Saturday, January 25, 2020

Shattered Justice by Susan Furlong

Shattered Justice (A Bone Gap Travellers, #3)
Welcome!  The Book of Candlelight by Ellery Adams comes out on Tuesday, January 28 along with A View to a Kilt by Kaitlyn Dunnett and Hannah's Courage by Molly JebberThe Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck releases February 4.  The Long Bridge Home by Kelly Irvin will be out on February 11.  It is the second installment in Amish of Big Sky Country series.  I was fortunate to win a copy on Facebook last week in an author contest.  Are you looking forward to one of these books?
Appalachian Trail at Roan Mountain State Park. Blue Ridge Mountains Tennessee sc , #Aff, #Mountain, #State, #Park, #Appalachian, #Trail #ad
Shattered Justice by Susan Furlong has us in Bone Gap, Tennessee where Brynn Callahan works as a sheriff’s deputy.  She straddles the world between the Travellers and the other residents of their small town.   Her boss, Sheriff Frank Pusser, has laid down the law.  If Brynn wants to keep her job, she must attend AA meetings for her alcohol and pain pill addiction.  After spending the previous night at her friend’s bachelorette party at the local bar, Brynn is awakened early with a call to a crime scene.  An ear was found dangling from the jungle gym at the elementary school and Brynn recognizes the earring.  Brynn last saw the earring on a stripper who was at the bar the previous night for ladies’ night at the bar and the man left with her friend, Mo.  The killer also left a message spray painted on the concrete.  Brynn has her human remains detection dog, Wilco to search for a body, but one is not found.  Then a tongue is found in a park pavilion with another message.  Again, no body is found.  They need to find the culprit before he strikes again.  Brynn has another worry.  A fellow deputy is working on an open homicide that hits close to home.  Brynn knows who committed the crime and is determined to protect them no matter the cost.  
25 Amazing Hidden Gems in Tennessee - The Crazy Tourist
Shattered Justice by Susan Furlong is the third A Bone Gap Travellers Novel.  I have not read the other books in this series and I did feel I was missing important details especially at the beginning of the story.  I picked up Shattered Justice because I enjoyed the author’s A Novel Idea Mystery series (written as Lucy Arlington).  Shattered Justice is not what I expected.  I like that Brynn Callahan is a veteran along with her dog, Wilco.  They both suffered injuries in an explosion and, understandably, have PTSD.  Poor Wilco suffers from nightmares as does Brynn who has been self-medicating with large quantities of alcohol and pain pills.  If Brynn wants to keep her job, she need to give up both and begin attending AA meetings.  I was not a fan of Brynn.  My main reason is she feels she can take the law into her own hands (plus her addictions, attitude, etc.—felt like a cliched character).  It was interesting to learn about the Irish Travellers or Pavee as they prefer to be called.  It is a terrible shame that people are prejudiced against them because of their heritage.  The mystery was complex with active investigating.   I liked the action which helped propel the book forward which was helpful since the pacing was slow.  The mystery can be solved before all the clues are revealed.   As the law enforcement professionals uncover evidence, there are some descriptions that are best not read while eating (fair warning).  Shattered Justice does contain graphic violence along with foul language and spousal abuse.  My favorite character in the story is Wilco.  I found him to be sweet and courageous.  It is amazing what dogs can accomplish with training.  As you can tell, Shattered Justice was not a good fit for me.  Shattered Justice is a grim, tension filled story with a disturbed killer, surprising secrets, a clever canine, the amazing Appalachian, a dogged deputy, and a caring granddaughter. 
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Shattered Justice can be obtained from Amazon* (and Barnes & Noble, BAM, Kobo, Google Play, iBooks).  I suggest you read a sample of the book to see if it suits you.  The other two novels in A Bone Gap Travellers series are Splintered Silence and Fractured Truth.  Thank you for dropping by today and reading my review.  Tomorrow I will be sharing my review of Buried by Ellison Cooper.  It is the second novel in the Agent Sayer Altair series.  I hope you have a special day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Art Friday:  Henry Edward Spernon Tozer     1870 - 1940   British…
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Friday, January 24, 2020

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Big Lies in a Small Town: A Novel by [Chamberlain, Diane]
Welcome!  Game of Bones by Erin Johnson is out today.  It is the third tale in the Magic Market MysteriesStatue of Limitations by Kate Collins is the debut of A Goddess of Greene St. Mystery series and it will be out on January 28 along with Playing the Devil by R.J. Lee.  Is there an upcoming book you are looking forward to reading?  I am always looking for new books and authors.
30 small towns to visit this summer Edenton, North Carolina
Downtown Edenton, North Carolina
Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain takes us on a journey to Edenton, North Carolina.  Anna Dale receives a letter on December 4, 1939 stating that she was one of the winners for forty-eight states mural competition.  She did not, though, get her own hometown of Bordentown, New Jersey.  Anna is to produce the portrait for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina.  She travels to Edenton to research the town and finds herself in a different world.  The town expected their own local artist to win the competition and some people are quite put out that Anna did not step down.  The local bigwigs have certain ideas for the mural that they do not hesitate to share with Anna.  Anna begins working on the mural and soon learns that gossip travels quickly in the small town.  Prejudices are strong, there are secrets a plenty and being different is not appreciated.  
U.S. Post Office- Edenton,North Carolina
Edenton Post Office
Morgan Christopher is serving time for a crime she did not commit in 2018.  After serving a year of her sentence, Morgan gets two visitors who present her with an offer that would get her out of jail.  Morgan must restore a post office mural from 1940 within two months for the opening of a gallery.  Morgan was studying art at college when her life took a downturn, but she does not a thing about restoration.  She is not going to pass up this opportunity and Morgan is counting on research to aid her (after all, that’s what internet is for).  As Morgan removes the grime from the canvas, the images are slowly revealed.  They are not what anyone expected.  People say the artist went mad, but Morgan believes there is another answer.  She wonders why the completed mural was never installed in the post office and what happened to the artist who created it.  Morgan begins searching for answers to her questions when not working on the large and unusual mural.  Can Morgan complete the restoration in time?  What will happen if she is not up to the task?
Edenton NC Teapot Garden Party  The 1905 Bronze Teapot now covered in a Verdigris patina perched on the edge of the Chowan County Courthouse Green.  A memorial to commemorate the 1774 protest location where Mrs. Elizabeth King and the Ladies of Edenton met to protest the tax that the British had placed on Tea.  A prettier little Southern town you would be hard pressed to find.  Art by Janine Riley #edentonnc #edeontonteapot  #teapot #edentonnorthcarolina #chowancounty #albemarlesound
Edenton Tea Pot
Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain is an intriguing story.  I like how the story is laid out in the two different timelines.  As Morgan Christopher works on the mural, we get to follow Anna as she works on creating it.  It was interesting learning about the mural competition along with what it took to create a mural and restore one.  This is the first novel I have read by Diane Chamberlain and it will not be my last.  I thought it was well-written with developed characters and a lovely, Southern setting.  The descriptions allowed me to imagine the setting and the characters.  I could picture the small Southern town with its “powerful” men (to me they were overweight men who were indulging the little lady) and uptight ladies who did not appreciate Anna’s unique artistic ways.  I felt for Morgan who took the rap for a crime she did not commit because love led her astray.  I thought the author captured the feel of the south in the 1940s.  I found it humorous how scandalized people were when Anna wore trousers.  I liked the two mysteries in the story.  We wonder what happened to Anna and why was Morgan chosen to restore the mural.  I became engrossed in the story because I was eager to learn the answers.  There is some offensive language along with violence (murder, violence against a female) as well as racism and alcoholism (so you are forewarned).  I enjoyed how it all came together in the end (just as I hoped it would).  Big Lies in a Small Town was a fascinating story with an ending that did not disappoint.  
Post office mural of First Flight in Williamston, NC
Williamston, North Carolina--A WPA Post Office Mural
Big Lies in a Small Town can be purchased here*.  You can find a list of Diane Chamberlain's other novels here on Amazon.  To learn more about the WPA The 48 States Competition, check out this site. Thank you for stopping by today. I hope that you have an entertaining day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader
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Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen

The Bridge to Belle Island
Good Day!  Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen.  She worked in publishing before becoming a full-time writer.  Julie is the author of Tales from Ivy Hill series.  Visit the Tales from Ivy Hill website for more information about this historical series.  Julie and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Visit her website for more information about her books, to read her blog and to join her email list.  Readers can follow her on Facebook.
This is Eel Pie Island, one of around 180 river islets – known as ‘eyots’ or ‘aits’ – on the Thames, born of the river’s meandering, 184-mile path from the Cotswold hills to the North Sea.
The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen has Benjamin Booker losing a court case in April of 1819 because he allowed himself to believe the lies fed him from a beautiful woman.  Ben promises himself and his mentor, Robert Hardy, that he will not let it happen again.  Percival Norris, a senior partner at Norris, Hardy and Hunt where Ben works, is killed.  He handled the Wilder estate and recently had a disagreement with Isabel Wilder which she followed up a harsh letter.  Ben is sent to Belle Island where Isabel resides to discover if she has left the remote place recently.  Isabel Wilder lives on Belle Island in the Berkshires where the family’s country estate resides.  She has not left the island ten years thanks to her fears.  Isabel is stunned when she learns about Percival’s death especially when she discovers the scene of the crime mimics a dream, she had the night before he was murdered.  Ben finds himself fascinated with Isabel despite his attempts to hold himself aloof.  When a second person is killed, the evidence once again points to Isabel.  Someone is setting her up and Isabel does not who she can trust.  The truth needs to be uncovered before Isabel is arrested for the crimes. 
River Thames Path Walk and Cycle - Interactive guide to the Thames Path National Trail with River Thames Maps
The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen is a fascinating historical novel.  I believe this is Julie Klassen’s best novel yet.  The story contains rich, developed characters.  The authors vivid descriptions made the characters come alive for me.  I enjoyed the depictions of their clothing along with the scenery and homes.  I thought Julie Klassen captured the time period.  It was fascinating to learn more about the Thames.  Living on Belle Island when there are heavy storms is like living in Florida when a hurricane approaches.  The water level rises subjecting the inhabitants to flee to the mainland and hope that their homes will still be there when they return.  The mystery was fascinating and fun to solve.  Someone with access to Percival Norris’s home must have done the evil deed and we get to follow the clues to discover which individual committed the crime.  The romance plays out slowly which I liked.  Ben is understandably hesitant to trust any woman and Isabel has her own reasons for distrusting men.  Julie Klassen’s writing is compelling and drew me right into the story. The pacing is languid which suits the time period and story. The Bridge to Belle Island has romance and mystery in Regency England which is a fabulous combination.  
15 Best Things to Do in Maidenhead (Berkshire, England) - The Crazy Tourist
The Bridge to Belle Island can be purchased here.  If you enjoy reading inspirational historical novels, you do not want to miss out on The Bridge to Belle Island.  Julie Klassen's next novel is An Ivy Hill Christmas:  Tales from Ivy Hill Novella which releases on September 1, 2020 (can pre-order here).  Thank you for visiting today.  I will be sharing my review of Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain tomorrow.  I hope you have a peaceful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Promenade dress, 1813. Repository of arts, literature, commerce, manufactures, fashions and politics. Ackermann
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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Careless Whiskers by Miranda James

Careless Whiskers (Cat in the Stacks #12)
Hello!  Buried to the Brim by Jenn McKinlay comes out on Tuesday, January 28.  It is the sixth A Hat Shop Mystery.  I just love this series and I am happy that it is continuing.  The Tea Chest by Heidi Chiavaroli releases on February 4 as well as Two Steps Forward by Suzanne Woods Fisher (third book in The Deacon's Family series).    Dead to the Last Drop by Tonya Kappes is the 8th A Killer Coffee Mystery and publishes on February 21.  Sunsets, Sabbatical and Scandal by Tonya Kappes releases on March 24.  It is the 10th A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery.  My TBR list just keeps getting longer and longer!  Is there a new book coming out that you are looking forward to reading?  
Careless Whiskers by Miranda James returns readers to Athena, Mississippi.  Athena College puts on a play every spring for a fundraiser with a guest artist as the star.  The original actor cast in the roll became ill and the replacement has Laura, Charlie’s daughter, a tad upset.  Luke Lombardi is a pompous man who likes to provoke people.  But, as they say, the show must go on and Luke’s contract is already signed.  Laura is starring in Careless Whispers and her husband Frank is the director.  Charlie attends the welcome reception with Helen Louise and soon understands why his daughter is distraught.  Someone plays a prank on Luke by having pig ears presented to him as a special hors d’oeuvre.  Rehearsals begun the next day in which Charlie can see Luke in action.  Thankfully, Miss An’gel Ducote has a plan in place to get Luke to control his unfortunate behavior.  If only Miss An’gel could get the prankster to quit as well.  The practical joker stroke again but the star is not amused.   Charlie is enjoying the performance on Saturday when Luke collapses after taking a drink from the glass Laura handed him.  Luke Lombardi is dead, and Laura is the prime suspect.  Chief Kanesha Berry knows that Laura would not commit murder, but she must stick with the facts.  Charlie must once again don his sleuthing cap so he can unmask a killer.
Heartbeats of a Theatre Geek — Mystery Lighting!
Careless Whiskers by Miranda James is the twelfth A Cat in the Stacks Mystery.  It can be read as a standalone courtesy of the background information provided by the author.  Charlie Harris and Diesel are back along with the adorable Ramses.  Charlie has sworn off investigating after a close call, but, when his daughter is in the line of fire, he must dive in once again.  Luke Lombardi is the guest actor for the performance of Careless Whispers written by a local playwright using the name Finn Zwake.  Luke has an ego the size of Texas and an insufferable attitude to go with it.  Laura and Luke have a series of altercations during the week of rehearsals with Laura stating more than once that she would “kill” him if he did such a thing again (she was frustrated).  When Luke ends up dead on the stage after drinking from the glass handed to him by Laura, she finds herself at the top of the suspect list.  Charlie knows his daughter is innocent and begins nosing around searching for answers.  There are several suspects from Luke’s paramour to his understudy.  I liked following Charlie’s investigation. There are good clues and misdirection to distract readers from the solution.  In addition, there is the prankster in the theater and  two men who both claim to be the playwright Finn Zwake.  I thought Careless Whiskers was well-written with steady pacing.  I appreciated the addition of my what my father termed ten dollar words (sangfroid and inamorata are two examples).  The words suited the education of the characters.  I thought that the characters were developed and realistic.  The authors descriptions allowed me to visualize each one especially Finn Zwake with his shaggy mane of red hair and ridiculous mustache.  Charlie continues to develop as he grows older.  It is nice to see him slowing down at work and enjoying time with his grandchildren.  I especially love the scenes with Charlie at home with Diesel and Ramses.  I find Diesel’s little chirps and trills delightful.  It is cute that Ramses tries to imitate his older brother.  I laughed often while reading Careless Whiskers thanks to the abundance of humor.  The ending was very special and left me smiling.  Careless Whiskers is a diverting cozy mystery with an arrogant actor, a frisky feline, disquieting disputes, a phony playwright, and puzzling pranks.  
41 Stunning Pictures Of The Maine Coon, One Of The World's Largest Cats 11
A Maine Coon cat like Diesel
Careless Whiskers can be obtained from Amazon* (in ebook, hardcover, and audible).  You can find a list of the other novels in A Cat in the Stacks Mystery series here.  The next A Cat in the Stacks Mystery is Cat Me if You Can which will be out on August 11, 2020.  Thank you for joining me today.  I will be back tomorrow with my review of The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen.  I hope you have a successful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

An Unlikely Amish Match by Vannetta Chapman

An Unlikely Amish Match (Indiana Amish Brides #5)
Happy Book Release Day!  Some of the new books out today are The Words I Never Wrote by Jane Thynne, The Protective One by Shelley Shepard GrayCareless Whiskers by Miranda James, Witness Protection Widow by Debra Webb, and An Unlikely Amish Match by Vannetta Chapman (paperback version out today).  Which book are you looking forward to reading? If you enjoy paranormal mysteries, Game of Bones by Erin Johnson comes out January 24.  It is the third tale in A Magic Market Mysteries.  
Amish Horses: Amish Acres in Nappanee,Indiana
An Unlikely Amish Match by Vannetta Chapman takes us on a journey to Goshen, Indiana.  Susannah Beiler is thankful that her cancer is in remission.  Her life has been on hold for the last two years while she underwent chemotherapy.  Susannah feels that no Amish man will want to marry her because she cannot have children.  She wants to move forward with her life, but she is unsure on how to do it.  Micah Fisher from Unity, Maine has been sent by his parents to live with his grandparents for the next six months.  They are hoping that he will mature and become baptized.  Micah does not understand why there must be so many rules.  He sees life a little differently and likes to have fun.  Susannah does not want Micah to break any hearts while in town and agrees to be his companion for his outings.  Micah feels that he will have little fun with Susannah along since she is a rule follower plus she is the bishop’s daughter.  As they spend time together, Susannah discovers a different side of Micah and he brings joy to her life.  Micah finds himself enjoying his time with Susannah.  But then something unexpected happens that could change Micah’s life forever.  
Inside Amish life - Photo 1 - Pictures - CBS News
An Unlikely Amish Match by Vannetta Chapman is the fifth book in the Indiana Amish Brides series.  Each book in the series can be read on its own.  I thought the characters were developed and realistic.  I like Vannetta Chapman’s engaging writing style.  I was drawn right into the story and just wanted to keep reading to the end.  Micah Fisher is twenty-five and has been spoiled by his seven older sisters.  He is a rebel with a cocky attitude.  Micah is also a hard worker and a quick learner.  Susannah told her friend that Micah is “trouble wrapped up in suspenders.”  Susannah’s cancer matured her giving her a serious personality.  She follows the rules, does her chores, watches her younger twin sisters (they are a handful) and makes beautiful quilts.  Micah and Susannah are complete opposites which leads to some humorous and playful moments.  I thought it was clever when Micah came up with a way for them to fish at night.  There are also some tender scenes that will touch your heart.  One of my favorite scenes is when Susannah tells Micah about her cancer and not being able to have children.   I like how faith is incorporated into the story.  God directs our paths and he puts certain people in our life for a reason.  His ways are not our ways.  God’s love, forgiveness and prayer are featured Christian elements.  We also see that each day is precious, and we should not waste a moment.  There is a preview of The Amish Widow’s Hope by Marta Perry at the end of the book.  I enjoyed reading An Unlikely Amish Match.  I love it when a story leaves me with a smile on my face when I finish it.  An Unlikely Amish Match is an uplifting story with lively twins, an enterprising Amishman, an earnest maidel, a stubborn grandfather, a compassionate bishop, and surprising situations. 
An Unlikely Amish Match is out in paperback today.  The ebook version releases on February 1.  The other novels in the Indiana Amish Brides series are A Widow's Hope, Amish Christmas Memories, A Perfect Amish Match, and The Amish Christmas Matchmaker.   Vannetta Chapman also writes the Cyber Division series.  The series includes Fading into the Night*, Midnight Strike and Daybreak (comes out April 6).  Thank you for stopping by today.  I am reviewing Careless Whiskers by Miranda James* next time.  It is the twelfth A Cat in the Stacks Mystery.  I hope that you have a joyful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Reading and Art: Deborah DeWit
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Monday, January 20, 2020

The Protective One by Shelley Shepard Gray

The Protective One (Walnut Creek #3)
Welcome!  Shelley Shepard Gray is a wife, mother and fulltime writer living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She also serves on several committees at her church. Her two dogs keep her company while she is writing.  Shelley likes to bake and loves coconut cream pie.  She hardly pulls weeds, mows the yard or drives in the snow.  You can find out more about Shelley and her books by visiting her website and you will also find her on Facebook.  For updates on her latest releases, follow Shelley on Amazon.
Farmhouse front porch in Indiana's Amish Country | Midwest Living
The Protective One by Shelley Shepard Gray takes readers on a journey to Walnut Creek, Ohio. Elizabeth Anne (E.A. to her friends) Schmidt is one of the Mennonite members of the Eight who works at the local sewing store, Sew and Tell.  E.A. has been feeling discontented and out-of-sorts recently.  She is dissatisfied with job and David, the man who is courting her.  E.A. has come to the decision that David is not the right man for her especially after his uncalled for remarks regarding her deceased friend, Andy and breaks off their relationship.  Unfortunately, David is not the type to go away quietly.  Will Kurtz is an Amish member of the Eight who is also dissatisfied with his life.  He has noticed the other members of their group pairing off and getting married plus his friend, John recently got a promotion at work while Will is still in the same position.  Will and E.A. encounter each other one day and realize they are both feeling the same way.  They soon find themselves getting together frequently and, as time passes, realize their feelings for each other are changing.  They will need to stand together as they are going to have a bumpy road ahead thanks to one displeased ex-suitor.  The one aspect of E.A.’s job that she enjoys is teaching people to sew.  One of her sewing student’s, Marta always seems nervous.  When E.A. sees Marta with her husband at a local restaurant, she soon discovers why.  E.A. is going to need assistance from her friends and God if she is to help Marta.  What does the future hold for E.A. and Will?  Will Marta get the protection she needs?  You will have to pick up The Protective One to learn the answers.
Ballarat Patchwork1 love the table skrt
The Protective One by Shelley Shepard Gray is the third book in The Walnut Creek Series.  Each one can be read on its own, but you will be missing out on some heartwarming stories.  Elizabeth Anne or E.A. as she prefers to be called, is such a kind, patient woman.  She is one of the Eight and one of the few remaining single members.  E.A. was Marie’s maid of honor at her recent wedding to John.  E.A. is feeling at loose ends.  She is not happy with her job at Sew & Tell and her beau, David is a little odd.  After some horrible remarks from David on the death of her friend, Andy, E.A. breaks off their relationship.  After speaking with Will Kurtz, E.A. learns that he is also feeling restless.  They start spending time together and they soon realize that their friendship is turning into something more.  Will Kurtz is an Amishman who works at the local R.V. factory.  He feels that his life is standing still while others are getting married and moving ahead in their jobs.  I like how the relationship developed between E.A. and Will.  They are cute together.  There is humor in the story especially during a scene involving David (he is an odd duck).  The Protective One also delves into the dark topics of spousal abuse and stalking.  I thought Shelley Shepard Gray did a wonderful job at addressing such difficult subjects. Her portrayal of Marta was realistic.  Marta Miner has been married for ten years to an abuser.  She has decided it is time to break free, but Marta must wait for the right moment.  Marta came up with a plan and then set about executing it.  I admired Marta for her bravery.  The ending was just wonderful.  I appreciated that we get updates on the other members of the Eight.  We get to see how the other couples are faring in their relationships.  Faith is intertwined throughout the book.  As we see, prayer can be a powerful tool.  The Protective One is a special story that will linger with you long after you finish it.  I cannot wait to read The Trustworthy OneThe Protective One is a touching novel with friendship, love, and faith.
Trip back in time: the Amish in Ohio : Travel
The Protective One releases on January 21 and is available for pre-order from Amazon*. The first two novels in The Walnut Creek Series are The Patient One and The Loyal One.  This series also includes the prequel titled Friends to the End (ebook only) and A Precious Gift (an ebook novella).   The next tales in The Walnut Creek Series is The Trustworthy One which comes out May 5 and Promises of Tomorrow (a novella) releases on July 6.  I hope you enjoy The Protective One as much as I did.  Thank you for stopping by today and reading my review.  I will be sharing An Unlikely Amish Match by Vannetta Chapman tomorrow.  It is part of the Indiana Amish Brides series by Love Inspired.  May you have an inspiring day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Virgin River by Robyn Carr

Virgin River (Virgin River, #1)
Happy Sunday!  While many people may be familiar with Virgin River by Robyn Carr, I just discovered the book in late November.  I have been trying to work it into my reading schedule ever since.  Virgin River is the first of twenty novels in A Virgin River series.  
Bodie was a booming mining town during the Gold Rush in California.
Virgin River by Robyn Carr has Melinda “Mel” Monroe is a nurse practitioner and certified midwife who is suffering from burnout at her job.  Mel also lost her husband in a convenience store robbery which has made her fearful of living in the city.  When she sees the ad where Virgin River is looking for someone with her qualifications, she quickly applies.  Mel needs peace and a fresh start.  She especially likes that the job comes with a charming cabin.  She accepts the job after speaking with Hope McCrea who is bankrolling the position.  Mel arrives in Virgin River in her fancy BMW which is ill-suited for the rough terrain and soon finds herself in a ditch.  Thankfully, Mel is rescued and shown the way to her new abode which looks nothing like the pictures.  She soon discovers that nothing is quite as Hope described.  Doc Mullins does not want her help despite being seventy and beginning to slow down.  Mel decides to leave the following morning.  She was on her way out of town when a baby is found on Doc Mullins doorstep by rugged Jack Sheridan.  Mel changes her plans so she can stay and take care of the newborn until child services arrives.  Others contrive to show Mel that Virgin River is the place for her.
Virgin River by Robyn Carr captured my attention from the very beginning.  It shows what life is like up the small mountain town of Virgin River which has about six hundred residents.  Melinda Monroe is feeling burnout from her position at a 3,000 bed hospital and is looking for a change.  The position in Virgin River seems to be what she needs, and it is confirmed after seeing the pictures sent to her by Hope McCrea.  The icing on the cake is the charming cabin that comes with position.  Mel packs expensive jeans ($100 plus per pair) along with her beautiful leather boots into her BMW and heads into the mountains.  Mel soon discovers that Hope’s pictures were not current and her clothing choices not to mention her car are not appropriate for the environment.  Mel decides that Virgin River is not for her.  Then a newborn is found on the local doctor’s front porch.  This has Mel changing her plans which she claims is just temporary.  Mel fails to tell the people in her new town that she is a widow and another reason she needed a fresh start.  I liked the variety of quirky characters in Virgin River that include Preacher (the cook at Jack’s), Hope McCrea, and Doc Mullins (crotchety local doctor with a heart of gold).  Jack Sheridan is an ex-marine who owns Jack’s the local bar and restaurant.  He is taken with Mel right away and comes up with a plan to keep her in their little town.  I thought the characters as well as the situations were realistic and developed.  I enjoyed the rustic setting.  While Virgin River is a charming romance novel, there are other storylines going on in the book.  There are numerous places to hide in the wood surrounding the town which leads to criminal activity as well as people looking to hide out or escape from the world.  I like that the author shows the good and the bad (everything is not puppy dogs and rainbows).  I could have done without the foul language and intimate situations (but that is my personal preference).  Virgin River is a well-written novel that moved along steadily.  Virgin River is the first in A Virgin River Novel and there are currently twenty in total.   I am curious to see what happens to the other characters. Virgin River is a pleasing story with a loveable newborn, a handsome ex-marine, a peevish physician, an optimistic Hope, and a woman looking for a new beginning.
Virgin River
Virgin River can be purchased through Amazon* along with most major booksellers (Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Google Play).  You can find a list of the other novels in A Virgin River series here.  Thank you for dropping by today.  I will be featuring The Protective One by Shelley Shepard Gray tomorrow.  It is the third book in The Walnut Creek series.  I hope that you have a relaxing day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Moral Compass by Danielle Steel

Moral Compass
Welcome!  Wanda E. Brunstetter has a new series coming out this year with the Amish Greenhouse Mystery series.  It beings with The Crow's Call which comes out March 1 and then continues with The Mockingbird's Song on August 4.  The Protective One by Shelley Shepard Gray releases on January 21.  It is the third book in The Walnut Creek Series.  Also on January 21, An Unlikely Amish Match by Vannetta Chapman and Careless Whiskers by Miranda James (The 12th A Cat in the Stacks Mystery) come out.  
Moral Compass by Danielle Steel has a new school year beginning at Saint Ambrose Preparatory School where it is their first year as a co-ed school after one hundred and twenty years as a male only institution.  This is where the wealthy and elite send their children to get a first class education as the first step toward their successful future.  Gillian Marks, the new athletic director, creates a haunted house in the gymnasium for the students to enjoy on Halloween. While most of the students retreat to their rooms afterward, a select few decide to partake in some alcoholic treats.  Later that night, sirens are heard as they rush a female student to the hospital who was found unconscious outside suffering from alcoholic poisoning and assault.  Those students who know what happened have agreed not to divulge the details and they hope that no one saw them.  The futures of these young people are in jeopardy which causes their parents to hire high powered attorneys.  What will happen when the truth is revealed?  
30+ Halloween Indoor Decor Ideas To Make A Haunted House | CollageCab
Moral Compass by Danielle Steel is different from the authors other novels.  It delves into the serious topic of teenage drinking and a female being assaulted.  Saint Ambrose Preparatory School is admitting female students for the first time in its history.  Taylor Houghton IV, the headmaster, knows that his career is on the line so this venture must be a success.  There are no problems until Halloween arrives and some students decide to bring out alcohol they have sneaked onto campus.  Campus security receive a late night anonymous call that has them finding a female student unconscious.  She must have her stomach pumped from the vast quantities of alcohol consumed and a SAFE exam performed.  The book follows the investigation along with the trial and its outcome.  We see the consequences of making the decision to overindulge in alcohol and how it affects others.  I thought the story was well-written and it proceeded at a steady pace.  I like how the author dealt with the such terrible and relevant topic of violence against a young woman.  Moral Compass is a timely novel (what people call “ripped from the headlines”) that hopefully will allow people to see that the victim should not be blamed when they are assaulted.  The victim is not on trial nor should they be.  Moral Compass allows readers to see this sensitive issue dealt with from various points-of-view.  Moral Compass is a compelling story whose title truly fits. 
Via @TIME:  A Virginia Teen Slammed a Courtroom Door in Anger After Her Boyfriend Was Sentenced to Jail. The Judge Then Sentenced Her Too
Moral Compass is available from Amazon* plus other major booksellers (such as Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, and Chapter's).  Danielle Steel has the following books coming out over the next eight months:  The Numbers Game (March 3), The Wedding Dress (April 28), Daddy's Girls (June 9), and Royal (August 18).  Thank you for joining me today and reading my review.  I plan on reviewing Virgin River by Robyn Carr next.  It is the first A Virgin River Novel.  This series is the basis for the new Netflix series.  I hope that you have an edifying day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader
By the Firelight - reminds me of all the years I read by a fire
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Friday, January 17, 2020

Dead in Dublin by Caite Murphy: Review and Giveaway!

 Dead in Dublin

The Dublin Driver Mysteries

by Catie Murphy

About Dead in Dublin

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Kensington (December 31, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496724186
ISBN-13: 978-1496724182
Digital ASIN: B07Q3NPNFB
In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty, murder occurs at the feet of sweet Molly Malone . . .

Ferrying tourists around Dublin for the Leprechaun Limo Service makes quite a change after years in the military. Still, Megan Malone is enjoying her life in Ireland. She likes the scenery, the easy pace, the quirky, quick-witted locals. Everything—except having one of her clients drop dead at the statue of fabled fishmonger, Molly Malone.

Most restaurant critics notch up their share of enemies. Elizabeth Darr, however, was a well-loved international star. She and her husband, Simon, had just had dinner when Elizabeth collapsed, and spoiled seafood is the first suspect. The restaurant’s owner, worried her business is doomed, begs Megan to look into it. Between her irate boss and a handsome Garda who’s both amused and annoyed by her persistence, Megan has her hands full even before she’s cajoled into taking care of two adorable Jack Russell puppies (which she is almost definitely not keeping). But if cockles and mussels aren’t to blame, can Megan find the real culprit . . .before another fishy death occurs?
8 of the World’s Most Iconic Hotels   Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin An Irish institution, the famed hotel was established in 1824 by Martin Burke. Throughout its nearly 200-year history, it has been the venue for historic events, such as the signing of the Irish Constitution in 1922, and has hosted a slew of cultural icons, including Elizabeth Taylor, Bill Clinton, Julia Roberts, and Woody Allen. From $217/night;
Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin where Elizabeth & Simon Darr were residing

About Catie Murphy

Catie Murphy, who has written numerous award-winning fantasy and Sci-fi books under the pseudonym C. E. Murphy, began writing around age six, when she submitted three poems to a school publication. The teacher producing the magazine selected (inevitably) the one she thought was by far the worst, but also told her—a six-year-old kid—to keep writing, which she has. She has also held the usual grab-bag of jobs often seen in an authorial biography, including public library volunteer (at ages 9 and 10; it’s clear she was doomed to a career involving books), archival assistant, cannery worker, and web designer. Writing books is better. She was born and raised in Alaska, and now lives with her family in her ancestral homeland of Ireland.  You can find out more about the author my visiting her website.  
Molly Malone statue where victim collapses

My Thoughts

Dead in Dublin by Catie Murphy is the beginning of A Dublin Driver Mystery series.  Megan Malone retired from the military after twenty years and relocated to Dublin, Ireland where she works as a driver for Leprechaun Limo Service.  Megan is shocked when Elizabeth “Liz” Darr collapses at the base of the Molly Malone statue and passes away.  Liz Darr was a renowned restaurant critic and food blogger who had been traveling for the last year around Europe with her husband Simon.  Megan had been ferrying them around the last three months whenever they were in town.  When food poisoning is suspected, Megan’s friend, Fionnuala Canan comes under suspicion as the chef from Canan’s where Liz had her last meal.  Both Fionnuala and her boss, Orla Keegan ask (beg) Megan to investigate.  Detective Paul Bourke admires Megan’s tenacity, but he would rather she keep her nose out of the investigation and stick to driving.  Megan has no intention of giving up especially after the victim’s parents also ask her to get them answers.  Megan has her hands full between her driving duties, sleuthing and taking care of a Jack Russell terrier along with her two pups that were discovered in the kitchen of Canan’s.  When another death occurs at Canan’s, Megan is sure they are connected.  Can Megan steer the investigation towards the killer?  Dead in Dublin takes readers to Dublin, Ireland with her vivid descriptions of this charming city.  Megan lives just outside Dublin in an apartment in Rathmines where she must make sure her landlord and boss, Orla does not discover the mama dog and her two puppies (which Megan keeps saying she has no intention of keeping).  I appreciated the pronunciation guide at the beginning of the book for the various characters names (Niamh is pronounced Neev).  It was very helpful.  Megan is a Houston native who wanted a fresh start after retiring from a twenty year career in the military.  She enjoys ferrying people around the city, though, she is not fond of her boss, Orla Keegan.  I like that Megan is intelligent as well as friendly with a unique profession for a cozy mystery.  Detective Paul Bourke is in charge of the case, and he likes that Megan is determined (though he does wish she will quit meddling).  There is definite chemistry between them.  There are a variety of eccentric characters from Niamh O’Sullivan who is an actress and activist to Megan’s Uncle Rabbie with his varied connections.  The mystery was multifaceted and suited the Irish setting.  We follow Megan as she questions various people searching for answers.  I believe readers will enjoy this challenging whodunit.  I was surprised by the foul language present in Dead in Dublin since it is not normal for it to be present in cozy mysteries.  Dead in Dublin is a stimulating new cozy mystery with darling dogs, ineffable Irish charm, a dashing detective, a rash of rumors, and one determined driver.  
Where’s your favourite area in Dublin?  Rathmines, picture taken by @dublindailycolour  For your chance to be featured please follow…
Rathmines where Meg lives (outside Dublin)
Dead in Dublin is available at Amazon*, B&NKobo, and Kensington.  There is a preview of Death on the Green which is the second A Dublin Driver Mystery at the end of the book.  Death on the Green comes out in September 2020.  As part of the tour, there is a giveaway for three (3) print copies of Dead in Dublin (Sorry--U.S. Only).  You can enter via the Rafflecopter form below or click here.  Leave a comment for an extra entry.  Good Luck!  Thank you for dropping in today.  I appreciate it.  I am sharing my review of Moral Compass by Danielle Steel next time.  I hope that you have a jubilant day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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Jack Russell Terrier Puppy
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Library Sculpture | Ormeau Road Library | Belfast, Ireland
Statue at Ormeau Road Library in Belfast, Ireland
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