Friday, September 30, 2016

A Love Transformed

It is the last day of September.  Only three months left in 2016! Do you prepare ahead for Christmas or do you wait until after Thanksgiving to shop?  I have a gift trunk that I slowly fill up during the year.  I especially look for stocking stuff items.  To put you in the mood for Christmas, Debbie Macomber's Twelve Days of Christmas will be out on October 4.  

A Love Transformed by Tracie Peterson is the third book in the Sapphire Brides series.  Clara Vesper lives with her husband, Adolph is New York City in April of 1917.  Clara’s was an arranged marriage by her mother.  Adolph and Clara have been married twelve years when she receives word that he was murdered in an alley.  She is told very dispassionately by her husband’s secretary, Jack Brindleson.  Otto Vesper, Adolph’s twin brother, comes around and tells Clara that Adolph was in serious debt.  That the home and its furnishing are all owned by Otto.  He assures her that he will continue to take care of her (I’m sure he has a plan).  Otto and Adolph owned a jewelry company.  Adolph was known as the person who designed their beautiful jewelry that utilizes Yogo sapphires from Montana.  Clara is the actual designer.  Clara is worried that once her mother finds out she is a widow, she will swoop in and arrange another loveless marriage (she’s right).  Clara begins making plans for herself and her children (twins:  Hunter and Maddy).  Clara wishes to return to Montana to her Aunt Madeline and Uncle Paul.  She is also hoping to reconnect with Curtis Billingham, her one true love.  But will Otto and her mother let her get away that easily.  Otto needs Clara for her design talent and he may not have been completely truthful with her about a few matters.  Clara’s mother has her own motives.  Will Clara be able to find happiness in Montana? 

A Love Transformed is an easy novel to read, but it is extremely predictable.  It is easy to predict how the story will play out once we are introduced to the characters.  The book contains good writing, but I just wanted more.  This novel can be read without having enjoyed the previous books in the series.  I found Clara to be extremely na├»ve.  She took what she was told at face value.  Considering her age and position in society, she should have been a little savvier (at least double check what she was told by Otto).  I also thought that since fourteen years have passed since she last saw Curtis, her love would not be as deep or emotional.  First love is sweet, but usually not lasting.  Overall, A Love Transformed is a sweet book, but not my favorite in the series.  I give A Love Transformed 3.5 out of 5 stars (it was okay).  This will not stop me from enjoying books by Tracie Peterson in the future.

The first two books in Sapphire Brides series are A Treasure Concealed and A Beauty Refined.  Tracie Peterson's next book is My Valentine.  It will be out on January 1, 2017.  You can follow Tracie Peterson on Amazon.  I received a complimentary copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.  The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

I have to go feed the children (the cats and dogs).  They are starting to get very vocal.  I hope all of you have a delightful evening.  If you go out, stay safe.  I am reading Ghost Times Two by Carolyn Hart tonight.  I will return tomorrow to review another book!  It's a guarantee.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Claiming Noah

I hope everyone is having a fabulous Thursday.  I spent the day doing chores around the house and writing reviews.  It was also time to bake more cookies.  My mother just loves her chocolate chip cookies.  There are some great books coming out next week. A couple of the novels coming out on October 4 are Masking for Trouble by Diane Vallere, Little Boy Blue by M.J. Arlidge, Putting on the Witch by Joyce and Jim Lavene, and Crepe Factor by Laura Childs.  I will be sharing more releases with you over the next few days!

Claiming Noah by Amanda Ortlepp is a compelling novel set in Sydney, Australia.  Catriona Sinclair is married to James.  James has always wanted children and finally convinced Catriona to have a baby.  Unfortunately, they cannot conceive naturally.  They are led down the road of tests and eventually IVF.  They were able to get four embryos.  The first one resulted in a pregnancy, but Catriona miscarried.  The second one did not take.  Catriona agreed to try one more time and it resulted in a pregnancy.  Catriona stated this was the last time and they agreed to donate the embryo.  A couple that would be unable to conceive would get an opportunity to have a child.  Catriona and James had a little boy that they named Sebastian.  Catriona has a rough time adjusting.  Sebastian did not take to breastfeeding and he cried frequently.  Then Catriona started seeing a person in the house and hearing voices.  James had her see a doctor and he put her on antidepressants.  However, Catriona did not tell him about the voices and hallucinations.  Catriona ends up spending time in a clinic that helps her overcome the postpartum psychosis.  It is a rare condition, but it does happen.  James take time off to take care of Sebastian.  When Catriona returns home, she is happy to see her son. 

Diana Simmons and her husband, Liam are unable to conceive on their own.  After going through the various options, they choose to adopt an embryo (it is like adopting a baby).  Despite objections from her mother and the local priest, they went ahead with their plans.  Diana was lucky enough to get pregnant.  It resulted in a son, Noah.  Diana loves being a mother.  Then one day she is at the grocery store with Noah asleep in his stroller.  She has it covered with a blanket so the lights in the store do not wake him up.  When Diana gets out to her car and removes the blanket, Noah is gone.  Someone kidnapped her son.  Who would take him and why?  Join Diana, Liam, James, and Catriona as their lives spiral out of control.

Claiming Noah is an emotional book.  There are high points and some very low points (makes you cry).  The story is told from the viewpoint of the two women:  Catriona and Diana.  We get to see how each person reacts to pregnancy and raising children (and how it affects their husbands and marriage).  The story has good writing (for the most part), but it could use a little editing (and reworking).  This author’s writing is very descriptive.  She likes to describe the trees, furnishing, clothes in great detail.  It was interesting to find out about embryo donation and how it is handled.  Amanda Ortlepp shows what happens when an embryo donation goes wrong.  It is an emotionally charged issue that presents legal and emotional complications.  We get to see how it affects the two families.  I did find that some of the novel was predictable, but I did enjoy the overall story.  I give Claiming Noah 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  This is Amanda Ortlepp’s debut novel, and I look forward to reading her next book.

You can follow Amanda Ortlepp on Facebook and Twitter.  I received a complimentary copy of Claiming Noah from NetGalley and the publisher (FaithWords) in exchange for an honest evaluation.  The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Thank you very much for visiting.  If you like my blog, please consider joining (right hand side).  I am off to finish Crepe Factor by Laura Childs. I will return tomorrow to review another novel! Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

British Manor Murder: A Lucy Stone Mystery

Happy Wednesday!  We are halfway through the last week of September.  I am always telling you about the antics of Doozy, but I rarely mention Wolfie and Tuxxe. They are both 11 years old and are not as active as they used to be.  I wanted to share their pictures with you.  Wolfie is a Siberian Husky and Tuxxe is a Chihuahua.  Tuxxe is my mother's baby. She used to belong to a teenager who carried her around in a pink tote bag.  Then Tuxxe got too big for the bag and the girl no longer wanted her (I am an easy mark when it comes to animals). Wolfie loves my daughter to pieces.  Betsy rescued her from a park in Georgia.  Someone abandoned Wolfie and her brother at the park (the brother went to friends).  I may be the one who feeds her, grooms her, pets her, and gives her treats, but Wolfie's loyalty is to Betsy.  Wolfie is such a sweetie.

British Manor Murder by Leslie Meier is the twenty-third A Lucy Stone Mystery novel (can you believe it).  Lucy Stone is feeling depressed since her grandson, Patrick went back to living with his parents.  Lucy loved having him around while his parents were out of the country.  Sue Finch has received an invitation to visit England and her husband cannot accompany her.  Sue invites Lucy to go with her.  She believes a change of place will help get Lucy out of her funk.  They are going to be staying with Peregrine “Perry” Pryce-West, Earl of Wickham and his sister, Poppy (along with her husband, Gerald).   He is hosting an event at Moreton Manor called The Head’s Up! Hat Festival.  Sue has some lovely hats that she will be contributing to the exhibition.  Lucy brought some mystery novels to read, but no dress clothes (not a good choice).  Also staying at the manor are Poppy’s children Flora (anorexic) and Desi (ballet dancer).  Unfortunately, Aunt Millicent shows up and brings her lady’s maid, Harrison.  Aunt Millicent is a bit of a pill (and very demanding).  The manor is very expensive to maintain so the family opens up the main house to tourists.  Lucy and Sue are staying in the old servant’s quarters that have been renovated.  Lucy is going through the maze on the property and when she reaches the center Lucy discovers a dead body!  Then the house starts to smell.  At first they thought it was a dead animal, but then the smell got significantly worse.  A body is found decomposing in a priest hole (a hidden room).  It turns out to be Harrison’s son, Cyril.  Lucy just loves a mystery and cannot help poking her nose into this one (the bonus is her depression is lifting).  Whoever killed Cyril has to know the house very well to have found the priest hole.  Will Lucy be able to find the killer before there is another victim?  Join Lucy Stone on her latest adventure in British Manor Murder.

I have read every Lucy Stone Mystery book.  They are all enjoyable to read and highly entertaining.  The book is well-written, has a good pace, and is easy to read.  The characters remind me of everyday people.  Lucy and her family could be my neighbors or relatives and I like that.  The mystery was interesting.  It is more complicated than just dead bodies.  I liked that there were various elements to it.  Leslie Meier has an easy breezy style of writing that makes the novel a pleasure to read.  I give British Manor Murder 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  I liked figuring out the different elements and identifying the killer.  It was also nice to revisit Lucy, her family, and friends.  I enjoyed that we were taken out of Tinker’s Cove to a new destination.  Tinker’s Cove really does not need another dead body (the town is bound to get a bad reputation).  The only thing I did not like was how whiny Lucy was at the beginning of the book.  It did not fit with her personality and it was a bit of a turn off.  I am glad, though, that I persevered and finished the book.  I would love to see this author start a new series.  I like Lucy Stone, but I believe it is about time for her swan song.

You can find the other Lucy Stone Mystery novels on Amazon (I cannot list twenty-two books).  You can follow Leslie Meier on Amazon and Facebook.  I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Thank you very much for your visit!  I will return tomorrow to review another great book.  I am off to eat dinner and finish a few chores.  I am currently reading Masking for Trouble by Diane Vallere.  May all of you have a delightful evening.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A March to Remember

A March to Remember by Anna Loan-Wilsey is the fifth book in A Hattie Davish Mystery series.  Hattie Davish is in Washington, D.C. with her boss, Sir Arthur Windom-Greene (a historian and writer).  They are staying with Senator Merriweather Lewis Smith and his wife, Mildred.  Hattie’s beau, Dr. Walter Grice is coming to town to see Hattie and also visit with his sister, Sarah (wife of a congressman).  Coxey’s Army (led by General Jacob Coxey) is heading into town on May Day for a march.  Thousands of unemployed and hungry men are camping outside Washington waiting for May Day.  Hattie is out on an early morning walk when she sees a carriage going too fast.  Inside the carriage is a fallen (bawdy) woman Hattie had seen the previous day. The driver and woman end up in the lake.  The man gets out and takes off.  Hattie dives into the lake to try and rescue the poor woman.  Two men come and assist her.  Unfortunately, the woman (later identified as Annie Wilcox) does not make it.  Hattie knows that the police will not put much effort into looking for her killer (because Annie is not a “lady”).   Then during the march one of the men who assisted Hattie, Jasper Neely, is killed, and Hattie is injured by the police officer’s freely swinging night sticks.  Someone wanted to quiet Jasper and used the march as a cover.  Hattie wants answers and starts digging.  Hattie also has a personal matter that she needs to address with Sir Arthur and cannot seem to get him alone.  Romance may take Hattie away from Sir Arthur.  Join Hattie on her latest adventure in AMarch to Remember.

A March to Remember is an enjoyable novel.  Anna Loan-Wilsey does a wonderful job at capturing the time period and locale.  Anna Loan-Wilsey includes many details on the sights of Washington, D.C. (what it looked like at that time).  The author is a descriptive writer that brings the scenes to life (you can just see them in your mind).  This is the type of book that needs your complete attention when you read it (or you will miss something important).   While this is part of a series, A March to Remember can be read alone.  The author updates the reader on the events in the earlier books.  I did, though, think the mystery was very easy to solve.  I picked out the killer based on his character description (maybe I have read too many mysteries).  I then read the book to see if I was correct.  The reader gets some good, pointed clues that will help solve the crimes.  While I thought that the mystery was easy to solve, it really is quite complicated (the details).  I give A March to Remember 4.25 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  It was interesting to read about Coxey’s army and the march.  It is an interesting historical tidbit that is rarely mentioned or listed in the history books. Anna Loan-Wilsey provided us with a wonderfully crafted story.  I will be reading Anna Loan-Wilsey novels in the future.  It is such a shame that this is our last adventure with Hattie Davish.

The first four books in A Hattie Davish Mystery series are A Lack of Temperance, Anything but Civil, A Sense of Entitlement, and A Deceptive Homecoming.  I received a complimentary copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.  The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Thank you so much for visiting.  May all of you have a lovely, relaxing evening.  I am off to finish The Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel and eat dinner.  I will be back tomorrow with another book review (fair warning)!  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Monday, September 26, 2016

Love's Faithful Promise

My mother had a doctor's appointment today, and she went without any whining!  She did not even pull the sick routine this time.  I cannot take any of the credit.  This doctor has a cancellation policy that I made sure she read and sign (no one wants to pay for not showing up or canceling too late).  I have to admit it was a nice change. The only delay was getting her dressed.  She somehow ended up wearing a pair of my jeans, one of my new tops, and my Ohio State University tennis shoes.  But since we actually left the house on time, I am not complaining!  Tomorrow is Book Release Day!  I will share with you some of the books being released.

Love’s Faithful Promise by Susan Anne Mason is the third book in Courage to Dream series.  It is September in 1922 in New York.  Deirdre O’Leary has returned from Boston University when she hears her mother has had a stroke.  Deirdre is studying to be a doctor in Boston.  The family needs Deirdre to return home to care for her mother, Kathleen (they are rich and couldn’t hire a nurse?).  Kathleen will need someone trained in physical therapy to assist her, and Dr. Matthew Clayborne comes highly recommended.  He is trained in physiotherapy.  He spent a year in England after the war training in it.  But Dr. Clayborne will not leave Toronto. He is a widow and responsible for his daughter, Phoebe.  Phoebe is in fragile health.  Deirdre will not take no for answer and travels to Toronto to try and persuade the doctor.  When Phoebe ends up needing a country climate to recuperate, Dr. Clayborne agrees to take on Kathleen as a patient.  They will stay at Irish Meadows.  But taking Phoebe out of the country does not sit well with Dr. Clayborne’s in-laws when they find out.  Phoebe has grown close to Deirdre and does not wish to return to Canada.  Phoebe ends up traveling with the duo.  What can they do so Dr. Clayborne can keep custody of his beloved daughter?  Connor O’Leary is taking over for Sam, head trainer and stable manager, while he is away.  Sam had hired a new stable hand before he departed.  But there is something strange about this new hand.  Josephine “Jo” Miller needs this job.  She cannot risk losing it, but trouble arises when the heart becomes involved.  Join the O’Leary family for one last installment in Love’s Faithful Promise.

Love’s Faithful Promise was enjoyable to read and it was a good finale to the series.  It was nice to see Connor finally find happiness.  We get to catch up with all the characters from the first two novels in Courage to Dream series.  I do recommend reading the first two books in the series, or it can be confusing.  The O’Leary family is big (meaning a lot of characters to keep straight).  It is a mushy and predictable novel, but I did like it.  The writing drew me in.  The characters are likeable (friendly).  The messages in the novel are forgiveness, the power of prayer, having faith, God’s unfailing love, and relying on God’s wisdom and timing. I give Love’s Faithful Promise 4 out of 5 stars.  It is a very good Christian historical romance novel.  I look forward to reading more books by Susan Anne Mason in the future.

The first two books in Courage to Dream series are Irish Meadows and A Worthy Heart. I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.  The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

I am glad that you stopped by to read my review.  I am currently reading It's Your Party, Die If You Want To by Vickie Fee.  I have to go cook dinner and throw in another load of laundry.  I will be back tomorrow to review A March to Remember by Anna Loan-Wilsey. Have a great evening.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Lady Unrivaled

Can you believe it is the last week in September already?  This month went by so very quickly.  I discovered some delicious chocolates the other day.  I love Russel Stover Pecan Clusters, but they are big.  Now they make mini ones.  You can get them wrapped or unwrapped.  The wrapped ones are better (look like the bigger versions).  The small ones are tasty, but are lacking in appearance (they look like something I would make).  If you like them, check them out at your local grocery store in the candy aisle.

A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M.White is the third book in Ladies of the Manor series.  Lady Ella Myerston wants to help her family with the matter of Fire Eyes.  Lady Ella needs to find more information on the red diamonds and gets herself an invite to the Cotswold’s.  Her friend has an extensive library and Lady Ella is sure she will find the information she is seeking.  Her brother has always protected Ella, but now Ella wishes to help him (since his wife is expecting).  Ella runs into Lord James Azerly, the Earl of Cayton.  He is staying nearby with his daughter, Addie at Anlic Manor.  James’ reputation proceeds him, but he has changed since the birth of daughter (and death of his wife).  Unfortunately, Lady Catherine “Kitty” Pratt, her brother, Rushworth, and Kitty’s maid Kira arrive.  Rushworth wants Fire Eyes and is willing to do anything to get them.  Lord Pratt, Kitty’s husband, had promised them a buyer and had even taken an advance payment for the diamonds.  Rushworth is pressuring James into helping him by using Lady Ella.  Unknowingly (at first), Lady Ella has the red diamonds and wears them in front of Rushworth.  Mayhem is sure to ensue at they try to keep the red diamonds out of Rushworth’s hands. 

I decided to describe the mystery and intrigue portion of the novel instead of the romance (which was very expected).  I found A Lady Unrivaled to have a slower pace than the first two novels in the series.  A Lady Unrivaled can be confusing if you have not read the first two books (The Lost Heiress and The Reluctant Duchess).  The book does contain the requisite, predictable romance.  Actually, more of the novel is devoted to the developing romance between Ella and James than to Fire Eyes.  The writing is good, but I found the ending to be anticlimactic.    I give A Lady Unrivaled 3.5 out of 5 stars (It was okay).  I just did not think A Lady Unrivaled was as enjoyable (interesting, entertaining) as the first two books in the series.  I did find the tale of Fire Eyes to be fascinating.

The first two books Ladies of the Manor series are The Lost Heiress and The Reluctant Duchess. You can follow Roseanna M. White on Amazon.  I received a complimentary copy of A Lady Unrivaled in exchange for an honest review.  The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own. 

I hope you enjoyed my latest review.  There are some good shows on tonight.  Once Upon a  Time returns tonight (finally).  Masters of Sex, Chesapeake Shores, and the latest Signed, Sealed, and Delivered movie.  I hope you will visit again.  I am off to enjoy dinner and read The Murder of a Queen Bee by Meera Lester.  Have a good evening, take care, and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Love Made New

It is another sunny and hot day in Florida.  Fall is the season I miss most living in Florida. The beautiful turning leaves, the cooler weather, the smell of fires (indoor and outdoor), the return of Halloween candy (yum). We will start to get cooler weather in late October (if we are lucky).  It is hard to enjoy hot weather when you have hot flashes!  I just want to cool off and I love wearing jeans (with my cute Converse tennis shoes).  What is your favorite thing about fall?

A Love Made New by Kathleen Fuller is the third book in An Amish of Birch Creek series. Abigail Schrock has just returned home after being away for six weeks with Joanna, her injured sister.  Joanna was injured in the same accident that killed their parents.  Abigail is very excited to see her beau, Joel.  She hurries over to his home and does not get the warm greeting she expected.  Abigail fears it is because of her weight gain (she eats when unhappy or stressed).  Joel has fallen for someone else while Abigail was away (helping Joanna with her rehab).  Abigail is just heartbroken.  Asa Bontrager runs into Abigail on her way home and tries to assist her, but she rebuffs him (repeatedly).  Asa Bontrager moved to Birch Creek because he felt that God had led him to Birch Creek.  He gave up everything in his old life when he relocated.  God is now leading him to Abigail.  Asa knows that he will have to take is slow and earn Abigail’s trust.  It turns out that Abigail needs help learning to manage her accounts for her rug business.  Asa happens to be very good with numbers and it the perfect person to teach her bookkeeping (Abigail does not even have a bank account).  Can Abigail learn to trust again?  Will she be able to forgiveness Joel and see it was the best thing that ever happened to her?

Sol Troyer has changed his ways. God has slowly changed him (from being drunk, irresponsible, rude), but Sol has to prove himself to the members of his community.  Sol now makes and sells birdhouses.  He has a client that would like a painted birdhouse, and Irene is recommended for the position.  Irene is not sure about spending time with Sol (because of his drinking and temper).  But Irene is just the person to help Sol.  Sol needs to know that he has been forgiven and is deserving of love (he does not feel worthy).  Join Asa, Abigail, Irene, and Sol as they work through their issues in A Love Made New.

A Love Made New is a sweet story.  It was nice to revisit Birch Creek and get to know more about each of these characters.  We also get updates on the people from the previous novels (Aden and Sadie as well as Joanna and Andrew).  This is the third book in the series, and I recommend reading the previous books in An Amish of Birch Creek series.  The author does update the readers in A Love Made New of what happened in the prior novels (A Reluctant Bride and An Unbroken Heart).  I just think in order to understand the various characters and their situations, you need to read the first two books (personal opinion).  I liked the messages in this book about God’s love and forgiveness.  The ending is just lovely and heartwarming.  I give A Love Made New 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  I appreciate Ms. Fuller’s writing style.  It is conversational which makes for an enjoyable and easy to read book.    I look forward to reading the next book by Kathleen Fuller.

The first two books in An Amish of Birch Creek series are A Reluctant Bride and An Unbroken Heart.  You can follow Kathleen Fuller on Amazon and Facebook.  I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.  The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own. 

Thank you for stopping by!  I am off to bake some cookies and the cook dinner.  I am currently reading A March to Remember by Anna Loan-Wilsey.  There are quite a few books coming out on September 27!  Have a lovely evening.  Make sure to make time for yourself.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, September 23, 2016

My Sister's Prayer

Happy Friday!  I bet everyone is glad for the weekend to arrive. Today I am reviewing a book by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould.  This writing duo have written The Amish Bride, The Amish Nanny, The Amish Seamstress, The Amish Midwife, The Amish Clockmaker, and The Amish Groom (notice a theme with the titles).  They are all very good books that are enjoyable to read.

My Sister’s Prayer by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould is the second book in Cousins of the Dove series.  Madeline “Maddee” Talbot is twenty-seven years old and has a busy life (and it’s about to get busier).  Her sister, Nicole gets into a car accident (because of drugs) and needs around the clock care (broke both her legs).  She is staying with their Nana (who has a big house and money for caregivers), but Nicole feels smothered.  Nicole wants to stay with Maddee (she is whining).  Maddee finally agrees to let her stay with her with a few conditions (daily AA meetings are a part of it).  Maddee is a little nervous because Nicole was a drug addict, and Maddee is not sure how she will be able to care for Nicole (she has a full-time job).  Nicole has doctor appointments, AA meetings, and physical therapy.  The two sisters were close when they were little but grew apart after Nicole started her downward spiral with drugs.  It all goes back to the dead body that they found in a cabin when they were little (along with their cousins Rene and Danielle).  By the time the girls returned with their parents, the body had vanished.  No one believed their story.  The case is still unsolved.  But there is new evidence (thanks to the cousins) and Detective Ortiz is looking into the case.  Can solving this case help heal Nicole and the breach between the two sisters?  While the two are staying together, Nana gives them some family letters and journals to read.  She wants them to go through the papers together.

Celeste Talbot has always done what she has been told to do.  But she fell in love with Lt. Jonathan Gray who has been recently assigned to the New World (he had to leave without her).  Celeste is running away to be with him.  What Celeste does not expect is her sister, Berta to follow her.  Celeste does not have enough money for the passage, and signs on as an indentured servant (for four years) to pay for her voyage.  Celeste knows Jonathan will buy her contract when they arrive in Williamsburg.  Celeste discovers Berta on the ship.  Berta ends up very ill and needs constant care.  When The Royal Mary arrives in the New World, they land in Norfolk (instead of Williamsburg).  The captain sells their contracts and the two girls end up in different cities.  Celeste has to find a way to get in touch with Jonathan.  Celeste promised Berta she would rescue her as soon as possible.  Celeste is in for a big dose of reality.  Will she be able to reunite with Berta?  Can she find Jonathan and get out of her contract?  Join these two sets of sisters on their journey of discovery in My Sister’s Prayer.

My Sister’s Prayer goes back and forth from present day to the past to tell the story.  It is told in the first person (which I really dislike, but after a while I do not notice it).  While this is the second book in the series, it can be read alone.  The book has very good writing (as usual for these two great authors) and the story draws in the reader.  It deals with forgiveness, adversity, the impetuousness of youth, and trusting that God has a plan for your life.  You can see the parallels between the two sets of sisters as you read the novel.  I give My Sister’s Prayer 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould did a very good job at capturing the historical time period.  Their writing is very descriptive.  I can envision what they are describing. Past events are not wrapped up in My Sister’s Prayer.  We will have to await the next novel to find out more about the man that died in the cabin.  I will definitely be reading more books by these two authors.

The first book in Cousins of the Dove series` is My Brother's Crown.  The next book is My Daughter's Legacy coming out in May 2017.  I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.  The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

I appreciate you visiting and reading my review.  I will be talking about A Love Made New by Kathleen Fuller tomorrow.  I have to finish a few more things before I get to relax for the evening.  I wish Grimm was starting tonight.  We have another month to wait. There is a new show staring on Syfy channel tonight.  It is called Van Helsing (with a female as the lead).  I am curious to see if it is any good!  May all of you have a nice, relaxing evening.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sewn with Joy

Welcome one and all!  After two days of frantically and searching my neighborhood, I found Lil' Dickens.  I have yet to figure out how he snuck out of the house.  He was there for dinner, but after dinner he was gone. The neighbor across the street (the people that have band practice every Wednesday night) was able to catch him (he was purring away) and bring him home.  I was so grateful.  In between searching, I had been praying for his safe return.  Dickens had a very big dinner and then lay down to sleep. I bet his adventures wore him out.  Doozy just about sniffed the fur off him. I bet Dickens had some interesting smells on him.

Sewn with Joy by Tricia Goyer and Sherry Gore is the third book in The Pinecraft Pie Shop series.  Joy Miller lives in Pinecraft, Florida (eight square blocks in Sarasota, Florida) with her family.  Joy works at the local quilt shop and is also a seamstress.  She makes items that are sold in local shops (aprons for Lovina’s pie shop).  Joy has been seeing Matthew Slagel, the bishop’s son.  Matthew is very picky and opinionated (wants things done a certain way).  Then a television company comes to town to film a show based on the Amish.  Joy notices them driving around one night, and they seem to be lost.  She goes outside to provide them with directions.  The Bishop decides that no one in the community will associate with the television crew. Then a large order is placed at the quilt shop (Joy gets a percentage of the sale).  Joy goes to deliver the quilts and sees some glaring problems with the costumes being used in the production.  Joy is asked to sew the costumes for the cast.  Joy sees the extra income as a way to help pay for her father’s experimental medical treatments.  They are costly and the family needs every cent.  Then Joy is asked to become a consultant on the show.  Joy debates taking the job, but she feels that God is directing her to help these people.  Joy feels that she is there to help direct them towards God.  The downside is Matthew is upset with Joy and does not understand her decisions.   Can Joy make Matthew understand her choices?  Will Joy’s work make a difference in the lives of the cast and crew of the production?  Read Sewn with Joy to find out!

Sewn with Joy is my favorite book in the series.  I liked Joy and her determination.  She knew what she was doing was going against the Bishop, but she felt compelled to help these people (God was telling her to help them).  How many of us follow our instincts or do what we feel is right?  The novel is well-written and has a good pace that makes it easy to read.  There is the predictable romance (of course).  We also get to catch up with the characters from the first two books in The Pinecraft Pie Shop series who are planning a double wedding (Hope, Lovina and their fiances).  While Sewn with Joy is the third book in the series, it can be read alone.  The author does a good job of bringing the reader up to date on the Miller family.  I give Sewn with Joy 4 out of 5 stars (which mean I liked it).  I found the ending to be especially heartwarming and uplifting.  I hope there will be more books in The Pinecraft Pie Shop series.

The first two books in The Pinecraft Pie Shop series are Made with Love and Planted with Hope.  I received a complimentary copy of Sewn with Joy in exchange for an honest review.  The comments and opinions expressed are my own.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my review.  I will be reviewing My Sister's Prayer by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould tomorrow.  I am going to go cook dinner and then get ready for some new shows (Notorious, How to Get Away with Murder). May all of you have an enjoyable evening.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Letters from Paris

We are halfway through the week.  I hope all of you are having a wonderful Wednesday.  Survivor starts tonight.  I do not watch many reality shows, but my father got me hooked on this one.  It should be an interesting season with Generation X (people my age) against Millennials (people my daughter's age).  One of the millennials has a job playing video games on You-Tube.  I cannot believe that it is a job.  

Letters from Paris is the latest novel by Juliet Blackwell.  Chance “Claire” Broussard lives in Chicago, Illinois.  Claire (as she prefers to be called since leaving Louisiana) receives a call from her cousin, Jessica.  Her grandmother is not well and wants to see Claire.  Instead of taking a leave of absence or a few days off, Claire gives up her job, apartment, and boyfriend and heads home to Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana (she has not been happy in Chicago).  Her grandmother, Mammaw is very ill.  Mammaw raised Claire after her mother passed away in an accident, and she was removed from her father’s custody.  When Claire is checking the attic for a leak, she finds a box.  Inside is a beautiful mask that arrived broken.  Claire has many memories of the mask.  It intrigues her as a child (and still does) and Claire wonders about the history behind it.  Her grandmother encourages her to Paris (where the mask came from) and get answers.  After her grandmother passes away, Claire is at loose ends.  She feels that she does not belong in Louisiana or Chicago.  So Claire heads for Paris.  Claire starts with the company that made the mask of the woman.  The mask is called L’Iconnue de la Seine (The Unknown Woman of the Seine) and was made by Lombardi family at their atelier.  There Claire encounters Armand Lombardi and Giselle Bouvay.  They need assistance in the atelier (a sales girl who can translate), and Claire wants information on the mask.  Join Claire on her journey for answers about the mask of The Unknown Woman of the Seine in Letters from Paris.

Letters from Paris has an interesting premise.  The book tells us the history of the mask by going back in time to 1897 and Sabine Moreau (the model for the mask).   I was looking forward to Letters from Paris, but I have to admit that I was disappointed with the book.  I found it to be a slow read and a very long book (it really needed to be edited down). This is a stand-alone book (you do not need to read The Paris Key).  The writing is good, but it is lacking (the book is nothing like Juliet Blackwell’s cozy mysteries).  The author did a very good job at capturing time and place with her descriptive writing.  There is the mystery of the mask, but there is also the romance that develops between Armand and Claire (first they fight and then slowly get to know each other).  The answers Claire seeks come at the very end of the book.  I give Letters from Paris 3.5 out of 5 stars.  It is a lovely story, but it was just not for me.  I could not get into this book, and I felt that it dragged. I am a big fan of Juliet Blackwell, and I will definitely be reading her future works.

You can follow Juliet Blackwell on Amazon and Facebook.  You should take the time to check out her cozy mystery books.  The Haunted Home Renovation series and Witchcraft Mystery series (I just love this series). I received a complimentary copy of Letters from Paris in exchange for an honest evaluation.  The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

I appreciate you checking out my latest book review.  I am currently reading British Manor Murder by Leslie Meier.  I will be back tomorrow with another review (I have not decided which one yet).  Have a good evening!  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tomorrow I will be reviewing A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Wish

Hello!  I hope all of you are having a good Wednesday.  I do some housework and worked on product reviews.  Beverly Lewis is the author I am featuring today.  She has written some wonderful novels.  Three of her books have been made into movies (on Hallmark).  Some of her novels include The Shunning, The Postcard, The Confession, The Reckoning, The Letters, and The Secret Keeper.  You can find them on Amazon.  You can find out more information on Beverly Lewis and her book at  

The Wish by Beverly Lewis is set in Colerain, Pennsylvania. Leona Speicher is thrilled when the Gingeriches move in next door because they have a girl the same age.  Gloria Gingeriches becomes Leona's best friend.  Leona spends quite a bit of time at Gloria's house while they are growing up.  She finds that she prefers Gloria's family to her own. Leona felt that she was born to the wrong family. When Gloria is seventeen, her father, Arkansas Joe has a problem with the Bishop and the community.  They the whole family disappears.  Gloria leaves behind her dog, Brownie with a note for Leona.  Leona does not understand why they just disappeared, but she hopes to hear from her friend soon.   Leona hears nothing for three years and then she receives a letter from Gloria asking her to visit.  Leona feels that God is calling her to help her friend.  Gloria is at a crossroads and needs advice (and assistance).  Leona wants to find out what happened three years ago that caused her family to leave without any word. Plus, she misses her dearest friend. Gloria was like a sister to Leona.  Will Leona be able to help her friend? Join Leona as she sets out to help Gloria and hopefully return her to the community in The Wish 

The Wish was a good book.  It has excellent writing (as usual for Beverly Lewis) and the book moves along at a good pace.  The book is about choices.  It can be hard to make the right decision/choice.  I thought the book had good moral lessons especially that with God all things are possible.  You think someone has a better life (greener pastures), but you do not know what goes on behind closed doors.  I give The Wish 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). There is a little bit of romance in the story, but it plays out in the background (not the main focus of the book). I thought The Wish was a good, heartwarming novel.  I look forward to reading Beverly Lewis' next novel. 

You can follow Beverly Lewis on Amazon and Facebook.  I received a complimentary book in exchange for an honest review. The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own. 

I sincerely hope all of you have a nice, relaxing evening.  I have to finish a few chores before I get to relax for the night.  Tomorrow I will be reviewing Letters from Paris by Juliet Blackwell (taking a break from the Christian novels I have been reviewing the last few days).  I am currently reading Rebecca's Bouquet by Lisa Jones Baker.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader