Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Verse and Vengeance by Amanda Flower

Verse and Vengeance (A Magical Bookshop Mystery #4)
Greetings!  The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters* plus Verse and Vengeance by Amanda Flower are out today. Amanda Flower is a USA Today bestselling author who has also won the Agatha Award.  Amanda started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she had written to her sixth grade class and had them in stitches. Amanda knew then that she had found her calling.  Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder was an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel.  Amanda is a former librarian who lives in northeast Ohio and recently became engaged.  Her novels include An Amish Candy Shop Mystery series, A Magical Bookshop Mystery series, An Amish Matchmaker Mystery series, An Appleseed Creek Mystery series, and A Magic Garden Mystery series. For more information on Amanda Flower and her books visit her website.  Amanda is on Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and Instagram.
EPBOT: These New Disney Windows Are Pure Magic
Verse and Vengeance by Amanda Flower has Violet Waverly participating in Tour de Cascade Spring with her beau, Chief David Rainwater.  Personally, Violet would rather read a book, but David wanted them to participate in the race together (what a girl does for love).  The race was dreamed up by Violet’s grandmother, Daisy to raise funds for the Cascade Spring Underground Railroad Museum.  Foundation issues were uncovered when construction began at the Village Hall for the museum.  Unfortunately, not everyone in town is in favor of the race or the museum.  To top it off, the pesky private investigator, Joel Redding is back in town and seems intent on following Violet.  Violet and Daisy are determined to protect the shop’s magical essence which communicates with Violet, the current Caretaker, through books.  The evening before the race, the shop keeps putting copies of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman in her path.  Violet is struggling to finish the race when screams ring out.  Joel Redding is dead with a copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass in his backpack.  Chief Rainwater discovers Redding’s bike was sabotaged and soon uncovers a string of suspects.  When Violet’s favorite student ranks at the top of Rainwater’s list, Violet dons her sleuthing cap once again.  
Bike bicycle ride to vet office tuxedo black cat in  by tascha
Verse and Vengeance by Amanda Flower is the fourth A Magical Bookshop Mystery.  There is a delightful cast of characters in this magical tale.  Violet Waverly has just finished teaching another semester at the local college as well as defending her dissertation which has earned her the right to put doctor before her name.  She is looking forward to working in the shop and spending time with her boyfriend, Chief David Rainwater.  Daisy Waverly is Violet’s grandmother and the new mayor of Cascade Springs.  Things are never dull when Daisy is around.  She came up with the idea for the Cascade Springs Underground Railroad Museum and ran short of funding when issues were discovered with the foundation of the Village Hall.  There is Emerson the tuxedo cat that manages to follow Violet around the village (a master escape artist) and Faulkner is the crow that resides in the magical birch tree and calls out unique quotes as well as dropping books into Violet’s path.  There are a variety of charming residents and shop owners plus a curmudgeon or two.  I just love the descriptions of this quant town.  There are some adorable shops and it is close to Niagara Falls.  The mystery was multifaceted with several suspects and good clues.  While I could identify the guilty party, it took longer to figure out the why. This was a unique whodunit.  I like how everything tied together.  Amanda crafted a unique mystery that tied in Walt Whitman.  I especially enjoyed how literature with the help of the essence tied into the whodunit.  Verse and Vengeance also has romance with David and Violet at the forefront, but there is also Daisy and a certain fellow who is smitten with her.  Plus, Violet’s department chair might finally work up the nerve to ask out a certain librarian.  There is humor sprinkled throughout the story that had me chuckling.  That Emerson is quite a character.  Thanks to Amanda Flower’s descriptions, I could envision that cat in Violet’s bicycle basket. Violet’s father returns which brings up old feelings of resentment and confusion.  Can Violet and her father find a way to move forward?  Verse and Vengeance can be read as a standalone for those new to the series, but why would you not want to read all the books in this enchanting series.  The ending of Verse and Vengeance is very special, and I cannot wait for the next book in this enchanting series.  Verse and Vengeance is a spellbinding tale with an enigmatic essence, perplexing poetry, a curious cat, dynamic Daisy, a pesky PI, and a flawed foundation.
indigo bridge, lincoln,ne coffee, tea, & tree
Verse and Vengeance can be picked up here (Amazon UK).  You can find the other books in A Magical Bookshop Mystery series here on Amazon*.  Amanda Flower's next book is Matchmaking Can Be Murder which comes out December 31.  It is the first book in An Amish Matchmaker Mystery series.  I am eager to read it.  Thank you for stopping by today and reading my review.  Tomorrow I am participating in the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Murder, She Encountered by Peg Cochran.  It is the third installment in the Murder She Reported Series.  I hope you will join me.  I hope that you have a joyful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Buch gesucht? For free? Dann mal kurz an der kleinen Bücherbibliothek, Ecke Kollwitzstraße/ Sredzkistraße im Prenzlauer Berg vorbeischauen. Hier stehen fünf Baumstämme, deren Aushöhlungen als kleine Büchregale dienen. Bei Gefallen kann man sich ein Buch mitnehmen bzw. im Gegenzug tauschen. // „Buchcrossing“ Tree Library, Bookexchange at Kollwitzstr. Berlin, Germany.
Little libraries in a real tree
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Monday, December 9, 2019

Fading Into the Night by Vannetta Chapman

Fading Into the Night (Cyber Division Book 1) by [Chapman, Vannetta]
Welcome!  Vannetta Chapman is the author of thirty published books which includes Dead Wrong, The Amish Christmas Matchmaker, and Plain and Simple Miracles series.  Vannetta currently writes for Harper Collins Christian Publishing and Harlequin/Love Inspired.  She recently signed a contract with Harlequin/Love Inspired for six additional books.  Vannetta has a BA and MA in English Literature from University of Texas at Arlington.  She currently teaches English at Central Texas College as well as writes. Vannetta Chapman has a blog plus readers can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.  
Cyber terrorist in military uniform. Masked cyber terrorist in military uniform , #spon, #military, #uniform, #Cyber, #terrorist, #Masked #ad
Fading into the Night by Vannetta Chapman has Nora Brooks heading off to Shipshewana, Indiana to thwart a cyber-attack by elusive Dash.  Nora has been chasing this terrorist for some time, but he always manages to disappear without a trace.  They were able to track him to the tourist town of Shipshewana where Nora encounters Benjamin Lapp.  Ben was surprised on his way to barn to find a woman all in black with a gun pointed at him.  Dash is a chameleon and a charming one at that, but he would have no clue how to milk a cow which eliminates Ben as the threat.  Nora was shot hunting for Dash, so Ben cleans up her wound while she explains her mission.  Ben wants to help stop the threat to his community and Nora could use the assistance.  They join forces to catch the elusive Dash and stop his threats once and for all.
'Captain America', 'Scarlet Witch' And More In New AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Stills
Fading into the Night by Vannetta Chapman is the first book in the new Cyber Division series.  It first appeared in Summer of Suspense.  Fading into the Night is a short story at only fifty-five pages, but it is a captivating.  I was instantly drawn into this suspenseful book.  It is short but packed with action.  I liked Nora who is a strong female agent who does not let a bullet wound stop her from completing her mission.  Ben Lapp was the perfect counterpart for Nora.  Shipshewana was the ideal spot for Dash to pick because the area does not have camera and most of the community lives without electricity.  He can blend while he plots his latest attack.  I appreciated the epilogue which nicely completed the story.  Fading into the Night has suspense, mystery and action.  I enjoyed this riveting tale and cannot wait to read Midnight Strike. 
My Aunt took my bro, grandparents and I to Shipshewana, Indiana to check out a massive flea market and to walk around the amish type stores. It was really clean and very touristy. I just remember all the parked horse buggies on the side of the road. lesliejuvin
Fading into the Night is available through Amazon* (Amazon UK).  Midnight Strike is the second novel in the Cyber Division series and it releases on January 3.  I hope I have helped you to find a new book to read today.  Tomorrow I will return to feature Verse and Vengeance by Amanda Flower.  It is the fourth tale in A Magical Bookshop Mystery series.  I hope that you have an inspiring day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
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Sunday, December 8, 2019

Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston

The Little Shop of Found Things (Found Things #1)
Happy Sunday!  Paula Brackston lives in a wild, mountainous area of Wales.  She has a MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and she is a visiting lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport.  Before becoming a writer, Paula tried several positions that included travel agent, secretary, English teacher, groom on a racing yard and a goat herd (poor goats).  When not writing at her desk under the stairs, Paula plays Swedish tennis with her children as well as gets walked by her dog (I have a dog like that) or hacks at the weeds in her vegetable patch.  She likes to relax with a glass of wine by the pond.  You can find a list of Paula Brackston's novels here on Amazon.
"50 Best Vintage Shops"    48 Decades  ‘Gerardine and I grew up in East Lancashire and dressed second-hand from the great stores there,’ says Wayne. ‘Decades stocks a huge range of women’s clothing and accessories from 1870-1970 and the choice is always wonderful.’   18-20 Lord Street West, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB2 1JX. 01254 693320
The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston has readers traveling across the pond to Marlborough, Wiltshire, England.  Xanthe Westlake and her mother, Flora have purchased a small antiques shop so that can have a new start away from London.  Since Xanthe was a small child she has been able to read certain antiques (psychometry).  The objects that call to her, Xanthe gets memories from them.  Xanthe attends an estate sale where a silver chatelaine calls to her intently.  She feels a connection to this piece, so she sets out to find more about the chatelaine.  One day Xanthe is in the garden and the chatelaine reacts to a small building.  When Xanthe steps through the doorway, she ends up in another era.  An injustice in the past needs to righted, and Xanthe is the only person who can fix it. 
Chatelaine: In the 18th and 19th centuries, women in charge of their estates wore a decorative clip about the waist,of long chains holding useful notions within reach.
The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston has an intriguing premise.  Xanthe Westlake can get memories from antique items that call to her.  She always gets a feeling when near a special object.  After finding a silver chatelaine at an estate sale, Xanthe finds herself in the past to correct an injustice.  I liked the idea of a woman with psychometry ability delving into the past.  Unfortunately, I had a difficult time wading through The Little Shop of Found Things.  I struggled to get through the story.  I kept hoping it was just a slow starter and that I would soon be completely engrossed.  That did not happen.  The pacing is sluggish and certain details are repeated often.  The author has an old fashioned writing style and there are overly detailed descriptions.  I was astonished that Xanthe would travel back wearing Doc Martens and no one notices the odd shoes (really).  I could not connect with Xanthe and I did try.  It took me several attempts, but I did finish the story.  I was just not the right audience for The Little Shop of Found Things.  I wanted to like this book because it is the type of story that appeals to me.  I failed to find the magic in The Little Shop of Found Things.
 Through the door and into the secret garden....
The Little Shop of Found Things* (Amazon UK) is the first book in the Found Things seriesSecrets of the Chocolate House is the second book.  While The Little Shop of Found Things was not right for me, it did appeal to many readers.  To see if it is your type of story, please read a sample and judge for yourself.  Thank you for joining me today.  I am featuring Fading into the Night by Vannetta Chapman tomorrow.  I hope that you have a relaxing day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
În grădină by Theodor Aman
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Saturday, December 7, 2019

An Amish Christmas Bakery by Amy Clipston: Excerpt and Review

About the Book

Book:  An Amish Christmas Bakery

Author: Various Authors

Genre: Amish Fiction, Romance

Release Date: October 2, 2019

From bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four delicious novellas perfect for celebrating love, joy, and the holiday season.

Cookies and Cheer by Amy Clipston  (available here)
As Christmas draws near, Alyssa Byler dreams of a window display for the bakery where she works. When she decides to design and build a sugar cookie nativity scene, all she needs is the right cookie cutters-and handsome blacksmith Kyle Smoker is the one she asks for help. Using Kyle’s handmade cutters, Alyssa creates a striking display that brings more tourists to the bakery than she can handle.

And when shoppers request handmade cookie cutters of their own, Kyle finds himself overwhelmed by the demand. As Christmas approaches, Alyssa realizes she’s been too caught up in work to focus on the true meaning of Christmas-and too distracted to explore the feelings she has for Kyle. Together, they put aside the holiday rush and spend their time celebrating the season that has brought them together.
Nativity Scene Cookie Cutters (Set 1)

Loaves of Love by Beth Wiseman (available here)

As the only girl in a family of eight, Katie Swartzentruber has been left in charge of her family’s bakery while her mother recuperates from surgery. At first, Katie doesn’t think tending to the bakery alone will be difficult. She’s worked alongside her mother for years. But Christmas is coming, and with the holiday comes a flood of patrons, both regulars and tourists. When Katie becomes overwhelmed with the orders she is receiving, she is tempted to move her Old Order family into the modern world by purchasing propane ovens to help with the workload. She finds help from an unexpected source-childhood friend Henry Hershberger, who has harbored a secret crush on Katie for years. He’s been afraid to tell her how he feels, but he’s sure that this Christmas is his moment. As the demands of the bakery only get more intense, both Katie and Henry have to decide what really matters . . . and find the courage within themselves to go after it.
Picture of Stoltzfus Bakery in Central Market, Lancaster PA
Melting Hearts by Kathleen Fuller (available here)

Mattie Shetler is an expert baker, so when her aunt Carolyn begs for help during the busy Christmas rush, Mattie eagerly packs her bags and heads to Birch Creek. What she doesn’t know is that her uncle has also asked for help with the bakery’s new expansion, and he’s asked none other than Peter Kaufman, Mattie’s sworn enemy. As the two work side by side, though, Mattie discovers not all is as it seems. With Christmas just around the corner, Mattie and Peter open their hearts for the greatest gifts of the season: forgiveness and maybe even love.
Image result for amish women cooking pictures
Cakes and Kisses by Kelly Irvin (available here)

Martha Ropp works hard at her family’s bakery, making cakes and pies in preparation not only for Christmas but the many community weddings, including her sister’s. To help during this busy season, Martha’s mother hires Ambrose Hershberger to make deliveries. Martha remembers Ambrose as a gentle giant from her school days, but soon discovers that still waters run deep. The more they work together, the more they want to spend time together outside of the bakery, but both Martha and Ambrose are too timid to make the first move. That’s when the town matchmakers step in.

Click here to get your copy. 
Bakery - pie-making.

My Thoughts

An Amish Christmas Bakery by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Kelly Irvin and Kathleen Fuller contains four Amish Christmas stories filed with joy, hope, faith, and love.  I thought they were all well-written with steady pacing and relatable characters.  I enjoyed reading each of the four tales.  While the stories are cohesive (bakery theme), each novella has the authors distinctive writing voice.  Cookies and Cheer was such a sweet story with the sugar cookie nativity scene (sounds lovely).  I liked the characters and the moral of the story (the true meaning of Christmas).  It has Amy Clipston’s engaging writing which made Cookies and Cheer a pleasure to read.  Each novella has a life lesson, Christmas cheer and romance.  In Melting Hearts, we see the importance of forgiveness.  I could relate to Martha Ropp in Cakes and Kisses with her severe migraines (poor thing).  My favorite phrases came from Cakes and Kisses.  It is “We are all the same in God’s eyes.”  Wouldn’t the world be a different place if everyone viewed individual’s in this manner!  Each of these stories will have you smiling and sometimes laughing.  An Amish Christmas Bakery contains four heartwarming novellas with mouthwatering baked goods, the true meaning of Christmas, good friends, and tender romance. 
12 Amazing Gingerbread Nativities Too Beautiful to Eat

Read an Excerpt

Read an excerpt of An Amish Christmas Bakery by clicking here.  Enjoy!
The nativity, baby Jesus our savior was born. #justdarlicious #babyjesus #nativity #natavityscene #stencil #jesusisthereasonfortheseason…
Decorated Sugar Cookie
An Amish Christmas Bakery is available here* (Amazon UK).  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will return tomorrow to share my review of The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston which is the first book in the Found Things series.  On Sundays I feature books that I was unable to when they were released.  I hope that you have a day filled with sweet treats.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, December 7
The Avid Reader, December 7
Quiet Quilter, December 9
Life as Lanhams, December 10
Britt Reads Fiction, December 10
D’S QUILTS &BOOKS, December 10
Emily Yager, December 11
Texas Book-aholic, December 11
Older & Smarter?, December 13
janicesbookreviews, December 13
Bigreadersite, December 14
Batya’s Bits, December 14
For Him and My Family, December 14
Splashes of Joy, December 15
Lighthouse Academy, December 15
Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 15
EmpowerMoms, December 16
Hallie Reads, December 18
Mary Hake, December 18
A Reader’s Brain, December 20
Little Silver Tale

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Friday, December 6, 2019

Invitation Only Murder by Leslie Meier

Invitation Only Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #26)
Greetings!  Leslie Meier began writing in the 1980s when she was attending graduate classes at Bridgewater State College.  Leslie wanted to become certified to teach and one of the required classes was Writing and the Teaching of Writing.  Her professor said one of her papers was good enough to be published so she sent it off to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazines Department of First Stories.  Leslie received $100 for that story and she has been writing ever since.  The teaching, though, did not work out.  Her books draw on her experience as a mother of three and her work as a reporter for various weekly newspapers in Cape Cod.  Leslie lives in a farmhouse similar to the one of her fictional character, Lucy Stone.  Leslie and her husband live on Cape Cod.  They are now empty nesters, but they do have a cute cat named Sylvester.  She has four grandchildren which keep things lively.  Her Lucy Stone Mystery novels express her view of contemporary American life.  For a list of A Lucy Stone Mystery series in order, click here.  Leslie is on Facebook and you can follow her on Amazon to get updates on her latest releases.
Invitation Only Murder by Leslie Meier returns readers to Tinker’s Cove, Maine.  Lucy Stone along with the majority of the town are invited to a party on Fletcher’s Island which has been purchased by Scott Newman.  Lucy’s husband, Bill was the lead contractor on the barn restoration.  At the party, Scott announces that he has promoted Parker (one of his daughters from his first marriage) to a partner in New World Capital.  Scott invites Lucy to spend a few days on the island for the article she wishes to write on how he has taken the island back in time by eschewing modern technology and promoting an eco-friendly lifestyle. Lucy is looking to a few days away since Zoe and Sara have been sniping at each other since Zoe began dating Mike Snider.  On Lucy’s second day, she is walking on a trail along the outskirts of the island when she finds Parker Newman dead.  The boats have been let adrift, there is no way for them to contact the authorities and the ferry is not due for a few days.  This is not the peaceful respite Lucy had imagined.  Lucy looks for clues and asks subtle questions in an attempt to identify the killer.  Things take a dangerous turn when there is a disappearance and an unexpected discovery.  Lucy hopes help arrives before she becomes the killer’s next target.
Entire home/apt in El Nido, Philippines. This is THE ONLY Exclusive Private Island Retreat in El Nido! The package includes: + Exclusive Private Island Retreat (No other tourists) + Break...
Invitation Only Murder by Leslie Meier is the 26th A Lucy Stone Mystery.  I have read every single A Lucy Stone Mystery and it has always been one of my favorite series.  I like Leslie Meier’s conversational writing style which makes every story a pleasure to read.  I have watched Lucy go from working a part-time job as a customer service rep at night while taking care of her four kids during the day to reporter at the Pennysaver with only two college aged kids at home.  She has solved over two dozen mysteries, but this one is by far the most dangerous.  After finding Parker Newman dead at the bottom of a seaside cliff, Lucy becomes stuck on an island with a killer.  There is no way for them to contact the outside world once the island’s boat were discovered missing.  Scott Newman purchased Fletcher’s Island and is only using technology available in the early 1900s (no cell phones, televisions, motorized boats, electricity).  The story moved along at a steady pace as Lucy helps out in the kitchen, explores the island, spends time with Scott Newman’s twin boys, and attempts to narrow down the suspects.  Most readers will have no problem identifying the culprit before the reveal.  I kept hoping for a twist to surprise me.  Lucy came across as judgmental in Invitation Only Murder.  I can certainly understand her views considering the island residents, but it was unlike Lucy.  I also did not understand the attitude of some of the island’s residents.  If I was on an isolated island with a killer, I would do whatever it took to get help.  I did enjoy the foggy atmosphere of the island which made it feel spooky (great atmosphere for a mystery).  Invitation Only Murder was disappointing to me.  It felt different from the other books in this series.  I missed Tinker’s Cove and its residents.  The story lacked that cozy feel that I love in the Lucy Stone mysteries.  It was interesting to learn about Puffins which nested on the island.  If you have not read any of the other book in A Lucy Stone Mystery series, I do not suggest starting with Invitation Only Murder.  I do, though, highly recommend reading this charming cozy mystery series with the intrepid Lucy Stone.  Invitation Only Murder has impish twins, frightening fog, sniping sisters, a crazy killer and absence of contemporary conveniences.
Portland, Maine:  Go island hopping by taking the Casco Bay Lines ferry out of Portland. It stops at a half-dozen scenic Casco Bay islands year-round and also offers scenic tours including sunrise, sunset, and moonlight cruises. You can also take the Mailboat Run, which lets tourists tag along as the boat delivers mail and freight to islanders.
Invitation Only Murder can be purchased here* (Amazon UK).  I always suggest that read a sample of the book to see if it is the right fit for you.  We each have different reading tastes.  Leslie Meier's next book is British Murder which contains two previously published A Lucy Stone Mysteries (English Tea Murder and British Manor Murder).  It comes out on February 25, 2020.  For two holiday themed Lucy Stone mysteries, pick up 'Tis Season for Murder which contains New Year's Eve Murder and Christmas Carol Murder.  Thank you for dropping by today and reading my review.  I will be back tomorrow as part of the Celebrate Lit tour featuring An Amish Christmas Bakery by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller and Kelly Irvin.  I hope that you have a cheerful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Holiday Homecoming Secrets by Lynette Eason

Holiday Homecoming Secrets (Love Inspired Suspense) by [Eason, Lynette]
Welcome!  Award winning and bestselling author Lynette Eason writes for Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense line and for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.  Lynette lives in Greenville, South Carolina with her husband and is the mother to two grown children.  You can find out more about Lynette and her books by visiting her website.  Readers can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Amazon.
Country Christmas tree lot. I feel like I'm there
Holiday Homecoming Secrets by Lynette Eason has Detective Jade Hollis with the Cedar Canyon Police Department answering a call to an old mill where strange lights were reported.  Jade believes it is a local homeless man looking for shelter until she spots the large mound of dirt.  She investigates and gets hit by the escaping intruder.  Jade is surprised when she is helped up by Bryce Kingsley who she has not seen or heard from in six years.  This presents a dilemma for Jade because Bryce is unaware of their five year old daughter, Mia.  Bryce has spent his time away dealing with an issue and has returned home to Cedar Canyon to become a private investigator.  Despite the time apart, Bryce still has feelings for Jane.  But personal issues need to be put on the back burner when they look into the hole dug by the intruder and find a bloody jersey with two bullet holes.  The jersey belongs to their friend and journalist, Frank Shipman. Based on the amount of blood and location of the holes, they doubt Frank would have survived.  Jade and Bryce team up to locate their friend and the person responsible for harming him.  The perpetrator will do what it takes to keep Jade from getting the answers she seeks as well as making her arrest. 
Photographs of People Running Away From Unseen Dangers ...
Holiday Homecoming Secrets by Lynette Eason is an intriguing story.  The action begins right away and does not let up until the end.  I found Holiday Homecoming Secrets to be well-written and it moved at a quick pace.  Lynette Eason certainly knows how to ramp up the suspense.  I thought the characters were realistic and relatable (well, except for the killer).  The story has a complex plot that kept me engaged.  Jade Hollis is a detective with Cedar Canyon Police Department and has a five year old daughter named Mia.  Bryce Kingsley has returned to his hometown after being gone for six years to establish a PI practice.  He has no idea that Jade had a child after their one night encounter.  I bet he will regret not contacting her now!  Bryce had been dealing with some rough stuff and he is still not completely free of his demons.  He has an adorable dog, Sasha who travels with him.  The pair must put personal issues aside while they search for their friend and journalist, Frank Shipman.  I enjoyed the multifaceted mystery with the dangerous encounters.  I like that it is balanced with time spent with the kids, Jade’s parents, and trimming the tree.  The romance hit just the right note.  I was worried it would be the prominent feature of the book, but I was wrong.  The author managed to create an intriguing and balanced story. I liked the addition of the parents who foster children and currently have siblings residing with them.  You will not want to put down this page turner.  Holiday Homecoming Secrets is an enthralling story with has cute kids, a darling dog, a predatory perp and serious secrets.
Old fashioned garland crafting station from a Cozy Tree Trimming Holiday Party on Kara's Party Ideas | KarasPartyIdeas.com (39)
Holiday Homecoming Secrets is available through Amazon (Amazon UK) and Harlequin.  Thank you for reading my review.  I hope that I have helped you to find a new book and author.  I will be back tomorrow with my review of Invitation Only Murder by Leslie Meier.  It is the 26th A Lucy Stone Mystery.  I hope that you have splendid day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Book lover Art, Gift for Reader, Woman Reading in Park, Figurative Painting by Gwen Meyerson

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Have a Deadly New Year by Lynn Cahoon

Have a Deadly New Year (Farm-to-Fork Mystery #3.5)
Good Day!  Matchmaking Can Be Murder by Amanda Flower comes out on December 31.  It is the debut book in An Amish Matchmaker Mystery series which is a spin-off from An Amish Candy Shop Mystery seriesVerse and Vengeance by Amanda  Flower releases on December 10.  It is fourth tale in A Magical Bookshop Mystery series.  I am featuring author Lynn Cahoon today who writes A Tourist Trap Mystery series as well A Cat Latimer Mystery series and A Farm-to-Fork Mystery series.  She also writes romance novels penned under Lynn Collins.  Lynn lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and three fur babies.  Get a free A Tourist Trap Mystery short story when you sign up for her newsletter by visiting her website.  You can follow Lynn on Amazon (get emails when she releases a new book), Facebook, Instagram and on Twitter.
A One-Day Winter Itinerary for Sun Valley, Idaho -- National Geographic Travel
Sun Valley, Idaho
Have a Deadly New Year by Lynn Cahoon has Angie Turner, chef and co-owner of County Seat, along with her business partner, Felicia Williams and their staff off to Sun Valley.  They have agreed to cater a party for Cliff Henry and his recently reunited band.  The first night turns sour when bandmate, Dane begins arguments.  The next morning, Angie comes downstairs and finds Dane dead in the dining room.  Angie and her staff are trapped in the house with the band when a blizzard comes blowing in.  Angie does not know which person killed Dane, but she intends to find out.   Will Angie and her staff make it to the New Year with a killer on the house?
Have a Deadly New Year by Lynn Cahoon is the fourth A Farm-to-Fork Mystery.  Angie Turners, chef and co-owner of County Seat, along with Felicia Williams and the rest of their staff are at Cliff Henry’s house in Sun Valley.  Cliff is the lead singer of the newly reunited band, Postal Mutiny.  County Seat has been hired to cater a party that evening, and they get the opportunity stay at the cabin until New Year’s Day.  During this retreat, Angie wants them to work on new recipes for the upcoming season.  Angie’s plans fly out the window when band member, Dane is found dead at the dining room table the next morning with a drumstick protruding from his chest.  Sheriff Pearson suspects it is an accidental death from Dane overindulging in alcohol until the test results come in.  Unfortunately, Angie and the gang are stuck at the house with a blizzard raging outside and a killer on the loose inside.  The group from the County Seat attempt to identify the guilty party in between whipping up delectable meals.  The mystery was simple with little investigation (seemed like Angie was avoiding it).  The focus of the book was on food and not murder.  Avid cozy mystery readers should have no problem pinpointing the guilty party before the first course is served.  I suggest reading Who Moved My Goat Cheese? Before reading Have a Deadly New Year.  As it is a novella, you do not get the opportunity to know the characters or their background.   I found the story to be disappointing and not like Lynn Cahoon’s A Tourist Trap Mystery series.  The characters felt flat and so did the story.  I felt Have a Deadly New Year was a miss and not in tune with the other books in A Farm-to-Fork Mystery series.  This will not keep me from reading the next A Farm-to-Fork Mystery this spring titled Deep Fried Revenge. 
4. Take a sleigh ride up to Trail Creek Cabin in Sun Valley.
Have a Deadly New Year is available here (UK).  I suggest you obtain a sample of the book to see if it is the right fit for you as we all have different reading tastes.  You can find the other titles in A Farm-to-Fork Mystery series hereDeep Fried Revenge is the next A Farm-to-Fork Mystery and it releases on April 7, 2020. Thank you for stopping by today and reading my review.  I hope that you have a beautiful day.  I will be back tomorrow with Holiday Homecoming Secrets by Lynette Eason.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra

Meg and Jo
Good Day!  I want to share some of today's new book releases with you.  They include Thin Ice by Paige Shelton, Holiday Homecoming Secrets by Lynette Eason, Have a Deadly New Year by Lynn Cahoon, Murder, She Encountered by Peg Cochran, The Shop Girls of Harpers by Rosie Clarke, The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen, Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra and Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard*.  There is a nice variety so there is something for every reader.  I am featuring Virginia Kantra today.  Virginia is a New York Times bestselling author who has written over twenty novels.  She is married to her college sweetheart who owns a coffee shop.  He keeps Virginia supplied with caffeine and material.  They live in North Carolina where they raised three children.  Virginia is a firm believer in the strength of family, the importance of storytelling and the power of love.  Virginia's favorite thing to make for dinner is reservations. You can find a list of books on her author page on Amazon.  You can find out more about Virginia plus sign up for her newsletter by visiting her website.  Readers can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The book that started my love for reading and is, therefore, my favorite book of all time.
Meg and Jo by Virginia Kantra is a contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Little Women.  The March sisters are grown up and they are each trying to achieve their dreams.  Jo March is living in New York City where after being laid off from the newspaper, she started the food blog, Hungry.  Jo does not use her name on the blog because she works at Gusto with Chef Eric Bhaer as a prep cook. Chef Bhaer has a low opinion of food bloggers but that does not stop Jo from being attracted to the handsome and kind chef.  Meg is married to John and they have twins, DJ and Daisy.  John quit teaching to take a higher paying position at Mr. Laurence’s car dealership which allowed Meg to stay home with the kids.  Meg has everything she has always dreamed of, but she is not happy.  Abby March, their mother, needs surgery and someone is needed to keep the farm running in her absence.  Meg is the only daughter who lives in Bunyan, North Carolina so the burden falls on her.  Circumstances send Jo home where she takes the time to contemplate her future.  The sisters will need each other is they are to survive this tough time and move forward to a brighter future.
Jo Seated on the Old Sofa by                                                       ....Norman Rockwell
Meg and Jo by Virginia Kantra is a modern reimagining of Little Women by Louisa M. AlcottLittle Women is my absolute favorite book which is why I was curious about Meg and Jo.  I wanted to see how an author would modernize this treasured classic.  Let me state that this was a mistake on my part.  I wish I had looked up the author and noticed that she writes romance novels.  This book focuses on Meg and Jo.  It is told from their perspectives in alternating chapters.  Jo still wishes to write, but newspapers are letting staff go.  For some reason, Jo was hired at Gusto by Chef Eric Bhaer to work as a prep cook.  I found this particularly odd since Jo disliked the domestic arts.  Jo has a blog titled Hungry which provides an insider’s view of the city’s food scene.  She does it anonymously which Jo is glad she did after hearing what Chef Bhaer thinks about food bloggers.  There is an attraction between Jo and the chef which develops into something more until complications arise.  Meg is married to John Brooke and they have very busy twins.  Meg quit her job as a loan officer to be a stay at home mom at John’s urging because his mother worked two jobs and was never at home for him.  While Meg loves John and the twins, she is dissatisfied with her life.  Meg comes across as whiny (it is unattractive).  She likes things done a certain way, so she does it all herself but then complains that she does not get help from hubby. Meg makes some poor choices.  I did not like how Meg was portrayed at all.  The story is set in Bunyan, North Carolina so there are stereotypical Southernisms in the story (“Bless her heart” was a repeated phrase).  I especially disliked how Mr. March was portrayed in this book.  It was unappealing and disappointing.  Abby March, the mother, is one who does not like fuss (as we are told repeatedly).  I missed the warm, loving Marmee from Little Women.   Beth is a singer who performs in front of audiences at Branson (can anyone see the shy Beth doing this) and Amy is an intern at Louis Vuitton in Paris (I could see Amy doing this).  Laurie is called Trey in this version and let me just say he is nothing like the kind boy next door from the original.  Meg and Jo comes across as a typical romance novel.  It lacks the warmth of family, sisterly bonding, love, and compassion that was present in the original Little Women.  The author was brave to tackle such a difficult project, but I feel she missed the mark.  There is a preview of Amy & Beth at the end.  
Book of the Week; Louis May Alcott's Little Women Illustrated by Rene Cloke www.marchhousebooks.com
Meg & Jo is available through Amazon* (Amazon UK) as well as other major booksellers (Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks).  While it did not appeal to me, I recommend you obtain a sample to see if it is the right fit for you.  I will return tomorrow with my review of Have a Deadly New Year by Lynn Cahoon.  It is the fourth A Farm-to-Fork Mystery.  I am off to the grocery store.  I hope that have a special day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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