Saturday, July 21, 2018

Amish Celebrations: Four Amish Novellas by Beth Wiseman

Thank you for stopping by today.  A Love for Leah by Amy Lillard and A Simple Singing by Leslie Gould come out on July 31.   The Hope Jar by Wanda Brunstetter publishes on August 1.  You can obtain a free extended preview of The Hope Jar on Amazon right now.

Amish Celebrations by Beth Wiseman is a collection of Amish novellas.  The Gift of Sisters is the story of Hannah and Rachel, fraternal twins, who will shortly turn sixteen and enter their rumschpringe.  The sisters have always been close, but newcomer Abram Stoltzfus comes between them.  Hannah, the beautiful and outgoing sister, quickly catches his attention knowing her sister was interested in him.   Gideon has been friends with the twins their whole life, but he has fallen in love with Rachel.  Does he stand a chance against the charming Abraham?  Will the twins let a man come between them?

A New Beginning takes us to Paradise, Pennsylvania.  Noah will soon be baptized and then marry Rebecca Fisher.  He decides to enjoy a last Englisch party before his rumschpringe ends.  Noah spends the evening talking with McKenna.  Two weeks later, Noah calls off his wedding to Rebecca.  Paul Fisher, Rebecca’s brother, has yet to be baptized and has been quietly meeting with McKenna.  After seeing McKenna hug Noah, he jumps to conclusions and quits seeing her.  What made Noah change his mind?  Will there be a happy ending for these two couples?

In A Christmas Miracle, young Rachel Marie King sneaks off to visit Santa and his elf at the local toy store to request help for her mother for Christmas.  Bruce Hanson, the Santa and Joan, the elf, are touched by the little girl’s request and send a check to the family.  Mary King has five children under the age of seven and she is overwhelmed and exhausted.  Gabriel, Mary’s husband, does not understand why Mary cannot keep a clean house and take care of the children as well.  He is tired of sandwiches and coming home to a disorganized home.  Mary visits Bruce to return the check which gives Joan a chance to talk with Mary.  Joan feels God is calling her help the worn-out mother and begins visiting her with Bruce tagging along.  Bruce has been at odds with God since the loss of his wife but being around the King family is helping him resolve his issues.  See how God helps these individuals during the holiday season.

The fourth novella, A Perfect Plan was previously published in An Amish Wedding.  I enjoyed reading these lovely Amish stories.  They are well-written and engaging.  My favorite novella was A Christmas Miracle.  It is such a sweet, heartwarming story with good characters, special message, humor and  a satisfying ending.  I like how the Christian values and themes were incorporated into the story.  We see the importance of having strong faith, the power of prayer, how God has a plan for our lives, events happen in God’s timing—not ours, the value of helping others and how God is always there for us.  Beth Wiseman creates delightful characters. Though each story is short, we get to know them and see them develop.  My least favorite story was The Gift of Sisters.  I felt the two sisters were too young to become serious about a beau (they are considering marriage).  It is realistic with two sisters fighting over a boy, but I thought it was predictable.  My rating for Amish Celebrations is 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  Amish Celebrations contains stories that will touch your heart. 

Amish Celebrations can be ordered as one book or you can purchase each novella separately.  I appreciate you taking the time to read my review.  Tomorrow the characters from Room on the Porch Swing by  Amy Clipston will answer a few questions.  I hope that you have a relaxing day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, July 20, 2018

Murder in Greenwich Village: A Louise Faulk Mystery

Murder in Greenwich Village by Liz Freeland is the first book in A Louise Faulk Mystery series.  We venture back to 1913 in New York City.  Louise Faulk arrived in New York six months prior and, with the help of her Aunt Irene, she has a job at Van Hooten & McChesney.  Her aunt, Irene Livingston Green is an author who hosts interesting gatherings every Thursday evening. Louise meets author, Ford Fitzsimmons whose manuscript she recently read and recommended to her boss.  She would like to read more of Ford’s work as well as get to know him better and provides him with her home address.  After the party, Louise and her roommate, Callie head home and encounter Callie’s married boyfriend, Sawyer Attinger along the way.  Callie is a beautiful woman who works as a mannequin at Solomon’s and is an aspiring Broadway actress.  Callie enters her bedroom where her cousin, Ethel has been staying for the last month and lets out a scream.  Ethel is facedown on the bed in Callie’s negligee with a butcher’s knife in her back.  Detective Muldoon and Detective Robinson are on the case.  The next morning, Louise is surprised when an old friend from back home arrives and is promptly arrested as the killer.  Louise knows Otto would not harm a soul and, after some encouragement from Aunt Irene, she delves into the case. Louise finds herself discovering new parts of the city as she checks out her suspects and discovers that everyone has secrets including herself.

Murder in Greenwich Village is different from other cozy mysteries as it is set in 1913.  Louise Faulk is a perky main character who is hiding a secret.  I did not like her secret and wish it had not been included in the book.  She is passionate about clearing the wrong people accused of the crime, but she lacks subtly. Louise’s questions come across as accusations offending people.  While the author was trying to make the mystery complicated, it ended up being convoluted with too many people involved.  There are several red herrings, but they do not detract from identifying the guilty party (it was a cinch). Louise running around the city reminds me of busy work in school (the substitute teacher would give students).   It would have been nice if the author had worked to develop the characters (fleshed them out) and eliminate some of the wacky ones (did we need the smarmy son of the landlord and the noisy musicians).  There is repetition of information, endless speculation and the book has a slow pace.  Murder in Greenwich Village has potential.  I am curious to see if Louise will join the police force, and I like the potential romance between Louise and Detective Muldoon.  My rating for Murder in Greenwich Village 3 out of 5 stars.  For readers who prefer light, historical cozy mysteries, pick up Murder in Greenwich Village to see how Louise fares in solving Ethel’s murder.

Murder in Midtown is the next book in A Louise Faulk Mystery series and it will be out on March 26, 2019. I appreciate you visiting and reading my thoughts on this novel.  Tomorrow I will be reviewing Amish Celebrations by Beth Wiseman. Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire

Good Day!  M.R.C. Kasasian was raised in Lancashire.  He has had varied jobs that include wine watier, veterinary assistant, factory hand, fairground worker, and dentist.  In the summer, the author and his wife life in Suffolk while they winter in Malta.  You can find M.R.C. Kasasian on Twitter @MRCKasasian.

Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire by M.R.C. Kasasian starts in 1939.  Betty Church was injured on the job and, if not for the assistance of her godmother, March Middleton, she would have been off the force.  Instead, Betty gets a promotion (she is now an inspector) and transferred from London back to her hometown of Sackwater (the last place Betty would like to return to).  Life moves at a slower pace in Sackwater and the officers at the Sackwater Central Police Station are lacking (let’s face it—it’s a dumping ground).  Things get off to a roaring start when she arrives at the station to encounter a sleeping front desk officer, Frank Briggs, who distinctly resembles a corpse (creepy).  Betty than proceeds to her parent’s home where she is told there is no room since they are taking in some East End refugees as part of a trial program (in other words, they are getting paid to do it).  Betty has not been at her new posting long when Constable Dodo Chivers arrives a week early for her new position.  Betty and Dodo go to check on Mr. Peatrie and find him dead at the bottom of his stairs.  They notice two strange marks on his neck and Dodo is sure that a vampire has attacked him.  This is just the beginning of the killing spree and the press dub the killer the “Suffolk Vampire”.  Betty must calm down the locals who are taking precautions (the town has run out of garlic) while tracking down a dangerous murderer.

Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire is well-written and a humorous novel.  This is the type of book that my mother just loves (she laughed continually while reading it).  Betty is a strong, intelligent resourceful woman who is not afraid of hard work and has the patience of Job.  The townspeople and Betty’s co-workers are quirky (to put it mildly).  Dodo Chivers is a unique personality who seamlessly fits into the Church household and wins the affections of Betty’s parents (they treat her better than Betty).  The author managed to combine an amusing plot with dastardly deeds.  M.R.C. Kasasian created imaginative characters that challenge Betty.  I like how the author incorporated the rules from the time-period for female officers into the story (they could not work at night so as not to incite the desires of the male officers) as well as the attitudes of the male officers (misogynists).  I like the authors descriptive writing style.  The details help bring the scenes alive for me.  Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire was a little over-the-top for my tastes.  I thought the pace was a little slow and there was too much of Dodo (she is an acquired taste).  Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire is British cozy mystery that will have you in stitches.  It is an unforgettable novel. 

I have included an excerpt of Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire:

March Middleton gave her impressions of her first visit to Gower Street in her journal of 1882 and surprisingly little had changed in that time. The hexagonal red-brick hospital still sprouted its turrets to the right. The University College, white and colonnaded like a Greek temple, stood set back on the opposite side of the road, still paved with wooden blocks for quietness though the traffic was more rubber-wheeled than iron-shoed by now. There was, however, still a good sprinkling of horse-drawn carts. The milkman and the coal merchant had no reason to invest in the internal combustion engine.

The people were dressed differently – not a man in spats nor a top hat to be seen and the women showing enough leg to have made Sidney Grice apoplectic. Gower Street was already all too familiar to me. It had formed part of my Bloomsbury beat when I was a constable and I had made my first arrest on the corner with Cable Street – an unemployed cooper for beating his wife with a cudgel. He had pleaded guilty but, much to my disgust, after hearing what a sharp tongue the woman had, the magistrate had merely bound him over to keep the peace while his wife with a broken jaw and nose was admonished to show more restraint in her language.  Number 125 stood four stories high near the end of a Georgian terrace and I saw, as I went up four of the six steps to pull on the bell, that the heavy curtains to the right of the black front door were drawn. I once asked March Middleton why she had never mentioned the lions’ heads on the doorposts and she had explained that she had not noticed them the first time she visited but, if she had mentioned them in later journals, it would have only drawn attention to her poor skills of observation, something Mr. Grice was overly fond of doing already.

The first time I had been there after getting my helmet with its famous Brunswick star, Mr. Grice’s old maid had met me with, ‘I’m supposed to tell visitors to wipe their feet but I ’spect yours is clean so you can just wipe your boots, Constabell.’ At which she clapped her hand over her mouth and came out with a muffled, ‘Oh my gawd you’re a woman – but I suppositate you know that.’ ‘It’s me, Molly.’  ‘Everyone is me to themself,’ she had declared wisely, ‘expect me. I’m just Molly.’ This time I waited a good two minutes and was just about to tug on the round brass handle again when I heard three bolts being drawn back and was greeted by a woman, about my age I guessed, in a plain black dress with a crisp white apron.

‘Oh, come in,’ she said resignedly, as if I had been pestering her all week for admission. ‘I recognize you from your photograph. I’m Jenny.’ She ushered me in, shut the door and took my coat. ‘Hello, Jenny.’ I didn’t tell her that Mr. G would have blown a gasket at the familiarity of a servant introducing herself. Jenny was tall. I am well above average at five feet nine and she had a good couple of inches on me; but I was inclined to think she was cheating. Her neck alone gave her an unfair advantage. It rose from her collar like the middle section of a boa constrictor.  ‘I thought you might be in uniform.’ There was something disapproving in the way she told me that. Her nostrils were upturned and her lips thin and I half-expected to see a forked tongue flicking out.

Jenny hung my coat next to the great personal detective’s old Ulster coat, which was still on its end hook near a stand of his famous walking canes. Sidney Grice had temporarily blinded himself when his gun stick backfired once, and he had stabbed an aristocrat in the foot with his spike stick in Kew one afternoon. I had often wondered which was his swordstick and which one played confusing tunes for they all looked identical to me. But, after nearly starting a blaze with his flame stick, I had been forbidden to touch any of them again and it did not seem right to do so now. I placed my hat on the table alongside seven of March Middleton’s laid out, like a milliner’s display, in a row. 

‘I’m off duty.’ I was certainly not going to tell her that I might never be on it again.  ‘Oh.’ This didn’t seem to be a satisfactory explanation until I raised my sleeve. The maid’s head snaked down to inspect this discovery but, finding nothing worth swallowing, reluctantly coiled back. ‘How did you do that?’ ‘I didn’t. Is Miss Middlet—’ ‘Through there,’ Jenny broke in with a tip of her head, though that was not going to be my question.  Through there was a site almost sacred in the annals of criminology – Sidney Grice’s legendary study and consulting room. Jenny opened the door and I stepped quietly in. The room was quite dark, for it was still lit by gas, and the mantles were turned low, so it was a while before my eyes adjusted enough to make out the form of my godmother. ‘Hello, Betty,’ March Middleton greeted me from her armchair to the left of a flickering coal fire.

Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire is available on Amazon. Thank you for stopping by today.  Please take the opportunity to visit the other stops on the Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire Tour (see schedule below).  I will be sharing my thoughts on Murder in Greenwich Village by Liz Freeland tomorrow.  It is the first novel in A Louise Falk Mystery series.  Keep cool and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Revealed: Intrigue Under Western Skies plus a Giveaway!

Good Day!  Elaine Manders writes wholesome Christian romance and suspense about the bold, capable women of history and the strong, dependable men who love them. Her stories twist, turn, and surprise, told by characters who aren’t afraid to show their love for God and each other. She grew up a small town country girl and now lives in Central Georgia with her fur baby. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, sewing, crafts, and spending time with her family.  The greatest insight that Elaine has learned from her writing is that one can never trust his own heart without first trusting God.

About the Book
When her father dies, Katherine Levinson discovers her parents have kept secrets that render her happy childhood a farce. She and her gravely ill mother face eviction, and she has no choice but to appeal to the brother she’s never seen, the famous cattle baron, Rhyan Cason. Over her gravely ill mother’s objections, they move to Nebraska and the sprawling cattle ranch, Sollano.

Instead of the warm welcome Katherine expects, she and her mother are met with whispers and scorn in the little prairie town near Sollano. Gradually, the sins of her parents’ past surface, and Katherine begins to doubt her very identify. With her brother busy with cattle rustlers and her mother too ill to be bothered, Katherine turns to Colt Holliman, a soft-spoken neighboring rancher, for comfort.

Tired of waiting for the right woman to come along, Colt has promised to wait for Charley Ryder, an acclaimed female sharp shooter and equestrian acrobat with the Wild West Show, but it’s becoming clear Charley loves the show more than him. As his attraction to Katherine grows, he finds himself spiritually conflicted. How can he break from past commitments and follow his heart?
Then unexpected danger strikes, testing Katherine’s and Colt’s faith in God—and each other.

My Thoughts 

Revealed by Elaine Manders is the third novel in Intrigue Under Western Skies series.  It is 1885 in Charleston, South Carolina where Katherine Levinson is running out of options.  Since her father’s death, Katherine has been responsible for her ill mother, Arabella and they are out of funds.  Despite her mother’s objections, Katherine writes to the brother she has never known, Rhyan Cason.  Rhyan and his wife, Carianne quickly arrive and bustle the pair off to their ranch, Sollano in Westerfield, Nebraska.  The townspeople have long memories and they have not forgotten Arabella’s treatment of Rhyan’s father and her scandalous behavior.  A couple of the ladies are welcoming to Katherine and Arabella, but many of them are discourteous and help fuel the flames with rumor and innuendo.  Colt Holliman own the ranch next to the Cason’s and is Rhyan’s best friend.  He is engaged to Charley Ryder, a trick rider and sharp shooter with Carianne’s Wild West Show.  However, Charley is reluctant to set a wedding date as she enjoys all the attention and acclaim.  Colt is taken with Katherine’s gentle personality and they find themselves drawn to each other.  The ranchers are having trouble with rustlers taking off with their cows and horses.  But what happens when the culprits up their game by taking something very dear and valuable?

While Revealed is the third novel in Intrigue Under Western Skies, I had no trouble reading it.  I do think, though, that I would have known more about the characters if I had read the previous two books in this series.  I thought the book was well-written, had a steady pace throughout, and smooth transitions.  I rarely read books set in the west, I admit to enjoying this one.  I liked reading about the Wild West Show and Charley’s tricks.  Can you imagine doing acrobatics on top of a horse while wearing a fancy costume?  I found the characters to be well-developed and realistic.  It was nice to see how Arabella changed after reuniting with her son.  The Christian elements are woven throughout the story.  It is prevalent, but it does not dominate.  It can be hard to keep your faith during times of strife. We need to remember that God is there for us always and we need to pray for His assistance as well as His guidance.    We also see our characters struggle with forgiveness and not being judgmental.  I had a little trouble getting into the story, but it did not take long for my attention to be grabbed.  I am glad that the author had the mystery and suspense elements into the book.  They added depth and made for a complex story.  While I knew who was behind the crimes, I kept reading to find out what would happen next (I stayed up very late).  My rating for Revealed is 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  This was the first book I have read by Elaine Manders, but it will not be my last. Revealed is available on Amazon and is on the Kindle Unlimited Program.  The first two books in Intrigue Under Western Skies series are Pursued and Surrendered.

To celebrate her tour, Elaine is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card.  Before you leave to enter the contest, please leave a comment on my blog to get nine (9) extra entries.  Click here to enter.  Good Luck!  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will feature Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire by M.R.C. Kasasian.  It is a unique book (and it is not a paranormal novel).  Please take the time to visit the other stops on the Celebrate Lit Revealed tour (see schedule below).  Have a beautiful day and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, July 17
The Avid Reader, July 18
Remembrancy, July 19
Mary Hake, July 20

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Dyeing Up Loose Ends: A Knitting Mystery

Welcome!  Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber is out today.  The Factory Girls of Lark Lane by Pam Howes comes out tomorrow.  It is a historical novel that sweeps you back to 1940.  The Scent of Waikiki by Terry Ambrose will be available on July 19.  It is the ninth book in Trouble in Paradise series.

Dyeing Up Loose Ends by Maggie Sefton is the sixteenth tale in A Knitting Mystery series.  Kelly Flynn is married to Steve and her son, Jack is now a boisterous four-year-old in Fort Connor, Colorado.  Kelly spends her days at Pete’s Porch Café and Lampspun working on her client’s accounts and enjoys evenings with her family and close friends.  Julie, one of the waitresses at the café, takes accounting classes at the local university and is currently having some issues with her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriends and her money grubbing brother.  One morning Jennifer and Pete arrive at the café to find Julie’s car already in the parking lot.  It looks like Julie has worked her last shift.  They find Julie dead in her car from apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Kelly and the Lambspun crew have another theory and they set about untangling the clues.  In between, the group has a wedding to organize for two special people.  Join the Lampspun crew one last time in Dyeing Up Loose Ends.

All our favorite characters from A Knitting Mystery series returns in Dyeing Up Loose Ends.  The book has a nice, steady pace and a conversational writing style that makes Dyeing Up Loose Ends easy to read.  A Knitting Mystery series used to be one of my favorites and I could not wait for each new installment.  The last couple of books, though, have felt like they were done by someone else.  They lack the same depth and complexity of the earlier books in the series.  Most of Dyeing Up Loose Ends is spent reminiscing (I ended up skimming through it since I have read every book in the series and I wonder if someone double checked their information).  The various characters share recollections on the cases they have solved as well as discuss how Kelly came to Fort Connor, inherited her various properties, her accounting business, how Kelly met Steve, and how they other characters paired up and married.  The murder mystery was simple and there was little investigating.  Identifying the guilty party was a snap.  There are cozy moments as Kelly spends time with her friends, a lot of eating, time with the children, a wedding, and time spent at Lambspun.  There are lovely descriptions of yarn included in the story and I laughed at Carl’s continued determination to catch a squirrel (my dogs have given up).  I believe this is the end of A Knitting Mystery series.  I just wish the author had decided to go out as she started the series.  If, like me, you have read all the books in this series, then you will want to read Dyeing Up Loose Ends (to find out what happens to the various characters).  For those who are new to the series, I suggest starting with Knit One, Kill Two.

I appreciate you visiting today.  I will be a part of the Revealed Celebrate Lit Tour tomorrow.  Revealed by Elaine Manders is the third book in Intrigue Under Western Skies series.  I hope you can stop by.  Take care, stay cool and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Silver Ladies of London Blog Tour: A Historical Novel by Lesley Eames

Welcome!  Lesley Eames was born in Manchester and now lives in Hertfordshire.  Lesley devotes her time to writing and teaching others creative writing.  A book from her childhood that still lingers with her today is Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild (one of my favorite books too and part of The Shoes Books).  She has written and sold over 90 short stories to women's magazines.  Ms. Eames is currently working on a saga set during the 1920s in Brighton featuring Thea, Anna and Daisy.  The suggested theme song for The Silver Ladies of London is The Charleston (think flapper dresses, jazz music, cocktails, jazz clubs).  Lesley Eames is on Facebook and Twitter (@LesleyEames).

The Silver Ladies of London by Lesley Eames sweeps readers back in time to 1923.  Ruth Turner is returning to her employer’s home of Arleigh Court after a surprising meeting.  Unfortunately, the day quickly takes a downturn when Ruth along with her three friends are accused of stealing Mrs. Arleigh’s necklace and dismissed without references.  Unable to find employment in their town because of the accusations of thievery, Ruth comes up with a plan.  She inherited some funds along with a carriage house in London from her aunt.  This will allow them to start over away from the stigma.  In the carriage house they find a gorgeous and rare Silver Ghost Rolls Royce.  They come up with the plan to open a car for hire service called the Silver Ladies.  With their combined talents, anything is possible especially if they are willing to work hard to achieve their goal.  The business soon takes off, their friendship is stronger than ever, and the girls have found romantic partners.  But soon all they hold dear is threatened from a dangerous menace.  How will they overcome this obstacle?

The Silver Ladies of London is well-written and engaging.  The four main characters of Ruth, Jenny, Lydia and Grace are just delightful.  I liked seeing the four ladies develop over the course of the book.  The author took the time to flesh out each character and bring them to life.  Each one of them has their own talents, weaknesses and secrets.  I enjoyed the descriptions of London, the hairstyles and fashions, and the gorgeous Rolls Royce.    There is plenty of action going on in the book that moves the book forward.  There is a slow spell in the middle, but then the pace picks up once again.  The Silver Ladies of London has a unique premise with four women starting up a car for hire service in the 1920s in London.  They were brave to embark into business a male dominated world.  I was happy to see all the storylines wrapped up at the end of the book and I appreciated the epilogue (it will have you smiling).  I am giving The Silver Ladies of London 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  The Silver Ladies of London is a charming, historical novel with a sweet, happy ending.

Here is an excerpt from The Silver Ladies of London:

It was Lydia, in filthy men’s overalls with a duster round her head. If Mrs Preece spotted her, she’d know Lydia had been tinkering with the car again and waste no time in reporting her.  Mrs Preece disliked all of them – Ruth, Lydia, Jenny and Grace – telling them often that none of them could hold a candle to her three nieces. But it was Lydia she disliked most of all. Unsurprisingly. Grace and Jenny regarded the housekeeper as a nuisance they had to tolerate, while Ruth wouldn’t say boo to a goose, but Lydia never hid the fact that the dislike was mutual. She had a way of staring at Mrs Preece through cool grey eyes that brought a hot and bothered look to the older woman’s face. Lydia was a terrible housemaid too and would have been dismissed long ago if Ruth, Jenny and Grace hadn’t covered up for her.  How could Ruth save Lydia now?  ‘Terrible night, isn’t it, Mrs Preece?’ she yelled. 

Catching on to the warning, Lydia stopped running and sent Ruth a conspiratorial grin before creeping forward to flatten herself against the wall out of sight.  ‘I didn’t mean you should leave that door open all night,’ Mrs Preece complained.
Ruth closed it. ‘May I leave my umbrella in the hearth to dry?’ She was already moving into the kitchen, squeezing a final few drips from her umbrella to lure Mrs Preece in after her.  ‘You’re making a mess, Turner!’  ‘Am I?’ Ruth looked round, pretending to be surprised, and was relieved to see Lydia glide down the passage towards the back stairs. ‘I’ll fetch the mop.’ Ruth brought it from the scullery, wondering if she might still manage a few minutes alone as Lydia would assume Mrs Preece had detained her if she didn’t go upstairs immediately. Questions were bound to be asked about Ruth’s day and she needed to be ready with answers if she was to avoid blurting out something she might later regret. She wiped the floor and headed back to the scullery.

‘Not so fast,’ Mrs Preece said. ‘Madam wants to see you.’  Ruth stopped in her tracks, then turned, wondering if she was to be questioned about the man she’d seen. But it wasn’t a chance encounter on the drive that had put that look of gleeful malice on the housekeeper’s face. Ruth was in trouble for something. ‘Do you know why she wants to see me?’  ‘That’s for Madam to explain. She wants to see all of you. Grey, Mallory, Lavenham and you. Immediately. Best not keep her waiting.’  Worried now, Ruth fled the kitchen, dumped the mop and rushed up to the attic passage where Lydia was waiting.  Predictably, Lydia laughed. ‘That was close.’   ‘Hush!’ It would be just like the housekeeper to eavesdrop from the bottom of the stairs.

Ruth shooed Lydia along the passage to the rooms they shared: Ruth with Grace, and Lydia with Jenny. They found Grace and Jenny together, Grace reading and Jenny sitting on Ruth’s bed trimming a cream cloche hat with blue ribbon.  There was no time now for Ruth to share her news even if she could work out what to say. No time to mention the man who’d threatened her either. ‘Mrs Arleigh wants to see us,’ Ruth explained. ‘She wants to see all of us.’  Grace sharpened to attention. ‘Do you know why? Goodness, you’re wet through, Ruth. You need to change into something dry.’ ‘Mrs Preece didn’t say.’ Ruth surrendered her coat to Grace who’d got up to help her. ‘Bound to be trouble,’ Lydia predicted, but Jenny was more optimistic. ‘Maybe Lady Maude left a tip for us.’ ‘That dried-up old prune?’ Lydia scoffed. ‘We’ve had worse house guests,’ Jenny pointed out, ‘and she was pleased with my repair to her lace collar.’ ‘She actually said so?’ ‘No, but I’m sure her mouth twitched.’ Could Jenny be right? It would be typical of Mrs Preece to set them worrying over nothing. Ruth felt a faint glimmer of hope.

The Silver Ladies of London is available at Amazon (Kindle Unlimited), Kobo, iBooks and at the Google Play store.  Thank you for visiting today and I hope you take the time to visit the other blogs on the tour (see below).  I will be sharing my thoughts on Dyeing Up Loose Ends by Maggie Sefton tomorrow.  I hope that you have a day filled with positive thoughts.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Airships, Crypts and Chocolate Chips: Spells & Caramels plus a Giveaway!

Airships, Crypts & Chocolate Chips: A Cozy Witch Mystery (Spells & Caramels)

by Erin Johnson

About the Book 

Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Self Published
Publication Date: June 23, 2018
A bewitched prison. A brother with a deadly request. Can a magical baker launch a jailbreak and still keep her prince in the process?
Imogen’s magical bakery is thriving and she loves the company of the Water Kingdom’s dashing prince. But she’s not so enamored with the time she’s forced to spend with his awful Royal Family. She also can't help but worry that the increased media scrutiny could reveal her secret contact with the Royal Family’s sworn enemy: her own brother.  When her sibling shows up and demands Imogen spring his cronies out of jail, she flat out refuses. But when he threatens to hurt the ones she loves the most, she balances her allegiance to the prince with her plan for a covert prison break. Can Imogen keep up family appearances and avoid betraying the kingdom or will her pie-in-the-sky scheme become a recipe for disaster? Airships, Crypts & Chocolate Chips is the sixth standalone book in a clever paranormal cozy mystery series. If you like crafty witches, charming romances, and fabulous French settings, then you'll love Erin Johnson’s enchanting adventure.

About the Author

Erin Johnson is a native of Tempe, Arizona, Erin spends her time crafting mysterious, magical, romance-filled stories that’ll hopefully make you laugh. In between, she’s traveling, napping with her dogs, eating with her friends and family, and teaching Pilates (to allow her to eat more).

Purchase Link - Amazon 

My Thoughts

Airships, Crypts and Chocolate Chips by Erin Johnson is the sixth installment in the Spells & Caramels series.  Imogen and her fellow bakers are enjoying being back home on Bijou Mer.  Now that her relationship with Prince Hank is out in the open, Imogen is invited to attend the various soirees hosted at the palace which means spending time with Hank’s family (Imogen cannot figure out how Hank turned out so well).  Things are going swimmingly until Imogen’s brother, Horace shows up in the bakery.  He knows that they are heading to the Air Kingdom for the Spring Solstice Festival.  The Air Kingdom is where Carclaustra Prison is located.  Horace demands that Imogen and her friends break out Pritney and Nate (who they helped put into prison).  He threatens the lives of their families if they do not cooperate and Imogen is not allowed to tell Hank. How can they get two people out of the one place no one can visit? 

Airships, Crypts and Chocolate Chips is an action-packed book.  In addition to what I mentioned above, Hank and Imogen stumble across a body in a black box in a small storage room.  It turns out to be Hank’s old mentor who disappeared one day.  Hank wants to find out what happened to him and how he ended up the black box. I recommend reading the Spells & Caramels series in order.  Each book in the series builds upon the previous book.  There is a delightful group of characters in this series.  Imogen has a unique perspective since she grew up human and did not know she was magical until entering a baking contest.  Iggy, Imogen’s flame, is my favorite character with his witty and sarcastic quips. Hank’s family, though, leaves something to be desired.  It is amazing how kind and thoughtful Hank considering King Roch is his father.  It was fun to visit the Air Kingdom.  The author created a unique environment and provides beautiful descriptions of it.  Can you imagine sailing around on airships?  Airships, Crypts and Chocolate Chips contains good writing and steady pacing.  While Airships, Crypts and Chocolate Chips is a good story, it was missing the light heartedness and humor that was present in the previous books in the series.  I miss Iggy’s entertaining and witty retorts.  There is a Dobby reference that I loved.  My rating for Airships, Crypts and Chocolate Chips is 4 out of 5 stars.  I cannot wait to see how Imogen, Hank, Iggy and the gang get out of their present situation in the next Spells & Caramels novel.  Airships, Crypts and Chocolate Chips is available for purchase at Amazon and is a part of the Kindle Unlimited Program.
In honor of the Greats Escapes Airships, Crypts and Chocolate Chips Tour, the author is giving away a complete digital set of the Spells & Caramels series.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter form above or click here.  In addition, I am giving away one digital copy of Seashells, Spells and Caramels.  To be entered in the contest, leave a comment with your email address (so I can contact you if you win) and follow my blog (upper right).  You must do both items to be entered into the contest which ends on July 22 at 11:59 p.m.  Thank you so much for visiting today.  I will feature Dyeing Up Loose Ends by Maggie Sefton tomorrow.  I hope that you have an enchanting day.  Take care of yourself and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

July 16 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

July 16 – Babs Book Bistro - SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

July 16 – Socrates' Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 16 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

July 17 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

July 17 – Mallory Heart's Cozies - REVIEW

July 17 – The Cozy Pages – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

July 17 – Sapphyria's Books - REVIEW

July 18 – Valerie's Musings – REVIEW

July 18 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

July 18 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

July 19 – My Reading Journeys - SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

July 19 – Varietats - REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

July 19 – MJB Reviewers - SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

July 19 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews - SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

July 20 – Teresa Trent Author Blog - SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

July 20 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW

July 20 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

July 21 – Mysteries with Character – SPOTLIGHT

July 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

July 21 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  

July 22 – Celticlady's Reviews - SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

July 22 – Brooke Blogs - SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

July 22 – The Montana Bookaholic - REVIEW