The Body in the Wetlands (A Jazzi Sanders Mystery #2) by Judi Lynn

wetlands

Pages: 268

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 23, 2013

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: When established house flippers Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod donate a week’s worth of remodeling work to Jazzi’s sister Olivia, they’re expecting nothing more than back-breaking roofing work and cold beers at the end of each long, hot day. With Jazzi’s live-in boyfriend and partner Ansel on the team, it promises to be a quick break before starting their next big project—until Leo, an elderly neighbor of Olivia’s, unexpectedly goes missing . . .

When the friendly senior’s dog tugs Jazzi and the guys toward the wetlands beyond Olivia’s neighborhood, they stumble across a decomposing corpse—and a lot of questions. With Jazzi’s pal Detective Gaff along to investigate, Jazzi finds her hands full of a whole new mystery instead of the usual hammer and nails. And this time it will take some sophisticated sleuthing to track down the culprit of the deadly crime—before the killer turns on her next . . .

My review:

What I like: I love the mystery that runs through each book in the series. The mystery is very interesting and both books have kept me guessing almost to the end.

I enjoy the animals featured and was very pleased to see Jazzi get the kittens from the little boy and not go to a pet store. I imagine those kittens are going to give George the Pug a run for his money shortly.

What I don’t like: Ansel’s insecurity with Jazzi is very disturbing almost to the point of being controlling. Yes, they’ve known each other a while but only been dating two months and already he is pressuring her to let him put a ring on it. A comment is made almost every day. I am tired of reading how handsome he is. We get it, he is the perfect Nordic God. How he acted while away at his family was sickening. Where is the trust he says he has in Jazzi? He is not showing it.

There is a lot of beer drinking while working. Every time they take a break, it’s “Let’s go have a beer.” Maybe they should drink some water every now and then.

The lead detective asking Jazzi for help in notifying next of kin was very far fetched for me. Seemed absurd. Yes, I realize this is fiction but it made the story hard to believe. No police officer that I know would be asking a civilian to help him break the news to the next of kin that someone has died.

I would not give this to a young teenager to read as there are adult situations (no details but heavily implied), drinking and the controlling behavior of Ansel.

I like the Jazzi Sanders Mystery series but it is not my favorite. I will continue to read the series.

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

The Pie Lady by Greta Isaac

pie

Pages: 202

Publisher: Herald Press

Published: April 23, 2019

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

What is a Pie Lady moment?

For one family, it’s breakfast on the patio. For another, it’s Mom serving up creamy chicken and noodles. These are Pie Lady moments: times of goodness and glamour in the middle of ordinary days.

In The Pie Lady, Mennonite homemaker Greta Isaac ushers readers into the kitchens of Velda, Shyla, and other Pie Ladies as they whip up confections and concoctions that please the mouth and nourish the soul. Fans of Ruth Reichl, Sherry Gore, and Ree Drummond will love Isaacs’ intimate, delectable writing. Home cooks will love the recipes that appear in each chapter.Maybe you drop grapefruit slices in a glass of water. Maybe you brown the gravy and salt it from eighteen inches up. (Forget for now the sink full of dishes.) Each cook has her own Pie Lady moments. Each has a story to tell.

Hear straight from Amish and Mennonite people themselves as they write about their daily lives and deeply rooted faith in the Plainspoken series from Herald Press.

My Review:

A three-star review from me means the book was so-so. I dislike having to give such a low star rating. I was underwhelmed while reading. I expected more in the way of the stories tying together. Don’t get me wrong some of the stories are really good and I learned how to look at each day and see the good but some stories just didn’t seem to fit. They felt like filler.

The recipes are the best part. I’ve already bookmarked a few to try. One is the meatloaf as I would never have thought about adding tomato juice.

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

Criminally Cocoa (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery #3.5) by Amanda Flower

cocoa

Pages: 86

Publisher: Kensington

Published: February 26, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
As if being in New York City for Easter isn’t exciting enough, Charlotte Weaver has another reason to be thrilled. She’s helping her cousin, Bailey, on the set of her first cable TV show, Bailey’s Amish Sweets. Bailey will even be re-creating the delectable hand-woven chocolate Easter baskets she once crafted for the city’s world-famous JP Chocolates. But once things start rolling, Charlotte starts to notice odd things happening—things that seem intended to make Bailey look bad . . .

With Bailey feeling extra nervous about being on camera, Charlotte decides to keep her suspicion of sabotage to herself. But she knows that among Bailey’s fans at the Gourmet Television network lurks a dangerously jealous rival. Now Charlotte will have to find out who that person is—before sour grapes turn one of the sweetest times of the year fatally bitter . . .

My Review:
Amanda Flower has a way with words when it comes to cozy mysteries that warm your heart and keep you on the edge of your seat. I have yet to find a series of hers that I do not like. In fact, they keep getting better. If you have never read one of her books and are not sure where to start, Criminally Cocoa would be a great place to start. Yes, it technically comes after the third book in the An Amish Candy Shop series but you can read it out of order and be perfectly fine.

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the story from Charlotte’s side instead of Bailey’s. It gave the series a fresh view. Charlotte is a perfect spunky Amish side kick to Bailey.

A recipe for Bird’s Nest is included at the end of the novella. I find myself being tempted to try and make them this year for Easter.

Books in Series:

  1. Assaulted Caramel
  2. Lethal Licorice
  3. Premeditated Peppermint
  4. Toxic Toffee

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

Corned Beef and Casualties (A Tourist Trap Novella) by Lynn Cahoon

corned

Pages: 67

Publisher: Kensington

Published: February 5, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

It is St. Patrick’s Day in beautiful South Cove, California and the town is throwing a party with green beer and fireworks.

Jill finds herself in shock when one of her customers she felt a kinship to is found dead on the beach. Will Jill do as her detective boyfriend asks and stay out of the investigation or will she wind up right in the middle? Will the luck of the Irish be on her side?

I am enjoying the novellas in this series as I am trying to catch up from the beginning. You get a quick visit and get to catch up with everyone without the experience of a full-length novel.

If you like St. Patrick’s Day, you will want to read this novella. The ending was very intriguing with a bit of magic that the day likes to offer.

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

The Forgiving Jar (The Prayer Jars #2) by Wanda Brunstetter

jar

Pages: 320

Publisher: Barbour Publishing/Shiloh Run Press

Published: February 1, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In book two of The Prayer Jar series, we focus on Sara. Sara is the real granddaughter of Willis and Mary Ruth and the young lady Michelle had been impersonating. Sara is struggling with her faith and with forgiving those she feels has betrayed her throughout her life, including her deceased mom. As she continues to live with her grandparents she finds jealousy rearing its ugly head. Especially when Michelle seems to be getting her life together and the community is forgiving for her sins. Christmas arrives with a friend of her grandparents and Michelle and Sara finds herself liking him as more than a friend. Can Sara find forgiveness in her heart and learn to let jealousy go? Will the prayer jar she finds in her grandparents basement become her saving grace?

I am still reeling from this book. I have not had an Amish book hit me in the feels as this one did in a bit. I still get teary-eyed thinking about it. In book one I was very angry with Michelle impersonating Sara and felt like Sara had a right to be upset and very angry but as book two opened I came to understand Michelle more and realized sometimes when you are at rock bottom you find yourself doing things you never would dream of doing. As for Sara, I could not imagine a parent dying and finding out I had a family I never knew about. I admire Sara for her bravery in contacting and going to live with her grandparents I do not admire her jealousy against Michelle or her feelings against her stepfather. She definitely had a lot of growing up to do in book two. By the end, you will love both Michelle and Sara as if they were a part of your family.

As always with a Wanda Brunstetter book, you will find yourself laughing one moment and in tears the next. I suggest you read book one, The Hope Jar, first. I am eagerly anticipating the third book in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing/Shiloh Run Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

When Calls the Heart at Christmas (Heartfelt Devotions from Hope Valley) by Brian Bird, Michelle Cox

when

Pages: 179

Publisher: Broadstreet Publishing Group LLC

Published: September 4, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A Christmas devotional centered around the Hallmark TV series, When Calls the Heart. Stories from old and new are incorporated with family traditions, recipes and prayers to make you think of the real reason of the season, the birth of Jesus.

I am not a true Heartie (yet) as I have not taken the time to sit down and watch the series from beginning to end. I have watched a few of the shows and understand the phenomenon around the show. I love how faith is one of the main focus’ on the show. The same goes for this devotional. It is inspiring. I already have plans to start this devotional again on December 25 and read a devotion a day and focus my heart on the stories and prayers. I also cannot wait to make some of the yummy recipes that have been included.

For fans of the show new and old, this is a book to buy and treasure.

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

Wreath Between the Lines (Cookbook Nook Mystery #7) by Daryl Wood Gerber

wreath

Pages: 213

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: November 8, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The holidays have arrived and so has Jenna’s older sister and family along with some holiday drama. As Jenna is trying to save her sister’s marriage, her father’s friend Jake experiences a horrific present in the murder of his friend. Jenna takes it upon herself to solve the murder in time for a holly jolly Christmas day.

This is my second book (but the seventh in the series) that I have read and it has whetted my appetite for the series. I am interested to read how it all started. I agree with other readers that each book can be read as a stand alone but you will get more from the series if you read in order. The author does a superb job in giving enough background information for new readers.

I love that the author includes recipes at the end of the book. A huge pet peeve of mine is reading about such delicious dishes and no recipes. It has been known to turn me off on a series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Beyond the Page through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed 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.

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.