Tuesday, June 11, 2024

The Stranger in the Library by Eva Gates

 The Stranger in the Library

Book Summary

Outer Banks librarian Lucy is working on an art show at the library when paintings–and people–start to go missing, in this 11th Lighthouse Library mystery from national bestselling author Eva Gates.

When a traveling show of impressionist art comes to Nags Head, North Carolina, librarian Lucy and the staff at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library are inspired to create an educational display about art history. Their launch of the display is a huge success, but the morning after, they discover that a reproduction of a famous painting has gone missing.
No one knows why anyone would bother stealing it: the picture is of no value–the real, priceless painting is under lock and key at the art show itself. Lucy gets an invite to the glitzy opening night for the real show, where she notices unusual tension among the show’s organizers. Then, the man scheduled to give the welcoming speech fails to arrive, and a party-goer is discovered drowned in a fish pond.

Meanwhile, Louise Jane is totally captivated by Tom Reilly, a handsome, charming art dealer lurking at the edges of the receptions on both nights. Tom slipped away from the party early, and he cannot be located by the police. Who, Lucy asks, is Tom Reilly, the shadowy figure threatening to break Louise Jane’s heart?

Something is afoot in Nags Head, and it’s up to Lucy and her friends to get to the bottom of it before it’s not just paintings being framed.
My Thoughts

The Stranger in the Library byEva Gates is the eleventh A Lighthouse Library MysteryA Lighthouse Library Mystery.  It can be read as a standalone for those new to the series.  I always enjoy returning to Nags Head, North Carolina.  The author’s descriptions capture the area and the buildings (real and imagined). I would love to work in the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library (it reminds me of the TARDIS).   Lucy has been busy working on an educational impressionist art display for the library to complement a traveling impressionist art show that is visiting the town.  Louise Jane, of course, gets in on the act by donating a family painting to the library’s exhibit. Lucy is a strong female protagonist.  She is friendly and relatable (I would like to be her friend). She picked up some gorgeous dresses on her honeymoon (lucky girl). 

There is a delightful cast of characters in this series.  I have even come to like Louise Jane.  The mystery was well plotted and paced.  There are some twists along the way.   I loved joining Lucy as she asked questions and searched for clues.  I was not left with any lingering questions at the end (hooray).  The Bodie Island Classic Novel Reading Club chose Ripley Under Ground by Patricia Highsmith.  I enjoy it when an author mentions a book that I have not read previously (gives me a new book to add to my TBR pile). I liked the author’s note at the end with her explanation of the MacGuffin she used in the story.   I was sad when my trip to Nags Head came to an end, but I hope I will get to visit again soon.

The Stranger in the Library can be obtained from Amazon* along with the other novels in A Lighthouse Library Mysteries.  You can follow Eva Gates/Vicki Delany on Amazon and receive an email when she has a new book release.   Thank you for stopping by today.  As you can tell, blogger has still not fixed their issues (big sigh).  I am off call the computer company regarding my still broken computer (a warranty does not guaranty quick service or that they will find the warranty in their system).  I have provided proof of purchase (I am old school and keep copies of my receipts as well as warranties in file folders which paid off this time) and I am curious what they will say this time (I have a brand name computer with the warranty through them).  Wish me luck!  I hope that you have a perky day (and that you keep cool--it is so hot and humid).  Take care and Happy Reading!


Kris

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.  

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using my links, I will receive a small commission from the sale at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting The Avid Reader. 


Thursday, June 6, 2024

Hidden in the Night by Elizabeth Goddard

Hidden in the Night
Book Summary

At the behest of her ailing mother, former FBI special agent turned rare-book collector Ivy Elliott arrives in Alaska to secure an unpublished Jack London manuscript kept secreted away for decades. But when she arrives, she learns the manuscript is gone--taken by the granddaughter of the woman who possessed it. Ivy sets off in pursuit, not just to save the manuscript but to save the vulnerable girl, who was previously trafficked and has no idea what she's getting herself into.
 
Joining forces with Alaska State Trooper Nolan Long, Ivy must battle a blizzard, sabotage, and the worst of an Alaskan winter as the search goes on. But every answer they find only raises more questions--and the danger to their lives and to the missing girl may only be the tip of the iceberg.

My Thoughts

Hidden in the Night by Elizabeth Goddard is the third book in the Missing in Alaska series.  It can be read as a standalone for those new to the series (like me).  I enjoyed the author’s picturesque descriptions of Alaska.  I like suspense books set in Alaska.  There is something about this remote cold wilderness that heightens the danger and adds to the suspense.  Ivy Elliott is a unique woman. You can tell she loves her mother.  Alaska State Trooper Nolan Long is a man of strong character.  The mystery was intriguing.  I liked that it revolved around a missing Jack London manuscript.  I found the first half to be a little slow, but the pacing picked up in the latter part thanks to all the action.  There is a good wrap up at the end, so I was not left with any lingering questions.  The romance blended nicely with the suspense, but I could have done with less romance.  It was not rushed, and it was clean.  I can tell the author did her research for this series.  She included some great details that add to the experience.  Hidden in the Night is a suspenseful story with a great cast of characters, plenty of twists and turns, faith, and romance. 

Hidden in the Night can be obtained from Amazon*.  You can find the first two books in the Missing in Alaska series here.  The first two books in the Missing in Alaska series are Cold Light of Day and Shadows at Dusk. Elizabeth Goddard has Suspicious Homicide coming out on June 25.  You can find Elizabeth Goddard's other novels here.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will be sharing by thoughts on The Stranger in the Library by Eva Gates on Tuesday, June 11.  I am taking my mother to an appointment this afternoon (shall we take bets on whether she cancels or is late).  Wish me luck!  I have plans to work in my raised gardens this weekend.  My poppy plants have died out (they thrived February through early May, but the heat did them in). I need to pull out the dead vines and then I can add summer friendly plants.  I will work in the late evening to beat the heat (and wear a neck fan).  I hope you have a relaxing weekend.  Take care and Happy Reading!


Kris

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, June 5, 2024

Fondant Fumble by Jenn McKinlay

 Fondant Fumble

Book Summary

The Fairy Tale Cupcakes crew helps two professional football players in knead when the athletes are suspected of murder and their dream of opening a bakery is crushed.  

Professional football players Keogh Graham and Tyler Matthews want to open a Fairy Tale Cupcakes franchise. They’re spending the off-season in Scottsdale working in Mel’s bakery, learning about the business and how to bake show-stopping cupcakes. The popular athletes bring a boom of customers to the store as football fans flock to see the friends mixing batter and piping icing.

Everyone’s excited the athletes are pursuing their dream of owning a bakery—except for those who fear the players will ditch football for fondant and retire early from professional sports. The angry naysayers include their team owner and Keogh's sports agent, along with some very vocal fans.
When the owner of their team, the Arizona Scorpions, is found dead on the floor of their new bakery following an argument with Keogh, the pros become prime suspects. As the investigation heats up, Mel and the rest of the cupcake bakery crew must step up and prove their franchise owners are innocent before it’s game-over for the new bakers.

My Thoughts

Fondant Fumble by Jenn McKinlay has Mel and Angle helping two professional football players open a franchise of Fairy Tale Cupcakes.  What trouble could two handsome, well-known football players be?  I liked the unique concept. Jenn McKinlay manages to be descriptive without being overly detailed.  I could envision the big football players in the bakery kitchen wearing Fairy Tale Cupcake aprons and holding an icing bag in their large hands (in the case of one player, a cupcake or two that were being quickly devoured).  It was great to catch up with Mel, Angie, Tate, Joe, Marty, Oz, and the DeLaura brothers.  Ray continues to surprise me.  Mel is a friendly, relatable character.  The mystery was entertaining.  I had an inkling as to the identity of the guilty party early on, but I needed confirmation.  I joined Mel as she set out to prove Keough’s innocence by asking questions and following the sprinkling of clues.  The reveal made sure I was not left with any lingering questions.  

There is happy news at the end for Mel and Joe.  I love the humor dotted throughout the story.  The scrumptious cupcake descriptions will have you heading for your nearest bakery.  Fondant Fumble is the sixteenth A Cupcake Bakery Mystery and it can be read as a standalone.  The author provides the necessary background details for new readers. Mel fangirling over the new franchise owners (she loves her husband, but a girl can ogle the eye candy) was cute.  Fondant Fumble is a sweet treat with delectable cupcakes, football franchisees, a difficult fan, vanilla vomitus, window repairs, and a jovial family.  

Fondant Fumble is available from Amazon*.  You can find the other A Cupcake Bakery Mysteries here.  Check out Jenn McKinlay's other novels especially her A Library Lover's Mysteries.  Thank you for dropping by today.  I will be sharing my thoughts on Hidden in the Night by Elizabeth Goddard tomorrow.  It is the third book in the Missing in Alaska series.  I'm sorry that my links are still looking wonky.  Blogger has yet to fix the problem (we cannot change the color of links and it is duplicating the links--some funky things are happening).  I hope they fix the problem soon.  I am off to contact HP regarding my main computer (thankfully, I have a warranty).  It decided to die the other day.  The battery went down, down, and then it was dead.  I am glad that I purchased the three year warranty (two year and I would have been out of luck).  My back up computer is not a looker (my cat used her nails to pull up a couple of keys), but it gets the job done.  I hope that you have a joyful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


Kris 

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, June 4, 2024

The Amish Book Cellar by Tracy Fredrychowski

The Amish Book Cellar

Book Summary

It will take everything she has to face her past.  Can this wayward woman find her way back into the hearts of her Amish community?  


When a mistake forces Lydia Troyer to leave her Amish roots in exchange for a new life as an Englischer, she finds herself running from more than her past as Wally Troyer's rebellious daughter.

Upon her father's untimely death, she is called home to take over The Book Cellar, Willow Springs's favorite Amish bookstore. A series of strange happenings and whispers among her people lead her to suspect there are more than books hidden in the cellar. Will she chance getting her heart broken again if she leans on a longtime friend and carpenter, Aaron Shetler, to help her discover the truth?

Widower Aaron Shetler has too much at stake to allow Lydia Troyer back into his life. Will it take his young daughter, Mattie Rose, to convince him what he yearns for the most is the one thing he's fighting against the hardest?

Together with their Labrador, Yankee, Lydia, and Aaron help bring to light a century of mysteries waiting to be unearthed about some of Willow Springs's most upstanding citizens.

Can this woman find the courage to stand up for what is right and find her place back among her people? 

My Thoughts

The Amish Book Cellar by Tracy Fredrychowski is the first book in A Willow Springs Amish Mystery Romance series (that is a mouthful).  I enjoyed getting to know Lydia and Aaron.  Lydia’s love of books was apparent, and I like how she encouraged others to find joy in books.  Aaron’s daughter, Mattie Rose is a sweetheart, and I loved Lydia’s dog, Yankee (he is protective of Lydia).  The author did a wonderful job at creating the villains.  The mystery had some fascinating elements. The mystery drew me in (I love a good whodunit), but the ending left me wanting.  The romance was sweet.  I like how faith was woven throughout the story.  My favorite phrase from The Amish Book Cellar is, “Gott’s love knows no bounds.  He sees beyond our faults and failures and embraces us with open arms.  All we need is to trust in that.”  The Amish Book Cellar is an uplifting tale about forgiveness, family, love, and faith. 

The Amish Book Cellar is the first book in the A Willow Springs Amish Mystery Romance series. If you like secrets, disappearances, plot twists, and sometimes murder, then you'll adore Tracy Fredrychowski's small-town whodunnit Amish romance mysteries.  You can find Tracy Fredrychowski's other novels here.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will return tomorrow with Fondant Fumble by Jenn McKinlay.  It is the 16th A Cupcake Bakery Mystery.  I hope you have a cool day (it is just so hot and it is just the beginning of June).  Take care and Happy Reading!


Kris

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 29, 2024

The Widow's Unexpected Suitor by Lenora Worth

 The Widow's Unexpected Suitor

Book Summary

She thought she’d never find love again

Until he built a foundation for it…

Amish widow Lilah Mehl wants to make sure her daughter has the wedding she’s always dreamed of—even if it means building a new gazebo. Hiring widowed carpenter Noah Lantz to work on the project is easy, but ignoring their attraction proves more challenging than expected. As the gazebo takes shape, so do new feelings…but is love more than they bargained for? 

From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope.

My Thoughts

The Widow’s Unexpected Suitor by Lenora Worth is a story about love, hope, family, second chances, and faith.  I enjoyed getting to know the characters.  Sarah could be a tad overwhelming at times (I believe Lilah overindulged her since the death of her husband). I thought the characters were developed.  I enjoyed the Pinecraft setting.  It is different from other Amish communities (no horse and buggies, church services are not held in the home).  The plot is thought out and the story moved along at a good pace. Lilah and Noah are both missing loved ones which gives them a connection. The construction of the gazebo will give them time to get to know each other.  Of course, the weeks leading up to a wedding are a busy time.  I enjoyed the descriptions of the gazebo (I want Noah to build me one).   The ending left me smiling.   The Widow’s Unexpected Suitor is a sweet, uplifting story. 

The Widow's Unexpected Suitor can be ordered from Amazon*.  The first book in the Pinecraft Seasons series is Pinecraft Refuge.  You can find Lenora Worth's other novels here.  Thank you for joining me today.  I am sorry the links are in odd colors today.  Blogger decided not to cooperate.  It was acting oddly (would not allow me to add links, change the color of words, and so much more).  I will return on Tuesday, June 4 with The Amish Book Cellar by Tracy Fredrychowski. The heat and humidity are causing me more discomfort than normal (fibromyalgia and heat do not mix well).  I hope that you have a jolly weekend.  Take care and Happy Reading!


Kris

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 28, 2024

Shielding the Innocent Target by Terri Reed

 Shielding the Innocent Target

Book Summary

A child under his protection…

and a hit man in pursuit.

After witnessing her boss’s murder, Paige Walsh must trust Deputy US Marshal Lucas Cavendish to bring her to safety. But when a notorious assassin targets her and her son, Lucas’s short-term assignment turns into a dangerous cross-country mission. For Paige to identify her boss’s killer, Lucas must get the family into witness protection. Except the hit man knows their every move…and trusting the wrong person could get them killed.

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.

My Thoughts

Shielding the Innocent Target by Terri Reed pulled me in from the beginning.  I liked the characters especially Kenny and Aslan (what a clever and sweet therapy dog).  I enjoyed the action, suspense, and mystery.  There were twists and turns that kept things lively.  There is a thrilling conclusion to the whodunit.  Faith was nicely woven into the story.  My favorite phrase is from the verse in Romans “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him.”  The finale had me smiling.  I did feel, though, that the ending was a tad rushed (I would have liked an epilogue).  I have a feeling that Kenny will continue to wear a cowboy hat like his hero.  Shielding the Innocent Target is the final book in the author’s U.S. Marshal series (Lucas first appeared in Forced to Hide), but it can be read as a standalone.  Shielding the Innocent Target is a suspenseful tale with a slain prosecutor, an adorable boy, a protective cowboy, an astute therapy dog, a resolute killer, and a rare romance. 

Shielding the Innocent Target can be obtained from Amazon* as well as other major booksellers. The first three books in the U.S. Marshall series are Forced to Flee, Forced to Hide, and Undercover Christmas Escape.  You can find Terri Reed's other novels here.  You can learn more about Terri Reed and her books by checking out her website.  Thank you for joining me today.  Tomorrow I am featuring The Widow's Unexpected Suitor by Lenora Worth.  It is the second book in the Pinecraft Seasons series. I am off to run a couple of errands.  It is time for me to switch to tank tops thanks to the high heat and humidity we are experiencing this year.  I am very thankful for the inventor of air conditioning. I hope that you have a cheery and cool day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


Kris

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.

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!


Kris

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

Unforgiven

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!


Kris

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, fiery flames, deficient vision, and a struggle to survive.

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!


Kris

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.