South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber

buttonwood

Pages: 330

Publisher: Forge Books

Published: July 21, 2020

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

My Review: Have you ever read a book that left you feeling peaceful and happy but at the same time angry for the injustice a character received? South of the Buttonwood Tree has left me with those feelings.

There is so much I want to say but I don’t want to ruin a moment of this book by giving too much away. Webber had my attention captivated from the beginning. I made myself slow down in reading so i wouldn’t miss a thing by reading too fast.

The moral of the story is perfect right now. Don’t judge others as you probably don’t know the whole story. Plus a little love and compassion can go a long way in helping someone.

The book is full of magical realism which if you follow my book blog I’m not normally a fan of but when it is done right I love it. This is the second magical realism book this month for me and both have been very good.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Forge Books, through Netgalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: USA Today bestselling author Heather Webber’s South of the Buttonwood Tree is a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town Southern charm.

Blue Bishop has a knack for finding lost things. While growing up in charming small-town Buttonwood, Alabama, she’s happened across lost wallets, jewelry, pets, her wandering neighbor, and sometimes, trouble. No one is more surprised than Blue, however, when she comes across an abandoned newborn baby in the woods, just south of a very special buttonwood tree.

Sarah Grace Landreneau Fulton is at a crossroads. She has always tried so hard to do the right thing, but her own mother would disown her if she ever learned half of Sarah Grace’s secrets.

The unexpected discovery of the newborn baby girl will alter Blue’s and Sarah Grace’s lives forever. Both women must fight for what they truly want in life and for who they love. In doing so, they uncover long-held secrets that reveal exactly who they really are—and what they’re willing to sacrifice in the name of family.

The Diva Spices It Up (Domestic Diva #13) by Krista Davis

spices

Pages: 270

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 28, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Another delicious mystery with our favorite domestic diva. Book 13 is filled with lots of murder, intrigue, and food.

I’m always worried about a series after ten books as I’m afraid things will get repetitive and stagnant but I have yet to feel that way about this series. I enjoy how Davis grows all her characters whether they are the main character or secondary characters. I keep hoping Sophie and Mars work out their differences and find the path back to love. This book gave me hope that maybe we are testing that path. Only the author knows.

This book includes many yummy fall recipes that I am already bookmarking to try as soon as it cools. The idea of drinking pumpkin spice latte or eating pumpkin soup when the heat index is above 105 degrees makes me melt. The pumpkin bundt cake sound absolutely divine. Oh boy, do I have my tummy growling in anticipation.

The Diva Spices It Up is available now at your favorite retailer and hopefully (open) library.

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

NetGalley: She’s a young Martha Stewart…in Old Town Virginia!
New York Times bestselling author Krista Davis delights with the 13th in her enormously popular and completely charming Domestic Diva Mystery series. When a celebrity ghostwriter dies on the job, it’s up to Sophie Winston, Old Town, Virginia’s favorite entertaining expert, and sporadic sleuth, to whip up an impromptu investigation…

Sophie never considered ghostwriting as a side gig, until former actress and aspiring lifestyle guru, Tilly Stratford, trophy wife of Wesley Winthrope, needs someone to write her celebrity cookbook. Sophie agrees, hoping she’ll earn enough bread on this assignment to finish her bathroom renovations. But as it turns out, Sophie isn’t the first foodie to get a taste for recipe ghostwriting, and if the marginalia is any indication, this project could be a killer…

Wesley claims professional ghostwriter, Abby Bergeron, suddenly abandoned Tilly’s cookbook with no warning. But Sophie quickly discovers that Abby may be more ghost than writer now…and her disappearance was no accident. So Sophie cracks open a fresh investigation but sifting the seasoned murderer from this sampling of salty suspects won’t be easy. Will Sophie savor another case closed or will the culprit simply melt away?

Murder on Pleasant Avenue (Gaslight Mystery #23)

pleasant

Pages: 332

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

Published: April 28, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I enjoyed this book but realized very early on that I need to read the series in order. It took me much too long, in my opinion, to understand some of the reoccurring characters. I have read one book previously and had forgotten that was my conclusion then.

Being of Italian descent I found this book very interesting especially regarding the difference in the Calabrians and Sicilians. My grandfather was from Sicily and passed away when I was 2 so I never had the chance to ask him about his heritage.

A word of warning this book deals with the kidnapping of children and the sexual assault of women. There are no detailed scenes of sexual assault. This is a cozy mystery with more of a bite to the story. While reading I do not have the light, airy feel as I usually do while reading cozies. I am already on the hunt for book 1 so I may understand this series better.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Berkely Publishing Group. through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: When Gino Donatelli is accused of a brutal murder, beloved sleuths Sarah and Frank Malloy have to catch a killer who is out to destroy their innocent friend’s life in the latest installment of the national bestselling Gaslight mysteries.

A victim is found, brutally murdered and the police are certain they’ve caught the killer. Their only suspect: Gino Donatelli.

Frank and Sarah know Gino is innocent but the police have a one-track mind. Once Frank struck it rich and left their ranks taking Gino with him, there has been a simmering resentment in the department. And now, someone has pulled out all the stops to make it look like Gino is the only one who could have committed the crime.

With the clock ticking and evidence mounting against their friend, Sarah and Frank will try to unravel a treacherous plot before Gino is sent up the river for good.

Read or Alive (A Bookmobile Mystery #3) by Nora Page

read

Pages: 320

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: July 7, 2020

Rating 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I needed a comfort read earlier this week and immediately thought of Cleo and her bookmobile. Cleo feels like the grandma we all wish we had and you throw in her love of books and you get the perfect grandma. I think Cleo has the perfect job of driving the bookmobile. She gets to be surrounded by books all day, she gets to travel with said books, and she gets to be among fellow booklovers. The only downside of her job is the dead bodies she finds but that is just a little hiccup.

I instantly fell in love when I realized the book would be about Gone With the Wind, which is a favorite of mine. Even with all the recent controversy surrounding the book I still love it. I have visited the Margaret Mitchell House and felt the awe Cleo and her friends experienced touching a book she touched and signed. Fellow bibliophiles will understand.

The book is written as you can start with book 3 and be perfectly fine. The Bookmobile Mystery series is perfect for bibliophiles around the world.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: A match made in cozy heaven for fans of Jenn McKinlay, Kate Carlisle, and book lovers everywhere, Nora Page’s third Bookmobile mystery will (book)worm its way into your heart.

Wrongful accusations have librarian Cleo Watkins and her loved ones booked for trouble.

It’s springtime and septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins is celebrating new blooms and old books. To her delight, the Georgia Antiquarian Book Society has brought its annual fair to Catalpa Springs in honor of Cleo’s gentleman friend, respected antiquarian bookseller, and restorer, Henry Lafayette. However, trouble rolls in with the fair when a flirtatious book scout makes the rounds, charming locals out of prized books.

Among the conned is Cleo’s cousin, Dot, who handed over a signed, first edition of Gone With the Wind. With no proof the scout took the valuable book, Dot is at a loss. And when the deceitful man is found murdered the very next morning, Dot becomes a prime suspect. To Cleo’s dismay, so is Henry. The scene of the crime is behind Henry’s shop and his bookbinding tool is the murder weapon. As evidence stacks up against Henry, the police aren’t alone in questioning his innocence. Even friends and family ask Cleo how well she truly knows her gentleman friend.

Although books are at the heart of the crimes, Cleo feels dizzyingly out of her depths. Someone is setting up the people she holds dearest. With the authorities on the wrong trail, Cleo has no choice but to catalog the evidence herself. Along with her trusty bookmobile cat Rhett Butler, it will be up to Cleo to book the real killer for good.

Stella Endicott and the Anything-Is-Possible Poem (Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume Five) by Kate DiCamillo

stella

Pages: 96

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Published: June 9, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: I love reading any Kate DiCamillo book but if it features Mercy I am the happiest. Mercy the pig has won my adult heart over many times over.

I cannot wait to read this book to my littles when school comes back in session. I think they will get a kick out of it. I was so impressed by how it taught all about metaphors in a fun and easy way. This is the type of book that makes reading and learning fun for students.

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

NetGalley: Metaphor alert! An ode to a certain pig kicks off one wild school day in Kate DiCamillo’s latest stop on Deckawoo Drive.

Stella Endicott loves her teacher, Miss Liliana, and she is thrilled when the class is assigned to write a poem. Stella crafts a beautiful poem about Mercy Watson, the pig who lives next door — a poem complete with a metaphor and full of curiosity and courage. But Horace Broom, Stella’s irritating classmate, insists that Stella’s poem is full of lies and that pigs do not live in houses. And when Stella and Horace get into a shouting match in the classroom, Miss Liliana banishes them to the principal’s office. Will the two of them find a way to turn this opposite-of-a-poem day around? In the newest spirited outing in the Deckawoo Drive series by Kate DiCamillo, anything is possible — even a friendship with a boy deemed to be (metaphorically speaking) an overblown balloon.

The Farm Stand (An Amish Marketplace #2) by Amy Clipston

farm

Pages: 352

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: May 5, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I know I will never have a disappointing read when I pick up an Amy Clipston novel. The Farm Stand was no exception. I was pulled into the story quickly and did not stop if I did not have to stop.

The love story between Salina and Will is a clean romance with no curse words or sex. It is an adult romance (late twenties) but being Amish, Salina, lets her dad rule her thoughts a bit too much for my taste. I know that is an Amish trait in Amish romance/fiction so I understand why it is that way in the book. I still get frustrated with the lead female though.

I would feel very comfortable giving this to a teenage girl (high school) to read.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Zondervan Fiction, from NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Experience some sweet, garden-fresh romance in the next installment of Amy Clipston’s Amish Marketplace series.

Salina Petersheim runs her own booth at the Amish market, where she’s known for having the freshest and most delicious produce in the area. Her father is the bishop of her church district, and her brother is a deacon. They are a very close family, yet sometimes she tires of being compared to her older brother, Neil, who is married and has two children. She also feels the pressure of having to be the perfect daughter for her parents.

Salina has been dating Josiah for almost a year now, but he feels more like a friend than a boyfriend. Her parents approve of Josiah, who is a hardworking roofer. He’s handsome and easy to talk to, but he just doesn’t warm her heart the way she feels a boyfriend and future husband should. She secretly longs for more.

Along comes William “Will” Zimmerman, a Mennonite chef who runs a restaurant located next door to the Amish market. He wants Salina to supply the produce for his restaurant, and as they forge a business relationship, they both feel themselves falling in love. Salina especially tries to deny her feelings for Will since her father wants her to marry within the community.

Both Salina and Will feel stuck in their current relationships, but they cannot deny what they feel for each other. Will they follow their hearts or bow to the pressure of family? Or will God provide a surprising new road for them?

Girls of Summer by Nancy Thayer

girls

Pages: 320

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine

Published: May 26, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: This was not my favorite of Nancy Thayer but it was still an enjoyable read.

I wished she had focused on Lisa and Mack’s relationship with the kids’ relationships as a secondary storyline. I never got a deep connection with any of the characters as I normally do. In fact, I think this storyline could have been a 2 or 3 book series focusing on Lisa and Mack, Theo and Beth, and Ryder and Juliet.

Girls of Summer is a good book for those lazy days at the pool or beach and you want a light read with a happy ending.

I received a complimentary book from the publisher, Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

 

NetGalley: One life-changing summer on Nantucket brings about exhilarating revelations for a single mother and her two grown children in this sensational novel from New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer.

Lisa Hawley is perfectly satisfied living on her own. Having fully recovered from a brutal divorce nearly two decades earlier, she has successfully raised her kids, Juliet and Theo, seeing them off to college and beyond. As the owner of a popular boutique on Nantucket, she’s built a fulfilling life for herself on the island where she grew up. With her beloved house in desperate need of repair, Lisa calls on Mack Whitney, a friendly—and very handsome—local contractor and fellow single parent, to do the work. The two begin to grow close, and Lisa is stunned to realize that she might be willing to open up again after all . . . despite the fact that Mack is ten years her junior.

Juliet and Theo worry that Mack will only break their mother’s heart—and they can’t bear to see her hurt again. Both stuck in ruts of their own, they each hope that a summer on Nantucket will provide them with the clarity they’ve been searching for. When handsome entrepreneur Ryder Hastings moves to the island to expand his environmental nonprofit, Juliet, an MIT-educated web designer, feels an immediate attraction, one her rocky love life history pushes her to deny at first. Meanwhile, free spirit Theo finds his California bliss comes to a brutal halt when a surfing injury forces him back to the East Coast. Upon his return, he has eyes only for Mack’s daughter, Beth, to whom he is bound by an unspeakable tragedy from high school. Can they overcome their past?

As the season unfolds, a storm threatens to shatter the peace of the golden island, forcing Lisa, Juliet, and Theo to decide whether their summer romances are destined for something more profound. Nancy Thayer dazzles again in this delightful tale of family, a reminder that sometimes, finding our way back home can bring us unexpected gifts.

The Trustworthy One (Walnut Creek #4) by Shelley Shepard Gray

trustworthy

Pages: 302

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: May 5, 2020

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

My Review: I say each book in my series is my favorite and it is true. The series gets better and better. Kendra’s story was so real and filled with love from all aspects. I have laughed, cried, and swooned while reading.

The hardest part of the book for me to get past was the cover. After reading I am not sure if I would have used that cover considering Kendra owns a shop filled with yarn and other household notions and Nate owns a hardware store. Not that a book cover is what makes the book.

The Trustworthy One is filled with love and friendships but it also discusses hard stuff like drug addiction and abuse.

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

NetGalley: New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray returns to the charming and evocative Walnut Creek Series with an unforgettable novel following one broken young woman whose search for peace leads her back to her hometown, where she rediscovers her faith and reconnects with those she loves most.

Kendra Troyer always knew she would leave Walnut Creek the first chance she got. When she was accepted into design school, she tried her best not to look back at the four siblings she was abandoning, but ahead to Columbus, where she was determined to stay—far away from her abusive home and far away from Nate Miller, the boy she vowed to despise for the rest of her life.

Though she suffered through dark times in Columbus, Kendra found her faith in the Lord again, and years later, when she learned one of her good friends had died, she realized it was time to go home to those she left behind.

Back in Walnut Creek, Kendra has a life she never could have imagined: her own design shop, a pretty little house, and a tight-knit group of friends. After she settles down, though, unexpected visitors come knocking and dark memories begin to resurface. Complicating things even further is the ever-present Nate Miller, who now owns the hardware store two doors down and whose very presence stirs in Kendra a fierce need to turn away and hide from her past. But Nate is persistent in setting things right between them.

As Kendra tries to come to terms with the anger she holds from her childhood, will she be able to open her heart to forgiveness and find the comfort she has always longed for in Walnut Creek?

Like Nothing Amazing Ever Happened by Emily Blejwas

amazing

Pages: 224

Publisher: Random House Children’s (Delacorte Books for Young Readers)

Published: April 14, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A moving story involving PTSD, war, poverty, death, and love. A book for middle-grade readers and adults. It will open the eyes of adults to the questions and emotions children experience when facing death. Everything may look fine on the outside but inside there are questioning everything from could they have done something different to prevent it from why did it happen.

I can see many of the kids I work with connecting with this book on many levels. Unfortunately so many have lost a parent to death. Hopefully, this book will show them questioning the whys and hows is ok but that it is also ok to cry and talk with others about what they are experiencing. Everyone experiences death differently.

I am interested in other works by this author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Random House Children’s, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: A poignant story of a boy picking up the pieces of his life after the unexpected death of his father, and the loyalty, concern, and friendship he finds in his small-town community.

Justin doesn’t know anything these days. Like how to walk down the halls without getting stared at. Or what to say to Jenni. Or how Phuc is already a physics genius in seventh grade. Or why Benny H. wanders around Wicapi talking to old ghosts. He doesn’t know why his mom suddenly loves church or if his older brother, Murphy, will ever play baseball again. Or if the North Stars have a shot at the playoffs. Justin doesn’t know how people can act like everything’s fine when it’s so obviously not. And most of all, he doesn’t know what really happened the night his dad died on the train tracks. And that sucks.

But life goes on. And as it does, Justin discovers that some things are just unknowable. He learns that time and space and memory are grander and weirder than he ever thought, and that small moments can hold big things, if you’re paying attention. Just like his math teacher said, even when you think you have all the information, there will be more. There is always more.

Set during the Gulf War era, Like Nothing Amazing Ever Happened is a story about learning to go on after loss, told with a warmth that could thaw the coldest Minnesota lake.

On the Horizon by Lois Lowry

horizon

Pages: 80

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group

Published: April 7, 2020

Rating 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: A very interesting read regarding Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima told from a child’s perspective. I liked how Lowry focused on some of the soldiers’ lives before Pearl Harbor. It gives children something to connect to on an event that they might find hard to relate to as it occurred so long in the past.

It was also very moving to read how American and Japanese children felt in Japan after the bombing of Hiroshima. Kids just want to play with each other and be friends. Unfortunately, as adults, we prevent that from happening by teaching them discrimination from an early age.

The eeriest part of the book is reading about the hospital ships, Mercy and Comfort being used after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. These are two ships the United States is currently using during the pandemic of the Coronavirus. They are ships of pain and heartache once again helping our nation in our time of need.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: From two-time Newbery medalist and living legend, Lois Lowry comes a moving account of the lives lost in two of WWII’s most infamous events: Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. With evocative black-and-white illustrations by SCBWI Golden Kite Award winner Kenard Pak.

Lois Lowry looks back at history through a personal lens as she draws from her own memories as a child in Hawaii and Japan, as well as from historical research, in this stunning work in verse for young readers.

On the Horizon tells the story of people whose lives were lost or forever altered by the twin tragedies of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. Based on the lives of soldiers at Pearl Harbor and civilians in Hiroshima, On the Horizon contemplates humanity and war through verse that sings with pain, truth, and the importance of bridging cultural divides. This masterful work emphasizes empathy and understanding in search of commonality and friendship, vital lessons for students as well as citizens of today’s world. Kenard Pak’s stunning illustrations depict real-life people, places, and events, making for an incredibly vivid return to our collective past.

In turns haunting, heartbreaking, and uplifting, On the Horizon will remind readers of the horrors and heroism in our past, as well as offer hope for our future.