Thursday, May 23, 2024

Cold Case Investigation by Nicole Helm

 Cold Case Investigation

Book Summary

Protecting her ranch has always come first…

Until she learns about her unborn baby.

After almost losing her life in a fire, Wyoming PI Anna Hudson wakes up to the sight of a familiar stranger. Anna and Hawk Steele shared one passionate night. Now the arson investigator will go to any lengths to protect Anna and their baby-to-be. But as they search through cold cases, exposing a tangled family history, a killer after revenge for past sins could steal Anna and Hawk’s future…

From Harlequin Intrigue: Seek thrills. Solve crimes. Justice served.

My Thoughts

Cold Case Investigation by Nicole Helm is an entertaining romantic suspense.   Cold Case Investigation is the third book in the Hudson Sibling Solutions series.  It can be read as a standalone, but reading the series in order allows you to get to know the Hudson siblings and the other characters.  Cold Case Investigation is my favorite book in the series.  I enjoyed getting to know Anna Hudson better.  Hawk Steele is a loner, but that will not work if he is going to be involved with Anna.  I like how the Hudson siblings watch out for each other (a protective group of siblings).    There is a scene with Mary, Hawke, and a puppy that had me laughing.  Mary was not taking no for an answer.  The characters are developed, and they have emotional depth.  The mystery was full of action and suspense. I loved all the twists, turns, and drama.  Cold Case Investigation had me staying up late to find out the resolution.

Cold Case Investigation can be ordered from Amazon*.  The first two books in the Hudson Sibling Solutions series are Cold Case Kidnapping and Cold Case Identity.  The fourth book in Hudson Sibling Solutions series is Cold Case Scandal which will be out on June 25.  You can find Nicole Helm's other novels here.  Thank you for joining me today.   I will be sharing my thoughts on Shielding the Innocent Target by Terri Reed on Tuesday, May 28.  I hope that you have a relaxing Memorial Day weekend (great time to go to the beach, cook out on the grill, or take a dip in the pool). We have a Veteran's Park in our village where we will hold a special ceremony on Monday honoring those died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

*I voluntarily read an advanced copy of this book.  I am not required to leave a review.  The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Unforgiven by Shelley Shepard Gray


Book Summary

Ex-con Seth Zimmerman has spent the last three years making amends by helping the vulnerable in his former Amish community. Lately, this mission includes calling on Tabitha Yoder, whose divorce from her abusive husband has isolated her from the community. Even though she never comes out of her house to talk to him, Seth knows she watches him from the window while he chops wood, clears her driveway, and drops off food.  
An uneasy friendship is just starting to take hold between them when small gifts begin to appear at Tabitha's home--gifts that can only be from her ex-husband. Seth might be Tabitha's only hope at maintaining her hard-won freedom from the man whose violent outbursts had almost cost her life. But coming to her rescue might mean he ends up behind bars once again.  
Get swept up in this emotional story of two outcasts who may be each other's only hope for happiness and redemption from New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray.

My Thoughts

Unforgiven by Shelley Shepard Gray is a story that draws you in.  It starts off slow, but it arouses your curiosity about Seth Zimmerman and Tabitha Yoder.  The story is well-written.  The characters are developed and realistic.  The secondary characters add additional depth to the story.  Seth’s sister, Melonie added humor.  She is a nosy parker. Unforgiven is an emotional tale (have a box of tissues nearby).  Seth and Tabitha have both faced challenges.  Tabitha is on edge wondering if the danger from her past has found her.  The main themes in Unforgiven are trust, guilt, and forgiveness.  It is hard to trust after you have been severely hurt.  Time and patience are required by both parties.  It is hard to forgive someone that has wronged you (I struggle with this one myself) and it is even more challenging to forgive yourself.  Of course, God is always ready to forgive us (we just have to ask).  The story reminds us that that God is always with us (we are not alone).  Unforgiven is one of those stories that will linger with you long after you finish it.  

Unforgiven is available from Amazon*.  Shelley Shepard Gray has A is for Amish coming out June 25.  It is the first book in the Amish ABCs series.  You can find Shelley Shepard Gray's other novels here.  Thank you for popping by today.  Tomorrow I am sharing my thoughts on Cold Case Investigation by Nicole Helm.  It is the third book in the Hudson Sibling Solutions series.  I wanted to mention that Shielding the Innocent Target by Terri Reed is now available.  It is a fast paced, engaging story.  I hope that you have a day filled with joy.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

*I voluntarily read an advanced copy of this book.  I am not required to leave a review.  The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Amish Witness to Murder by Dana R. Lynn

 Amish Witness to Murder

Book Summary

To identify her father’s killer…

she must stay alive

After finding her family’s barn in flames and witnessing her father’s murder, Beth Troyer becomes the killer’s next target. She narrowly escapes death when the murderer turns on her, but now she’s left temporarily blind. She’ll have to rely on former family friend Gideon Bender to keep her safe until her eyesight returns. But with a killer who’ll stop at nothing to find her, staying alive might just be impossible…

My Thoughts

Amish Witness to Murder by Dana R. Lynn is a story that holds your attention.  I thought the book was well written with developed characters.  I felt for Beth who witnessed the murder of her father and has been left temporarily blind.  She needs to rely on others for help and to keep her safe.  I enjoyed the suspense and mystery as well as twists and turns.  I was up late eager to find out the identity of the guilty party.  Gideon was determined to keep Beth safe.  Of course, some people have trouble accepting help.  Gideon’s family is a boisterous, loving bunch.  They were delightful.  Amish Witness to Murder is the eighteenth novel in the Amish Country Justice series.  It can be read as a standalone. Amish Witness to Murder moves along at a quick pace.  The story was over far too soon.  Amish Witness to Murder is a compelling tale with a lost loved one, a tenacious killer, 

Amish Witness to Murder can be obtained from Amazon* along with the other novels in the Amish Country justice series (see list below).  Protecting the Amish Child is the 19th novel in the Amish Country Justice series and it will be out on August 20 (I cannot wait to read it). If you follow Dana R. Lynn on Amazon, they will email you when she has a new book release.  Thank you for dropping by today.  Tomorrow I am featuring Unforgiven by Shelley Shepard Gray.  It is a must read story.  I hope that you have an uplifting day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

Book 1: Plain Target

Book 2: Plain Retribution

Book 3: Amish Christmas Abduction

Book 4: Amish Country Ambush

Book 5: Amish Christmas Emergency
Book 6: Guarding the Amish Midwife

Book 7: Hidden in Amish Country

Book 8: Plain Refuge

Book 9: Deadly Amish Reunion

Book 10: Amish Country Threats
Book 11: Covert Amish Investigation

Book 12: Amish Christmas Escape

Book 13: Amish Cradle Conspiracy

Book 14: Her Secret Amish Past

Book 15: Crime Scene Witness
Book 16: Hidden Amish Target

Book 17: Hunted at Christmas

Book 18: Amish Witness to Murder

Book 19: Protecting the Amish Child

*I voluntarily read an advanced copy of this book.  I am not required to leave a review.  The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

The Road Before Us by Janine Rosche

 The Road Before Us

Book Summary

How far would you go to fix the mistakes you've made and regain the trust you lost? For Jade Jessup, the answer is 2,448 miles. Once one of Chicago's significant financial advisors, Jade lost her credibility when her fiancé (and coworker) stole millions of dollars from their clients in a Ponzi scheme. Now she's agreed to help one of them--an aging 1960s Hollywood starlet named Berenice "Benny" Alderidge--seek financial restoration.
Jade sets off along Route 66 with Benny and her handsome adult foster son, Bridger, who is filming a documentary retracing the 1956 trip that started the love story between Benny and her recently deceased husband, Paul. Listening to Benny recount her story draws Jade into memories of her own darker association with Route 66, when she was kidnapped as a child by a man the media labeled a monster--but she remembers only as daddy.
Together, all three of these pilgrims will learn about family, forgiveness, and what it means.

My Thoughts

I have mixed feelings about The Road Before Us by Janine Rosche.  The beginning drew me in, but then I found my attention flagging.  I believe part of the problem was adjusting to the multiple points of view and the three timelines.  The pacing was on the slow side (it reminded me of when I was a child and a car ride felt like it is going on forever especially since I had to share the backseat with my sister). The characters were developed and multifaceted. I liked that there was a diverse cast. My favorite character was Benny.  I liked her spirit and attitude.  Benny was determined to get to Hollywood to be an actress (she was not taking no for an answer). I loved the descriptions of the 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air (a beautiful car). 

We get to travel down the iconic Route 66 and see it from three points of view.  I enjoyed the retired couple, Sandy and Tim from Ohio (my favorite state) that Benny, Jade, and Bridger met while traveling.  Sandy and Tim were friendly, helpful, and hopeful.  The story addresses several sensitive and weighty topics (parental kidnapping, PTSD, sexual harassment, PTSD, and racism—I might have missed one or two).  I did feel that the author tried to put too much into one book.  Faith was a minute part of the story.  I appreciated the hopeful ending.   While I liked some parts of The Road Before Us, I skimmed through others.  I had to laugh, though, at the advice Benny offered to Ronald Regan when she met him at the wrap party after her first film.  

The Road Before Us comes out May 21 and can be preordered from Amazon*.  You can find Janine Rosche's other books here. This site has a list of attractions on Route 66. Thank you for stopping by today.  I will be back on Tuesday, May 21 with Amish Witness to Murder by Dana R. Lynn.  It is the eighteenth book in the Amish Country Justice series.  I hope that you have a relaxing weekend.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Mind Games by Nora Roberts

 Mind Games
Book Summary

The #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Identity presents a suspenseful new novel of tragedy and trauma, love and family, and the evil that awaits.

As they do each June, the Foxes have driven the winding roads of Appalachia to drop off their children for a two-week stay at their grandmother’s. Here, twelve-year-old Thea can run free and breathe in the smells of pine and fresh bread and Grammie’s handmade candles. But as her parents head back to suburban Virginia, they have no idea they’re about to cross paths with a ticking time bomb.

Back in Kentucky, Thea and her grandmother Lucy both awaken from the same nightmare. And though the two have never discussed the special kind of sight they share, they know as soon as their tearful eyes meet that something terrible has happened.
The kids will be staying with Grammie now in Redbud Hollow, and thanks to Thea’s vision, their parents’ killer will spend his life in supermax. Over time, Thea will make friends, build a career, find love. But that ability to see into minds and souls still lurks within her, and though Grammie calls it a gift, it feels more like a curse—because the inmate who shattered her childhood has the same ability. Thea can hear his twisted thoughts and witness his evil acts from miles away. He knows it, and hungers for vengeance. A long, silent battle will be waged between them—and eventually bring them face to face, and head to head…

My Thoughts

Mind Games by Nora Roberts has a unique concept.  I have been reading Nora Roberts since I was a tween, when the author published her first book.  As with all of the author’s stories, I found Mind Games to be easy to read.  The main characters are likeable (for the most part).  The first third of the book was spent on Thea’s childhood.  I understand providing background on the main characters, but this was a bit much (and it was a tad boring).  I liked the paranormal premise, but it was tame.  It could have been so much more.    I wanted Thea to embrace her gift, hone it, and use it to help others.  The love interest does not show up until the halfway point which is unusual for a romance. The ending was a letdown.  I understood the video game aspect, but it was unexciting.   My favorite character was Thea’s dog. Mind Games felt like it was written by another author.  

Mind Games releases on May 21 and it can be preordered from Amazon*. If you are on the fence about a book, I suggest downloading a sample (despite what they say, you cannot  judge a book by its cover).  Nora Roberts has The Mirror coming out on November 19.  The Mirror is the second book in The Lost Bride Trilogy.  Thank you for dropping in today. Tomorrow I will be sharing my thoughts on The Road Before Us by Janine Rosche.  I need to dust and sweep today (my least favorite chore is ironing--I have summer tops that must be ironed--steaming does not get out the wrinkles).  The cats lose hair faster than I can clean it up (and they are short hair cats).  My cats are sister's whom I have raised since birth.  They just turned fourteen (at Easter).  They are complete opposites (just like my sister and I).  I am currently reading The Women of Wynton's by Donna Mumma which is A Classy 1950s Mystery and it will publish on June 15.  I hope that you have a tranquil day. Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Hidden Mountain Secrets by Kerry Johnson

 Hidden Mountain Secrets

Book Summary

A mysterious death. A secluded mansion.

This investigation could be fatal… 

Antique dealer Brielle Holt uncovers more than just priceless relics when she overhears a secret that puts a target on her back. Caught in the crosshairs of a deadly family feud, Brielle has nowhere safe to hide…until CSI agent Lucas Scott steps in to protect her. With assailants following their every move, Lucas and Brielle must stay one step ahead of someone desperate to hide the truth…and bury them with it.    

My Thoughts

Hidden Mountain Secrets by Kerry Johnson is an appealing tale.  I thought the story was well-written with realistic characters.  I enjoyed getting to know Brielle Holt and Lucas Scott.  I understood Brielle’s love of antiques (I have a weakness for them myself).  It was good to return to Tunnel Creek and catch up with the Holt family.  I loved all the action.  There were twists and turns which kept things lively.  The mystery and suspense had me quickly flipping the pages to find out who was after Brielle.  Faith was nicely woven into the story. I liked that the romance played out slowly.  I finished Hidden Mountain Secrets with a smile on my face.  

Hidden Mountain Secrets can be preordered on Amazon*.  Christmas Forest Ambush and Tunnel Creek Ambush are the other two novels in the series.  You can find Kerry Johnson's other books here. JustRead Publicity Tours is hosting a giveaway.   You need to visit each hosted post of the tour for entries. You can find the schedule at @justreadtours on Instagram. (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics. Instagram is not affiliated with nor responsible for this giveaway. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on May 21, 2024.)  Good Luck!  Thank you for dropping by today.  Tomorrow I will be sharing my thoughts on Mind Games by Nora Roberts.  I hope that you have a joyful day,.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

The Proposal Plot by Kathleen Fuller

 The Proposal Plot
Book Summary

A headstrong young businesswoman. An unlucky-in-love bachelor. And the chaperoning assignment that keeps pushing them together.

For someone so strong-willed and certain, Ella Yoder has never been more unsure of her life. It's been a year since she convinced her father to move with her and her younger sister Junia to Marigold, Ohio, to open E and J Grocery. Ella's got a keen eye for running a business and has big dreams to expand. But her plans are stalled because Junia refuses to lift a finger at the store--or listen to her about anything.

Nelson Bontranger knows one thing for sure: creating his own artisan deli meats is his passion. Well, maybe one other thing: he's sworn off women forever. After two bouts of heartbreak, he's not willing to open up himself to a third. When he eyes his own butcher shop next to E and J Grocery in Marigold, he's surprised to learn that Ella has had her eye on the property for some time. He doesn't trust this stubborn, pushy young woman--and for her, the feeling is mutual.

Against their wishes, Ella and Nelson's paths continue to cross when Nelson's nephew Malachi falls head over heels for Junia. Nelson and Ella are brought together to keep the lovebirds in check, but somewhere along the line, their frustration turns to something altogether more pleasant. But they will both need to come to terms with past pain before they can find their future happiness.

My Thoughts

The Proposal Plot by Kathleen Fuller is an engaging Amish story.  I thought the story was well- written with developed, realistic characters.  I especially thought the author captured the bickering sisters (I have a sister who is the opposite of me in many ways and we squabbled often as kids). I liked Ella with her head for business and her bossy ways (I have been told that I am a “bit” bossy).  I understood why Ella was frustrated with Junia (who got away with doing the bare minimum).  There is plenty going on in the story with three romances, bickering sisters, and two businesses.  It was interesting learning about an artisan butcher and how he creates his deli meats.  The Proposal Plot delves into the themes of family, forgiveness, love, sibling rivalry, and second chances.    I liked the humor in the story, and I actually laughed out loud a time or two.  The Proposal Plot is the second An Amish Marigold Novel.  It can be read as a standalone for those who have not read The Courtship Plan.   I enjoyed visiting Marigold, Ohio again and I look forward to stopping by again soon. 

The Proposal Plot is avalable from Amazon* as well as other major booksellers.  The first An Amish Marigold Novel is The Courtship Plan.  You can find Kathleen Fuller's other novels here.  Thank you for joining me today.  I will be sharing my thoughts on Hidden Mountain Secrets by Kerry Johnson on Tuesday, May 14.  I hope that you have a joyful Mother's Day weekend. I have had my mother's gift hidden in the back of my closet since the beginning of January.  Now that my knees are feeling better, I will be setting up my Memorial Day display.  Unfortunately, they do not make inflatables for Mother's or Father's Day (I have searched high and low with no success).  Take care, keep smiling, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Resort to Murder by Annie McEwen

 Resort to Murder


About Resort to Murder


Resort to Murder (Northwoods Mysteries) 

1st in Series 

Setting - Wisconsin 

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Gemma Halliday Publishing 

Paperback ‏ : ‎ 225 pages 

When Emmy Cooper’s life in Chicago is turned upside down, the young interior designer retreats to her family’s lake cottage resort in the beautiful Wisconsin Northwoods for a much-needed break. Hoping to clear her mind and gain a fresh perspective, she looks forward to enjoying the slower pace and the crisp, clean pine air at her beloved Cooper’s Cove Resort with her family, dogs, and her best friend, Whitney. Unfortunately, her homecoming isn't as calm as she'd hoped when Emmy finds out a ruthless development company is relentlessly pressuring Lake Covington property owners, including Emmy's family, to sell their land so they can build an extravagant, modern resort that would ruin the quaint esthetic of the area. And things only get worse when Emmy finds the dead body of one of the developers floating in the lake—murdered! Suddenly the police are involved, and since Emmy's father was leading the fight to stop the shady development from getting approval, he's quickly painted as the prime suspect. Now it's up to Emmy to prove her father’s innocence, save the reputation of Cooper’s Cove, and find out who would resort to murder.

About Annie McEwen

Annie McEwen is the author of the Northwoods Mysteries Series, set amongst the tall pines and sparkling lakes of northern Wisconsin, where she spent vacations as a kid. Annie and her husband are empty nesters living in their rural Indiana home, but their married children and two toddler grandsons fortunately live close by. Being grandparents is definitely the best gig ever! They also have four fur babies, one of whom is a very important character in her books. When Annie isn’t writing, playing with her grandsons, or tackling trash-to-treasure projects, she works as a radiological technologist. As a former farm kid, she still loves to dig in the dirt and garden. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime and loves attending mystery conventions.

Author's Social Media Links

My Thoughts

Resort to Murder by Annie McEwen transports readers to the beautiful Wisconsin Northwoods where the Cooper’s Cove Resort resides with her descriptive writing.  I enjoyed getting to know Emmy Cooper and her parents as well as Emmy’s closest friends, Whitney and Marcus (with the mullet).  The death of the developer has Emmy’s father at the top of suspense list. Emmy teams up with Whitney and Marcus to prove her father’s innocence.  They ask questions and search for clues. They even set up a murder board in Whitney’s apartment to keep track of their suspects and clues.  Trouble finds the threesome as they search for the truth. The reveal left me with a lingering question or two.  

Emmy has one character trait that made me cringe.   She seems to have bladder issues when she is excited, nervous, or upset.  I believe it is supposed to be funny, but I found it unpleasant (sorry, but I did not enjoy reading about a woman peeing herself).   Emmy finds a certain officer appealing and cannot help blushing bright red every time she encounters him.  I like the close-knit town where gossip flows faster than maple syrup on a hot stack of pancakes.  I am amazed at how much the characters can accomplish in one day.  It made me wonder if the days were longer in Wisconsin (If so, I need to move there).  Resort to Murder is a Wisconsin whodunit with a determined developer, a cozy campfire, firm friends, good food, gossip galore, park avenue pink lipstick, and dithering over a decision.

Resort to Murder can be purchased from Amazon, B&N, Apple, and Kobo.  The next Northwoods Mystery is Dead, White, and Blue which comes out July 2. Would you like to win a paperback copy of Resort to Murder along with a bookmark and some stickers (Sorry, but US Only)?  You can click here to enter or use the Rafflecopter form below.  Leave a comment on my blog for an extra entry.  Good Luck!  Thank you for popping by today.  I will return tomorrow with my thoughts on The Proposal Plot by Kathleen Fuller.  It is the second An Amish Marigold Novel.  I hope that you have a joyful day. Do not forget to enter the giveaway before you depart. Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

Tour Participants

May 8 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author – SPOTLIGHT

May 8 – Angel's Book Nook - SPOTLIGHT

May 8 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

May 9 – Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense – SPOTLIGHT

May 9 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
May 9 – Socrates Book Reviews - SPOTLIGHT

May 10 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

May 10 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT

May 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

May 11 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
May 11 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 12 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

May 12 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW


May 13 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW, GUEST POST
May 13 – Sarah Can’t Stop Reading – REVIEW

May 14 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

May 14 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

May 14 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT