Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Decision


The Decision by Wanda E. Brunstetter is the first book in The Prairie State Friends series.  TheDecision is such a joy to read.  This book picks up after The Discovery Saga Collection (A 6-part series from LancasterCounty).   Jonah Miller has moved from Lancaster County to Arthur, Illinois.  He did not feel he could stay in Lancaster County and get over Meredith. Jonah’s twin sister, Jean and her husband, Nathan (along with their two children) live in Arthur.  Jonah has bought a property and started a buggy making business.

Elaine Schrock lives with her grandparents, Lloyd and Edna Schrock.  Her parents died in a buggy accident when she was little and her paternal grandparents took her in and raised her.  Grandfather Schrock dies suddenly of a heart attack with his last words asking Elaine to take care of her grandmother.  Shortly after his death Edna starts acting strangely.  Edna is getting forgetful as well as having dizzy spells.  Elaine takes her to the doctor and finds out that Edna has Type II Diabetes.  Edna will have to modify her diet and take medication to control the diabetes.  Elaine knows this will be difficult since her grandmother loves sweets.  One day Edna passes out at a local diner and is taken to the hospital.  The doctor runs tests and discovers that Edna has dementia.  How will this diagnosis affect Elaine’s life?

Jonah and Elaine have been courting for the last year, but when her grandmother becomes ill Elaine feels that she must handle her responsibilities on her own.  Elaine tells Jonah that she does not love him and pushes him away.  Jonah feels hurt.  This rejection is especially hard after what happened with Meredith.  Jonah starts spending time with Sara.

Sara Stutzman is a widow with a two year old son, Mark.  She was married to Hurley who was a friend of Jonah’s.  Sara is tired all the time and has a tingling sensation in her arms and legs.  Sara gets diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  Sara has to decide to whether to stay in Arthur or go back to her home town (where her parents live).  How will Jonah handle the news of Sara’s illness?

To find out what happens with Elaine, Jonah, and Sara, please read The Decision.  It is such a marvelous book.  I did not want it to end.  I have to warn you that it gets sad towards the end.  You will need to have your hankie close by!  I give The Decision 5 out of 5 stars.  I cannot wait for the next book in The Prairie State Friends series.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley  in exchange for an honest review.

The Decision will be out on March 1, 2015.  It is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  I am currently reading The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee.   I am also looking forward to the new series the Good Witch.  I have loved the movies and I hope the series will be as good.  Have a great evening and Happy Reading!

Kris

Friday, February 27, 2015

Slayed on the Slopes


Slayed on the Slopes by Kate Dyer-Seeley is the second book in the Pacific Northwest Mystery series.  Meg (Mary Margaret) Reed wants to write a feature on the Ridge Rangers.  It is a new group made up of primarily competitive snowboarders that will lead groups of climbers up the mountains (newbies and experts).  Their goal is to make sure that each climber reaches the summit.  Meg pitches her idea to Greg Dixon, her boss at Northwest Extreme magazine.  Greg agrees to the idea and Meg outfits herself to spend time in the mountains (while hoping it does not snow).  When Greg asked if Meg could ski, Meg, of course, answered in the affirmative! 

Meg sets off for her interview the weekend before Thanksgiving outfitted with all the necessities (even if she does not know how to use any of it).  The Ridge Rangers are going to have rescue training, gear demonstrations, snowboarding exhibitions, and team bonding at Timberline Lodge.  Ben Tyler is in charge of the Ridge Rangers.  He is funding the company.  Ben is young and obnoxious.  Lola who is the host in their lodge has been fending off his advances since he arrived.  Clint Shumway, the oldest member of the group, and Ben seem to have different ideas for the venture.  Ben does not seem to be getting along with anyone at the lodge including Jackon (a doctor), his new fiancĂ©, Malory, and Henry Groves (youngest member of the group).  It is going to be a long weekend.

A blizzard keeps all of them in the cabin overnight and the next morning they notice that Ben is missing.  They divide up and set off to find Ben.  Ben is found dead near the lodge.  The Sheriff is called to investigate.  Meg is again told to stay out of the investigation.  However, Meg is nosy and sets out to find the killer.  She ends up with a lump on her head and outside in the cold in her bathing suit.   This does not stop Meg.  Meg wants to find out what happened to Ben Tyler.  Let us hope that she avoids any serious injuries and frostbite!

Meg and her friend, Matt Parker (Matt would like to be more than a friend) are looking into Charlie Reed’s death (Meg’s father).  They do not think his death was accidental.  Charlie was meeting someone on the day he died and now that person is also dead.  Matt is also worried that Meg’s boss, Greg is not being up front with her.  How did Greg happen to run into Meg that day at the coffee shop?

Slayed on the Slopes is a fun mystery that is easy to read with enjoyable and engaging characters.   The murder of Ben Tyler, though, was child’s play.  I like that there is a second mystery (Charlie’s death) that is still unsolved and we are just given a few clues at a time in each book.   I give Slayed on the Slopes 4 out of 5 stars.   I look forward to the next book in this series!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley (and Kensington) in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you for reading my review of Slayed on the Slopes!  I am currently reading The Decision by Wanda E. Brunstetter.  

Kris


Scene of the Climb


Scene of the Climb by Kate Dyer-Seeley is a cute cozy mystery.  It is the first book in A Pacific Northwest Mystery series.  Mary Margaret Reed (Meg) has just finished college.  She is a journalism major living in Portland, Oregon with a penchant for pink.  Unfortunately for Meg, newspapers and magazines are not doing well.  The O (the newspaper that she wanted to work for) has closed its doors.  Meg is staying with her best friend, Jill Pettygrove in her apartment in The Pearl (an expensive area of Portland) while looking for a job.  Meg goes out to get coffee (forgetting to brush her teeth and hair) and meets Greg Dixon.  Greg is the editor-in-chief of Northwest Extreme magazine.  Greg has an open position and offers it to Meg.  When asked about her outdoor activities (hiking, biking, skiing, etc.), Meg decides to embellish (she can walk and she sort of went skiing once). 

Meg’s first assignment big assignment is a feature on Race the States.  It is a show filming contestants doing extreme activities.  The winner will receive $1,000,000.  The last leg of the race is taking place in Portland, Oregon.  Unfortunately for Meg, it involves a hike up a mountain.  Meg manages to the first stopping point (she wore boots that she did not break in before the hike), but then fakes a fall in order to avoid having to go onto the summit.  While examining her injuries, Meg sees Lenny swan dive off the mountain.

Meg is sure that it is murder and sets out to investigate (despite her boss and the sheriff telling her to stay out of it).  Meg ends up in trouble and needs to be rescued from the killer.


Scene of the Climb is a charming cozy mystery with fun characters, but the mystery was simple to solve.  If you are good at solving mysteries, you should be able to figure it out before the body enters rigor mortis.  I give Scene of the Climb 4 out of 5 stars.  

Thank you for reading my review!  The next book in the series is Slayed by the Slopes and it will be out on March 31, 2015!  I will be posting my review soon.  Happy Reading!

Kris


Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Woman in the Movie Star Dress


The Woman in the Movie Star Dress by Praveen Asthana is not what I expected.  Based on the description I thought this was a paranormal book, but it turns out to be more of a romance book.  Genevieve (main character) parties, takes drugs, drinks, and sleeps her way around town wearing beautiful, vintage dresses (that were worn by movie stars and she does not own them). 

Genevieve was born Daisy Bear Nightcloud, but changed her name after The Incident!  Genevieve lives at home with her father, Jimmy and brother, Travis.  She works at Hollywood Clothing Store where they sell clothing that was in movies.  Genevieve’s mother killed herself.  Genevieve came home from school early one day and found their neighbor, Cameron Scott sexually assaulting her mother, Laura.  After the trial (he got six years) Laura could not stand the rumors (was it assault or an affair) nor her husband’s looks of reproach and killed herself.  Now Genevieve has to handle her alcoholic father who also does peyote and her brother who is bent on getting revenge when Cameron gets out of jail. 

Genevieve handles life by living in a movie dream world.  She only wants to go out with guys who look like movie stars.  Genevieve is obsessed with old movies and dreams of what her life could be like (all based on old movies).  Genevieve has self-confidence issues and decides to see if old clothes carry the essence of their previous wearers (like Barbara Stanwyck, Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, etc.).  Based on an old Indian ritual that her father told her about (involving wolves, peyote, dancing, and a fire), Genevieve starts experimenting by taking peyote.  She then puts on the clothes of a certain actress and goes to a party.  Genevieve believes that the “chi” of the previous owner changes her into that person.  She then hits on different men at parties and sleeps with them.

One day a beautiful red dress and hat come into the shop.  They previously belonged to Margaret Brooks (had a little boy) who murdered her husband and his lover.  The dress looks like one Marilyn Monroe wore in a movie.  The dress is then sold to another woman who also has a little boy and a philandering husband.  Genevieve comes to the conclusion that she needs to get the dress back before the woman kills her husband.

Genevieve has three different men at the end.  Which one is the right guy for her?  Cameron Scott, who raped her mother and has been in jail; Todd, she grew up with him; or Renzo, the mysterious guy who sells murder memorabilia.  Why would anyone consider dating the man that attacked her mother?

I was looking forward to this book.  It is an interesting idea that the essence of an owner can linger in their clothes and affect the next person who wears them.  The book, though, is more like a New Adult romance (sort of).  I was never convinced that the dress actually affected Genevieve (more like it was the drugs).  I was disappointed with the book.  It was like the author could not decide what kind of book to write and combined a couple of books in one.  It was just okay.  I give The Woman in the Movie Star Dress 2 out of 5 stars.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley (thanks to the Publisher) for an honest review.

The Woman in the Movie Star Dress is available on Kindle Unlimited.  

Thank you for visiting and reading my review.  I am currently reading Slayed on the Slopes by Kate Dyer-Seeley.  It is a charming cozy mystery.  Have a great night and Happy Reading!

Kris

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Graced


Graced by Amanda Pillar is a wonderful paranormal romance book.  I stayed up until 2 a.m. to finish this book.  Graced is a complicated book.  I will try and summarize it without giving away any spoilers.

Graced is set in a time where advancements have come and then gone.  They use coal, sodium lamps, carriages pulled by horses.  However, they do have a sewage system (thank goodness)!  The different types of citizens are vampires, werewolves, humans with colored eyes (graced), humans with brown-eyes (non), and the slaves (yes, slaves).  Most of the vampires are aristos and are considered the upper class (rich and have titles).  The vampires have an elitist attitude.  They believe they are the best and that humans all want to be vampires.  The Honorable Dante Kipling is the son of a rich aristo and he believes that there is something different about the humans with colored eyes.  He wants to find out what is different about them. 

Clay Lovett is a very old werewolf (but looks young).   He was summoned to town by Olive Brown (more on her below).  While in town he meets Elle (see below) and is fascinated by her.  Clay goes out of his way to find her, get to know her, and flirt (which leads to them getting to know each other much better).

Eleanor “Elle” Brown is a city guard with red hair and hazel eyes.  Her one goal is to protect her kid sister, Emmie (Esmerelda).  Emmie is seven years old and has bright teal eyes.  The humans with colored eyes do have special gifts and they want it kept a secret.  Elle and Emmie’s grandmother, Olive Brown has green eyes and can read minds.  She also runs an agency that supplies servants and slaves to the rich and aristos.   Someone has killed two graced girls recently and Olive sends Elle into the Kipling household to investigate.

Unfortunately for Elle things do not go well in the Kipling household.  Elle ends up in a coffin and about to be cremated.  Clay and Emmie rescue Elle from the coffin and then Clay tries to keep her safe (and hidden from her grandmother).  What happens next is very funny!  Dante is forced to get married after attacking Elle without her permission, Clay tries to keep Elle safe, Clay and Elle want to get custody of Emmie (to protect her and keep her secret), and Elle has to adjust to being a vampire (and not attack the humans in the household for food).

I give Graced 4.5 out of 5 stars.  I really enjoyed this book, but there is a lot of sex in this book.  Sex seems to be very commonplace.  Evidently sex with servants and slaves is normal (and they cannot object) as well as sleeping your way through the town’s populace (as well as three ways, four ways, sleeping with men and women).  I do not think that the book needed so much of this element.  The story is great without all the sex.  I found Graced to a delight to read and look forward to reading more books by Amanda Pillar.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley (courtesy of the publisher) in exchange for an honest review.

Graced will be out on Thursday, February 26, 2015.  You can purchase it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.   

If you are looking for a great paranormal book to read, try Of Shadow and Stone by Michelle Muto.  Thank you for checking out my recent review!  I am currently reading The Woman in the Movie Star Dress which will be out on February 28, 2015.    

Have a great evening and Happy Reading!

Kris

Monday, February 23, 2015

Of Shadow and Stone

Gorgeous cover!

Of Shadow and Stone by Michelle Muto is a fabulous paranormal romance book.  It is unique, fast paced, and keeps you riveted!

Declan is the Lord of the Netherworld.  He lives as Shadow Wood in Scotland.  Shadow Wood is a sanctuary for all supernatural beings.  The caretaker is Emmerich Von Hiller.  He prefers to be called Von Hiller and he is a warlock (do not call him a wizard).  Declan is looking for the newest sentinel.  The sentinel is responsible for the gargoyles.  Gargoyles will do as they want unless someone oversees or supervises them. 

A sentinel is human but has a certain gene that allows them to communicate with the gargoyles.  The gene was only given to very carefully chosen families and it is passed down.  The gargoyles chose who will be their sentinel.  Declan thought it was would Ian McGuire, but the gargoyles have picked Kate Mercer.

Kate Mercer is an actress.  She is a confident woman, very self-reliant, and she loves adventure (challenges).  Lately, Kate has been dreaming of a castle.  She thinks she is having lucid dreams (dreams that are very life like).  However, Kate is actually traveling to the castle.  Shadow Wood is calling to her and so are the gargoyles.  Kate can actually get inside a gargoyles head and see what they see, hear, and feel.  The gargoyles are waking up without a sentinel and they are taking justice into their owns hands.

Ian McGuire is a writer.  He writes thrillers with a touch of paranormal horror.  Ian and Declan have become friends and Declan has provided him with a lot of information for his books.  Ian thought Declan had a vivid imagination until Ian visits Shadow Wood.  Ian finds out that vampires, werewolves, warlocks, gargoyles, and much more are real and living at Shadow Wood. 

Kate meets Ian at Shadow Wood during one of her initial “dream” visits.  They seem to have an instant connection.  Kate learns about sentinels and gargoyles.  Kate has to make a choice:  to become the new sentinel or allow Ian to become it.  While dealing with gargoyles, Kate also has issues with an ex-boyfriend who will not give up and a stalker. 

I give Of Shadow and Stone 4.75 out of 5 stars.  I enjoyed this book very much, but sometimes the gory descriptions were a little too much.  If you like reading about gargoyles, werewolves, and warlocks, you will enjoy reading Of Shadow and Stone.  To find out if Kate embraces her destiny, please read Of Shadow and Stone which comes out February 24, 2015!  It is also available on the Kindle Unlimited program if you are a member.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you for reading my review.  The next book on my list to read is Graced by Amanda Pillar.  Have a great week and Happy Reading!

Kris




A Simple Prayer


Welcome Back!  Thank you for taking the time out of your day to stop by!  

A Simple Prayer by Amy Clipston is a wonderful, heartfelt Amish romance.  It is the fourth book in the Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel series.  It is an appealing story that I did not want to end.  Ruth Ebersol, who works at the Lancaster Grand Hotel, has had a stroke.  The only thing she wants is to see her son Aaron.  Aaron left the community over seventeen years ago and Ruth has not heard from him in all that time. 

Linda Zook works part-time at the hotel as well as working at Hannah and Trey’s Heart of Paradise Bed and Breakfast (helping out during Hannah’s pregnancy).  Linda’s parents died in a buggy accident when she was four years old.  Linda was the sole survivor of the accident, but she did suffer some injuries.  Linda’s Uncle Reuben has reluctantly raised her in the cottage behind her parent’s home.  Rueben has been unhappy and resentful for as long as Linda has known him.  Her uncle’s attitude and the injuries from the accident have affected Linda and how she sees herself.

Aaron returns to the community to see his mother (as well as the rest of his family).  He stays at the Heart of Paradise B & B.    While reconnecting with his family, Aaron works on fixing up his family’s home.  He also makes it more accessible for his mother by adding ramps (at the front and back of the house) as well as making the master bathroom wheelchair accessible.  Aaron has been writing to his mother for years and he wants to find out what happened to his letters.  Aaron also gets to know Linda and he helps her see what a wonderful person she really is and that she is worthy of loving and being loved. 

I enjoyed it very much and did not want the story to end (I just loved this series).  I have enjoyed getting to read about Paradise and its residents.  I am going to miss this series (and its characters) very much.  A Simple Prayer wraps up all the story lines from the books and leaves the reader very satisfied (just sad that it has ended).  I give A Simple Prayer 5 out of 5 stars.  A Simple Prayer is a story that will warm the cockles of your heart!


The other books in Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series are: A Hopeful Heart, A Mother's Secret, and A Dream of Home.  For information on Amy Clipston's books, new releases, and events, visit her website (www.AmyClipston.com).  I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you for reading my review!  I hope you have a great week and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Stiff Penalty


Stiff Penalty by Annelise Ryan is the sixth book in the Mattie Winston series.  It is about a year since Mattie met Detective Steve Hurley (hard to believe it has only been a year).  Mattie is once again working with Izzy as Deputy Coroner.  Steve has been out of town with Emily.  While Mattie and Steve have been talking, Mattie has yet to tell Steve that she is pregnant.

The book starts with Mattie visiting her therapist, Dr. Maggie Naggy.  Mattie is telling her doctor the events that have happened over the last several months.  Mattie latest case is investigating the death of high school math and German teacher, Derrick Ames.  He was stabbed with a knife and a barbeque fork sticking out of his chest.  Who wanted to kill Mr. Ames?  There are plenty of suspects – ex-wife, oldest son with hair trigger temper, current girlfriend.   Mattie and Bob Richmond (detective filling in for Steve) will have to sort through the clues and witnesses to find the killer.

Mattie also is experiencing some odd phone calls.  Someone keeps calling her and then hanging up.  Then Mattie is shot at and runs over the shooter with her hearse!  Steve returns to town in time to hear the call about the shooting, turns up, and discovers his girlfriend is pregnant!  Steve calls in reinforcements to protect Mattie and his unborn child while they try to find out who is trying to murder Mattie.  Mattie and Steve handle being expectant parents while dealing with Emily (teenage girls and their hormones).  Mattie will also have to deal with getting some new clothes to go with her expanding waistline (you know how she dislikes shopping).

Stiff Penalty does have a lot of hilarious moments, but reading it reminds me of therapy (a very long therapy session).  I did not find Stiff Penalty as good as the other books in the Mattie Winston series.  I give Stiff Penalty 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Stiff Penalty will be out on Tuesday, February 24, 2015.  It is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  

The other books in the Mattie Winston series are (prices are Amazon.com):

Scared Stiff (currently $2.99)
Frozen Stiff (currently $1.99)
Lucky Stiff (currently $3.99. Available on Kindle Unlimited)
Board Stiff (currently $3.99.  Available on Kindle Unlimited)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

There are just too many books to read and not enough time to read them!  I hope you had a great day and thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my review.  Have a great evening and Happy Reading!

Kris


Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Murder of Magpies


A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders is a debut mystery.  Samantha “Sam” Clair is an editor for Timmons and Ross (book publishers) in London.  Sam is in her early 40’s, wears drab clothes, and has lived in the same flat since her 20’s.  Her best friend is Kit Lovell.  Kit is a fashion journalist and author.  His latest book is The Gilded Life and Tarnished Death of Rodrigo Aleman.  Rodrigo Aleman was a fashion designer for the House of Vernet.  When Rodrigo Aleman died everyone knew it was murder (he is hit by a hit and run driver, backed over and hit again), but some higher ups bribed the right officials to have his death declared an accident.  Kit also alludes to money laundering taking place through Vernet’s parent company, Lambert-Lorraine. 

Sam’s day starts with a visit from Inspector Jacob (Jake) Field.  A courier was an accident and his packages taken.  The Inspector wanted to know what packages Sam was expecting.  It is eventually determined that Kit’s manuscript was missing.  Then Kit ends up missing.  Sam wants to find out what happened to her friend.  The police do not take the case of Kit missing very seriously, so Sam sets out to find out what happened to him.  This leads to a convoluted and long story of looking for Kit, accusation of harassment from a student (Kit lectured at a college), money laundering, trip to Paris, and lots of legal mumbo jumbo.

Interspersed throughout the book is the story of Breda McManus and her latest book.  Breda usually writes popular romance books.  This year she has sent Sam a book that is different and no one knows what to do about it.  There is also Helena Clair.  Helena is Sam’s mother and a solicitor.  Helena is a great character.  There is a great scene towards the end of the book with Helena and Sam that had me laughing (involves breaking and entering with a lot of keys).  We also have a lackluster romance between Sam and Inspector Jake Field (they greet each other with a kiss on the cheek).

A Murder of Magpies sounded like an interesting book.  A mystery, the publishing industry, and it is set in London!  However, the reality is a long and very boring book.  It was difficult for me to finish it (I kept at it though after a night of rest and some headache medicine).   I give A Murder of Magpies  2.5 out of 5 stars (it actually got better towards the end).  I really wanted to like this book, but it needs major editing.  There is too much technical legal wording in the book and very little about the publishing industry. The book is also written in the first person (fair warning).   I was a very disappointed reader (the cover is cute though).

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

If you are interested in A Murder of Magpies it will be out on February 24, 2015.   Some other books coming out on Tuesday are:


February is passing by so quickly!  Downton Abbey is almost over for another year (I wish they made more episodes) and the rumor mill states we will only get one more season.  Why do they always end the good shows?  I am off to read Of Shadow and Stone by Michelle Muto and then watch Downton Abbey.  I hope you have a wonderful evening!  Happy Reading!

Kris


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities



Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities by Mary McHugh is fun cozy mystery. It is the second book in the Happy Hoofers mystery series. The Happy Hoofers have been asked to perform on a luxury train that is traveling across Northern Spain. Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses was told from Tina Powell’s (the leader of the group) point-of-view. Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities is told from Gini Miller’s point-of-view. Gini is a documentary filmmaker. Gini is still seeing Alex and Alex has relocated to New York (still working at the NY Times). Mary Louise is looking forward to getting away from her husband. Mary Louise is married to George, an attorney. George has been too wrapped up in his cases lately and not paying enough attention to his wife. Pat, the therapist, and Janice, the actress, are also looking forward to the trip and maybe even a little romance.

The Hoofers are looking forward to the trip until they see Dick Shambless. He is a television talk show host who is anti-everything. Dick is also very rude and obnoxious. There is only person on the trip who is a fan. Dora Lindquist comes up to Dick right away to get his autograph. Not long after the train starts the trip Mr. Shambless is found dead. While exploring the Spanish countryside, the Happy Hoofers dance and try to figure out who killed Dick Shambless.

Whoever killed Dick Shambless does not want to be discovered and will do what it takes to keep from being found out. The Hoofers get to eat some good food on the trip and meet some new friends. Mary Louise makes sure to collect recipes for all the wonderful dishes. At the beginning of each chapter you get tips on taking pictures while on vacation.

Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities is a charming cozy mystery. It has delightful characters and the book is easy to read. The mystery, though, was very, very easy to solve. If you follow the clues, you can solve the mystery very quickly. The story is told in first person, but I did not even notice it after getting into the story. I give Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities 4 out of 5 stars. I look forward to the next Happy Hoofers mystery.  

You can order Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities on Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The next book in the Happy Hoofer series is Cancans, Croissants, and Caskets.  It will be out on August 25, 2015.  You can pre-order on Amazon!

Thank you for visiting and reading my review!  Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Reading!

Kris

Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses





Chorus Line, Caviar, and Corpses by Mary McHugh is a cute cozy mystery. It is the first in the Happy Hoofers mystery series. The Happy Hoofers have been asked to perform on a Russian river cruise. The Hoofers are popular since a video of them tap dancing appeared online. The Happy Hoofers consist of their fearless leader and travel editor for Perfect Bridge magazine, Tina Powell; documentary filmmaker, Gini Miller; community theater actress and director, Janice Rogers; married and mother of three (and Tina’s closest friend), Mary Louise Temple; and family therapist, Pat Keeler. All of the ladies are in their 50’s and in very good shape because of their dancing.

The Smirnov, a Russian river cruise boat, is going to travel the Volga River from Moscow to St. Petersburg. The Happy Hoofers are excited about the cruise and looking forward to exploring Russia in between their dancing obligations. They arrive at the cruise ship and find they have very small staterooms (as well as the world’s tiniest bathrooms). They are then greeted by Heidi Gorsuch, the ship’s cruise director of activities. She is a stern Russian woman. After a delicious breakfast, the ladies set out to check out the boat and make friends. Tina, whose husband, Bill, passed away a year ago, meets Barry Martin. Barry is a lawyer (just like Tina’s husband, Bill) and actually went to law school with Bill. They also meet Brad Sheldon who is an off-Broadway actor who recently broke up with his boyfriend, Maxim. They were supposed to be on the cruise together. Alex Boyer, a report with the New York Times, is also on the cruise. Alex takes an instant likes to Gini. 

The group is looking forward to lunch and they are very disappointed. When they complain to Heidi, they meet Kenneth Allgood, the chef. Ken is a British chef trying to cook British versions of Russian dishes for the passengers (with little success). Ken goes out of his way to threaten Tina for complaining about his food. Ken wants to get to America to open a restaurant in New York. Ken and Brad get close the first night on the ship.

The next morning Ken is nowhere to be found and neither is Brad. The police are called to investigate. After searching the river they find a body. They are only able to identify the body by the passport (which was in a waterproof pouch). Brad is not found. The police set out to find Brad while questioning everyone on board. Something does not seem quite right and the Hoofers set out to solve the mystery.

Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses is a fun mystery. It includes some wonderful descriptions of the scenery and sights in Russia. Recipes are also included for some of the dishes mentioned throughout the book (the ship gets a much better chef after Kenneth Allgood). I enjoyed the twist at the end of the book when the killer was revealed. I liked that the heroines in the book are older. I give Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses 4 out of 5 stars. A good first mystery in the Happy Hoofers series.

I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads Program.

Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses is currently available for $1.99 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  The next Happy Hoofers mystery is Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities. It will be out on February 24, 2015.


Thank you for reading my review!  If you wish to follow my reviews, just enter your email in the box (in the sidebar).  I hope you have had a great Saturday.  Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Reading!

Kris

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Silent Scream



Silent Scream by Angela Marsons is a very good British crime novel.  It is the first book in the D.I. Kim Stone series.
Kim Stone is a Detective Inspector at the Halesowen Station.  She has three detectives under her:  Detective Constable Stacey Wood, Detective Sergeant Bryant, and Detective Sergeant Kevin Dawson.  They are investigating the killing of Teresa Wyatt.  Teresa was the 47 year old principal of a private boys’ school.  As they are investigating her murder, Tom Curtis is murdered.  The team tries to find out what a link between the two people.  Their investigation leads them to Crestwood.  Crestwood was a home for troubled girls in the system (foster children and orphans).
Looking around Crestwood they discover the bodies of young girls.  Both Teresa Wyatt and Tom Curtis worked at Crestwood.  Who killed these young girls and why is someone killing off former staff members of Crestwood?  Who will be next?  Kim and her team set out to solve these killings.  They will have to look at the former staff members as well as the girls who used to live at Crestwood.
Kim Stone will also have to deal with memories of her own childhood.  Kim had a horrible childhood and lost a brother due to her mother who is a paranoid schizophrenic. 
Silent Scream is a great mystery.  The characters are unique and complex.  The book is well-written.  There is some British slang (especially regarding food).  There is a great twist at the end of the book.  I was able to figure out who were the killers, but was shocked by the turn of events at the end.  I cannot wait for the next D.I. Kim Stone book!   I give Silent Scream 4.5 out of 5 stars.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Silent Scream will be out February 20, 2015!  It is from publisher Bookouture.  You can check out their latest releases on their Facebook page.  You can pre-order Silent Scream through Amazon.
Thank you for reading my review!  I am currently reading some cute cozy mysteries.  I will be posting a review for Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities soon.  Happy Reading!
 
Kris

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Harvest of Hope



A Harvest of Hope by Lauraine Snelling is the second book in the Song of Blessing series. It is just wonderful. It picks up a couple of weeks after the first book (To Everything a Season) ended. Miriam is still in Chicago after the death of her mother. She is making sure that her family will be okay while she returns to Blessing to finish her training.  

Trygve Knutson is in love with Miriam and cannot wait for her to return to Blessing. He writes to her while she is away and is working on a house for them (as well as her siblings). After Miriam returns to Blessing, a fire destroys the grain mill and harms many buildings in the town. A meeting is called to assess the damages and see how much money is available through the bank to help with rebuilding. Something fishy is going on at the bank. The banker and his wife are acting strangely. The members of the town set out to see what is happening and how to fix the problem.  

Ingeborg is still recovering from the loss of her husband, Haakan. It is harder than she thought to keep going and get through each day without the love of her life. It helps that she has such a loving family as well as Inga, Emmy, and Manny.

A Harvest of Hope is such a good book and I enjoy returning to this wonderful community. I enjoyed A Harvest of Hope very much and eagerly look forward to the next book in the Song of Blessing series. I give A Harvest of Hope 5 out of 5 stars.  

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
 
A Harvest of Hope will be out on February 24, 2015.  You can pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  I love the cover of this book.  It is just beautiful!
 
Thank you for reading my review.  I am going to go get cozy.  It is raining and getting cold here in Dunedin, Florida.  Have a great week, keep warm, and Happy Reading!
 
Kris
 
P.S.--clicking on the name of the book will take you to Amazon.com!
 
 

White Gardenia



I just finished reading White Gardenia. It is a riveting book! I am a history buff and enjoyed reading about events that happened in China at the end of World War II.

White Gardenia by Belinda Alexandra takes us back to 1945 in Harbin, China. Anya (Anna Victorovna Kozlova) is the daughter of a Victor Grigorovich Kozlov, a White Russian, and Alina Pavlovna Kozlova. White Russians had to flee Russia after the Czar was forced to abdicate (1917) and find sanctuary in other countries (Paris, United States, United Kingdom, and China). Anya’s father went to China where he met Alina. Anya is thirteen years old when her father dies in an accident. After the end of World War II, the Communist marked into Harbin and took over. Anya and her mother were taken prisoner. Alina is sent to Russia to a labor camp and Anya is taken prison by an awful man named Tang. Anya is rescued from Tang by friends and sent to Shanghai.

In Shanghai Anya stays with Sergei and his wife, Amelia (a very nasty woman). Sergei owns a popular nightclub called Moscow-Shanghai. Anya goes to school until she is fifteen when she starts working at the club. From the beginning Anya is attracted to Sergei’s club manager, Dimitri. Life is not ideal for Anya. Sergei while nice is also an opium addict. Amelia is just after Sergei’s money and treats Anya terribly. Anya and Dimitri marry when Anya turns sixteen.  

Shortly after their wedding the Communist army invades Shanghai. All foreigners are told they have to leave the city (or they will be executed). Thanks to a friend at the American consulate, Anya gets on the last boat out of Shanghai. All the refugees are sent to The Philippines. Anya meets new friends at Tubabad. Ruselina and her granddaughter, Irina become Anya’s new family. Anya also catches the attention of Ivan Nakhimovsky. The refuges are given choices of where they can go. Anya ends up in Australia.

In Australia they live temporarily in a refugee camp until assigned jobs (one of the conditions for getting into Australia). Anya and Irina first work at Betty’s restaurant. Anya then gets a job at the Sydney Herald as an assistant and moves up to Beauty Editor (beauty and fashion were big after the war). Anya lives her life, but she is never completely happy. She is always wondering what happened to her mother.
 
Does Anya ever find out what happened to her mother? Will they reconnect? Can Anya find love and be happy? Read White Gardenia to find out the answers to the questions.
 
I tried to give you a synopsis of the book without spoilers.  White Gardenia has a complicated plot and many characters.  I give White Gardenia 4 out of 5 stars.  The book is well-written and easy to read (you do not even notice how long it is), but could have done with a little more editing.  I hope you enjoy White Gardenia as much as I did.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
White Gardenia is available on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.  It came out today (February 17, 2015).
Thank you for reading my review.  I hope you have had a fun Fat Tuesday (last day of Mardi Gras).  Have a great week and Happy Reading!
 
Kris
 
 
 
 
 

 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Dream of Home



A Dream of Home by Amy Clipston is a lovely and heartwarming Amish romance. It is the third book in the Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel series. Madeleine Miller has gotten out of the Air Force where she was a flight nurse. She has also lost her fiancĂ© and needs some peace (time to heal). She has moved to Paradise, Pennsylvania where she has inherited her grandparent’s home. Madeleine used to spend summers with her grandparents in Paradise when she was a child. Madeleine is working at the Lancaster Grand Hotel (she is not able to work as a nurse at this time) and makes friends with Carolyn, Ruth, and Linda. Madeleine gets to know the people in Paradise, enjoy their friendship and fellowship, and a more peaceful life style.

Saul Beiler lives behind Madeleine, is a widower, and has a daughter named Emma (very sweet girl). Saul’s wife left him and Emma for her first love and then she died in a boating accident. Saul is finally ready to move on and find a new wife as well as mother for his daughter. Saul is busy with farm work, his business (cabinetmaker) and taking care of his daughter.

Madeleine and Emma get to know each other and enjoy spending time together. Emma is such a sweet girl. Emma is friendly and outgoing as well as eager for female companionship (not having had a mother most of her life). Saul and Madeleine also get to know each other, but since Madeleine is not Amish their relationship can only be as neighbors. Saul is afraid of letting Madeleine get to close. He thinks that Madeleine will leave like his brother and wife.

Madeleine will have to decide what she wants to do with her life and Saul will have to overcome his fears. We also get to catch up with the other residents of Paradise. It is also time for Carolyn and Joshua’s wedding! Will we finally find out who is Ben’s biological father?

 A Dream of Home is great addition to the Hearts of Lancaster series. It is well written and a delight to read. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I am looking forward to the next book in the series A Simple Prayer (which will be out on May 5, 2015)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
 
Thank you for reading my review of  A Dream of Home.  I hope you have had a lovely weekend.  Take care and Happy Reading!
 
Kris

 

Harvest of Blessings

 

Harvest of Blessing by Charlotte Hubbard is a wonderful Amish romance. It is the fifth book in the Seasons of the Heart series. Nora Glick Landwehr has returned to Willow Ridge, Missouri after being away for over sixteen years. Her father, Preacher (former) Gabriel Glick sent her away to live with an aunt when Nora found out she was pregnant. Nora refused to name the man who got her pregnant. Nora has now returned to set things right with her family. She wants their forgiveness. Nora has purchased Hiram Knepp’s place (since he has been excommunicated and is starting his new community) and is looking forward to starting a business as well as getting to know her daughter, Millie.

Luke Hooley is thirty and has still not committed to the Old Order Amish faith. He is a big flirt but can the right woman help him settle down. Ira Hooley, Luke’s brother, is just like his brother. But he has been dating Millie for a year. Is Ira ready to get serious and settle down?

We also get to catch up on the lives of the rest of the residents of Willow Ridge and see what is going on in their lives. There is also a wedding! Annie Mae Knepp is marrying Adam Wagler. Annie Mae deserves happiness after everything that has happened to her because of her father, Hiram. 

Harvest of Blessings is just a delight to read and is such a sweet story. I give Harvest of Blessings 5 out of 5 stars! I am looking forward to The Christmas Cradle (the next book in the series) when it comes out at the end of September. Harvest of Blessings will be out on February 24, 2015. The other books in the series are available on Kindle Unlimited if you have not read them yet! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
 
Sorry I have not posted in a few days.  I have the flu and it has me stuck in bed (which means I get a lot of reading done).  Thank you for reading my review of Harvest of Blessings!  I hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day and great weekend.  Happy Reading!
 
Kris

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fragile Lies




Fragile Lies by Laura Elliot is an intriguing book. It starts out in Dublin with two people who are having an affair. One night they are out having illicit sex (not in the car but nearby). When they come back to the car it has been robbed. As they are leaving someone jumps in front of the car and they hit Killian. Because they are having an affair and do not want anyone to know, they leave the scene of the accident. But who were they? 

Lorraine Cheevers is an artist and her life is changing. She is divorcing her husband, Adrian Strong of sixteen years and taking her daughter, Emily to Trabawn (near Kerry). Lorraine used to spend her childhood summers in Trabawn. Lorraine is grieving over her marriage. The only thing she wants to do is stay in bed. Lorraine has to find a way to move on and get back to her art. 

Michael Carmody is a screen writer. His son, Killian is in a coma at the hospital. He was the victim of the accident. Michael is determined to find out who hurt is son. He has found a witness to the accident (not the most reliable witness) and based on that information, he thinks he has found the person who hurt his son. But what will Michael do when he finds them? 


Virginia is Lorraine's cousin. They spent every summer together in Trabawn. Virginia grew up to be very wild, independent, and headstrong. She fell in love with Razor (Ralph) Blade. He was in a punk rock band until the movement ended. He is now in advertising. Virginia runs a public relations firm. Virginia was reluctant to marry Razor, but she did. Can she every be happy or will she always want more (someone else)? 

The book takes us back through their lives and then leads us to who hurt Killian. This book was very long, but interesting. It was not until I was halfway through the book that I got really interested. Once I was hooked, I just kept reading. It is a good story. Very well-written. Do not assume who the two people having the affair were (based on the first half of the book) because you will end up being wrong! I ended up enjoying the book, but I was disappointed by the ending. I give Fragile Lies 4 out of 5 stars. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Fragile Lies is now available for only $1.99 on Amazon.  I have tried to give you an idea of what the book is about without giving away any spoilers.

Thank you for reading my review of Fragile Lies.  I hope you have a lovely Valentine's Day!  Happy Reading!

Kris