When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal

mermaids

Pages: 348

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Published: July 16, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: My friend recommended this book and I am so glad she did. It was excellent. A very strong drama with a lot of heartaches. Beautifully written. Strong female characters.

Goodreads: Her sister has been dead for fifteen years when she sees her on the TV news…

Josie Bianci was killed years ago on a train during a terrorist attack. Gone forever. It’s what her sister, Kit, an ER doctor in Santa Cruz, has always believed. Yet all it takes is a few heart-wrenching seconds to upend Kit’s world. Live coverage of a club fire in Auckland has captured the image of a woman stumbling through the smoke and debris. Her resemblance to Josie is unbelievable. And unmistakable. With it comes a flood of emotions—grief, loss, and anger—that Kit finally has a chance to put to rest: by finding the sister who’s been living a lie.

After arriving in New Zealand, Kit begins her journey with the memories of the past: of days spent on the beach with Josie. Of a lost teenage boy who’d become part of their family. And of a trauma that has haunted Kit and Josie their entire lives.
Now, if two sisters are to reunite, it can only be by unearthing long-buried secrets and facing a devastating truth that has kept them apart far too long. To regain their relationship, they may have to lose everything.

Meet Your Baker (A Bakeshop Mystery #1) by Ellie Alexander

baker

Pages: 321

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: December 30, 2014

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A delightful start to a new-to-me series. You have recipes, drama and a murder mystery. I was completely thrown on the killer. Looking back on it, I am like “duh, I should have seen that clue.”

Juliet “Jules” Capshaw has returned home for a “few weeks” to heal after learning disturbing news about her husband. What she thinks will be a quiet few weeks soon turns into questions regarding her mom’s skittishness when discussing Torte, the family business. Before she can fully question her mom, Jules stumbles upon a dead body inside of Torte. What follows is an intriguing recipe filled with smoke and mirrors.

I am hooked on this series. There are ten published so far with an eleventh scheduled for this year. No promises but I think I might move this series up the read very soon list. I am getting ready to complete a few series and need a new one.

Bookbub: Reeling from a broken heart, pastry chef Juliet Capshaw returns home to lend a hand at her mom’s bakery — including solving the suspicious death of a customer!

Finding Home (The Baxter Children #2) by Karen Kingsbury

home

Pages: 320

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Published: February 25, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I’m a fan of Kingsbury’s Baxter Family series even though I have not nearly read enough of them. It is definitely a series I like to savor and take my time to read. I was very excited last year to read about the creation of a new series centering around the Baxter children. I am happy to say that book two was just as good as the first.

I find it refreshing to read a children’s book that highlights kids using their imagination during playtime. Being a teacher, I am saddened how many children cannot free-write stories using their imagination because they do not know how to imagine. I constantly hear stories from my littles telling me that they go home and watch hours of endless TV, Youtube or play video games that are far too adult for them. So many rarely go outside and pretend they are on an island made of lava and find ways to escape.

I love how Finding Home teaches right from wrong and being humble. No matter the age of the reader (child or adult) I think we all could learn from it. Even a gentle reminder. Being humble is a wonderful trait but one of the hardest in today’s society.

Finding Home is a great read-aloud for families.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Summer is over and Dad begins his important position at an Indiana hospital. Like it or not, Bloomington is the Baxter Family’s new home. As school starts, everyone finds reasons to be excited about the move. Everyone that is except Ashley. Ashley desperately misses the home and friends she left behind. As she realizes her siblings have their struggles, too, she can’t help but wonder if unlikely friends can be the best friends of all? And could time and love from her family be enough to make a house feel like home?

In the second book in the Baxter Family Children series, #1 New York Times bestselling Karen Kingsbury and Tyler Russell tell the funny and poignant tale of the Baxter children finding home!

Amish Front Porch Stories: 18 Tales of Simple Faith and Wisdom by Wanda, Jean and Richelle Brunstetter

front

Pages: 352

Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

Published: November 1, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: This book left me contented and inspired to be more understanding of those around me. My plan was to read a story a day but once I started reading I could not put it down. A few stories left me wanting more just because I fell in love with the characters. My favorite was how each chapter ended in a bible verse.

I look forward to buying this book as a gift for several readers in my life.

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

NetGalley: Come and sit a while as you enjoy 18 fictional short stories of love, joy, and the peace found in Amish country.

Amish Country is known for an atmosphere of peace and quiet, perfect for front-porch sitting with a good book. Join New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, as they share 18 heartwarming stories from Amish Country. These fictional short stories include journeys we can all relate to as we seek how to live led by love, joy, peace, patience, and other Fruits of the Spirit. Meet Anna, who struggles to show love to a cantankerous neighbor; Laura, who endures infertility; Nora, whose pride threatens to consume her life; and other women who walk in their faith each day.

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

dream

Pages: 381

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: October 2, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I tried reading this when it came out but never could get past the first few chapters. Every time I went to the library the cover kept pulling me towards it saying open me and read. Finally the other day I succumbed to the call and brought it home. I fell instantly in love with Carly’s story and hated to stop to be an adult and take care of my family.

Personally, I don’t believe in the time travel theory and that there are portals all around us but as I was reading The Dream Daughter I found myself thinking what if you could? Would you be brave enough to do as Carly did to save your child?

I highly recommend The Dream Daughter.

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

NetGalley: From bestselling author, Diane Chamberlain comes an irresistible new novel.

When Caroline Sears receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970 and there seems to be little that can be done. But her brother-in-law, a physicist, tells her that perhaps there is. Hunter appeared in their lives just a few years before—and his appearance was as mysterious as his past. With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter embraced the Sears family and never looked back.

Now, Hunter is telling her that something can be done about her baby’s heart. Something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Caroline has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed. Something that will mean a mind-bending leap of faith on Caroline’s part.

And all for the love of her unborn child.

A rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother’s quest to save her child, unite her family and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget.

Two Steps Forward (The Deacon’s Family #3) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

two

Pages: 319

Publisher: Revell

Published: February 4, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I am so sad this is the conclusion to the Deacon’s Family. I have become a fan of Luke Schrock and I’ll be the first to admit that I could not stand him when I first started reading about him. Self-centered little jerk is what he was but he is proof that people can change. I thought pretty much the same of Jimmy Fisher but he did have a grumpy mom and that would make anyone have a hard heart.

I found I was unable to put this book down as I have all the others. Once you delve into Stoney Ridge you don’t want to leave. The real world is put on hold and you are transported to a community with problems just like ours but you know things will eventually work out.

Each book in the series can be read as a standalone but I heavily suggest reading in order. Reading in order allows you to be more invested with the characters.

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

NetGalley: Back and broke in Stoney Ridge, Jimmy Fisher has coasted as long as he could through life on charm, good looks, and deep-set dimples. They always worked just fine for him–until they didn’t. His smile has no effect on the violet-eyed beauty he met at the Bent N’ Dent, the one with that stunning horse. She’s offered him a job, but nothing else.

The last thing Sylvie Schrock King needs around Rising Star Farm is a grown boy working for her, especially her neighbor Edith’s son. The woman holds a serious grudge against Sylvie and her son, and hiring Jimmy Fisher will only fan the flames of Edith’s rancor. But Sylvie is desperate for help on the farm, and Jimmy understands horses like no one else.

While Jimmy’s lazy smile and teasing ways steal Sylvie’s heart, Edith is working on a way to claim her land. Has Sylvie made another terrible mistake? Or is it too late to outfox the fox? More importantly . . . just who is the fox?

Writing with both wit and warmth, Fisher delivers a supremely satisfying conclusion to the popular Deacon’s Family series.

The Body Under the Piano (Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen #1) by Marthe Jocelyn

aggie

Pages: 336

Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada

Published: February 4, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A delightful read for Agatha Christie fans of all ages. Murder, mayhem, and intrigue lurk around corner of the debut novel in a new series.

Being a huge fan of cozy mysteries I jumped at the chance to read this new novel. I am so glad I did. Although it is a fictionalized version of a young Ms. Christie I was able to imagine this was how she started her career as the Queen of Mystery.

In this novel, Aggie is twelve years old and homeschooled and has plenty of time to use her imagination (a gift so many today do not get to explore). She fancies herself a mystery writer but when she finds a dead body she uses that imagination to try and solve the case. She gets herself into plenty of scraps but her friend Hector is always in the shadows to get her out of them.

This is the perfect novel to introduce the Mystery Queen to your young readers and open their world to a future of cozy mysteries.

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

NetGalley: A smart and charming middle-grade mystery series starring young detective Aggie Morton and her friend Hector, inspired by the imagined life of Agatha Christie as a child and her most popular creation, Hercule Poirot. For fans of Lemony Snicket and The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency.

Aggie Morton lives in a small town on the coast of England in 1902. Adventurous and imaginative but deeply shy, Aggie hasn’t got much to do since the death of her beloved father . . . until the fateful day when she crosses paths with twelve-year-old Belgian immigrant Hector Perot and discovers a dead body on the floor of the Mermaid Dance Room! As the number of suspects grows and the murder threatens to tear the town apart, Aggie and her new friend will need every tool at their disposal — including their insatiable curiosity, deductive skills and not a little help from their friends — to solve the case before Aggie’s beloved dance instructor is charged with a crime Aggie is sure she didn’t commit.

Filled with mystery, adventure, an unforgettable heroine and several helpings of tea and sweets, The Body Under the Piano is the clever debut of a new series for middle-grade readers and Christie and Poirot fans everywhere, from a Governor General’s Award–nominated author of historical fiction for children.

Amish Country Undercover by Katy Lee

amish

Pages: 224

Publisher: Harlequin – Romance (US & Canada)

Published: February 4, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A fast-paced edge of your seat read. As many of you already know I am a huge fan of Amish fiction and Love Inspired has done a great job in adding some adventure to the typical Amish fiction.

I especially liked Amish Country Undercover as it took place in my home state of Kentucky. Grace has spunkiness that at times pushes the limits of her faith but she needs it to keep her family together.

This is the perfect read for any romance reader out there who also likes adventure.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Harlequin – Romance (US & Canada), through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Secrets, sabotage and small-town danger.

Someone wants an Amish woman dead.

Taking the reins of her father’s Amish horse-trading business, Grace Miller’s prepared for backlash over breaking community norms—but not for sabotage. Now someone’s willing to do anything it takes to make sure she fails, and it’s undercover FBI agent Jack Kaufman’s mission to stop them. But can Jack face his own Amish past long enough to shield Grace from a killer?

The Look-Alike by Erica Spindler

look

Pages: 315

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: January 28, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I could not put this book down. I was sure I had the killer all figured out then Spindler would throw something out there and make me question myself all over again. Every time I was ready to stop for a moment I’d turn the page and Id find myself 50 more pages in the book. I was right on my initial assumption of the killer but had no clue as to why. So, if you figure it out early I promise you it is worth it to finish the book. You will be surprised as to why.

I have not read an Erica Spindler book for many years. I know my mom used to gobble them up like hot chocolate chip cookies on a snowy day. After reading The Look-Alike I have decided to get my mom’s books and read them. I will definitely be getting this one for her.

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

NetGalley: From Erica Spindler, the New York Times bestselling author of The Other Girl and Justice for Sara comes The Look-Alike, a thrilling psychological drama about a woman who believes she escaped a brutal murder years ago—but does anyone else believe her?

Sienna Scott grew up in the dark shadow of her mother’s paranoid delusions. Now, she’s returned home to confront her past and the unsolved murder that altered the course of her life.
In her mother’s shuttered house, an old fear that has haunted Sienna for years rears its ugly head—that it was she who had been the killer’s target that night. And now, with it, a new fear—that the killer not only intended to remedy his past mistake—he’s already begun. But are these fears any different from the ones that torment her mother?

As the walls close in, the line between truth and lie, reality and delusion disintegrate. Has Sienna’s worst nightmare come true? Or will she unmask a killer and finally prove she may be her mother’s look-alike, but she’s not her clone?

The Innkeeper’s Bride (Amish Brides of Birch Creek #3) by Kathleen Fuller

innkeeper

Pages: 320

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: January 14, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Finally, we have Selah’s story and let me tell you it was worth the wait. I am not ashamed to admit for the first two books I could not stand Selah as I thought she was whiney, spiteful and at times hateful. Now that I understand why I want to go back and read the first two again as see her behavior with a different attitude. The story has reminded me not to judge others’ bad attitudes so quick as there may be a reason behind their bad behavior.

Although this is the third book in the Amish Brides of Birch Creek series you can read as a stand-alone with no problems. Each story deals with an individual couple and other characters make appearances. Each story is a clean romance with no sex or foul language.

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

NetGalley: When Selah Ropp returns to Birch Creek, she is a different person than when she left. I know I haven’t done much listening in the past, Lord, she prays. But I’m listening now. Her new friend, Cevilla Schlabach, urges her to let go of regrets and allow this to be a fresh start. Cevilla herself, though, hides a secret longing behind her weathered face.

Levi Stoll and his family spent a year transforming a large English house into a small inn. Now that they are open for business, Levi is pleased to have Selah join them as an employee—as long as his grandmother doesn’t try any matchmaking schemes on the two of them. After all, Selah seems as guarded as he feels, and the last thing he wants is for anyone to remind him of his history.

With Kathleen Fuller’s trademark humor and memorable characters, The Innkeeper’s Bride reminds us that God’s grace in the present and our hope for the future is stronger than any pain of the past.