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.

Thread and Dead (The Apron Shop Series #2) by Elizabeth Penney

Pages: 288

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: August 25, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Mass Market Paperback

My Review: Even though I figured out the killer pretty early on I still enjoyed this quick read. Learning about the different uses for seaweed was very interesting. I enjoy it in my sushi but I’m not sure I would just go in to the store and pick up a protein bar made with it.

I really enjoyed the second mystery with Eleanor. Could you imagine finding a trunk in the attic filled with such treasure and being able to learn about your ancestry? I hope Eleanor makes a camo in the next book so we know how she is doing.

This is perfect for fans of non-culinary cozy mysteries.

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

From NetGalley: Tragedy strikes in Thread and Dead, the second book in Elizabeth Penney’s cozy mystery series—and now everyone in Blueberry Cove, Maine, is on pins and needles. . .

Iris Buckley is busier than ever this July, with the town’s annual Lobster Festival fast approaching. In just a matter of days her apron shop Ruffles & Bows, will be jam-packed with tourists eager to lay eyes on its world-class collection of aprons and linens—and Iris’s inventory is running low. Then, just when all hope seems lost, Iris gets a call from Eleanor Brady, a wealthy, reclusive spinster who just happens to have trunks full of vintage fabrics. Would Iris like to come down to Eleanor’s cottage estate Shorehaven and have a look?

Before long Iris is on the scene—and on the case. Turns out that Eleanor has rented Shorehaven to the handsome, charismatic environmentalist Dr. Lukas de Wilde and his flock of students. What begins as an apron-scouting endeavor soon morphs into a full-blown murder investigation when Dr. de Wilde’s beautiful young teaching assistant turns up dead. Now it’s up to Iris—along with her partner-in-love-and-crime Ian Stewart—to unravel the mystery before the Blueberry Cove killer strikes again.

Mums and Mayhem (A Magic Garden Mystery 3) by Amanda Flower

Pages: 336

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: August 11, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Hardcover

My Review: I should be ashamed I had this on my NetGalley for so long but I was sad to learn this was the last of the series so I held off on reading it.

It was an enjoyable read. I was happy we got to learn more about Fiona’s parents and their past. The situation was handle in a realistic manner. I still was not a fan of her little sister but I do need to remember the age difference. Her little sister is a grown-up brat.

This series is perfect for fans of Scotland. The descriptions of the town are beautiful.

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

From NetGalley: A famous fiddler has been kilt. A magic garden’s left to wilt. Does Fiona Knox’s father hold the guilt? Will florist Fiona’s blood be spilt?

World-famous fiddle player Barley McFee arrives in blustery Bellewick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, for a grand homecoming concert organized by jeweler Bernice Brennan. Fiona Knox, owner of the Climbing Rose Flower Shop, is starting to regret volunteering to help with the concert. Bernice is an exacting taskmaster, and Fiona has enough tension dealing with her parents, who have traveled from Tennessee to visit Fi and her younger sister, Isla, and to reveal a secret about Fi’s birth. But when Barley is found dead in his trailer during the concert’s intermission, and his death is shockingly tied to Fiona’s father, Fiona discovers there are more secrets surrounding her family than she realized.

Much to the chagrin of handsome Neil Craig, Chief Inspector of the County Aberdeen Police, Fiona delves into the case to clear her father’s name. To make matters worse, Fiona learns that Duncreigan, the magical garden that she inherited from her godfather, is dying. At some point during the concert, someone broke into the garden and cut the centuries-old climbing rose–the source of the garden’s magic–from the standing stone.

The stakes are higher than ever and Fiona could lose all that she’s grown unless she’s able to dispel this terrible curse and dig up the truth–fast.