Slashing Through the Snow (Christmas Tree Farm Mystery #3) by Jacqueline Frost

Pages: 304

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: October 12, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Hardcover

My Review: We all have our favorite Christmas cozies and this series is mine. It gets me in the spirit every time. Hmm…murder at Christmas gets me in the spirit? Wonder if my hubby should be worried?

Frost did an excellent job in providing plenty of red herrings to keep me guessing. I had no clue and was flabbergasted at the big reveal. My one complaint was all the hoopla with Meg and I did not feel much closure with her character. Maybe I missed it being so flabbergasted.

The ending was beautiful. That is all I will say about that as my lips are sealed tighter than gorilla glue.

This is a series you can pick up at any book and you will ok. I suggest some peppermint cocoa while reading next to the Christmas tree. Snow optional.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed above are entirely my own.

From NetGalley: Maine innkeeper Holly White returns to sleuth another seasonal slaying in the third Christmas Tree Farm mystery from bestselling author Jacqueline Frost.

Reindeer Games Christmas Tree Farm is going into the B&B business, and Holly White is looking forward to her new role as innkeeper. Even better, Mistletoe, Maine’s sheriff, Evan Gray, has deputized his little sister Libby to help Holly wrap presents for Mistletoe’s toy drive. But a cold wind ruffles the cheery holiday decorations when a new guest checks in: Cleo, a vicious B&B critic, who could make or break the new inn. And the short December days turn even darker when Evan and Libby find Cleo’s dead body in the gift-wrapped toy donation box.

The suspect list is longer than Santa’s naughty list, and local resident Cookie is on it, since her fingerprints are all over the murder weapon, a metal nutcracker that she gave to Holly. So is Libby, who recently moved to town from Boston in less-than-savory circumstances. But cranky Cleo was an oh-holy-nightmare to lots of the townsfolk, such as Evan’s reporter friend Ray; Christopher, the inn’s former contractor; and confectioner Bonnie, whose Gum Drop Shop was a direct target of Cleo’s scathing prose.

To figure out the killer’s identity and clear Cookie’s name, Holly and her friends brainstorm at The Hearth, the farm’s café, while her mother keeps them fueled with Christmas goodies fresh from the oven. But if they can’t put the culprit on ice, Holly may never see another Christmas.

At Lighthouse Point (Three Sisters Island #3) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Pages: 320

Publisher: Revell

Published: May 4, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, Hardcover, and Paperback

My Review: An excellent conclusion to the trilogy.

In Book Three we get Blaine’s, the baby sister, story. I will be the first to admit I couldn’t stand Blaine in the first two books. I thought she was childish and selfish. I wanted to reach in the books and spank her bottom like you would an unruly child. She exemplifies how going away can help one grow up and become who they should be.

There was a lot going on in this book but it was never overwhelming. I loved all the Bible references on controlling anger. Personally I needed those reminders. Funny how the right book lands in your lap at the right time.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

From NetGalley: Blaine Grayson returns to Three Sisters Island with a grand plan–to take Camp Kicking Moose to the next level. Her dream starts to unravel when she discovers Moose Manor’s kitchen has been badly remodeled by her sister, Cam, who doesn’t know how to cook. Added to that blow is the cold shoulder given by her best friend, Artie Lotosky, now a doctor to the unbridged Maine islands.

As old wounds are opened, Blaine starts to wonder if she made a mistake by coming home. Little by little, she must let go of one dream to discover a new one, opening her heart to a purpose and a future she had never imagined. 

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the coast of Maine for a story that reminds you to release what doesn’t matter and cling to what does: faith, family, and friendships.

Shelter Mountain (Virgin River #2) by Robyn Carr

Pages: 400

Publisher: MIRA

Published: May 1, 2007

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Paperback from Personal Library

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, Hardcover, Paperback, and Mass Market Paperback

My Review: The second book is even better than the first. Powerfully romantic. Full of weeping sadness.

Read with tissues.

From Goodreads: John “Preacher” Middleton is closing Jack’s Bar when a woman and her young son come in out of the wet night. A marine who has seen his share of pain, Preacher knows a crisis when he sees one—the woman is covered in bruises. He wants to protect them and to punish whoever did this, but he knows immediately that this is more than just instinct. Paige Lassiter has stirred up emotions in this gentle giant of a man—emotions that he has never allowed himself to feel.

Then Paige’s ex-husband turns up in Virgin River. And if there’s one thing the marines’ motto of Semper Fidelis—always faithful—has taught Preacher, it’s that some things are worth fighting for.

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Pages: 453

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Published: November 6, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Hardcover from Personal Library

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, Hardcover, Paperback, and Mass Market Paperback

My Review: I really enjoyed this fictional suspense book. As others have noted it is much different from the author’s other books at it takes place at a spa retreat and not a neighborhood.

It made me think how trusting we can be of others especially if we perceive them to have a medical background and how we really to trust them when they do have a medical background. I have never been to a spa retreat before and after reading this I am not sure I want to. I would probably fall for some of things these characters did.

Now, I think I will go watch the HULU interpretation and see what it is all about.

From Goodreads: Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever?

These nine perfect strangers are about to find out…

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer—or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

Combining all of the hallmarks that have made Liane Moriarty’s writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Nine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft.

If the Shoe Fits (A Meant to Be Novel) by Julie Murphy

Pages: 304

Publisher: Hyperion Avenue

Published: August 3rd, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Hardcover from Public Library

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, Hardcover, and Paperback

My Review: I am a so-so reader when it comes to rom-com. It really has to grab me and let me tell you this one sure did. It grabbed me by my chubby arms and didn’t let go.

My guilty pleasure is reality shows. It let’s me escape for an hour and not use my brain. I love the old school Real World.

Cindy is a fluffier woman and has confidence galore. She loves fashion especially shoes. After graduating Parsons in NYC she is flying to home to LA and meets her Prince Charming. They part at LAX and she thinks she’ll never see him again. That is until she agrees to star on a reality show for her stepmom. Read the book to find out when and where sparks fly.

Being a much fluffier woman than most (and proud of who I am thank you very much) I love books that feature strong, happy fluffy women.

Good job Julie Murphy.

From Goodreads: After having just graduated with a degree in shoe design, and trying to get her feet on the ground, Cindy is working for her stepmother, who happens to be the executive producer of America’s favorite reality show, Before Midnight. When a spot on the show needs filling ASAP, Cindy volunteers, hoping it might help jump-start her fashion career, or at least give her something to do while her peers land jobs in the world of high fashion.

Turns out being the only plus size woman on a reality dating competition makes a splash, and soon Cindy becomes a body positivity icon for women everywhere. What she doesn’t expect? That she may just find inspiration-and love-in the process. Ultimately, Cindy learns that if the shoe doesn’t fit, maybe it’s time to design your own.

Bodies and Bows (Apron Shop #3) by Elizabeth Penney

Pages: 288

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: March 30, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Mass Market Paperback

My Review: This is my favorite of the three books so far. Why you ask? The secondary story line is about a Korean War veteran and my dad is a Korean War veteran. It added something personal to the book. I would love to read a romance book based on the storyline between Chet and Florence.

The author did a great job with red herrings throughout the story. I didn’t guess the killer until it was revealed. The small town life played very nicely into this murder.

The romance between Iris and Ian is sweet and I am thankful there is not a love triangle. I wish there was a little more spark though. I wonder sometimes if Iris is settling because Ian is such a tender and patient man. Is he too patient?

I hope there are more books in this series as I look forward to reading them.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

From NetGalley: Bodies & Bows is the third in the charming cozy Iris Buckley mystery series set in an apron shop in Maine—Elizabeth Penney will have you on pins and needles

Iris Buckley is hoping for a bit of rest and relaxation now that the summertime rush is winding down in Blueberry Cove, Maine. Her apron shop Ruffles & Bows has been a huge success, her friendships are stronger than ever, and now she’s ready for all of the end of summer cookouts on the beach that she can handle.

But before Iris can even turn on the grill, Bella’s latest fling, former Olympian sailor and gorgeous bad boy Lance Pederson is killed in a hit and run while jogging at dawn—and all the evidence points to Bella herself.

Suddenly the month of August isn’t looking so restful, since now Iris has been roped into the Lighthouse Rehabilitation Committee, helping her friend Sophie plan a wedding, and—most importantly of all—tracking down a killer and clearing Bella’s good name before everything unravels.

Kneaded to Death (A Bread Shop #1) by Winnie Archer

Pages: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Published: February 2017

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Paperback from Personal Library

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, Large Print Hardcover, and Mass Market Paperback

My Review: I enjoyed the start of this series but it did not grab me like my favorite cozy mysteries usually do. I am not sure if it was because it was only about bread and not a whole array of yummy foods or if it is because it centered around the death of the main character’s mom. That story line was hard for me.

The mystery was good and I was surprised at what really happened and the ones responsible. I definitely will be adding this series to me cozy rotation. It just won’t be one I binge read.

Again, there are Spanish phrases that may cause issue in understanding if you aren’t familiar with the language. The copy I read didn’t include a glossary.

From Goodreads: Everyone swears by Yeast of Eden, the Mexican bread shop in town. But tonight, the only thing on the menu is la muerte . . .

Struggling photographer Ivy Culpepper has lots of soul-searching to do since returning to seaside Santa Linda, California. That is, until the thirty-one-year-old enters a bread making class at Yeast of Eden. Whether it’s the aroma of fresh conchas in the oven, or her instant connection with owner Olaya Dias and her sisters, Ivy just knows the missing ingredients in her life are hidden among the secrets of Olaya’s bakery . . .

But Ivy’s spirits crumble when a missing classmate is suddenly discovered dead in her car, riddled with stab wounds. Even more devastating, the prime suspects are the Dias sisters themselves. Doubting the women could commit such a crime, Ivy embarks on a murder investigation of her own to prove their innocence and seize the real killer. As she follows a deadly trail of crumbs around town, Ivy must trust her gut like never before—or someone else could be toast! 

Tune It Out by Jamie Sumner

Pages: 275

Publisher: Antheneum Books for Young Readers

Published: September 1, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Hardcover through Local Public Library

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, Hardcover, and Paperback

My Review: If I could go back in time and change things I would be a full-time special education teacher so I do the next best thing, substitute teach. Books like this help me be a better substitute teacher.

I learned so much about Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) through the eyes of Lou. Noises bother me so I can only imagine how Lou feels and not having a support system that understands how to help her cope.

Just like with Sumner’s Roll With It, I will be sharing this book with all the students I can. Both books teach us how to be kind to others.

From Goodreads: A 2020 BookExpo Book Buzz Pick

From the author of the acclaimed Roll with It comes a moving novel about a girl with a sensory processing disorder who has to find her own voice after her whole world turns upside down.

Lou Montgomery has the voice of an angel, or so her mother tells her and anyone else who will listen. But Lou can only hear the fear in her own voice. She’s never liked crowds or loud noises or even high fives; in fact, she’s terrified of them, which makes her pretty sure there’s something wrong with her.

When Lou crashes their pickup on a dark and snowy road, child services separate the mother-daughter duo. Now she has to start all over again at a fancy private school far away from anything she’s ever known. With help from an outgoing new friend, her aunt and uncle, and the school counselor, she begins to see things differently. A sensory processing disorder isn’t something to be ashamed of, and music might just be the thing that saves Lou—and maybe her mom, too. 

The Heron’s Cry (Two Rivers #2) by Ann Cleeves

Pages: 400

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: September 28, 2021

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley, Large Print Book through Public Library, and Audiobook through Overdrive

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Hardcover

My Review: I had never read Ann Cleeves until The Long Call and was instantly hooked. Book two in the Matthew Venn series was just as good. You just keep turning pages because you HAVE to know what is going to happen next.

The characters are perfectly real and flawed. We all know the perfectionist who has to have their clothes ironed to the nth degree and the co-worker who is always looking higher and higher. Jenn may drink too much and feed her kids too much take-out but I don’t find that odd in her line of work.

I also took time to listen to the audiobook and oh my dreamy stars the narrator is fantastic. He has the perfect voice to fall asleep to but the story prevents that from happening.

If you like Louise Penny then you have to try Ann Cleeves. I am told her Vera series is really smashing.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed above are entirely my own.

From NetGalley: New York Times bestseller Ann Cleeves returns with The Heron’s Cry, the extraordinary follow-up to The Long Call, soon to be a major TV series, alongside her two hit TV shows Shetland and Vera.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

“In Matthew Venn, Ann has created a complex, daring, subtle character.” —Louise Penny

“A complex mystery full of surprises . . . this character-driven exploration of people’s darkest flaws is a sterling example of Cleeves’ formidable talents.” Kirkus Reviews

North Devon is enjoying a rare hot summer with tourists flocking to its coastline. Detective Matthew Venn is called out to a rural crime scene at the home of a group of artists. What he finds is an elaborately staged murder–Dr Nigel Yeo has been fatally stabbed with a shard of one of his glassblower daughter’s broken vases.

Dr. Yeo seems an unlikely murder victim. He’s a good man, a public servant, beloved by his daughter. Matthew is unnerved, though, to find that she is a close friend of Jonathan, his husband.

Then another body is found–killed in a similar way. Matthew soon finds himself treading carefully through the lies that fester at the heart of his community and a case that is dangerously close to home.

DI Matthew Venn returns in The Heron’s Cry, in Ann Cleeves powerful next novel, proving once again that she is a master of her craft.

Premeditated Myrtle (A Myrtle Hardcastle #1) by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Pages: 361

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Published: October 6, 2021

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, Hardcover, and Paperback

My Review: My last NetGalley for 2020. I know, I know this should have been read and reviewed a year ago.

Myrtle, the main character, is a 12 year old interested in criminal science in England. She is precocious and interesting. I know a few readers who would fall in love with her. In this book Myrtle tries to prove her neighbor was murdered.

I tried reading the NetGalley copy several times but the footnotes and such threw me off terribly. I decided to listen to the audiobook and it was a tad better but not much.

Please give this a try if you love mysteries. I know it is loved as there are two Published and 3rd to be published in October. It just was not for me.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own

From NetGalley: Twelve-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle has a passion for justice and a Highly Unconventional obsession with criminal science. Armed with her father’s law books and her mum’s microscope, Myrtle studies toxicology, keeps abreast of the latest developments in crime scene analysis, and Observes her neighbors in the quiet village of Swinburne, England.

When her next-door neighbor, a wealthy spinster and eccentric breeder of rare flowers, dies under Mysterious Circumstances, Myrtle seizes her chance. With her unflappable governess, Miss Ada Judson, by her side, Myrtle takes it upon herself to prove Miss Wodehouse was murdered and find the killer, even if nobody else believes her — not even her father, the town prosecutor.

With sparkling wit and a tight, twisty plot, Premeditated Myrtle, the first in a series from an award-winning author, introduces a brilliant young investigator ready to take on hard cases and maddening Victorian rules for Young Ladies of Quality in order to earn her place among the most daring and acclaimed amateur detectives of her time or any other.