Monday, November 30, 2015

Refining Fire

It is the last day of November.  The month went by so quickly. Today is also Stay at Home Because You are Well Day!  What a wonderful day.  I am a firm believer in this day.  Every now and then a person needs a day off just to relax.  No because you are sick or a child is sick.  You need a day to be able to lounge in bed and be lazy.

Refining Fire by Tracie Peterson is the second book in the Brides of Seattle series. It takes place in Seattle, Washington Territory in 1889.  Abrianna Cunningham and Militine Scott attend the Madison Bridal School.  Militine is attending the school, but she is not serious about finding a husband.  She has secrets in her past (she is only twenty-two) and does not think anyone will ever want her if they find them out.  Thane Patton knows something about secrets.  He is attracted to Militine and would like her to consider a future with him.  Can these two overcome their past to have a beautiful future?  Will they be able to survive Abrianna and her ideas?

Refining Fire can easily be read without having enjoyed the first book in the Brides of Seattle series.  I have read just about every book ever written by Tracie Peterson and this is the first one that I have not enjoyed.  I found it to be very preachy.   It is over the top, in your face, shove it down your throat preachy (I prefer it to be more subtle).  The story is cute though predictable.  It is a normal, Christian romance book.  I did not like Abrianna.  I found her to be an unlikeable character (very pushy).  I give Refining Fire 3 out of 5 stars.  The writing is good (as always), but I just did not enjoy the story.

The other books in Brides of Seattle series are Steadfast Heart and Love Everlasting.  A book of Tracie Peterson's that I recommend reading is City of Angels (co-written with James Scott Bell).  I received a complimentary copy of Refining Fire from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Thank you for visiting!  I am currently reading Medici's Daughter by Sophie Perinot (very disappointing).  Tomorrow (December 1) is book release day!  I love getting new books.  I will tell you about some of the new releases tomorrow.  Have a great evening and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Death Comes to Kurland Hall

Happy Square Dance Day!  Square dancing was brought to America from our Irish, English, and Scottish ancestors.  In the United States we added the caller to help the dancers stay in step. Square dancing is a great form of exercise.  So grab your partner and dosey do.

Death Comes to Kurland Hall by Catherine Lloyd is the third book in Kurland St. Mary Mystery series.  The story takes place in Kurland St. Mary, England in 1817.  Sophia Giffin and her fiancé, Andrew Stanford are getting married.  Miss Lucy Harrington is going to stand up with Sophia (her best friend) and Major Sir Robert Kurland is going to stand up for Andrew.  It will be a little awkward since Lucy just turned down the Major’s proposal (she does not believe he really meant it and that he was pressured into it).  The wedding party and the guests adjourn to Robert’s estate for the reception.  After the newly married couple depart, Lucy finds Mrs. Maria Chingford dead at the bottom of the back stairs.  Mrs. Chingford had been after Lucy’s father (the local rector) and their engagement was announced at the reception. 

Robert and Lucy set out to find the culprit.  There are plenty of suspects as Mrs. Chingford made enemies wherever she went (even her daughters did not like her).  Then one of the suspects ends up dead.  Robert and Lucy will have to work quickly to find the killer before there are more victims.   With Robert and Lucy working together, they might be able to work out their differences for a happy future. 

While Death Comes to Kurland Hall is the third book in the series, it can be read alone.  I think, though, it would be beneficial to read the other two books (there are references to things that took place in the previous two novels).  I am going to go back and read the first two books.  I enjoyed the characters (most of them) and the beautiful setting of Kurland St. Mary.  The mystery, though, was not complicated and easy to figure out (though the author does try to mislead the reader).  The author, though, did provide good clues that helps the reader figure out the killer (in case you did not solve it early in the book).  The author’s style of writing is engaging making for an easy to read book.  I give Death Comes to Kurland Hall 4 out of 5 stars.  It is nice to take a break from novels set in the current time period to read an historical cozy mystery.  There is, of course, some romance in the book.  Robert and Lucy have chemistry. Robert and Lucy have to decide if they want a future together (there is also some misunderstandings thanks to a lack of communication).  I look forward to reading more books by Catherine Lloyd.

The first two books in the Kurland St. Mary Mystery series are Death Comes to the Village (available on Kindle Unlimited) and Death Comes to London.  I received a complimentary copy of Death Comes to Kurland Hall by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading The Seafront Tearoom by Vanessa Greene. What about you?  I am always looking for new books to read.  I am off to run a couple of errands.  Have a nice, relaxing Sunday.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Cardiac Arrest

Happy Red Planet Day!  It is a day to honor our celestial neighbor Mars which is the fourth planet in the solar system.  Did you know that Mars get is name from the Greek word Ares (God of War)?  It is the seventh largest planet and it does not have any moons.  Red Planet Day is also to commemorate the launch of the Spacecraft Mariner 4 on this day in 1964.  

Cardiac Arrest by Lisa Q. Mathews is the first book in The Ladies Smythe and Westin series.  Dorothy Westin is a seventy-eight year old woman living in Hibiscus Pointe in Milano, Florida.  It is a community for people over the age of fifty-five (we have a lot of them in Florida).  Dorothy is getting ready for her morning swim when she notices Summer Sloan-Smythe.  She is considerably younger than the rest of the residents (twenty-nine and not very bright).  Summer’s grandmother passed away recently and Summer is staying in her apartment (courtesy of her father).  Summer has a new job at Dr. Anthony Amoretto’s office.  Dr. Amoretto is a popular cardiologist in Milano (the ladies love him).  Unfortunately, Dr. Amoretto dies shortly after Summer arrives at work.  Dorothy was also in the office for her checkup.

Dorothy and Summer team up to find out who killed Dr. Amoretto when Summer is deemed a person of interest.  This unlikely duo will have to look into Dr. Amoretto’s life to find out who wanted him dead (turns out the list is longer than they thought). 

Cardiac Arrest is an average novel.  I did not hate it nor did I love it.  Dorothy is the main character but we received very few details on her (except where she lived).  The mystery was extremely simple.  It was child’s play to solve (the killer was so obvious as well as how he was killed).  I found Summer to be a very annoying character (very shallow).  I give Cardiac Arrest 2.5 out of 5 stars.  It was just a mediocre book (and I am glad that I did not pay for it).  I do not believe I will read any other books in The Ladies Smythe and Westin series. 

I received a complimentary copy of Cardiac Arrest from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

There will be a new Hallmark Christmas movie tonight starring Candace Cameron Bure (there is nothing else on).  The movies are sappy, but sweet.  I hope all of you have had a relaxing Saturday.  I spent the day reading (I could not help myself).  I am currently enjoying Until the Dawn by Elizabeth Camden.  Have a great evening, take care, and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, November 27, 2015

Death by Tea

Happy Black Friday!  Today is also Buy Nothing Day!  Talk about an oxymoron.  The day was created as a protest against the commercialism of Christmas.  They ask that you not purchase anything for twenty-four hours (on Black Friday?).  I think the majority of people purchased items today.  Either in the store or online (like me).  I cannot stand crowds so I take advantage of the deals online.  I want this to be a special Christmas for my mother. It will be a difficult one for all of us as it will be the first Christmas without my father. 

Death by Tea by Alex Erickson is the second book in A Bookstore Café Mystery series.  Krissy Hancock is part owner in Death by Coffee (named after a book by her father, James Hancock) with her best friend, Vicki Patterson in Pine Hills.  Rita Jablonski (a big fan of James Hancock) has decided to move the Pines Hills and Cherry Valley Book Club Competition to Death by Coffee.  A beautiful silver teapot is the prize.  They are a vocal group, but it will bring business into the store.  But then one of the Cherry Hill members, David Smith, ends up dead inside Death by Coffee.  Krissy is a suspect thanks to her late night activities (taking a cardboard cutout of her father out of the store that belongs to Rita).  Krissy sets out to prove her innocence and she will do whatever it takes.  She will have to evade Officer Buchanan who is determined to put her in jail (he just does not like her) and her very nosy neighbor, Eleanor Withrow.  

I was hoping that Death by Tea would be better than the first book in the series.  Unfortunately, I was disappointed (I think it was worse).  Krissy is just not a likable character.  The story is written in the first person so we get to hear all her ramblings and nonsense.  She likes Officer Paul Dalton (with the Pine Hills police department) and does not understand why he does not call (this goes on throughout the whole book).  The mystery was secondary in the novel to Krissy’s life (she would forget what she was saying or doing when a handsome man was present). We get to hear more about her awful cat, Misfit (who destroys furniture), than about the mystery.   There is also a very gross scene where Krissy has to pull twine out of Misfit's tush (we really did not need this scene).  When Krissy questions or interrogates people she is not very polite (actually can be rude and pushy).  It is like she feels she is entitled to get the answers she wants (even though the people have no reason to talk to her).  Krissy rushes into situations (frequently) without thinking things through (leading to embarrassing moments for her and the person she accuses).  I give Death by Tea 2.75 out of 5 stars.  As you can tell, I am not a fan of this novel.  The mystery was extremely easy to solve (despite the attempts of the author to mislead the readers).  One clue was the key to solving the mystery. 

The first book in A Bookstore Cafe Mystery series is Death by Coffee.  I received a complimentary copy of Death by Tea from NetGalley (and the publisher) in exchange for an honest review.

I hope everyone had a great Black Friday!  I am off to feed the cats and dogs their dinner.  They like to keep to a schedule (and the cats are meowing at me while I am getting dirty looks from Wolfie--are oldest dog).  If you like police dramas, check out Unforgettable (wonderful show).  The new season starts tonight on A&E (new channel for the show).  I am currently reading Secrets Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz (very good book).  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Wedding Chapel

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone is having a very blessed day!  It is also Shopping Reminder Day (like we need a reminder with all the ads we received today).  When I was growing up nothing (except a gas station) was open on Thanksgiving Day. Now, we have so many stores that are open.  My daughter went out this afternoon to take advantage of some of the sales.  I did my shopping online to avoid the crowds!  How about you?  Did you pick up some wonderful bargains today?

The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck is a heartwarming Christian romance novel.  Jimmy (James) Westbrook built a lovely stone and wood chapel for the woman he loved in Heart’s Bend, Tennessee.  Unfortunately, he and the love of his life never used the chapel.  Jimmy is now retired (football coach) and he sees no reason to hang onto the chapel.   A local realtor convinces Jimmy to put the chapel up for sale.  Will Jimmy really be able to sell the chapel when the time comes?   Colette Greer is a famous actress (soap opera) who lived for a few years in Heart’s Bend.  She has not been back since she was nineteen years old (she is now 82).  But then she hears that the chapel is up for sale and she needs to go see it.  What has kept Colette away for all these years?

Taylor Branson has moved to New York (from Heart’s Bend, Tennessee) to become a commercial photographer.  One day she ran into Jack Forester (also from Heart’s Bend) who is an ad man.  They had a whirlwind courtship and then eloped.  Six months later things are not going well on their relationship.  No one in Taylor’s family has ever had a happily ever after in their marriage (everyone is divorced).  Can Taylor and Jack make it work?  Taylor gets a job photographing Jimmy’s chapel for Agricultural Digest.  It will also give her a chance to decide what to do with her grandmother’s home (she inherited it).  Taylor discovers a letter from her grandmother to Taylor about a secret.  What secret was her grandmother hiding and how it will impact her family?

The Wedding Chapel goes back and forth from the present to the past to tell the story of Jimmy, Colette, Taylor, and Jack (and Taylor’s grandmother).  I found The Wedding Chapel a little hard to get into, but once I did I enjoyed the story immensely.  I give The Wedding Chapel 4.25 out of 5 stars.  In The Wedding Chapel we see how destructive secrets are to a family and how they can keep people apart.  Also, how a lack of communication can be hurtful to a marriage.  The Wedding Chapel is well-written, with a lovely setting (Heart’s Bend), and characters that are very relatable.   Once you get all the characters in the book straight, it is easier to read.

You can check out Rachel Hauck's other books on Amazon as well as follow her for updates on new releases.  I received a complimentary copy of The Wedding Chapel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you for taking time out of your holiday to check out my review.  I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Yarned and Dangerous

Happy National Parfait Day!  If you feel like some ice cream, whipped cream, and toppings this is the day to indulge (a chance to relax before the holiday).  

Yarned and Dangerous by Sadie Hartwell is the first book in A Tangled Web Mystery series.  Josie Blair lives in New York City and works for Otto Heinrich at the Haus of Heinrich.  She gets fired regularly because of his temper and lecherous ways.  Josie’s mother, Katherine (single mother and teacher) needs Josie to come back to Dorset Falls, Connecticut to take care of her Uncle Eb (Eben Lloyd).  Uncle Eb broke his leg in a car accident that killed his wife, Cora.  Katherine is going away on a cruise.  She would cancel it if she could, but it is non-refundable (and she really deserves a vacation).  Since Josie was just fired again (refusing Otto’s advances), she agrees to take care of Uncle Eb until his cast comes off. 

Cora (Eb’s deceased wife) owned a yarn shop called Miss Marple Knits.  Josie has agreed to go through the shop and clear it out.  The first day Josie receives two offers to buy the shop from very pushy women.  The next day Josie finds Lillian Woodruff dead in the stockroom on top of a pile of cashmere yarn (such a waste of yarn).  Who wanted Lillian dead and how did they get into Miss Marple Knits?  Josie sets out to find the killer.  Josie also has to deal with the building’s owners serving an eviction notice.  Diantha Humphries (and her son who dated Josie in high school) have plans for the building location.  What are they up to?  Between Miss Marple Knits, the murder, and Uncle Eb and his farm, Josie has her hands full.  Will Josie find the killer before the killer finds her?  Will Josie see a future for herself in Dorset Falls or will she return to New York?

Yarned and Dangerous was just delightful.  Great characters (even grumpy Uncle Eb), good mystery, and so many beautiful yarns (great descriptions provided in the book).  Yarned andDangerous captured my interest right away and held it throughout the book.  There were not a lot of clues provided, but there are enough to figure out the killer.  There is a little romance (just the right amount) in the book for Josie with Mitch Woodruff (nephew to Lillian Woodruff who was killed).  I give Yarned and Dangerous 4.25 out of 5 stars.  Yarned and Dangerous is a good start to a new series.  I look forward to reading the next book in A Tangled Web Mystery series.  If you like reading cozy mysteries, you will enjoy reading Yarned and Dangerous!

You can follow Sadie Hartwell on Amazon to get updates on her latest books.  I received a complimentary copy of Yarned and Dangerous from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving!  I just found out that I do not have to cook tomorrow!  We are so fortunate to have some relatives drop off a complete dinner for us (our first holiday without my father).  I am very thankful.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Patterns of Change

I hope everyone is having a lovely Tuesday.  Thanksgiving will be here before we know it (and I keep remembering things I forgot to buy at the store).  Today is All Our Uncles are Monkeys Day also known as Evolution Day.   It is a day to celebrate the publication On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.  It was published on this day in 1859.  It was a very controversial publication.  If you like cozy mysteries, Yarned and Dangerous by Sadie Hartwell came out today.  It is good book.  I will post my review on it tomorrow!

Patterns of Change by Terri DuLong is the first book in the Ormond Beach series (and came out today).  Chloe Radcliffe is trying to get over the recent deaths of her Aunt Maude and her significant other, Gabe (who died suddenly).  She has just been drifting along and believes it might be time for a change.  Chloe decides to visit Ormond Beach, Florida.  Chloe and Gabe were going to move there before he passed away.  Chloe rents a condo from Henry Wagner.  She meets Yarrow and Mavis Anne Overby.  Yarrow owns the Yarrow’s Tea Shop and Mavis Anne owns the beautiful Victorian home that Chloe has been dreaming about (before she ever saw it).  Mavis Anne convinces Chloe to open a yarn shop in a cute building behind the Victorian Home (named Koi House).  Half the building will be the new yarn shop and the other half with be Yarrow’s tea shop.  This is a new start for Chloe.  Then she is reminded of an incident from college.  In order for Chloe to move forward with her life (especially her love life) she will need to learn forgiveness.  Can Chloe forgive and embrace her new life in Ormond Beach?

You will have to read Patterns of Change to find out.  I enjoyed Patterns of Change.  It is nice to see Chloe and all our old friends from the Cedar Key series.  I like that she is moving on (and we will get more stories).  Patterns of Change is easy and enjoyable to read.  The setting of Ormond Beach is just lovely (the author wrote some gorgeous descriptions of the city and beach area).  The Victorian home described in the book is my dream home and I can understand why Chloe wants to live in it.  I like the message of forgiveness in the book.  It is so hard to forgive someone especially when they committed a horrible act against a person.  The other message in the book is friendship.  Chloe arrives in town not knowing a soul and ends up with some great new friends.  They are united through their love of yarn and creating objects with fiber (there is also a great shawl pattern enclosed in the book).  It does help to have read the Cedar Key series (so you know the history of Chloe), but it is not necessary (since it is a new city and new characters).  I give Patterns of Change 4.5 out of 5 stars (there are a couple of slow areas).  I liked reading Patterns of Change and will look forward to reading the next book in the Ormond Beach series.

The books in the Cedar Cove series are:  Spinning Forward, Casting About (available on Kindle Unlimited), Sunrise on Cedar Key (available on Kindle Unlimited), Postcards from Cedar Key (available on Kindle Unlimited), Secrets on Cedar Key (available on Kindle Unlimited), and Farewell to Cedar Key.  I received a complimentary copy of Patterns of Change from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my latest review.  I am currently reading Happy Homicides (various authors).  I was lucky enough to get a copy through Reading Alley.  I am off to bake cookies.  Have a great afternoon!  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Monday, November 23, 2015

Secrets She Kept

It is National Cashew Day!  I just love cashews as did my father (and Doozy, our dog).  We could go through a can quite quickly. Are you a cashew fan?  Today is a great day to pick up a can.  It is also Eat a Cranberry Day. Native Americans not only harvested and ate cranberries, they also used them to make dyes and for medicinal uses. 

Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke is a Christian historical novel set in 1972.  Hannah Sterling’s mother, Lieselotte passed away recently.  They were never close, but Hannah is having trouble getting over her death.  Hannah is taking it out on her students and the principal is making her take a leave of absence.  Hannah believes that if she looks into her mother’s past, maybe she can understand why she was so distant and cold.  Hannah finds some letters that lead her to a grandfather in Germany.  Will Hannah get the answers she desires in Germany?

Lieselotte Sommer is a young girl in 1938 when things start to become difficult in Germany.  Her father is working to quickly climb the ranks in the Nazi party.  He wants to make sure his daughter makes a good match and then produces children (Hitler encouraged Aryans to marry and reproduce).  Lieselotte has other plans.  She works behind her father’s back to help the Jews in hiding along with the Kirchmann family.  Lieselotte has cared for Lukus Kirchmann for quite some time.  Will there relationship develop into something deeper?  Will her father allow it?

Secrets She Kept tells the stories of Hannah and Lieselotte.  We get to find out what happened to Lieselotte that made her cold towards her daughter (and other people).  Will Hannah be happy with what she discovers and can she then move on with her life?  Secrets She Kept was an engaging novel.  It was a little slow in places, but overall a good book. I give Secrets She Kept 4 out of 5 stars.  The Christian theme is light (not in your face).  Secrets She Kept teaches how destructive secrets can be in a family.  Once you get into the novel, you will not want to put it down until you are done. 

You can follow Cathy Gohlke on Amazon (you will get notified when she has a new book).  Check out her page on Amazon to see her other novels.  I received a complimentary copy of Secrets She Kept from NetGalley and The Book Club Network Inc. in exchange for an honest review.  If you like my reviews, please consider joining my blog (on the right).  

I am currently reading Death by Tea by Alex Erickson (not enjoying it).  I am off to do housework (it is never ending).  I hope everyone has a wonderful Monday.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Casquette Girls

The beginning of Thanksgiving week.  Today is Go for a Ride Day!  Think outside the box.  If you live where there is snow, think about taking a sleigh ride.  If you live in Florida, you can go for a ride on a jet ski!  The idea is to slow down a little and take a break before the chaos of the holidays.

The Casquette Girls by Arly Arden is a young adult paranormal romance story and the first book in The Casquette Girls Series.  Adele Le Moyne (just turned sixteen) is returning home to New Orleans with her father after being away for two months.  They had to evacuate the state (Louisiana) when a big hurricane came through the area and then stalled causing considerable damage.   Adele was sent to live with her mother, Brigitte Dupre in Paris (who put her in a boarding school) while her father, Macalister (Mac) Le Moyne worked in Miami.  They do not know what they will find when they return to their home and the bar that her father owns. 

After arriving home strange things start happening to Adele.  She can move metal items with her mind.  What is going on?  She then finds a journal of her ancestor Adeline Saint Germain that provides some needed information along with some new friends who have some interesting abilities.  Adele and her new friends are going to have to work together to battle the vampires that have invaded New Orleans (and are killing off the citizens of the city).  Will these three teenagers be able to battle the evil in their community? 

I enjoyed The Casquette Girls.  It is a long novel, but once you get involved in the book you do not notice.  Some sections are a little slow (especially when Adele is ogling the handsome vampire), but I enjoyed how the author tied the past (Adele’s ancestor) to the present.  Some things are a little predictable (like the truth about Adele’s mother—I could see that coming from the very beginning—sorry I do not want to spoil your reading pleasure), but overall The Casquette Girls is a good book to read.  I give The Casquette Girls 4 out of 5 stars.  The writing is good, but Adele’s temper (which always seemed to be out of control) really got on my nerves after a while.  I also enjoyed this author’s paranormal take on the young girls (click on link for more information) who came from France with their casquettes (small chests filled with their belongings).  While this is a young adult novel, I think it can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.  I will be watching for more books from Arlys Arden.

The Casquette Girls is available on Kindle Unlimited (which is a great and affordable program).  You can follow Arlys Arden on Amazon to get updates on her books.  I received a complimentary copy of The Casquette Girls from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading Yarned and Dangerous by Sadie Hartwell (and loving it).  I am off to the grocery store.  I hope all of you have a wonderful Sunday.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Death Before Decaf

Happy Saturday!  It is World Hello Day!  It is supposed to help promote world peace (wouldn't that be wonderful).  Make sure to say hello to people if you are out and about today.  It is also False Confession Day! Be careful what you confess to though.  They suggest you avoid confessing to any major crimes (no one wants to do jail time), do not make any false calls to 911 (you can get into trouble for this), or to kissing your dog on the lips!

Death Before Decaf by Caroline Fardig is A Java Jive Mystery novel.  Juliet Langley is turning thirty years old and is returning home to Nashville.  Juliet is a lovely singer, but unable to perform because of severe stage fright.  Juliet was running a café of her own until her scum bag (pardon my language) fiancé cleaned out her accounts, apartment, and left town with the café’s best waitress.  Juliet has gotten a job as manager of the Java Jive where she worked while she was in college.  On her first day Juliet has a run in with the chef, Dave (who likes to violate the health codes).  The next thing you know Dave is dead behind Java Jive.  Juliet is told by Detective Cromwell (of the MNPD) that she is a person of interest.  Juliet sets out to prove her innocence (no matter what the consequences).  Pete Bennett (who owns the Java Jive) who is Juliet’s best friend helps her clear her name.  Juliet also gets help from Seth Davis, a professor from the college, who has been hanging out at Java Jive.  Pete distrusts Seth (he has good instincts), but Juliet refuses to listen (especially since she cannot stand Pete’s girlfriend who is her arch nemesis).  Will Juliet be able to clear her name and find the culprit (and stay alive)?

I liked the mystery in Death Before Decaf.  It was not as easy to solve as I thought it would be.  It was more complicated which I enjoyed (I like difficult puzzles).  I did not enjoy the foul language or the sex in the book.  I like to read cozy mysteries because they do not contain bad language (there are many creative alternatives) or overt sex (I am not a prude.  I just get tired of it being shoved in our faces).  I give Death Before Decaf  3 out of 5 stars.  A good start to a new series.  I am hoping the next book will be much better (I am trying to be optimistic).

The next book in A Java Jive Mystery series is Mug Shot.  It will be released on April 19, 2016 (which can change).  I received a complimentary copy of Death Before Decaf from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

If you are out today and it is raining in your area, please be careful. I hope you have a nice and relaxing Saturday.  If you enjoy Christmas movies, NorthPole 2 will be on tonight (the Hallmark channel).  I am currently reading Murder on the Last Frontier by Cathy Pegau.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, November 20, 2015

Yappy Hour

Happy Absurdity Day!  I am not kidding (I could not make these things up)!  And to be contradictory it is also Beautiful Day!  So go out and have a beautifully, absurd day or an absurdly, beautiful day!  Take you pick! 

Yappy Hour by Diana Orgain is a new cozy mystery novel.  Maggie has just moved to Pacific Cove, California.  Maggie was a financial advisor in New York.  She has applied for a position with Riviera Cruise Line which is new to the area.  Two reasons Maggie moved to Pacific Cove were her sister, Rachel, and her Uncle Ernest (aka Grunkly).  Maggie gets a text message from her sister asking her to watch the bar The Wine and Bark for a few days.  Rachel does not give her any other information (like who will be the bartender since Maggie has no experience, what type of food she serves, etc.).  Maggie heads over to the bar and finds it open.  She enters and finds Yolanda (a local woman who makes handbags shaped like animals and are extremely ugly but expensive) standing over a man on the floor.  Dan Walters, manager of DelVecchio’s (the restaurant next door) is dead on the floor. 

Officer Brad Brooks is the police officer assigned to the case.  Since Rachel left town very suddenly (just broke up with Dan and he was trying to close down her bar), she is an immediate suspect.  Maggie wants to prove that Rachel could not have committed the crime (and find out where she went).  Will Maggie be able to keep Rachel out of jail?

I found Yappy Hour to be slightly idiotic (I am just being truthful).  Maggie is a contradiction.  We are told that she was in finance in New York (had a high paying job until the economy tanked), but she acts like a bumbling idiot (and I mean that she is lacking in intelligence and reasoning skills) throughout most of the book.  The sight of a hunky man renders her speechless (several times throughout the book).  The most interesting character in the book was Uncle Ernest.  He was fun and entertaining.  He keeps everything (a hoarder), likes to bet on horse races (horses that do not win), and is very friendly.  I did, though, like the mystery in the book.  We did not get a lot of clues (instead we got talk of food and romance), but I liked that the murder was not easy to solve (I did solve it, but not until I was about halfway through the book).  I give Yappy Hour 3 out of 5 stars (satisfactory or okay).  I just think it needs a little work (like not making Maggie—a college graduate—out to be moronic). 

A series that I do enjoy by Diana Orgain is Maternal Instincts Mystery series.  Check out Diana Orgain's page on Amazon for other books she has written.  I received a complimentary copy of Yappy Hour from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading Death Comes to Kurland Hall by Catherine Lloyd. I hope everyone has a nice and safe Friday evening.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Pain in the Tuchis

It is Have a Bad Day Day (I am not kidding)!  It was created to encourage people to wish someone a bad day (instead of saying have a good day). So if you have ever wanted to wish someone a bad day, do it today!  It is also the Great American Smokeout!  If you or a family member smoke, this is the day to try and stop. Smoking not only causes damage to the smoker but to those around the smoker (especially those with asthma). My father smoked almost his whole life and you would not believe the damage it did to his lungs.  I will get off my soapbox now and I appreciate you listening (or, in this case, reading).

A Pain in the Tuchis by Mark Reutlinger is the second book in a Mrs. Kaplan Mystery series.  Rose Kaplan and her sidekick, Ida Berkowitz live at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors.  Vera Gold (who was a pain in everyone’s tuchis) just passed away (on Yom Kippur).  Her sister, Fannie Kleinberg does not believe that Vera died from a natural death (since she was getting better after having been ill) and asks Rose to look into the matter.  Rose had previous success solving a crime and has been helpful in finding items for residents (and solving disputes).  Rose and Ida start talking to various people to find out what happened to Vera Gold.  When it turns out that Vera was poisoned, Rose will have to try and narrow down the suspect pool (since Vera managed to alienate everyone she met) to find the killer.

I found A Pain in the Tuchis to be just a satisfactory novel.  The story is told from Ida’s perspective so we do not know everything Rose is thinking and doing during the book (which leaves us missing clues since she is the one solving the crime).  There are also many (way too many) Yiddish phrases in the book (some are explained and some are not).   The mystery was extremely easy to solve (though the author tries to mislead the reader).  There are also several side stories going on during the book (Motorcycle Moishe who wants to date Ida, Sol and his issues with his mother-in-law) that have nothing to do with the mystery.  I had trouble getting into this story.  I wanted to enjoy it, but I did not.  I think part of it is the rambling nature of the book.   It is written like Ida is talking to you and telling you a story (but we get everything not just the mystery—i.e. shopping, dinner, tea time).   I give A Pain in the Tuchis 3 out of 5 stars.  I believe the story just needs a little more work (like getting rid of the extraneous characters and all the Yiddish phrases).  I also think the story would be better if it was told from Rose’s point of view instead of Ida’s.  A Pain in the Tuchis is the second book in the series, but can easily be read alone.

The first book in A Mrs. Kaplan Mystery series is Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death.  You can follow Mark Reutlinger on Amazon to receive updates on his novels.  I received a complimentary copy of A Pain in the Tuchis from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I am currently reading Refining Fire by Tracie Peterson.  I am going to eat dinner and get ready for my shows tonight.  I cannot believe that some of the shows (Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder) are having their winter finales already.  I think we got (max) eight shows so far this season.  They will probably not return until the end of January (like last year).  Good thing I have plenty of books to read (and a lot of shows saved on the DVR).  Have a great Thursday evening and Happy Reading.

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Silence of the Chihuahuas

We are halfway through the week!  Today is Occult Day!  This is the day you can bring out your Ouija board (unless, like me, someone in your family got rid of it).  I want to apologize for the delay in posting some of my reviews (like today's).  I got behind while my father was ill (he wanted to stay at home), but I am working to catch up.

The Silence of the Chihuahuas by Waverly Curtis is the fifth book in the Barking Detective Mysteries.  Geri and Pepe (her Chihuahua) have started the Sullivan and Sullivan PI Agency in Seattle, Washington.  However, Pepe has quit talking, and Geri does not understand why he has suddenly stopped talking.  She has taken him to the vet, but the vet just looks at her like she is nuts (do you blame him).  Her therapist believes Geri needs to a little rest and recommends some time at a clinic.   Geri goes to talk to her friend, Brad Best and finds his shop closed.  Geri talks to Brad’s partner, Jay.  Jay has not seen Brad in days (and has yet to report him missing).  Geri decides to visit a client of Brad’s to see if he has been over there lately.  Unfortunately, Geri finds Mrs. Fairchild dead in her kitchen. 

Brad is the number one suspect in Mrs. Fairchild’s murder.  Geri and Pepe set out to find who killed Mrs. Fairchild and what happened to Brad.  Geri gets a call from her sister, Teri asking for help.  Geri has not heard from Teri in years.  The caller ID states Forest Glen Clinic.  When Geri calls the clinic, they claim not to have a guest by that name.  Geri decides to check it out for herself.  Pepe definitely smells Tina in the clinic.  Geri decides to take her doctor’s advice and have a little rest (i.e. time to snoop).  Why not take that rest at the Forest Glen Clinic?  Can Geri and Pepe find Teri in time?

I’m sorry but there was just too much going on in The Silence of the Chihuahuas.  It was enough with the murder of Mrs. Fairchild and Brad being missing.  The story really did not need the third mystery of the sister.  And I have not told you everything.  There is also the boyfriend, Felix Navarro.  He is a pet therapist and trying to get on a new show called Pet Intervention (the producer of Dancing with Dogs).  In addition, we have Jimmy G. (Geri’s former boss) who talks about himself in the third person (which is extremely annoying).  I found the murder was easy to solve as well as what happened to Brad (it was obvious).  I just found The Silence of the Chihuahuas to be over the top on silliness.  I liked the idea of the talking dog (who does not imagine their pet talking) and his blog posts were hilarious.  I give The Silence of the Chihuahuas 3 out of 5 stars (it was okay).  The Silence of the Chihuahuas can be read alone, but it would be more beneficial if you read the other books in the Barking Detective Mysteries

The other books in the Barking Detectives Mysteries are: Dial C for Chihuahua (on Kindle Unlimited), Chihuahua Confidential, The Big Chihuahua, A Chihuahua in Every Stocking (Book 3.5 a novella), and The Chihuahua Always Sniffs Twice.  I received a complimentary copy of The Silence of the Chihuahuas from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading Whistling Women by Kelly Romo (I am trying very hard to catch up on my reading list).  I hope everyone has a great hump day!  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What the Heart Remembers

There are several unique holidays listed today!  It is Electronic Greeting Card Day (I wonder who created this day), Homemade Bread Day, World Peace Day (which we need in lieu of what happened in Paris), and (this one takes the cake) Take a Hike Day!  If I told someone to take a hike, I do not think they would take it the correct way!  I will enjoy Homemade Bread Day with some wonderful rolls I just picked up from the bakery.

What the Heart Remembers by Bette Lee Crosby is the third book in the Memory House Collection.  Annie and Oliver Doyle are happily enjoying their home and awaiting the birth of their baby.  Max (Maxine) Martinelli is Annie’s friend and an architect.  Max has been unable to move forward with her life since she returned from Paris three years ago.  When Max was in Paris she met and fell in love with Julien Marceau.  Julien was supposed to follow Max back to the states.  Unfortunately, Max never heard from Julien again.  Now Max thinks that Julien could have been in an accident and have amnesia.  That is why he never contacted her.  Max is determined to go to Paris and look for Julien.  Annie has tried talking to Max (to get her to move on) and she has even tried to set her up with Oliver’s old law partner, Andrew Steen.  This is a journey that Max needs to go on in order to have a future.  Annie sends her off at the airport with some special tea.

Max goes to Paris and starts searching for Julien.  Will Max find what she is looking for in Paris?  Or will she find something even better?  Join us on Max’s journey in What the Heart RemembersWhat the Heart Remembers is a wonderful book to read.  I did want to strangle Max at times, but I understand how she feels (it is hard to get over someone).  It is nice to revisit the characters in the Memory House Collection.  We get to see how Ophelia Browne is enjoying her new life at Baylor Towers, how Oliver is doing after his accident, and we get to find out if Annie has a boy or a girl!  I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and did not want it to end.  I think this is my favorite book from the Memory House Collection.  I give What the Heart Remembers 5 out of 5 stars.  In order to enjoy What the Heart Remembers, you really do need to read the other two books in the series (in order for everything to make sense).

The first two books in the Memory House Collection are Memory House and The Loft.  I received a complimentary copy of What the Heart Remembers from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading Trials and Tribulations by Rachel Dylan.  I hope you have a nice and relaxing day!  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Dash of Daring

Happy Button Day!  Do you collect buttons?  There are so many beautiful old buttons and they can make gorgeous jewelry (I have several little bins full of buttons).  It is also Have a Party with your Bear Day!  If you have a little girl or boy (you might need to give him a little more incentive), it would be the perfect day for a tea party. 

A Dash of Daring by Elizabeth Maddrey is the third book in the Taste of Romance series.  This is a Christian romance series.  Zach Wilson teaches math at an inner-city high school in Washington, D.C.  He has been interested in dating Amy Harris (substitute teacher and after school care coordinator) for some time, but she keeps putting him in the friend zone (Amy wishes to avoid dating someone who is not a part of her multi-ethnic heritage).  Zach finally asks her out on a real date and Amy hesitantly accepts.  This is the first of many dates.  Amy, though, will have a long way to go before she is ready for a serious relationship.  Amy tends to make snap judgements and jump to conclusions without hearing all the information.  Amy and Zach will get to know each other better as they work on the school’s holiday program.  When Zach gets an opportunity to have a job at a magnet school will it end their budding relationship (he would like to teach to students who actually enjoy math)?  Will Amy be able to get over her issues to have a wonderful future?

A Dash of Daring is a sweet, Christian romance novel.  There is some kissing in the book and a just a hint of an engaged couple looking forward to more after they are married.  The book does have a pregnancy between two teenagers in it though (students at Amy and Zach's school).  I liked Zach, but Amy was a harder character to enjoy.  She was so quick to assume things and then would storm off (which I find annoying).  It was nice reading about such dedicated teachers who enjoy their jobs.  We get to catch up on the characters from the past two novels to see how they are doing in their relationships.  While A Dash ofDaring can be read alone, it does help to have read the first two books in a Taste of Romance series.  I give A Dash of Daring 4 out of 5 stars (which means I liked it, but did not love it). 

The other books in a Taste of Romance series are A Splash of Substance and A Pinch of Promise.  I received a complimentary copy of A Dash of Daring from The Book Club Network Inc. and Elizabeth Maddrey in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you for stopping by today.  I am currently reading The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck (I am a little bit behind on my reading this week).  I hope everyone has a wonderful Monday evening.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader