The Teacher’s Bride (Amish Brides of Birch Creek) by Kathleen Fuller

teacher

Pages: 320

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: December 4, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Christian moved to Birch Creek to accept the teaching position and in hopes, it would widen his availability to find a wife. When a sprained ankle sidelines home for a few days, he has to depend on “accident waiting to happen” Ruby to cover his class. Will Christian be able to see past Ruby’s clumsiness to find the love she has to offer?

The Teacher’s Bride has plenty of laughs to offer between Christian and Ruby. You will be laughing out loud aplenty. I think many of yes will be able to relate to how both get nervous and tongue-tied and clumsy when wanting to impress someone.

My opinion on Christian’s sister, Selah, is still out. I had to remind myself several times as I was reading that she is only 19 years old and 19-year-olds can be very selfish and self-centered. I hope her story is explored more in a future novel.

I enjoy the way Kathleen Fuller writes. It like a warm hug on a cold night; comforting and welcoming. I would have no problems giving her books to young teen girls to read as they are clean and wholesome.

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

In Peppermint Peril (A Tea and Read Mystery) by Joy Avon

peppermint

Pages: 285

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: November 27, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Callie has moved back to Maine to help her Great Aunt with Book Tea. A fun tearoom that is filled with sweet bookish clues from beloved mysteries. They’ve agreed to cater a small party at Haywood Hall for Dorothea so she can make an announcement regarding her will. Unfortunately, several things occur, one of which is murder, that prevents the announcement from happening. Callie has taken it upon herself to find the killer. Will she succeed?

My favorite part of the book: Daisy, the Boston Terrier. I wish she had made the cover of the book. As a Boston Terrier owner, I am a sucker for books with one on the cover or as a character. Daisy doesn’t do much but eat and sleep but alas that is the life of a Boston.

As a debut cozy this series has a lot of potentials. I am curious how the town will progress, the direction of Callie and Deputy Falk’s friendship and Callie’s job at Book Tea. I was disappointed no recipes were shared at the end of the book. As a culinary cozy mystery, I have come to expect them. I would have enjoyed learning more about Iphy’s “The Duel”. It sounded yummy to eat and look at.

I will definitely be reading the second book in the series.

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.

Murder By the Book (Bookstore Mystery #1) by Lauren Elliott

murder

Pages: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Published: October 30, 2018

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Addie has moved to a little New England town to open a bookstore after her aunt’s death. The best present of all is the numerous first editions her aunt owned. Unfortunately, not everyone in town is appreciative of a Greybourne continuing the Greybourne legacy. One woman, in particular, the bakery owner next door, is trying to run Addie out of town. As Addie tries to figure out why the woman does not like her strange things start happening to Addie. A car tries to run her down, her new friend is arrested for murder, and “friends” from her past start acting strangely. Will Addie be able to prove her new friend is not a murderer before Addie is run out of town?

I cannot decide if I like the book or not. The mystery was very interesting but it felt very drawn out. I think because the author tried to give so much background into Addie and surrounding characters that eventually things started to get a bit muddled. Reflecting on what I have read now there are items I can’t remember and I know they are important.

I enjoyed learning about the world of rare first editions and the high theft of rare first editions. I guess I never really thought about books being a high ticket item for thieves. Early editions of the Bible yes but Alice in Wonderland, nope.

Will I read the second book? The jury is still out. I will reevaluate when it publishes.

Please do not take my opinions as a reason NOT to read this book. Just use my opinion as a caution. Please read the book and make up your own opinion.

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

 

The Body in the Attic (A Jazzi Zanders Mystery #1) by Judi Lynn

body

Pages: 220

Publisher: Kensington

Published: November 27, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Jazzi lives in River Bluffs, Indiana flipping houses with her cousin and smokin’ hot contractor Ansel. Their current house belonged to Cal, the ex-fiance of Jazzi’s aunt. Problem is they find Jazzi’s aunt stuffed in a trunk in the attic. Jazzi is on a mission to find out who killed her aunt. During the investigation, more secrets are dug up. Will Jazzi find the killer before the off button is flipped on her life?

I originally thought to give this book 3.5 stars but the mystery warranted 4 stars. What did I not like about the book? The constant bashing Jazzi did of Ansel’s girlfriend. Every time the girlfriend was mentioned she bashed her and it began to feel like bullying. I got it, Jazzi did not like her and she did have some unsavory qualities.

Jazzi’s romance moved way too quick. I don’t care she knew him already. I just don’t think good romances move that fast. The romance overshadowed the mystery unnecessarily at times. I almost feel as if there is nothing left to discover in additional books between Jazzi and her boyfriend unless they get married very quickly.

What did I like about the book? George the Pug! George is a very cute and spoiled pupper. The visual you get when reading Ansel carrying George up and down the stairs is precious. I liked the Sunday family dinners. The dinners added a good reality touch and showed how everyone is connected in some way. The mystery was excellent even if overshadowed.

I will read the second book in the series to see how the story progresses.

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

Deadly News (Britton Bay Mystery #1) by Jody Holford

deadly

Pages: 184

Publisher: Kensington

Published: October 30, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

One of the best debuts I’ve read in a while. Love the series already.

Molly is used to a life of moving from place to place with her dad being in the Army. After walking in on her now ex-boyfriend sizzling the sheets with his ex, Molly has decided to expand her horizons and work and live in a small town as the new editor of the local newspaper.

Molly pushes Vernon, to be the reporter he used to be and write with passion and dig deeper for the story. When he does not show up to work for the second day in a row, Molly takes her new position seriously and goes to his home to check on him. Unfortunately, she finds more than she bargained for with Vernon on the floor in a pool of his own blood. She realizes he was not a favorite of the town but who would want him dead? As Molly investigates she finds there is someone who doesn’t like her as well and the threats against her are mounting up faster than the heat between her and Sam, the local mechanic. Will Molly survive long enough to test the flames that Sam ignites?

I am always a little hesitant and guarded when I start a new series with an author I am not familiar with. First books in a series can make it or break it for me and this series was a pleasant surprise. I feel in love with the characters and the town from the beginning. I am disappointed that I cannot automatically start reading book two.

The mystery was one of the best I’ve read lately. Plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing. When the killer was revealed I was shocked. It was well hidden.

The language and romance were clean. An easy read, meaning you can stop at any point and be able to pick right back up without having to review. A perfect book to introduce someone to the cozy mystery club.

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

A Simple Christmas (Simple Gifts #3) by Charlotte Hubbard

simple

Pages: 368

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 25, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

It’s Christmas in Willow Ridge! Rosalyn is the only daughter left to take care of her father, Cornelius, and that is a job unto itself. To get away a few hours several days a week she has started working in Nora’s shop and selling her homemade wreaths. It also allows her to buy groceries and items for the house when needed since her dad has been receiving bills marked past due. While working one day, Amish bad boy, Marcus walks in and turns Rosalyn’s life upside down. She knows he is trouble but her heart thinks differently. Will Marcus be able to heal Rosalyn’s heart with his love when the unthinkable happens to her father and family?

A Simple Christmas is book 3 in the Simple Gifts series. For fans of Amish fiction, this is a must read series. It is a little edgy with some of their beliefs but it is a good edgy in my opinion. I think it shows there are Amish sects out there that are relaxing some beliefs to let them be sustainable in an ever-changing world that is becoming more and more dependent on technology. This community still believes in living in a simple world but understands it needs the English and the ability to communicate with them. Cells phones and computers can be a wonderful addition to a business but it does come with evils that can lead you far away. Your faith must be strong to not go down those dangerous paths. Just ask Cornelius.

Cornelius has always ruled with an iron fist but more so since his wife died and he moved his family to Willow Ridge. As the years go by he finds himself living a double life. A life that will eventually lead to his ruin. He thinks he can strong arm Rosalyn into staying and taking care of him but he does see that he is pushing her further and further away.

Rosalyn believes deep in her heart that she will always be a “maidel” the rest of her life and she is fine with that. What she is not fine with is taking care of her ungrateful father. She finds he is making her life more and more unbearable. If not for her job in Nora’s store, I have no idea how Rosalyn would have survived.

Each book in this series can be read as a stand-alone. You will find yourself loving the characters as much as I do. I dare you!

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

 

Forever Fudge (Candy-Coated Mystery #6) by Nancy CoCo

fudge

Pages: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Publisher: September 25, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Allie is getting ready for the official end of the tourist season with her Labor Day weekend guests. Her two employees are on their honeymoon so things are little busier for Allie. The last thing she needs is a TV crew and a egotistic actor invading her space. As Allie and Mal go for one of their daily walks around town, Mal does what she does best, finds a dead body. What is different and most frightening this time is a note to Allie is left with the body. Can Allie figure out what the notes are saying before someone close to her is killed?

The Candy-Coated series is a fun series that keeps you entertained from the beginning to the end. Allie’s grit and determination to keep her grandfather’s hotel and fudge shop going is commendable. Her love for the island and the people of the island is very heartwarming and something we don’t see very often. Nany CoCo’s writing is so believable that I expect to be able to walk right into Allie and the fudge shop if I visited Mackinac Island.

This is book six of the series and it is still going strong. I have not read all the books in the series but the writing is so good you can pick up any book and understand what is happening. As soon as the new year gets here I am going to catch up on this series.

Yummy fudge recipes are included in each book and some are only two or three ingredients and are very easy to fix. The perfect series to read around the holidays when fudge is a popular gift.

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

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

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Pages: 352

Publisher: Random House Publishing – Ballantine

Published: October 2, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I will start my review saying I will NOT discuss the political sides of abortion or whether I think it is right or wrong.

George Goddard, an upset father, takes it upon himself to teach the women and doctor at the state’s only abortion clinic a lesson, by taking them hostage. He blames everyone there, patients and staff, for what has happened to his daughter.

After the first shot was fired, Hugh McElroy, a hostage negotiator, was one of the first one scene. What he doesn’t realize is that his fifteen year old daughter is inside with her aunt, his sister. Hugh has depend on his training and the others inside to keep his daughter safe.

Through the eyes of a nurse who is a patient, the doctor who performs the abortions, a retired professor facing a death she cannot control, the distraught father, an anti abortion protestor, a young woman who felt abortion was her only way out and a scared teenager we learn of the many different reasons humans make the decisions they do.

You can guarantee that when you pick up a Jodi Picoult book you will be made to dig deep inside yourself and think. You may not agree with the issue being discussed but you will be forced to see the issue from every side.

I was not sure if I would like the narrative structure The Spark of Life was written in but by the end I was glad it was written backward, meaning we start with the most recent hour of the hostage standoff and work our way back to how it all began. It forced me to question why and take more of the facts given into consideration.

A great book for book clubs as many discussions can arise while reading. Expect tears and heartache as you read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Random House-Ballantine through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The First Love by Beverly Lewis

first love

Pages: 304

Publisher: Bethany House

Published: September 4, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

1951: It’s a summer of change and acceptance. Maggie is learning to deal with her chronic illness and help her younger siblings accept their new stepmom. A Mennonite tent revival has set up in town and Maggie attends at the urging of her Mennonite cousins. Will the meetings bring her closer to accepting her illness and accepting her stepmom or will the meetings take her away from her Amish faith?

I knew very little about Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis until reading Maggie’s story. JRA sounds absolutely terrible not to know day to day when you wake up on how you are going to feel and if you are going to be able to move or not.

I applaud Lewis for her positive stepmom portrayal. So many times we read stories of a terrible stepmom who hates her step kids. Being a stepmom myself it made my heart sing to see the stepmom as loving and trying to keep their mom’s memory alive. Yes, there are hard times but with love and patience hard times can be overcome.

My favorite story line was Maggie’s spiritual awakening. The thirst for understanding and believing was beautiful. There were a lot of biblical stories mentioned that I was not completely familiar with and has made me interested to read more of my Bible.

Lewis has written another story that reminds you of the beauty in the world.

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

The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White

glass

Audiobook: 14 hours

Publisher: William Morrow

Published: September 8, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A story of romance, illicit affairs, espionage, and tragedy.

It’s 2013 and Sarah Blake needs to find inspiration for her next best-selling book. At her wit’s end she opens her great-grandfather’s chest and discovers information that could be history changing regarding the sinking of the Lusitania.

Go back 98 years to April 1915 and we meet Caroline, a first-class passenger, who is married to Gilbert. Gilbert is very pre-occupied and Caroline hopes this cruise ignites a spark in their marriage. What she did not expect was to run into her first love, Robert Langford.

Tessa Fairweather, a second-class passenger, is working with her sister to obtain the music composition that is in the hands of Gilbert. Tessa does not understand why she is to get this music but one thing she does understand is that she is falling for Robert.

What does Sarah learn and how does each passenger above affect the outcome?

I opted to listen to the audiobook and let me state it is FOURTEEN hours of listening. I enjoyed the audiobook as the narrator did an excellent job with all the characters. My issue was I did not have a lot of time lumped together to listen to a good chunk at one time.

The story jumps between Sarah (2013), Caroline (1915) and Tessa (1915) so you do need to keep track of who is talking and what year it is. It is pretty easy since the majority of Caroline and Tessa’s time is on the Lusitania.

I knew very little about the sinking of the Lusitania and The Glass Ocean has whetted my appetite for more.