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.

Promises of Tomorrow (Walnut Creek 4.5) by Shelley Shepard Gray

promises

Pages: 100

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: July 6, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A perfect ending to a beautifully written series that touches on topics that will make you take stock of your life.

Without giving anything away, you know by the end of the novella that the Eight will be ok. Each book and novella is written as standalone reads but I heavily suggest you start with Friends to the End and read in order. You will get so much more out of the books. I have needed tissues with every story but that is good for me as it means that it was a memorable read for me.

Beth’s story touches on the thoughts I had in the early dating stages of my husband. If something tragic happens early on, how do you grieve? Sometimes you know from the beginning that you have found your person. I wanted to reach into the novella and comfort Beth with lots of hugs.

A quick read for an afternoon but one that stays with you long after.

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: Two years have passed since their friend Andy’s death, and the Eight is still struggling to cope with their loss. In an attempt to give the group some time to reconnect with one another, remember their friend, and reflect on the last two years, Marie decides that a relaxing couple’s getaway is just what they need before the craziness of the holiday season begins. When their large cabin in the woods turns out to be more rundown than rustic, though, Marie fears that she’s ruined everything, but at least, she thinks, the trip can’t get any worse—that is, until a lost English girl named Beth appears at the cabin. And with such heavy snow, the Eight is forced to take her in for the next twenty-four hours.

Although Marie feels as if all her planning and good intentions were for nothing, she has no idea that Beth will give the group a gift they didn’t know they needed: the reminder that life may not always be fair and sometimes it’s painful, but there’s always another day.

With Shelley Shepard Gray’s signature “thought-provoking, emotional” (Patricia Davids, USA TODAY bestselling author) prose, Promises of Tomorrow is a moving story of love, friendship, and faith.

Marshmallow Malice (An Amish Candy Shop #5) by Amanda Flower

marshmallow

Pages: 336

Publisher: Kensington

Published: May 26, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: The Amish Candy Shop Mystery series is guaranteed to give you a few hours of laughs. Jethro, the pig, steals the show each and every book. If you haven’t read the previous books in the series, just close your eyes and imagine a pig being carried around like a baby who is dressed up in something polka dot. Now, tell me you didn’t feel yourself smiling. Smiling is what you will do plenty of even while solving a murder or two.

Again, Flower has provided us with a clean murder mystery with no unnecessary gory details, no foul language, and no sex scenes. It is definitely a series I would share with a teenager looking to get into the cozy mystery world.

Word of warning, be prepared to crave everything chocolate. I found myself craving a wedding cake with marshmallow topping and I have never had one with that topping. Flower does such a good job describing sweets you will be craving things you’ve never had.

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: With Juliet Brody and Reverend Brook tying the knot in Ohio’s Amish Country’s most anticipated nuptials of the year, Bailey King is determined to do everything in her power to make the event a sweet success. Except midsummer heat waves and outdoor ceremonies don’t mix, and an exasperated Bailey soon finds herself struggling to fulfill bridesmaid duties and keep her stunning marshmallow-frosted wedding cake from becoming a gooey disaster. Then much to everyone’s shock, the entire ceremony crumbles when a guest drops dead, and the cause isn’t sunstroke . . .

Turns out, the uninvited victim came equipped with lots of dirt on the devout reverend’s hidden past. As Reverend Brook tops the murder suspect list on what should have been the happiest day of his life, Bailey and her sheriff’s deputy boyfriend vow to clear his name. Can the duo boil down a series of baffling clues before Juliet considers her marriage a bad mistake—or the killer whips up another deadly surprise?

Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey

feels

Pages: 397

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: April 28, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I have wanted to read her Southern Side of Paradise series for some time now so when I had the chance to read Feels Like Falling I jumped right on it and was not disappointed.

Feels Like Falling is full of Southern funnies, beachy feels, and romance. It is the perfect read for your beach vacation or those like me wishing I was at the beach. It has the right amount of steaminess but is in no way tawdry. You will find yourself cheering for love to win. Diana is my favorite character and I think she is the star.

Grab your umbrella drink, put your phone on do not disturb, and settle in for a good read.

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:

THE INSTANT USA TODAY BESTSELLER
A Spring 2020 Okra Pick
Parade’s 20 Most Anticipated Books of Early 2020
Goodreads’ It Book of Summer Top Reviewers Pick
SheKnows’ 10 of the Most Anticipated Books Coming in 2020
Mary Kay Andrews’ Reading Challenge Women’s Fiction Pick
Travel + Leisure’s 20 Books to Gift This Mother’s Day
Working Mother’s 20 Most Anticipated Books of 2020 for Working Moms
Brit + Co 12 Books That Will Take You on a Literary Vacation

From “the next major voice in Southern fiction” (Elin Hilderbrand) and the bestselling author of the Peachtree Bluff series comes an odd-couple tale of friendship that asks just how much our past choices define our happiness.

It’s summertime on the North Carolina coast and the livin’ is easy.

Unless, that is, you’ve just lost your mother to cancer, your sister to her extremist husband, and your husband to his executive assistant. Meet Gray Howard. Right when Gray could use a serious infusion of good karma in her life, she inadvertently gets a stranger, Diana Harrington, fired from her job at the local pharmacy.

Diana Harrington’s summer isn’t off to the greatest start either: Hours before losing her job, she broke up with her boyfriend and moved out of their shared house with only a worn-out Impala for a bed. Lucky for her, Gray has an empty guest house and a very guilty conscience.

With Gray’s kindness, Diana’s tide begins to turn. But when her first love returns, every secret from her past seems to resurface all at once. And, as Gray begins to blaze a new trail, she discovers, with Diana’s help, that what she envisioned as her perfect life may not be what she wants at all.

In her warmest, wisest novel yet, Kristy Woodson Harvey delivers a discerning portrait of modern womanhood through two vastly different lenses. Feels Like Falling is a beach bag essential for Harvey fans—and for a new generation of readers.

 

Amish Generations: Four Stories by Kathleen Fuller

generations

Pages: 368

Publisher: Harper Collins/Zondervan

Published: June 2, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Young Love—My favorite of the four stories as I can relate to Fern.

Long-Awaited Love—An enjoyable read and makes you think about how many relationships we know that are similar.

Second-Chance Love—I enjoyed the exchange of letters between the characters.

Never Too Late—Provided laughs and lets the reader believe in love at any age.

Perfect for teenagers and up as a clean read.

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

NetGalley: Four sweet and funny Amish love stories, spanning four different generations. Love comes at all times and for all ages!

Young Love—When Fern was diagnosed with a chronic illness in her early twenties, she knew it would limit her abilities to be a good Amish wife. And with Dan, the object of her affection, in a serious relationship, there didn’t seem much point in dating. But Dan is now single, and he seems to be taking notice of Fern. She’ll need a strong dose of courage to talk down the fear her illness has brought on if she ever wants to pursue her dreams.

Long-Awaited Love—When Everett left ten years ago, Jemima’s love quickly turned to hate. But when they arrive back home at the same bus station on the same day, they discover some old flames aren’t put out so easily. Can they move past the forces that pulled them apart ten years ago, or are some hurts too much to overcome?

Second-Chance Love—Benjamin and Lora Beth both lost spouses not long into their young marriages and connect over letters, exchanging recipes and commiseration as their now-grown children try to coddle them. They’re only in their forties, for heaven’s sake! The letters quickly reveal a deep friendship . . . or could it be more? When you’ve already had a great love, how do you learn to fall in love again?

Never Too Late—Jerald is a committed old bachelor. He loves nothing more than good Amish food and giving his best friend’s wife, Regina, a hard time. When people have asked—and believe him, people have asked—he’s always said he’ll marry when he finds the right woman. It’s just never happened in his seventy years. Until he tastes the best blueberry pie and discovers the woman behind it: Regina’s best friend, Elva.

 

On Ocean Boulevard (The Beach House #6) by Mary Alice Monroe

ocean

Pages: 381

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: May 15, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: The Beach House series was a series that my mom and I shared every summer. I feel in love with the series because it centered around sea turtles and my mom loved the setting. She was so excited about the release date but unfortunately, she did not get to read it before passing. I opened the book expecting to be too sad to read it but Mary Alice writes with such beauty that I felt comforted. The sense of family made me think of my mom and I felt like I was able to cross my first speed bump in the grief process.

I have no idea if there are to be more in the series but in case there is not I felt like On Ocean Boulevard came full circle from book one. Cara, Emmi, Flo, and other characters are family. You fall in love with book one and never want it to end. I believe this will be a series that I will read over and over again.

If you love the ocean, the Lowcountry, sea turtles, and/or how to conserve our environment for our future generations this is the series for you. You can start with any book as each is written as a stand-alone. The books are best read with a glass of sweet tea in your hand.

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: Instant New York Times Bestseller

The New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Guests returns at long last to her beloved Isle of Palms in this breathtaking novel about one family’s summer of forging new beginnings against the enduring beauty and resilience of the natural world.

It’s been sixteen years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. Over those years, she has weathered the tides of deaths and births, struggles and joys. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again.

Meanwhile, the rest of the storied Rutledge family is also in flux. Cara’s niece Linnea returns to Sullivan’s Island to begin a new career and an unexpected relationship. Linnea’s parents, having survived bankruptcy, pin their hopes and futures on the construction of a new home on Ocean Boulevard. But as excitement over the house and wedding builds, a devastating illness strikes the family and brings plans to a screeching halt. It is under these trying circumstances that the Rutledge family must come together yet again to discover the enduring strength in love, tradition, and legacy from mother to daughter to granddaughter.

Like the sea turtles that come ashore annually on these windswept islands, three generations of the Rutledge family experience a season of return, rebirth, and growth. “Authentic, generous, and heartfelt” (Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author), On Ocean Boulevard is Mary Alice Monroe at her very best.

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?

Home to Stay (A Little Child Shall Lead Them #2) by Loree Lough

stay

Pages: 352

Publisher: Kensington Books

Published: April 28, 2020

Rating: 3.5/4 stars out of 5

My Review: I found myself almost giving up multiple times throughout the beginning of the book. I was a depressing read and I felt depressed as I read. It may have been what was going on in my personal life as I was reading (death of my mom) that caused me to think it was too depressing of a read.

The second half was better than the first for me. It saved the book and why it ended up four stars.

It is a clean read. Triggers of abuse, drug addiction, suicide, and depression.

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

NetGalley: In the New Order Amish community of Pleasant Valley, a helping hand is never far away, and a baby’s smile can be reason enough to start over—and risk love again . . .

Since losing his family in a tragic accident, building contractor Max Lambright can’t seem to find purpose in anything but hard work . . . until he meets feisty newcomer, Willa Reynolds. As she struggles to make a new life for herself and her baby girl, she challenges him in just about every possible way. Dare he hope that, alongside this spirited woman, he might rekindle his lost faith, and find the path to love and the family he craves?

Poor choices and a difficult past have inspired Willa to make better decisions for her precious Frannie, even if it means leaving the familiar behind and starting over . . . among strangers. As she adapts to the Amish ways, she learns about Max’s generous and steadfast nature. The loneliness he tries so hard to mask can’t be hidden . . . not from a woman with something to prove: Together, they can build their friendship into something that will forever stand as the cornerstone of a happy family . . .

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.