A Daughter’s Truth by Laura Bradford

daughter

Pages: 288

Publisher: Kensington

Published: May 28, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Emma Lapp tries to be the perfect daughter, to earn the loving embrace of her family and her Amish community in Pennsylvania. Yet she can’t quite win her mother’s smile—or her forgiveness for a transgression Emma can’t quite place . . .

Emma knows she’s a reminder of her mother’s greatest sorrow, having been born on the same day Mamm lost her beloved sister. The one bright spot has been the odd trinkets anonymously left at her aunt’s grave each year on Emma’s birthday—gifts Emma secretly hides because they upset her parents. But the day she turns 22, a locket bears a surprise that sends her on an unexpected journey . . .

Searching for answers, Emma travels to the English world and finds a kinship as intriguing as it is forbidden. But is this newfound connection enough to leave behind the future she’d expected? The answers are as mysterious, and as devastating, as the truth that divides Emma from the only family, and the only life, she’s ever known . . .

My Review: I just finished A Daughter’s Truth for the second time! It has been a long time a book has made me feel so deeply. It is right up there with The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah as one of my most precious books.

As you read A Daughter’s Truth you can feel every emotion Bradford put into her characters. The angst Emma feels as she learns the truth and explores her father’s world is heartbreaking.

Read with the understanding you won’t be able to put the book down.

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

The Pumpkin War by Cathleen Young

pumpkin

Pages: 184

Publisher: Random House Children’s

Published: May 21, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: At the end of every summer, Madeline Island hosts its famous pumpkin race. All summer, adults, and kids across the island grow giant, thousand-pound pumpkins, then hollow one out and paddle in it across the lake to the cheers of the entire town.

Twelve-year-old Billie loves to win; she has a bulletin board overflowing with first-prize ribbons. Her best friend Sam doesn’t care much about winning, or at least Billie didn’t think so until last summer’s race when his pumpkin crashed into her as she was about to cross the finish line and he won. This summer, Billie is determined to get revenge by growing the best and biggest pumpkin and beating Sam in the race. It’s a tricky science to grow pumpkins since weather, bugs, and critters can wipe out a crop. Then a surprise visit from a long-lost relative shakes things up, and Billie begins to see her family, and her bond with Sam, in a new way.

My Review: A beautifully written book showing young readers how the world around them isn’t always about them. Billie is very self-absorbed but I don’t think any more so than other children her age. This her summer of growing and learning for the next stage of her life.

I was very impressed with how the author weaved science and math into the story without the reader feeling like they just received a lesson.

I would definitely recommend this book to any on my middle-grade readers with confidence.

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

The Amish Cookie Club by Sarah Price

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Pages: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Published: May 28, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Edna’s friend, Verna Bontrager, has a problem. Her outspoken twenty-year-old daughter, Myrna, has been fired from her job. Again. Myrna’s family really needs her to chip in, but she’s clearly unsuited to customer service—not to mention that her sharp tongue scares away any boy who might come courting. But Edna has an idea—and his name is Ezekiel Riehl.

A widower with four young children, Ezekiel needs help. His house and his brood are a mess; his demeanor is gruff. It’s no surprise Myrna takes an immediate dislike to him. Yet she has no choice but to take on the challenge—and soon she starts to create order out of chaos. In fact, the kids begin to depend on Myrna—and so does Ezekiel. The truth is, she’s fallen in love with him. But if he’s to prove he’s not looking for a marriage of convenience, he’ll have to convince her of what’s in his heart . . .

My Review: A fun book full of emotions and lessons. I always say the book I just finished is my favorite by Sarah Price but this one truly is. I would not have thought that when I first started reading, The Amish Cookie Club. I struggled liking Myrna and wanted to reach in and yell at her to GROW UP. I found her so childish but oh what a wonderful change she made when she started working for Ezekiel. Price did a most excellent job in showing us how it is true if you don’t focus on yourself and your unhappiness and turn the focus on others you will find you are happier and more fulfilled.

You will not want to put the book down once you start and it reads so flawlessly you will possibly finish in one day. Just beware you will be sad to leave the cookie club so soon and the next installment is not due until later this year.

Recipes are included and I already want to bake the famous sugar cookies.

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

On a Summer Tide (Three Sisters Island #1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

summer

Pages: 308

Publisher: Revell

Published: April 30, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Sometimes love hurts–and sometimes it can heal in the most unexpected way.

Camden Grayson loves her challenging career, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. “Moving on” is Cam’s mantra. But there’s a difference, her two sisters insist, between one who moves on . . . and one who keeps moving.

Cam’s full-throttle life skids to a stop when her father buys a remote island off the coast of Maine. Paul Grayson has a dream to breathe new life into the island–a dream that includes reuniting his estranged daughters. Certain Dad has lost his mind, the three sisters rush to the island. To Cam’s surprise, the slow pace of island life appeals to her, along with the locals–and one in particular. Seth Walker, the scruffy island schoolteacher harbors more than a few surprises.

My review: I am a huge fan of the Amish books by Suzanne Woods Fisher and now I’m a huge fan of her contemporary works. On a Summer Tide blew me away.

Direct quote “Planning doesn’t make the wedding. And the wedding doesn’t make the marriage. The marriage is what we live with, day in and day out.” Oh, how I wish engaged couples would read this book just for that quote. It is so true! Look beyond the glitz and glam of the ceremony and reception and look toward your future. Where do you want your marriage to be in ten, twenty years?

There is religion in this beautiful work of art but it is expressed serenely and at the most appropriate moments. It makes the reader sit back and reflect before moving on.

At the end of the book is a recipe for chocolate chip cookies using rice crispy cereal that I plan on making this weekend and a discussion guide. This book has just about everything in it.

I am looking forward to reading the next installment of The Three Sisters series.

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

Murder Lo Mein (A Noodle Shop Mystery #3) by Vivien Chien

lo mein

Pages: 304

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: March 26, 2019

Rating: 4 stars

Amazon
Lana Lee’s stake in her family’s Chinese restaurant is higher than ever now that she’s been made manager. So when she enters Ho-Lee into Cleveland’s Best Noodle Contest, Lana makes it her business to win―at all costs. But when a local food critic receives a threatening note in a fortune cookie and is later found dead, face-down in a bowl of lo mein, all bets are off. . .
Now, along with her sweet-and-sour boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, Lana decides to take matters into her own hands and dig into the lives of everyone involved in the contest. But when she receives an ill-fated fortune, Lana realizes that in order to save the reputation of her restaurant, she needs to save herself first. . .

My Review
Murder Lo Mein was a delicious read that I did not want to put down. Constantly while I was reading I wanted nothing more than to be sitting in Ho-Lee Noodle House, eating noodles and reading this book. I definitely will pass on the fortune cookies though. Beware while reading you will want Asian noodles ALL THE TIME; breakfast, lunch, little lunch (snack) and dinner.

Lana is the girl we all want to be friends with but we realize if we are we will be dragged into a murder investigation. No dull moments with Lana around. Even when she tries she cannot stay out of trouble. Every time her mom shows up I know I am in for a good laugh.

I am so happy for an explanation of why Adam and Lana’s relationship is slow to get off the ground. I was almost hoping Peter was going to give Adam a run for his money but glad Lana shut him down. Adam is a great guy even if a little overprotective.

I received a complimentary copy from the author. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own. No compensation was provided.

Mending Fences (The Deacon’s Family Book #1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

fences

Pages: 330

Publisher: Revell

Published: February 5, 2019

Rating: 5 stars

Oh my soul what a powerfully moving book.

NetGalley:
Luke Schrock is a new and improved man after a stint in rehab, though everyone in Stoney Ridge only remembers the old Luke. They might have forgiven him, but nobody trusts him.

Amos and Fern Lapp allow Luke to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, Luke must make a sincere apology to each person he’s hurt–a four-page, single-spaced list. Second, he must ask each victim of mischief to describe the damage he caused.

Simple, Luke thinks. Offering apologies is easy. But discovering the lasting effects his careless actions have caused . . . that isn’t so simple. It’s gut-wrenching.

And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm. Luke’s clumsy efforts to befriend Izzy only insult and annoy her. Eager to impress, Luke sets out to prove himself to her by locating her mother. When he does, her identity sends shock waves through Stoney Ridge.

Bestselling and award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher returns to her beloved Stoney Ridge for this brand-new series featuring some of her readers’ favorite characters.

My Review:
It has been a few months since I have read a book that totally took me off guard and blew my socks off. This book definitely did that. I am not even sure where to start with this book review.

In today’s world addiction is so prevalent. Almost every family has dealt with it through a spouse, child or other close family members. The effects tear families and communities apart. I deal with it more than I would like in the classroom. Nothing is more heartbreaking than a precious 5-year old kindergartener coming up to you and saying my mommy had to have NARCAN last night. Thankfully I have never had a personal addiction problem and I will be the first to tell you that I do not understand it. Fisher did an excellent job in showing addiction from the person with the addiction. I appreciated it that she also made sure to make that person accountable.

I also love the lesson of you never know how your (bad) actions can affect another and the rest of their life. You may think you are pulling a harmless prank but in reality, you could be taking something very important from that person. Something I need to strive towards is forgiveness. That is a downfall of mine. I don’t forgive easily not do I forget.

Towards the end is a shocking revelation that will floor you. I actually had to stop reading to process it. No, I am not giving you any hints as I want you to experience the shock I did.

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

Death Threads (A Southern Sewing Circle #2) by Elizabeth Lynn Casey (aka Laura Bradford)

death

Pages: 288

Publisher: Berkley

Published: May 5, 2010

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads:
Yankee librarian Tori Sinclair is basking in the warmth of her new circle of friends from South Carolina’s Sweet Briar Ladies Society sewing circle. That is until local author Colby Calhoun reveals an unflattering secret about the town’s historic past-and then disappears, leaving a bloody trail behind him. And when Tori begins to see a pattern of the townsfolk’s age-old Southern pride standing in the way of justice, she knows it’s time to unravel the mystery.

My review:
This series is for fans of anything Southern and book related. You cannot get more perfect than a library set in South Carolina. If you add in the love for Little House (Laura Ingalls Wilder) that Tori has then we have the winning trifecta in my humble opinion.

I am not a person who views sewing as relaxing. I am more in the ranks of our dear sweet Leona who along with her twin sister is a hoot. You will find yourself chuckling quite frequently while reading. The idea of the handsewn library book bags for nursing home residents has really touched my heart. My mom is currently in a long term rehabilitation to get her leg strength back and seeing the nursing home part of the rehab center is so sad. I wish more public libraries had the capability to make sure nursing home residents had access to books.

A part of me wants to gobble this series up as quickly as I can read but the smart part of me is telling myself to slow down since there are only 12 books in this wonderful series and I have already read two. I am limiting myself to one book a month in this series.

Hearts in Harmony (An Amish Journey #1) by Beth Wiseman

hearts

Pages: 320

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: March 12, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
Musical prodigy Levi Shetler hasn’t touched a piano since he secretly played one years ago. His strict Amish community forbids instruments or the singing of any music not in their approved songbook. Levi asks God often why music tempts him when playing an instrument isn’t allowed in his world.

One person knows Levi’s talents: Mary Hershberger, the girl who promised years ago to keep his secret. Mary comes from a more liberal district than Levi, but she’s facing family troubles of her own. The mutual care for an aging Englischer, Adeline, reunites Mary and Levi as young adults. They realize that, despite their differences, they have a shared love of music—and a shared confusion about whether their talents are God-given gifts or temptations luring them into the Englisch world.

The couple realizes they must compromise or part ways, but a tragic accident shakes their decision. Both Mary and Levi will need to reconcile what they love with what their hearts say is right—because even as their passion for music brings them together, it could be what tears them apart.

My review:
Box of Tissues warning. You will need them almost from the beginning. This book is beautiful; the love flowing throughout (not just romantic love) makes you believe in the good in the world amidst so much hate we hear constantly on the news. I did not want to put this book down. I found myself reading every little chance I got. Adeline, Mary, Levi, and Natalie felt like friends I had had for life.

Hearts in Harmony is about so much more than the love of forbidden music. It is about doing what is right and loving others for who they are not what they can give or provide you. Mary, Levi, and Natalie show us that being selfless and helping those who need it is what life is about. You can have all the money and possessions on the world but without love you have nothing.

I have already noted in my calendar when the second book releases (September 2019) and am anxiously awaiting to read it.

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

Drawn and Buttered (A Lobster Shack Mystery #3) by Shari Randall

drawn

Pages: 301

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: February 26, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
The Lazy Mermaid’s business has slowed to a snail’s pace—until a monster lobster claws his way onto the scene…

With the high season behind them, ballerina on-the-mend Allie Larkin and Aunt Gully are finally lying low. But then an unexpected guest arrives at the lobster shack: a crustacean so huge he’s dubbed Lobzilla around Mystic Bay and on social media. Soon, with everyone showing up for a peek in their tank, Allie and Aunt Gully have more on their plate than they can handle.

Meanwhile, another local establishment finds itself in hot water. In exclusive Rabb’s Point, a strange burglary breaches the elegant home of Royal Parrish. Allie takes it upon herself to help with the investigation but, before she can get to the bottom of the case, another alarm sounds: the Lazy Mermaid’s Lobzilla has gone missing and is on the loose! And bodies are beginning to pile up. . .

My Review:
A delightful read that is full of quirkiness and laughter that you will not want to put down. Aunt Gully is the aunt we all wished we had in our lives. She is supportive, loving and ready to jump into the fray with you.

Drawn and Buttered is the third book in the Lobster Shack Mystery series but you can jump into the series at any time. Beware, once you take the plunge you will never want to leave. The series is your typical cozy mystery series with clean language, no gory detailed violence, and no offense sex scenes.

The vivid descriptions of Aunt Gully’s lobster rolls and chowder will have your mouth watering and your mind convincing you that you need to drive to the Connecticut coast immediately. Pretty soon I think my phone is going to automatically book me a plane ticket.

One of my favorite characters is Bronwyn and I keep hoping she makes more of an appearance that an occasional one. She is a great balance to Allie and Verity.

I hope you take a chance and visit my friends in Mystic Bay, Connecticut. I really think you would enjoy.

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

Previously reviewed on my website:

  1. Curses, Boiled Again (Book 1) January 2018
  2. Against the Claw (Book 2) July 2018

Murders and Metaphors (Magical Bookshop #3) by Amanda Flower

metaphor

Pages: 320

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: February 12, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

January means ice wine season in the Niagara Falls region, but the festivities leave Charming Books owner Violet Waverly cold, still reeling from a past heartbreak. A past heartbreak who will be present at the annual midnight grape-harvest festival, and no magic in the world or incantation powerful enough could get Violet to attend. But Grandma Daisy, an omniscient force all on her own, informs Violet that she’s already arranged for the mystical Charming Books to host celebrity sommelier Belinda Perkins’s book signing at the party. Little do either Waverly women know, the ice wine festival will turn colder still when Violet finds Belinda in the middle of the frozen vineyard—with a grape harvest knife protruding from her chest.

NetGalley: Belinda grew up in Cascade Springs, but she left town years ago after a huge falling-out with her three sisters. One of those sisters, Violet’s high school friend Lacey Dupont, attends the book signing in the hope of making amends with her sister, but Belinda and Lacey end up disrupting the signing with a very public shouting match and Lacey quickly becomes the prime suspect in the sommelier’s murder.

Violet is sure Lacey is innocent, and to keep her friend out of prison, Violet asks for guidance from her magical bookshop. The shop’s ethereal essence points her to Louisa May Alcott’sLittle Women, but what have the four March sisters to do with the four Perkins sisters? If she can’t figure it out, Violet, herself, may turn as cold as ice. Violet, Grandma Daisy, Emerson the tuxedo cat, and resident crow Faulkner are back on the case inMurders and Metaphors, USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower’s enchanting third Magical Bookshop mystery.

Book 3 in the Magical Bookshop series is a smash hit! Full of well developed and diverse characters with plenty of charm and wit. Just enough magic sprinkled throughout to make one believe in magic again. The right amount of romance with no love triangle, YAY!

Little Women is the book chosen to help Violet solve the murder and I am impressed how it was woven into the story. It has fueled my excitement to re-read Little Women. In fact, I have already requested a copy from the library.

Until this book, I have never heard of ice wine or the ice wine festival so my interest is piqued and I am looking forward to researching this interesting festival. Do I see a future vacation?

Fans of books about books and bookshops will love this cozy mystery series.

Books in Order:
1. Crime and Poetry
2. Prose and Cons
3. Murder and Metaphors

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