Monday, August 31, 2015

The Skeleton in the Closet

I wanted to tell you about the Kindle Scout program.  It is a program for never before released books.  They can get published based on votes by readers. If the book you voted for gets published, you get a free copy of the book!  Check it out.

The Skeleton in the Closet by Angie Fox is (technically) the second book in the Southern Ghost Hunter series.   Verity Long discovered that she has the ability to see ghosts.  But that is not what she wants to do for a living.  Verity is an artist and has started a graphic design business.  She is hoping to get work as soon as the townspeople forget about the wedding fiasco (which was really not Verity’s fault).  The town is getting ready to celebrate the annual Cannonball in the Wall Festival.  They celebrate the town of Sugarland ousting the Yankee’s from town.  The cannonball became lodged in the wall of the library and never exploded.  Melody, Verity’s sister and Darla Grace, a volunteer, are working hard on the display of Civil War artifacts (and some that are not quite historically correct). 

Verity arrives the next morning to help Melody with the catering for the event.  She sees a shoe sticking out from under a table and finds it attached to Darla Grace.  Melody received a call from Darla Grace about 3 a.m. (not that she was awake to answer it) that she had something important to tell her.  Verity uses Frankie, the 1920’s gangster ghost, to help her find clues to solve the mystery.  Frankie can give her access to the ghost world at the library.  Verity follows the clues to solve the murder.  She also uncovers some secrets.  Both will upset Verity’s enemy, Mrs. Wydell.  One of them will affect the whole town.  Someone does not want the information coming out and is willing to kill again.

Frankie is tired of being grounded to Verity’s property.  He insists that Verity try to unground him (she poured his ashes into her rose bushes and then thoroughly watered them in).  Verity does some research online and attempts to help Frankie.  Verity and Ellis Wydell are keeping their new relationship a secret.  Verity does not want to incur the wrath of Ellis’ mother.  Beau, Verity’s ex-fiance, has decided he wants Verity again and decides to pursue her (despite Verity telling him that there is no way it will happen).  Ellis does not like Beau getting close to Verity.  Soon, though, Verity and Ellis are going to have to make a decision about their relationship.

The Skeleton in the Closet is a fun, paranormal mystery.  The mystery was child’s play, but I the book was still enjoyable to read.  The book is nicely written, fast paced, and provides many laughs.  I get frustrated at times with Verity.  I do not understand why she will not embrace her paranormal gifts (she keeps saying it is not her job).  She has a gift and she needs to embrace it.  I hope that the relationship between Ellis and Verity is resolved in the next book (adults should not be sneaking around).  I give The Skeleton in the Closet 4 out of 5 stars.   It does help to read the first book in the series, but it is not absolutely necessary (you will understand things better if you do). If you are looking for a fun book to read, this is it!

I received a complimentary copy of The Skeleton in the Closet from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  The review and opinions expressed are my own.

I hope everyone has a lovely evening.  I am going to watch Switched at Birth and Chasing Life.  I already miss Devious Maids. Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

The Lavender House in Meuse

The last day of August.  The month just flew by at an astonishing speed.  We received the oddest call today from my parents doctor. They have been seeing him for over twenty years and the yearly physical is in three weeks (was in three weeks). We have to schedule appointments a year in advance to get in to see him.  Now they called to cancel saying he was going to be out of the country swimming the English Channel (I wish him luck)!  I still think we heard wrong.  Then something about doctor's leaving the practice and they will put them on the waiting list.  Am I the only one who thinks this is odd? They do not wish to change doctors and I do not blame them since they have been with him for such a long time.  

The Lavender House in Meuse by Gail Noble Sanderson is an historical novel that takes place in France.  Marie Chagall has been raised by her sister, Solange in Marseilles, France.  As Marie grows older she gets more restless.  When war breaks out, Marie wants to be more useful.  She is excited when people are asked to be trained as volunteer nurses (they have to pay for their own training and they never get paid).  Marie goes off for training in Paris and eventually ends up in a field hospital outside Verdun.  One day Marie wakes up injured.  It takes her a long time to heal and recover.  She then decides to go home to her family.  Once Marie arrives home she falls in melancholy (does nothing).  When Solange and her father decide it is time to travel, Marie must make a decision. Does she want to travel with them or go to the house her mother left her in Meuse?  Marie ends up in Meuse and embarks on new experiences (when she is forced to).  Her father has her change her name to Marie Durant and provides her with new documents (I believe it was supposed to have insight on what was going to happen to Jews in the future).

The Lavender House in Meuse reads like a biography.  It tells the story of Marie’s life (mostly a boring life).  I did not enjoy reading this book.  If I had lived during that time and wrote a journal, I think it would be like this book.  Marie’s life was dull (they did not devote much time to her nursing during the war) and I quickly got tired of her depressing thoughts (she lapsed into depression or melancholy frequently when she was not busy).  The characters have no depth to them.  This book just feel short of the mark.  I give The Lavender House in Meuse 2 out of 5 stars.  The publisher states the book will be available for sale in October 2015.  I could not find the book listed on any book sites (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, BAM).  The book is listed on Goodreads.   I will let you know when I have more information.

I received a complimentary copy of The Lavender House in Meuse from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  The review and opinions expressed are my own.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my review.  I am currently reading A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn. Have a great afternoon and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Christmas Joy Ride

My sister sent me a link to the cutest tennis shoes.  My family loves Ohio State University (we are from Columbus, Ohio and my father actually worked at OSU).  Our den has all kinds of OSU memorabilia (clocks, signs, the mascot, throws, pillows, books, shirts). I also have a winter OSU coat.  So these shoes would be perfect for me.  Aren't they adorable?  My favorite color:  Red!

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson is her latest Christmas story.  Ms. Carlson comes out with a new Christmas story every year and I look forward to reading them.  Joy Jorgenson is eighty-five years old and is moving out of her home.  She is relocating to Phoenix, Arizona to an assisted living facility to be near her sons.  However, she has plans for one last adventure.  Joy has a blog called Christmas Joy.  Her neighbor and friend, Miranda Fortner helped her set it up.  Joy ran a contest on her blog to find people that needed Christmas cheer this year!  Joy has picked six winners.  She has everything planned out, but she just needs to convince Miranda to come along.  Miranda is resistant at first, but she cannot let her friend go from Chicago to Arizona in a RV by herself during winter.  Miranda feels she might as well go. She does not have a job (having lost it six months earlier), her husband left for another woman, and her home is about to be foreclosed upon.  Joy and Miranda decorate the RV for Christmas and set out on their adventure.  Joy wanted to travel Route 66 (which is called different names now) and Miranda handles the navigation thanks to Miss Morris (their GPS).

Their first stop is a nursing home that is in desperate need of Christmas cheer.  They also stop at a diner, a hair salon, a family with six children, and a rehab facility.  Joy gets more tired as they progress on their journey.  Joy may not be able to finish the journey and make it to the last stop.  The last stop on their journey will be in Flagstaff, Arizona.  A little girl named Emily wrote in with the help of a neighbor.  Ever since her mother died when she was three, Emily’s father, Marcus has not celebrated Christmas.  Emily wants a real Christmas and Joy is going to make sure she gets it.  I am sure that Joy will find a way to make sure Miranda finishes the last project.

I found The Christmas Joy Ride to be just delightful.  What a wonderful book.  It is well written, with lively characters, and a lot of Christmas spirit (and hope).  This book made me smile and, in some places, laugh.  I wish there were more people like Joy in the world.  She is a true inspiration.  This book will get you ready to get out your Christmas decorations and make some cookies.  I give The Christmas Joy Ride 5 out of 5 stars.  This is one of those books that I will definitely read again each year at Christmas (to get me in the mood).  The Christmas Joy Ride came out early (August 25 instead of September 1).  

I received a complimentary copy of The Christmas Joy Ride from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  The review and opinions expressed are my own.

I am currently reading Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh (a lot of Christmas books come out September 1).  I am going to relax and get ready for Big Brother and Masters of Sex. Have a lovely, relaxing Sunday evening and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Broken Grace

My parents remind me of Felix and Oscar (The Odd Couple) or Garfield and Odie!  I suggested they each have their own bedroom. My mother watches old westerns old day long (every single day).  I think I know all the words to the Bat Masterson song (since I hear it so many times a day).  My father prefers game shows and sports (all types of sports).  We just need to get him healthy enough to enjoy football season.  He only has nine days left until the first Ohio State game (our favorite team).

Broken Grace by E.C. Diskin is a book of suspense and mystery.  Grace is fleeing in her car when she runs into a deer and totals her car.  Eight days later Grace is being sent home with her sister, Lisa (to the family farm).  Grace’s memory is gone.  She does not remember anything about herself, life, family, or friends.  Grace just gets home when two police officers show up at the house.  Michael Cahill, Grace’s boyfriend (maybe ex-boyfriend, maybe fiancĂ©) was murdered.  The lead detective, Detective Bishop, believes Grace committed the crime and does not believe she has amnesia.  Officer Justin Hackett, rookie assigned to the case, seems to know Grace (keeps it hidden from Det. Bishop) and believes Grace is innocent. 

Grace slowly starts regaining memories by looking at items in her family home and seeing a therapist.  She also goes out and visits her workplace, as well as where she lived (despite doctor’s orders to rest and not drive).  Grace is not liking what she is finding out about herself.  But then she is only hearing one side of the story.  When Grace starts remembering her past, it does not jive with the information she received from her sister, Lisa especially regarding her childhood.  Grace needs to figure out what happened to Michael before she gets arrested. Why is Detective Bishop determined to pin the murder on Grace?  What happened in his past that is affecting this case?  Who really killed Michael Cahill?  Can Grace stay ahead of the killer?

Broken Grace was a very predictable mystery novel.  The crimes were very easy to solve and the “twist” at the end was anticipated (I would tell you but then it would be a spoiler).  I found Broken Grace to be very slow (like slogging through mud).  A good book you just glide through it and you do not want the book to end.  Broken Grace was not like that at all.  I think the author tried to put too many elements into one book (amnesia, affairs, dead parents, bad childhood, murder, biased officers).  The amnesia theme has been overdone this year in books (and I will avoid any more books with amnesia in it).  I kept hoping for something unexpected, but I was disappointed.  I give Broken Grace 2.5 out of 5 stars.  Broken Grace is available on Kindle Unlimited.

I received a complimentary copy of Broken Grace from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  The review and opinions expressed are my own.

I am currently reading The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson (which released early). I look forward to reading her newest Christmas book every year.  I hope everyone is having a great Sunday!  Have an enjoyable day and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Paxton Private Investigations

I am watching HGTV today and I heard something during a commercial that was unbelievable.  The man was for the show Building Alaska (I think) and talking about a good wood stove.  He said how you can heat water on it for your "once a month bath".  Yuck!  Who only bathes (in this modern era) once a month?  I am a firm at least one shower a day.  If I get sweaty or dirty from working outside, I get another shower.  Of course, I also wash my sheets every day (you try sleeping on sheets after Doozy rolls on them, licks himself, carries a kitten onto my bed and licks it).  

Paxton Private Investigations by Juli Alexander is a fun young adult (or young at heart) mystery novel.  Townsey Paxton is seventeen and a junior in high school.   She works twenty hours a week helping her brother at the Paxton PI agency.  It was part of the agreement her brother, Graham, worked out with their father before his passing.  Graham is twenty-seven and Townsey’s guardian.  It was in veterinarian school until their father needed his assistance.  Graham is tired from such much work, and Townsey wants to help him out. 

She sets up an account for herself as a contract worker.  Calls herself Carol Lawrence and waits to receive her first assignment.  Her friends, Felicity and Liz helped her create the fake profile.  Townsey’s first job is a simple background check.  The second assignment becomes more complicated.  Townsey’s notices a pattern.  Then her third assignment leads to trouble.  A woman with a child is a virtual prisoner in her home.  Townsey and her friend, Hearst set out to help her.  Townsey gets in over her head and has to get reinforcements. 

While Paxton PI is a novel for young adults, I just loved it.  I give Paxton PI 5 out of 5 stars.  It is nicely written and keeps the reader engaged.  The story just flows so well and I could not stop reading until I finished the book.  Paxton PI is currently a part of Daring Hearts boxed set (contains fourteen books).  Daring Hearts is available on Amazon and Barnes and NoblePaxton Private Investigations is also available in paperback (if you just want this one book).  It is, though, less expensive to just buy the boxed set. A second book in the Paxton PI series will be out later this year (according to the author). 

I received a complimentary copy of Paxton PI from the author in exchange for an honest review.  The review and opinions expressed are my own.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my latest review.  I hope you are having a wonderful day and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

After the Fall

I have been patiently waiting for the last fifteen years for my house to need repainting.  I am finally getting to paint it (when it cools down), the colors I want.  When we first moved in, my parents did not want a blue house (and I did).  Since my father was doing the majority of the painting, I let them have the green.  Now I get my blue!  I am painting the house my favorite colors:  blue, red, and cream (not a fan of white).  We already of cream soffits and a red door (a little darker than I like), so I just need to add the blue.  I am not talking light blue either.  I would like navy.  We shall have to see how it looks (they balked at having a red house).  What do you think?  Can a house be red?  What about navy? At least I did not ask for stripes (like a flag).  I have seen it done though (it is unique).

After the Fall by Lisa Bingham is a historical novel that starts in early December of 1941 in the Philippines.  Major Rosemary Dodd is in charge of the nurses at Fort Stotsenberg.  She has been in the Pacific for twelve years and is celebrating another birthday.  Her parents keep wanting to know when she will come home. At first they wanted her to marry and settle down, but now that she has hit 40 they want her to take care of them.  Rosemary is attracted to Riley Patrick Gilhouley.  He is assigned to the press corp and is known as the person who can get things.  They two get together one evening and the next day their world will never be the same again.

Glory Bee O’Halloran is a strip tease artist.  She has come to do a performance for the troops at Fort Stotsenberg before taking a hiatus (she is pregnant).  John Macklin picks her up after the performance to stay at the sugar cane plantation he manages.  Glory Bee is awakened by John the next day.  Time to pack and move up into the owner’s hunting lodge in the mountains. 

This book portrays the struggles of soldiers and civilians during the beginning of World War II in the Philippines.  To me the best part of the book was the lovely ending.  It was so sweet.  I am glad that the author did not go into the horrors that the nurses suffered in Bataan and Corregidor (I am a history buff).  I give After the Fall 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it, but did not love it).  I think this books main focus was romance.  The instant attraction between two people.  It is nicely written, great historical details, and lively characters. 

I received a complimentary copy of After the Fall from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  The review and opinions expressed are my own.

I am currently reading A Basket Brigade Christmas (three stories by three different authors).  I hope everyone has a great Saturday! Enjoy and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, August 28, 2015

Death on the Range

My father is still not well.  We gave him a good talking to yesterday about not eating.  He keeps saying he is nauseous.  So I got him some pills for that (he hates pills).  I then purchased the fruit cups he asked for and special drinks (like Ensure) to keep him supplied with nutrients.  I told him that he has to get better so he can fix the front porch (I cannot do it alone).  I also cannot start the lawnmower.  I knew I should have purchased a different type (something with a easy start).  I keep hoping a magic fairy will cut the grass (my mother and I had the same dream that we woke up and the grass was cut). 

Death on the Range by Nikki Haverstock is the first book in the Target Practice Mystery series.  Diana (prefers Di) is getting a divorce.  She decided to start fresh with a new job in a new state.  She accepted the position as the tech person for Westmound Center for Competitive Shooting (archery and guns) in Wyoming.  Her friend, Jess and her husband, Robbie work there and helped Di get the position.  Her first day Di meets Mary Van Dyke.  She is from Korea but was adopted and raised in Minnesota.  Mary is also working at the center (kind of a Jill of all trades) and she is also very good at archery.  Di also met Moo, the Westmound dog.  He belongs to Liam “Lumberjack” Andersson, but Moo rooms the complex (or horseshoe as they call it) during the day.  Moo takes to spending his days with Di.

They are starting a new archery coaching program.  There are new archery standards and all coaches have to take a class to learn the proper methods.  The first class includes four members of the Olympic Summer Games archery team.  They are Tiger, Minx, Honey, and Owley.  The four of them do not seem to be getting along very well.  They is contention among the troops as soon as they arrive.  Honey (the diva) announces that she is writing a memoir of her life and is planning to include juicy gossip from those in the field of archery.  That evening Di is unable to sleep and goes into the complex to run.  She enters the weight room and notices Honey on the floor (shocker)!  Di screams and panics.  Liam finds her and calms her down so he can contact the police.

Mary and Di (when she finally gets over her shock) decide to investigate the murder.  They want to protect the reputation of the center for Jess (who is upset that her new programs are ruined when they have just begun).  Mary and Di stumble and bumble along looking at the clues and interviewing the suspects.  Death on the Range is a very short story (about half the length of a normal cozy).  The characters are very basic and underdeveloped (we do not even get last names to 90% of the main characters).  We get a little more information on Di and Mary towards the end of the book (after they have been drinking).  The murder is extremely simple and easy to solve.  I really only liked two of the characters in the book: Liam and Moo.  They were the most likable (especially the dog).  I felt that the novel was rushed.  I think we were given more information on the Westmound Center than on the characters.  I give Death on the Range 3 out of 5 stars.  Death on the Range is available on Kindle Unlimited!

I received a complimentary copy of Death on the Range from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  The review and opinions expressed are my own.

I am currently reading Skeleton in the Closet by Angie Fox (cute novel).  Have a great Friday, take care driving home, and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Goddess of Suburbia

I wanted to post this real quick before I collapse.  I was plagued by migraines (technically, I suffer from three types of headaches--lucky me) all night so I am low on energy today.  I am so thankful for whoever invented Imitrex!  Wonderful medication!  I received the biggest greeting from Doozy when I returned from the grocery. He even gave me a hug!  Doozy is one friendly dog!  Such a cutie.

Goddess of Suburbia by Stephanie Kepke is a contemporary novel (chick lit).  Max Green Giordano is wife to Nick and mother to four children (Emma, Will, Trevor, and Sam).  She was a pastry chef before she had the four children.  She would like to have a cookie business out of the house, but her husband keeps shooting down that idea.  One day her husband, Nick asked if he could make a video of them having sex (with his phone).  He is a traveling salesman (of restaurant supplies) and wanted it to keep him company on the road (my answer would have been a big NO).  Max, unfortunately, said yes (the answer should always be a big fat NO).  She thought it would help hold their marriage together (what harm could come from a video on his phone she thought).  Then a few weeks later she hears a scream come from her daughter Emma’s room (she is fourteen—need I say more).  A girl from her class sent her a link to a video (guess what video).  There is Max in all her naked glory!  When she confronts her husband, she finds out that he has been having an affair with Sloane Silver Williams (local rich divorcee).  The daughter of the woman sent Emma the video (lovely people)!

Nick claims to be a sex addict and that he cannot help himself (that cracked me up).  Max, thankfully, does not believe him and tells him to move out.  One of Max’s first acts is to change her Facebook status to single (before she tells the kids, family or friends).   The video then goes viral with Twitter, Facebook, and uploaded to a housewife porn site.  First it hits the tabloids and then the national news.  Paparazzi starts following her all over town.  Nick has virtually moved in with Sloane who is just thrilled (posts lovey dovey photos online).  Max feels her life is falling apart especially when her children start having trouble in school (even little Sam in preschool).  One day Max gets an unexpected message from an old boyfriend.  Max dated Ben Miller in college.  One evening while Ben was taking a shower, Max went through his pockets and found a little piece a paper with a name and phone number.  Max assumes it is from a woman (she has trust issues).  This ruins their relationship because of Max’s lack of trust.  Now Ben would like to reconnect with Max.  Is it too soon for Max?  Nick does move in with Sloane and he breaks the news that Sloane is eleven weeks pregnant (which means Max and Nick were still living together at the time).  Max needs to find a way to move on with her life and get past the video (and break up of her marriage).

As I am sure you can tell, I did not enjoy reading Goddess of Suburbia.  It sounded like such a cute, fun book.  Unfortunately, it was just disheartening.  There are long internal monologues from Max with her thinking about her life, daydreaming, obsessing, worrying, etc.  They went on for pages (I skimmed through these sections after a while).  Max was not a likable character.  She had body image issues, commitment issues, anxiety/panic attacks, anger management problems, and she has trouble saying no.  I read to escape life, to venture into a different world and have fun not to be bummed out.  If someone posted a video of me online without my permission (not that I would ever let anyone make such a video), the first thing I would do is try to get it removed.  Max never even looked into it.  To me that did not make any sense.  Then after she reconnects with Ben, she starts these odd daydreaming sequences (where she tunes out everything around her including the kids).  She has not seen the man in twenty years and she is already dreaming of a life with him.  I like reading about strong women.  Max would not even stand up to her daughter!  The writing was just satisfactory and the book does contain quite a bit of foul language.  I give Goddess of Suburbia 1.5 out of 5 stars (I just did not like it).  This book was just not for me. 

I received a complimentary copy of The Goddess of Suburbia from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  The review and opinions expressed are my own.

I am currently reading Broken Grace by E.C. Diskin (it is very slow).  Have a lovely, relaxing evening and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Gone but Knot Forgotten

On one of my Amazon reviews a person posted that they felt they could not trust my review of the book because I received it for free. My review of a book is not influenced in any way.  I write a book on every book I read.  It does not change my review.  I do not feel obligated to write a good review just because I received a complimentary book.  Do you trust reviews if the reviewer received a free book?  What are your thoughts on this issue?  I would love to hear from you!

Gone but Knot Forgotten by Mary Marks is the third book in A Quilting Mystery series.  Martha Rose is fifty-six, Jewish, suffers from migraines and fibromyalgia (I know how she feels).  Martha receives a letter stating she is the executor of Harriet Gordon Oliver’s will.  Martha has not seen Harriet in over twenty years.  They drifted apart after her divorce from Aaron Rose.  Martha immediately contact the attorney, Deke Abernathy.  Turns out that Martha and Deke were at UCLA at the same time (Deke was a football star).  Martha will be responsible for disposing of the assets of the estate and following Harriet’s wishes in her will.  Martha feels she should do this for her friend, but she has no idea what she is getting into.  Harriet’s only son, Jonah died when he was five years old and her husband disappeared many years ago.  Nathan, her husband, was declared dead when he did not return after seven years (and they could not locate him). 

After arranging for Harriet’s funeral, Martha then checks out Harriet’s house.  When she starts checking the insurance inventory against items in the house, there are several Early American antiques missing as well as Harriet’s jewelry.    Martha gets help from her weekly quilting group members Lucy and Bertie.  They start going through the house item by item.  Martha is dog sitting her ex-boyfriend’s dog (he used to be a police dog).  The dog starts digging in the backyard.  Upon investigation they discover a body.  Looks like the have solved the mystery of the disappearing Nathan Oliver.  Before Harriet can be buried, it is discovered that Harriet was murdered.  Martha feels she needs to find out who killed her friend as well as took items from her house.  Martha, Birdie, and Lucy set out to solve the murders as well as discover who took the Early American antiques.

Martha decides to keep Harriet’s house under guard. She calls her friend, Yossi Levy (aka Crusher).  Crusher is a member of the Valley Eagles (motorcycle club).  Two of the members agree to watch the house.  Yossi is hoping to get closer to Martha.  He proposed once and is determined to get Martha to commit.  He slowly starts leaving a few items at Martha’s house each time he stays the night.  Martha feels that Yossi is rushing and needs him to back off (I have no idea why).  When she finds out something that Yossi kept secret, will Martha break it off? 

I found Gone but Knot Forgotten to be a pleasurable book to read (nicely written and the book just flowed so well).  It has fun characters and a good mystery.  I did not understand why Martha kept pushing away Yossi (maybe something in her past or commitment issues).  I wish that it had been explained in the book (it could have been mentioned in the first two books which I have not had a chance to read).  Gone but Knot Forgotten can be enjoyed without having read the first two books in the series.  I give Gone but Knot Forgotten 4.5 out of 5 stars.  It was a pleasure to read this book and I liked a main character that I could really relate to (her migraines and fibromyalgia).  

I received a complimentary copy of Gone but Knot Forgotten from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  The review and opinions expressed are my own.

The second book in the series Knot in Your Backyard is currently $1.99 on Amazon (for a limited time).  Have a lovely evening and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Threads of Evidence

I am curious to see what others think about an issue.  I recently read on a reviewers site, that if she did not like a book she will not post a review. How does that help other people who are interested in buying the book? Twenty people can read a book and each will come away with a different opinion.  I think bad reviews are just as important as good reviews.  It gives buyers different perspectives (as long as the reviewer tells why they did not like the book).  What do you think?

Threads of Evidence by Lea Wait is the second book in the Mainely Needlepoint series.  Angela returned to Haven Harbor, Maine a month ago.  She thought she would only stay around for about six months to help her grandmother. Now, though, she is the director of her grandmother’s Mainely Needlepoint business and has started another business with her new friend, Sarah Byrne.  Sarah owns an antique shop and she also does needlepoint projects for Mainely Needlepoint.  Their new sideline business is to identify, conserve, and restore old needlework.  Angela is busy with learning the ropes at Mainely Needlepoint and preparing for her Gram’s wedding.  Gram (Charlotte Owen) is marrying Reverend Tom on the last Saturday in June.  Angela has yet to find a dress to wear as maid of honor and Gram would like to have a wedding shower (she did not get one when she married the first time).

The Gardner Estate called Aurora has been empty since Millie Gardener died in the early 1990’s.  The actress, Skye West just purchased the property.  She has hired Sarah and Angela to look at the beautiful needlework.  Millie Gardener did a lot of needlework in her later years.  Unfortunately, since the house was so neglected a lot of it is damaged.  There are ten panels, though, that were framed that can be salvaged.  Skye West asks Sarah and Angela to set up a sale of all the furniture and belonging.  She wants everyone in town to come.  Skye offers them $15,000 to get the sale ready in one week.  Turns out that Skye has an ulterior motive for buying the Aurora.  She visited the estate when she was seventeen.  She was friends with Millie’s daughter, Jasmine.  Jasmine died the night of the end of the summer party at Aurora.  It was ruled an accident, but Millie believes her daughter was murdered.  Skye has come to find out the truth.  Angela gets pulled in the case when Millie finds out that she worked with a private investigator in Arizona.   It has been forty-five years since Jasmine died.  Can they really find out the truth after so much time?  The killer does not appreciate Skye and Angela nosing around.  Millie left them some clues, but can they figure them out in time?

Threads of Evidence was a good book.  I enjoyed reading it and solving the mystery.  I like the way it was written.  The book is very easy to read, lovely setting, and good characters.  The mystery is medium level.  It is not simple, but also not extremely complex (I figured it out before I was halfway through the book).  I loved the clues and how they were incorporated into the needlepoint.  The only thing I did not like was Sarah Byrne’s obsession with Patrick West, Skye’s son.  As soon as she saw him, she was very focuses on him (even though he was more interested in Angela).  Sarah acted more like a teenager than a grown woman who owned a business.  One other thing that I found strange was Angela’s focus on alcohol. She was not a heavy drinker or an alcoholic, but it seemed to be mentioned quite frequently throughout the book.  I did not understand her concern over it (nothing wrong with a glass of wine in the evening or with dinner).  Otherwise, an entertaining novel.  I give Threads of Evidence 4.5 out of 5 stars.  Threads of Evidence can easily be relished without having read the first book in the series.  The first book in the series is Twisted Threads (which is currently $1.99 on Amazon for a limited time).  The next book is Thread and Gone which will be out on December 29, 2015!  

I received a complimentary copy of Threads of Evidence from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  The review and opinions expressed are my own.

If you enjoy reading cozy mysteries, you will love Threads of Evidence.  Have a lovely afternoon and Happy Reading.

The Avid Reader

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cancans, Croissants, and Caskets

I have been cutting the jasmine vine off our front porch.  I am finally getting down to the actual porch.  I am discovering more problems.  The vine really did a number of my poor little porch. A good tip to remember is never plant jasmine vine near your porch (a fence or trellis is preferable).

I just finished reading Cancans, Croissants,and Caskets by Mary McHugh.  It is the third book in The Happy Hoofers Mystery series.  The Happy Hoofers are off the Paris, France!  They are dancing on the Bateau Mouche.  It is a boat that does dinner cruises on the Seine.  They will dance each evening for a week (five days).  The ladies rented an apartment to stay at while they are in Paris.  The Happy Hoofers include:  Janice Rogers (actress), Tina Powell (travel writer for a bridal magazine), Gini Miller (documentary filmmaker), Mary Louise Temple (housewife), and Pat Keller (family therapist).  This book is told from the perspective of Janice Rogers.  Each book is told from a different Happy Hoofers perspective (which I really do not like).  The ladies arrive in Paris early on Bastille Day (they did not plan well).  They are to perform that evening on the boat.  They first take a quick nap and then head to the Bateau Mouche to check in with the owner, Henri Fouchet.  They meet his wife, Madeleine Fouchet as well as the singer, Suzette Millet and the band.  Suzette is a lovey singer who is wanting to leave the boat to go to America.  She has been offered to sing at Le Bateau Mouche, a nightclub in New York.  It is named after the boat and owned by Alan Anderson. 

At the end of their first performance, everyone heads to the upper deck for the fireworks.  A scream rings out.  Henri Fouchet has been shot.  Captain Genevieve Chantal arrives to investigate the murder.  Who wanted Henri dead and why?  There are several suspects.  During the day the Happy Hoofers sight see around Paris and at night they dance on Bateau Mouche until there is another death.  Madame Fouchet is found dead.  That is the end of dancing on Bateau Mouche.   There is romance is the air for Janice.  She has two men interested in squiring her around Paris.  Pat is enjoying Paris with Captain Chantal.  While out enjoying the Paris nightlife, Janice stumbles upon an important clue.  Will it get her killed?

I did not like Cancans, Croissants, and Caskets as much as the previous two books in the series.  The mystery was too simple.  I did not like that the Happy Hoofers do not actually work to solve the mystery.  It just kind of happens.  The best part of a cozy mystery is following the clues along with the characters to solve the crime.  There are fashion tips from Janice that I found to be a little simple (and a little idiotic).   It does include some lovely French recipes.  I give Cancans, Croissants, and Caskets 3 out of 5.  I found Cancans, Croissants, and Caskets was too similar to the previous books in the series.  I am tired of Janice attracting every man within a 50 mile radius and they fall in love with her (happens in every book).  Is she Bridget Bardot (I am really dating myself with this reference)?  We did not get many details on each character (we got a little at the very end of the book) because each book focuses on a different character (I wish we would just have one main character).  This book focuses on Janice.  I got really tired of the references to her second marriage (which only lasted two years and ruined her relationship with her daughter) and the honeymoon they went on in Paris.  The book focuses more on the sights of Paris and recipes than on the mystery.  I was just disappointed overall.

I received a complimentary copy of Cancans, Croissants, and Caskets from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  The review and opinions expressed are my own.

I am off to eat dinner.  I hope you have had a delightful day!  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Candy Corn Murder

I am running very late today. I stayed up reading a book (until 4 a.m.).  It was a good book though!  Some great books came out today.  Gone but Knot Forgotten by Mary Marks, Threads of Evidence by Lea Wait, A Ghostly Demise by Tonya Kappes, and Accessory by C.L. Stone.

Candy Corn Murder by Leslie Meier is the twenty-second book in the Lucy Stone series.  Lucy is watching her four year old grandson, Patrick while his parents are in Haiti.  Lucy’s son, Toby is going to school for a business degree.  He was offered a four month fellowship to study fish farming (I have no idea what a business degree has to do with fish farming).  Molly, Toby’s wife, went with him to Haiti.  Lucy has enrolled Patrick in Little Prodigies Day Care (with Lucy and her husband, Bill paying the fees).  Little Prodigies has a unique philosophy (I personally would have found a new day care center). 

Tinker Cove, Maine is getting ready for their first ever Giant Pumpkin Fest.  There will be a giant pumpkin contest, pumpkin regatta, displays of pumpkin people on Main Street, and a pumpkin catapult contest.  Bill has decided to enter the pumpkin catapult contest with the encouragement of his friend, Evan Wickes (goes by Ev). Lucy is not fond of Ev.  He is constantly hanging around the house drinking beer.  He does not have good bathing habits and Lucy has to make sure to stand downwind.  Bill is spending a fortune on wood for the catapult (which is messing with Lucy’s budget).  The day of the contest Ev fails to show up. 

Bill is the first to compete in the catapult competition.  They are aiming their pumpkins at a car that was recently in an accident.  Bill does great.  Lucy goes to get close-up shots of the car and notices fabric similar to Ev’s shirt in the trunk.  Upon investigation they find Ev dead in the trunk of the car.  Unfortunately, the normal police detective is on vacation.  The two detectives assigned to the case believe Bill is responsible (since he does not have a rock solid alibi).  Lucy sets out to prove her husband’s innocence.  When the police search Ev’s home, they discover a pot growing operation (a big one) in the basement and $17,000 in his mattress.   There was more to Ev than met the eye!

The local police have their hands busy when someone is sabotaging Pumpkin Fest.  Someone is taking an axe to people’s giant pumpkins.  Then the Main Street pumpkin people display is attacked (the women characters were viciously destroyed).  Buck Miller has returned to town and is working as Vice President of Marketing at Country Cousins.  He left town over twenty years ago when his father was murdered (he was five at the time).  Buck seems a little too eager and is making many changes to Country Cousins.  Can Lucy solve Ev’s murder before her husband is convicted of the crime?  Who is trying to ruin Pumpkin Fest and why?

You will have to read Candy Corn Murder to find out!  I enjoyed reading Candy Corn Murder.  I have read every book in this series and loved every one of them.  I give Candy Corn Murder 4 out of 5 stars.  The murder was very easy to solve.  I wish it had been a little more complicated.  Candy Corn Murder can be read without having read any of the other books in the series.  It does, though, help to have read the first book (of course, then you will be hooked) Mistletoe Murder since it directly relates to this book.

I received a complimentary copy of Candy Corn Murder from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  The review and opinions expressed are my own.

I appreciate you visiting and reading my latest review.  Have a lovely day and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Monday, August 24, 2015

Deadly Delicious

I believe I have caught my father's summer cold.  My nose has been running since last night, my chest feels tight, and my asthma is worse. Good thing I have a big box of cold medicine!  I wanted to tell you about some great books coming out tomorrow! Gone but Knot Forgotten by Mary Marks, Candy Corn Murder by Leslie Meier, and Threads of Evidence by Lea Wait.  

Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy is a children’s or tween novel.  Josephine Elle DeLune is twelve years old and she thinks she is a useless witch.  The females in her family have the ability to conjure through cooking and baking.  In 1951 Josephine is eight years old.  Her grandmother tries to get her to rescue their ancestor’s spell book from a swamp in Louisiana.  Josephine, who has the power, is unable to get the book (she really does not try hard enough).  Four years later they are living in Paris, Missouri and Josephine is learning to be a car hop at her father’s diner, Carl and Earl’s Diner.  Josephine feels she is a failure at conjuring because all of her recipes fail.  That day she is minding the grill for a couple of minutes when a monster appears in the fire.  He states he is coming to get her.

Josephine has no idea why anyone would be after her.  She does not think she has any powers.  Then Josephine sees Shaula, the night skinned lady.  She is actually an ancestor (it is her book in the swamp).  Shaula states she can help Josephine defeat the Ravenous One who is after her.  Turns out Josephine has too much power which is why her conjuring does not work properly (of course, she has never learned how to use her power properly either).  Shaula tells Josephine that she just needs the right recipe.  Josephine is going to have to learn how to use her powers quickly (and find a spell book of her own) if she wants to stay alive and defeat the Ravenous One (also known as Papa Nom who is the spirit of hunger itself).  Josephine will need help from her Grandmother Lula and her mother, Clara to stay alive. 

Deadly Delicious is a type of novel I probably would have read when I was eight years old (I was an advanced reader).  It is cute, but not wonderful.  There is a romantic element (for a twelve year old) that I did not enjoy.  I felt that twelve is a little young for romance and kissing (and we do not need to give children any ideas.  They get enough from television).  I give Deadly Delicious 3 out of 5 stars.  I like the idea for the book and the characters, but I just felt the book needed a little work.  I wish the conjuring had been explained a little better (it is a little ambiguous). 

I received a complimentary copy of Deadly Delicious from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  The review and opinions expressed are my own.

I am off to rest and hope that this cold goes away quickly (of course I will be reading)!  The season finale of Devious Maids is on tonight (I just love this show).  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Missing You

We have this jasmine vine on our front porch that has taken it over. The problem is that I am very allergic to this particular plant (I am sure that it seems I am allergic to everything and I am).  It has flowers that make me sneeze (and my nose run) and when you cut it there is this white stuff inside (that stains my clothes and makes my skin itch).  Now I did not put this plant here!  My mother insisted on it (I am sure you can tell that she is very forceful).  But she did promise to take care of it (I bet all of you are laughing at this).  My mother has not done yard work since she put in this plant (about fourteen years ago).  I needed to trim the vine, because I am sure that we will find people stuck in it (it would look good at Halloween though)!  I made sure to cover up my arms and legs as much as possible (to avoid itching). Unfortunately, I forget to wear good gloves (mine were too thin), and I now have big blisters on my right hand.  I did not discover any people, but I did find a board that needs to be replaced and a disintegrating flower pot.  

Missing You by Louise Douglas is a typical romance novel with a very small mystery (not really) element.  Sean comes home from work to find his wife waiting for him at the door with his belongings.  She wants him to move out.  They have been married for eleven years and have a daughter named Amy.  Belle has met and fallen in love with another man (an older man who is a writer).  After staying in tacky motel rooms, Sean is told about a room to let by his colleague, Lina. 

Fen Weller lives on her own with her son, Connor.  Connor has mild cerebral palsy.  Fen works in a bookstore called The Gildas Bookshop.  Fen is constantly looking over her shoulder and does not live her life to the fullest.  She has put her life in a holding pattern since an accident occurred ten years ago.  She needs more income so she decides to rent out her extra room.  The room used to belong to her brother, Tomas.  Fen has not seen Tomas in years.  He has a drug addiction. 

Sean moves into Fen’s room and the two start to slowly get to know each other.  Sean has to come to reality that his wife, Belle has moved on with her life and so must he.  Just when things are working out between Sean and Fen, Belle starts calling.  Belle has broken up with the Other (as Sean called her boyfriend).  Belle now wants what she cannot have.  Belle keeps calling needing help and then she takes too many pills.  Sean is forced to go back to his old home and help her out.  Sean feels he needs to be there for their daughter, Amy.  But is this what he really wants?  Fen has to face up to what happened ten years ago.  Fen cannot move on with her life until she acknowledges what happened and makes things right.  Will Sean and Fen get back together?  What happened with Fen ten years ago?

When I picked this book, I thought there would be more mystery in it.  The so-called mystery or secret that Fen was keeping was so easy to figure out.  I knew what the ending of this book would be as soon as Fen decided to let her extra room (British novel).  I give Missing You 2.5 out of 5 stars.  It was just an okay book.  It was nothing new or exciting or different (I need to be more careful when picking books)!  If you are looking for a romance book, then you will enjoy Missing You.  If you are looking for something more, than this is not the book to read.  Missing You was nicely written and the flow was not bad (I would have enjoyed this book when I was in my teens).  I felt that there were some areas that could have been left out completely and would not have made a difference in the story.  Missing You is available on Kindle Unlimited.

I received a complimentary copy of Missing You from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  The review and opinions expressed are my own.

Thank you so much for stopping by!  I am currently reading Threads of Evidence by Lea Wait.  If you enjoy my reviews, please join my blog (link on the side).  Have a fabulous Monday and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader