Friday, August 23, 2019

The Child from the Ash Pits by Chrissie Walsh--Cover Reveal

Book Cover.jpg
Hello!  Today is the cover reveal of The Child from the Ash Pits by Chrissie Walsh.  Chrissie Walsh was born and raised in West Yorkshire.  She trained to become a singer and cellist before becoming a teacher.  After marrying her trawler skipper husband, they moved to a small fishing village in Northern Ireland.  Chrissie is passionate about history.  Her passion and knowledge shine through in her writing.  The Girl from the Mill is Chrissie Walsh's debut novel.  Readers can follow Chrissie on Twitter at @WalshChrissie.

Coal Mining, Gin Pit, Manchester Collieries, 1935 | by archivesplus

About the Book

In the aftermath of the General Strike, times are tough for coal miners and their families. Can little Cally break free from poverty, and forge a successful life for herself?

When Cally loses her beloved mum, she hopes her father will comfort and protect her. But instead she soon acquires a cruel and vengeful stepmother, and Cally begins to fear that she is on her own.
Through uncomfortable years in service, to a terrifying brush with the streets, through hard work and determination, Cally finally finds a place for herself. She even trusts enough in the future to create her own family, despite being so cruelly abandoned by her own.
At last in a place of peace and contentment, Cally has all she ever hoped for, but with World War 2 looming, how long can she hold on to the people she loves?
Taking us from 1926 all the way to end of the Second World War, Chrissie Walsh has written a heartbreaking tale of love and survival, perfect for fans of Dilly Court and Lyn Andrews.

Over 90 years ago, I was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, to a working-class family. Poverty was as natural to us as great wealth and power were to the aristocracy of that age. Like his father and grandfather before him, my dad, Albert, eked out a meagre existence as a miner, working hundreds of feet below the surface, smashing the rock face with a pickaxe, searching for coal. Hard work and poor wages didn’t turn my dad into a radical. They did, however, make him an idealist, because he believed tha

The Girl from Ash Pits will be out on November 21.  It can be pre-ordered on Amazon, Kobo and Google Play (Amazon UK). Thank you for dropping in.  I will be reviewing Amish Amnesia by Ashley Emma.  It is the third book in A Covert Police Detectives Unit series.  I hope you have a delightful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Girl reading book with doll / source: FinnCamera on Flickr

In the Line of Fire by RJ. Noonan

In the Line of Fire: A Laura Mori Mystery by [Noonan, R. J.]
Good Day!  Mulberry Mischief by Sharon Farrow releases on August 27.  It is the fourth A Berry Basket Mystery.  I will feature Mulberry Mischief on August 30 as part of the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour (I believe there is a giveaway).  I hope you will stop in on that day.
Bank Heist Escape Room 2019 - Atlanta
In the Line of Fire by R.J. Noonan takes readers to Sunrise Lake.  Detective Laura Mori of the Sunrise Lake Police Department gets her first solo case as a detective when she is put in charge of the robbery of First Sunrise Bank.  The heist is similar to a spree of bank robberies that ended three years ago when police officer, Franny Landon was killed while pursuing one of the suspects.  Laura pulls the files for the Twilight Bandit case as it was called and discovers many details are missing.  It seems that Laura touched a nerve when she pulled the files because she finds her tires slashed and a threatening message on her car.  This is just the beginning and Laura learns that Franny received similar threats when she worked the Twilight case.  Her partner, Zion or “Z” Frazier is busy working on a string of petty thefts at Sunrise Pines, a retirement home.  Laura’s case hits close to home for Z since he was Franny’s partner and with her the night she was shot.  FBI Agent Nick Derringer arrives to work the case with Laura because of the association to the Twilight heists.   With the FBIs files, Laura begins to unravel the clues and close in on the guilty party.  Laura needs to work quickly and cautiously, or she could end up like Franny.
Craving those cookies found in the blue tins? Those yummy butter cookies? This is the best copycat Royal Dansk Danish butter cookies recipe ever!
In the Line of Fire is the second novel in A Laura Mori Mystery series.  It can be read as a standalone since the Where the Lost Girls Go is summarized for new readers.  The mystery is complex and multi-layered. I did feel, though, that the author was trying to put too much into one book.  I like that Laura is intelligent and takes a methodical approach to the investigation.  As a police procedural book, we are taken through the various steps of an investigation.  Witness statements are gathered, evidence collected and tested, reviewing old case files, etc.  I did find some sections a little drier than others and it can be hard to keep track of the various characters.  While Laura is investigating the current bank heist and seeing if it ties to the old Twilight robberies, her partner “Z” is working on a series of petty thefts at a retirement home.  There is an undercover detective looking into corruption within the department as well.  I liked how the tension mounted as I neared the end of the book with Laura was closing in on her suspects.  The author slowly tied everything together.  Not all of it is believable, but it was wrapped up neatly leaving no loose threads.  I thought the tchotchke thefts that aggravated Z were humorous and clever.  If you are an avid mystery reader, you will have no problem solving the case before the solution is revealed.  Laura would be a workaholic if her boss let her (though she does sneak home files).  She spends time with her roommate, Natalie who happens to be dating “Z”.  Laura suffers from panic attacks and feels like she is a disappoint to her parents (her siblings are overachiever types).  I like the cast of characters in the book.  Laura’s boss, Lt. Omak is a dedicated officer and looks out for his employees.  I was baffled as to why Laura wore a uniform.  She is a detective and they normally wear plain clothes.  I wish this element had been explained.  In the Line of Fire is an intriguing novel with a complex crime, a bank heist, corrupt cops, a fetching FBI agent, tchotchke thief and one dedicated detective.  
Funny Animal Pictures Of The Day - 21 Pics
In the Line of Fire is available at Amazon along with Where the Lost Girls Go.  For those of you in the UK, here is the link:  Amazon UK Link.  Thank you for joining me today.  I will be sharing my review of Amish Amnesia by Ashley Emma tomorrow.  It is the third A Covert Police Detectives Unit Novel.  May you have a joyful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Bon été de lecture!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

A Family's Heartbreak by Kitty Neale

A Family’s Heartbreak by [Neale, Kitty]
Good Day! Tilling the Truth by Julia Henry is the second A Garden Squad Mystery and it comes out August 27.  Power of the Witch by Deanna Chase is the seventh story in the Witches of Keating Hollow series.  It will be out on September 4.  The Amish Christmas Matchmaker by Vannetta Chapman releases in paperback on September 17 and ebook on October 1.  I am looking forward to reading it.  I have recently gotten my mother to try Amish fiction.  After dismissing it for years, she has found she does like this genre. 
ten things to do in battersea london, deli boutique
A Family’s Heartbreak by Kitty Neale takes us back in time to 1961.  Jenny Lombard along with her four siblings and their father, Henry lives in the Balham neighborhood of south London, England.  Their mother, Lizzie walked out to get away from Henry’s abuse.  She likes to pop in frequently which angers Henry and leaves Jenny to take the punishment.  While visiting her Gran, Jenny meets her upstairs neighbor, Craig Brice.  They enjoy a lovely evening together and make plans for another.  Unfortunately, Henry becomes angered and takes it out on Jenny who ends up in the hospital.  Craig is dismayed when he finds out and offers to let Jenny and her siblings move into his one-bedroom flat with him (no hanky panky).  The family moves in with him and thus begins a happy time for everyone except Gloria who dislikes the cramped conditions.  Shortly before Craig and Jenny’s wedding, there is a terrible accident that leaves Jenny struggling to move forward.  Jenny just wants to provide a stable, happy home for her siblings, and it seems impossible.  Jenny makes a decision that she hopes it is not the wrong one. 
 A blog for Catholic men that seeks to encourage virtue, the pursuit of holiness and the art of true masculinity.
A Family’s Heartbreak is a heartrending tale.  It is an emotional story that deals with the tough topic of domestic violence.  There are some sections that are difficult to read that will have you reaching for a tissue.  The story is so much more than that though.  We see how Jenny struggles to improve the life for herself and her siblings.  She does not want them to grow up being terrified.  Jenny wants the kids to know a loving, safe home which is what she is trying to provide with the help of her grandmother and Craig.  I thought the story was well-written with a good flow and steady pacing.  I could picture the various characters from the author’s descriptions along with the setting.  The situations are realistic and characteristic of the time period.  A Family’s Heartbreak is about overcoming a difficult situation.  There is hope, love, offering second chances and forgiveness.  We see them find joy in simple outing and being together as they struggle to overcome adversity.  They are a dysfunctional family with complicated relationships and plenty of family drama.  A Family’s Heartbreak will have you staying up late as you quickly turn the pages to learn what happens next to the Lombard family. 
Jun. 28, 1961 • Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market -head of Southhampton St. • London, England, United Kingdom • From Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection
A Family's Heartbreak is out today and available on Amazon. You can learn more about Kitty Neale and a list of her books here on her website. If you are in the UK, click Amazon UK Link.  Thank you for stopping by today and reading my review.  I will be sharing my thoughts on In the Line of Fire by R.J. Noonan next time.  It is the second A Laura Mori Mystery.  May you have an uplifting day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader 
No photo description available.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A Song of Joy by Lauraine Snelling

A Song of Joy (Under Northern Skies, #4)
Jerome Hill and an unidentified woman in farm wagon with present farm site in background, North Oaks, Minnesota, 1911 #jjhill #northoaks #farm #minnesota
A Song of Joy by Lauraine Snelling returns readers to Minnesota in June of 1911.  Nilda Carlson has been given a great opportunity when she was hired to be the assistant to Mrs. Gertrude Schoenleber.  She takes lessons on manners, reading and writing English, and deportment.  Working with Mrs. Schoenleber she learns about business dealings and the importance of giving back to the community.  Nilda’s latest project is obtaining housing for logger’s families in Blackduck.  When the loggers depart for the camp, their families are left behind and Nilda wants to make sure that these immigrants do not suffer over the winter.  She will need to get donors to finance the project and the support of local citizens.  While Nilda enjoys her challenging new life, she also misses her family and the simple life of living on a farm.  One of the high points of Nilda’s week is piano lessons from Mrs. Schoenleber’s nephew, Fritz Larsson who also attends the socials she organizes.  But then a second suitor enters the picture who would offer a very different type of life to Nilda.  The only thing spoiling Nilda’s life is the Pinkerton agent investigating the death of Dreng Nygaard.  It brings back the horrible memories of what Dreng did to Nilda which has caused her nightmares to return.  Return to Under Northern Skies series with A Song of Joy.
Lumber Camp, Grand Rapids Minnesota, 1910
A Song of Joy is the fourth novel in Under Northern Skies series.  I recommend reading this series in order, though, the author does summarize what happened in the previous books.  I thought A Song of Joy was well-written and it proceeds at a gentle pace.  I would have liked a little peppier pace because I did feel the story dragged in places.  We get to see what daily life is like for Nilda and for her family on the farm.  While A Song of Joy focuses on Nilda, I like that we get to catch-up with the family.  They are busy cutting trees, planting crops, taking care of the animals, and the numerous other daily chores on a farm. There are such wonderful, developed characters in the book, and I like the references to Ingeborg Bjorklund which has me looking forward to reading A Blessing to Cherish.  The author captured the time period with the clothing, events, books and the new technology.  Electricity, motorcars, and the typewriter are some of the new inventions mentioned in the book.  Nilda also learns shorthand to help her take notes at the quarterly company meetings.  I enjoyed watching Nilda grow over the course of the series and the ending left me happy.  This is a clean Christian novel.  We get to see how God plays into the lives of our characters.  They pray for guidance to make the right decisions and have faith that God will lead them in the right direction.  They are compassionate people who want to share their blessings.  A Song of Joy is a heartwarming novel with rich characters.   
RARE Vintage 1910's Royal No.5 Typewriter #Royal
A Song of Joy is available at Amazon along with the other three novels in Under Northern Skies series. A Blessing to Cherish comes out March 31, 2020.  You can find Lauraine Snelling's other novels here on Amazon.  Thank you for dropping by today.  I will be sharing my review of A Family's Heartbreak by Kitty Neale tomorrow.  I hope that you have an easygoing day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Vogue Reading List: Best Thrillers For Spring | British Vogue

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio

All The Flowers in Paris
Greetings!  Crypt Suzette by Maya Corrigan and All He'll Ever Need by Loree Lough will be out on August 27.  Christmas Cow Bells by Mollie Cox Bryan releases September 2.  It is the debut of A Buttermilk Creek Mystery series.  Do you like clean, Christian romances?  You should check out Sweet Promise Press.  There latest publication is Dating the Director by Victoria Barbour.  It is the sixth novel in The Celebrity Corgi Romances series.  Each can be read alone, but I enjoyed reading them in order.  They are on Kindle Unlimited (my mother loves this program--check it out here).
Paris in 1943 during the occupation
All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio takes us to Paris, France in September of 2009.  Caroline Williams has been living in Paris for the last three years.  She ends up in an accident and wakes up in the hospital without knowing her name or her past.  On Caroline’s first day back at home, she ventures into Café Jeanty for breakfast and meets the owner, Victor.  They become friends and slowly something more blossoms between them.  Caroline is looking through her apartment for something to spark her memory when she finds a wooden box full of letters dating back to 1943.  She wonders what happened to the letter writer, Celine and Luc, the man she loved. 
The wonder of discovering and reading old letters.
Celine Durand is a widow who resides with her father, Claude Moreau and eight year old daughter, Cosi.  The Germans occupy Paris and Celine is worried they will learn that her Papa is of Jewish descent.  They own the flower shop, Bella Fleur and rely on their regular patrons to stay in business.  One day a German officer, Kurt Reinhardt takes an interest in Celine who goes out of her way to avoid him.  But then Claude is attacked, and a yellow star put on their shop window.  Kurt offers Celine a way to keep her family safe, but instead they plot an escape.  Unfortunately, their plans are thwarted, and Kurt takes Celine captive.  Her beloved papa is sent away to a camp, but Cosi manages to sneak into Kurt’s apartment where Celine keeps her hidden in a secret compartment.  Celine must find a way to survive and keep Kurt from discovering Cosi.
Caroline wants to learn more about Celine and her fate.  She gets help from a university student who is writing a paper and has an old diary belonging to a neighbor of Celine’s.  As Caroline learns more about Celine, her own memories start to come forth.  Can Caroline learn what happened to Celine and her family?  Will Caroline’s memory return?
Eclectic Paris couples shoot | Rhianne Jones : Paris Photographer #paris #cafe
All the Flowers in Paris is Sarah Jio’s tenth novel.  I have read all nine of her works, and I was eager to devour All the Flowers in Paris.  Ms. Jio said she has been wanting to write a novel set in Paris and this was her love letter to that city.  It is a dual timeline novel that goes between 2009 and 1943.  I was more attracted to the historical story than the modern day tale.  I thought Caroline’s narrative played out in an expected manner, though, it is a sweet, romantic story.  Celine’s tale is heartbreaking and spoke to the violence of some of the Nazi soldiers.  We also see how neighbor’s and friends would turn on other people especially if it would curry them favor with the German’s.  I wish the author had taken the time to capture the era.  The story lacked historical details.  I did enjoy the descriptions of Paris in 2009, the apartment on rue Cler and Madame Jeanty’s café.  I liked the flower motifs woven throughout the story.  The last 20% of All the Flowers in Paris was the most intriguing as the action increased and we see how the various threads tied together.  I thought All the Flowers in Paris lacked that special magical touch that I found in Sara Jio’s earlier works.  Unfortunately, All the Flowers in Paris was reminiscent other World War II novels that I have read.  I did find a couple of inaccuracies in the story (an example is that at one point it is mentioned Caroline dislikes espresso and then it states she had one every day).  I believe I was let down by my expectations.  All the Flowers in Paris has hidden letters, nasty Nazis, blooming flowers, lost memories, the city of lights, and a woman searching for answers.
Night view of Paris. The city of light #cityoflight #paris #luxurytravel #eiffeltower #arcdetriomphe #cityoflove #parigi
Thank you for joining me today and reading my review.  I will be sharing my thoughts on A Song of Joy by Lauraine Snelling tomorrow.  It is the fourth book in Under Northern Skies series.  I hope you have a fabulous day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
A woman reads a book outside Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris

Monday, August 19, 2019

A Bias for Murder by Sally Goldenbaum

A Bias for Murder (Queen Bees Quilt Shop #3)
Greetings!  Mumbo Gumbo Murder by Laura Childs releases on October 1 along with Stitches in Time by Suzanne Woods Fisher and Beyond a Reasonable Stout by Ellie AlexanderChild's Play by Danielle Steel will be out on October 8.  Is there an upcoming release you are looking forward to reading?
LONE STAR....OK A BUNCH OF LONE STARS IN A BEAUTIFUL NIGHT SKY.....VERY CLEVER ARTIST..........PC.......... ......Sampaguita Quilts: The Weight of the World
A Bias for Murder by Sally Goldenbaum takes readers back to Crestwood, Kansas.  Everyone is surprised when they learn that Oliver Harrington died from a sudden heart attack.  He was a kind man who was the picture of health.  His twin sister, Adele returns to town and immediately begins renovating the massive family home into an elegant bed and breakfast which has her neighbors in an uproar.  Max Elliott, Oliver’s attorney, is kept busy with people claiming that Oliver promised to leave the estate to them.  Meanwhile, Adele’s brusque manner alienates the towns citizens.  Halley Peterson, Canterbury University librarian and Oliver’s friend, claims that Oliver was troubled about something prior to his death and she does not believe he died from a heart attack.  An autopsy soon reveals that Halley was right.  People are stunned to learn that Oliver was poisoned.  The Crestwood Quilters are hired by Adele to create eight unique quilts for her new B&B.  When a series of incidents begin happening at the estate, Po and the other quilting ladies get drawn into the investigation.  Po intends to find out who harmed Oliver and why.  However, the killer has no intention of being exposed!
Relaxing in the Quebec Countryside at the Elegant Auberge Les Pignons Verts
A Bias for Murder is the third novel in A Queen Bees Quilt Shop Mystery series which I recommend reading in order.  It will allow you to become familiar with the characters (they can be hard to keep straight) and their relationships.  I thought A Bias for Murder was easy to read with heartwarming characters, charming small town, and beautiful quilts.  Po Paltrow has a proven track record in solving crimes.  Po along with the other ladies in the Crestwood Quilters have the necessary connections to get the information they need.  The group is also busy working on eight quilt tops for Adele’s new bed and breakfast including a special quilt for Oliver’s former bedroom.  The mystery is straightforward.  There are multiple suspects and direct clues. The killer can be identified very early in the story and the reason why is equally apparent (unfortunately).  I liked that there were a series of incidents that provided action to keep the book moving forward.  I loved the quilt descriptions and comradery between the quilters.  They are a close knit group of women who get together to quilt, solve crimes, enjoy good food, and so much more.  There are plenty of lovely cozy moments in this character driven book.  A Bias for Murder is a heartwarming cozy mystery perfect for a rainy afternoon or an afternoon relaxing poolside.  A Bias for Murder has a greedy developer, a publishing professor, an offensive sister, a magnificent mansion, striking quilts, and seven sewing sleuths.
How enjoyable... I MISS quilting! For the last 6 months or so, I've had the quilting bug back again! Time for a NEW one! My bed is a KING size, though! I could do a Lap Quilt! Maybe that's what I'll do! For ME! In my chair! That's the answer! A Lap Quilt! I can physically handle that better, too! YEP! Lap Quilt, here I come! Now, to think of a pattern!
You can find A Bias for Murder here on Amazon (my favorite online book seller).  The other two novels in A Queen Bees Quilt Shop Mystery series are A Patchwork of Clues and A Thread of DarknessSally Goldenbaum also writes A Seaside Knitters Mystery series and the spin-off A Seaside Knitters Society Mystery series.  Her next release is A Murderous Tangle coming out November 26 (available for pre-order).  Thank you for visiting today.  I will be sharing my review of All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio next time.  I hope you have a day filled with happiness.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
{reading to the ladies~!}

Sunday, August 18, 2019

A Sister's Sorrow by Kitty Neale

A Sister’s Sorrow
Happy Sunday!  Kitty Neale writes historical novels set in South London where she grew up.  Kitty comes from a working class family.  She was a latch-key kid with a vivid imagination.  Kitty began her first novel in 2000, which she found cathartic, after the loss of her son.  Her first novel was A Cuckoo in Candle Lane.  Ms. Neale lives in Spain with her husband.  You can out more about Kitty Neale and her books here.
Kitty Neale's picture
A Sister’s Sorrow by Kitty Neale takes us back to 1948 in Battersea, England.  Sarah Jepson is fourteen when her mother, Anne gives birth to Tommy.  Anne does not want the little boy (prefers her gin) and Sarah becomes Tommy’s caregiver.  Four years later, the pair are forced to flee from their home.  Sarah meets George, a stall seller, who burns that have disfigured his face, but he has a gentle soul.  George is kind to siblings and helps them out with clothing.  Sarah is only interested in him as a friend and turns George down when he asks her on a date.  Roger works in a stall next to George’s in the market and Sarah is taken by his charming manner plus his dashing good looks.  Tommy has suffered from a series of chest infections his whole life, and, one winter, he becomes severely ill.  When Tommy passes away, Sarah is grief stricken and turns to Roger for comfort.  George is aware of Roger’s reputation and knows heartbreak is in Sarah’s future.  What is on the horizon for Sarah? 
The day sweet rationing ended in Britain, 1953.
Day sweet rationing ended in England 1953
A Sister’s Sorrow is an emotional historical novel.  Sarah Jepson lives with her alcoholic mother in Battersea in 1948.  She is fourteen and is still attending school.  That changes when her mother gives birth to Tommy.  Sarah refuses to “get rid” of Tommy as her mother demands.  She drops out of school to care for her brother and scrabbles to provide for both of them.  Four years later, they are forced to survive on their own.  Sarah gets help from the kindhearted George and falls for the love-them-and-leave-them, Roger.  We follow on her journey with its various ups and downs.  The story progresses at a gentle pace.  I thought the author captured the era and what it was like to be poor in Battersea.  It was a hardscrabble life especially when you have little education.  I did feel the story was a little too long and there is some foul language.  A Sister’s Sorrow is a touching story that will play on your emotions.  Tommy’s fate will have you reaching for a tissue especially since he is such a sweet little boy.  I loved the ending of A Sister’s SorrowA Sister’s Sorrow is a gritty, historical saga that will linger with you long after you finish it.  
The gardens were in the northern part of Battersea Park, which had been transformed as part of the Festival of Britain. Among its features, were a tree walk and the popular Guinness clock (pictured) which displayed mechanical versions of the characters from the brewer's advertisements. There was also the 'Far Tottering and Oyster Creek Branch Railway' and a fun fair, with the 'Big Dipper' rollercoaster being one its most popular attractions. This was closed down after a serious accident in ...
You can find A Sister's Sorrow on Amazon along with Kitty Neale's other novels.  Kitty Neale's next novel is A Family's Heartbreak which releases on August 22.  Thank you for popping by today.  I will be reviewing A Bias for Murder by Sally Goldenbaum on Monday.  It is the third A Queen Bees Quilt Shop Mystery.   I hope you have a tranquil day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader 
mary engelbreit by esmeralda

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Needled to Death by Annelise Ryan

Needled to Death (A Helping Hands Mystery #1)
Hello!  Love at Pebble Creek by Lisa Jones Baker, Flour in the Attic by Winnie Archer, and Death by Jack-O-Lantern by Alexis Morgan will be out on August 27.  Diamond in the Rough by Jen Turano is the second novel in the American Heiresses series and it publishes on September 3. Stamped Out by Tonya Kappes debuts A Mail Carrier Cozy Mystery series and it releases on October 29.  To find out more about each title, click on the book title.
Activities: Make Your Own Fingerprint Powder
Needled to Death by Annelise Ryan takes readers on a voyage to Sorenson, Wisconsin.  Clothilde “Hildy” Schneider is a social worker at Sorenson General Hospital.  She is the facilitator for the grief support group where they have a new attendee this week.  Sharon Cochran believes her son, Toby was murdered, but the police do not believe her.  Sharon wants the group to help her find her son’s killer.  Hildy believes the case would be a good distraction for the people in the group and encourages their interest in the case.  Hildy understands Sharon’s desire because her mother was murdered, and the killer was never caught.  Sharon said Toby had been acting differently in the weeks leading up to his death and he kept drawing the same footbridge repeatedly.   Hildy enlists the assistance of the handsome Detective Bob Richmond and begins delving into Toby’s life.  She soon collects enough evidence to get Bob to reopen the investigation and Hildy convinces him to allow her to participate.  Will Hildy be able to track down the killer without ending up the next casualty and leaving her therapy dog, Roscoe an orphan?
A bridge over a stream, even a dry one with rocks, gives a focal point to your garden & a bit of romance too..
Toby, victim, had numerous footbridge drawings
Needled to Death is the first book in A Helping Hands Mystery series which is a spin-off of A Mattie Winston Mystery series.  Needled to Death can be read as a standalone though.  Hildy Schneider is a social worker, pleasantly plump, single, and has some quirks.  Hildy’s mother was murdered when she was seven years old.  She then found herself in the foster care system where Hildy was a less than an ideal child.  She moved from home to home until she aged out of the system.  Being in the foster care system left Hildy with an odd habit or two that she has been unable to shed.  When Sharon Cochran asks for the grief support group’s assistance in proving her son was murdered, Hildy wants to help because her mother’s case is still unsolved.  Hildy talks with Mattie Winston and then teams up with Detective Bob Richmond.  Hildy became assertive with Bob regarding the case and also worked up the courage to ask him out on a date.  Bob is a handsome and has been working out since he was shot.  Hildy is surprised to learn he is fifty-two (he does not look his age).  Jonas Kriedeman, an evidence technician, is attracted to Hildy and invites her to dinner.  The mystery is multilayered with a twist or two.  Hildy stumbles upon an interesting find that, in my opinion, was the best part of the mystery.  I was happy that all the details of the case are revealed providing a satisfying conclusion.  I found it fascinating when Hildy was trying to lift a print and how she was able to utilize it.  I did find Needled to Death to be a slow starter and I did not like the repetitive details (that Hildy was in the foster care system, bad homes, she has no family, her mother’s history).   I like that the author took the time to establish the main characters and there are descriptive details on each character.  I did not like that Needled to Death is written in the first person (it was unappealing to me).  P.J., the neighbor’s daughter, was a delightful addition to the book.  I liked her frank nature.  Roscoe, Hildy’s golden retriever, is a protective and comforting dog.  He was a sweetie.  Those readers who enjoy A Mattie Winston Mystery series will be delighted with A Helping Hands Mystery series.  Needled to Death has a protective pooch, a dashing detective, a cold case, a perplexing puzzle and a caring counselor.
Bounderhill Goldens, Golden Retrievers, Dark Red Golden Retrievers, Field Golden Retrievers, Hunting Golden Retrievers
Roscoe, Hildy's dog
Needled to Death is available at Amazon (and other major retailers) in ebook, paperback, and audiobook. You can read an extract from Needled to Death at Annelise Ryan's next novel is Dead Ringer which is the eleventh A Mattie Winston Mystery.  It is available for pre-order and comes out February 25, 2020. Thank you for dropping by today.  I will be reviewing A Sister's Sorrow by Kitty Neale next time.  Sunday's are the day I feature books that I was unable to review when they were released.  I hope you have a fascinating day.  Take care, stay cool and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader
Woman reading in a hammock, cat, dog, squirrel, bird, trees, flowers, by Linda Prater

Friday, August 16, 2019

A Family for Gracie by Amy Lillard

A Family for Gracie (Amish of Pontotoc #3)
Good Day!  The Dark Side by Danielle Steel will be out on August 27 along with Wonton Terror by Vivien ChenChristmas Cow Bells by Mollie Cox Bryan releases on September 2. It is the first book A Buttermilk Creek Mystery series.  Power of the Witch by Deanna Chase is the seventh installment in the Witches of Keating Hollow series.  It releases on September 4.  There are many new delightful novels coming out in September.  
Poporul Amish nu e afectat de autism. Cum se face ca cei care sunt fara “miracolele” medicinii moderne sunt cei mai sanatosi?
A Family for Gracie by Amy Lillard takes readers to Pontotoc, Mississippi.  Gracie Glick is twenty six years old and single.  She has spent the last few years traveling from relative to relative helping those who have needed her assistance.  Gracie now lives with her Uncle Abner and Aunt Eunice, but she longs to have a family of her own.  There are a limited number of eligible bachelors available in their town, so Gracie has come up with a bold plan.  Matthew Byler is a recent widower with five children with one of them being newborn, Grace.  Gracie blurts out a proposal to Matthew and then instantly regrets it.  Matthew is stunned by Gracie’s abrupt proposal, but he soon comes to realize that it would solve his dilemma.  He cannot watch his four rambunctious boys plus one infant and plant his crops especially with baby Grace crying constantly.  After some consideration, Matthew accepts Gracie proposal.  After they are wed, Gracie finds out that Matthew does not want a traditional marriage.  Matthew has a good reason for his decision, but that does not change Gracie’s desire for a baby of her own.  What does the future hold for Gracie and Matthew?  You will have to read A Family for Gracie to find out.
Lancaster county, Pa...Amish
A Family for Gracie is the third novel in the Amish of Pontotoc series.  It can easily be read as a standalone if you have not read the other books in this series.  I thought A Family for Gracie was a sweet, expressive story.  It is well-written with engaging characters and a lovely setting.  Gracie has numerous relatives, but she wants her own family.  She longs for a husband and children.  Matthew is a widower with five children.  Gracie knows little about Matthew except he is eligible and needs a wife.  This makes for an intriguing story as we watch Matthew and Gracie adjust to their new life.  Matthew’s children provide humor especially Henry, the mischievous one. Henry and his brothers’ antics had me chuckling.  Marriage is hard work, but it is even more challenging when two people do not know each other and there is a lack of communication.  Then add in five children who are grieving and confused (their mother is gone and now they have a new woman taking charge).  Baby Grace cried constantly because she missed her mother.  There are endless chores especially with so many people in one house.  I felt for the wee little tike who experienced such loss so early in her little life.  Amy Lillard deftly deals with difficult topics (depression for example).  She handled them with grace and compassion.  Forgiveness, guilt, and depression are a couple of topics addressed.  We see the importance of prayer and having a strong faith in God.  I liked that I could feel the character’s emotions and I appreciated the epilogue at the end.  I was happy that Leah and Hannah were back in this story so we can see how they are doing.  That pair also provided some lighthearted moments.  Aunt Eunice   While the ending is expected, A Family for Gracie is a lovely, heartfelt novel.  A Family for Gracie has mischievous munchkins, kind cousins, a chaotic home, a boisterous pup, a benevolent bishop, and a marriage full of possibilities.
Say hello to the little one watching from her buggy. CLICK HERE for more about Ohio's Amish Country at! #Amish #Ohio #Tourism (Doyle Yoder photo)
Kensington Books offers an extract of A Family for Gracie on their website.  The first two books in the Amish of Pontotoc are A Home for Hannah (on Kindle Unlimited) and A Love for Leah.  A Family for Gracie is available through Amazon (and other major retailers).  Thank you for reading my review.  I am sharing my thoughts on Needled to Death by Annelise Ryan next time.  It is the first novel in A Helping Hands Mystery series.  I hope you have a lighthearted day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Amish Solitude. I love this picture; there's something wonderful about reading on a hot summer day with your feet in a nice cold river.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Spirits, Spells and Wedding Bells by Deanna Chase

Spirits, Spells, and Wedding Bells (Pyper Rayne Book 5)
Welcome!  Deanna Chase is the author of The Jade Calhoun series, A Pyper Rayne series, Last Witch Standing, Witches of Keating Hollow series, Ida May Chronicles, and Witch Island Brides.  Deanna lives in 1907 cottage in New Orleans with her husband and two shih tzus.  She believes her home is haunted, but, so far, the spirit appears to be harmless (keep your fingers crossed).  When she is not writing, Deanna likes to explore New Orleans with her hubby, play with her pups, and make glass beads.  To learn more about Deanna Chase's books and sign up for her newsletter, visit her website.  
The Court of Two Sisters, New Orleans, French Quarter ..... classic French Quarter ..... makes you want to stay forever.
Spirits, Spells and Wedding Bells by Deanna Chase returns readers to New Orleans, Louisiana.  Pyper Rayne is enjoying her lively, risqué wedding shower at Wicked organized by her friend, Charlie when strippers (oops) cops burst in.  Charlie is arrested for murdering Sam Burke, one of the ladies (aka stripper) who works at the club.  Pyper and Jade know that Charlie did not commit the crime, but the police have a condemning video.  Pyper sets out to prove Charlie’s innocence and find the real culprit.  She is fortunate to have the assistance of her friends along with some helpful spirits.  Of course, what it an investigation without a few laws being broken along the way.  Pyper’s investigation gets derailed when the unthinkable happens.  With her future on the line, Pyper needs to quickly find who is behind Sam’s death.  Join Pyper and the gang for another riotous adventure in Spirits, Spells and Wedding Bells.
Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, night, outdoor and indoor
Spirits, Spells and Wedding Bells is the fifth entertaining installment in A Pyper Rayne series.  This series does need to be read in order, or you will be lost.  Spirits, Spells and Wedding Bells has such unique characters (the author has a delightful imagination).  I like that they are a close group of friends who are there for each other through thick and thin.  Pyper Rayne is looking forward to her upcoming wedding to Julius.  She is ready to start a family especially after seeing Jade and Kane with their little darling.  Jade and Kane’s little girl is six weeks old which leaves Jade feeling a wee bit tired (and cranky since she cannot have alcohol).  I have enjoyed watching Pyper and Jade fall in love and marry.  I laughed from beginning to end while reading Spirits, Spells and Wedding Bells.  Deanna Chase managed to immediately capture my attention and hold it throughout the book.  Ida May is a one-of-a-kind character whose antics will have you giggling.  I love how protective she is of Pyper’s little dog.  I like the magical aspects of the book and how it is integrated into the story.  The mystery is present, but not necessarily the dominate aspect of the book.  It was still interesting with a shocking twist.  The friendships, romance, magic, ghosts, the businesses, the mystery and the dogs all tie together into one diverting tale.  I was sorry when I finished this book much too quickly.  The only aspect that I do not like is the foul language of which there was way too much of for me.  I wanted to share my favorite Ida May phrase with you.  It is “Stick a fork in me, I’m burning up with sin.  That man is hot.”  Spirits, Spells and Wedding Bells has spirited ghosts, racy lingerie, a dangerous dagger, magical mayhem, a hot hubby, and one enchanting wedding. 
ArtStation - Dagger of the Caustic Heart, Maeve Broadbin
Spirits, Spells and Wedding Bells is available at Amazon.   You can find the titles in A Pyper Rayne series here on Amazon.  The Jade Calhoun series is listed here (Jade is Pyper's bestie).  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will be back tomorrow with my thoughts on A Family for Gracie by Amy Lillard.  It is the third novel in The Amish of Pontotoc series.  I hope you have a spellbinding day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader 
The Secrets on Behance