Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Plain Change

The last day of September!  It is National Mud Pack Day!  So treat yourself to a nice mud pack this evening.  They do make your skin feel nice.  I keep hoping we will get some cool weather soon, but I am not hopeful (it is Florida).  

Plain Change by Sarah Price is the second book in the series.  Amanda Beiler has left her family’s farm and is now adjusting to her new life in the Englische (as it is spelled in the book) world with Alejandro Diaz.  She left the farm to avoid her family getting shunned because of all the media that converged on their tiny town of Letitz, Pennsylvania.  The Bishop said that Amanda had to leave or the whole family would get shunned.  The journalists and fans are always around constantly taking her photograph.  Alejandro is always busy with interviews and concerts. 

Amanda is getting a new wardrobe and is introduced to make-up.  As we follow Amanda and Alejandro on the West Coast tour, we get glimpses into Amanda’s past.  Amanda and Alejandro are falling in love, but can they make it work.  Will a problem at home pull the two of them apart?

Plain Change is an easy book to read.  We get to travel with the pair from Pennsylvania, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Miami.  We get to find out more information about Amanda as well as exactly how her brother, Aaron died.  I give Plain Change 4 out of 5 stars.  The book flows so smoothly and is well-written.  The book, though, ends leaving us wondering what is going to happen next with Alejandro and Amanda (I am not a fan of cliff hangers or incomplete books). Plain Change is available on Kindle Unlimited.

I received a complimentary copy of Plain Change from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading Miriam and the Stranger by Jerry Eicher (I just finished Anna's Healing by Vannetta Chapman).  Have a lovely evening and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Well, I did not get my errands done.  I will try again tomorrow.  My throat is so sore.  I think my father has given me his bug.  I am just upping my fluid intake.  At least chocolate still tastes good! We have had some new visitors this last week to my blog!  I want to say welcome and thank you for visiting!  You can become a member by clicking the box on the right hand side or signing up via email.

Fated by Sarah Fine is the third and final book in the Servants of Fate series. Aislin Ferry is the Charon and Jason Moros is the Lord of the Kere.  A war is coming and they will have to work together to prevent it and the complete unraveling of the loom of fate.   Moros’ knows that one of his sisters, Eris has turned against him, but he is not sure if any others have or not.  What can be done to stop the rise of Chaos?  Aislin is also experiencing mutiny within the Ferry family and company.  It is going to take everyone working together against their enemies to protect themselves and humanity.  But will everyone make it out alive?

I am sure that the above summary does not make a lot of sense, unless you have to have read the other books in the series.  If you have not read the other books, you will not understand what is happening in Fated.  I did like seeing a different side of Jason Moros (a softer side) as well as Aislin.  Eli, Cacia, Galena, and Declan all return in this novel to help with the ultimate fight.  I did not enjoy Fated as much as the first book in the series.   The ending was not unexpected or surprising.  I give Fated 3.75 out of 5 stars.  It is an interesting series, but it did not live up to its potential.  Fated contain some explicit sex and extreme violence.  Fated is available on Kindle Unlimited (if you are a member or you can enjoy the 30 day free trial).  

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

I am currently reading Anna's Healing by Vannetta Chapman (which will be out on October 1, 2015).  If you enjoy Amish fiction and cozy mysteries, check out Murder, Plainly Read by Isabella Alan.  It will be out on October 6, 2015!  Have a great evening.  Take care, relax, and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

The Christmas Cradle

Happy Book Release Day!  There are so many wonderful books that came out today.  The Amish Christmas Sleigh (various authors), Pane and Suffering by Cheryl Hollon (it is wonderful), A Beeline to Murder by Meera Lester, The Bishop's Son by Kelly Irvin, Plain Fame by Sarah Price, Scrapbook of the Dead by Mollie Cox Bryan, A Ghostly Murder by Tonya Kappes, Dangerously Dark by Colette London, and All I Want for Christmas is Fudge by Nancy Coco are just a few.  September 29 is Confucius Day!  You should pick up a fortune cookie!  Today I want to share with you my review for The Christmas Cradle.  

The Christmas Cradle by Charlotte Hubbard is the sixth book in Seasons of the Heart series.  Ben and Miriam Hooley are expecting a baby.  Miriam never thought she would ever have another child.  It has been twenty-two years since she gave birth to the triplets.  They baby is due around Christmas.  Ben is working on a special gift for Miriam and the baby.  One night while it is snowing heavily a buggy comes up their lane.  Ben can hear the couple arguing inside the smithy. 

Josiah Witmer and Magdalena “Lena” Esh have been traveling in the buggy for many hours.  Lena is eight months pregnant and is exhausted.  Josiah was offered a job at a supper club in Higher Ground by Hiram Knepp (I just groaned when I read this little tidbit).  Ben offers the couple a place to stay for the night (because of the storm), but he also hopes to convince them not to go to Higher Ground.  Getting Josiah to listen to them will be difficult.  Unfortunately, Josiah is determined, hot headed, and makes rash decisions (without consulting other people involved).  Lena thought the offer was too good to be true, but she is unable to go home.  Her parents told her that if she left with Josiah, she would not be welcomed back home (they are not married).  Josiah and Lena are very young to be starting a family especially on the wrong foot.  Can everyone in Willow Ridge help this young couple?  If Josiah does stay in Willow Ridge, what will Hiram Knepp do to the townspeople (especially poor Miriam)?  What will Miriam and Ben name their newest child (it’s different but fits with the family)?

The Christmas Cradle is a lovely, heartwarming story.  I enjoyed every bit of this book.  It has a wonderful setting (Willow Ridge, Missouri), some great characters (Miriam, Ben, the triplets, Tom Hostetler, etc.), and good messages.  The Christmas Cradle is well-written and will have you engaged from the very first page.  I give The Christmas Cradle 5 out of 5 stars.  I especially loved the ending of The Christmas Cradle (it is just delightful). 

I received a complimentary copy of The Christmas Cradle from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading Pane and Suffering by Cheryl Hollon (it is wonderful).  I have to be careful about overbooking myself in the future! Sixteen books for September 29 was too many (I do not know how I managed to get so many).  I still have five left to read. I think I did pretty good considering I just started last Wednesday. I hope you have a great Tuesday!  I am off to run some errands. Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Beeline to Murder

Hello!  In addition to it being Ask a Stupid Question Day it is also Be  a Good Neighbor Day!  Are you a good neighbor?  I am one of those people that would be happy living on a house in the middle of ten acres with no neighbors.  I was so shy growing up that I lack conversational skills (and patience).  Neighbors just seem to lead to trouble (over property lines, noise issues, etc.)  It could be that I have just not had the right neighbor (or its me--no, it couldn't be)! My father is the one who is good at talking to people.  He loves chatting especially about sports (he really should have had a son).

A Beeline to Murder by Meera Lester is the first book in A Henny Penny Farmette Mystery series.  Abigail Mackenzie is thirty-seven years old and is hard at work on her farmette (a small residential farm).  She supplements her income by being a private investigator (helping the local DA with cases).  Abby also has honey bees and sells honey.  Her best customer is Chef Jean-Louis Bonheur and his pastry shop.  When Abby arrives to deliver his lavender honey, no one answers.  She discovers Chef Jean-Louis dead in the kitchen.  It looks like he was strangled.  Abby immediately calls the police.  Abby was a police officer for seven years until her hand was injured (her thumb is not consistently stable which means she cannot shoot a gun).  Her friend, Officer Katerina “Kat” Petrovky is the officer assigned the case (Abby is thankful that Chief Bob Allen did not show up).

The preliminary investigation concludes it was suicide.  The victim’s brother, Philippe Bonheur does not believe it.  He knows that his brother would never kills himself and even had a trip to the Caribbean planned for his birthday.  Philippe hires Abby to investigate the crime and prove it was murder.  Abby investigates the crime with Philippe’s help in between taking care of her chickens, swarming bees (moving to a new location), handling Sugar (Chef Jean-Louis’ dog), and planting appropriate plants for her bees.  Abby can really use the money from the case to help fix up her house (which needs work).  Will Abby be able to prove Chef Jean-Louis was murdered?  Who wanted Chef Jean-Louis dead?

I enjoyed reading A Beeline to Murder.  It is a cute cozy mystery with the lovely setting of Las Flores, California.  Abby Mackenzie is a likeable main character, but I wish we were given more information about her.  The information we are given is given out in little bits throughout the story (which I found frustrating).  We are not given a lot of information about the other characters in the book (I do know that Philippe is extremely handsome as it was mentioned several times).  I think the characters just need to be fleshed out a little bit (given life).  The author provided good clues to the mystery and provided a little twist at the end.  I found the person responsible for the crime to be obvious, but that could just be me (I picked out the person responsible not long after the character was introduced).  Overall, it is a good first book.  I will definitely read the next book in the series.  The one thing I did not like was that the crime happened almost immediately at the beginning of the story.  I think we needed a little more of an introduction before we get to the dead person.  I give A Beeline to Murder 4 out of 5 stars.  The books does provide some great tips on taking care of bees, making good honey, and the right type of fauna to plant for bees (makes me wish I was not allergic to them).

I received a complimentary copy of A Beeline to Murder from NetGalley (and the publisher) in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading Joy of Witchcraft by Mindy Klasky (it is a fun book to read).  Have a lovely evening and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

The Bishop's Son

I hope everyone had a lovely, relaxing weekend.  Today is Ask A Stupid Question Day!  I love it!  It is so that there is no such thing as a stupid question (whoever said that never met some of today's teenagers).  

I just finished The Bishop’s Son by Kelly Irvin.  It is the second book in The Amish of Bee County series.  Leila’s mother, Abigail Lantz and Mordecai King are getting married.  They will now be moving to Mordecai’s farm and all living together in Bee County, Texas.  Jesse Glick (twenty) is the bishop’s son and is experiencing his rumspringa (for a couple of years now).  He is interested in Leila Lantz, but he has a secret he is not ready to share (and would not be fair to her).  Will Glick is Jesse’s cousin and is also interested in Leila.  Will is young but he knows that he is committing his life to the Amish faith and community.  Jesse does ask out Leila and takes her to a movie in town. He also introduces her to two of his friends:  Colton and Tiffany (Englischers and Christians).  Leila is not sure about going to movies, driving in cars, or public displays of affection (she gets upset when Jesse tries to hold her hand).  Will takes Leila on a buggy ride so they can get to know each other.  Leila also wants to help her family earn some money.  There is a job available in Beeville at Little Angels Day Care.  Will Bishop Leroy Glick let her work in town (she has to get his permission) and can Leila stay away from outside influences?  Which man will win Leila’s heart?  What is Jesse hiding and how it will affect Leila (and the community)?

The Bishop’s Son is a novel of choices (religious and life).  Is there a right way or wrong way to worship?   I did not enjoy The Bishop’s Son as much as Kelly Irvin’s other novels.  It is slow paced and preachy.  We do get to catch up with the characters we liked from the first novel in Bee County, Texas and witness the wedding of Abigail and Mordecai.  Kelly Irvin is a good writer, but this book was just not my cup of tea (this book left me upset and frustrated).  Upset over how women are treated in the Amish culture, Leila is so naive (she could easily be taken advantage of), the lack of rights among the Amish people (having to get permission to work in town).  I know it is just a novel, but it is based on the Amish culture.  I give The Bishop’s Son 3.5 out of 5 stars.  The Bishop's Son will be out on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 (a lot of books come out tomorrow).  The first book in the series is The Beekeeper's Son (it is very good).

I received a complimentary copy of The Bishop’s Son from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading Scapbook of the Dead by Mollie Cox Bryan. I wish everyone a wonderful Monday!  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Amish Christmas Sleigh

Happy Sunday!  It is also Crush a Can Day!  Does anyone remember when men would crush aluminum cans against their heads?  You could also buy devices that would crush your cans for you! I just rinse mine out and put them in the recycle bin!  I hope everyone is having a lovely, relaxing Sunday!  I just finished reading A Cherry Cola Christmas by Ashton Lee (I will let you know my thoughts about it soon).

The Amish Christmas Sleigh contains three romantic Christmas stories.  The first story is A Sleigh Ride on Ice Mountain by Kelly Long.  Kate Zook is raising her disabled brother, Ben.  Money is tight for them.  Sebastian C. Christner is a toymaker who needs a housekeeper.  He also has a secret.  Sebastian offers Kate the job as his housekeeper.  Will Kate get past Sebastian’s gruff exterior?

A Mamm for Christmas by Amy Lillard is the second book.  Jess Schmucker’s wife has been deceased for one year.  He has three small daughters to raise.  The teacher, Bernice Yoder tries to assist (especially since the girls are coming to school filthy).  Jess, though, is a little too stubborn to accept help.  Then he realizes that it is time to marry and get a mother for his children.  Will he make the right choice?

Molly Jebber’s An Unexpected Christmas Blessing is the third and final story in the book.  It takes place in Berlin, Ohio in 1910.  Luke Fisher just moved to Berlin to get a fresh start.  He wanted to get away where everyone knew his secret (and his shame).  Charity Lantz’ husband has been gone for a year.  She is left with raising two children:  Beth and Josiah.  They are thrilled when Luke moves in next door.  Can romance bloom between Charity and Luke?  What is Luke’s secret?

The three stories are delightful and easy to read.  This book can be enjoyed without having read the other books in the series (but it helps put things in context).  I liked the characters in each book, great settings (especially Berlin, Ohio), and fun antics from the children.  I liked that the stories are set at Christmas (just makes the stories more magical).  I give The Amish Christmas Sleigh 4 out of 5 stars.  I especially liked how the sleigh theme was incorporated into each story (especially in A Sleigh Ride on Ice Mountain).  If you like Amish fiction, you will enjoy reading The Amish Christmas Sleigh.  The Amish Christmas Sleigh will be out on Tuesday, September 29, 2015.  You can pre-order it now.

I received a complimentary copy of The Amish Christmas Sleigh from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

You will notice that the links I provide for books will take you to the Amazon Smile website.  If you register with this site and pick a charity, a portion of your purchases go to that charity.  I picked the local chapter of my ASPCA.  There are many charities available.  I am currently reading A Beeline to Murder by Meera Lester.  Have a wonderful Sunday and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Plain Fame

It is International Rabbit Day!  Show your rabbit some love (do you think a stuffed rabbit counts).  I received some wonderful news.  I was accepted as a HarperCollins Christian Publishers BookLook Blogger (see badge at the right)!  I did not think I would be accepted and was so excited when I received my acceptance email! You can never have too many books!

Plain Fame by Sarah Price is the first book in the Plain Fame series.  Amanda Beiler (she is twenty) is returning home to Lititz, Pennsylvania from Ohio and decided to explore New York City a little bit.  She is crossing the street to purchase some sunglasses (jaywalking) when she is hit by Alejandro Diaz’ limousine.  Alejandro is a famous singer (from Cuba), has a bad boy image, and is known as Viper.  He knows that he cannot just wait in the limo (bad for image).  He gets out and checks on the young lady.  Alejandro stays with her until she is transported to the hospital.  He finds out that she is Amish (he looks up their culture).  He visits her in the hospital and spends time getting to know her.  There is an instant connection between the two of them. 

When Amanda is ready to go home, Alejandro personally escorts her home.  He then spends some time on the farm until he is spotted by fans while shopping in a local town.  Alejandro knows that it is time to leave before the media descends (though he dislikes leaving Amanda).  Unfortunately, the media has taken a shine to Amanda (she has become a celebrity).  They camp out at her family farm and the local town.  This affects the whole community and makes it difficult for the whole Amish community.  The Bishop states that Amanda has to go away.  Amanda decides to take her future into her own hands.

I enjoyed reading Plain Fame.  It is nicely written and easy to read (has a good flow).  I liked the characters in the book, though, I did find Amanda to be extremely naïve.  Can someone who is twenty years old and Amish really be as naïve as a regular (English) six year old?  There are some different settings in the book.  It takes us from New York to Pennsylvania to Los Angeles.  I give Plain Fame 4 out 5 stars.  The book leaves us wondering what will happen to Amanda and we have to wait to find out until the next book.  Plain Fame will be out on September 29, 2015 and will be available on Kindle Unlimited.  

I received a complimentary copy of Plain Fame from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

There is a giveaway on Goodreads for Plain Fame (click on Goodreads to be taken to the page).  I am currently reading Fated by Sarah Fine.  I have ten books to read before Wednesday (wish me luck).  I do not know how I overbooked myself again.  I think I might get eight of them read (if I stay up late).  I hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday!  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader  

Friday, September 25, 2015

Deadly Nightshade

It is National Comic Book Day!  I have to admit that I have never read a comic book.  My parents did not encourage it or buy them (only real books).  I know my daughter has enjoyed some graphic novels (she likes the Japanese anime).  Do you like comic books? 

Deadly Nightshade by Mary Rosenblum is the second book in the Rachel O’Connor Gardening Mystery series.  Rachel O’Connor and her Rain Country Landscaping business have just been awarded a contract by the city of Blossom, Oregon.  She has a new employee from the Youth Farm named Spider Train.  He is sixteen years old.  The town is in an uproar over the proposed annexation of outlying areas.  They want to prevent the building of condos and mini malls (which is a good thing).  However, Rachel’s Uncle Jack is against the new annexation.  He is quite vocal at the town meeting and against Councilman Bob Dougan (who changed his vote).

The next day Rachel and her crew go to dump the mulch from the truck and find the truck has already been emptied.  When they start putting it into wheel barrows, they find a body.  Rachel immediately gets the police.  When they uncover the body, it is Bob Dougan.  The main suspect is Uncle Jack.  Rachel immediately starts investigating the crime (she just cannot help herself) despite Police Chief Jeff Price (and her boyfriend) asking her not to look into the crime.  Who killed Bob Dougan?  Did it have to do with the annexation?

Deadly Nightshade is a cute cozy mystery, but I did not feel that the writer spent enough time on the actual mystery.  There are many descriptive paragraphs (about characters, the town, and gardening) that detract from the story.  I wanted more time spent to providing clues and tracking down the killer (I just love a good mystery).  The book is easy to read (nice writing style) with good characters and a lovely setting. I give Deadly Nightshade 3.75 out of 5 stars.  Deadly Nightshade is available on Kindle Unlimited! The first book in the series is Devil's Trumpet.

I received a complimentary copy of Deadly Nightshade from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading the Plain Fame series by Sarah Price.  There are four books in the series (as of October 20).  Have a lovely Friday evening and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Time to Die

It is National Cherries Jubilee Day!  Who makes these things up?   Doozy was in a hippy hoppy mood!  He does these jumps like a jackrabbit!  Ever have a 60 plus pound dog jump around on your bed like a rabbit?  I feared for my bones!  

I just finished Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell.  It is the second book in the Jennifer Knight Crime Thriller series.  DC Jennifer Knight works in Operation Moonlight.  A special division that deals in the supernatural (the unit members also have special skills).  Jennifer and her partner, DC Will Dunston have been called out to a scene.  A man is dead just after a stranger read his fortune using tarot cards (and predicted his death).  Did the tarot reader have something to do with the man’s death?  Then another person is dead and again the tarot reader was mentioned.  Who is this man?

The tarot reader is only known as The Raven.  He reads your fortune (past, present, and future) and it will come true.  Is he really predicting the future or is he helping it along?  Does The Raven have anything to do with the cult The Reborners?  The Reborners is for people looking for a second chance at life.  They also encourage crime (shoplifting, dealing drugs).  Is The Raven the leader of the cult?  Jennifer Knight is being targeted by The Raven.  He is sending her notes with a black raven’s feather enclosed.  The notes help provide her with psychic clues.  Jennifer is going to have to work hard to catch The Raven.  Will she catch him in time to prevent the death of someone close to her?

I enjoyed reading Time to Die.  It has a great twist at the end (if you follow the clues you will be able to figure out).  I enjoyed the supernatural element in the book along with the mystery.  There is also a little romance.  It is well-written and keeps the reader’s attention.  There is also a part with raven’s that is creepy!  I give Time to Die 4.25 out of 5 stars.  I look forward to reading Caroline Mitchell’s next book.  The first book in the series is Don't Turn Around.  Time to Die was released today!

I received a complimentary copy of Time to Die from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading The Bishop's Son by Kelly Irvin.  I am off to run some errands.  Have a great afternoon and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Paradise of Glass

It is Checkers Day!  I think everyone has played checkers at least once!  I found something wonderful at the hardware store the other day.  I am going to paint our kitchen cabinets.  My mother wanted chalkboard paint on a couple of them and I did not.  I found clear chalkboard paint!  I can put it right over the paint color on the cabinets.  Perfect solution and a great compromise!  

The Paradise of Glass by Petra Durst-Benning is the third (and final) book in the Glassblower Trilogy.  Wanda has returned to Lauscha from Italy with little Sylvie (her Aunt Marie’s daughter).  Wanda is looking forward to being home and preparing for her marriage to Richard Stamme.  Richard, though, is preoccupied with a showing he will be having in the fall.  It has taken his total attention (he ignores Wanda).  The rest of the town is upset of the sale of the Grundler Foundry.  It is being sold to an outsider and it has all the glassblowers and workers in an uproar.  Wanda finally asks why they don’t buy the foundry themselves. 

After some thinking, some of the men decide it is a good idea.  They put Wanda in charge of the finances (much to Richard’s dismay).  They come up with 11,000 marks towards the purchase of the foundry.  The owner gives them time to come up with the money to purchase it.  If the glassblowers can raise the money in time, the owner will sell the foundry to them.  They try Grosse and Sons to get a loan for the remainder of the funds they need.  David Wagner is the loan officer at the bank.  He knows that the loan will not get approved since the bank handles the finances of the person wishing to person the foundry.  Wanda convinces the group to raise the money via the stock market.  With the right stocks, they can might be able to raise the money in time.  Unfortunately, things do not go as smoothly as Wanda anticipates.  Someone is working behind the scenes to make sure they do not raise the money in time.

What is going to happen to the foundry?  Will Richard and Wanda get married?  Who is the other buyer for the foundry?  You do have to read the first two books in the series in order to understand what is happening in The Paradise of Glass.  I loved the first book in the series, the second one was okay, and this one was just fine (so-so).  The book is very slow throughout the middle of the book (like the author ran out of things to put into the book).  Wanda comes across as a very selfish, spoiled, self-centered girl who has no business raising a child nor getting married (I would never trust her with money).  Wanda is always coming up with ideas, but she rarely follows through with them (or wants someone else to).  I give The Paradise of Glass 3 out of 5 stars.  The writing is good, but the content (story) was deficient.  I was very disappointed with this final book in The Glassblower Trilogy.  The Paradise of Glass is available on Kindle Unlimited.

I received a complimentary copy of The Paradise of Glass from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading The Amish Christmas Sleigh (multiple authors).  If you like my reviews and blog, please make sure to become a member (link on the right in sidebar).  Have a great Wednesday and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Followed by Frost

It is Elephant Appreciation Day!  I love elephants (the stuffed kind--don't judge).  I have several of them (you are never too old for stuffed animals or dolls)!  It is also Business Women's Day.

Followed by Frost is the latest book by Charlie N. Holmberg.  Smitha Ronson is seventeen years old and very self-centered.  Smitha has been spoiled by her father her whole life.  Mordan Alteraz is a new arrival in the town of Euwan.  Most people were skeptical of him, but Mr. Ronson welcomed him to town and gave him a job at his turnery.  Mordan has been especially interested in Smitha since his arrival despite the cold shoulder Smitha has given him.  One day she gets frustrated by his attentions and tells him how she really feels about him (she is cruel).  Turns out that Mordan is a wizard, and he puts a curse on Smitha.  He curses her to be as cold as her heart and that cold will follow her wherever she goes.  Mordan then disappears.

Smitha runs home to her parents’ house.  Her father immediately sets out to find Mordan, but he cannot be located.  Smitha hair starts turning white, her skin is very pale and her lips turn blue.  Everything she touches turns to ice.  A snow cloud follows her dumping snow about a mile around Smitha.  Smitha takes to her bed while everyone in town is huddling in their homes from the icy temperatures.  When a child becomes ill and then dies, the town turns on Smitha.  Smitha does not believe that the little boy is really that sick and pays him a visit (pushes her way into the family’s house).  Smitha sees Death next to the little boy.  Smitha and Death are both surprised.  Smitha runs while Death looks thoughtful.

Smitha is forced by the town and her parents to leave Euwan.  She takes to the woods and starts traveling north.  Smitha at first hopes to find another wizard who can help her break the curse.  Smitha is surprised one night to be visited by Death.  His name is Sadriel.  He is glad to have someone who can see him and talk to him.  He would love Smitha to come over into his world.  But that would mean Smitha giving up her life and the cold would still be with her.  Smitha refuses.  She travels through the mountain for the next three years.  She cannot go into towns and then people start hunting her in the hills.  One day she is chased but men on horses.  But these men need her help.  Prince Imad Al Hraith of the Fourth Generation lives in the Untamed Lands (the desert).  They have had no rain for a long time.  They are out of water and need her help.  Smitha agrees to go with them to Mac’Hliah (the main town with the palace).  Will Smitha finally find people that will accept her (curse and all)?  Is there a way for Smitha to break the curse or will she give in to Sadriel?

I have enjoyed Charlie N. Holmberg’s other books and was eager to read Followed by Frost.  Unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations.  It is an interesting idea that had great potential, but I just felt that the story turned out to be a long drawn out romance.  It was a disappointment.  At the beginning it goes along smoothly (and quickly) and then it slows down to a crawl until close to the end.  The book was missing something.  It needed more.  The writing is okay, but this book was not as good as the author’s previous works.  I give Followed by Frost 3 out of 5 stars. Followed by Frost is available on Kindle Unlimited.

I received a complimentary copy of Followed by Frost from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell.  If you like my reviews, please consider following my blog!  Link is on the sidebar.  I hope you have a great Tuesday!  Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Monday, September 21, 2015

Come Rain or Come Shine

Happy Monday!  It is Miniature Golf Day!  I have played miniature golf just once (I was on a date).  I liked the challenge, but I have to admit that I am not a sports person (I am sure you have already figured that out from the number of books I read). 

Come Rain or Come Shine by Jan Karon is the book that readers have been looking forward to for a long time.  Dooley Kavanaugh and Lace Harper are getting married.  They have decided to get married at their new home, Meadowgate.  Meadowgate is a farm in Farmer, North Carolina.  They want it to be a simple wedding (no wedding is simple).  The wedding date is set for June 14.  Dooley and Lace decided to make it a potluck dinner reception (asking each guest to bring a dish).  Until the wedding, they have plenty to keep them busy.  Dooley has to finish veterinary school and graduate.  They are busy fixing up the farm (the house, fences, and barn).  They have purchased four cows and are awaiting the arrival of their new bull, Choo-Choo (I am not kidding).  Dooley will be taking over a veterinary practice after graduation and they will be installing a new sign that reads “Kavanaugh Animal Wellness Clinic”. 

Lace is looking forward to her new life.  She is busy looking for a wedding dress (she wants to get one for $100), making and selling her paintings (which will pay for some extras, and creating a wedding gift for Dooley.  Father Tim and Cynthia have moved out to the farm to help out until the wedding.  Lace and Dooley also have a special surprise for their parents.  They have had something in the works for two years, and it is finally happening just before the wedding.  Let us hope that everything goes off without a hitch.  What could go wrong (rain, not enough food, surprise guests, escaping animals)?

Read Come Rain or Come Shine to find out what happens.  I was so excited when I got a copy of this book.  I have read all the books in this series (and loved them).  Unfortunately, this book was a disappointment.  The main problem is the way it was written.  It is written from the perspective of the different characters (not just one as in first person).  It jumps around and it can be very confusing.  One moment it is Lace, then Father Tim, and then who knows who.  You have to guess sometimes (because the author only used pronouns and not names) and it changes abruptly (you had to guess based on what the person was saying).  This made the novel hard to read.  I do not know what possessed the author to write the novel in this format.  I wish it had been written differently so Come Rain or Come Shine could have been more enjoyable to read.  I give Come Rain or Come Shine 3.75 out of 5 stars.  Come Rain or Come Shine will be out on Tuesday, September 22, 2015.

I received a complimentary copy of Come Rain or Come Shine from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading Deadly Nightshade by Mary Rosenblum (I just received it from the publisher).  I will let you know how I like it.  Have a great day and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Sunday, September 20, 2015

All Fall Down

It is National Punch Day!  They have something for every single day!  Now a punch can be the drink, a hit with a fist, or the crafting tool (there are also leather punches, etc.).  Since I like crafting, I am sticking with craft punches!  I have dozens of them (I am serious).

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner is a book about a wife, mother, and blogger that gets addicted to pain killers.  Allison Weiss (almost 40) is a wife to Dave, a reporter for the Philadelphia Examiner.  They have a daughter Eloise (they call her Ellie) who is extremely sensitive (doctor’s diagnosis).  Everything is too loud, too rough, or harsh for the little girl.  Ellie also has attitude issues.  She acts out in public, yells when talking, and definitely likes to get her way (or temper tantrum time).  Allison was originally a stay-at-home mom, but then she was hired to be a writer for the blog  Allison writes stories about marriage and motherhood.  Dave is at work most of the time or training for a marathon (instead of spending time with the family he is “training” on the weekends).  Allison’s father has Alzheimer’s and her mother is having difficulty coping.  Her father always took care of her mother (took care of finances, they had a housekeeper, and she does not even drive).  Now Allison is having to help her mother in addition to her responsibilities.

Allison hurt her back working out at the gym and her doctor gave her some painkillers.  That was the beginning of her addiction.  They meds helped her get through the day and also helped her writing (she became bolder with her writing).   It starts out with one or two pills a day (she has them in little Altoid’s tins), then two pills at a time, and then five or six a day (Oxy, Vicodin, and Percocet).  Allison was doctor shopping (going to various doctors to get multiple pain prescriptions).  Then Allison discovers a web site where she can get the meds without needing a prescription (how handy).  Allison was up to over 600 milligrams a day of Oxycodone when her functioning became impaired (with the help of a glass of wine).  She goes to pick up Ellie at school and is stopped by a teacher (a teacher monitors the pickup line at Ellie’s school), Allison knows she needs to do something.  She contacts a doctor who gives her Suboxone (it takes care of pain without the opiates).  Allison ends up in the hospital.  Will she get the help she needs or will she lose everything?

All Fall Down tells of how she got addicted and what happens after her addiction is discovered.  I found it to be an interesting story and well written (the author has a good writing style).  One thing that is odd is Allison’s lack of emotions.  She is more matter of fact.  You do not feel her love for her husband or daughter.  I expected more emotion especially during the second half of the book.  We do not get much detail on the husband.  His character is also very different in the last half of the book.  Davie is made out to be distant and uninvolved (especially with daughter), then he completely changes (it was odd).   However, the book had me hooked, and I stayed up late to find out what happened to Allison.  I give All Fall Down 3.75 out of 5 stars.  I did not like the ending.  It was abrupt and leaves the reader with questions.  I wish the author had included an epilogue.  One thing I do wish to comment on is the mention of Suboxone in the book.  This book makes the drug out to be for junkies (it helps them get off heroine), but it does have other (better) uses.  It can be used to treat pain (real, legitimate pain).  It takes care of the pain without the use of opiates that make a person high.  It is such a wonderful drug and helpful for people who are allergic to other narcotics (like Oxy, Percocet, Vicodin, and Fentanyl).  I will get off my soapbox now!

I won a copy of All Fall Down from Goodreads First Reads Program.  

I am currently reading The Paradise of Glass by Petra Durst-Benning. What are you reading?  I am always looking for new books.  Have a lovely Sunday afternoon and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Tea, Tiramisu and Tough Guys

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!  We have some unusual holidays! My idea of a pirate is Captain Hook on Once Upon a Time!  He is such a handsome devil!  Did everyone have a good Saturday?  I did not overdue today.  My energy level was on the low end.  

Tea, Tiramisu and Tough Guys by Harper Lin is a fun cozy mystery to read.  It is the second book in the Cape Bay Cafe Mysteries.  Francesca “Fran” Amaro owns Antonia’s Italian Café.  She serves all types of coffees and some sweet treats.  Thanks to a British customer, Fran is exploring adding tea drinks to the menu.  Fran and Matt Cardosi have been spending more time together since Fran solved the murder of Matt’s father.  Matt and Fran grew up together and are now neighbors.  They are also exploring have a closer relationship (as a couple).  Things are going along smoothly when the local gossip tells them that Joe Davis has been stabbed to death in the parking lot of Todd’s Gym.  Joe is a few years younger than Fran, but her second in command, Sammy grew up with Joe.  Turns out that the owner of Todd’s Gym was the guy Fran had a crush on in high school.  His name is Todd Caruthers (typical sports jock).  Fran decides to investigate the murder (she cannot help herself) despite warnings from Mike, the local police detective. 

Todd turns out to be the main suspect, but Fran is sure he is innocent (based on two conversations).  Matt tries to show Fran that Todd could be guilty based on the facts.  This case puts Matt and Fran at odds with each other (I think Matt is jealous of Todd).  Who really killed Joe Davis?  Can Fran solve the case?  What will happen to the budding relationship between Matt and Fran?  You will have to read Tea, Tiramisu and Tough Guys to find out!  I found this to be an enjoyable novel to read.  It provided many laughs for me.  I give Tea, Tiramisu and Tough Guys 4.25 out of 5 stars.  My one problem is the person who committed the crime was not introduced until late in the book (and then it is obvious he committed the crime). My favorite part of a cozy mystery is solving the murder, and I did not get the opportunity with this book.  This book can easily be read without reading the first book in the series (I did).  The first book in the series is Cappuccinos, Cupcakes and a Corpse.

I received a complimentary copy of Tea, Tiramisu and Tough Guys from the author in exchange for an honest review.  The review and opinions expressed are my own.

I am off to watch Cedar Cove.  The book I am currently reading is Followed by Frost by Charlie N. Holmberg.  Have a good evening and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Poet and the Prophecy

My wasp problem is getting smaller!  I am glad that I bought two different sprays.  The first one (with the non-conducting electricity) got rid of 80% of the wasps.  I have waited two days and now I have sprayed again (with the second spray).  The second spray is supposed to work over several days to get the stragglers.  Keep your fingers crossed that they go away permanently!

The Poet and the Prophecy by Cecilia Tan is the fourth book in the Magical University series.  This book is an erotic novel with a magical theme (the cover makes it look like a young adult or children’s book).  Kyle Wadsworth is entering his senior year at Veritas (next to Harvard).  It is a college for magical students.  Kyle has been asked to move back into Gladius House (like a dorm), and that Timothy Frost will be moving back in as well (Kyle is in love with him).  Kyle cannot forget Frost, but Frost wants Kyle to keep his distance.  Frost is a man during the day and a girl at night (Frost thinks it is a curse and dislikes his female form).  Kyle broke the enchantment that kept Frost a man full-time and no one has been able to fix it.  Kyle wants to try fixing the problem for Frost (and hoping it will mend their relationship). 

There are some big problems in the magical world.  People are losing their abilities (the Sight) and people are saying that the Burning Days (the end of magic) are coming.  Kyle and his friends work to find a solution.  Can they fix the problem in time?  Will Timothy Frost ever let Kyle get close to him?

I find Timothy Frost to be a very weak character.  I got very tired of him pushing Kyle away and the whining.  He was dealt his lot (and he has suffered a lot in his short life), but he has to find a way to live with being two genders.  The Poet and the Prophecy got much better in the second half of the book.  It is not as good as the first book in the series, but much better than The Tower and the Tears (Book Two) and The Incubus and the Angel (Book Three).  The book does have a good ending and a nice epilogue.  I give The Poet and the Prophecy 3.75 out of 5 stars.  I think the author made the magic a little too complicated (I started skimming through the technical talk after a while).  I also do not think this series lived up to its potential.  The first book was very good and interesting, but the rest of the series just to live up to that first novel, The Siren and the Sword.  Please be aware that the novel does contain foul language and explicit sex scenes.  You do have to read the other book in the series in order to understand what is going on in The Poet and the Prophecy (otherwise you will be lost). 

I received a complimentary copy of The Poet and the Prophecy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tonight is the beginning of season three for Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.  It is a wonderful show.  It is set in 1920's Australia with a great female detective.  If you are interested, check your local PBS stations. I hope everyone has a great weekend and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Her Final Breath

Happy Read an Ebook Day!  I love ebooks.  I think the Kindle is one of the best inventions.  The print is so small in paperback books and difficult for me to read (I have had bad eyesight since I was seven years old).  I can make the print any size I need it with a Kindle.  I can also make notes and highlight sections in a book as I read it (which is helpful for reviews). When we used to go away, I would pack so many books (I did not want to be without a book to read).  Now I just need my Kindle (I have hundreds of books at my fingertips). I saw a picture of the Kindle today.  It is bigger and thinner.  I like the idea of having a bigger screen. This one is ten inches!  I know what I want for Christmas!

Her Final Breath by Robert Dugoni is the second book in the Tracy Crosswhite series.  In the first book they mentioned the case of Nicole Hansen, a young woman that was killed in a motel.  The person had hog tied her so that if she relaxed, she strangled from the rope around her neck.  The A-Team of the Violent Crimes section was unable to solve the case (Tracy was working on her sister’s murder case at the time) and after a month their boss, Captain Johnny Nolasco moved the case to the Cold Case Unit.  Now Tracy Crosswhite and her team have another victim.  The killer is escalating. 

Tracy is also having trouble with her boss, Johnny Nolasco.  He is determined to get rid of Tracy while making himself look good (he has carried this vendetta for twenty years)!  He is setting Tracy up for failure with The Cowboy Killer case (as this guy has been dubbed).  Tracy is enjoying her relationship with Dan O’Leary.  He is still living in Cedar Grove, but he frequently drives to Seattle to spend time with Tracy.  Dan also gets involved in the Cowboy Killer case.  They have a case that was closed nine years earlier that could be related (Beth Stinson).  It was closed by Captain Johnny Nolasco and his partner who were known for cutting corners (and working the evidence to frame who they believed was the guilty party).  Tracy cannot work the case at work because of Captain Nolasco (he will not like it).  Dan starts questioning the witnesses and Wayne Gerhardt (who was convicted of the crime).  Can they find the killer in time?  How many more victims will there be before they catch the Cowboy Killer?

Her Final Breath was a good book.  It has a lot of twists and turns on the road to finding the killer.  However, the killer was very obvious.  I knew who it was from the moment the character was introduced (I avoided descriptive pronouns so there would not be a spoiler).  The writer did provide some great clues and wrote a good mystery.  I felt that Her Final Breath was a little long (it is longer than the first book and twice the length of a cozy mystery).  I think there could have been some editing to make it a better novel (a lot of descriptive paragraphs).  I give Her Final Breath 4.5 out of 5 stars (since I was able to solve the mystery).  Robert Dugoni is a very skilled writer and I look forward to his next book.  Her Final Breath is available on Kindle Unlimited.

I received a complimentary copy of Her Final Breath from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you so much for reading my book reviews.  I hope everyone is having a great Friday!  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader