Monday, February 29, 2016

A Sweet Misfortune

A Sweet Misfortune by Maggie Brendan is the second book in the Virtues and Vices of the Old West series. It is September 1862 in Montana Territory.  Rachel Matthews’ brother (Preston) had to go away and he asked John McIntyre to rescue his sister.  Rachel could only find work as a dance hall girl (serving drinks, food, etc.).  John McIntyre goes into the saloon, asks which girl is Rachel, grabs her, and takes off.  He gets on his horse and takes off for his ranch.  Rachel is outraged.  Rachel did not enjoy working as a dance hall girl, but it was the only job she could find.  She wanted to help her brother raise funds to save their ranch (they got behind on the taxes after their parents died).  Estelle, John’s grandmother, convinces Rachel to stay and offers her a position in her millinery shop.  Rachel is enjoying her stay until she discovers that John holds the deed to her family’s ranch.  John paid the back taxes on the property and had an agreement with Preston Matthews (he would pay John back within a certain amount of time or the ranch stays with John).   As Rachel and John spend more time together, the attraction between them grows.  Can these two different people come together in love or will the Matthews family ranch be a sticking point between them?

A Sweet Misfortune is a charming, historic romance novel (with a Christian theme).  It can easily be read as a stand-alone novel (without having enjoyed the first book in the Virtues and Vices of the Old West series).  A Sweet Misfortune is nicely written and very easy to read.  I did find it, though, to be a predictable romance novel with the normal issues of miscommunication between the couple, misunderstandings, breaking up, getting back together, and happily ever after.  The characters are fun (especially Estelle).  The Christian theme is very light in this uplifting story.  I give A Sweet Misfortune 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). 

The Trouble with Patience is the first book in the Virtues and Vices of the Old West series.  I received a complimentary copy of A Sweet Misfortune from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I am off to watch Supergirl, Castle and various other shows (while reading during the commercials).  I hope everyone has a wonderful and relaxing evening.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Shards of Murder

Happy Leap Day!  Leap Day occurs only once every four years. I hope that the people born on this day get very special birthdays!  I have two interesting historical tidbits today!  In 1940 Hattie McDaniel (Gone with the Wind) became the first African-American to win an Oscar (for Best Supporting Actress as Mammy).  In Salem, Massachusetts the first people were accused of witchcraft on this day in 1692.  The women accused were Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba (the West Indian slave).  

Shards of Murder by Cheryl Hollon is the second book in A Webb's Glass Shop Mystery.  Savannah Webb has been to be a judge at the Spinnaker Art Festival (glass category, of course).  It is an honor to picked.  Savannah is a little nervous as this is her first time judging a competition.  Her former mentor (and teacher), Keith Irving is in town.  Keith has two students entered into the competition (Megan Loyola and Leon Price).  When the winner does not arrive at the award ceremony the next day, Savannah goes looking for her.  Savannah finds an empty booth.  However, when Savannah is out walking Rooney (her Weimaraner puppy) she discovers a body in the water (in Tampa Bay) with a shard of glass in her head.  Someone wanted this person dead.  Savannah is the last person to see the victim alive (which means she is a suspect).  Savannah and her posse gather together to find the killer (and the motive behind the killing).  Will Savannah be able to find the killer before she ends up in the bay.

Shards of Murder was a cute and fun story to read.  I like the characters and the setting as well as the beautiful descriptions of the glass work (especially at the festival).  I especially like learning about different methods of working with glass (this time about fusing glass which I find fascinating).  The mystery was extremely easy to solve (I guessed it immediately), but I liked the authors misdirection and clues that were provided.  I give Shards of Murder 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  Shards of Murder can be read alone (without reading the first book in the series).  I found Shards of Murder to be just as good as the first book in A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery, and I cannot wait to read the next book in this series.

The first book in A Webb's Glass Shop Mystery is Pane and Suffering.  The next book in the series is Cracked to Death.  It is scheduled for release on June 28, 2016.  You can follow Cheryl Hollon on Amazon to get updates on her latest releases.  Ms. Hollon is also on Facebook.  I received a complimentary copy of Shards of Murder from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am off to the grocery store (out of dog treats and bones).  I am currently reading Kernel of Truth by Kristi Abbott (first book in a new cozy mystery series).  I hope everyone has a magnificent Monday! Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

P.S.--Remember it is the last day to enter my Room for Hope giveaway!  Leave a comment with your email address (so I can contact you) or send me an email with your information (to  Contest ends tonight at midnight! You must have a valid mailing address (no P.O. Boxes--sorry) in the United States or Canada.  Good luck!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Jump Cut

The beginning of a new week and another month almost over.  It is National Tooth Fairy Day (as well as  Floral Design Day and Oscar Night).  My parents were not of the philosophy of waiting for a tooth to come out on its own (especially my father).  If they decided the loose tooth should come out, out came the needlenose pliers (I am not kidding)!  It was very traumatic.  Of course, then the Tooth Fairy would visit and leave money (back then it was a quarter or fifty cents).  Every time I use the needlenose pliers, I remember him sitting on me to pull out the tooth (nowadays someone would probably call it child abuse).  It made me learn to hide when a tooth was loose or try to get the tooth out myself (quietly). Now that we have had our laugh for the day, let me entertain you with historical information!  James Watson and Francis Crick discover the double-helix DNA molecule in 1953, MASH airs its final episode in 1983 after 11 seasons, in 1883 the first vaudeville theater opens in Boston, Dupont scientist Wallace Carothers invents nylon in 1935, and in 1991 the first Gulf War ends!

Jump Cut by Libby Fischer Hellmann is the fifth Ellie Foreman book.  Ellie Foreman is a video producer living in Chicago, Illinois.  Ellie is divorced with a grown up daughter named Rachel (twenty-five).  Ellie has been hired by Delcroft Aviation (they do commercial and military projects) to do some promotional videos (for posting on social media).  While shooting at a trade show, Ellie meets Gregory Parks.  Gregory hangs around the Delcroft booth during the shooting and ends up in the video.  When the video is edited and shown to the bigwigs at Delcroft, Charlotte Hollander (Vice President of Engineering) objects to them.  Ellie’s project is canceled and this upsets her (she does not want this to affect the reputation of her or her company).  Ellie arranges to meet with Gregory to see if he can provide some insight.  When Ellie shows up at the meeting spot (near subway), she sees a blur, hears brakes squealing, and then sees a body on the tracks.  Gregory Parks is dead.  Ellie finds Gregory’s cigarette package on the platform with a flash drive inside.  The information is encrypted.  Ellie is really curious now especially when she notices some strange people in her neighborhood.  What is going on?  Did Gregory commit suicide or was he pushed?  Ellie is intent on getting answers, but will she be alive to enjoy them!

Jump Cut is the fifth book in the series, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone book (I did not know it was the fifth book until after I read it).  It has been ten years since the last book in the Ellie Foreman series.  Jump Cut sounds like a great suspense/thriller book, but I was disappointed.  Jump Cut is a slow paced book (wrong pace for a suspense novel).  I did not get suspense or thriller from this novel.  The chapters are very short and choppy.  The beginning of the novel (like the first half) is more what Ellie does every day (shopping, Zumba, walking the neighborhood, drinking too much and telling info to wrong person).  I found Jump Cut to be a very clichéd suspense novel (reminded me of the television show Hart to Hart). It is also very unbelievable (the novel took a strange turn with Chinese spies, etc.).  There is a great deal of foul language and sex in Jump Cut.  The ending makes the novel feel incomplete or unfinished (it was strange).  I give Jump Cut 3 out of 5 stars (it was okay and I am being generous with the rating).  Jump Cut was just not for me.  As I have said before, not every book will appeal to every reader. 

The other books in the Ellie Foreman series are An Eye for Murder, A Picture of Guilt, An Image of Death, and A Shot to Die For.  The first four books are available as a boxed set, The Ellie Foreman Mysteries. I received a complimentary copy of Jump Cut from the author in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel!

I am off to make noodles for the our chicken and noodles (yes, I make them from scratch).  I am currently reading Out of the Dying Pan by Linda Reilly.  Have a satisfying Sunday and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

P.S.--Remember it is your last chance to enter the Room for Hope giveaway!  I am giving away two copies of the book (courtesy of the publisher).  You just need to leave a comment with your email address (so I can contact you).  If you prefer, you can email me (with subject line Room for Hope) at You must have a mailing address (no P.O. Box).  I look forward to hearing from you!  Contest ends February 29 at midnight!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Watch for the Dead

Today is No Brainer Day!  A day for doing tasks that are logical, easy, simple (require little brain power).  A good example is raking and bagging leaves (I have a backyard full of them), doing laundry, dusting, or sweeping.  All of these tasks are mindless and easy to do (I get bored doing them).  This day was created by Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith (she is America's Premier Eventologist).  On February 27  Henry IV was crowned King of France in 1524, the poet Lord Byron gave his first address to the House of Lords in 1812, the British Labour Party if founded in 1900, and in 1986 the United States Senate allows its debates to be televised on a trial basis (CNN). 

Watch for the Dead by Sheila Connolly is the fourth book in the Relatively Dead series.  Abby Kimball wakes up to a call at 5:30 a.m.  It is Leslie Walker asking if Abby and Ned Newhall (her boyfriend) will watch Ellie (Ned is Ellie’s biological father, but Ellie does not know) for a few days.  Her husband, George is having a gall bladder attack and needs to go to the hospital for surgery (had similar attacks before and doctor warned them).  They are happy to take care of Ellie especially when they get an opportunity to head to Cape Cod for a few days.  When Ellie and Abby enter the house, they feel a presence in it.  They discover that the spirit they are feeling (and see during a storm) is Olivia (she is crying during with rain falling around her).  Olivia is Abby’s great, great grandmother.  Abby wants to know why Olivia is so sad? So Abby starts researching into this branch of the family tree to get more information.  Abby contacts her mother and father to invite them to Cape Cod.  She is hoping her mother will remember something about Olivia.  Abby, though, is in for an unexpected surprise.  Read Watch for the Dead to see how Abby, Ned, and Ellie are faring with their gift and what they find out about Olivia. 

Watch for the Dead really cannot be read as a stand-alone book (you can try, but you will be a little confused).  It is extremely helpful to read the first three books in the series (to understand the characters and everything that is happening in the series).  Watch for the Dead is an easy to read (nice flow) and quick read (I do not mean it is a short book).  I finished Watch for the Dead in just a couple of hours.  I am hoping there will be more growth with the characters (Ned, Abby, and Leslie) in the next book.  They have not developed enough over the four novels.  I am really tired of Ellie’s mother (Leslie) and her attitude.  For the sake of her daughter, she needs to get with the program (Leslie has a bad attitude and she really does not treat Abby and Ned appropriately).  I was glad to see more of Ellie in this book.  She is so accepting of her gift and a smart young lady.  Overall, Watch for the Dead is good book and I look forward to reading more books in the Relatively Dead series. I give Watch for the Dead 4 out of 5 stars.

The first three books in the Relatively Dead series are Relatively Dead, Seeing the Dead, and Defending the Dead.  I received a complimentary copy of Watch for the Dead from NetGalley in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel!

I hope all of you are having a satisfying Saturday.  I am currently reading Covered Bridge Charm by Dianne Christner.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, February 26, 2016

More Than Friendship

Happy Friday!  Today is Tell a Fairy Tale Day!  Do you enjoy fairy tales or have children that enjoy them?  Then you will enjoy this day.  It is a good day to settle in a comfy chair (or couch) with your child and read them a fairy tale (the main requirement for a fairy story is that it have a happy ending). Many libraries will have special events for children on this day (check with your local library).  Did you know that . . . The Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming was created on this day in 1929 by President Calvin Coolidge!  The Twenty-Second Amendment was added to the Constitution which limits how many terms a President can serve (two). The New York Philharmonic Orchestra performs Pyongyang, North Korea in 2008.  It is the first event of its kind to take place in North Korea.  

More Than Friendship by Amy Lillard is a nice, short story.  Clara Rose Yutzy has agreed to marry Thomas.  Her wedding is in six weeks.  But her best friend Obie (Obadiah Brenneman) asks her not to marry him.  Obie tells her that he has a bad feeling, but will not give her more details.  Obie is in love with Clara Rose, but Clara Rose needs to discover this for herself.  Will Clara Rose go ahead with her wedding and marry Thomas? 

More Than Friendship was enjoyable to read.  It is well-written and easy to read (though predictable).  I enjoyed the characters and the setting of Wells Landing, Oklahoma.    I give More Than Friendship 4 out of 5 stars. More Than Friendship can be read in just a couple of hours (it is a short story).  I look forward to reading the next book by Amy Lillard. 

The next book in the A Wells Landing Romance series is Just Plain Sadie and it will be released on March 29, 2016.  I received a complimentary copy of More Than Friendship from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you for visiting and checking out my latest review.  I am currently reading A Treasure Concealed by Tracie Peterson.  I hope all of you have a fabulous Friday!  I am off to install a new showerhead in my bathroom (it has LED lights and power boost). Wish me luck!  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Try Not to Breathe

Welcome!  I hope you are having a wonderful week!  It is going by so quickly.  Today is Pistol Patent Day!  It was created in honor of Samuel Colt for his revolver with multiple chambers for bullets. He received patent No. 138 on this day in 1836 (for Colt Revolver). Some other events that happened on February 25 are . . . Hiram Revels became the first African American Senator in 1870 for the state of Mississippi; Thomas Davenport received a patent for the first electric printing press (in the United States) in 1837; Abraham Lincoln introduces paper currency (greenbacks) in 1862; and the Beatles release their first U.S. single "Please Please Me" in 1963.

Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon is supposed to be a novel of suspense.  Amy Stevenson was fifteen years old in 1995(this is where the story starts) went she disappeared on her way home from school.  She was found a few days later severely beaten.  Fifteen years later Amy is still alive (sort of).  Amy is in a persistent vegetative state and living on the Bramble Ward at Tunbridge Wells Royal Infirmary.  Amy has some brain function, has cycles of asleep and awake, and can breathe on her own.  But she has yet to come awake.  The police have never found who did this to her.  Who did this to Amy?

Alex Dale is a freelance journalist (it is now September of 2010) who was at Tunbridge Wells Royal Infirmary doing research for a story on Dr. Peter Haynes (who is researching if people in vegetative states can communicate).  Alex saw Amy on the ward and remembers her story.  Alex and Amy are the same age.   Alex starts digging into it hoping for a big story.  Alex could use a break.  Alex has ruined her career and life with alcohol.  She refuses to get treatment, however, she cannot work past noon because she has to start drinking.  Alex is hoping this story will help her career.  Will Alex be able to discover what happened to Amy?  Will killer try to stop Alex from writing her story?

Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon was an extreme disappointment.  It was a slow paced novel that had no suspense or mystery.  The culprit was extremely obvious.  I compare this novel to waiting for water to boil.  You know how you sit there and wait and wait and wait.  That is this novel.  It goes on and on and on (no excitement).  There were no surprises or a great twist.  Alex is an extremely unlikeable character (she drinks voraciously, acts idiotic, wets her bed).  The story is told from different points-of-views which makes it harder to get into the story and it also goes back and forth in time.  I give Try Not to Breathe 1 out of 5 stars.  I just did not enjoy Try Not to Breathe. I have not been having good luck with suspense novels lately (they all seem to be lacking in the suspense department)!

I received a complimentary copy of Try Not to Breathe from First to Read and NetGalley in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel.

Have a terrific Thursday!  I am currently reading Jump Cut by Libby Fischer Hellmann.  It is the perfect day to say inside with a good book.  A cold front blew into our area.  Take care (stay warm) and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Promise Lodge

Today is National Tortilla Chip Day!  It is a very corny day (insert groan here).  The receipt for the chips was first brought to the United States from Mexico by Texas businessman, Elmer Doolin. On February 24 in history . . . The United States government received its first shipment of perforated postage stamps in 1857, the first nylon bristle toothbrush was made in 1938 (first time that nylon yarn was used commercially), NBC premiered Harper Valley PTA in 1980 (talk about corny), and Thomas Edison and Mina Miller married in 1886!

Promise Lodge by Charlotte Hubbard is set in Promise, Missouri.  Mattie Schwartz, Christine Hershberger, and Rosetta Bender needed to get away from their town (Coldstream) and Bishop Obadiah (who tolerates violence against wives).  They bought tan old abandoned church camp and have started the Promise Lodge Colony (a place for a fresh start).  They are advertising for other Mennonite and Amish people to come and join them.  Everyone is working hard to the buildings and grounds up to date (as well as put in a vegetable garden and plant crops).  Noah Schwartz (Mattie’s son) is glad to get away because his fiancé, Deborah Peterscheim broke off their engagement.  Then Deborah shows up at Promise.    Her father threw her out and she regrets her decision to break off her engagement to Noah.  Will Deborah be able to show Noah that she has changed and regrets her actions?  Can Noah ever trust Deborah again?  Read Promise Lodge to see who wants a fresh start at Promise!

I enjoyed reading Promise Lodge.  It is a nice, easy to read (with good writing) novel that is heartwarming.  The setting sounded just lovely, and I liked all the characters (especially the elderly sisters that come to lodge at the house).  It is a little too preachy (a lot of scripture quotes), but I liked the theme of forgiveness and God’s will.  I give Promise Lodge 4 out of 5 stars (which means I liked it).  It is the first book of a new series by Charlotte Hubbard, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

The next book in the series is Christmas at Promise Lodge. It is currently schedule to be released on September 27, 2016.  I received a complimentary copy of Promise Lodge from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My current book is Watch for the Dead by Sheila Connolly.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday!  Do not forget about my Room for Hope contest.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Blue Ribbon Trail Ride

Blue Ribbon Trail Ride by Miralee Ferrell is the fourth book in the Horses and Friends series.  Kate Ferris (thirteen) and her friends, Colt, Melissa, and Tori have come up with a way to raise money so her autistic brother, Pete (and others like him) can attend a special summer camp.  They are going to have a scavenger hunt trail ride.  They have askes businesses in local towns to donate prizes and are collecting entry fees from the people who wish to participate.  Kate’s mother, Nan is having them use a beautiful antique jewelry box as the cash box.  Several people have commented on the beautiful box and even asked to purchase it, but it is not for sale.  The kids collected quite a tidy sum when the box goes missing (with the money in it).  The box was locked, but it was not hidden (it was in the barn office).  Kate and her friends set out to find the culprit.  Will they be able to find the box and the entry fee money (which will pay for Pete and other kids to attend a wonderful camp)?

Blue Ribbon Trail Ride is a cute story.  It is nicely written with a good moral lesson (about forgiveness and helping others).  I found the book to be engaging with a good (though simple) mystery.  This is the perfect book for children (great series of books for children 8 to 12) and adults.  I give Blue Ribbon Trail Ride 5 out of 5 stars. 

The other books in the Horses and Friends series are A Horse for Kate, Silver Spurs, and Mystery Rider.  I received a complimentary copy of Blue Ribbon Trail Ride from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my review.  Have a delightful evening and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

No Cats Allowed

It is Book Release Tuesday!  Some great new books came out today!  Fogged Inn by Barbara Ross, Domestic Secrets by Rosalind Noonan, A Girl's Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber, Shards of Murder by Cheryl Hollon, and Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O'Connor are just a few of the book released today.   I will be reviewing all these books on my blog!  You know the saying that "every dog has his day"?  This is a day for dogs.  It is International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day!  Only a dog can really enjoy this day (mine will).  On this day (February 23) in 1455 The Gutenberg Bible was the first book in the west printed with moveable type printing press invented by Johannes Gutenberg.  Other events are the Tootsie Roll was introduced in 1896 by Leo Hirshfield and in 1940 Walt Disney released the animated feature Pinocchio!

No Cats Allowed by Miranda James is the seventh book in A Cat in the Stacks Mystery series.  There is a new interim director at the Athena College Library.  Unfortunately, Oscar Reilly is going out of his way to alienate everyone on the staff including Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel.  When Charlie is asked to leave Diesel at home, Charlie decides to take a leave of absence.  But then Oscar Reilly turns up dead in the basement (crushed with shelving).  When Charlie's friend and co-worker, Mabel Gilley is accused of the crime, Charlie starts investigating.  Then Charlie is asked to step in as the new interim director.  Charlie may not last long on the job when someone tries to put him out of commission.  Can Charlie figure out who the killer is and stay out of harm’s way?  I enjoyed reading No Cats Allowed.  No cats Allowed may be the seventh book in the series, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone novel.  I have not read any of the other books in the series, but I will definitely be reading them now.  I liked the characters in the book (there are a lot of them) and Diesel, the cat.  The mystery was interesting, but it was child's play to solve (I kept hoping for a good twist at the end, but there was not one).  I give No Cats Allowed 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  I look forward to the next book in A Cat in the Stacks Mystery

Other books in A Cat in the Stacks Mystery series are Murder Past Due, Classified as Murder, File M for Murder, Out of Circulation, The Silence of the Library, and Arsenic and Old books.  I received a complimentary copy of No Cats Allowed from NetGalley in exchange for an honest evaluation of the book!

I am currently reading She's Not There by Joy Fielding (extremely disappointing).  We had quite a rain storm in our area last night. We last power and I missed the end of Castle (I think the blond guy with glasses was the culprit).  I hope everyone has a terrific Tuesday!  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Monday, February 22, 2016

Scent of Magic

Happy Be Humble Day!  Today is not a day to brag about your accomplishments, your beauty, your gorgeous home, or how many books you own.  We are supposed to practice humbleness on this day (you can go back to bragging at 12:01 a.m.)!  Who remembers Dolly the Sheep? The first cloned animal was announced on this day in 1997!  In 1630 Quadequine introduced popcorn to the colonist (such a delicious treat), in 1819 Spain ceded Florida to the United States, Woolworth opened his first five and ten cent store in Utica, New York in 1879, and in 1860 organized baseball played its first game in San Francisco, California!

Scent of Magic by Lori L. Clark is set in Prosperity, Arkansas.  The Duchesne sisters are starting over again.  Starley, 16, is getting tired of having to move all the time.  The three sisters (Starley-16, Francesca-36, and Juliette-26) have special abilities (which they get when they turn 16) and are known for their magical perfumes.  The three sisters were born ten years apart.   They are going to open The Perfumery in Prosperity (as they do in every town they have lived in).  The town is less than welcoming at first, but slowly start to accept the sisters as they try out their special perfumes.  But then Starley (she can see things about people that others cannot) decides to use a little magic (spell) to attract a boy.  Unfortunately, Beau Byrd (the pastor’s son) has a bad reaction and ends up hospitalized.  Now Pastor Byrd (who is a wolf in sheep’s clothing) wants the sisters out of town.   Pastor Byrd has considerable influence in the town and did not like what the Duchesne sisters perfume did to his wife (she grew a backbone and stood up to him).  Will the sisters have to pack up and move again?  Especially after they have just met the Bouvier brothers (who seem to be special like the Duchesne sisters).   What will the townspeople do (agree with the pastor or support the sisters)?

Scent of Magic is a cute but simple story.  Scent of Magic lacks depth.  The book had a lot of potential, but it was not realized in this book.  I was disappointed with the ending (it was okay).  I give Scent of Magic 3 out of 5 stars (means it was an okay/satisfactory book).  The way the book ends sets up the story for a next novel (with the Bouvier brothers).   Scent of Magic had a lot of teenage stuff (for lack of a better word).  The story is mainly told from Starley’s point of view which leads to comments on cute boys, crushes on boys, and many bad decisions (and let us not forget the angst). 

Scent of Magic is available on Kindle Unlimited.  I received a complimentary copy of Scent of Magic from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I hope everyone had a delightful weekend and a magical Monday!  I am currently enjoying No Cats Allowed by Miranda James (it is good).  Do not forget about my giveaway of two copies of Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer!  Have a good evening, take care, and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Girls in the Woods

Today is Northern Hemisphere Hoodie-Hoo Day!  I am not kidding!  On this day you are supposed to go out at noon (I was not even awake then), wave your hands over your head and chant "Hoodie-Hoo".  It is supposed chase away the winter blues and encourage (or, in some areas, welcome) spring.  This is an actual copyrighted holiday (by It is also Love Your Pet Day!  A day to pamper your cat, dog, gerbil, or etc.  In my house the dogs think everyday is Love Your Pet Day (I have to admit that they are spoiled).  

The Girls in the Woods by Helen Phifer is the fifth book in The Annie Graham series.  The novel starts out in 1895 with Mr. Tyson photographing three sisters except one of them just passed away.  Mr. Tyson specializes in memento mori photographs (of dead people).  It is a lucrative business and Mr. Tyson keeps an album of all his photos.  Speed ahead to 1995 in Barrow, England.  Annie Graham Ashworth is six months pregnant.  Annie is to stay away from police work and just relax (like that is going to happen).  Will Ashworth (her husband) is called out to a crime scene in the woods.  A group of students discovered a skeleton in the woods. A young teenager was killed and buried.  Then Annie’s niece, Matilda “Tilly” Graham goes missing.  Tilly would never disappear completely.   Then Annie starts getting visited by a ghost of a deceased teenager.  Is there a connection between the body in the woods, the ghost, and Tilly’s disappearance?  Annie cannot help but look into the matter.  Will she be able to find her niece in time and at what cost?

I thoroughly enjoyed The Girls in the Woods.  It had some great elements (mystery, suspense, paranormal) and a wonderful twist at the end (I like it when something unexpected happens).  I have not read the other books in The Annie Graham series, but it did not hinder my enjoyment.  I think it would, though, be beneficial to read the other books in the series (I know I want to read them).  The Girls in the Woods is a complex story with a great deal of action.  It is a definite page turner!  I give The Girls in the Woods 5 out of 5 stars.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

The other books in The Annie Graham series are:  The Ghost House, The Secrets of the Shadows, The Forgotten Cottage, and The Lake House.  I received a complimentary copy of The Girls in the Woods from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have to head out for some errands.  I need to hit the hardware store and pick up more dog treats (and bones).  I hope everyone has a lovely, relaxing Sunday!  Don't forget that Downton Abbey is on tonight (I do not want the series to end). I am currently reading Shards of Murder by Cheryl Hollon (good book).  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Witches of Cambridge

Happy Cherry Pie Day!  This is my mother's favorite pie.  She asked me to get her one just today.  It is America's second favorite pie behind apple (of course).  On February 20 in history the first American, John Glenn, orbits the Earth in the Friendship 7 spacecraft in 1962.  Other events that happened on this day are Ireland finally legalized birth control (the sale and importation of) in 1985 (too them long enough), the Metropolitan Museum of Art opens in New York in 1872, U.S. Congress prohibited dueling in the District of Columbia in 1839, and Luther Crowell received his patent for the machine that manufacturer paper bags in 1872!

The Witches of Cambridge by Menna Van Praag is a delightful and enchanting novel!  Amandine Bisset is an empath.  She can feel the emotions of other people.  She is happy in her life with her husband, Eliot Walker and their twin boys.  But recently Eliot has been acting oddly.  Is he having an affair?  Amandine is afraid to ask but wants to find out.  Noa Sparrow is a human lie detector and dislikes it intensely.  Noa can tell a person’s secrets upon meeting them and cannot help but spilling them out (she has tried to hold them in but it is impossible).  Noa is studying History of Art at Magdalene College in Cambridge where Amandine teaches (ends up her advisor).  One day Noa meets Santiago Costa who states he can help Noa.  He can take away her gift.  Noa finally gets her wish, but will she be happy?   Cosima Rubens is wonderful baker.  She has a café with magical pastries.  More than anything else in the world, Cosima wants to have a child.  Unfortunately, she has a pre-existing condition.  Cosima could die if she gets pregnant.  Then her husband, Tommy cheats on her and gets the woman pregnant.  What will Cosima do to make her dreams come true?  Kat is a math professor and a witch.  She casts spells with herbs.  Kat has been in love George Bennett for many years (he is oblivious).  He is a shy professor and friend to Kat. He also frequently visits Cosima’s café.  What happens to George when a spell goes awry?  Change is in the air for these witches.  Read The Witches of Cambridge to find out what happens!

The Witches of Cambridge was a charming novel.  I just sat down and read it straight through (I was not pleasant when interrupted).  The only thing that bothered me were the abrupt transitions between scenes (not chapters).  It led to some confusion at first when one minute you are with Kat and then the next sentence Noa.  Otherwise, I was riveted to the pages of this book.  I give The Witches of Cambridge 5 out of 5 stars.  I love Menna Van Praag’s writing style (I have read all of her books). It is so easy to read and entrancing!  I cannot wait for Menna Van Praag’s next novel.

Menna Van Praag's next book in The Lost Art of Letter Writing (no release date at this time).  I received a complimentary copy of The Witches of Cambridge in exchange for an honest review.

I hope everyone is having a fabulous Saturday!  I am off to enjoy dinner and read (of course).  I am currently enjoying Murder Most Wholesome by Staci McLaughlin.  Do not forget about my giveaway for Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer!  Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered to win (must be a resident of the United States or Canada with a physical address--no P.O. Boxes).  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, February 19, 2016

Room for Hope and Giveaway!

Welcome!  I bet many of you are happy it is Friday!  It is Chocolate Mint Day!  For those of you that like mint chocolate chip ice cream or those little Andes mints, this is the day for you!  Indulge and enjoy!  Some interesting historical events that happened on February 19 are Thomas Edison patented the phonograph in 1878; Kansas became the first state to prohibit alcoholic beverages in 1881 (they have, of course, changed it since then); the tintype camera was patented by Professor Hamilton L. Smith in 1856; and in 1985 Cherry Coke was introduced by the Coca-Cola company!

Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer is set in Buffalo Creek, Kansas in 1936 (starts in late September).  Neva Gaines Shilling helps her husband run the Main Street Mercantile and takes care of their home (above the store) and their two children.  Warren Shilling (her husband) takes a wagon out to pick up supplies and visit remote communities.  Warren has been gone a month and they are expecting him home that day.  Instead of Warren, Deputy Sheriff Jesse Caudel arrives with a wagon.  He has come to inform Neva that her “brother” Warren passed away along with his wife, Violet.  One of his last actions was for someone to bring their three children to their Aunt Neva.  Neva is shocked, but she quickly recovers (she does not want the Jesse to know she is really Warren’s wife).  Neva takes the three children into her home (reluctantly) for now (while she decides what to do).   Neva tells her children (twins Bella and Bud) that their father wanted them to take in these three children (not that Warren is there father as well).  What would happen if the truth comes out about Warren and his activities?   Can Neva handle manage the store on her own?  Warren always handled the ordering (and the store is almost bare).  Arthur Randall (of Randall’s Emporium) offers to buy out Mrs. Shilling, but Neva does not wish to sell.  Arthur tries to convince her with charm and kindness.  Will Arthur be able to convince Neva to sell the mercantile?  You will need to read Room for Hope to see how Neva handles these new developments in her life.

Room for Hope is such a good book.  I loved Room for Hope and did not want it to end.  The book is well-written and has such a good flow (makes for easy reading).  It is a heartwarming story about faith, acceptance, and God’s love.  This tale will warm your heart.  Room for Hope has such a sweet ending.  I stayed up late reading this book because I did not want to put it down.  I give Room for Hope 5 out of 5 stars.  I look forward to the next book by Kim Vogel Sawyer.  If you enjoy historical, Christian novels, you will want to read Room for Hope!

Kim Vogel Sawyer's next book is Guide Me Home.  It will be out in August (according to Amazon).  You can follow Kim Vogel Sawyer on Amazon to get updates on her latest releases. I received a complimentary copy of Room for Hope from the publisher and Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

I am giving away two copies of Room for Hope courtesy of the publisher. You need to have a valid street address (no PO boxes--sorry) in the United States or Canada.  To enter you just need to leave a comment with your email address (so I can contact you) and join my blog (you can join via Google, Twitter, or email--see right hand side).  That's it!  Doozy (who is currently snoring beside me) and I will pick a winner on February 29, 2016!  

I hope all of you have a great Friday!  I am off to run a few errands. I am currently reading Fogged Inn by Barbara Ross.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Restoration

The Restoration by Wanda E. Brunstetter is the third book in the Prairie State Friends series.  It is a beautiful ending to this series of books.  It is December in Arthur, Illinois.  Priscilla Herschberger is still waiting for her boyfriend, Elam, to propose.  Priscilla loves Elam but she would like to know if he does want a future with her (at least talk about it with her).  Then she meets David Morgan.  David broke his leg in a motorcycle accident and will be staying with his grandparents, Walt and Letty Morgan, in Arthur.  David is interested in the simpler life of the Amish and he is considering converting.  Priscilla now has two suiters (men who wish to date her) and needs to make a choice.

Elaine Schrock hosts dinners in her home and is going out with Ben.  But Elaine is not sure Ben is the right man for her.  Elaine has never gotten over Jonah Miller.  Elaine and Jonah were courting (going to wed) when Elaine’s grandmother became ill and needed care (she has since passed away).  Elaine did not feel it was right to make Jonah wait and broke it off with him (not telling him why or giving him a choice in the matter). Jonah married Sara, a widow.  Sara came into the marriage with a little boy named Mark.  Unfortunately, Sara passed away recently after the birth of their daughter.  Jonah is now free but can he forgive Elaine for pushing him away.   Will Elaine marry Ben (whom she does not love) or hope for a future with Jonah?

Leah Beachy is happily married to Adam.  She has continued to give reflexology treatments in her home while caring for Adam’s three orphaned nieces.  Adam, though, still refuses to speak to his mother, Cora Finley.  Cora left Adam and his sister, Mary when they were children.  Adam has yet to forgive her.  Leah is hoping for a reconciliation between the two.  Adam also does not know that he has a stepbrother, Jared.  Can Adam ever forgive his mother? 

You will have to read The Restoration to find out what happens.  The Restoration is entertaining and a pleasurable novel to read (you will stay up late reading it).  It has some good morals (life lessons) on forgiveness, regrets, the toll bitterness can take on a person (and a family), and how lack of communication can be harmful to a relationship.  I liked how Wanda Brunstetter concluded the series (one of those endings that make you sigh with delight when you finish the book).  I give The Restoration 5 out of 5 stars.  The Restoration is not a stand-alone novel.  You do need to read the first two books in the series in order to understand the characters and their situations.  If you like Amish fiction, you will love The Restoration.

The other books in The Prairie State Friends series are The Decision and The Gift.  I received a complimentary copy of The Restoration from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  

Thank you for visiting and reading my review.  I will be reviewing Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer tomorrow (Friday).  I will be having a giveaway for a copy of the novel.  Have a delightful evening and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

The Midwife's Choice

Today is National Battery Day!  What would we do without batteries?  We would not have our cell phones, laptops, kindles, ipods, cordless lawn mower, etc.  So celebrate this wonderful invention today!  The first opera was performed in the United States in 1735.  It was Flora and it was performed in South Carolina (I happen to like opera)!  Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn was published for the first time in the United States in 1885.  Sonja Henie won her sixth world's women figure skating title in Montreal, Canada in 1932 (have any of you seen her in her movies).  Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez signed a contract in 1953 worth $8,000,000 to continue I Love Lucy until 1955!  And now for a silly historical tidbit.  In 1930 Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in an airplane!

The Midwife’s Choice by Delia Parr is the second book in the At Home in Trinity series.  Martha Cade (42 and widow) is the midwife to the town of Trinity, Pennsylvania.   Martha is a determined, stubborn woman who is very set in her ways (she reminds me of myself).  She lives in a room over the confectionary (which is great since she has a penchant for sweets) with Fern and Ivy Lynn.  Martha comes home after a difficult birthing case to find her seventeen-year-old daughter, Victoria, has returned home.  Victoria had run away with a traveling theatre troupe several months ago, and Martha had been unable to find her (despite her following the troupe).  However, Victoria does not wish to stay in Trinity.  Victoria wishes to be a writer and has had her first published poem.  Will Victoria be able to convince her mother to let her leave again?

Martha delivered Nancy Clifford’s stillborn son.  This did not cause the baby’s death, Martha reassured the husband, Russell.  The woman claimed she fell walking while carrying wood and landed on her stomach (though she did have a lot of bruises).  Martha had no reason to doubt her story until a few days later.   The townspeople band together to help Nancy and keep her away from her husband (who is a very determined man).  Martha is in for a busy time.  She has to deal with her daughter, Nancy’s situation, Samuel’s condition has worsened, and Thomas Dillon (he is the town mayor and very much in love with Martha) wants an answer to his question.  Read The Midwife’s Choice to catch up on the events in Trinity.

The Midwife’s Choice is the second book in the At Home in Trinity series and you really do need to read the first book in order to understand everything that is going on in the book.  There are many characters and happenings.  The author does try to update the reader in The Midwife’s Choice, but I think it would be beneficial.  The Midwife’s Choice is a pleasurable book to read.  There are parts where you laugh, cry, and sigh.  The book does place a lot of emphasis on prayer and scripture.  Faith and prayer are powerful tools (if you believe).  The Midwife’s Choice has good characters and a lovely setting.  I give The Midwife’s Choice 4 out of 5 stars.  I look forward to reading the third book in the At Home in Trinity series.

The first book in the At Home in Trinity series is The Midwife's Tale.  The third book in the series is The Midwife's Dilemma and it will be out on March 29, 2016!  I received a complimentary copy of The Midwife’s Choice from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Thank you for stopping by my blog.  I really do appreciate your support.  I am currently enjoying Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O'Connor.  Tomorrow I will be reviewing Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer and having a giveaway!  Be sure to stop by and check it out.  Have a delightful day!  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader