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.

Racing to the Finish My Story by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

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Pages: 208

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Published: October 16, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Dale Jr. talks about the crash that changed the course of his life in this book. He goes on to explain how his concussion(s) affected him on and off the track.

I am a huge fan of Junior and was extremely thrilled to receive a copy of his book to read and review. I, like many fans, did not fully understand what he was experiencing on a daily basis. I knew very little about concussions going into this book. I was not prepared to learn how repeated, untreated concussions could affect your mood and temper.

I applaud Junior for being brave and realizing if he came forward and shared his experiences he could help others. He understood he had the perfect platform to reach many people who otherwise may never have sought treatment.

I would recommend this book to anyone with children in high contact sports such as wrestling, football, rugby, and soccer. It is written in a plain and simple writing style that should be easy for anyone to read and understand. As you are reading you feel like you are sitting across the table from Junior sharing a drink.

I have nothing but high praise for this book.

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

The Christmas Remedy by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

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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.

 

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

coffin

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.

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

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Pages: 352

Publisher: Random House Publishing – Ballantine

Published: October 2, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I will start my review saying I will NOT discuss the political sides of abortion or whether I think it is right or wrong.

George Goddard, an upset father, takes it upon himself to teach the women and doctor at the state’s only abortion clinic a lesson, by taking them hostage. He blames everyone there, patients and staff, for what has happened to his daughter.

After the first shot was fired, Hugh McElroy, a hostage negotiator, was one of the first one scene. What he doesn’t realize is that his fifteen year old daughter is inside with her aunt, his sister. Hugh has depend on his training and the others inside to keep his daughter safe.

Through the eyes of a nurse who is a patient, the doctor who performs the abortions, a retired professor facing a death she cannot control, the distraught father, an anti abortion protestor, a young woman who felt abortion was her only way out and a scared teenager we learn of the many different reasons humans make the decisions they do.

You can guarantee that when you pick up a Jodi Picoult book you will be made to dig deep inside yourself and think. You may not agree with the issue being discussed but you will be forced to see the issue from every side.

I was not sure if I would like the narrative structure The Spark of Life was written in but by the end I was glad it was written backward, meaning we start with the most recent hour of the hostage standoff and work our way back to how it all began. It forced me to question why and take more of the facts given into consideration.

A great book for book clubs as many discussions can arise while reading. Expect tears and heartache as you read.

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

The First Love by Beverly Lewis

first love

Pages: 304

Publisher: Bethany House

Published: September 4, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

1951: It’s a summer of change and acceptance. Maggie is learning to deal with her chronic illness and help her younger siblings accept their new stepmom. A Mennonite tent revival has set up in town and Maggie attends at the urging of her Mennonite cousins. Will the meetings bring her closer to accepting her illness and accepting her stepmom or will the meetings take her away from her Amish faith?

I knew very little about Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis until reading Maggie’s story. JRA sounds absolutely terrible not to know day to day when you wake up on how you are going to feel and if you are going to be able to move or not.

I applaud Lewis for her positive stepmom portrayal. So many times we read stories of a terrible stepmom who hates her step kids. Being a stepmom myself it made my heart sing to see the stepmom as loving and trying to keep their mom’s memory alive. Yes, there are hard times but with love and patience hard times can be overcome.

My favorite story line was Maggie’s spiritual awakening. The thirst for understanding and believing was beautiful. There were a lot of biblical stories mentioned that I was not completely familiar with and has made me interested to read more of my Bible.

Lewis has written another story that reminds you of the beauty in the world.

I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House 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.

The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White

glass

Audiobook: 14 hours

Publisher: William Morrow

Published: September 8, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A story of romance, illicit affairs, espionage, and tragedy.

It’s 2013 and Sarah Blake needs to find inspiration for her next best-selling book. At her wit’s end she opens her great-grandfather’s chest and discovers information that could be history changing regarding the sinking of the Lusitania.

Go back 98 years to April 1915 and we meet Caroline, a first-class passenger, who is married to Gilbert. Gilbert is very pre-occupied and Caroline hopes this cruise ignites a spark in their marriage. What she did not expect was to run into her first love, Robert Langford.

Tessa Fairweather, a second-class passenger, is working with her sister to obtain the music composition that is in the hands of Gilbert. Tessa does not understand why she is to get this music but one thing she does understand is that she is falling for Robert.

What does Sarah learn and how does each passenger above affect the outcome?

I opted to listen to the audiobook and let me state it is FOURTEEN hours of listening. I enjoyed the audiobook as the narrator did an excellent job with all the characters. My issue was I did not have a lot of time lumped together to listen to a good chunk at one time.

The story jumps between Sarah (2013), Caroline (1915) and Tessa (1915) so you do need to keep track of who is talking and what year it is. It is pretty easy since the majority of Caroline and Tessa’s time is on the Lusitania.

I knew very little about the sinking of the Lusitania and The Glass Ocean has whetted my appetite for more.

The Whispered Word (Secret, Book and Scone Society #2) by Ellery Adams

whispered

Pages: 292 (Paperback)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: November 27, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Another five star visit to Miracle Springs, NC with Nora and the Secret, Book and Scone Society.

Summer is ending but visitors to Miracle Springs is still going strong. One such visitor has made Nora and her group of friends really think about their own pasts. Nora finds “Abilene” curled up in her stock room in a too large dress and flip flops, hospital ID bracelet and bruises with a story to tell. Abilene does not want to talk but is willing to work for exchange of food and place to lay her head.

A new shop has opened as well that seem like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for a town hit hard by the closing of the local bank (read the Secret, Book and Scone Society to learn more). Virtual Genie will appraise your family heirlooms and any other treasures you may have and offer to sell them online for a 60/40 split.

Nora and Society has decided to help those affected by the bank closing and put together Secret Kindness bags and leave them on the doorsteps. One particular person has been on Nora’s mind, Amanda Frye, a not so nice visitor to the bookstore but Nora is trying to see the good behind the pain that makes Amanda so tough to deal with. Unfortunately, Amanda never reaps the benefit of the kindness bag. The Society finds her floating in the pond in front of her house. at first it looks like suicide but Nora sees flaws in the plan.

Can Nora and the Secret Society find out the truth of Amanda’ death while helping out Abilene? Is Virtual Genie everything is appears or are they trying to steal what is left of the people in Miracle Springs?

I absolutely LOVED the first book in the series and the second did not disappoint. In fact it was even better. When I enter the world of Nora and the Society, I get lost and do not want to return. I am perfectly happy being lost in Miracle Springs. Particularly the bookstore. My copy of The Whispered Word looks like a post-it note factory exploded on the pages. I have marked every page where a book or author is mentioned. I would love to be able to read every book mentioned in both books of the series.

As I was reading this book it hit me that Hester has similarities to Ella Mae (Charmed Pie Shoppe series), another wonderful character from Ellery Adams. I truly believe in the cooking with feeling and others will feel it. Imagine being able to sit outside on a lovely park bench with fall swirling around you, a comfort scone from Hester next to you, a book recommended by Nora in your hands and maybe a pair of stress relief socks knitted by June on your feet to keep you warm. Are you interested in a visit yet?

If the answer is yes you have two chances. You can run to your favorite bookseller or library and grab The Secret, Book and Scone Society now and on November 27 you can buy The Whispered Word. While you are at it you may want to buy copies for your best friends as well. No sense in keeping your visits to yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 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.