The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe

summer

Pages: 368

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: June 11, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast—the peach trees are ripe, the ocean is warm, and the sweet tea is icy. A perfect time to enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm surface bubbles a threat: it’s also peak hurricane season.

When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends Grace and Charles Phillips in North Carolina: the Phillips’s daughter Moira and her rescue dogs, famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz, makeup artist Hannah McLain, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and island resident Cara Rutledge. They bring with them only a few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but the Phillips, they must ride out the storm together.

During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn’t what they brought with them to the mountains. Rather, it’s what they’ll take with them once they leave.

My Review: Mary Alice Monroe is my go to Southern writer every summer. I live for her view of the beach, sea life and Southern family drama. It allows me a vacation when I can’t take one.

The Summer Guests is a different summer southern read. The focus is on how a hurricane displaces more than people. Families have to find shelter for their pets from million dollar horses to the tiniest puppy. Living so far from the ocean, these are concerns I do not think about when listening to the news. Monroe does an exceptional job of letting one know about this issue.

Fans of southern fiction need to add this to their “must read” list for the summer. You will not be disappointed.

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

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.

The Amish Midwife’s (Love and Promises #2 Secret by Rachel J. Good

midwife

Pages: 385

Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

Published: November 27, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Kyle left his hometown behind after a heartbreaking young romance and a devasting accident with no plans to ever return. When the local doctor asks him to take over his medical practice, Kyle feels the need to help. What Kyle did not expect was to fall in love with Leah. Leah is the Amish midwife who believes that holistic healing herbs and faith in God are the best healing medicines. Can Kyle and Leah overcome their differences to let love have a chance?

This book kept me up way past my bedtime more times than I can count. I also found myself ignoring everything that needed to be accomplished after work just so I could dive back into Kyle and Leah’s story. You cannot help but believe in love and the power of love when you read this story. I became a little weepy as I read because it was so tender.

I am also more interested in the holistic healing properties of organic herbal teas for chronic illness. I have found a new interest. Leah’s story was very convincing in how well they can work.

This is the second book in the Love and Promises series but each book can be read as a stand-alone. It is a beautiful Christian romance with no obscene sexual overtones or scenes, no foul language and not overly religious (meaning scripture verses on every page). I would feel comfortable giving this to a teen girl or my ninety-year-old grandmother to read.

I received a copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) 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.

jr

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 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.

The Spook in the Stacks (Lighthouse Library Mystery #4) by Eva Gates

spook stacks

Pages: 309 (Hardback)

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publisher: June 12, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Loved!

Lucy loves working as a librarian in Outer Banks, NC but is not a fan of Halloween. She knows she must suck it up and roll with the flow until she finds the body of Jay Ruddle during one of the library’s Halloween celebrations. Jay had narrowed it down to the library and a local college to leave his extension collection of historical documents pertaining to NC. Can Lucy find the killer and save the donation before the spirits of the holiday take over?

This is book four in the Lighthouse Library Mystery series but the first for me. I enjoyed reading about Lucy and all the library staff. I have already downloaded that first book in the series to my kindle so I may get caught up. I was able to pick right up with who was who even though I came in the middle of the series. Eva Gates does a great job in giving background info on important characters.

I had no idea who the killer was until it was revealed and that I appreciate as it means the author did a great job in keeping the info under wraps until it was time. She also does a great job in not having too many characters.

A series I am definitely going to catch up on. If you love libraries, librarians and books this is the series for you. It is clean with no foul language. Being that it is Halloween themed there are mention of ghosts and it is questionable if the marsh ghosts make an appearance. You will need to read to find out.

I received a complimentary copy from the author. Any and all opinions expressed in the review are entirely my own.

Death by a Whisker (A Cat Rescue Mystery #2) by T. C. LoTempio

death by a whisker

Pages: 318 (eBook)

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: February 13, 2018

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Since returning to Deer Park, NC, Sydney has been helping her sister run the Friendly Paws Animal Shelter. They are in need of money to keep the shelter running and provide much needed upgrades. A fundraiser has been planned with a famous author at the local bookshop. Unfortunately, the author experiences a nasty accident and is unable to attend. They decide to turn to Ulla Townsend, a local girl who made it big. While at the fundraiser, Ulla falls victim to a fatal accident. Can Sydney solve the crime without upsetting someone who is close to her?

This is a fast-paced cozy mystery that can be read quickly. I thought it was good but not one of my favorites as it did not hold my interest exclusively. I cannot pin point why as the writing and plot were good. Maybe my interest was not as keen since it was not a culinary cozy, which are my favorite.

I have not read the first book in the series but I did not feel as if I missed anything nor did I feel lost as I was reading. The author did a great job giving brief backgrounds of the characters. It does appear there could be a love triangle brewing for the main character, Sydney. I’m not sure Will is her “ride or die”. It would be interesting to follow this particular story line.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for a copy to read in exchange for an honest review in my own words.