone help her untangle the mess of suspects including the victim’s family?

Can she clear the name of the Abington Armadillos and start focusing on the season?

A Totally Killer Wedding (Totally 80s Mysteries) by D. A. Wilkerson

Published: April 11, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Paperback from Author

Available Formats: Digital and Print

My Review: Who is old enough to remember the 1980s? I sure am! I was in elementary and middle school during this time and I will admit I loved the 80s. The fashion was interesting, the music was fun, and the cars were loud. T-top Trans AM anyone??? A popular shoe was Jellies. I owned many colors of Jelly shoes. Talk about sticking to your feet in the heat! Plus they were hard plastic and did not give. My favorite fashion statement: is the neon colors. My favorite shirt was a Body Glove neon pink crop shirt. Come home from school and throw that baby on and dance to some Material Girl and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Oh, let me stop before I embarrass myself talking about spiral perms! 😱

In A Totally Killer Wedding, Beckett has moved back home after a breakup with her fiancé and works as a church secretary. The local Don Juan is in the wedding at her church and par for the course he is making eyes with the bridesmaids. While looking for him after the ceremony to finish pictures she slips right onto his dead body in the church kitchen. Seems there are more ladies than not who have a reason to see him dead. Her Aunt Star is one of them. Will Becky find the killer before her Jelly shoes go out of style?

Put on some classic Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, grab an iced cold beverage, and settle in for a fun afternoon of 80s murder.

Thank you to the author for a copy for my reading pleasure. Available on Amazon (digital and print).

Goodreads: This clean cozy mystery is the first book in the Totally 80s Mysteries series.

The year is 1985, and Beckett Monahan is on the cusp of her twenty-eighth birthday. Her job as a church secretary in her small hometown of Cherry Hill isn’t glamorous, but it’s about to get more exciting. When she stumbles onto a dead body at a wedding, she quickly involves herself in the investigation. People she cares about are being accused of the crime, so she must clear their names and help bring closure to the victim’s family.

While investigating, Beckett has to deal with the reality that someone in Cherry Hill—likely someone she has known her entire life—is a killer. She is also forced to hide her efforts from the local police, who have told her not to interfere in their investigation and who are sincerely concerned for her safety.

With the assistance of some friends and family members, Beckett uncovers clues, debates suspects’ motives, and makes clandestine outings to confirm her suspicions. In the process, she strengthens long-time bonds and builds some new and surprising relationships. But none of that matters if she can’t find the killer before they take her out of the picture. 

Crimes and Covers (A Magical Bookshop Mystery #5) by Amanda Flower

Pages: 304

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: January 11, 2022

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital and Print

My Review: A beautiful ending to a lovely series.

I’m not much on paranormal or mystical reading or I didn’t think I was until a few cozy mysteries changed my mind. This series was one of them. I love thinking about a bookstore that knows the right book to put in your path as you browse.

I’m sorry to see this series end but the ending was beautiful. Violet married the perfect man and the shop will continue.

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

NetGalley: Violet Waverly sleuths a Thoreau-ly puzzling Christmastime murder in Agatha Award-winning, USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower’s fifth Magical Bookshop mystery.

Christmas is coming to the Western New York village of Cascade Springs, and so is the long-awaited wedding of Charming Books proprietor Violet Waverly and police chief David Rainwater. Grandma Daisy and Violet’s best friend, Sadie, go all out to make the nuptials the event of the season–whether Violet likes it or not. But the reception becomes memorable for all the wrong reasons when a woman’s dead body floats by on the frigid Niagara River.

Violet is shocked to recognize the deceased as a mysterious woman who visited Charming Books two days before the wedding, toting a rare first edition of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. Well aware that a mint condition copy could be worth more than $14,000, Violet told the woman she would have to have the book appraised before she could consider buying it. Most displeased, the woman tucked the precious tome under her arm and stormed out of the shop. Now she’s dead, and an enigmatic message scrawled in pen upon her palm reads, “They stole my book.”

It’s a confounding case, indeed. But fortunately, Violet can draw on the resources of her bookshop’s magical consciousness, which communicates clues to Violet via quotes from Walden. With Emerson the tuxedo cat and Faulkner the crow at her side, Violet sets out to recover the priceless book by solving a murder most transcendental.

Pleading the Fish (A Seaside Cafe Mystery #7) by Bree Baker

Pages: 336

Published: 3.31.2022

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital, Audiobook, and Print

My Review: I can only think of one series finale that was as impressive as this one. Most of the time I’m left with the feeling the writers tried too hard but that was not the case here. I would have tissues ready as I blubbered at the beauty of love and life.

If you haven’t read this series binge it now. If you are on the last one what are you waiting for? Go read!!!

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions expressed above are entirely my own.

NetGalley: In the seventh and final book of Bree Baker’s critically acclaimed Seaside Café Mystery series, Pleading the Fish, Everly Swan’s wedding plans are upended by a dead body. She’ll have to run her teashop, find a dress, and catch a murderer all before she can walk down the aisle!

Hitting all the sweet-tea spots, this series is:A delightful Tea Shop and Café Culinary MysteryThe ideal cozy beach read. Perfect for fans of Laura Childs and Kate Carlisle

Café owner and amateur sleuth Everly Swan, like every Swan woman before her, is cursed in love. The only problem? Her fiancé Detective Grady Hayes has something to say about it—he doesn’t believe in magic and is determined to prove the curse wrong so they can spend their lives together. Everly wishes it could be so simple!

It feels like a sign when a historian looking into Swan history is found dead in an antique wishing well, and Everly fears the curse is spreading. Grady takes the case, looking to find justice and prove the curse wrong, while Everly does a bit of investigating on her own. Big change is coming for Everly and her friends, but with mysterious strangers lurking about and someone leaving increasingly threatening messages for the happy couple, Everly’s not sure she’ll get her happily-ever-after!

“A smart and likable protagonist, a vividly rendered setting, a suitably twisty plot, and some colorful supporting characters are the ingredients for a concoction as appealing as any of Everly Swan’s specialty sweet teas.”—Livia J. Washburn, national bestselling author, for Live and Let Chai

INCLUDES DELICIOUS FOOD AND DRINK RECIPES

The Vanishing Type (Secret, Book, & Scone Society #5) by Ellery Adams

 

Pages: 303

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 26, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Digital, Audio, and Print

Source: Physical Print Copy from Author

My Review:

Ellery has done it again. Made me cry for hours with just a chapter starter.

chapter 16 sentence starter is 100% true. When my mama passed at the beginning of C*v*d they weren’t allowing visitors in the hospital. I politely but forcefully told the doctors and nurses my mama wasn’t dying without me holding her hand. If I had to handcuff myself to her bed, I would and afterward, they could arrest and charge me with whatever. Finally, one nurse with the biggest heart got my mama moved to hospice so I could be with her. I held her hand for almost 24 hours straight.

The Secret, Book, and Scone Society series is my favorite series ever. The feelings you experience while reading is worth the tears that fall. Sheldon is my person with his fibromyalgia. I would like to think we’d be the best of friends.

Book 5 The Vanishing Type released today. Get your copy. If you’ve not read any in the series that is ok but trust me you will want to go back and read from the beginning.

Thank you @elleryadamsofficial for always saying the right things at the right moment when I need them.

I received a complimentary copy from the author. All opinions expressed above are entirely my own.

Amazon: While January snow falls outside in Miracle Springs, North Carolina, Nora Pennington is encouraging customers to cozy up indoors with a good book. Even though the shop and her bibliotherapy sessions keep Nora busy during the day, her nights are a little too quiet—until Deputy Andrews pulls Nora into the sci-fi section and asks her to help him plan a wedding proposal.
 
His bride-to-be, Hester, loves Little Women, and Nora sets to work arranging a special screening at the town’s new movie theater. But right before the deputy pops the question, Nora makes an unsettling discovery—someone has mutilated all her store’s copies of The Scarlet Letter, slicing angrily into the pages wherever Hester Prynne’s name is mentioned.
 
The coincidence disturbs Nora, who’s one of the few in Miracle Springs who knows that Hester gave up a baby for adoption many years ago. Her family heaped shame on her, and Hester still feels so guilty that she hasn’t even told her future husband. But when a dead man is found on a hiking trail just outside town, carrying a rare book, the members of the Secret, Book, and Scone Society unearth a connection to Hester’s past. Someone is intent on bringing the past to light, and it’s not just Hester’s relationship at stake, but her life. . .
 

Foundation of Love (An Amish Legacy Novel #1) by Amy Clipston

Pages: 341

Publisher: Zondervan

Published: February 1, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Print

My Review: The older I get the more I enjoy stories of older adults falling in love under tougher circumstances. While Crystal is still young (early thirties), Duane is a few years older (50) and has lived a married life with children. My parents were seventeen years apart and had almost 45 wonderful years of marriage. This story made me think of their beautiful love story.

A clean romance that is suitable for almost all romance readers.

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

NetGalley: Get swept away in the first installment of Amy Clipston’s Amish Legacy series.

They were “only friends” . . . but they wanted so much more.

Crystal Glick is grateful to live with her brother’s family since her father died and her fiancé, Owen, broke their engagement. Crystal loves her bruderskinner and cheerfully helps her sister-in-law through a difficult pregnancy with babies number seven and eight, but she yearns for a husband and children of her own.

Duane Bontrager is mourning the recent death of his wife, Connie, after twenty-four years of marriage. He and his grown sons have a thriving roofing business but can’t get used to life without her. As the young men prepare to launch out on their own, Duane can’t imagine life alone—nor with anyone but Connie.

When a roofing job at the Glicks introduces Duane and Crystal, they’re attracted in spite of their fourteen-year age difference. But their bishop thinks Duane is better suited for the sweet widow Tricia, and Duane’s sons object to his interest in any woman. Crystal’s family fears losing her indispensable help. If she must go, they’d rather she be reunited with Owen in spite of his betrayal.

They’re the only two who believe they’re a match made in heaven, can Duane and Crystal overcome the obstacles to love?

The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain

Pages: 352

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: January 11, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Hardback

Source: NetGalley

My Review: Wow! I stayed up way too late to finish this last night. The ending blew me away. I am still digesting it.

I admit when I first started I wasn’t sure. It flips between 2010 and 1965 in almost every other chapter. The 2010 storyline at first felt unnecessary but I was wrong. It was so needed.

Some readers may take offense to words used and situations that occur but one must remember it was 1965 in the South. Not the South’s most beautiful moment in history. It happened and we must read to learn how not to repeat.

Definitely, a must-read for 2022.

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

NetGalley: A community’s past sins rise to the surface in New York Times bestselling author Diane Chamberlain’s The Last House on the Street when two women, a generation apart, find themselves bound by tragedy and an unsolved, decades-old mystery.

1965

Growing up in the well-to-do town of Round Hill, North Carolina, Ellie Hockley was raised to be a certain type of proper Southern lady. Enrolled in college and all but engaged to a bank manager, Ellie isn’t as committed to her expected future as her family believes. She’s chosen to spend her summer break as a volunteer helping to register black voters. But as Ellie follows her ideals fighting for the civil rights of the marginalized, her scandalized parents scorn her efforts, and her neighbors reveal their prejudices. And when she loses her heart to a fellow volunteer, Ellie discovers the frightening true nature of the people living in Round Hill.

2010

Architect Kayla Carter and her husband designed a beautiful house for themselves in Round Hill’s new development, Shadow Ridge Estates. It was supposed to be a home where they could raise their three-year-old daughter and grow old together. Instead, it’s the place where Kayla’s husband died in an accident—a fact known to a mysterious woman who warns Kayla against moving in. The woods and lake behind the property are reputed to be haunted, and the new home has been targeted by vandals leaving threatening notes. And Kayla’s neighbor Ellie Hockley is harboring long buried secrets about the dark history of the land where her house was built.

Two women. Two stories. Both on a collision course with the truth–no matter what that truth may bring to light–in Diane Chamberlain’s riveting, powerful novel about the search for justice.