Monday, October 25, 2021

Getaway with Murder by Diane Kelly

  Getaway with Murder
Book Summary 

Getaway With Murder is the first in a cozy series from Diane Kelly set in a lodge in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where secrets hide behind every hill.

As if hitting the half-century mark wasn’t enough, Misty Murphy celebrated her landmark birthday by amicably ending her marriage and investing her settlement in a dilapidated mountain lodge at the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With the old inn teetering on both a bluff and bankruptcy, she must have lost her ever-loving mind.

Luckily, handyman Rocky Crowder has a knack for rehabbing virtual ruins and for doing it on a dime, and to Misty’s delight, the lodge is fully booked on opening night, every room filled with flexible folks who’d slipped into spandex and ascended the peak for a yoga retreat with plans to namastay for a full week. Misty and her guests are feeling zen—at least until the yoga instructor is found dead.

With a killer on the loose and the lodge’s reputation hanging in the balance, Misty must put her detective-skills to the test. Only one thing is as clear as a sunny mountain morning—she must solve the crime before the lodge ends up, once again, on the brink.

My Thoughts 

Getaway with Murder by Diane Kelly is the debut of The Mountain Lodge Mysteries.  Misty Murphy has just signed her divorce papers ending her twenty-year marriage on her fiftieth birthday.  She is starting over in Beech Mountain, North Carolina.  Misty has purchased a rustic lodge where she spent many vacations.  Her new venture gets off to a bad start when minor drainage damage turns into a major problem.  Misty is fortunate to get Rocky Crowder, the local handyman, to complete the repairs just in time for a yoga retreat.  The owner of the yoga studio turns out to be demanding and rude.  The yoga instructor is murdered putting Misty’s new venture at risk.  Misty must use her skills to locate the killer before her new lodge is sunk permanently.  

Getaway with Murder is an engaging new cozy mystery.  It is well-written with steady pacing and realistic characters.  Misty is a smart, resourceful, and friendly.  I like that she is fifty and experiencing menopause systems.  I could certainly relate to her hot flashes.  There are some great secondary characters that include Rocky the handyman, Patty who owns the local diner, and Brynn the assistant and housekeeper.  I thought Diane Kelly captured the area with her beautiful descriptions.  The winding roads up the mountain, the trees, the cool air, the Southern food, the mountains, and the Appalachian trail.  The whodunit was fun with several suspects.  I enjoyed piecing together the clues.  I liked Misty’s approach to sleuthing.  There is humor scattered throughout the story and I loved the chapters from Yeti’s (Misty’s cat) point-of-view.  I thought the author really captured a cat’s personality (this is a feline with catitude).  Getaway with Murder was a fun story that made me smile.  I am eager for the next book in The Mountain Lodge Mysteries.  Getaway with Murder is a welcome whodunit with a hunky handyman, a Wiccan assistant, an intense yoga instructor, a missing singing bowl, a lodge in peril, and a setup trail trekker.  

Getaway with Murder publishes, Tuesday, October 26 and it is available from Amazon*.  Diane Kelly has Batten Down the Belfry releasing February 22, 2022.  It is the 4th A House-Flipper MysteryThe Proof is in the Poison is the 2nd A Southern Homebrew Mystery and it publishes June 7, 2022.   You can find Diane Kelly's other novels here.  You do not want to miss Diane's A Paw Enforcement Novels.  Thank you for visiting today.  I am sharing my thoughts on  A Harvest of Love by Marta Perry tomorrow.  It is the 3rd novel in The Promise Glen Series.  I hope that you day filled with hope.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!

Kris

The Avid Reader 

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

 qualifying purchases.


Saturday, October 23, 2021

A Season on the Wind by Suzanne Woods Fisher: Review, Bird Facts, and Giveaway!

 

A Season on the Wind

About the Book


Book: A Season on the Wind

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Amish Fiction

Release date: October 5, 2021

Ben Zook had only two loves in his life: books and birds. In a stroke of good fortune, he’d stumbled onto a way to cobble together those two loves into a career, writing books about rare birds. He was as free as a bird–until a chase for a rare White-winged Tern takes him to the one place on earth he planned to never return: his Amish home in Stoney Ridge.

Desperate for photographs of the elusive tern, Ben hires a local field guide, Micah Weaver, and boards at Micah’s farm, planning to “bag the bird” and leave Stoney Ridge before anyone recognizes him. But he neglected to plan for Micah’s sister, Penny. One long-ago summer, Penny had introduced Ben to birding, even sharing with him a hidden eagle aerie. That eagle became his spark bird–the one that inspired his lifelong love.

Ben. He was Penny’s spark bird. That was when she knew true love. She’d always hoped Ben would come back to Stoney Ridge. Back to his Amish roots. Back to her. The only problem? Ben has absolutely no memory of Penny.

 Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

With over one million copies sold, Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling, award winning author of over 30 books, ranging from novels to children’s books to non-fiction. She is a Christy Award finalist, a Carol and Selah award winner, and a two-time finalist for ECPA Book of the Year. She writes stories that take you to places you’ve never visited—one with characters that seem like old friends. But most of all, her books give you something to think about long after you’ve finished reading it. Suzanne lives with her very big family in northern California.

More from Suzanne

Did You Know? 8 Facts about the Christmas Bird Count

1) The year 2021 marks the 122nd National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) which, ironically, wasn’t always about counting live birds.

2) In 1900, the first CBC was launched as an alternative to the traditional Christmas “side hunt.” This holiday tradition encouraged people to go out into the woods on Christmas Day, choose “sides” to team up with and then, in the words of Frank Chapman, “kill everything in fur or feathers that crossed their path – if they could.” The winner was the “side” with the largest pile of dead birds. (Ugh!)

3) Frank Chapman was a prominent ornithologist, conservationist, and writer/editor who published Bird Lore magazine. He led the charge to end to this senseless slaughter and invited his readers to begin a new holiday tradition of counting, rather than shooting, birds.
4) Twenty-seven people participated in 25 counts that first year (in 1900). They counted 90 species of birds.

5) The idea caught on. Big time.

6) During December and January of each year, thousands of Christmas Bird Counts take place across the U.S., Canada, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands. The purpose of the CBC is a scientific census—to assess the health of bird populations and help guide conservation action.

7) Each CBC has an established 15-mile diameter circular count area. On a pre-arranged date, registered teams go out (with an assigned volunteer observer) and count the number of birds of each species they can identify within their assigned area. Each count has a volunteer compiler who sums up all of the lists and inputs the total numbers for each species into Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count database.

8) The CBC is the longest-running citizen science project and wildlife survey in the world. In fact, the CBC is considered the gold standard in citizen science.

And you don’t have to be an experienced birdwatcher to participate in the CBC! Bird lovers of all skills are welcomed. Even me! I’m a very enthusiastic amateur.


To learn more about the Christmas Bird Count, or to find a survey near you, go to https://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count

To learn more about Suzanne and the story about the Christmas Bird Count featured in A Season on the Wind, go to www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.



My Thoughts


A Season on the Wind by Suzanne Woods Fisher is a lovely Amish novel.  We get to return to Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania where it is almost time for the Christmas Bird Count.  Micah Weaver, who is an avid birder, reports a rare White-winged Tern in the area.  Author and birder, Ben Zook wants to get a picture of the bird for his latest book.  His cousin, Natalie Crowell comes along with him because she needs a change after the end of her marriage and the betrayal she experienced.  They are staying in the guesthouse on Lost Creek Farm managed by Penny.  Penny cannot believe that Ben has returned after twenty years.  She gave her heart to him when she was twelve and Penny has been waiting for his return.  Unfortunately, Ben has no memory of Penny or the time they spent together one long ago summer.  I enjoyed reading A Season on the Wind.  It is a sweet story that draws you in and holds you until the end.  I stayed up late trying to finish it.  I like the characters in this story.  They are well-crafted so they are realistic and relatable.  We get to follow Penny, Ben, Micah, and Natalie.  I like getting to see each of their perspectives.  The story is filled with fascinating information about birds.  I learned quite a bit about birds and the count that occurs each year at Christmas. This story makes you think about the beauty God created for us.  He provided us with these beautiful birds.  I like how the author handled a speech disability and Alzheimer’s.  The author handled them with dignity.  There is also humor in the story courtesy of Hank Lapp.  He is quite a character.  You can always count on him to lighten up a situation.  My favorite phrase from the book is, “Every day was a new day, . . .so yesterday really shouldn’t matter. Even better, there was no point in worrying about the future.”  A Season on the Wind has romance, old wounds, new relationships, deep faith, and a stray bird.  A Season on the Wind was a special and unique Amish tale.

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card.  Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click here to enter.   Good Luck!  A Season on the Wind is available from Amazon*.  You can find Suzanne Woods Fisher's other novels here.  Thank you for joining me today.  On Monday, I will be featuring Getaway with Murder by Diane Kelly.  It is the debut of The Mountain Lodge Mysteries.  I hope you have a delightful and relaxing weekend.  Do not forget to leave a comment for an extra entry in the giveaway.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


Kris

The Avid Reader 

Blog Stops


The Avid Reader, October 23

Lighthouse-Academy, October 23

She Lives To Read, October 24

lakesidelivingsite, October 24

Southern Gal Loves to Read, October 24


Artistic Nobody, October 25 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

For Him and My Family, October 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 26

CarpeDiem, October 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 27

Inklings and notions, October 27

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 28

Blogging With Carol, October 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 29

Texas Book-aholic, October 29

deb’s Book Review, October 30

Simple Harvest Reads, October 30 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 31

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 1

SusanLovesBooks, November 1

Mary Hake, November 1

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 2

Blossoms and Blessings, November 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 3

Splashes of Joy, November 3

Pause for Tales, November 3

By The Book, November 4

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 4

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, November 5

Spoken from the Heart, November 5

Vicky Sluiter, November 5

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

Friday, October 22, 2021

Christmas Dessert Murder by Joanne Fluke

 Christmas Dessert Murder
Book Summary

The perfect stocking stuffer for fans of culinary capers, this holiday omnibus from New York Times bestselling author Joanne Fluke featuring two classic mysteries set in Hannah Swensen’s Cookie Jar bakery in Lake Eden, Minnesota: Christmas Caramel Murder and Christmas Cake Murder.

It’s Christmas in Lake Eden, Minnesota, and there’s no better way to enjoy the holidays than by cozying up to two Hannah Swensen yuletide mysteries with a plateful of goodies from The Cookie Jar bakery…

CHRISTMAS CARAMEL MURDER

Hannah and her good pal Lisa have agreed to provide all the goodies for the town’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. But before anyone can say “Bah, humbug!” the actress playing Mrs. Claus exits stage left for good. As murder suspects pile up faster than snowdrifts in a blizzard, it might take a visit from ghosts of Christmas past to wrap up this mystery in time for the holidays...

CHRISTMAS CAKE MURDER

Hannah’s life matches the hectic December hustle and bustle of Lake Eden when she agrees to help recreate a spectacular Christmas Ball in honor of Essie Granger, an elderly local in hospice care. But instead of poring over decadent dessert recipes, Hannah’s surprised by Essie’s secret talent for penning crime fiction. She’s even more surprised when the story turns real. It’ll be a true miracle if she can prevent another Yuletide disaster by solving a mystery as dense as a Christmas fruitcake...


Features Over a Dozen Cookie and Dessert Recipes from The Cookie Jar! 
My Thoughts

Christmas Dessert Murder by Joanne Fluke contains Christmas Caramel Murder (Book 20) and Christmas Cake Murder (Book 23).  These are not new Hannah Swensen tales but reprints.  While I wish they were new stories, I still enjoyed reading these two holiday tales.  All our favorite characters are back:  Hannah, Delores, Michelle, Mike, Norman, Andrea, and Lisa.  The stories move along at a quick pace.  The are lighthearted stories with plenty of cozy moments.  Hannah spends time baking (of course), cooking, eating, and with her friends and family.  There are plenty of recipes for readers to try as well.  I thought it was amusing that in Christmas Caramel Murder, Hannah is visited by her father who acts as the ghosts of past, present, and future.  In Christmas Caramel Murder, Hannah is telling the story to Ross while they enjoy dessert at the Lake Eden Inn.  Christmas Cake Murder takes us back to when Hannah was in college and her father had recently passed away.  Hannah is worried about her mother who has not been the same since Lars passed away.  Recreating the Christmas Ball for Essie gets Delores up and out of the house.  Hannah is enlisted to make the cakes for the cake parade at the ball.  I liked that we get to learn more about the Swensen women as well as Lisa.  There is a story within a story in this book.  Hannah reads Essie’s notebooks which contains a story she was writing.  I liked this tale.  The mystery was simple but interesting.  I did find the dialogue to be off.  It was awkward at times.  I do wish that the recipes were put at the end of the book instead of between the chapters.  They interrupt the flow of the story.  It was great to visit Lake Eden, Minnesota so I could check in with Hannah and the gang.  There are mouthwatering recipes that will have you heading to the kitchen for a bake-a-thon.  Christmas Dessert Murder contains two A Hannah Swensen Mysteries that will get you in the mood for the holidays.  

Christmas Dessert Murder publishes Tuesday, October 26 and it is available from Amazon*.  You can find the A Hannah Swensen Mysteries here.  The next A Hannah Swensen Mystery is Caramel Pecan Roll Murder which comes out on February 22, 2022.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I am a stop on the Celebrate Lit Tour for A Season on the Wind by Suzanne Woods Fisher tomorrow.  I hope you will stop by.  May you have a thoughtful day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!

Kris

The Avid Reader 

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

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Dear Santa by Debbie Macomber

 Dear Santa
Book Summary

Lindy Carmichael isn’t feeling particularly joyful when she returns home to Wenatchee, Washington, for Christmas. The man she thought was “the one” has cheated on her with her best friend, and she feels completely devoid of creativity in her graphic-design job. Not even carolers or Christmas cookies can cheer her up—but Lindy’s mother, Ellen, remembers an old tradition that might lift her daughter's spirits.
 
Reading through a box of childhood letters to Santa and reminiscing about what she'd wished for as a young girl may be just the inspiration Lindy needs. With Ellen's encouragement, she decides to write a new letter to Santa, one that will encourage her to have faith and believe just as she’d done all those years ago. Little does Lindy know that this exercise in gratitude will cause her wishes to unfold before her in miraculous ways. And, thanks to some fateful twists of Christmas magic—especially an unexpected connection with a handsome former classmate—Lindy ultimately realizes that there is truly no place like home for the holidays.
 
In Dear Santa, Debbie Macomber celebrates the joys of Christmas blessings, old and new.

My Thoughts

Dear Santa by Debbie Macomber is a book that captured my attention from the very first page.   I look forward to reading Debbie Macomber’s Christmas story each year and Dear Santa did not disappoint.  Lindy Carmichael is returning home for the holidays, and she is feeling a little blue.  Her mother suggests that Lindy read the letters she wrote to Santa as a child.  After reading the letters, Lindy writes a letter to Santa with what she would like for Christmas.  Lindy is surprised when the items on her list start coming true.   When one wish comes true, Lindy will need to make a heartrending decision.  Dear Santa has Debbie Macomber’s trademark writing.  Her writing is engaging and draws the writer right into the story.  The story was easy to read thanks to the writing and steady pacing as well as the engaging characters.  I like the lessons in the story.  We all go through rough patches, have heartbreak, or struggles, but something good usually comes from these difficulties.  It is a clean story which I appreciate (no foul language and there is only kissing, hand holding, and hugs between our romantic couple).  Dear Santa is an uplifting story that leaves you with a smile on your face.  The one sad thing is now we have to wait a year for Debbie Macomber’s next Christmas book.  Dear Santa is a sweet, feel-good tale that will put you in the mood for the holidays.  

Dear Santa had me humming Christmas carols around the house (which is decorated for Halloween).  Dear Santa is available from Amazon*.  You can find Debbie Macomber's other novels here.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will return on Friday, October 22 with Christmas Dessert Murder by Joanne Fluke.   I am finishing up the last details of my Halloween display outside.  I need a few spiderwebs.  I will share some pictures with you soon.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!

Kris

The Avid Reader 

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

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Freedom's Song by Kim Vogel Sawyer

 Freedom's Song
Book Summary

Indentured servant Fanny Beck has been forced to sing for riverboat passengers since she was a girl. All she wants is to live a quiet, humble life with her family as soon as her seven-year contract is over. However, when she discovers that the captain has no intention of releasing her, she seizes a sudden opportunity to escape--an impulse that leads Fanny to a group of enslaved people who are on their own dangerous quest for liberty. . . .

Widower Walter Kuhn is overwhelmed by his responsibilities to his farm and young daughter, and now his mail-order bride hasn't arrived. Could a beautiful stranger seeking work be the answer to his prayers? . . .

After the star performer of the River Peacock is presumed drowned, Sloan Kirkpatrick, the riverboat's captain, sets off to find her replacement. However, his journey will bring him face to face with his own past--and a deeper understanding of what it truly means to be free. . . .

Uplifting, inspiring, and grounded in biblical truth, Freedom's Song is a story for every reader who has longed for physical, emotional, or spiritual delivery.

My Thoughts

Fanny Beck is an indentured servant for Sloan Kirkpatrick, a riverboat captain.  Fanny’s father indentured her in exchange for passage for the rest of his family to America.  Unfortunately, Fanny’s father did not realize the fine print indentured Fanny for seven years for each family member which is 35 years instead of the seven Fanny believes.  When a fire on the ship gives Fanny a chance to escape, she grabs it.  It sends her on a journey where she encounters people in need including Walter Kuhn, a widower with a young daughter.  Walter needs someone to watch his daughter until his mail order bride arrives.  Fanny wants to get to New York to reunite with her family, but she needs to earn more funds for the train ride.  In the meantime, Sloan is scouring the Midwest looking for a singer for his riverboat.  What is God’s plan for Fanny?  

Freedom’s Song by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a heartwarming historical novel.  I thought it was well-written with realistic, developed characters.  Sloan is an opportunistic riverboat captain who takes advantage of a man’s inability to read or write.  Fanny is a sweet woman who has led a hard life.  She just wants to rejoin her family whom she has not seen in seven years.  Fanny is a woman of great faith.  She relies on God to direct her journey.  The romance element is sweet.  I like that it happened slowly and was not rushed.  I enjoyed the “embarrassing” moments between Fanny and Walter.  This is a clean story which I appreciated (no intimate situations or foul language).  The theme of freedom (physical, emotional, and spiritual) was woven throughout the story.  It was well-done.  I wish there had been an update on Enoch and his family.  They were such wonderful characters and I wanted to know how their journey ended.  I liked that the story had emotion, suspense, romance, drama, and faith.  There is some predictability to the story, but that did not diminish my reading pleasure.  I can tell the author did her research for this story.  She captured the time period and included good details that enhance the story (the difficulties of traveling by stagecoach for example).  Freedom’s Song is an inspiring, emotional story that was a joy to read.  

Freedom's Song is available from Amazon*.  You can find Kim Vogel Sawyer's other novels here.  I appreciate you joining me today and reading my thoughts on Freedom's Song. Here are some of the other novels that were published today:  In the Company of Witches by Auralee Wallace, Dear Santa by Debbie Macomber, A Christmas Courtship by Shelley Shepard Gray, and Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout.   I will be back tomorrow with Dear Santa by Debbie Macomber.  I hope that you have a joyful day.  Take care of yourself, be kind, and Happy Reading!

Kris

The Avid Reader 

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

Monday, October 18, 2021

In the Company of Witches by Auralee Wallace

In the Company of Witches

Book Summary

When a guest dies in the B&B she helps her aunts run, a young witch must rely on some good old-fashioned investigating to clear her aunt's name in this magical and charming new cozy mystery.

For four hundred years, the Warren witches have used their magic to quietly help the citizens of the sleepy New England town of Evenfall thrive. There's never been a problem they couldn't handle. But then Constance Graves--a local known for being argumentative and demanding--dies while staying at the bed and breakfast Brynn Warren maintains with her aunts. At first, it seems like an accident...but it soon becomes clear that there's something more sinister at work, and Aunt Nora is shaping up to be the prime suspect.

There's nothing Brynn wants more than to prove Nora's innocence, and it hurts her to know that even two years ago that might have been easier. Brynn, after all, is a witch of the dead--a witch who can commune with ghosts. Ghosts never remember much about their deaths, but Constance might remember something about her life that would help crack the case. But Brynn hasn't used her powers since her husband died, and isn't even sure she still can. Brynn will just have to hope that her aunts' magic and her own investigative skills will lead her to answers--and maybe back to the gift she once thought herself ready to give up forever.
My Thoughts

In the Company of Witches by Auralee Wallace is the debut of An Evenfall Witches B&B Mysteries.  Brynn Warren is a likeable and relatable protagonist.  She is still dealing with the loss of her husband which makes her sympathetic.  Brynn lives in the carriage house behind the bed-and-breakfast and helps her aunts take care of their guests.  When their demanding guest, Constance Graves is murdered, Brynn’s fiery Aunt Nora becomes the prime suspect.  Brynn works to clear her aunt whose actions are making things worse.  I thought the story contained good writing with some interesting characters.  Each Warren woman has a unique personality.  The animals are fun & quirky especially Dog.    I like the magical elements.  They enhance the story.  The mystery was thought out.  There are several good suspects in Constance’s death.  It does not help Brynn’s investigation that Constance was a pain-in-the-you-know-what.  Her own siblings are on the suspect list.  There are clues to help readers solve the crime.  I had fun cracking this whodunit.  I like that all the details were wrapped up so there were no loose ends.  The story had whimsy and humor that made it enjoyable to read.  I look forward to reading When the Crow’s Away next spring.  In the Company of Witches is a spirited tale with a challenging guest, an angry aunt, an odd death, an irritating itch, a modicum of magical mayhem, and a killer confrontation.  

In the Company of Witches releases Tuesday, October 19 and can be ordered from Amazon*.  The next An Evenfall Witches B&B Mystery is When the Crow's Away which publishes April 5, 2022.   You can find Auralee Wallace's other novels here.  Thank you so much for stopping by today.  Tomorrow I am featuring Freedom's Song  by Kim Vogel Sawyer.  I hope that you have a magical day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!

Kris

The Avid Reader 


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