Murder in the Storybook Cottage (A Book Retreat Mystery #6) by Ellery Adams

storybook

Pages: 320

Published: April 28, 2020

Publisher: Kensington

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was scheduled to read and review this book on the release date of April 28, 2020, but unfortunately, my mama passed away three days prior and I was unable to do so. When I was able to read again Ellery Adams was able to bring a sense of comfort and love when needed. Her characters feel like friends every time you open up a book.

Even though a murder or two occurs in the book love shines through in many forms. We have the love of lovers during Valentine’s Day, the love of our fellow man no matter the age, race or gender, and the love of books. I was reminded so much of my mama. She introduced to me at a very young age the love of books and reading. She continued to nurture that love up until her passing. Valentine’s Day was a time for her to shower those she loved with cute cards and treats. Most importantly she taught me to love others by seeing what was inside and not on the outside.

The ending left me happy and eagerly anticipating the next book. I am not going to say anything more as I want you to be as surprised as I.

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

A Beautiful Arrangement (Amish Journeys #3) by Beth Wiseman

beautiful

Pages: 336

Publisher: Zondervan

Published: April 7, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: A moving story that leaves tears in your eyes as you close the book.

Lydia and Samuel’s story teaches us how even the littlest lies can turn into a bigger problem that can tear lives apart. At times I would get frustrated at Lydia then I had to remind myself that she is only seventeen. No matter her upbringing, being a mom and wife at seventeen has to be extremely hard. She is just learning herself as an adult instead of a kid. Her maturity by the end of the book was absolutely amazing. A lot of love and understanding can go a long way.

A Beautiful Arrangement talks about unwed pregnancy, young marriage, dementia/mental illness and community. A book that I would share with an older teen on up. A clean read with no sex scenes, no foul language, and no violence.

I am sad to see this series end. It has been a beautiful series to read.

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

 

NetGalley: Lydia still can’t believe that she is Mrs. Samuel Bontrager. Or that she is seventeen with a six-month-old daughter. As Baby Mattie grows fussier by the day, Lydia wonders how she will survive a lifetime of marriage to a man she doesn’t love—at least not in the way she wants.

Samuel knows that he and Lydia did the right thing by marrying when Lydia became pregnant. He has even grown to love Lydia, though he never seems able to say the words out loud. What if she doesn’t love him back? After all, she pushes him away whenever he tries to draw closer.

When Lydia and Samuel introduce their mutual friends Beverly and Joseph to each other, they are as envious as they are delighted to watch their friends fall in love. But just as Samuel thinks Lydia might be softening to him, she gets involved in investigating the mysterious past of a local homeless woman—a curiosity that threatens to drive the couple further apart.

The third and final novel in the Amish Journeys series by bestselling author Beth Wiseman explores how wounds from the past must come to light before they can hope to heal.

The Book Charmer (Dove Pond #1) by Karen Hawkins

charmer

Pages: 369

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: July 30, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I am ashamed to admit I have had this on my NetGalley account for almost a year. The excerpt was intriguing but it seemed every time I started to read the book I lost interest. It is personal. I have a parent who is showing signs of dementia and I had a hard time reading about Mama G. Finally during this time of social distancing I opened up the book and was entranced. It was still hard to read regarding dementia but it actually helped me process what I am going through.

The book is filled with a little magic, a little romance and a lot of agapae love. You find yourself believing things will be alright in the grand scheme of things. Faith in yourself and others will get you through most anything.

I agree with a few other reviews I’ve read that the ending felt rushed but that was ok. It is kind of like real life in that we have months that are filled to capacity with things and other months that are not.

I am ready to read the next book in the series which I believe may be coming out this summer.

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

NetGalley: New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins crafts an unforgettable story about a sleepy Southern town, two fiercely independent women, and a truly magical friendship.

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.

“A mesmerizing fusion of the mystical and the everyday” (Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author), The Book Charmer is a heartwarming story about the magic of books that feels more than a little magical itself. Prepare to fall under its spell.

The Body in the Apartment (A Jazzi Sanders #4) by Judi Lynn

apartment

Pages: 204

Publisher: Kensington

Published: March 17, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: This is a series that has only improved with each book. I was not exactly thrilled with the first book as I felt it had too much romance and I am a cozy reader who doesn’t like a lot of romance in her cozy mysteries. Now that Ansel and Jazzy are married the romance is where it should be.

Not much has changed between Jazzi and Ansel except they have some discussions on having a baby. I really hope that does not happen as I think it would change the entire tone of the series. Jazzi is such a neat character in that she does a lot of what some consider “man” work in her house flipping business. I like being able to read about a strong female in a profession that used to be heavily male-dominated.

We learn more about Ansel’s family. Two of his brothers are in this book. They aren’t as bad as previously thought. Their upbringing was just terrible and unfortunately, that is all they knew. Seeing Ansel escape and live his own life has encouraged them.

The mystery kept me guessing until the end. I like that. When I start being able to figure out the killer in a series then I usually lose interest.

This is a clean read but there is some violence with the murders.

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: The charming homes of River Bluffs, Indiana, make perfect projects for house-flipper Jazzi Zanders. Less charming is her hothead brother-in-law, who’s a bit of a fixer-upper himself. But could he also be a murderer?

Jazzi married her gorgeous contractor Ansel—not his family. But somehow she keeps living with them. So she’s delighted to help Ansel’s brother Radley move out of their home and into his own place, in the same building as his work supervisor, Donovan. But when Donovan is shot and his apartment ransacked following an argument with Ansel and Radley’s older brother Bain, their sibling becomes a suspect—especially after his missing gun turns up as the murder weapon.

Told not to leave town by Detective Gaff, big brother moves in with . . . Jazzi and Ansel. Now Jazzi needs to prove Bain’s no killer, not only to keep him out of jail—but to get him out of their house. What was the killer looking for in Donovan’s apartment? And what will happen to the next person who gets in the way?

The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz

grace

Pages: 384

Publisher: Harlequin – Graydon House Books

Published: March 3, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A beautiful 3 generational story that will leave you filled with hope and love. I loved how it showed the importance of honoring our past. Our past helps make up who we are today whether we realize it or not.

My favorite storyline was the bride’s mother. There were many surprises that when revealed tied so much together and made the story.

The title is what drew me to this book as I remember reading a paperback over and over again throughout middle and high school about Grace Kelly. The cover had a picture of her in her wedding dress. I wish I still had the book.

This book is for all romance, fiction, and fans of weddings.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Harlequin – Graydon House Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above reviews are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Two years after Grace Kelly’s royal wedding, her iconic dress is still all the rage in Paris—and one replica, and the secrets it carries, will inspire three generations of women to forge their own paths in life and in love.

Paris, 1958: Rose, a seamstress at a fashionable atelier, has been entrusted with sewing a Grace Kelly—look-alike gown for a wealthy bride-to-be. But when, against better judgment, she finds herself falling in love with the bride’s handsome brother, Rose must make an impossible choice, one that could put all she’s worked for at risk: love, security and of course, the dress.

Sixty years later, tech CEO Rachel, who goes by the childhood nickname “Rocky,” has inherited the dress for her upcoming wedding in New York City. But there’s just one problem: Rocky doesn’t want to wear it. A family heirloom dating back to the 1950s, the dress just isn’t her. Rocky knows this admission will break her mother Joan’s heart. But what she doesn’t know is why Joan insists on the dress—or the heartbreaking secret that changed her mother’s life decades before, as she herself prepared to wear it.

As the lives of these three women come together in surprising ways, the revelation of the dress’s history collides with long-buried family heartaches. And in the lead-up to Rocky’s wedding, they’ll have to confront the past before they can embrace the beautiful possibilities of the future.

His Unexpected Amish Twins (Unexpected Amish Blessings #1) by Rachel J. Good

twins

Pages: 368

Publisher: Kensington

Published: February 25, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I’m excited about this series based on the first book. I found this book provided a fresh approach to Amish fiction. It is a complex story of grief from three different points of view, addiction in an Amish world, fear from a man’s point of view, and a strong Amish business owner in a business other than the typical culinary business.

My interest was riveted from the first page to the last. It is a clean romance with parts that are tissue worthy.

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: When Micah Miller’s brother and sister-in-law are killed in a buggy accident, he’s devastated. But he fulfills the promise he made when their twins were born seven years earlier: to raise Jabin and Chloe should tragedy strike. Still, coping with the children’s grief as well as his own requires extra support. He’s surprised to find an Amish farm that offers just that . . .

Hope Graber had to find a way to save the family farm after her daed’s health forced him to stop breeding horses. Providing animal therapy proved to be the answer—thanks to the help of expert trainer Logan Russell. Together, they not only pay the bills, they make positive changes in children’s lives. Hope loves working with each child, but she takes a special interest in the Miller twins. She even makes Micah smile again—and he does the same for her. In fact, as Micah emerges from his depression, he longs to make them one happy family. But will Hope’s debt to her Englisch trainer, and their close partnership, stand in the way?

Murder Makes Scents (A Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery #2) by Christin Brecher

scents

Pages: 272

Publisher: Kensington

Published: February 25, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: This series has quickly become one of my new favorites. I love the location of Nantucket. Especially during this unexpected, questionable time. I feel like I can truly escape.

I enjoyed that this book focused on a positive relationship with her mom. So many books focus on the negativity between adult children and their parents that I found it refreshing that Stella and her mom enjoyed a trip together. Although I am not sure the mystery and solving of the mystery were entirely believable and that was ok. Sometimes we need the unbelievable to pass the time. Stella sure found an exciting way to bring in her 30th birthday. I believe I would prefer something a little more boring to bring in my birthday.

I am excited to learn that a 3rd book is already in production. This series provides candle information at the end of each novel. Very interesting.

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: Stella Wright loves creating candles at her Nantucket store—and she also has a burning passion for justice. Now, after visiting a perfume conference, she must solve a vial crime . . .

Stella and her globe-trotting mom, Millie, have come home from a perfume industry conference in Paris, where their trip was marred by witnessing the stabbing death of a young man. It’s a relief for Stella to be back on her picturesque island, with the comforting company of her cat, Tinker. But lingering danger may have followed them back across the ocean.

After someone breaks into her candle store, the Wick & Flame, Stella starts feeling spooked. And just as things threaten to ignite, Millie suffers a blow to the head. Stella receives an anonymous note claiming that her mother smuggled a secret formula out of France—and threatening her life if it isn’t returned. Now Stella’s picked up the scent of a cold-hearted criminal and an intriguing puzzle, and things are about to get wicked . . .

An Amish Picnic by Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Kathleen Fuller and Vannetta Chapman

picnic

Pages: 400

Publisher: Zondervan

Published: March 3, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A comforting read during this time of fear and uncertainty. A read that provides a few hours of escapism.

For fans of Amy Clipston, we get to know more about Phoebe from The Bake Shop. A great story to gently show up how we can make things more difficult than we need to at times.

Kelly Irvin reminds us love and friendship can be found in the most obvious places, right in front of our face.

Kathleen Fuller lets us know that family and friends are always willing to give you that gentle or not so gentle push towards love.

My favorite is the story from Vannetta Chapman. We get two love stories wrapped in one. When love is meant to be it will find a way no matter how long it takes.

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

NetGalley: From bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four sweet stories about picnics and romance.

Baskets of Sunshine by Amy Clipston
Kevin Weaver has lived with his brother’s family since his parents passed away when he was young, but he craves a home and family to call his own. Freeman Kurtz owns a successful brick mason business, and Kevin takes the job as Freeman’s apprentice to pursue his own financial freedom.

Phoebe Kurtz is helping her sister with her booth at the marketplace when she notices Kevin, her father’s employee. Their friendship grows, but Kevin is convinced that the difference in their ages makes a relationship between them impossible. Amidst summer outings, Kevin and Phoebe must decide if taking a chance on love is worth the risk.

Candlelight Sweethearts by Kelly Irvin
Esther Marie Shrock loves her job at Valley Grocery Store where she’s worked for four years. Despite a stutter that has plagued her since childhood, she thrives filling orders from a steady stream of customers. Still, at 25, she and her family wonder if romance is in her future.

Jasper Cotter isn’t good with people, but he’s found himself obligated to take over day-to-day operations of the family-owned grocery store—a store he doesn’t have the first clue how to run. Thrown together, Esther Marie and Jasper don’t exactly see eye to eye. One night, the store loses power, and the candles aren’t the only things shooting off sparks. Esther Marie and Jasper are suddenly forced to discover common ground when it matters most, and they might be surprised with love along the way.

Reeling in Love by Kathleen Fuller
Nina Stoll and Ira Yoder are just friends. Just friends and fishing buddies. Every Saturday afternoon, they have a picnic at their favorite fishing hole and see who can out fish the other. Until Nina starts to wonder if there’s more.

Her plans to share her feelings go awry and circumstances seem destined to keep Nina and Ira apart. With both Nina and Ira confused and hurting, it’s going to take courage, some help from the community matchmakers, and a little bit of divine intervention for Nina and Ira to realize they’re each other’s perfect catch.

Picnics and Prospects by Vannetta Chapman
Faith Troyer is claustrophobic, and David Lapp builds tiny houses. They went on a date years ago with disastrous results. Now that they’re in their late twenties, their families and friends are beginning to wonder if either will ever find that special someone. When a picnic outing is diverted by the discovery of a package of letters dating back to the 1970s, they take it upon themselves to find answers to a mystery that causes them to rethink their past and consider their future.

The Elephant by Peter Carnavas

elephant

Pages: 176

Publisher: Myrick Marketing and Media LLC

Published: March 17, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I solely picked this book based on the title and was greatly surprised by how deep the theme of the story. We met Olive who along with her family is working through the grief after the death of her mother.

While this may be considered a middle grade/children’s fiction book I think adults could get a lot of info from this. One is how children are more perceptive to what we as adults are experiencing and feeling. We try to keep on a happy face in front of them but they know when we are upset or are bothered. A lot of children will try their hardest to fix us but do not understand why their fix is not working.

Another review mentioned she was a little worried that this book would convince children that with a little hard work they could fix the adult troubles and that is not always the case. My personal opinion is that it shows children that with hard work they can overcome their own grief and depression when the time is right.

I am intrigued to look into the author’s other works.

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

NetGalley: A jewel of a middle-grade novel about a resilient little girl who longs for her dad to break free from the elephant of his depression.

When Olive’s dad drags himself to work in the morning, the elephant goes with him. When he comes home again, so does the elephant. It’s always there, heavy and silent, casting a shadow of sadness over him. Olive knows it has been like this since her mother passed away when she was a year old, and she can’t stand to see her father burdened anymore. With help from her grandfather and her best friend Arthur, she hatches a plan to rid her family of the elephant once and for all.

Before long, she’ll learn that while happiness isn’t that simple, small things can move mountains—or elephants.

Award-winning author-illustrator Peter Carnavas portrays a child’s response to her father’s depression with naïve wisdom. In defiance of the looming grey presence, The Elephant is an intergenerational story of resilience, family, and hope.

Judy Moody and Friends: Prank You Very Much by Megan McDonald

judy

Pages: 64

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Published: March 10, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A good book for young elementary school readers. It would be a good read-aloud for first graders.

Illustrations have great detail and will draw the littlest reader’s attention.

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: Judy can’t wait for her mischief to bear fruit when Stink discovers that his backyard science project is an overnight success. Hardy-har-har!

Prankenstein strikes again! The Summer Science Showdown is just around the corner, and Stink is positive that he has the recipe for a winning entry. Soon he’s acting like a mad scientist, with strong-smelling potions in hand and visions of super tomatoes dancing in his head. Judy takes one look at her busy brainiac brother and sees a situation ripe for a little mischief! Everyone knows that Judy has never met a practical joke she doesn’t like, and soon the Princess of Pranks is cooking up a recipe of her own. From Megan McDonald comes an epic match of wits in a Judy Moody story perfect for newly independent readers.