Murder in the Storybook Cottage (A Book Retreat Mystery #6) by Ellery Adams

storybook

Pages: 320

Published: April 28, 2020

Publisher: Kensington

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was scheduled to read and review this book on the release date of April 28, 2020, but unfortunately, my mama passed away three days prior and I was unable to do so. When I was able to read again Ellery Adams was able to bring a sense of comfort and love when needed. Her characters feel like friends every time you open up a book.

Even though a murder or two occurs in the book love shines through in many forms. We have the love of lovers during Valentine’s Day, the love of our fellow man no matter the age, race or gender, and the love of books. I was reminded so much of my mama. She introduced to me at a very young age the love of books and reading. She continued to nurture that love up until her passing. Valentine’s Day was a time for her to shower those she loved with cute cards and treats. Most importantly she taught me to love others by seeing what was inside and not on the outside.

The ending left me happy and eagerly anticipating the next book. I am not going to say anything more as I want you to be as surprised as I.

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

In Cold Chamomile (A Tea and Read Mystery #3) by Joy Avon

cold

Pages: 215

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: February 11, 2020

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

My Review: The third book in the A Tea and Read mystery series did not deliver the expected punch. It fell very flat.

There was much potential with the relationships between Iphy and Strong, Ace and Callie, and Quinn and Peggy but none of the stories between those couples were given a chance. What we did get was nuts and pieces and felt very rushed.

Overall it was a nice read.

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

NetGalley: Just in time for the holidays, In Cold Chamomile is sure to be a cupid’s arrow aimed straight for your bookshelf.

Tea party organizer Callie Aspen learns that Cupid’s arrows can be deadly when a Valentine’s Day soiree ends in murder.

Callie Aspen can’t think of a more appropriate place to spend Valentine’s Day than her adopted hometown of Heart’s Harbor, Maine. When she’s not helping out at Book Tea, her great-aunt Iphy’s vintage tearoom, Callie’s adorning Haywood Hall with hearts and roses for the big Valentine’s event, where townspeople will fall in love with sweet treats, heartwarming music, and delightful books. But tension is brewing: The librarian argues with the expert who is on hand to appraise precious volumes. And Iphy is shocked to recognize the baritone who’s slated to sing at the event as an old acquaintance–one she’d hoped she’d never meet again. And then, when a dead body is discovered, the stirring spoon of suspicion points at the many people who had reasons to want the victim dead.

When Iphy’s old acquaintance draws the attention of Deputy Ace Falk, Callie finds herself in a spot. Ace, as usual, doesn’t want Callie involved, but how can she ignore Iphy’s anguish over the fate of a man she cares for more than she will admit? Bringing the killer to justice may endanger Callie’s budding relationship with Ace–and, quite possibly, her own life.

Callie and the Book Tea crew may think they have this case in the bag, but un-kettling truths are yet to be decanted.

The Innkeeper’s Bride (Amish Brides of Birch Creek #3) by Kathleen Fuller

innkeeper

Pages: 320

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: January 14, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Finally, we have Selah’s story and let me tell you it was worth the wait. I am not ashamed to admit for the first two books I could not stand Selah as I thought she was whiney, spiteful and at times hateful. Now that I understand why I want to go back and read the first two again as see her behavior with a different attitude. The story has reminded me not to judge others’ bad attitudes so quick as there may be a reason behind their bad behavior.

Although this is the third book in the Amish Brides of Birch Creek series you can read as a stand-alone with no problems. Each story deals with an individual couple and other characters make appearances. Each story is a clean romance with no sex or foul language.

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

NetGalley: When Selah Ropp returns to Birch Creek, she is a different person than when she left. I know I haven’t done much listening in the past, Lord, she prays. But I’m listening now. Her new friend, Cevilla Schlabach, urges her to let go of regrets and allow this to be a fresh start. Cevilla herself, though, hides a secret longing behind her weathered face.

Levi Stoll and his family spent a year transforming a large English house into a small inn. Now that they are open for business, Levi is pleased to have Selah join them as an employee—as long as his grandmother doesn’t try any matchmaking schemes on the two of them. After all, Selah seems as guarded as he feels, and the last thing he wants is for anyone to remind him of his history.

With Kathleen Fuller’s trademark humor and memorable characters, The Innkeeper’s Bride reminds us that God’s grace in the present and our hope for the future is stronger than any pain of the past.

Class Mom (Class Mom #1) by Laurie Gelman

class

Pages: 302

Publisher: Henry & Holt Co.

Published: August 1, 2017

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads:

Jen Dixon is not your typical Kansas City kindergarten class mom–or mom in general. Jen already has two college-age daughters by two different (probably) musicians, and it’s her second time around the class mom block with five-year-old Max–this time with a husband and father by her side. Though her best friend and PTA President see her as the-wisest-candidate for the job (or oldest), not all of the other parents agree.

From recording parents’ response times to her emails about helping in the classroom to requesting contributions of-special-brownies for curriculum night, not all of Jen’s methods win approval from the other moms. Throw in an old flame from Jen’s past, a hyper-sensitive -allergy mom,-a surprisingly sexy kindergarten teacher, and an impossible-to-please Real Housewife-wannabe, causing problems at every turn, and the job really becomes much more than she signed up for.

My Review:

I’m not sure how I came across this book. It showed up in my email as an available book I put on hold with my e-library. I’m so glad I read it. It was the perfect book for a holiday weekend. Plenty of laughs.

Jen is hilarious in the emails she sends to the class parents. Coming from the educator side and the parent side it is so frustrating when the same parents volunteer and some parents are pretty much invisible.

There is a sequel to Class Mom and I’m thinking I will see what it is about.

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.

The Amish Sweet Shop by Emma Miller, Laura Bradford and Mary Ellis

sweetshop

Pages: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Published: December 18, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A sweet read to get you ready for Valentine’s Day. Perfect for the romance reader in your life.

THE SWEETEST COURTSHIP by Emma Miller
Grouchy Jacob Beechy is no match for his mother, who has taken it upon herself to find him a wife. Rose has come to town for a change of scenery and ends up crossing paths with Jacob’s mom. Come sit a spell in Beechy’s Sweets and watch love melt even the hardest heart in town. By the end of the story, you will be craving fudge with a side of romance.

THE SWEETEST TRUTH by Laura Bradford ***My favorite of the three stories***
A horrific barn fire several years ago changed the life Sadie thought she would have so she has made the life she feels most comfortable living. When a secret admirer starts leaving little gifts for her to find on her lunch break, Sadie’s heart starts to soften and she allows herself to dream again. This story will make you smile and your heart tapdance with happiness.

NOTHING TASTES SO SWEET by Mary Ellis
A freak accident suddenly widows Hannah who has just found out she is pregnant. Hannah is thankful for her job at the local hardware store but when the job is in jeopardy Hannah learns she is stronger than she thinks. A sweet tale of how sometimes romance can find a way to heal even the most broken of hearts.

I love reading Amish romance novellas during the holidays as the stories are usually short enough to read in between all the hustle and bustle. You are always guaranteed a happy ending and a smile. Even if Valentine’s Day is not your holiday, you will be happy to read these sweet stories. Grab a box of yummy chocolates, put on your fuzzy socks and curl up in your comfy reading chair for one of the sweetest reads of the season.

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 Dash of Love by Liz Isaacson

a dash of love

Pages: 197 (eBook)

Publisher: Hallmark Publishing

Published: December 26, 2017

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A cute Valentine read.

Nikki’s lifelong dream is to be a chef in a five star restaurant. Her problem: she is not classically trained at such schools at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She thinks she has found the perfect job to learn from THE chef in Lakeside, Holly Hanson. Nikki becomes her assistant, entering receipts and such, as Holly has agreed to let Nikki cook after hours in the restaurant kitchen. Paul, Holly’s classically trained chef, has a disastrous run in with Nikki on her first day but he soon finds himself smitten. Paul learns of Holly’s generosity in allowing Nikki to cook after hours and becomes suspicious immediately as Holly is known to be quite the opposite. Can Paul figure out what is going on before Holly ruins his chance at love with Nikki?

I am a sucker for Hallmark’s romance and mystery movies. Yes, I admit there is a gooey, smushy side to this reader. Sometimes you just have to read about romance, hearts and flowers. I especially love a good, clean romance after reading a book full of mystery and death. It is like a palate cleanser for me. Hallmark Publishing has found the perfect way to accomplish that in writing books based off their movies. They are short (usually under 200 pages) books and always have a smile at the end.

A Dash of Love was sweet, romantic and heated in that there is a lot of cooking going on between Paul and Nikki. My interest in piqued between Nikki’s Cinnamon Candy Chili (recipe included in the book) and Peanut Butter Root Beer Beef Stew (yes you read that right). My next mission is to find this movie playing and watch it as I would love to see how the sparks fly on the screen.

Thank you to NetGalley and Hallmark Publishing for a copy to read in exchange for my honest review in my own words.