Santa Puppy (Tourist Trap #9.75) by Lynn Cahoon

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Pages: 90

Publisher: Kensington

Published: November 11, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This Christmas, Jill is hosting an adopt-a-pet event at her coffee/bookstore. When bathing a sweet pup whose owner has recently passed away reveals a safety deposit box key Jill is on the hunt to find out what is in the box and to find the pup a “furever” home for Christmas.

For me, this was the perfect introduction to the Tourist Trap cozy mystery series by Lynn Cahoon. I was captivated by Jill and her love for reading and animals.

You can read this novella out of order as your first introduction with no problems at all. There are plenty of mentions of things in the past but all the mentions do is make you want to drop everything and read the series from the beginning.

This is not your typical happy ending so you will find yourself a tad teary at times. Unfortunately, I think there are more stories like this in the real world.

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

If the Coffin Fits (A Funeral Parlor Mystery #2) by Lillian Bell

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Pages: 296

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Published: September 11, 2018

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

 

I want to start my review off explaining the three stars. I did not like this book very much and I cannot pinpoint why. I personally think it was just not the right time for me to read it (too many deaths in our family this year). I heavily suggest you read the first book as there is a lot of back story and another mystery that continues from book to book. Not knowing the background of either did not help me like the book. There were explanations of both but I still felt a little lost and confused at times.

I have bought the first book and will read it when I am in a better frame of mind and will re-read the second book. I honestly do think this can be a series I will like and will enjoy to read. Stay tuned to see if reading the series from the beginning and re-reading the second book changes my mind.

Desiree definitely dances to her own tune. Her newly acquired dog, Orion, stole the show for me. He is the reason I kept reading. I love the idea of the possibility of him becoming a therapy dog. I wish more funeral homes would look into this as special needs kids and adults would find these dogs extremely helpful during a time most cannot understand.

In “If the Coffin Fits” Desiree starts out helping the Fiore sisters plan their father’s funeral. A death that is not unexpected and is merciful as Mr. Fiore has suffered years under the care of hospice. Desiree hears the sisters arguing quietly and one accuses the other of something but she is not sure what. Tact may not be in Desiree’s realm of running a funeral home. She comes right out and accuses a sister of murdering their own father. Before Desiree can correct her gaffe, Violet Daugherty is brought in after she faints behind the wheel of her car. When the medical examine turns up some questions, Desiree finds herself in more hot water. Not only with the Fiore sisters but the town itself when they start cancelling and going to other funeral homes. Will Desiree survive this round of questionable deaths in order to continue on her search for her own father who has mysteriously disappeared?

Thank you to the author for a copy of the book for an honest review. Any and all opinions 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.

The Christmas Prayer by Wanda Brunstetter

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Pages: 176 (eBook)

Publisher: Barbour Publishing Inc. (Shiloh Run Press)

Published: September 1, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

In the wake of the Donner party, three wagons of strangers meet in Independence, MO to head to the land of gold, California. Eight months later December arrives and they have just reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains and have encountered a blizzard that could mean the end of the trip and themselves.

Cynthia is traveling with her fiancé and mother. As the trip has progressed she finds herself questioning if he is the man she thought he was, especially as she finds herself spending more time with the children on the trip. Christmas is approaching and the travelers are finding themselves getting bleaker and bleaker but will Santa come save them and show Cynthia the way to love?

I know whenever I pick up a Wanda Brunstetter book or novella whether Amish or not I am in for the perfect feel good read. Although I know the ending will be a happy one and love will always win the story to get to the ending is always beautiful. This is the perfect story to get you ready for the colder months and Christmas. Pick this book up for the romance reader in your life or yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

I received a copy of this story from Barbour Publishing Inc. through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

 

Loving the Person You are Today This is Me by Chrissy Metz

this is me

Pages: 320 (Audiobook)

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: March 27, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I wish this book had been around in my early twenties. I have been lucky to have parents who have loved me and encouraged me no matter what size I am but I have always had a small issue with worrying about what others think of me and a little self-conscious wearing clothes that fit instead of baggy clothes that I thought hid everything. In just the last ten years or so have I learned to be comfortable in my own skin. If I had this book in my early twenties I can only imagine how I would have learned to embrace me for me earlier in life.

Chrissy Metz writes as if you are sitting at the dining room table, drinking coffee and sharing your life with each other. You really feel as if she is a friend. Some reviews say this is a self-help book and others classify it as a memoir. I would say it is a cross between the two but in no way did I feel as if she was telling me “Do this or you will never be happy.” She was conversationally telling the reader how she came to love who she is and maybe something in her conversation will help you.

If you are the parent of a young woman who feels unworthy this may be a book you can read together and talk about and help your young woman love herself. If you are phobic of overweight people this may be a book you read to learn we are humans too and have feelings and want the same thing in life you do: love and acceptance.

I commend Chrissy for talking about the ugly and non-ugly parts of her life. I hope she stays true to herself as her fame rises.

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable

jack

Pages: 544 (eBook)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: May 29, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A historical fiction account of a love affair between JFK and Alicia Corning Clark which may have resulted in a love child.

Alicia is a Polish refugee who arrives in Hyannisport via Oklahoma to work as a maid for the Kennedys. Jack (a young JFK) becomes dazzled by her beauty and starts a romance that leads to an engagement. Jack’s father, Joe, has other ideas of who Jack should marry and it is not a maid from Poland. Over the years Alicia and Jack continue to see each other on the side but they each marry other people.

Alicia tries to become someone important but winds up rich in money but poor in family and friends as her life comes to a close.

I found this book fascinating as I have always enjoyed reading about JFK. This book sure has me rethinking what a great guy he was as he is portrayed as a playboy, slob and rude person his entire life. I believe I had my head buried in the sand as to his true character.

I felt sorry for Alicia as I cannot imagine being separated from my parents to go into hiding and then learning my father was killed in a concentration camp and my mother was only a shell of herself. I thought she was a strong person to leave her mother to try and get them a better life. She did the best she could. Money to her was important and that is how she saw a way to get her mom what she needed and later in life she used the money to make herself happy in the moment. She did one of the most selfless acts in letting someone else raise her baby as their own. She thought she was protecting the baby.

Does Alicia’s story have truth? I believe it does.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel through NetGalley from St. Martin’s Press. Any opinions expressed in the review are entirely 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.