Beaches, Bungalows, and Burglaries (A Camper & Criminal Cozy Mystery #1) by Tonya Kappes

camper

Pages: 286

Published: May 25, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I can’t believe it took a round of book bingo to get me started on this series. It’s perfect for me as it takes place in a campground, set in Kentucky, and is a cozy mystery.

I laughed so much while reading. Mae West is a breeze of fresh air. She may be a little clueless but she definitely provides entertainment.

I was shocked by the murderer. I had it wrong all along. I’m trying to figure out what clues I missed.

Book two is definitely in my near future.

Goodreads: Welcome to Normal, Kentucky~ where nothing is normal.

Mae West, a far cry from the Hollywood actress, has been thrown for a loop. Her plush lifestyle in the big city of New York comes to a screeching halt after the FBI raids her mansion and arrests her husband, Paul West, for a Ponzi scheme that rips people out of millions of dollars.

Mae finds herself homeless, friendless, and penniless. All hope isn’t lost…the only thing Mae got to keep that the government didn’t seize is a tourist campground, Happy Trails, in Normal, Kentucky, and an RV to live in. One problem, Mae’s idea of camping has room service.

By the look of the brochure, Happy Trails has plush Kentucky Bluegrass, a crystal clear lake, a beach chair with her name on it, and thoughts of how much money it could bring her after she sells it. Mae figures she’ll take a couple weeks vacation with her toes dipped in the lake. Things aren’t always as they appear. The Kentucky Bluegrass is nothing but dirt and the crystal clue lake is murky with green slime on top.

Mae quickly finds out that Happy Trails and the citizens of Normal were also victims of Paul’s schemes, making her lower than the lake scum in the residents’ eyes. Mae doesn’t think things could get much worse, but as luck would have it, Paul West has escaped from prison and is found dead, murdered, floating in the Happy Trails mucky green lake.

Mae is the number one suspect on Detective Hank Sharp’s shortlist. After all, Mae has the perfect motive as a kept wife who has been scorned to ashes, embarrassed to death and seeking revenge.

Time is running out for Mae to prove that she’s innocent and nothing like her husband. If only she could get someone to believe her and talk Detective Sharp into looking at other residents who’ve lost all their savings to Paul’s Ponzi scheme before the curtain is closed on this Hollywood namesake.

Nacho Average Murder (Country Store #7) by Maddie Day

nacho

Pages: 258

Publisher: Kensington

Published: June 30, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I find it fun to read at least one book in a series where the main character takes a vacation. It makes them more real to me.

In book 7 of the Country Store series, we go to California with Robbie for her high school reunion. It was the perfect vacation to take with Robbie during the Covid-19 restrictions. We get to visit sunny Santa Barbara and “taste” some very yummy food and my favorite were the dishes with avocado as I am always looking for new ways to eat avocados. Of course, it would not be a cozy mystery without an unfortunate murder. This one had me guessing to the big reveal. I liked the addition of her high school best friend as her investigating sidekick but I will be happy to have the regulars back in book 8.

I listened to a few chapters of the audiobook from my library app, Hoopla, and I was not fond of the narrator. She is not bad but her voice did not match how I think Robbie sounds.

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

NetGalley: Robbie Jordan is temporarily leaving Pans ’N Pancakes, her country store in South Lick, Indiana, to visit Santa Barbara, California—where wildfire smoke tinges the air, but a more immediate danger may lie in wait . . .

While looking forward to her high school reunion back in California, Robbie’s anticipation is complicated by memories of her mother’s untimely death. At first, she has fun hanging out with her old classmates and reuniting with the local flavors—avocados, citrus, fish, and spicy Cali-Mex dishes. But then she gets wind of rumors that her mother, an environmental activist, may not have died of natural causes. With the help of friends, Robbie starts clearing the smoke surrounding the mystery—but what she finds could make it hard to get back to Indiana alive . . .

Includes Recipes for You to Try!

South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber

buttonwood

Pages: 330

Publisher: Forge Books

Published: July 21, 2020

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

My Review: Have you ever read a book that left you feeling peaceful and happy but at the same time angry for the injustice a character received? South of the Buttonwood Tree has left me with those feelings.

There is so much I want to say but I don’t want to ruin a moment of this book by giving too much away. Webber had my attention captivated from the beginning. I made myself slow down in reading so i wouldn’t miss a thing by reading too fast.

The moral of the story is perfect right now. Don’t judge others as you probably don’t know the whole story. Plus a little love and compassion can go a long way in helping someone.

The book is full of magical realism which if you follow my book blog I’m not normally a fan of but when it is done right I love it. This is the second magical realism book this month for me and both have been very good.

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

NetGalley: USA Today bestselling author Heather Webber’s South of the Buttonwood Tree is a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town Southern charm.

Blue Bishop has a knack for finding lost things. While growing up in charming small-town Buttonwood, Alabama, she’s happened across lost wallets, jewelry, pets, her wandering neighbor, and sometimes, trouble. No one is more surprised than Blue, however, when she comes across an abandoned newborn baby in the woods, just south of a very special buttonwood tree.

Sarah Grace Landreneau Fulton is at a crossroads. She has always tried so hard to do the right thing, but her own mother would disown her if she ever learned half of Sarah Grace’s secrets.

The unexpected discovery of the newborn baby girl will alter Blue’s and Sarah Grace’s lives forever. Both women must fight for what they truly want in life and for who they love. In doing so, they uncover long-held secrets that reveal exactly who they really are—and what they’re willing to sacrifice in the name of family.

Piece by Piece by Laura Bradford

piece

Pages: 276

Publisher: Kensington

Published: July 28, 2020

Rating 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: Warning: Do not read without boxes of tissues by your side.

The author personally reached out to warn me this book might be hard for me to read so soon to my mama’s death. She was right BUT it has been the most healing book I have read.

Through Dani’s grief, I was reminded of how my mama is still with me every day. She is in my memories and my heart. Just like Dani’s mom, my mom was always there for me. Oh, the times I called her at 3am because I couldn’t sleep because of worry. She’d listen patiently, talk me through it, and tell me to get sleep and it would be better when I woke up. You know what? She was always right. My mom was my rock. She was right up to almost the very end.

Both Dani and Lydia’s stories will touch your soul. When you turn the last page you will feel as Laura Bradford says in the book that Dani and Lydia are your friends and are the “…rainbow after a storm.”

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

NetGalley: A grieving mother learns to heal in Amish country, in this heartfelt, beautifully told novel from national bestselling author Laura Bradford.

Danielle Parker is a gold-medal mom—the kind who volunteers in her children’s classrooms, shuttles them between activities, throws legendary birthday parties, and has a remedy on hand for any emergency. Whatever her husband, Jeff, and their children need, Dani is there, always.

Except for one day.

On that day—the day that Dani reluctantly takes some “me time” while her mom and Jeff drive the children to the park—the unthinkable happens. The car crash leaves no survivors. Somehow, Dani gets through the funerals and visits, accepting neighbors’ sympathy and dropped-off meals. All the while, guilt and grief make her wish the accident had claimed her life too. Then a call comes from Lydia Schlabach, an Amish woman Dani befriended in childhood. In addition to condolences, Lydia offers Dani something more: a place to escape to.

In Pennsylvania’s Amish country, Dani’s days take on a new rhythm, marked by the clip-clop of buggies and the bustle of chores. Lydia gives Dani space to mourn, to think, and to realize how long it’s been since she felt like a person in her own right. And with the help of friendships old and new, Dani learns about the ways life continues to surprise us—even after the deepest loss—with joy, love, and second chances. . . .

How to Save a Life by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

how

Pages: 301

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Published: July 14, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: It is a sign of a good book if I am interested from page one on a genre that I am not normally interested in, magical realism. I have found I am liking it more and more and this book solidified that thought. I could not put this book down and only because I had to be an adult did I.

The story of Dom and Mia is tragic, to say the least, and you pretty much know what is going to happen each Thursday (Groundhog Day) but you still find yourself hoping and pleading for a better outcome.

I loved the message at the end of the book.

A quick read that will have you hooked immediately.

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

NetGalley: The bestselling authors of The Good Widow deliver a modern, suspenseful twist on Groundhog Day that asks the question: How far are you willing to go to save the life of someone you love?

Dom is having a very bad day—one he literally can’t escape.

When Dom bumps into Mia, his ex-fiancée whom he hasn’t seen in almost a decade, he believes they’ve been given a second chance and asks her out. When Mia dies tragically on their date, Dom makes a desperate wish: to be given the chance to save her life. And when he wakes the next morning to the shock that she’s alive, he thinks his wish may have been granted. But day after day, no matter what he changes about their time together, she still meets a terrible fate.

Dom frantically searches for answers to save his beloved Mia and rekindle their former love. But the further he digs, the more obsessed he becomes, making him realize that slowing down time may be the only way to see things clearly. As he’s forced to confront the truth about himself and those he’s closest to, Dom vows that he’ll watch Mia die a thousand times if it means he can save her once.

Light Shines on Promise Lodge (Promise Lodge #5) by Charlotte Hubbard

light

Pages: 320

Publisher: Kensington

Published: March 31, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I enjoyed this series as it showed a side of strong Amish woman that you do not see a lot in Amish fiction. Light Shines on Promise Lodge is a great ending to the series. You are not left with any cliff hangers and as with every book in the series, it is a clean read.

I really enjoyed seeing Gloria’s character grow up through the series and come into a fine young lady. She is a character that will stay with you and make you see the younger generations in more understanding light. She reminds us that we were all younger at one time and might not have made the best decisions.

Each book can be read as a standalone but I think you get more from the series reading in order.

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: Readers who have fallen in love with Amish Romance legends such as Beverly Lewis and Cindy Windsmall, will be charmed by this heartfelt conclusion to Hubbard’s Promise Lodge series, as the progressive ways of the Promise Lodge community are threatened by dark times… until the light of truth and love lifts them up…

For abandoned wife Annabelle Beachey, Promise Lodge is a refuge where she’s gained confidence and self-sufficiency. But she and others are dismayed when newly arrived Bishop Clayton King claims the community is too progressive and sets out to change its ways. Worse, her husband, Phineas returns, expecting her to give up her faith as he has. And he won’t leave Promise Lodge without her . . .

But little by little, Annabelle’s determination and new forthrightness make Phineas realize his mistakes—and truly hear his wife for the first time. Meanwhile, Annabelle finds herself feeling compassion—and even renewed love—for her newly humble, more caring husband. And as Bishop Clayton’s attempt to control Promise Lodge threatens everything its residents have built, Phineas and Annabelle must work together with unshakeable courage to save their new home—and their opportunity for forever happiness.

 

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?

The Trustworthy One (Walnut Creek #4) by Shelley Shepard Gray

trustworthy

Pages: 302

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: May 5, 2020

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

My Review: I say each book in my series is my favorite and it is true. The series gets better and better. Kendra’s story was so real and filled with love from all aspects. I have laughed, cried, and swooned while reading.

The hardest part of the book for me to get past was the cover. After reading I am not sure if I would have used that cover considering Kendra owns a shop filled with yarn and other household notions and Nate owns a hardware store. Not that a book cover is what makes the book.

The Trustworthy One is filled with love and friendships but it also discusses hard stuff like drug addiction and abuse.

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: New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray returns to the charming and evocative Walnut Creek Series with an unforgettable novel following one broken young woman whose search for peace leads her back to her hometown, where she rediscovers her faith and reconnects with those she loves most.

Kendra Troyer always knew she would leave Walnut Creek the first chance she got. When she was accepted into design school, she tried her best not to look back at the four siblings she was abandoning, but ahead to Columbus, where she was determined to stay—far away from her abusive home and far away from Nate Miller, the boy she vowed to despise for the rest of her life.

Though she suffered through dark times in Columbus, Kendra found her faith in the Lord again, and years later, when she learned one of her good friends had died, she realized it was time to go home to those she left behind.

Back in Walnut Creek, Kendra has a life she never could have imagined: her own design shop, a pretty little house, and a tight-knit group of friends. After she settles down, though, unexpected visitors come knocking and dark memories begin to resurface. Complicating things even further is the ever-present Nate Miller, who now owns the hardware store two doors down and whose very presence stirs in Kendra a fierce need to turn away and hide from her past. But Nate is persistent in setting things right between them.

As Kendra tries to come to terms with the anger she holds from her childhood, will she be able to open her heart to forgiveness and find the comfort she has always longed for in Walnut Creek?

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.