Mending Fences (The Deacon’s Family Book #1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

fences

Pages: 330

Publisher: Revell

Published: February 5, 2019

Rating: 5 stars

Oh my soul what a powerfully moving book.

NetGalley:
Luke Schrock is a new and improved man after a stint in rehab, though everyone in Stoney Ridge only remembers the old Luke. They might have forgiven him, but nobody trusts him.

Amos and Fern Lapp allow Luke to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, Luke must make a sincere apology to each person he’s hurt–a four-page, single-spaced list. Second, he must ask each victim of mischief to describe the damage he caused.

Simple, Luke thinks. Offering apologies is easy. But discovering the lasting effects his careless actions have caused . . . that isn’t so simple. It’s gut-wrenching.

And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm. Luke’s clumsy efforts to befriend Izzy only insult and annoy her. Eager to impress, Luke sets out to prove himself to her by locating her mother. When he does, her identity sends shock waves through Stoney Ridge.

Bestselling and award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher returns to her beloved Stoney Ridge for this brand-new series featuring some of her readers’ favorite characters.

My Review:
It has been a few months since I have read a book that totally took me off guard and blew my socks off. This book definitely did that. I am not even sure where to start with this book review.

In today’s world addiction is so prevalent. Almost every family has dealt with it through a spouse, child or other close family members. The effects tear families and communities apart. I deal with it more than I would like in the classroom. Nothing is more heartbreaking than a precious 5-year old kindergartener coming up to you and saying my mommy had to have NARCAN last night. Thankfully I have never had a personal addiction problem and I will be the first to tell you that I do not understand it. Fisher did an excellent job in showing addiction from the person with the addiction. I appreciated it that she also made sure to make that person accountable.

I also love the lesson of you never know how your (bad) actions can affect another and the rest of their life. You may think you are pulling a harmless prank but in reality, you could be taking something very important from that person. Something I need to strive towards is forgiveness. That is a downfall of mine. I don’t forgive easily not do I forget.

Towards the end is a shocking revelation that will floor you. I actually had to stop reading to process it. No, I am not giving you any hints as I want you to experience the shock I did.

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

Mother’s Day Mayhem (A Tourist Trap # 10.5) by Lynn Cahoon

mothers

Pages: 75

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 2, 2019

Rating: 3.5 stars

NetGalley:
Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books, and More is almost out of Mother’s Day cards. She has a few more in stock, but she’s set them aside because she needs Greg’s help choosing one for his mother. It’ll be Jill’s first time meeting her boyfriend’s mother, and she’s understandably nervous.

Turns out Jill isn’t the only one having feelings about mothers. Kyle, who works at the antique store next door, needs to find the perfect card for a mother he hasn’t seen since he was five—when she went away to jail. But her arrival in South Cove isn’t exactly celebratory, her behavior toward her son unexpectedly restrained. Piqued, Jill discovers that a mother can never be replaced . . .

My review:
I have enjoyed these novellas until the next full-length novel is released but I felt this was out of order. I would suggest reading Mother’s Day Mayhem before Killer Party.

Mother’s Day Mayhem is the perfect way to pass a lazy Sunday afternoon.

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

Death Threads (A Southern Sewing Circle #2) by Elizabeth Lynn Casey (aka Laura Bradford)

death

Pages: 288

Publisher: Berkley

Published: May 5, 2010

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads:
Yankee librarian Tori Sinclair is basking in the warmth of her new circle of friends from South Carolina’s Sweet Briar Ladies Society sewing circle. That is until local author Colby Calhoun reveals an unflattering secret about the town’s historic past-and then disappears, leaving a bloody trail behind him. And when Tori begins to see a pattern of the townsfolk’s age-old Southern pride standing in the way of justice, she knows it’s time to unravel the mystery.

My review:
This series is for fans of anything Southern and book related. You cannot get more perfect than a library set in South Carolina. If you add in the love for Little House (Laura Ingalls Wilder) that Tori has then we have the winning trifecta in my humble opinion.

I am not a person who views sewing as relaxing. I am more in the ranks of our dear sweet Leona who along with her twin sister is a hoot. You will find yourself chuckling quite frequently while reading. The idea of the handsewn library book bags for nursing home residents has really touched my heart. My mom is currently in a long term rehabilitation to get her leg strength back and seeing the nursing home part of the rehab center is so sad. I wish more public libraries had the capability to make sure nursing home residents had access to books.

A part of me wants to gobble this series up as quickly as I can read but the smart part of me is telling myself to slow down since there are only 12 books in this wonderful series and I have already read two. I am limiting myself to one book a month in this series.

The Family Tree Problem Solver Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors 3rd Edition by Marsha Hoffman Rising

family

Publisher: F + W Media and Family Tree Books

Published: March 19, 2019

Rating: 3 stars

NetGalley:
Has your family history research hit a brick wall? Marsha Hoffman Rising’s newly updated bestselling book The Family Tree Problem Solver has the solutions to help you find the answers you seek. Here, you’ll find answers to genealogy’s toughest problems.

Inside, you’ll find: Workarounds for lost or destroyed recordsTechniques for finding ancestors with common namesStrategies for analyzing your problem and creating a successful research planIdeas on how to find vital records before civil registrationTroubleshooting advice for interpreting your DNA resultsTips for finding “missing” ancestors in censusesInstructions for investigating collateral kin to further your family treeMethods for finding ancestors who lived before 1850Case studies that show you how to apply these strategies to real-life research problems.

My review:

I found this book helpful but overwhelming at times. Some of the examples were very hard to follow and I found myself skipping over them. I’m one of the researchers of her own family tree that has hit a wall due to no records because of fire and flood of courthouses plus the spelling of my maiden name (Brocato) has been spelled very many ways. I will be using techniques learned in this book to try and get farther in my research.

This book can be very helpful but is not one to be used for new researchers. I think they may get overwhelmed and frustrated very easily. I would suggest reading after you have researched regularly for a couple of years.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from F + W Media and Family Tree Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review is entirely my own.

Something Read, Something Dead (A Lighthouse Library Mystery #5) by Eva Gates

something

Pages: 320

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: March 12, 2019

Rating: 4 stars

NetGalley:
Winter falls on North Carolina’s Outer Banks as Lucy Richardson and her friends joyfully help her favorite cousin, Josie O’Malley, plan her wedding. The owner and head baker of Josie’s Cozy Bakery and her fiance, chef Jake Greenblatt, want a small, simple wedding.

But to their horror, Josie’s imperious grandmother, Gloria, descends with the “Louisiana Mafia”: a gaggle of aunts and cousins who intend to take control of the wedding plans. Gloria doesn’t do small and simple, and cousin Mirabelle has her own ideas for Josie’s wedding, something grand and lavish—and paid for by Josie’s parents, of course—that will kickstart her fledgling event planning business and get her work shown on the covers of wedding magazines. To make matters worse, Mirabelle focuses her full Southern charm on the prospective groom…and Jake doesn’t seem entirely adverse to her attention.

To smooth the waters, Lucy hosts a bridal shower at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library. But it turns deadly when Mirabelle collapses—soon after eating the gluten-free treats, Josie prepared specifically for her. Now, to save her favorite cousin from prison, Lucy will have to bring a crook to book in this fifth festive Lighthouse Library mystery from national bestselling author Eva Gates.

My review:
I came into this series at book 4 and couldn’t wait to read the next installment. Lucy and Josie are like old friends who fit right back into your life with no hesitations like they never left. Who knew Josie’s extended family was so NUTS! I was getting anxiety just reading about them trying to take over the wedding. It made me even more thankful I did not have to worry about that for my own wedding. I really don’t think I could have kept my cool the way Josie did.

I enjoyed that Eva Gates made sure to have plenty of red herrings throughout the book all the while making sure my attention was riveted. I did not guess the villain until it was revealed. The added catastrophe of the lighthouse wall almost made me cry. I have become attached to the library in the lighthouse and Lucy’s little apartment in the aerie. Even though the thought of climbing 100 steps daily makes my knees ache.

I feel as if each book can be read as a stand-alone. I do have plans to go back and read the series from the beginning. I hope you take a chance and pick up Something Read, Something Dead and see for yourself.

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.

Mischief in Mudbug (Ghost-in-Law #2) by Jana DeLeon

mischief

Pages: 304

Publisher: Dorchester Publishing

Published: 2009

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads:
Sabine LeVeche, orphaned at an early age, is in the middle of a medical crisis and needs to find a blood relative STAT. Luckily, she’s got a sexy PI and one sassy but determined ghost on her side. Not so luckily, there’s a murderer gunning for her just in case her illness doesn’t kill her first.

My Review:
Paranormal reads are probably my second to least favorite (horror is my absolute favorite). The Ghost-in-Law series is growing on me. I think it is the sassiness of the characters.

Traditional cozies have very few if any at all curse words and no detailed sex scenes. Mischief in Mudbug has both. I do believe my face is still red from reading the scene between Sabine and Beau. Woo wee, I think I have found my new book boyfriend. He can come to investigate me anytime. This is definitely is not the book for your sweet little grandma.

If you have read the first book in the series, Trouble in Mudbug, you know that the ghost-in-law is Helena and her spirit is stuck in limbo because her death is questionable. We still don’t find out what happened to her but there is the promise we will find out in book 3. Helena’s character is HILARIOUS. She lets nothing stop her, even in death she eats whatever she wants. Yes, we have a ghost that eats. Just imagine walking in the park and a half-eaten floating hot dog walks by you.

I am definitely keeping this series in my book basket for future book bingos.

Hearts in Harmony (An Amish Journey #1) by Beth Wiseman

hearts

Pages: 320

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: March 12, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
Musical prodigy Levi Shetler hasn’t touched a piano since he secretly played one years ago. His strict Amish community forbids instruments or the singing of any music not in their approved songbook. Levi asks God often why music tempts him when playing an instrument isn’t allowed in his world.

One person knows Levi’s talents: Mary Hershberger, the girl who promised years ago to keep his secret. Mary comes from a more liberal district than Levi, but she’s facing family troubles of her own. The mutual care for an aging Englischer, Adeline, reunites Mary and Levi as young adults. They realize that, despite their differences, they have a shared love of music—and a shared confusion about whether their talents are God-given gifts or temptations luring them into the Englisch world.

The couple realizes they must compromise or part ways, but a tragic accident shakes their decision. Both Mary and Levi will need to reconcile what they love with what their hearts say is right—because even as their passion for music brings them together, it could be what tears them apart.

My review:
Box of Tissues warning. You will need them almost from the beginning. This book is beautiful; the love flowing throughout (not just romantic love) makes you believe in the good in the world amidst so much hate we hear constantly on the news. I did not want to put this book down. I found myself reading every little chance I got. Adeline, Mary, Levi, and Natalie felt like friends I had had for life.

Hearts in Harmony is about so much more than the love of forbidden music. It is about doing what is right and loving others for who they are not what they can give or provide you. Mary, Levi, and Natalie show us that being selfless and helping those who need it is what life is about. You can have all the money and possessions on the world but without love you have nothing.

I have already noted in my calendar when the second book releases (September 2019) and am anxiously awaiting to read it.

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

Criminally Cocoa (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery #3.5) by Amanda Flower

cocoa

Pages: 86

Publisher: Kensington

Published: February 26, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
As if being in New York City for Easter isn’t exciting enough, Charlotte Weaver has another reason to be thrilled. She’s helping her cousin, Bailey, on the set of her first cable TV show, Bailey’s Amish Sweets. Bailey will even be re-creating the delectable hand-woven chocolate Easter baskets she once crafted for the city’s world-famous JP Chocolates. But once things start rolling, Charlotte starts to notice odd things happening—things that seem intended to make Bailey look bad . . .

With Bailey feeling extra nervous about being on camera, Charlotte decides to keep her suspicion of sabotage to herself. But she knows that among Bailey’s fans at the Gourmet Television network lurks a dangerously jealous rival. Now Charlotte will have to find out who that person is—before sour grapes turn one of the sweetest times of the year fatally bitter . . .

My Review:
Amanda Flower has a way with words when it comes to cozy mysteries that warm your heart and keep you on the edge of your seat. I have yet to find a series of hers that I do not like. In fact, they keep getting better. If you have never read one of her books and are not sure where to start, Criminally Cocoa would be a great place to start. Yes, it technically comes after the third book in the An Amish Candy Shop series but you can read it out of order and be perfectly fine.

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the story from Charlotte’s side instead of Bailey’s. It gave the series a fresh view. Charlotte is a perfect spunky Amish side kick to Bailey.

A recipe for Bird’s Nest is included at the end of the novella. I find myself being tempted to try and make them this year for Easter.

Books in Series:

  1. Assaulted Caramel
  2. Lethal Licorice
  3. Premeditated Peppermint
  4. Toxic Toffee

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

Crunch and Crack, Oink and Whack! An Onomatopeia Story by Brian P. Cleary

crunch

Pages: 32

Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group

Published: January 1, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
The rhyming verse from Brian P. Cleary presents the fictional Clip-Clop Elementary School’s celebration of “Onomatopoeia Day.” Enthusiastic young students make their way from band room (Rattle! Boom! Twang!) to the gym (Whiff! Whack! Swish!) to the science lab (Hiss! Spurt! Ding!) and beyond. Brief back matter offers additional examples of onomatopoeias—words that imitate sounds.

My Review:
One of the best educational books in print to introduce young readers to the world of Onomatopoeia. The illustrations are colorful and fit the text perfectly. I adored that the story took place in a classroom setting. I feel it will help young students to learn how fun school can be if they just look around and think about the different ways to learn. Listen to the sounds of the mechanics around you.

The ending of the book is a treasure for teachers. The author has listed to words by categories of animal noises, human noises, and mechanical noises. It would be the perfect reference/anchor chart for the classroom.

I see this as a great Christmas present for my teacher friends.

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

Charity’s Burden (A Quaker Midwife Mystery #4) by Edith Maxwell

charitys

Pages: 288

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Published: April 8, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
Quaker midwife Rose Carroll seeks the true cause of a young mother’s death
The winter of 1889 is harsh in Amesbury, Massachusetts, but it doesn’t stop Quaker midwife Rose Carroll from making the rounds to her pregnant and postpartum mothers. When Charity Skells dies from an apparent early miscarriage, Rose wonders about the symptoms that don’t match the diagnosis. She learns that Charity’s husband may be up to no good with a young woman whose mother appears to offer illegal abortions. A disgraced physician in town does the same, and Charity’s cousin seems to have a nefarious agenda. With several suspects emerging, each with their own possible motives, Rose and police detective Kevin Donovan race against time to solve the case before another innocent life is taken.

My review:
Charity’s Burden is not your typical cozy mystery or Christian Quaker read. It has a definite bite. Where should I start? I’ll start with this is not be viewed as a Christian fiction or cozy mystery. Yes, it centers around the Quakers in Massachusettes in 1889 but there are no mentions of bible verses or faith-based sermons you usually find in a Christian book. There is one romance scene that while it does not go into detail you understand there are inappropriate relations between two unmarried characters, one of them being the Quaker midwife.

This book discusses in detail the pros and cons of different abortion and safe sex practices in 1889. I found it very educational for the curious researcher in me. If you are fiercely against abortion I would say this is not the book for you. As I was reading I did not feel as if this was a political platform, it just shared how such things were thought of during the time. The Comstock laws were mentioned several times during the book and I would suggest you take a moment to look those up if you are unfamiliar with them.

I am definitely interested in reading the first three books in the series and have in fact already requested the first book from my local library.

Please do not use this review for ANY POLITICAL platform as this is not the place for them!

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

PS: Edith Maxwell is also Maddie Day of the Country Store series.