Friday, June 30, 2017

A Ghostly Light: A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery

Adorable cover!
Happy Friday!  I hope everyone has had a good week.  Juliet Blackwell is the author of A Witchcraft Mystery series (wonderful series), A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series, An Annie Kincaid Mystery series, The Paris Key, and Letters from Paris.  Readers can follow Ms. Blackwell on Amazon, Facebook and Goodreads.  You can find out more about Ms. Blackwell and her books on her website

A Ghostly Light by Juliet Blackwell is the seventh book in A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series.  Mel Turner, general contractor and head of Turner Construction, is starting a new project.  Mel is working with Alicia Withers to turn the beautiful old Victorian Bay Light lighthouse and the keeper’s lodge into an inn (with restaurant) on Lighthouse Island.  Alicia deserves happiness after escaping from abusive ex-husband, Thorn Webster.  Mel and Alicia are touring the keeper’s house when Alicia goes still and pale.  Thorn Webster steps inside the cottage and wants to speak with Alicia.  Buzz, the security guard, escorts Thorn back to the dock, but Mel knows they have not seen the last of him.  A little while later, the pair are at the lighthouse with Alicia at the top (Mel is having issues with heights since her last recent brush with death).  Mel hears Alicia scream and then Thorn tumbles down the stairs.  Alicia arrives on the scene with blood on her hands.  Unfortunately, Alicia becomes the prime suspect in Thorn’s death (she had a good motive).  Mel knows she did not kill Thorn and sets out to find the real culprit.  Matters are further complicated by a couple of ghosts.  Thorn is now haunting the island (and being a literal thorn in Mel’s side) and a female ghost in the lighthouse who has issues with men.   Can Mel help find closure for the ghosts and capture Thorn’s killer?  It looks like rough seas ahead for Mel in A Ghostly Light.

A Ghostly Light is an entertaining paranormal cozy mystery.  The book contains good characters and the beautiful setting of San Francisco.  Mel is a nice, strong female character with foibles that make her feel real.  Mel is having issues with heights since her brush with death on a roof in the last novel.  She is trying to overcome this weakness, but it is slow going (especially since she refuses most suggestions).  I did feel that it was a little overplayed in the story.  It was mentioned a few too many times.  I enjoyed the humor provided by Mel’s family.  It lightens up the story.  Mel has such a great, diverse family (very lifelike).  I am rating A Ghostly Light 4 out of 5 stars.  The writing is good (as always), but the pace was a little slow.  There is quite a bit of information (historical facts, character backgrounds) injected into the story that slowed down the flow.  Included in A Ghostly Light is the murder, ghosts, treasure map, protestors, Mel’s issue with heights, Landon not being liked by all family members, various construction projects, and Mel needing a dress for the ballet.  There is some repetition of information (needed to be eliminated).  The identity of Thorn’s killer was a cinch to figure out.  I could discern it before Mel left Lighthouse Island after the murder.  The mystery of female ghost was appealing, and I was curious to see how it would unfold.  I especially liked the treasure (something I would cherish).  A Ghostly Light is the seventh book in the series, but you can read it alone.  Readers are given all the necessary details needed to enjoy A Ghostly Light (though I have enjoyed reading all the books in A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series).   I look forward to the next book in this engaging series.

Juliet Blackwell's next book is A Magical Match which will be the ninth book in A Witchcraft Mystery series.  It will be out in the Spring of 2018.  I will be reviewing The Wives' Revenge by Lindsey Hutchinson next time.   May you have a fantastic and fun Friday!  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Weddings at Promise Lodge: Promise Lodge series


Welcome!  Charlotte Hubbard is the author of the Promise Lodge and Simple Gifts series as well as other engaging Amish novels.  The books in the Promise Lodge series are Promise Lodge (Kindle version $1.99), A Christmas at Promise Lodge and Weddings at Promise Lodge.   A Simple Vow (Kindle version $1.99) and A Simple Wish are the books in the Simple Gifts series.  A Simple Wish will be released on September 26.  If you pay careful attention while reading Weddings at Promise Lodge, you might find a mention of the shops in Willow Ridge (from Simple Gifts series).  You can follow Charlotte Hubbard on Facebook, Amazon and Goodreads.

Weddings at Promise Lodge by Charlotte Hubbard is the third book in the Promise Lodge series. Promise Lodge is growing with new families and businesses arriving.  Amos Troyer’s twin daughters along with their husbands are moving to Promise Lodge to live and open a nursery and greenhouses.  Mattie Bender and Amos Troyer are finally getting married (it is about time).  The newly arrived Bishop Monroe Burkholder is presiding over the ceremony. Christine Bender found herself attracted to Monroe and is looking forward to spending more time with him.  Amos is wary of Monroe because he feels that their new bishop is hiding something (a feeling).  Everyone is at Roman and Mary Kate’s wedding when an unexpected arrival interrupts the festivities.  A young woman, Leola Duff bursts into the lodge declaring that Monroe “ruined her” and that they must marry.  The male leaders in the community want answers, but Monroe is being evasive.  Christine does not doubt that there is a logical explanation for Leola’s remarks and that Monroe will tell all when the time is right (in God’s own perfect timing, not theirs).  But will the community understand and still accept Monroe when he enlightens them?  Come to Promise Lodge in Weddings at Promise Lodge to visit with old friends, meet the newcomers, and catch up on the gossip


Weddings at Promise Lodge contains good writing.  Ms. Hubbard’s writing style makes for a novel that is pleasurable to read.  I thought the novel had a good pace and a beautiful setting.  There are a significant number of characters that can be hard to keep straight.  It gets easier the further you get into the story.  The book contains lovely, Christian characters.  I am amazed at how they welcome strangers into their community and the depth of their compassion, kindness and patience (something I lack).  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone was so accepting and welcoming in real life?  I was not a fan of Leola Duff.  I do not know how the community dealt with her antics.  I would have sent her packing within twenty-four hours.   I rate Weddings at Promise Lodge 4 out of 5 stars.  While Weddings at Promise Lodge can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend reading the books in order.  You will understand why the Bender sisters and Amos Troyer decided to start their own community.  It will also provide you with the background details on the main characters.  I like the Promise Lodge community because it is not as strict as Amish districts in Amish novels.  They are receptive to all Christians.  While Weddings at Promise Lodge has some predictability, there are some unexpected surprises.  At the end of the story, we are left wondering what will happen next time.  Weddings at Promise Lodge is a little racy compared to normal Amish/Christian novels.  There is some kissing and intimate innuendos which is not the norm in an Amish book (just giving you a heads up).  I liked the lessons of holding a person accountable for their actions, importance of communication, and appearances can be deceiving.    There are recipes at the end of Weddings at Promise Lodge and a preview of A Simple Wish (will be available on September 26).

I appreciate you visiting today.  Next time I will be reviewing A Ghostly Light by Juliet Blackwell.  May each of you have a terrific Thursday.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Enforcing the Paw: A Paw Enforcement Novel


Diane Kelly is the author of A Tara Holloway series and A Paw Enforcement series.  She has also written Love Unleashed and A Sappy Love Story.  Readers can follow Diane on Facebook, Amazon and Goodreads.  The novels in A Paw Enforcement series are Paw Enforcement, Paw and Order, Laying Down the Paw, Against the Paw, Above the Paw, and the newly released Enforcing the Paw. There is also the novella Upholding the Paw.

Enforcing the Paw by Diane Kelly is the sixth A Paw Enforcement Novel.  Officer Megan Luz and her canine partner, Sergeant Brigit of the Fort Worth Police Department are on the night shift when they respond to a call of a broken window.  Adriana Valdez claims her ex-boyfriend, Ryan is responsible for the vandalism and that this is not the first incident.  Megan goes to Ryan’s apartment where she finds evidence that implicates him in the crime.  Ryan, though, claims that Adriana has been harassing him, and she is framing him for the crime.  Ryan has an order of protection against Adriana.  This is just the beginning of a he said/she said case that is going to test Megan’s detective skills.  Is the guilty party the creepy Ryan or the drab, neat freak Adriana?  Megan has another case that is equally perplexing.  A man in hospital scrubs, scrub cap, and mask is stealing grape Tootsie pops from convenience stores near two hospitals.  The man knows the area well and manages to escape each time Brigit and Megan track him. Why would an adult steal lollipops?  When Megan is not working, she is spending time with her boyfriend, Seth and his dog, Blast.  Megan has noticed that Seth is slowly leaving things at her place (toiletries and clothes).  Megan needs to decide if she is ready to escalate their relationship?  Life is never dull for Megan and Brigit.  See how things turn out in Enforcing the Paw.

Enforcing the Paw is a delight to read.  I found it to be well-written, engaging, and moved along at a fast clip.  The book is written in the first person.  The chapters alternate between Megan’s, Brigit’s and The Devoted One’s (the person responsible for the attacks on Ryan and Adriana) point-of-view. Brigit’s chapters are humorous and will have readers chuckling.  They provide a light element that injects whimsy into the story.  Enforcing the Paw may be the sixth book in the series, but it can be read alone (easily).  All the necessary facts are provided on Megan and Brigit along with some key details from the previous novels.  My rating for Enforcing the Paw is 5 out of 5 stars.  The identity of The Devoted One is not difficult to figure out, but that did not stop my enjoyment of the story.  I was riveted from beginning to end (and got a little miffed when I was interrupted).  I do want to mention there is some mild swearing in the book.  I wish it was not included, but it does go with the characters.  Enforcing the Paw has a great ending.  I have read all the books in A Paw Enforcement series, and Enforcing the Paw is my favorite.  Now I must wait (impatiently) for the next book to be released.  

Thank you for reading my latest book review.  I will be featuring Weddings at Promise Lodge by Charlotte Hubbard next.  May you have a wonderful Wednesday.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Murder at the Puppy Fest: A Melanie Travis Canine Mystery



Murder at the Puppy Fest by Laurien Berenson is the twentieth book in A Melanie Travis Canine Mystery series.  Melanie Travis is driving her oldest son, Davey home from soccer practice when they see a car toss a puppy out.  The pair stop and rescue the poor pooch who gets named Bud by the time they reach home (this little pup has a new home).  The next day Melanie is off to help Claire Travis at the Third Annual Puppy Fest sponsored by millionaire Leo Brody. The money from the benefit goes help Puppy Posse, a dog rescue foundation (a very worthy cause).  Melanie agreed to help wrangle the pups, but she did not count on finding Leo Brody on the floor in his study.  Melanie immediately calls 911, but it is too late to save Leo Brody.  The suspect list includes Leo's nine children and several of his grandchildren.  The person who killed Brody knew his routine and about his nut allergy.  Melanie had decided to not get involved in the investigation, until she speaks with Libby (thanks to Aunt Peg’s meddling).  Libby Rothko, one of Leo Brody’s daughters, is confident that her father was murdered.  Someone deliberately left him cookies spiked with nuts.  Melanie agrees when she hears that Leo’s EpiPen was gone from his desk.  Libby arranges for Melanie to talk to her siblings to help gather clues and find the culprit.  Unfortunately, this does not help to narrow down the suspect list.  Every single one of them had a motive to harm Leo.  The killer, though, does not wish to be caught.  What will the murderer due to avoid capture? 

Murder at the Puppy Fest is well-written and has a good pace which makes for an easy to read (and engaging) cozy mystery.  I thought the characters well-developed, relatable and entertaining.  The only person I am not fond of is Aunt Peg (nosy, controlling busy body).  Though, she does provide some humor.  I like Melanie, Sam and her two kids.  It is a nice change to have a married main character (instead of someone who is dating).  While Murder at the Puppy Fest is the twentieth book in the series, it can be read alone (you might find it helpful to read A Pedigree to Die For).  Readers are provided the necessary background details on Melanie and her family.  I give Murder at the Puppy Fest 4.5 out of 5 stars.  The mystery is slightly complicated, but avid cozy mystery readers should be able to resolve it before the reveal.  Other readers will be surprised when the solution is revealed.  The author provides good clues to help readers solve the whodunit.  It is interesting to get an inside look at dog shows.  I had no idea so much went into preparing the dog and the judging criteria.  I look forward to reading Wagging through the Snow when it comes out (in September).

I appreciate you visiting today and reading my review.  I will be sharing my thoughts on Enforcing the Paw by Diane Kelly next time.  May each of you have a very special day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Monday, June 26, 2017

Light of Dawn: The Remnant series



Welcome!  It is the final week of June.  I wanted to share some books that will be released on Tuesday, June 27.  The titles include Enforcing the Paw by Diane Kelly, A Ghostly Light by Juliet Blackwell, Grace to to the Finish by Julie Hyzy, A Crime of Passion Fruit by Ellie Alexander, A  Tell-Tale Torte by Maya Corrigan, Weddings at Promise Lodge by Charlotte Hubbard, and If the Haunting Fits, Wear It by Rose Pressey.  I will be reviewing all of these titles for you along with some other new releases.  

Light of Dawn by Vannetta Chapman is the conclusion to The Remnant series.  Shelby Sparks along with her son, Carter are living at High Fields owned by Max Berkman's parents.  Carter has slowly recovered from his severe injuries, and the group won the war against the Cavanaughs.  Life in a post flare world is not easy, and they live a day to day existence. Max would like his relationship with Shelby to evolve, but she is not ready to let him in. Shelby is concerned with finding more insulin for Carter since his current supply will only last another three months.  One day Patrick Goodnight and Bianca Lopez show up at High Fields.  They were not expecting them for another three months.  Patrick has received a mission from Governor Reed and he would like their assistance.  Governor Reed is sending scouts out to every state to locate the federal government which has not been heard from since the flare. Patrick along with Gabe Thompson are heading to Kansas.  Max, Shelby, Biance, Lanh, and Carter agree to with Patrick and Gabe on this perilous quest.  It is a six hundred mile journey that will be fraught with hazards that will test each of them. These seven people will need to be strong in character and faith to complete their journey and return home safely.  

Light of Dawn is a well-written novel that captured and held my interest from the very beginning.  Light of Dawn is the third book in the series (not including the prequel Overshadowed) and they need to be read in order.  Overshadowed sets the stage for what occurs in Deep Shadows. The novels in The Remnant series build upon each other.  The story contains characters that are very real.  We get to see how they adapt to their new lives while keeping their faith.  My ranking for Light of Dawn is 5 out of 5 stars.  The only thing I wanted to see was Shelby growing/developing over the course of the series (not just at the end of the series).  She adapted to the new way of life, but she never forgot Carter's need for insulin.  I know how important it was for her to keep her son alive and healthy (and they needed the insulin to achieve this goal). But it seemed to be her sole focus.  I would have started researching homeopathic and Native American remedies from the beginning (grab the books before people took them for fuel--smart, but makes me just want to cringe).  It would have been nice to see the romance between Max and Shelby grow throughout the series.  Otherwise, Light of Dawn is a well-crafted and leaves the reader thinking how they would handle a situation similar to that in The Remnant series.  It makes me want to start stockpiling items (especially toilet paper, books, chocolate, and soda--necessities of life).  Light of Dawn mentioned some interesting technologies that I want to investigate further.  Vannetta Chapman created a book (actually, a series) that will have people talking! The books (in order) in The Remnant series are Overshadowed (which is free on Amazon), Deep Shadows, Raging Storm, and Light of Dawn.

Thank you for visiting today.  Please excuse any formatting issues in my blog today (or text size).  I am using an old back-up computer which is less than cooperative (my good one is on the fritz). I will be reviewing Murder at the Puppy Fest by Laurien Berenson next time.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Plain Haven: Plainly Maryland


Thank you for visiting today!  I hope you are having a fun yet relaxing weekend.  On June 27 Booked 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton will be released. It is the first book in A Sophie Kimball Mystery series. Murder at the Puppy Fest by Laurien Berenson comes out on the same day.  It is the twentieth book in A Melanie Travis Canine Mystery series (can be read as a stand-alone).  I will share more new releases with you next time.

Plain Haven by Susan Lantz Simpson is the first book in the Plainly Maryland series.  Lilly Brandt is out on her morning jog when she notices two men pulling a body out of truck.  She ducks behind a tree and watches them dump the person.  Unfortunately, one of the men sees Lilly and she is forced to run for her life.  Lilly’s shirt advertises the library where she works as a children’s librarian.  At the police station, Lilly is informed that the only way they can protect is for her to go away.  Lilly becomes Hannah Kurtz, an Amish woman from Pennsylvania.  Hannah will be staying with Rebecca and Samuel Hertzler and their four children in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.  She will have to stay in the community until the police catch the men after her.  It is a new world for Hannah without computers, cell phones, and modern appliances.  She slowly adapts and enjoys the slower pace.  Jake Beiler is a carpenter who is recovering from a broken heart.  He has vowed not to fall in love again, but then he meets Hannah.  The two are attracted to each from the moment they meet.  Then Hannah’s secret is revealed and her new family and friends feel betrayed.   Can Hannah continue to risk the lives of her friends?  Will the villains ever be caught?  To see how the story ends, get your copy of Plain Haven.


Plain Haven is well-written and an engaging story.  The story has a good pace, and I liked figuring out the little clues (the pieces of papers left for Hannah).  I liked the characters and the setting of St. Mary’s County, Maryland.  I have not read an Amish book set in that area. We get to see Lilly/Hannah adapt to life in an Amish community.  It is like stepping back in time to when women cooked three meals a day (no microwave or take out), did laundry with wringer washing machines (they should be banned from existence), hanging clothes on the line to dry, growing vegetables, and using a horse and buggy for transportation. It is good to read about, but I would not want to experience it. Lilly/Hannah finds a community of friends and family.   I do wish the suspense element had been ramped up a little bit.  It would have made for a more intriguing story.  The romance portion needed to be toned down (just a little bit.  It felt a little fake in the beginning).   I am giving Plain Haven 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  The Christian themes throughout the story are trusting in God, the power of prayer and having a strong faith are prevalent throughout the book.   Plain Haven is a lovely, heartwarming novel that captured and held my attention.  I will be reading the next book in the Plainly Maryland series.

I appreciate you reading my latest review.  Next up for evaluation is Light of Dawn by Vannetta Chapman.  It is the third book in The Remnant series.   Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Friday, June 23, 2017

Walking on My Grave: A Death on Demand Mystery


It's Friday!  Congrats on making it through another week!  Cindy Woodsmall's Gathering the Threads will be be published on August 15. It is the third book The Amish of Summer Grove series.  The publisher is giving readers an opportunity to download and read the first chapter of Gathering the Threads.  Click here to go to the Waterbrook Multnomah site for the download link.

Walking on My Grave by Carolyn Hart is the twenty-sixth (and last) novel in A Death on Demand Mystery series.  When Rufus Roundtree passed away a year ago, he left his fortune to his sister, Ves.  Upon Ves’ death the money will pass to six heirs listed in the will.  Four of the heirs need money and would like some of their inheritance now.  Ves has no intention of parting with the money and as she is only in her 40s, Ves expects to live a long life.  On the one year anniversary of Rufus’ death, Ves holds a dinner at her home.  She invites the six heirs—Curt Roundtree, Bob and Katherine Farley, Jane Wilson, Fred Butler, Adam Nash—along with Gretchen Roundtree (Curt’s mother) and Tim Holt (Jane’s boyfriend).  When Jane brings in the dessert she feels a cold chill—like someone is walking on her grave—and knows that someone wishes to kill her.  A few days later, Ves limps into Death on Demand to speak with Annie Darling.  Ves confides that someone tried to killer her.   Ves confronts the heirs with Max Darling present hoping to find the culprit.  Fred Butler disappears and is discovered by a fisherman in the harbor.  When Ves fails to show up at a meeting, Annie and Police Chief Bill Cameron go to her house.  They find blood smears along with her purse, but they find no sign of Ves.  Did the killer get to Ves?  Annie, Max and their friends work together to find the guilty party before he strikes again.  Will they succeed?

Walking on My Grave will appeal to the fans of A Death on Demand Mystery series.  If you are new to the series, I suggest starting with Death on Demand (first book).  Walking on My Grave is easy to read and has interesting main characters (Annie and Max Darling).  It was nice to revisit Broward’s Rock and the delightful characters in this series.  I would love to visit Annie’s bookstore Death on Demand.  It would be paradise to visit a bookstore filled with just mystery novels.  I also appreciate that Annie and Max work with the police.  They may gather information and talk to suspects, but they share the intel with the local authorities.  There are no mean or idiotic police in Carolyn Hart’s series (for which I am very grateful).  Unfortunately, Walking on My Grave was not on par with the previous books in the series.  There is repetition of information throughout the story (especially about the case).  I lost track of the number of times we are told about Max’s cars.  Do readers need to be told whether he is driving the Lamborghini or the VW (each and every time he goes out)?  Annie is working on chapbooks for Laurel, Emma and Henny.  We hear about them frequently throughout the book along with book titles and authors, Latin quotes, clothing descriptions and mystery quotes.  It felt like the author was trying to pad the story.  I found Laurel (Annie’s mother-in-law) annoying and quickly tired of her nonsense (I do not know how Annie puts up with her).  My rating for Walking on My Grave is 3 out of 5 stars.  I wish I could say that the mystery redeemed Walking on My Grave, but that would be an untruth.  I identified the perpetrator before Ves fell down the stairs.  Only one suspect could commit the crimes and that person sticks out like an individual with fluorescent pink hair.  It felt like the author’s heart was not into this book knowing it was the last.  I do wish there had been an epilogue, but I did like who identified the books that went with the watercolors.  I am looking forward to Carolyn Hart's Ghost on the Case. It is the eighth A Bailey Ruth Ghost Novel and will be published on October 3.

I appreciate you visiting and reading my books reviews.  The next book I will be sharing with you is Plain Haven by Susan Lantz Simpson.  May you have a fantastic Friday!  Be careful if you are out driving.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Confusion of Languages: Debut novel by Siobhan Fallon



Greetings!  I hope everyone is having a good day.  Emerson Knight and Riley Moon are back in Janet Evanovich's Dangerous Minds. Wayan Bagus' island has disappeared and he wants it back. Emerson loves nothing better than an odd and improbable mystery. Emerson enlists the help of Riley Moon and his cousin, Vernon to find the missing island. Pick up a copy of Dangerous Minds to join in on the adventure.

The Confusion of Languages is a debut novel by Siobhan Fallon. Cassie Hugo’s husband, Dan is a soldier assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Jordan.  Dan signed them up to sponsor the Brickshaw family (Crick, Margaret and their son, Mather) without consulting her.  Cassie is hoping that Margaret will be a friend, but she has reservations because of their son, Mather.  Dan and Cassie have been trying to get pregnant for nine years without success and it has strained their marriage.  Cassie explains the rules for women to Margaret (how to act, dress, etc.), but Margaret seems to pay little attention.  She is more interested in exploring the city and immersing herself into the culture (breaking many rules along the way).   One afternoon Margaret and Cassie are out driving when they are in an auto accident.  Margaret needs to go to the police department to pay a fee, but first she returns home.  She asks Cassie to watch Mather for her while she is gone.  As the hours pass, Cassie gets bored.  She finds Margaret’s journal and starts reading it.  What Cassie reads makes her concerned for Margaret and guilty.  Margaret has not answered her phone, and she never arrived at the police department.  Where is Margaret?  To discover what led to Margaret’s disappearance, pick up The Confusion of Languages.


The Confusion of Languages was a dissatisfying novel (for me).  The story starts in the present and then goes back to when the Brickshaw’s arrived in Jordan.  It then keeps going back and forth in time (as Cassie reads Margaret’s journal).  I found it disconcerting.  The book is written in the first person which did not help (Margaret and Cassie’s perspectives).  The book started out good, but then the pace slowed down considerably when Cassie started reading Margaret’s journal entries.  The story does get more interesting toward the end after Cassie has finished reading the journal (if you make it that far).  The Confusion of Languages has two women who are very different (of course).   Margaret wanted to be friendly with the locals (a rule breaker) and Cassie was suspicious of them (a rigid rule follower).  The author shows readers what women are thinking and feeling as well as exploring female relationships (which always seem to be explosive).   The story seemed to be building up to some big revelation, but it was a huge disappointment.  The ending was unoriginal and expected.  I found the characters (Cassie, Margaret, Crick, Mather, Saleh) to be unpleasant.  I really disliked the scenes with Mather (he cried and screamed all the time as well as running rampant making messes and destroying things while leaving disorder in his wake).  I was surprised the embassy had not shipped the husbands back to the states based on their wives’ behavior. I give The Confusion of Languages 1 out of 5 stars.  We can see how an individual’s make judgements about people that can cloud a situation or relationship. You do not know what goes on in someone else’s life.  They suffer from insecurities and doubts too.  The book does contain an extreme amount foul language.  The Confusion of Languages shows the importance of behaving or following the rules when we are in other countries (especially in the Middle East).  We may not like or understand the laws or regulations, but not following them can harm innocent people. The Confusion of Languages was not a pleasant book to read (at least for me).  The Confusion of Languages will be published on June 27.

As you can probably tell, I had trouble writing this review.  You would not believe how many times I rewrote it.  I will be sharing my thoughts on Walking on My Grave by Carolyn Hart on Friday. It is the final book in A Death on Demand Mystery series.   I am off to finish reading Light of Dawn by Vannetta Chapman and then finish installing a light for my mother.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Leave It To Cleaver: A Vintage Kitchen Mystery


Welcome!  Rose Pressey has If the Haunting Fits, Wear It coming out on June 27.  It is the fifth book in A Haunted Vintage Mystery series.  This time Cookie Chanel is heading to the Kentucky Derby.  There are some lovely descriptions of vintage fashions in the story.

Leave It To Cleaver by Victoria Hamilton is the sixth book in A Vintage Kitchen Mystery series.  Jaymie Leighton is thrilled when Jakob Muller proposes to her on Valentine’s Day.  Jaymie loves Jakob and adores his little girl, Jocie.  Jaymie and her sister, Becca have agreed to clear out the Paget house for Lesley Mackenzie.  The perk is getting first pick of the items.  They go to the basement where they come across an old truck.  Upon opening it, they discover a body clad in a red sweater with a cleaver in the skull (can you imagine what the yarn must be made of to not disintegrate).  Back in 1984, Becca knew Delores Paget who owned an identical sweater.  Delores supposedly left town that year and was never heard from again (now we know why).  A few days later, Jaymie watches while divers pull up old Ford Falcon with a body inside wearing a red sweater identical to the other victim (that is some yarn).  The victims are identified as Delores Paget and Rhonda Welch.  Becca knew both victims in high school and they disappeared from town at the same time.  The common link between the two girls is Brock Nibley.  Chief Ledbetter asks Jaymie to listen for any details that will help him with this case.  Jaymie considers this the green light to start nosing around and asking questions.  The killer is less than thrilled with Jaymie’s inquiries and will not hesitate to strike again. Will Jaymie make it to her own wedding?

Leave It To Cleaver contains good writing and the story has a nice flow/pace.  Jaymie Leighton is a great character with her big heart and love of vintage items.  The mystery was complicated (thank you Victoria Hamilton) and fun to solve.  The best part of a cozy mystery is following the clues and see if I correctly guessed the killer’s identity.  I liked finding out more about Becca and what happened after Jaymie was born.  The story goes from present day back to 1984 (and then back again).  I am not a fan of this technique, but the author pulled it off (it was not confusing or overdone).  I give Leave It To Cleaver 4.5 out of 5 stars.  The only part of the story I did not like was Heidi.  She is planning the wedding, and I found her maddening.  Leave It To Cleaver is the sixth book in the series, but it can be read alone. The ending will leave readers with smiles on their faces. There is a excerpt from Muffin to Fear at the end of the book.  Leave It To Cleaver will be available on June 23.  Good News:  Victoria Hamilton has signed to write three more books for A Vintage Kitchen Mystery series.  The seventh book will be No Great Danger and will be published in Spring of 2018!

Thank you for visiting today and reading my latest review.  I am currently reading The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon. I will see you again soon.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mocha and Murder: A Killer Coffee Mystery


Salutations!  I wanted to remind those of you that enjoy cozy mysteries, that Leave It To Cleaver by Victoria Hamilton will be released on June 23.  It is the sixth book in A Vintage Kitchen Mystery series.   If you prefer dystopian type novels, Light of Dawn by Vannetta Chapman is the third book in The Remnant series.  Amazon has released the paperback version early (so you can get it now) and the ebook will be available on June 27.

Mocha and Murder by Tonya Kappes is the second book in A Killer Coffee Mystery series.  Roxanne “Roxy” Bloom owns The Bee Hive coffeehouse in Honey Springs, Kentucky.  Roxy needs to pick up apples from Fred Hill of Hill’s Orchards at the Farmer’s Market.  Patrick Cane, Roxy’s fiancĂ© goes with her so they can enjoy some time together.  When they arrive, Roxy witnesses a disagreement between Fred and Louise Carlton of the Pet Palace, the shelter for homeless pets.  Fred tells Louise to stay off his property.  The next day Roxy heads to Hill’s Orchards to pay Fred for the apples.  She finds Louise in the apple orchard standing over Fred’s still body with a knife dripping blood in her hand.  Roxy quickly calls Sheriff Spencer Shepard.  Roxy discovers that Fred and Louise were fighting over chicken eggs.  Fred had adopted Bertie, an Ayam Cemani chicken, from the Pet Palace and he wanted the eggs the bird had laid prior to the adoption (they are rare).  Roxy knows Louise would not harm anyone and agrees to be her lawyer.  Roxy needs to discover who else had a beef with Fred even if it means ruffling a few feathers (I couldn’t resist).  One thing Roxy did not count on was the sudden arrival of her mother, Penny.  Why has she suddenly come to Honey Springs? 


Mocha and Murder is a light cozy mystery novel.  It is nicely written and has a good pace.  While Mocha and Murder is the second book in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  The author provides the particulars on what occurred in Scene of the Grind and background specifics on Roxy.  Mocha and Murder contains entertaining characters that live in a small Southern town.  I like that there is the Pet Palace that rescues pets of all types and the owner, Louise along with Roxy work to place them in good, stable homes.  It is a shame there are not facilities like the Pet Palace across the United States.  I give Mocha and Murder 4 out of 5 stars.  I thought it was amusing that the victim was killed over a chicken (a unique chicken—all black including its internal organs). The whodunit can be solved long before the reveal (if you pay very close attention).  I think, though, that many readers will be surprised by the killer’s identity.  Mocha and Murder contains romance (of course) with the relationship of Patrick and Roxy (they are now engaged).  I was glad that they are not going to rush into marriage and spend time getting reacquainted.  I appreciated finding out more about Roxy’s mother and their relationship (what caused their estrangement).  Aunt Maxi and Penny provided some comedic relief with their antics.  Mocha and Murder is a charming story that will appeal to many readers.  

Thank you for visiting today.  I am currently reading If the Haunting Fits, Wear It by Rose Pressey.  I will return tomorrow with another book evaluation.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Monday, June 19, 2017

Patterned After Death: A Southern Sewing Circle Mystery


I hope everyone had a nice, relaxing weekend with their family and friends.  Elizabeth Lynn Casey is a pseudonym for Laura Bradford. She writes A Southern Sewing Circle Mystery series as well as An Amish Mystery series, An Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery series, and A Tobi Tobias Mystery series.  A Southern Sewing Circle Mystery series starts with Sew Deadly and ends with Patterned After Death.    

Patterned After Death by Elizabeth Lynn Casey is the twelfth (and final) book in The Southern Sewing Circle Mystery series.  Librarian, Victoria “Tori” Sinclair lives in Sweet Briar, South Carolina with her elementary school teacher husband, Milo.   Tori’s car is on the fritz and Margaret Louise tells Tori take it over to her son, Jake Davis.  Milo and Tori are going out after dinner to check on Rose Winters and stop by Jake’s garage.  Jake is working on a fancy silver car, but takes time out to show them around the newly expanded garage.  Tori notices the trunk of the silver car ajar and goes to close it.  A piece of fabric is in the way and as she tucks it inside the car, Tori touches a hand.  Inside the trunk is Jake’s new business partner, Noah Madden.  People in town were surprised when Noah and Jake went into business together.  The town has been split since the two men were rival quarterbacks in high school (over eighteen years prior).  Unfortunately, the evidence is stacked against Jake, and he is arrested for Noah’s murder.  Margaret Louise is extremely distraught and she asks Tori to find the real killer.  Tori starts asking questions and gathering clues so she can get Jake out of jail and back to his family.  Tori’s attention is split, though, with Rose being under the weather.  Tori is worried and cannot bear to lose the dear woman.  The members of the sewing circle will need to band together to help their friends during their time of need and to capture a murderer.


Patterned After Death is well-written and has a good pace which made the book easy to read.  It contains delightful, friendly characters and a welcoming, Southern town.  It was wonderful to catch up with Tori, Milo, Rose, Margaret Louise, Leona, Georgina, Charles, and the other members of sewing circle (and town).  I have read this series from the beginning and each book is better than the previous one (Wedding Duress is my favorite).  Patterned After Death has a sweet ending that will delight admirers of the series.  While Patterned After Death can be read alone, I recommend reading the series in order.  You can watch the characters (and their relationships/friendships) grow and develop over the course of the series.    I give Patterned After Death 5 out of 5 stars.  I thought that the mystery was well-crafted.  There is a good twist that will surprise many readers.  The whodunit can be solved, but not easily (my favorite type).  Elizabeth Lynn Davis took various elements and stitched them together into one engaging, heartwarming cozy mystery.  I am sorry to see this charming cozy mystery series come to end.  

I hope you have a delightful day.  I will be sharing my thoughts about Mocha and Murder by Tonya Kappes next time.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day!


Happy Father's Day!  I am remembering my special father, Gene Anderson, on this day.  I miss him each and every day.  May each of you have a lovely day with the dad in your life.  I will return tomorrow with my review of Patterned After Death by Elizabeth Lynn Casey.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Marsh King's Daughter


I hope you are having a pleasant Saturday.  I wanted to share a new book with you today.  It is Plain Haven by Susan Lantz Simpson.  It is the first book in Plainly Maryland series.  I have only read a small portion so far, but I am enjoying it.  

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne is set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Helene Pelletier had an unconventional childhood growing up in an isolated area where her only human contact was her mother and father.  That all changed when she was twelve years old.  Helene discovered that her mother had been kidnapped by Jacob, her father, when she was only fourteen years old.  Thanks to a stranger who got lost, Helen and her mom were able to escape.  Helene’s father, Jacob Holbrook was captured and has been serving time in the local maximum-security prison.  Helene counts herself very lucky that she now has a wonderful husband and two little girls.  But then Helene hears that Jacob has escaped while being transported.  She is afraid for her little girls.  Stephen, her husband, is unaware of Helene’s past, but is quickly brought up to speed when the police arrive on their doorstep.  Helene knows that the police will never be able to find her father.  He can easily disappear into the marshland and never be found.  Jacob taught Helene all the necessary skills to survive and how to track.  If anyone can locate Jacob, it will be Helene.  She knows this is the only way to ensure her families safety.  On the trail of her father, Helene reminisces about early years and what happened when she returned to civilization with her mother.  Helene knows she is on her father’s trail when she finds objects he left for her.  But is Helene hunting Jacob or is Jacob drawing her in?


The Marsh King’s Daughter has an interesting premise, but the final product did not live up to the summary on the book. I read The Marsh King’s Daughter, but I did not get into the story.  It never captured my attention.  I particularly disliked Helene.  Her admiration for her father was disconcerting, and Helene’s dislike of her mother was upsetting (the poor woman had been kidnapped, raped, belittled, tortured).  I could not understand Helene living on her paternal grandparent’s property (she inherited it).  Personally, I would have sold the land to the highest bidder and moved to a different state (far, far away).  Jacob raised Helene to be like him and think like him (she hunts, fishes, tracks).  It makes me really question if this woman should be allowed around children (and glad that she is a fictional character).  I give The Marsh King’s Daughter 2 out of 5 stars.  I found the pace of the story to be glacial and key details are repeated throughout the whole novel (like how Helene is the only person who can find Jacob).  There is no suspense and little action (yawn).  The story is told more in a “matter of fact” fashion.  The Marsh King’s Daughter plays out exactly as I thought it would (predictable).  The “twist” was no surprise to me.  I could see it coming based on Helene’s personality.  For those people who love animals (like me), be warned that there is bear hunting in the story.  My favorite character (I actually liked one) was Iris, Helene’s eldest daughter (a sensitive child).  The youngest, Mari sounded like a holy terror.   The one good quality of The Marsh King’s Daughter was its ability to help me drift off to sleep (I suffer from insomnia).

Thank you for checking out my latest book evaluation.  I will be reviewing Patterned After Death by Elizabeth Lynn Casey next time. May each of you have a very special Saturday.  I am relaxing, reading and indulging in chocolates. Until I return, take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader