Batter Off Dead (A Country Store Mystery #10) by Maddie Day

Pages: 288

Publisher: Kensington Books

Published: February 22, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Available Formats: Digital, Audiobook, and Mass Market Paperback

My Review: I just love this series. It is set in fictional South Lick, Indiana outside of the real Bloomington, Indiana. The author does a great job of adding in real places. Bloomington is one of my favorite places to visit. A beautiful college town.

In book 10, we find Robbie and Abe settling into married life, and during a local fireworks display, an elderly lady is murdered. The deceased was the late-in-life love interest of the local policeman Buck’s dad. The investigation centers around the Stitch in Bitch knitting club that has been around for decades.

I enjoyed getting to know more about Buck and his family. He is a character. You can’t help but love him.

The murder plot was well spaced out and interesting. I figured out who but not the why. That was a shock. I didn’t quite follow Danna’s (Robbie’s employee) story. I keep wondering what I missed.

Recipes are included at the end of the book and I for one am excited for warmer weather to get here to try them out.

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

NetGalley: In Agatha Award-winning author Maddie Day’s tenth Country Store Mystery, Pans “N Pancakes owner and part-time sleuth Robbie Jordan must untangle the clues to find the killer of a knitting circle member…

In South Lick, Indiana, fine foods and classic cookware can be found at Robbie Jordan’s Pans ’N Pancakes. Unfortunately, her country store also seems to stock up on murder…

Robbie and her new husband Abe O’Neill are enjoying a summer evening in the park with fellow townsfolk excited for some Friday night fireworks. In attendance are senior residents from Jupiter Springs Assisted Living including Grant Bird, father to South Lick’s very own Police Lieutenant Buck Bird. Despite his blindness, Grant is a member of his group home’s knitting circle, spending quality time with some lovely ladies.

But when the light show ends, one of the knitters who sat with Grant is found dead, a puncture wound in her neck. The poor woman’s death echoes that of Buck’s mother and Grant’s wife—an unsolved homicide. To help find the killer, Robbie’s going to have to untangle the knotty relationships deep in the victim’s past…

Long Overdue at the Lakeside Library (Lakeside Library Mystery #2) by Holly Danvers

Pages: 304

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: February 8, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Hardcover

My Review: I enjoyed the second book as much as the first. There is something about how the series is written that it feels real and inviting. The friendship between Rain and Julia keeps you coming back for more.

We join Rain and crew during an ice fishing tournament where a local is murdered. Unfortunately, Julia’s husband is on the hook for the murder. Will a brutal start to winter keep Rain and Julia from fishing out the killer?

In my review for book one, Murder at the Lakeside Library, I had hoped for more in Rain’s parents in book two and that did not happen but that was ok. We do have an addition of a romantic interest for Rain and so far he seems steamy hot (when you read the book you will understand why I said this). Does he beat out Jace? Only time will tell.

Both books are perfect curl up by the fire and read until the wee hours of the morning reads.

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

NetGalley: An icy cold murder and a library patron collide in Holly Danver’s second Lakeside Library Mystery.

A glowing wood stove, a cozy log cabin, and shelves full of books are all Rain Wilmot needs to ride out the Wisconsin winter, now that she’s made her family’s Lofty Pines library her year-round home. But the warm-hearted librarian’s blood runs cold when local man, Wallace Benson, is found dead during the annual Ice Fishing Jamboree. 

After Benson’s body is found in his ice shanty, Rain recalls that she recently saw the victim in her library, borrowing a few cookbooks to prepare for the fishing tournament’s communal “chili dump.” She later finds these same books returned to the library’s drop box, with an enigmatic note from Benson to Rain.

As Rain seeks to understand the message, the prime suspect becomes Rain’s friend Nick, who was the last person to see Wallace alive and who returned to the Jamboree with a nasty cut on his hand. The knife found in his tackle box only makes Nick’s troubles worse. But Rain keeps fishing for other suspects. Was the killer Danny, who lost his arm to a logging accident involving Wallace? Or Danny’s bitter father, whose dreams of retirement were dashed by his son’s accident?

With the help of her friends Julia and Jace, Rain sets out to hook the real culprit and clear Nick’s name. But can her sleuthing skills protect her from a killer who’d like to take her out of circulation?

Hot and Sour Suspects (A Noodle Shop Mystery #8) by Vivien Chien

Pages: 320

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: January 25, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Available Formats: Digital, Mass Market Paperback

My Review: I absolutely love this series and stalk NetGalley until the newest one is available. Lana Lee is a hoot and makes me wish I could really visit her in her Cleveland restaurant. I always want to take my book and eat noodles all day long while reading.

In the newest addition, Lana and her BFF Megan host a speed dating event at Ho-Lee Noodle House on a slower Friday. All goes well until much later when one of the Asia Village Shop owners is found with a dead body. Can Lana and Megan figure out the killer before their friend is speedily put in jail?

Lana is a bit more reflective in Hot and Sour Suspects but if you follow the author’s cancer journey you completely understand why. Personally, I enjoyed that Lana’s sister, Anna, was not shown in the most perfect light. I don’t wish her troubles on her but it does show she is human and makes errors just like the rest of us. There are a few LOL moments when Lana’s mom enters the picture.

You must read this series and start from the beginning. You will thank me later. The covers alone are worth buying the books. They are beautiful!

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, through NetGalley. All opinions expressed above are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Lana Lee returns for another delectable cozy set in a Chinese restaurant in Vivien Chien’s Hot and Sour Suspects.

Pair your noodles with this steaming mystery, and you have the perfect chilly night combination!”—PopSugar

At the Ho-Lee Noodle House, murder is on the menu.

When Lana Lee’s best friend, Megan Riley, asks her to help host a speed dating contest at Ho-Lee Noodle House, she doesn’t see the harm in lending a hand. The night goes better than anticipated, and both Lana and Megan are beyond thrilled with the results. But before they can break out the champagne, Rina Su, fellow Asia Village shop owner and speed dating participant, calls to inform Lana that the date she’s just matched with has been murdered. Under suspicion of foul play, Rina enlists Lana’s help in finding out what really happened that night.

Without hesitation, Lana begins to dig into the man in question. To her dismay, she quickly finds that Rina’s date has a rather unsavory past. There’s a long line of slighted women, angry neighbors, and perturbed co-workers—all of whom seem to have a motive.

As Lana continues to spiral down the treacherous path of scorned lovers and mistreated acquaintances, she can’t help but dwell on how quickly an innocent evening filled with hope and positivity could turn so sour. When the media gets in on the case, Lana must rush to find the killer before more dates turn deadly.

Renewed for Murder (Blue Ridge Library Mysteries #6) by Victoria Gilbert

Pages: 352

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: December 7, 2021

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Available Formats: Digital, Hardcover, and Audio

My Review: For me, the mystery was interesting but the cast of suspects always seems to involve a lot of the same people. Plus it felt very drawn out.

I was a bit put off by Richard’s neediness with missing Amy when he left for town. They are mature adult newlyweds, not early twenty-something newlyweds. I’m not a fan of clingy men.

It is not a favorite of mine in the series.

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

NetGalley: Librarian Amy Webber dances with death in critically acclaimed author Victoria Gilbert’s sixth Blue Ridge Library mystery.

August in Taylorsford, Virginia finds library director Amy Webber and her new husband, dancer Richard Muir, settling into married life–and a new project. Richard and his dance partner, Karla, are choreographing a suite based on folk music and folk tales, while Amy scours the library’s resources to supply background information on the dance’s source material. But the mellifluous music comes to a jarring halt when an unknown woman’s body turns up in Zelda Shoemaker’s backyard gazebo.

Chief Deputy Brad Tucker puts Zelda at the top of his suspect list, thanks to a blackmail letter he finds in the dead woman’s pocket. Zelda’s best friend, Amy’s aunt Lydia Talbot, begs Amy to use her research skills to clear Zelda’s name. But the task is confounded by Zelda’s very out-of-character refusal to reveal why the victim might have blackmailed her.

Complicating matters further, Amy unearths records of a long-ago tragedy that casts doubt on Zelda’s innocence. She enlists hubby Richard, Aunt Lydia, art dealer Kurt Kendrick, Mayor Sunny Fields, and sundry other quirky townsfolk in a quest to exonerate Zelda. But will revealing the truth end up forcing Zelda to spend the rest of her life behind bars?

Meanwhile, the killer is still out there. Amy had better be fleet on her feet, because death is on her dance card, and her number may be up.

A Plus One for Murder (A Friend for Hire Mystery #1) by Laura Bradford

Pages: 300

Publisher: Berkley

Published: December 7, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Print

My Review: I absolutely loved this book. So much so that I read it again once I finished. I never do that.

It is different, fresh, and fun. Our main character adjusts her career from travel agent to a friend for hire. No, not an escort! She is someone you can hire to go to a function you need a partner. She can come visit you at your home if you are disabled and unable to leave the house. She can check in on a parent. This idea is genius and not one we have seen in the cozy mystery world before. I personally think it could be a fun profession. Imagine all the interesting people you could meet.

There are plenty of older characters that provide wisdom and plenty of laughs. I really hope Dottie makes a return in book two because she is my favorite character. I need a fun Dottie in my life. Max will grab your heart and not let go.

Hurry and grab your copy. A Plus One for Murder releases this Tuesday, December 7th.

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

NetGalley: Entrepreneur Emma Westlake is reinventing herself as a hired friend when murder gets in the way in this exciting new mystery series from USA Today bestselling author Laura Bradford.

Emma Westlake has always wanted to be in business for herself. As a kid, she had her own successful lemonade stand and dog-walking business. And when she entered adulthood, Emma sunk all her cash into her dream job of travel planning. But as her customers became more and more internet savvy, the need for her services declined. At a loss for what to do next, she turns to an elderly friend who suggests she try to get paid for doing something she’s really good at–being a paid companion. Emma thinks it’s a crazy idea until requests start pouring in. Big Max from down the block wants her to act as his wingman at the local senior center’s upcoming dance, nurse practitioner Stephanie needs a workout partner, and writer Brian Hill asks Emma to be his cheering section at an open mic night.

Brian will be reading from his latest work and wants to know someone will clap for him when he’s done. When Emma balks at the notion that people wouldn’t, he tells her the room will be filled with people he’s invited–most of whom will likely want him dead by the time he’s done reading. Assuming he’s joking, she laughs. But when Brian steps up to the mic and clears his throat to speak, he promptly drops dead. Emma is one of the last people to see him alive, and so she becomes an immediate suspect. Now she’ll have to cozy up to a killer to save her skin and her new business.

Emma’s Amish Faith Tested (The Amish Women of Lawrence County #1)by Tracy Fredrychowski

Pages: 356

Publisher: The Tracer Group, LLC

Published: November 16, 2021

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Source: Digital Copy from Author

Available Formats: Digital and Paperback

My Review: I enjoy books that make me think on a personal level and this one did just that.

Emma is a young Amish mom-to-be who experiences the unthinkable. At war with herself, her husband, and the Old Order church she agrees to go visit her English turned Amish mom for healing. On her way home, she makes the decision that changes her life forever.

This was a much different Amish read for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is very heavy on the religious aspect. Much talk of going out and spreading God’s word as the Bible instructs. It also teaches us that all marriages will have difficulties but we must listen to each other and find ways to compromise and work together. We need more of that instead of the easy out of divorce as the first thought.

I have previously read a short story/novella by the author but this was my first full-length book. I am already checking to see if my library carries her previously published books.

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

From Amazon: Her trust in the Lord has been tested beyond all strength. Can this grieving believer reclaim the way back to enlightenment?

Emma Yoder is struggling to cope. While the young Amish mother is devastated after her only child dies in the womb, she and her husband gain little comfort from the Old Order’s rigid ways. And whispers among her people lead her to suspect the truth has been concealed from her for years.

Still fighting internally to forgive God for her tragedy, Emma sets out on a journey to discover the deep healing she craves. But her discovery of a newfound secret love of Jesus’s teachings puts her at direct odds with the traditions of her community.

Can this woman of conviction find the courage to seek grace from the Almighty?

Emma’s Amish Faith Tested is the inspirational first book in The Amish Women of Lawrence County series of women’s fiction novels. If you like spiritual explorations, real-life challenges of emotional bravery, and basking in God’s light, then you’ll adore Tracy Fredrychowski’s exploration of hope.

An Amish Quilting Bee by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, and Shelley Shepard Gray

Pages: 336

Publisher: Zondervan

Published: December 7, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Paperback

My Review: A cozy comfort read that will make you want to wrap in a quilt of your own with a hot mug of tea.

Patchwork Promises – A sweet story beginning with much sadness and ending with happiness. A story to show how far we will go for those we love.

A Common Thread – A story that shows us a leopard can change its spots when it comes from the heart. Everyone deserves a second chance.

Stitched Together – Love deserves a second chance and we must be willing to bend and grow as it develops.

NetGalley: Three charming stories of cozy quilting circles and budding romance

 Patchwork Promises by Amy Clipston 

When Colin Zook and his beloved grandmother lose everything in a fire, their greatest loss is a beloved family heirloom quilt that helped keep her dementia at bay. When Joanne Lapp hears about the loss, she decides to re-create the quilt. Colin soon feels himself developing feelings for her, but he’s held back by the knowledge that a future with him would involve care of his grandmother and his farm. Will Joanne look past his list of responsibilities and see him for who he truly is?

A Common Thread by Kathleen Fuller 

Susie Glick returns from a shopping trip laden with beautiful fabric for her quilting group. On the bus ride, Alex Lehman—her crush from three years ago—sits next to her. Alex left Middlefield to explore the country, and now he’s back and ready to join the church. Susie was just a kid when he left, but now she’s a woman—and she definitely has his interest. The women in her quilting circle aren’t as excited about Alex’s return, assuming that he’ll leave again in search of adventure. Susie is convinced they’re wrong, but just as they start dating, Alex tells Susie he has to leave. He says he’ll return, but Susie must decide whether or not she can trust the man she fears has captured her heart.

Stitched Together by Shelley Shepard Gray 

Rosie’s joy is her yearly project for the Pinecraft Mennonite Quilt Sale, and she dreams of being the top earner. But she’s worried that she’s bitten off more than she can chew with her latest entry. To make things even more confusing, after coming to terms with her single state, she’s recently formed a friendship with Tim Christner. He’s only in town for a month, but he has Rosie wondering if she’s found love at last. Now all she has to do is figure out how to get the quilt done so she can concentrate on him. But with her once very organized life in total disarray, everything comes to a head just before the sale. Rosie is forced to reexamine her priorities before she loses not only her place in the quilt show but everything else she’s ever wanted.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder (A Catering Hall Mystery #3) by Maria DiRico

Pages: 304

Publisher; Kensington

Published: October 26, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Paperback

My Review: This series is so fun to read. I love “the family”, Nonna and her cronies, and the setting. You never know what you are going to get into when you open the book but you are guaranteed a good time.

Book 3 shows us how small our world really is and how we all know someone who knows someone. You may not see the connection right away but it is there. I was reminded of that this past weekend in my own life. A connection was made that was shocking. No murder was involved in my real-life situation but Mia was not able to say the same.

Even though this is book 3 you can pick it up with any book. I suggest you read this for the current holiday season. I don’t think you will be disappointed. We have decorating wars, crazy nativity scenes, and lots of Christmas murder. Take time to look at the cover of the book and enjoy all the interesting Christmas decorations.

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

NetGalley: Astoria, Queens, is decorated within an inch of its life for the Christmas season, and Mia Carina is juggling her job at the Belle View catering hall with a case of murder…

Mia’s busy with a full schedule of events at the family business—among them an over-the-top Nativity-themed first birthday party and a Sweet Sixteen for a teen drama queen. But her personal life is even more challenging. Her estranged mother has returned—and her lifelong friend Jamie has discovered a shocking secret about his past. He’s so angry that he starts hanging out with Lorenzo, who claims to be his long-lost brother—even after it becomes clear that Lorenzo’s story is as fake as a plastic Christmas tree.
Then a body turns up among the elves in a Santa’s-workshop lawn display, and amateur sleuth Mia has a buffet of suspects to choose from. Amid the holiday celebrations, she intends to find out who’s the guilty party…

To the Tome of Murder (Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery #7) by Lauren Elliott

Pages: 304

Publisher: Kensington]

Published: October 26, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats, Digital, Audio, and Mass Market Paperback

My Review: I am amazed at how this series is progressing. Each book is better and better. I will admit when I finished the first book I did not like Addie. She got on my nerves but now I love her. She is working through her grief and her past and learning to love and trust again. She is making friends and looks for the good in everyone she meets.

I still do not like Simon though. There is just something about him that turns me off as being perfect for Addie. I am still not sure Mark is perfect either. I think I like her single.

Book 7 takes place around Thanksgiving and is filled with love, thankfulness, and murder. Murder is always on the menu. Interesting ending. I am ready for more.

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

NetGalley: Three weeks before Thanksgiving, bookshop owner Addie Greyborne already has a full plate—and a killer on her case…
Addie’s determined to turn a seemingly ordinary November in coastal Greyborne Harbor into one for the books. The windows of her shop display carefully curated works by American writers, including a rare selection of traditional holiday recipes from the influential 19th-century publication Godey’s Ladies Magazine. And then there’s the town’s Civil War-era themed cooking and baking competition, with a hefty cash prize and free publicity going to the winning dish…
But when she finds her cousin’s boyfriend murdered, a stunned Addie reluctantly realizes she may be the only person who can blow the cover off a grisly crime. With so many unanswered questions surrounding the victim’s death, Addie must figure out the strange connection between a mysterious vintage briefcase, the disappearance of a first edition copy of Sarah Josepha Hale’s famous nursery rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and a dangerously well-read culprit…

The Wish by Nicholas Sparks

Pages: 387

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Published: September 28, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Hardcover from Public Library

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Hardcover

My Review: It has been a few books of NS since I had the same feeling as I did when I first read The Notebook and The Wish finally delivered. A feeling of all-encompassing love filled with heartbreak.

I unashamedly cried at the end of this book. I closed it gently with a sense of love and happiness.

Read with tissues on hand and be prepared to not be able to put the book down.

Goodreads: 1996 was the year that changed everything for Maggie Dawes. Sent away at sixteen to live with an aunt she barely knew in Ocracoke, a remote village on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, she could think only of the friends and family she left behind . . . until she meets Bryce Trickett, one of the few teenagers on the island. Handsome, genuine, and newly admitted to West Point, Bryce gradually shows her how much there is to love about the wind-swept beach town—and introduces her to photography, a passion that will define the rest of her life.

By 2019, Maggie is a renowned travel photographer. She splits her time between running a successful gallery in New York and photographing remote locations around the world. But this year she is unexpectedly grounded over Christmas, struggling to come to terms with a sobering medical diagnosis. Increasingly dependent on a young assistant, she finds herself becoming close to him.

As they count down the last days of the season together, she begins to tell him the story of another Christmas, decades earlier—and the love that set her on a course she never could have imagined.