Murder in the Reading Room (A Book Retreat #5) by Ellery Adams

reading

Pages: 320

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 30, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Jane’s boyfriend is missing, and she thinks she may find him at North Carolina’s historic Biltmore Estate. Officially, she’s there to learn about luxury hotel management, but she’s also prowling around the breathtaking buildings and grounds looking for secret passageways and clues. One of the staff gardeners promises to be helpful . . . that is, until his body turns up in the reading room of his cottage, a book on his lap.

When she finally locates the kidnapped Edwin, his captor insists that she lead him back to Storyton Hall, convinced that it houses Ernest Hemingway’s lost suitcase, stolen from a Paris train station in 1922. But before they can turn up the treasure, the bell may toll for another victim . . .

My Review:

As I closed the book I was crying. Why? I fell so hard into the story every time I opened the book that I didn’t want it to end. The emotions Jane experienced were so real. She had to make many hard decisions but I loved that she followed what she thought was the right thing to do even if it wasn’t going to be popular. I feel we really got to know the real Jane and what a powerful force she is.

A series I would suggest the start from the beginning so you can connect with the characters and not ruin any surprises along the way.

I am looking forward to seeing how Adams progresses the series. There is a world of possibility and Adams is the best author for the job.

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

Sifting Through Clues (A Cookbook Nook Mystery #8) by Daryl Wood Gerber

sift

Pages: 364

Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing

Published: April 23, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Even though I started reading this series in the middle, I really enjoy the series. My hope is to read the beginning this summer.

Sifting Through Clues has so much to offer from interesting cookbooks to look for, cozy mystery books to read and yummy recipes at the end. I pretty much gobbled it up.

I had no idea who killed Ivy until it was revealed. I honestly thought it was another character and still wanted it to be. Books that can keep me guessing until the end are very enjoyable.

My only problem was with one main, important character, Cinnamon, the Chief of Police. I’m used to the chief being semi-rude with the amateur sleuth but Cinnamon seemed way over the top. She almost seemed too flighty to the point of finding it hard to believe she was a police officer much less a chief. When the book ended I had come to the conclusion I didn’t like her character very much.

Sifting Through Clues will leave you hungry and ready to tackle the recipes included. I’m ready to bake up some cheesy scones.

I received a complimentary copy from Beyond the Page 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.

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.

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.

Past Due For Murder (A Blue Ridge Library Mystery #3) by Victoria Gilbert

past due

Pages: 304

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: February 12, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Spring has sprung in quaint Taylorsford, Virginia, and the mayor has revived the town’s long-defunct May Day celebration to boost tourism. As part of the festivities, library director Amy Webber is helping to organize a research project and presentation by a local folklore expert. All seems well at first—but spring takes on a sudden chill when a university student inexplicably vanishes during a bonfire.

The local police cast a wide net to find the missing woman, but in a shocking turn of events, Amy’s swoon-worthy neighbor Richard Muir becomes a person of interest in the case. Not only is Richard the woman’s dance instructor, but he also doesn’t have an alibi for the night the student vanished—or at least not one he’ll divulge, even to Amy.

When the missing student is finally discovered lost in the mountains, with no memory of recent events—and a dead body lying nearby—an already disturbing mystery takes on a sinister new hue. Blessed with her innate curiosity and a librarian’s gift for research, Amy may be the only one who can learn the truth in Past Due for Murder, Victoria Gilbert’s third charming Blue Ridge Library mystery.

My Review: I have enjoyed all three visits to Taylorsford and each visit gets better and better. Past Due for Murder is by far my favorite visit. The mystery within the mystery is what elevated this book. It added extra punch to an already meaty story. The ending is a beautiful surprise that will sweep you away. I had tears in my eyes while reading.

Each book can be read as a stand-alone but I suggest you read in order as you will get the needed background. This series has more bite than the traditional cozy series. No sex but it is heavily alluded to throughout the book. I would still give it to my grandmother to read and not worry she would be shocked or offended.

For fans of books with libraries, books, mystery, and love this is the series for you.

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

 

Friends to the End (0.5 The Walnut Creek Series) by Shelley Shepard Gray

friends

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: February 11, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: When Andy’s baby sister Trish gets stranded at the family cabin during a massive blizzard, he calls upon his best friends—the Magnificent Eight—to go to his sister’s rescue.

Andy knows that several members of the Eight will drop everything to help, and they’re the perfect solution because the Amish aren’t hindered by stalled cars—they can travel just fine in their buggies.

But when Logan, Trish’s secret crush, is the first to volunteer to save her, she can’t help but worry that despite the freezing temperatures, being alone with Logan might mean that things heat up pretty fast. Filled with Shelley Shepard Gray’s signature “heart-warming, heart-stopping” (Wendy Corsi Staub, New York Times bestselling author) prose, Friends to the End is an evocative and endearing romance.

My review: Wow, what an introduction to the Walnut Creek Series. I was blown away by how a novella made me fall in love with the characters so quickly. I am a sucker for Amish romance and this novella delivered on all aspects. The end will leave you hungering for more.

A quick read perfect for a quiet evening.

I have already read the blurb for book one, The Patient One and I am very impatient to read the book. Warning do not read the blurb for book one until you have read this novella.

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

With Winter’s First Frost (Every Amish Season #4) by Kelly Irvin

winter

Pages: 352

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: February 5, 2019

Rating 5 out of 5 stars

Widow Laura finds herself feeling a little useless as of late especially since she has given up working as a midwife and filling in at the local bookstore. When a close friend of hers needs her after the difficult birth of her newborn twins, Laura finds herself enjoying life again taking care of babies, cooking for the family and taking care of the house. There is one exception to this, widower Zechariah, the great-grandfather of the babies. He suffers from Parkinson’s disease and finds himself very grouchy especially when his grandkids and kids don’t think he can do anything for himself.

As the winter progresses he finds himself falling for Laura and Laura feels the same. Can they both let go of the past and let love fill the rest of their days?

What an emotionally charged story that will make you look at love in the elderly in a new way. Laura and Zechariah have imprinted my heart and will not be leaving for a very long time. I want to be them when I grow old, I want to be able to love that unconditionally with everyone in my life. So beautiful and moving. This story will change your life.

What you don’t believe me? Find out yourself by buying a copy on release day of February 5, 2019, from your favorite bookseller.
Every Amish Season Books in Order:
1. Upon A Spring Breeze 4 stars
2. Beneath the Summer Sun 4 stars
3. Through the Autumn Air 5 stars
4. With Winter’s First Frost 5 stars

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

The Forgiving Jar (The Prayer Jars #2) by Wanda Brunstetter

jar

Pages: 320

Publisher: Barbour Publishing/Shiloh Run Press

Published: February 1, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In book two of The Prayer Jar series, we focus on Sara. Sara is the real granddaughter of Willis and Mary Ruth and the young lady Michelle had been impersonating. Sara is struggling with her faith and with forgiving those she feels has betrayed her throughout her life, including her deceased mom. As she continues to live with her grandparents she finds jealousy rearing its ugly head. Especially when Michelle seems to be getting her life together and the community is forgiving for her sins. Christmas arrives with a friend of her grandparents and Michelle and Sara finds herself liking him as more than a friend. Can Sara find forgiveness in her heart and learn to let jealousy go? Will the prayer jar she finds in her grandparents basement become her saving grace?

I am still reeling from this book. I have not had an Amish book hit me in the feels as this one did in a bit. I still get teary-eyed thinking about it. In book one I was very angry with Michelle impersonating Sara and felt like Sara had a right to be upset and very angry but as book two opened I came to understand Michelle more and realized sometimes when you are at rock bottom you find yourself doing things you never would dream of doing. As for Sara, I could not imagine a parent dying and finding out I had a family I never knew about. I admire Sara for her bravery in contacting and going to live with her grandparents I do not admire her jealousy against Michelle or her feelings against her stepfather. She definitely had a lot of growing up to do in book two. By the end, you will love both Michelle and Sara as if they were a part of your family.

As always with a Wanda Brunstetter book, you will find yourself laughing one moment and in tears the next. I suggest you read book one, The Hope Jar, first. I am eagerly anticipating the third book in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing/Shiloh Run Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Amish Sweet Shop by Emma Miller, Laura Bradford and Mary Ellis

sweetshop

Pages: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Published: December 18, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A sweet read to get you ready for Valentine’s Day. Perfect for the romance reader in your life.

THE SWEETEST COURTSHIP by Emma Miller
Grouchy Jacob Beechy is no match for his mother, who has taken it upon herself to find him a wife. Rose has come to town for a change of scenery and ends up crossing paths with Jacob’s mom. Come sit a spell in Beechy’s Sweets and watch love melt even the hardest heart in town. By the end of the story, you will be craving fudge with a side of romance.

THE SWEETEST TRUTH by Laura Bradford ***My favorite of the three stories***
A horrific barn fire several years ago changed the life Sadie thought she would have so she has made the life she feels most comfortable living. When a secret admirer starts leaving little gifts for her to find on her lunch break, Sadie’s heart starts to soften and she allows herself to dream again. This story will make you smile and your heart tapdance with happiness.

NOTHING TASTES SO SWEET by Mary Ellis
A freak accident suddenly widows Hannah who has just found out she is pregnant. Hannah is thankful for her job at the local hardware store but when the job is in jeopardy Hannah learns she is stronger than she thinks. A sweet tale of how sometimes romance can find a way to heal even the most broken of hearts.

I love reading Amish romance novellas during the holidays as the stories are usually short enough to read in between all the hustle and bustle. You are always guaranteed a happy ending and a smile. Even if Valentine’s Day is not your holiday, you will be happy to read these sweet stories. Grab a box of yummy chocolates, put on your fuzzy socks and curl up in your comfy reading chair for one of the sweetest reads of the season.

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.