In Peppermint Peril (A Tea and Read Mystery) by Joy Avon

peppermint

Pages: 285

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: November 27, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Callie has moved back to Maine to help her Great Aunt with Book Tea. A fun tearoom that is filled with sweet bookish clues from beloved mysteries. They’ve agreed to cater a small party at Haywood Hall for Dorothea so she can make an announcement regarding her will. Unfortunately, several things occur, one of which is murder, that prevents the announcement from happening. Callie has taken it upon herself to find the killer. Will she succeed?

My favorite part of the book: Daisy, the Boston Terrier. I wish she had made the cover of the book. As a Boston Terrier owner, I am a sucker for books with one on the cover or as a character. Daisy doesn’t do much but eat and sleep but alas that is the life of a Boston.

As a debut cozy this series has a lot of potentials. I am curious how the town will progress, the direction of Callie and Deputy Falk’s friendship and Callie’s job at Book Tea. I was disappointed no recipes were shared at the end of the book. As a culinary cozy mystery, I have come to expect them. I would have enjoyed learning more about Iphy’s “The Duel”. It sounded yummy to eat and look at.

I will definitely be reading the second book in the series.

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.

Santa Puppy (Tourist Trap #9.75) by Lynn Cahoon

santa puppy

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.

The Christmas Remedy by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

remedy

Pages: 208

Publisher: WaterBrook & Multnomah

Published: October 23, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Since her father’s death, Holly has been able to live a different life for being Amish. She started working at Green’s Pharmacy in town and she realized she loved being able to help her people with health questions. Her bishop has allowed her to get her GED, become a pharmacy tech and now take classes to become a licensed practicing nurse. This will allow her to answer customer questions when it comes to her deliveries of their medicines. She knows her love for her job will keep her from getting married or so she thinks. Holly did not expect to find someone like Joshua.

Joshua knows Holly from some local singings but then she disappeared. He never expected to run into her on her worst day. He runs to Greene’s Pharmacy to pick up his mother’s new diabetes medicine but when he gets there the pharmacy is closed. Holly returns from her deliveries and becomes concerned when the pharmacy is still closed. As she opens up she finds Mr. Greene laying in the floor. With Josh’s help she able to get Mr. Greene the help he needs.

What will happen to the pharmacy and can Holly control her heart when Josh is around? Will her career stop before it even began?

I could not put this book down. The idea of an Amish being able to follow her calling without having to leave the faith was a wonderful change. If you think about it what could be better. We all trust those most like us, it is human nature. Holly understands their hesitancy to take medicine and go against the belief of “it is God’s will”. Her goal is to prevent deaths that were preventable if they had just gone to the doctor and took their medicine as prescribed.

I applaud the Woodsmall’s for creating an Amish male character that is open to change and seeing the woman not just as a homemaker. Josh understands that Holly is invested in her community and is willing to give up a life with another to help keep her community healthy.

A beautifully written tale of romance and change. If you like Christian fiction pick this book up. You won’t be disappointed.

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

 

A Simple Christmas (Simple Gifts #3) by Charlotte Hubbard

simple

Pages: 368

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 25, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

It’s Christmas in Willow Ridge! Rosalyn is the only daughter left to take care of her father, Cornelius, and that is a job unto itself. To get away a few hours several days a week she has started working in Nora’s shop and selling her homemade wreaths. It also allows her to buy groceries and items for the house when needed since her dad has been receiving bills marked past due. While working one day, Amish bad boy, Marcus walks in and turns Rosalyn’s life upside down. She knows he is trouble but her heart thinks differently. Will Marcus be able to heal Rosalyn’s heart with his love when the unthinkable happens to her father and family?

A Simple Christmas is book 3 in the Simple Gifts series. For fans of Amish fiction, this is a must read series. It is a little edgy with some of their beliefs but it is a good edgy in my opinion. I think it shows there are Amish sects out there that are relaxing some beliefs to let them be sustainable in an ever-changing world that is becoming more and more dependent on technology. This community still believes in living in a simple world but understands it needs the English and the ability to communicate with them. Cells phones and computers can be a wonderful addition to a business but it does come with evils that can lead you far away. Your faith must be strong to not go down those dangerous paths. Just ask Cornelius.

Cornelius has always ruled with an iron fist but more so since his wife died and he moved his family to Willow Ridge. As the years go by he finds himself living a double life. A life that will eventually lead to his ruin. He thinks he can strong arm Rosalyn into staying and taking care of him but he does see that he is pushing her further and further away.

Rosalyn believes deep in her heart that she will always be a “maidel” the rest of her life and she is fine with that. What she is not fine with is taking care of her ungrateful father. She finds he is making her life more and more unbearable. If not for her job in Nora’s store, I have no idea how Rosalyn would have survived.

Each book in this series can be read as a stand-alone. You will find yourself loving the characters as much as I do. I dare you!

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

 

‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas (A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery #2) by Jacqueline Frost

twas

Pages: 309 (eBook)

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: November 13, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Holly White has barely recovered from her almost death last Christmas while investigating a murder when another murder finds her this Christmas. The town lothario winds up stabbed to death and left in the town square’s gigantic peppermint candy bowl. Unfortunately Holly’s best friend and town cupcake maker, Caroline, is the main suspect. Can Holly solve this murder before becoming a repeat customer of the “almost dead” club?

This series is my guilty Christmas pleasure. Holly and her family are what you think of when you think of Christmas. First, they live in Mistletoe, Maine where the twelve days of Christmas is celebrated with the Reindeer Games. You have blindfold gingerbread house building and snowman building contests. The town plays Christmas music and every store is decorated. A little murder is thrown in to make things even more interesting.

You will laugh, scream and cry with Holly at every turn. Her love life is interesting. She is kind of dating the local sheriff but they have yet to get on the same page at the same time.

In book two, Holly’s family is building an inn at the Christmas Tree Farm and I am interested to see how the dynamics change in future books with this addition.

If you love Christmas and murder together you need to get this series ASAP.

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.

His Promise (Amish of Hart County #6) by Shelley Shepard Gray

promise

Pages: 334 (Paperback)

Publisher: Avon Inspire

Published: October 23, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Grace has made her niche in life by pet sitting for Englishers who go out of town. This year for Christmas while she is pet sitting a very cantankerous dachshund her family has to go to her grandparents to take care of them. When the dachshund gets into a little trouble Grace runs into John Michael Miller, her sister’s ex-boyfriend and the boy she had a crush on when she was younger.

John Michael regrets hurting Grace’s sister several years ago but he had a good reason, he was falling for Grace. John Michael is now a firefighter and this season has been busy with arson fires being set to cover local burglaries.

Can Grace forgive John Michael for hurting her sister and let their feelings grow? Can John Michael keep Grace safe even when he is not around?

Let me start with the end, the last forty pages had me in tears. Why? The beauty of the story coming together and the action happening. See if you don’t have a glimmer of tears in your eyes as you read.

Shelley Shepard Gray has a way to make the love come through in a beautiful, clean way. I would feel very comfortable giving any of her Amish books to any young teenage girl to read.

I loved that Gray included helpful fire safety tips especially during the Christmas season in the story. A few things I learned and have started looking around to make sure my parents and family are as safe as I can make them.

Gray’s Amish of Hart County is a six book series that can be read any in order and each as a stand alone book. Once you take a visit you will want to keep visiting.

I received a complimentary copy from the author and any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Christmas Cake Murder (Hannah Swenson #23) by Joanne Fluke

cake

Pages: 270 (eBook & Hardback)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 25, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Hannah has come home from college after the death of her father and has no intentions to go back after a disastrous ending to her love affair with a professor. As Hannah tries to keep the house running for her youngest sister, she sees her mother declining more and more into depression. No projects the daughters think of can pull their mom back into the land of the living that is until two church ladies tell Hannah and her family about Essie. Essie is the elderly owner of the Albion Hotel who lives above it with no water or electricity. Essie is to proud to accept help even though all the townsfolk love Essie. Unfortunately Essie has fallen and broken her hip. Essie wants to revisit the Christmas Ball with its Christmas Cake parade one more time before dying. Hannah and her family are determined to make that happen for Essie. While gathering info for the Christmas Ball, Hannah and her mom run across several notebooks that Essie said are the beginnings of a novel she has written. Can Hannah make Essie’s dreams come true of the Christmas Ball or will a story of fiction become all to real?

This book can be read out of sync from the rest of the series since it takes place before Hannah opened The Cookie Jar. I found this book delightful. Yes, it does read differently from the other books in to series as Hannah is not solving a murder mystery but she does have a mystery to solve. I liked seeing Hannah’s mother on a more real, down to earth basis than her usual snooty self at times.

If you are looking for a quick Christmas themed read during a cold, dreary day then this is the book for you. I read it in one day. My only complaint is I didn’t leave any for today. If I could I would be a regular customer at The Cookie Jar. Lots of yummy recipes included.

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.

Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber

alaskan

Pages: 224 (eBook)

Publisher: Random House

Published: October 2, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Josie has spent the past six months in Ponder, Alaska cooking at the town’s lodge while waiting for her dream job to begin in Seattle with Chef Anton. A position others in her culinary school class would have loved to had. What Josie did not expect was to fall in love with the town and a particular young bachelor, Palmer, the local swordsmith. The night before she is to leave, Palmer tries to propose. Even if Palmer had been more romantic with his proposal Josie was still not going to stay. She has worked too hard to get her dream position. After missing the last ferry leaving Ponder for the season, Josie blames Palmer for her situation. In order to save what is left of their relationship Palmer finds a sea-tac plane leaving in a couple of weeks. When Josie gets to Seattle she realizes she left her heart in Ponder. Can Josie and Palmer find a way to both be happy and be together?

I can’t start celebrating Christmas reading until I have read a Debbie Macomber Christmas story. Macomber has a knack for making one believe in love and happily ever afters especially around Christmas. I appreciate she can show love at its finest in a clean way. She doesn’t feel the need to have sex scenes sully the beauty of true love.

This is the perfect book to grab on a cold, blustery Sunday afternoon while sitting in front of the Christmas tree sipping peppermint cocoa. It is the perfect length to read in one sitting.

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

Read and Gone (A Haunted Library #2) by Allison Brook

read gone

Pages: 320 (eBook)

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: September 11, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Carrie does not really know her dad as he has always been running from the law for as long as she can remember. She feels so disconnected from him that she calls him Jim and not dad. When she catches him breaking into her cottage she doesn’t know whether to hug him or call the police. She really doesn’t know what to do when he asks her to help him recover some stolen gems from the local jeweler and library board member, Benton Parr. Shortly after her refusal to help him, Parr is found dead and her father the main suspect. Now it is up to Carrie to prove her father is innocent and find the real killer before the killer strikes again. Will Evelyn, the resident library ghost, be of help in Carrie’s latest quest?

I’ve been surprised how much I have enjoyed this series being that it is of the paranormal theme with having a library ghost of a past librarian. Evelyn, the library ghost, is a great to help Carrie whether learning her way around the library or finding a killer. The second book starts a bit slow but picks up quickly. It really picks up when Carrie is torn between her dad and the love of her life, insurance man, Dylan. You find yourself having a hard time deciding who to be mad at, her dad or Dylan. Poor Carrie goes through every emotion. Luckily Smokey Joe, her cat, is there to comfort her.

I am curious to know if Carrie’s dad, Jim, will be a regular character or one who visits from time to time. He adds some interest to the story with his questionable background but I can see he may be a nuisance in the romance between her and Dylan.

I like that this library is trying to evolve with the times by mentioning a coffee shop inside and having so many programs. Our main library has recently allowed you to bring in drinks. Yes, it scares me to think of how many books could be damaged but we bring the books home and we know we all read as we eat lunch or are drinking a cup of tea. Allowing drinks gives you the option to stay longer and take advantage of the library offerings such as programs like a Christmas carol singing. I know myself I wish I could visit Carrie’s library and pet Smokey Joe and have a cup of tea while reading.

I received a complimentary copy from Crooked Lane Books 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.