Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Four-Alarm Homicide by Diane Kelly

 Four-Alarm Homicide
Book Summary

The sixth in the delightful cozy mystery series from Diane Kelly set in Nashville, TN—where the real estate market is to die for.

Some properties are too hot to handle...

Carpenter Whitney Whitaker and her cousin Buck are hot for a historical property that has just come on the market—a fire station in Nashville’s Germantown neighborhood that was built nearly a century ago.

The cousins have just begun the interior demolition work at the fire station when Joanna Hartzell, who lives in a townhouse around the corner, comes by with a plea for help. Joanna owns the right half of her building, which she proudly maintains in perfect condition, while the left side falls into disrepair: the seven adult children who inherited it years ago refuse to lift a finger on repairs. Never one to turn down a challenge, Whitney and Buck manage to acquire the rundown townhouse—though it turns out Joanna is only one of the many neighbors interested in buying the property once they’ve worked their magic.

Then Joanna shows up at the fire station confused and rambling, then collapses, never to recover. Alarm bells go off for Whitney: she suspects something—and someone—evil could be the real cause. Can she and Collin put the clues together and smoke out a killer?

My Thoughts

Four-Alarm Homicide by Diane Kelly is the sixth A House Flipper Mystery.  It can be read as a standalone for those who are new to the series or who may have missed a book along the way.  Whitney Whitaker and her cousin, Buck are remodeling an old firehouse into a single-family home and a townhouse.  Whitney and Buck need to stock up on the aspirin because these projects are going to be nothing but headaches.  I like that the story begins with an amusing scene.  Whitney and Buck are cousins, friends, and business partners (as you can imagine, they like to egg each other and compete against each other).  When working in a neighborhood, you get to meet the neighbors.  As you can imagine, there are an assortment of characters.  Whitney and Buck have their hands full.  I found the story to be easy to read.  It is an active story with two renovations, a murder, wedding planning, the engaged couple need to decide where to live, and so much more.  

The mystery was interesting.  I enjoyed joining Whitney as she searched for clues and asked questions.  I like noticing those tiny details that lead to the killer.  The method of murder was particularly unique.  Whitney’s cat, Sawdust, is cute and helpful.  The chapters from Sawdust’s point of view are cute.  You can tell that the author has been around cats. The author includes information about home renovations (the various projects that Whitney and Buck tackle), mortgages, loans, home ownership difficulties in an easy-to-understand manner.  The ending left me smiling.  The one thing I did not like is the repetition of information (a pet peeve).  I do not feel that key details need to be repeated several times.  I look forward to Whitney and Buck’s next project.  Four-Alarm Homicide is a makeover mystery with lingering neighbors, a mystifying murder, planning nuptials, kitty discoveries, mouthwatering morsels, and flipping properties.  

Four Alarm Homicide will be released on April 23 and it can be preordered from Amazon*.  You can find the other A House-Flipper Mysteries here.  Check out Diane Kelly's other cozy mysteries. Thank you for dropping by today.  Tomorrow I will be featuring Dating an Amish Flirt by Rachel J. Good.  It is the sixth novel in the Surprised by Love series.  I hope that you have a fascinating day. I am off to do some much needed cleaning in our storage shed (another space that has become disorganized). I am looking forward to break time when I can read another chapter of Mind Games by Nora Roberts and have a Mounds bar (yum).  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, April 16, 2024

A Twinkle of Trouble by Daryl Wood Gerber


A Twinkle of Trouble


About A Twinkle of Trouble


A Twinkle of Trouble (A Fairy Garden Mystery) 

5th in Series

Setting - California 

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington Cozies 

(April 23, 2024) 

Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages


Carmel-by-the-Sea garden shop owner Courtney Kelly sees things others can’t—like fairies, and hidden motives for murder . . .

Courtney is delighted when her tiny friend Fiona returns from the fairy realm, appearing at the base of a Cypress tree. When her Ragdoll cat, Pixie, emerges from her own portal—aka the cat door—the three set off for a busy day. Busier than usual, since Courtney has rented a small plot of land at the Flower Farm, where she hopes to grow her own supplies for her fairy-garden business. Plus, the annual Summer Blooms Festival is coming up, and Courtney has booked a booth . . .

But the murder of Courtney’s friend, Genevieve, casts a pall over the festival. Ever since Genevieve sold her floral business, she’d been building a career as an influencer. She was perennially opinionated—but in her new role she’d become surprisingly vicious, dissing local entrepreneurs with nasty posts and unwarranted bad reviews. That’s landed a couple of Courtney’s other friends on the suspect list—including Flower Farm owner Daphne Flores. And when a second victim is discovered, seeds of doubt about Daphne’s innocence sprout in Courtney’s mind. With only a germ of a clue, Courtney will have to overturn every rock to get the dirt on the real killer . . .

About Daryl Wood Gerber

Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber is best known for her nationally bestselling mysteries, including the Fairy Garden Mysteries and Cookbook Nook Mysteries. As Avery Aames, she penned the popular Cheese Shop Mysteries. In addition, Daryl writes suspense including the well received The Son’s Secret, Girl on the Run, and the popular Aspen Adams series. Recently Daryl, who loves a challenge, published a Christmas romance, Hope for the Holidays. Fun Tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to cook, garden, read, and walk her frisky Goldendoodle. Also she has been known to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. You can learn more on her website:

Author Links











My Thoughts

A Twinkle of Trouble by Daryl Wood Gerber is a sparkling story with a double dose of fairies and murder, beautiful blooms, and a morsel of amour.   I enjoyed catching up with Courtney, Joss, and Fiona.  I was especially curious to hear about Fiona’s trip through the portal.  The mystery was entertaining.  Courtney investigates (of course) with help from her friends and fairies.  I donned my sleuthing cap and gathered the clues along with Courtney.  It was a fun whodunit to solve.  Courtney helps her customers create lovely fairy gardens when she is not off sleuthing or enjoying time with friends (or stealing moments with Brady).  The author sets the stage with her lavish descriptions of the Carmel-by-the-Sea, the Summer Blooms Festival, the fairies, and the fairy gardens.  I like that we continue to learn new things about the fairies, and we get to meet new fairies too.  

A Twinkle of Trouble is the fifth A Fairy Garden Mystery and it can be read as a standalone for those new to the series. I like the fairy quote before each chapter.  It was amusing that Courney’s book club was reading “Mum’s the Word” by Kate Collins.  It was a cute tie in to the flower festival.  There are recipes at the end of the book for some of the mouthwatering morsel mentioned (gluten free options too).  A Twinkle of Trouble is an enchanting tale with gleeful fairies, a precious Pixie, tasty treats, murder and mayhem, an opening portal, a flower festival, and fun with friends.  

A Twinkle of Trouble is available from AmazonB&NKobo, and Bookshop.  You can find thhe other A Fairy Garden Mysteries hereYou can find the author's other creations hereDaryl Wood Gerber has Murder on the Page which is the first book in A Literary Dining Mystery publishing on October 22.  Time for the giveaway!  The giveaway prize is a $15 gift card and a choice (from books 1 - 4) of A Fairy Garden Mysteries (paper or ebook)  plus swag.  Click here to enter or enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck!  Thank you for stopping by today.  Tomorrow I am featuring Four-Alarm Homicide by Diane Kelly.  It is the sixth book in A House Flipper Mysteries.  I hope that you have a sparkling day.  Do not forget to enter the giveaway and leave a comment for an extra entry.  Good Luck!  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Tour Participants

 April 15 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT

April 15 – Teatime and Books – SPOTLIGHT

April 16 – Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense – SPOTLIGHT

April 16 – Sneaky the Library Cat's Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 16 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
April 17 – Christy's Cozy Corners – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 17 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

April 18 – Celticlady's Reviews – RECIPE

April 18 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT WITH EXCERPT

April 18 – Angel's Book Nook – SPOTLIGHT
 April 19 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

April 19 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – REVIEW

April 20 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW


April 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 21 – Melina's Book Blog - REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 21 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

*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, April 11, 2024

Blizzard at Blue Ridge Inn by Pat Nichols

Blizzard at Blue Ridge Inn

About the Book

Three strangers stranded in a North Georgia inn confront lies from their pasts and experience the healing power of friendship.

Amanda Sullivan is desperately trying to save her crumbling second marriage. Will celebrating her ninth anniversary with her husband in Blue Ridge breathe new life into their troubled relationship?

Erica Parker suspects her husband is unfaithful. She vows to learn if her distrust is real or imagined.

Wendy Peterson can hardly wait for the birth of her baby with her wealthy husband, until a shopping spree in the quaint tourist town shatters everything.

When a once-in-a-century snowstorm blankets the country and delays their husbands’ arrivals, the perfectionist, the peacemaker, and the socializer find themselves alone at the historic Blue Ridge Inn. During two days of isolation, they overcome the differences in their ages and lifestyles to discover they have a lot in common. As the temperature rises and the snow begins to melt, a stranger delivers shocking news. Their stay at the inn is no accident.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Award-winning author, Pat Nichols is proving it’s never too late to follow your dreams. Nine years after retiring from a twenty-seven-year corporate career with an international beauty company, her love for writing resurfaced and prompted her to launch career number two as a novelist. Now she draws on her experience to write stories with tension-laced challenges and heart-warming triumphs. The Secret of Willow Inn is a 2020 Selah Award winner. Starstruck in Willow Falls is a NGCWC Georgia Peach Award winner. Her short story The Vet and Valentine Day also won a NGCWC Georgia Peach Award.

Pat is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Word Weavers International. She has been featured on WATC Television Atlanta Alive, in Southern Writer’s Magazine, and in Voyager Magazine.

More from Pat

Nestled in Chattahoochee National Forest, Southern Living Magazine named Blue Ridge, Georgia as one of 2022 South’s Best Mountain Towns. The first time my husband and I visited the town, we were impressed with the galleries, shops, Scenic Railway, and the friendly vibe. Although I was writing a series set near Savannah, the idea of Blue Ridge staring in a new series took root. When I finished writing the last book in the Butler Family series the idea had blossomed.

Another trip to the iconic town. This time to identify a setting for book one about Amanda, Erica, and Wendy, strangers who find themselves stranded in a cozy inn during a blizzard. We found the Blue Ridge Inn Bed and Breakfast. Perfect! I pressed the front-door buzzer. When I explained my mission to the woman who responded, she took my number and promised the owner would contact us. An hour later John Lavin met us on the front porch. He graciously gave us a tour and shared the 1890 Victorian home’s history.

Writing a fictional story set in a historic inn steps from the train depot and downtown Blue Ridge was inspiring. In fact, I’ve dedicated Blizzard at Blue Ridge Inn to John and guests who stay at the inn. In June, my husband and I plan to spend our anniversary in the suite reserved for Erica. We’ll ride the train and enjoy dinner at the Black Sheep restaurant, a scene in Blue Ridge series book two. By that time, book three will be finished. Then on to book four.

My Thoughts

Blizzard at Blue Ridge Inn by Pat Nichols is a charming story.  I was quickly drawn in and I was curious to see how the three ladies would handle their predicament.  I like the author’s engaging writing style.  The characters are developed and relatable.  The three women are different based on first appearances (age, clothing styles, abodes), but we soon learn they have quite a bit in common.  I enjoyed watching the relationships develop between Amanda, Erica, Wendy, Abby, and Morgan (and Dusty too). The women along with the teen girls will need to be strong if they are going to handle what lies ahead.  The twists kept coming for these ladies.  They have their work cut out for them.   I like the town of Blue Ridge, Georgia.  I look forward to meeting more of the friendly town residents in the next book.  Blizzard at Blue Ridge Inn is about trust, friendship, strength, courage, and family.  I hope the next book in the series will be out soon.  


To celebrate her tour, Pat is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of the book!!  Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click here to enter.  Good Luck!

Blizzard at Blue Ridge Inn is available from Amazon*.  You can read it for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.  The second book in the Blue Ridge Series is The InheritanceThe Wedding is the third book in the Blue Ridge Series and it will be out on August 13.  I have a cousin who lives in Blue Ridge, Georgia.  The pictures in today's post show Blue Ridge and the surrounding mountains.   Thank you for stopping by today.  I will return on April 16 with A Twinkle of Trouble by Daryl wood Gerber.  It is the fifth A Fairy Garden Mystery. Before you depart, do not forget to enter the giveaway (can you imagine all the books you can get for $50). I hope that you have a delightful weekend.  Take care and Happy Reading!



The Avid Reader

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, April 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 12

Stories By Gina, April 13 (Author Interview)

Devoted To Hope, April 13 (Spotlight)

Texas Book-aholic, April 14

Artistic Nobody, April 15 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 16

Girls in White Dresses, April 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 18

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, April 19 (Author Interview)

Splashes of Joy, April 19

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 20

For Him and My Family, April 21

An Author’s Take, April 22

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 23

She Lives To Read, April 24

*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, April 10, 2024

The Poison Pen by Paige Shelton

The Poison Pen

Book Summary

The Poison Penthe ninth installment in the Scottish Bookshop series by Paige Shelton, set in a specialty bookstore in Edinburgh called The Cracked Spine.

Edinburgh is mourning recent the death of Queen Elizabeth II when Bookseller Delaney Nichols's boss comes to her with a most unusual assignment. An old friend of his, living in an estate in the village of Roslin, has found what could be a priceless relic on her property, and Delaney is tasked with investigating. Could Jolie possibly have an item of breathtaking Scottish historical significance in her possession? But when Delaney arrives at Jolie's estate, she is greeted by a legal team with a vested interest in the property. Jolie manages to remove the interlopers, but as they're examining the priceless item, they hear a scream, and meet a much less welcome discovery: a body.
As Delaney digs deeper, she discovers Jolie's own fascinating history. Jolie's mother had long claimed that her daughter was the rightful heir to the throne, not Elizabeth II, because of an affair she claimed to have with King Edward VIII. The only evidence, however, is in the form of a purported journal that one of Edward’s secretaries kept. The puzzles become more confusing when a connection is uncovered between this far-fetched story and the murdered man. Delaney will have to read between the lines to put together the pieces...or become history herself.

My Thoughts

The Poison Pen by Paige Shelton is the ninth A Scottish Bookshop Mystery.  It can be read as a standalone as the author provides the background information needed for new readers (or those who have missed a book or two).  We get to meet an old friend of Edwin’s who is amusing and eccentric.    Jolie adds humor to the story.  It was interesting learning about Crusader swords.  I like how the author incorporates streets and buildings from Edinburgh.  Jolie’s mother claimed that her daughter was the legitimate heir to the throne.  History of the monarchy was included.  You can tell the author did her research for this installment.  I liked that Elias was more involved in this story.  Delaney finds the mystery interesting.  She searches for clues and asks questions.  Delaney digs into the past and finds some intriguing information.  Delaney will need to assemble the pieces if she is to identify the killer.  I liked the who dunit, but I did not find it a challenge to solve.  There was a detail that stuck out and it came up more than once.  I enjoyed the reveal.  I did, though, find the pacing in The Poison Pen to be too leisurely (needed more action).  The Poison Pen is a Scottish cozy with a Crusader sword, a humorous hoarder, book talk, ancestry anecdotes, and a new Treasure Trove director.  

The Poison Pen is available from Amazon*.  You can find the other eight A Scottish Bookshop Mysteries here.  You can find all of Paige Shelton's novels here.  Thank you for stopping by today.  Tomorrow I am a stop on the Celebrate Lit Tour for Blizzard at Blue Ridge Inn by Pat Nichols.  It is the first book in the Blue Ridge Series. I hope that you will join me.  I am going to spend the afternoon working on one of the hall closets.  It is a mess (it is to the point where the door is getting hard to close).  I have a feeling there are many items that I no longer need stuffed inside that closet.  I am determined to get the house organized (despite my mother claiming we need each item I wish to discard).  Wish me luck!  I hope you have a cheery day. 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, April 9, 2024

The Songbird of Hope Hill by Kim Vogel Sawyer

 The Songbird of Hope Hill
Book Summary

Driven by survival to a life at a house of ill repute, Birdie Clarkson now longs only for escape. So when Reverend Isaiah Overly and his son, Ephraim, appear and offer a better life, she jumps at the chance. Ignoring the furious raging of the madam, Birdie climbs into the back of the preacher’s wagon. 
The men take her to Hope Hill, the haven the reverend and his wife, Ophelia, founded so women like Birdie can be taught skills to help them rise above their pasts. Soon a resistant Birdie finds herself singing in the choir Ephraim leads at revival meetings, even though she’s certain she’s the last person who should be representing God. 
Reverend Overly teaches that no one is irredeemable, but even as Ephraim is falling in love with her, Birdie remains convinced that she’s past saving. After all she’s been through, can she ever believe that God’s redemption wipes every soul clean? And can Ephraim convince her that God loves her more than she can grasp—and that he does, too?

My Thoughts

The Songbird of Hope Hill by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a touching, hopeful tale. The characters’ backgrounds are complex and some of them took the whole book to unfold.  I enjoyed watching the relationships develop between the characters.  Faith is woven into the story, but I did feel it was a little heavy handed (very preachy).  The story is told from different characters’ perspectives including Birdie.  While it did allow me to understand the characters better along with their struggles, it was also confusing, and it kept me from becoming immersed in the story.  Besides trying to keep track of the characters, I was trying to remember the various subplots.  The pacing is leisurely. 

I liked that romance was not the focus of the book.  The romance was sweet, and I like that it began (and is based on) as a friendship.  The ending was hurried and tied up a little too neatly (of course, a happy ending is expected).  While there were things that I did not like, The Songbird of Hope Hill is a beautiful story.  I love that we get to see Reverend Overly and his wife, Ophelia as well as their son, Ephraim go out of their way to offer women of the evening a way out of that life.  The Overly’s treated everyone with kindness and respect.  I liked the message that none of us are without sin and that we should not judge others (especially when they are bettering themselves and putting their past behind them).  The Songbird of Hope Hill is a poignant tale with a resolute reverend, a prayed for liberation, angelic vocals, perturbing dissenters, newfound friends, and a joyful future.

The Songbird of Hope Hill is available from Amazon*.  You can find Kim Vogel Sawyer's other novels here.  Thank you for joining me today.  I hope I have helped you to find a new book to read (or add a book to your large TBR stack).  Tomorrow I am featuring The Poison Pen by Paige Shelton.  It is the ninth A Scottish Bookshop Mystery.  I am off to do some housework.  The house will not dust itself.  I tried to get the cats to use their tails to dust the furniture, but they did not cooperate. Dickens and Bucky (short for  Buckeye--she is a toirtoise and has the colors of a buckeye in her fur) have just turned fourteen (born at Easter).  They are sisters (Dickens is an orange tabby and lives up to her name).   I hope that you have a cheerful day.  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, April 3, 2024

A Book Club's Guide to Murder and Mayhem by Bethany Barker

A Book Club's Guide 


Murder & Mayhem 

Book Summary

A dead body, a large inheritance from an ex-boyfriend, a scam netting three-quarters of a million dollars, and a love attraction throw Suzie Tuft’s serene writing life into chaos.

Textbook writer, Suzie Tuft, discovers a body near her rural home and learns he was an attorney from the estate of her deceased ex-boyfriend, who bequeathed her a small fortune. Suzie’s life is thrown into chaos when she is threatened by the ex’s crazy live-in girlfriend and his unsavory friends looking to recover nearly a million dollars from a con they executed him.

Fortunately, Suzie has her book club friends to help her unravel the mystery, all while falling in love with the handsome detective investigating the murder.  

A Book Club’s Guide to Murder & Mayhem is the first book in A Suzie Tuft Mystery series in which a textbook writer recruits her book club friends to help find the killer of the victim she found near her rural home.

My Thoughts

A Book Club’s Guide to Murder and Mayhem by Bethany Barker is the debut of A Suzie Tuft Mysteries.  I found the story to be easy to read.  We get to meet Suzie Tuft along with her best friend, Jess, and her close circle of friends.  I liked Suzie’s dog, Hunter.  He is protective of Suzie as well as a sweetheart.  The characters needed to be fleshed out more, especially Suzie.  The mystery begins early in the story with Suzie discovering the victim on a walk with Hunter.  The gruff lead detective (Detective Whiteford) was annoying and his partner (Detective Pagarelli), naturally, was handsome (it was obvious that Suzie was attracted to him).  

I wish the whodunit had been more complex.  It was evident early on who was the guilty party along with the motive.  Suzie and her book club work together to discover the killer’s identity along with why Suzie’s ex-boyfriend left her the sizeable inheritance.  There is flirtation between Suzie and Detective Pagarelli and Suzie spends time thinking about the kind (and handsome) detective.  There is a repetition of key details (that Detective Pagarelli is handsome is mentioned fourteen times and that the other detective is gruff sixteen times).  A Book Club’s Guide to Murder and Mayhem is a nice story, but it did not hold my attention.  

A Book Club's Guide to Murder and Mayhem is available from Amazon*.  Thank you for visiting today.  I will return on Tuesday, April 9 with The Songbird of Hope Hill by Kim Vogel Sawyer.  I will busy the rest of the week taking care of some tests and car troubles.  I went to Walmart for an oil change.  I needed several things done to the car (I thought I would get it all taken care of at once).  They told me they could provide the oil change, but that was it.  They did not have anyone certified to put in transmission fluid.  I was surprised since their website said they offered all the services that I requested (I needed a new air filter, the right blinker bulb changed, and the back windshield wiper replaced).  Now the dreaded check engine light is on.  I will be able to get some reading done while work is being done on the car.   Thank you for listening to my rant!  I hope that you have a lovely week.  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.