Dead of Winter: A Lily Dale Mystery by Wendy Corsi Staub

dead of winter

Pages: 288

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: November 7,2017

I have been a fan of Wendy Corsi Staub for as long as I can remember and a Dead of Winter did not disappoint.

Dead of Winter is the third book in the adult Lily Dale Mystery series. I have not read the other two so at the beginning I was a little lost in trying to figure out who belonged to whom and who could do what but once I got that down pat the book took off. Bella, moved to Lily Dale with her son after her husband died. Lily Dale is a town centered around the world of mediums. Bella has a hard time believing in the world of mediums. On a cold, dark night as she is looking out her window at the lake, she sees a mysterious light and a few minutes later hears what thinks is a human scream. The next morning she finds a body wrapped in a tarp washed upon the shore in her backyard. Is the body a local? Who killed this person? Should she worry that the killer is still lurking around? Can Bella solve the crime before tragedy affects her family once again?

This was a toe-curling, gripping read. I am already looking for the first two books in the series.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for an advance copy in exchange for a review in my own words.

A Deadly Éclair by Daryl Wood Gerber

a deadly eclair

Pages: 320

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: November 7, 2017

A yummy start to a new cozy series, A French Bistro Mystery.

After the death of her husband, Mimi has opened a French restaurant and inn in the heart of Napa Valley with the help of a close friend. During her first big event, her close friend is murdered. Mimi is heartbroken and promises to find his killer. As she works with her close knit staff to keep her customers happy, she investigates the murder as well as her future love life. Will Mimi find the killer or will the killer find her first?

The scenery descriptions are great. I felt like I was in Napa Valley sitting right there with Mimi, Jo and Heather eating the delicious food Chef C prepared. I’ve learned that I need to learn more about French food. When the author gives the French name for the dish I was happy she continued with the description if what it was the diners were eating.

I will be looking for the second book in the series.

Thank you to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for a review based on my own thoughts and put in my own words.

A Pain Less Ordinary by L.V. Pires

a pain less ordinary

Pages: 239

Publisher: Pangram YA

Published: September 12,2017

A heartbreaking read. That is the only way I can describe this book. I am so glad to have read it. I started reading this book at 4am and rarely put it down until I was finished. Being a substitute teacher it made me think about some of the students I see on a regular basis and how you truly never know what is going on at home.

Becca is a high school student trying to pass her classes while raising her baby sister and trying to keep her family together. During a moment of anger she tells her mom about her step-father’s cheating and things spiral out of control quickly. Follow Becca as she tries to put her family back together again and learns how strong she really is.

You will cry, scream at the injustice of the CPS system and the cruelty kids can inflict on one another. I would definitely use this book in my high school classroom in hopes it would teach kids to have compassion and to build each other up instead of tearing each other down out of spite and meanness.

Thank you to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review based on my words.

Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber

merry and bright

Pages: 272

Publisher: Random House/Ballantine

Published: October 3, 2017

A sweet Christmas tale filled with romance, compassion and beauty.

Merry (Mary) has spent the last year working as a temp entering data for a local Boeing contractor and has not focused on her love life. For her birthday, her mom and brother decide to sign up her up on a dating website using the family dog as her picture. During the get to know you process she falls for a fellow dog lover, Jay. They agree to meet at a local coffee shop and when she shows up she realizes Jay is her rude, grouchy boss Jayson. She leaves without him seeing her. Will they continue to talk on Mix and Mingle or will Merry shut it down before giving it a chance?

I liked that Merry’s brother was “special” with Downs Syndrome. Macomber treated his character with respect. His character was a perfect fit for this romantic Christmas story.

Merry and Bright is the perfect book that can be read over a cold, snowy weekend with the Christmas tree lights twinkling as you read. It is a clean romance book suitably for teenagers and above.

Fans of Debbie Macomber looking for a sweet, romantic Christmas story will not be disappointed.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House/Ballantine for an advance copy for a review based on my own honest opinion.

The Secret, Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams

the secret book scone society.jpg

Pages: 290

Publisher: Kensington Books

Published: October 31, 2017

I have four new friends in Nora, Hester, June and Estella. If I could I would be taking a trip to Miracle Springs, North Carolina and eating scones while reading a book after I spent the day at the spa. I found myself not finishing the last nine pages right away because I knew it would it end my visit with my friends.

I would recommend this book to everyone whether you have a read a cozy mystery or not. As the author, Ellery Adams, mentioned it is a little edgier than her other cozies and it is wonderful. You will find yourself crying with the characters, cheering them on and wishing they were real.

All four women have experienced a trauma of some sort in their lives. The trauma has made them the strong woman they are today. Nora is the local bookstore owner who has a knack for picking out the books that you need to make you feel better or help you overcome a trauma in your life. As she is getting ready to meet a gentleman from earlier in the day, Estella comes running in with news. Nora’s guest was just hit by the train. Was it a suicide or murder? The four women find themselves becoming fast friends and sharing their own secrets with each other in order to determine what happened.

There are a lot of book references throughout the book and I have found my TBR pile growing. My favorite quote of the book is Chapter 17 and is from Ray Bradbury: “You’ve got the jump off cliffs and build your wings on the way down.”

I would suggest you go ahead and put your copy of this book on hold with your favorite bookseller. Don’t plan on doing anything else when you start reading, you are not going to want to stop.

Thank you to Ellery Adams for an advanced copy in exchange for a review based on my own opinions and written in my own words.

An Amish Christmas Candle by Kelly Long, Jennifer Beckstrand and Lisa Baker Jones

an amish christmas candle

Pages: 352

Publisher: Penguin

Published: September 26, 2017

I enjoy being able to read short story compilations by different authors as it allows me to see if I will enjoy reading the author’s other works.

I did not enjoy the first story, Snow Shine on Ice Mountain by Kelly Long. First let me say, this is my own personal opinion on how the story spoke to me. Please make your own opinions when you read the story. Second, the author is a great writer and my opinion in no way reflects her great writing. I read Amish fiction as a change from novels with lots of sexual innuendos and such. For me this story was too sexually charged.

A Honeybee Christmas by Jennifer Beckstrand was my favorite. Bitsy is a real hoot. We all need a little bit of Bitsy in us. This story has sparked my interest in reading the Honeybee series.

The Christmas Candle by Lisa Jones Baker was exactly what you expect of a sweet Amish Christmas story. You will finish with a smile on your face.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington for an advanced copy to read and provide a review based on my own honest opinion.

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

the stolen marriage

Pages: 384

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: October 3, 2017

Tess DeMello has only known the world of Little Italy and the love of one man, her next door neighbor, Vincent. They plan on getting married, living in Little Italy, raising a large family, while working together, he a doctor and her a nurse. While she is finishing nursing school, Vincent volunteers as a doctor at a polio hospital in Chicago. After a tense disagreement with Vincent, Tess decides to go to Washington D.C. with her best friend for a weekend of fun. While in D.C. Tess makes a decision that will alter her life forever. Will Tess and Vincent find there way back to each other or is the sin too great?

I could not put this book down. I was reading it every free moment I had available. I found it very thought-provoking and educational. Diane Chamberlain covers the time of 1944/1945 in an extremely educational but entertaining fashion. While our men are overseas in the Pacific fighting WWII, the families back home are fighting the polio epidemic that is taking anyone, but especially the younger generation, the children. What is causing this crippling, life-taking disease? As researchers are working toward a cure, people are working together in ways like never before to save lives. Especially in Hickory, North Carolina. In 54 hours a polio hospital was built and running. Without regard to race, socioeconomic background or religion. A town came together with one goal in mind: saving lives. I was impressed that this was true and am interested to read more about this “miracle town”.

Chamberlain also tackles the taboo subject of that time, interracial love. In the South, one could not marry outside their race without facing fines and jail time. Trials were even held to decide how serious the offense.

The Stolen Marriage is one of the novels you will be happy you read and will want to share with all the readers in your life.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advanced copy in exchange for a review based on my own honest opinion.

 

Death Overdue (A Haunted Library Mystery) by Allison Brook

death overdue

Pages: 336

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: October 10, 2017

I rarely read books with paranormal characters but I’m pleased I gave Death Overdue a try. It was a real treat to read.

Carrie has been working at the local library and living with her aunt and uncle. As she contemplates moving on to the next exciting town, she is offered a full-time permanent position as the P and E librarian. While getting in the swing of her new job she meets Evelyn, the resident ghost librarian. Carrie’s first program is a retired police officer who discusses the case of the murdered librarian. During his presentation he keels over dead from an apparent poisoning. Will Carrie get spooked before she even has a chance at this job?

I was impressed that there was only a small love triangle and that it did not take center stage. I’m interested to see how the author builds Carrie’s romantic life. My fingers are crossed for a certain landlord.

This is a straight cozy mystery with little to no foul language, no sex scenes and no grisly, murder scenes. I’m definitely looking forward to the second book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for an advance copy for a review based on my own honest opinion.

Home All Along (Amish Secrets #3) by Beth Wisemen

home all along.jpg

Pages: 351

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Published: September 26, 2017

A beautiful and stunning ending to the series. Even though each book can be read as a stand alone novel, I suggest you start from the beginning so you can be immersed in the feelings of each character.

Charlotte has returned to the Amish community she has grown to love and is settling into her home and moving forward with her relationship with Daniel. So much so they have been discussing marriage. Death and sickness alter their world in a quick fashion. Will their relationship survive the turmoil?

Throughout the entire series Beth Wisemen has tackled taboo subject of mental illness. While it is an illness that is hard to admit in the English world it is more so in the Amish world. Wisemen gives you a fresh, new look at the disease. She also tackles drug addiction, child abuse, and how to know it is time to let someone go.

You will need tissues throughout the entire series but especially for the third book, Home All Along.

Series in order:
1. Her Brother’s Keeper
2. Love Bears All Things
3. Home All Along

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review in my own words.

A Simple Wish (Simple Gifts #2) by Charlotte Hubbard

simple wish

Pages: 320

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 26, 2017

Willow Ridge is a place where one can start over with the help of the town without judgement.

Loretta and her sister Rosalyn are still living at home with their Dat after Edith gets married. Loretta wants nothing more than to find the love of her life but first she has to deal with Will, her ex-fiancé. Will, has moved to Willow Ridge to get a fresh start after the death of his wife. Can Loretta and Will put their past behind them and find love again or will a new suitor sweep her off her feet?

I enjoyed visiting Willow Ridge again and following the Reihl sisters through all the ups and downs is a true joy. Hubbard continues the mystery with the girls Dat which makes the book very meaty. I hope there is a third one coming soon.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington for an advance copy in exchange for a review in my own honest words.