Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Haunted is Always in Fashion

I hope all of you are having a great day!  I want to remind you that Prose and Cons by Amanda Flower comes out on December 6. You will not want to miss the second installment in the A Magical Bookshop Mystery series.  It is just delightful.

Haunted is Always in Fashion by Rose Pressey is the fourth book A Haunted Vintage Mystery series.  Cassandra “Cookie” Chanel can see ghosts (a recently discovered ability).   Cookie is heading to an appointment with Juliana McDaniel and Charlotte Meadows (the ghost that refuses to cross over) is tagging along (as usual).  Along the way, Cookie encounters traffic that has come to a standstill.  Cookie gets out of the car to see what is going on and is greeted by a young woman in ghost form.  The victim turns out to be Juliana who was shot while driving her car.  Juliana was going to interview Cookie for a book on vintage fashions.  Cookie is the owner of It’s Vintage Y’All in Sugar Creek, Georgia and an expert on vintage fashions.  Juliana cannot cross over until she finds out who killed her.  Cookie now has two ghosts to keep her company.  Cookie with the help of Charlotte, Juliana, Wind Song (her cat), and Hannah Sweet (Cookie’s best friend) starts poking into Juliana’s life to see why she was murdered.  Juliana had some vintage items in her car that seem to be in demand.  What was so special about these vintage fashions? In addition, Cookie wants to find out the origins of her cat, Wind Song.  Wind Song is no ordinary cat.  She has special abilities.  Heather (the not-so-psychic psychic) introduces the group to Fatima (a real psychic).  Can she provide answers about Wind Song?  Life is never dull for Cookie. 

Haunted is Always in Fashion is an easy, breezy novel.  It may be the fourth book in A Haunted Vintage Mystery series, but it can be read alone.  Rose Pressey provides the necessary background information for the readers.  The mystery was uncomplicated and can easily be solved (much to my disappointment).  I give Haunted is Always in Fashion 3 out of 5 stars (it was okay).  The same tasks (or scenes) kept being repeated without any results.  The group would visit Fatima (a psychic) and Cookie never asked the right questions so they would visit her again (and then again).  The cat, Wind Song can only “talk” through a Ouija Board, but Cookie refuses to keep one in the shop.  She calls her friend, Hannah Sweet who walks down from her shop each time (this happens several times during the course of the novel).  Then we have the two men who are interested in Cookie.  I am really tired of love triangles (they seem to be in every book I have read recently).  When Cookie sees Dylan Valentine her heart goes “pitty-pat”.  This phrase is over used in the story.  Cookie has a first-hand witness in Juliana that she does not utilize properly.  There are some other issues, but they would be spoilers.  I did find a big contradiction in the book.  Dylan tells Cookie that Victor (a suspect) has a criminal record.  Then when Ken Harrison tells Cookie the same information, she acts like she never heard about it before (even asks why Dylan did not share this information with her). There are some lovely descriptions of Cookie’s vintage fashions (especially some gorgeous hats).  We are also subjected to the details of Charlotte’s numerous wardrobe changes (every single details of her ensemble including nail polish color).  The book also has Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping and Charlotte’s Tips for a Fashionable Afterlife.  They next book in the series is If the Haunting Fits, Wear It (which I will probably read to see if there is improvement).  

The other novels in A Haunted Vintage Mystery series are If You've Got It, Haunt It, All Dressed Up and No Place to Haunt, and Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore.  You can follow Rose Pressey on Amazon and Facebook to get updates on her new books.  Ms. Pressey is also on Twitter!

I am off to make our dinner and then get ready for Arrow (third night of the four night cross-over event).  I am just starting Egg Drop Dead by Laura Childs.  I enjoy Laura Childs' other series, so I thought I would give A Cackleberry Club Mystery series a try. Have a delightful evening, take care, and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Glow of Death

The Glow of Death by Jane K. Cleland is the eleventh book in the Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery.  Josie K. Prescott of Prescott’s Antiques and Auctions receives a call to appraise what the couple hopes is a Tiffany lamp.  Josie quickly gets the permission forms signed and heads over to the house of Edwin and Ava Towson the Garnet Cove community of Rocky Point, New Hampshire.  After being greeted by Ava, Josie shoots a video of the lamp.  On the base of the lamp it reads “Tiffany Studios New York 181”.  It looks like this is an authenticate Tiffany lamp in the Wisteria pattern.  Upon further evaluation, Josie is positive the lamp is authenticate.  This lamp could get anywhere over $1 million dollars.  Josie then returns the lamp to Ava and Edwin’s home.  A week later Josie is getting ready to enjoy the Fourth of July with her friends, when Police Chief Ellis Hunter gets a call.  Josie recognizes the address of the Towson’s.  A dead body is found in the kitchen, and Ellis asks Josie to identify the victim.  Unfortunately, Josie does not recognize the woman.  The victim turns out to be the real Ava Towson.  Someone pulled a con on Josie, and she is not going to take this lightly.  She immediately checks their study and sees the Tiffany lamp is still in place.  The real Edwin Towson contacts Josie to sell the lamp.  When Josie tries to pick it up, someone takes pot shots at her.  The next day Josie checks out the lamp, and she discovers that someone has switched the real Tiffany for a high-end fake.  Josie wants to find out who is responsible for the con, the switch, and the murder.  Will Josie be able to flush out the killer before they sell the lamp?

The Glow of Death may be the eleventh book in the series, but it can be read alone.  I have only read a few books in A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery, and I had no trouble enjoying this book.  I found the characters to be interesting and relatable.  There are some wonderful descriptions of antiques in the novel (I grew up with two aunts for antique dealers and surrounded by them at home).  The mystery was complicated and puzzling (that’s a good thing).  I do not believe that many people will find it easy to solve the mystery (I was tickled that I correctly guessed the killer’s identity).  I give The Glow of Death 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  I did find the book to be a little long and could have used some trimming.  There was a wee bit too much time devoted to Hank (the Prescott Antiques cat) and his new buddy, Angela.  I did not need to know about the cat’s toys, cuddles, play habits, etc.  I like animals to be included in cozy mysteries, but I really do not need that much detail.  In addition, there are several flashbacks to Josie’s childhood that have nothing to do with the events of the book.  We also have to suffer through countless pages of Josie’s thoughts and questions about the case. Just a little tweaking would take The Glow of Death from a good book to a great cozy mystery novel.  You can find the other book in A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery on here.

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my latest book review.  I am off to enjoy The Flash (night two in the four night crossover event) and read Plaid and Plagiarism by Molly MacRae. I will return tomorrow to review Haunted is Always in Fashion by Rose Pressey.  I hope all of you have a nice, relaxing evening. Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Cherished Quilt

Welcome back!  I hope everyone is having a delightful Cyber Monday (as delightful as a Monday can get)! I am sharing Amy Clipston's latest novel The Cherished Quilt with you today.  I have been a fan of her novels for many years.  She writes such lovely, heartwarming Christian novels.  You can get more information on her books at  You can also follow her on Facebook and Amazon.  

The Cherished Quilt by Amy Clipston is the third book in the Amish Heirloom series.  Christopher “Chris” Hochstetler is reeling from the loss of his brother, Gabriel.  His father, Wilmer blames Chris for Gabriel’s death.  Chris needs to get away.  He decides to visit his Uncle Hank in Bird-in-the-Hand, Pennsylvania (in Lancaster County).  Chris will be working in his Uncle Hank’s and his partner, Leroy Fisher’s leatherworking shop.  Emily Fisher, Leroy’s youngest daughter, can tell that something is bothering Chris and that he needs a friend.  Emily goes out of her way to be friendly to Chris and get him to come out of his shell.  Chris lacks confidence after years of criticism from his father.  Emily slowly works with Chris and helps him gain confidence and overcome his grief (and guilt).  As Chris’ birthday approaches, Emily wants to make him something special.  After hearing the story of the quilt, he left behind at home, Emily wants to make him a replacement.  Emily’s mother lets her have fabric from her Mammi’s (grandmothers) trunk.  As Emily and Chris spend more time together, Emily starts to fall in love with him.  Chris cares for Emily, but there is something that he has not told her.  Will they be able to overcome Chris’ secret (an obstacle in their path) to have a happy ending or will Emily be left with a broken heart?  Open The Cherished Quilt and step into the world of Emily, Chris, and their families in Lancaster County.

The Cherished Quilt is a well-written (as are all of Amy Clipston’s novels) and easy to read.  It is the third book in An Amish Heirloom Novel series, but you can read it alone. I do, though, recommend reading The Forgotten Recipe and The Courtship Basket.  We do get updates on the characters from the previous novels.  It was nice to see how they are faring in their new lives.  I found the characters are likeable as well as relatable.  They are the type of people you want to have as neighbors.  I give The Cherished Quilt 4.5 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  It was good to see how Chris changed over the course of the novel thanks to friendship, love, and rediscovering his beliefs.  The Cherished Quilt deals with grief, forgiveness, friendship, love, and so much more.  The ending is expected, but it will leave you with a smile on your face.  We are left with a question unanswered at the end of The Cherished Quilt, and we must wait until the next novel The Beloved Hope Chest (May 2017) to get the answer.  The Cherished Quilt will be available on Tuesday, November 29.

I am off to relax for the evening.  May all of you have a lovely, relaxing night.  I will see you tomorrow when I review Glow of Death by Jane K. Cleland.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader


Good Morning!   I am sharing a very different book with you today. Did you know that Vannetta Chapman writes a dystopian series?  I have read her Christian/Amish novels, but I did not discover The Remnant series until the other day.  

Overshadowed by Vannetta Chapman is the prequel to The Remnant series.  Gabe Thompson is at the barber in San Antonio, Texas when he gets the message.  Operation Nightshade has begun, and he has one hour to get his belongings and get to the base.  He quickly leaves heads home to his apartment.  He gathers up his cat, Oliver and knocks on his neighbors.  Lenora Diaz has watched Oliver for him before and knows the drill.  Gabe wants to warn her, but he knows that he cannot say anything.  He can give her a little hint though.  Gabe gets to Lackland Air Force Base for the briefing.  He has been preparing for this mission for two years.  Lenora waits an hour and then checks Gabe’s apartment.  When she sees the provisions, Gabe has stockpiled, Lenora knows something big is about to happen.  Things are about to change.

Overshadowed is not a book that I would normally read.  I have never read a dystopian novel.  The blurb on this book reminded me of a television show (Revolution) that I enjoyed (and was upset it when it was canceled).  So, I thought I would give Overshadowed a try (plus it was free on Amazon).  I was pulled right in to this story and when it ended I wanted more.  The novel is well-written and intriguing.  Vannetta Chapman draws the reader into the story with the plot and characters.  I give Overshadowed 5 out of 5 stars.  I will definitely be reading the rest of The Remnant series.  Be forewarned that the story will make you want to go shopping to stockpile provisions! The other books in The Remnant series are Deep Shadows and Raging Storm.

I will return later with another great review (at least in my humble opinion).  I am off to get the Christmas totes out of the attic (I am way behind in my decorating).  May all of you have a happy Monday.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The First Gift

Happy Sunday!  I hope all of you have had a good day.  This weekend just went by so quickly.  There are some great new books coming out Tuesday.  Some of the titles are The Cherished Quilt by Amy Clipston, The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg, First Degree Mudder by Kate Dyer-Seeley, Shades of Wrath by Karen Rose Smith , Haunted is Always in Fashion by Rose Pressey, and Glow of Death by Jane K. Cleland.

The First Gift by Ruth Logan Herne is set in Phillipsburg, New York.  Cassandra “Cassie” Carruthers is four years old (at the very beginning of the novel).  Her mother passed away when she was little and Cassie lives with her father.  Cassie’s father, Jed is a drunk and neglectful (grieving).  But the local community has noticed Cassie’s situation, and they want to help her.  The father will now allow what he calls charity, so they need to get creative.  Cassie turns out to be very clever.  The local pastors take up a collection to pay for Cassie to go to Daystar (a private school).  Cassie is put into Kerry McHenry’s class.  Kerry will be able to help Cassie and guide her.  Join the citizens of Phillipsburg as they set out to help one special little girl.

The First Gift is a well-written, engaging, and heartwarming novel.  There are a couple of slow sections that dealt with Kerry’s boyfriend, Ryan (but they set things up for later in the novel).  The First Gift is a Christian novel with the main theme being that with God all things are possible.  There is also hope, forgiveness, and much more.  I give The First Gift 4.25 out of 5 stars.  The one problem I had with the book was the multiple POVs (there are quite a few characters in the novel).  It was confusing at times (and distracting).  I think the novel would have been better if told from one point-of-view (a narrator would have been perfect).  I need to warn you that towards the end of the novel you will need to have the tissues (or a hanky) handy.  

I hope you enjoyed my review of The First Gift.  This is the perfect novel to read during the holiday season with the theme of helping others especially a child.  I am off to read The Pattern Artist by Nancy Moser and enjoy dinner before The Librarians and Once Upon a Time come on.  May all of you have a pleasant evening. Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Finding Father Christmas and Engaging Father Christmas

Welcome! I have some very shocking news!!!  I did not finish my book last night (I know it is hard to believe).  I started watching Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life and only stopped when the dogs insisted upon being let outside.  It was just wonderful.  I have not laughed so hard in a very long time. Kirk at Friday night dinner (as well as his awful car and the pig the town bought him) and the Stars Hollow play written by Taylor Dosse (acted out by Sutton Foster and Christian Borle) were hilarious! I think this was the very first time I just sat and watched a program (without reading or knitting). With Advent beginning tomorrow, I thought I would share a Christmas story with you today.

Finding Father Christmas and Engaging Father Christmas are two Christmas novellas by Robin Jones Gunn.  In Finding Father Christmas Miranda Carson is on a journey for answers.  Miranda grew up traveling with her actress mother, Eve Carson.  Miranda’s mother passed away without ever telling her the identity to her father.  Miranda’s best clue is a photograph of a boy with Father Christmas taken at Carlton Photography Studio on Bexley Lane in Carlton Heath.  Miranda heads to England and hopes that she will find the identity of her father.  Miranda is warmly embraced by the townspeople.  With a little help, Miranda soon finds the identity of her father.   But will Miranda be able to tell them? 

In Engaging Father Christmas, Miranda is heading back to Carlton Heath for Christmas.  Miranda is looking forward to spending time with Ian (Miranda met him at the end of Finding Father Christmas) and the Whitcombe family.  Miranda enjoyed her time with them the previous year.  It was wonderful having a real family Christmas.  Returning to Carlton Heath feels like coming home.  If things turn out right with Ian, it could be home.  But the road to happiness is full of bumps, curves, and icy patches.  Will Miranda get her happily ever after?

Finding Father Christmas and Engaging Father Christmas are lovely, heartwarming stories.  The books are about acceptance, embracing love, forgiveness, and finding/accepting God in your life.  Both stories are nicely written, easy to read, have a good pace, a beautiful setting (I want to live in Carlton Heath), and likeable (as well as relatable) characters. These two novellas will put you in the Christmas spirit.  I give Finding Father Christmas and Engaging Father Christmas 4 out of 5 stars.  The only negative comment I have is that they are a little predictable.  These Christmas stories are a nice change of pace and romance lovers will enjoy these charming novellas.  These two books can be purchased separately or in this combined omnibus edition. The next book in the series is Kissing Father Christmas.  Finding Father Christmas is now a movie on Hallmark Movie and Mysteries Channel.

I really appreciate you visiting.  If you like my reviews, please consider joining my blog (top right). Well, I had better go finish my book (I have a schedule to keep).  I hope all of you have a lovely evening.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, November 25, 2016

Maggie Dove's Detective Agency

Happy Black Friday!  I spent the day being lazy and reading The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg (loving it).  I was wondering if any of you have ever noticed the one thing that is in every Hallmark movie (I am not kidding).  If you enjoy the Hallmark movies, watch for a kitchen scene in which you will see a big, red canister of Folger's coffee.  I bet you will be looking!

Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency by Susan Breen is the second book in the Maggie Dove series.  Maggie Dove is a Sunday school teacher turned detective in Darby, New York.  Maggie is learning to be a detective by watching Detective Grudge videos with Helen Blake’s son, Edgar.  Helen is the third partner in the detective agency along with Agnes (the financial backer).  One day Racine Stern (from the wealthiest family in town) comes into the agency and asks Maggie to convince her sister, Domino (and her rock star husband, Lucifer) to not come home for a visit.  Racine will give Maggie $1,000 to complete the task.  Maggie turns down the offer much to Agnes’ dismay.  Domino arrives in town and Racine is not seen for two weeks.  Maggie goes to check on her, and Racine admits that Domino tried to killer her.  Racine fears for her life as well as that of her mother, Madame Simone.  Domino wants money (of course) and she refuses to leave until she gets it.  Racine wants Maggie to convince Domino to leave town (and is willing to pay a large sum of money).  Soon Racine starts acting strangely, and Maggie does not know what Domino has done to her.  Then Maggie hears that a big Halloween party is being thrown at the Stern mansion (the home no one else in town has ever been allowed in).  During the party Domino calls everyone’s attention to her at the top of the tower.  Then the guests see Domino plunging to her death.  Racine was near Domino before she fell (Domino pulled her up there).  Was it an accident or did Racine push her?  Maggie has her first real case.  She needs to find out what happened to Domino (because the town has decided that Racine is guilty).  Did a person push Domino to her death or was it something far more sinister?

Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency is a Christian cozy mystery.  The story is basically about good versus evil.  I found the book to have a slow pace, unoriginal mystery and uninteresting (and unlikeable) characters.  Racine and her mother are rude (I would not want to help either of them) and Agnes comes across as bipolar with her mood swings.   Maggie is not a warm main character.  The loss of her daughter has kept her from enjoying life for the last twenty years.  I had a hard time finishing this story.  Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency is a book of normal length, but it felt like it went on forever (and I just wanted it to end).  While Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency is the second book in the series, it can be read alone (we are given the needed information from the first novel and on the main characters).  I did find information repeated in the book especially about Maggie’s deceased daughter, Juliet (who died twenty years prior), Maggie’s profession as a Sunday school teacher and her age.   I give Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency 2.5 out of 5 stars (just not for me). I think Maggie became a detective just to play with all the spy toys she finds in catalogs and online (purchasing with Agnes’ money).  The first book in the series is Maggie Dove:  A Mystery.

Thank you so much for visiting.  I sincerely hope all of you have a great evening.  I will be back tomorrow to review another novel. Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Duty to the Crown

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone is having a very special day. Holidays can be difficult with all the various family members and friends, their emotions and personalities (and nowhere to hide). Glow of Death by Jane K. Cleland comes out on November 29 along with First Degree Mudder by Kate Dyer-Seeley.  I will be reviewing both novels soon.

Duty to the Crown by Aimie K. Runyan is the second book in the Daughters of New France series.  We join Manon, Claudine, Emmanuelle and Gabrielle in New France (Quebec settlement) in June 1677.  Manon Lefebvre has been living with the Huron’s since she left Alexandre and Nicole Lefebvre’s home five years prior.  Mother Onatah, sister to the chief, took in Manon.  But then a deadly fever hits the village and despite Manon’s best efforts, Mother Onatah passes away.  The chief of the Big Turtle clan immediately tells Manon to leave (talk about cruel).  Nicole Lefebvre welcomes Manon and Tawendeh (Mother Onatah’s son) them into their home.  Nicole is thrilled to have Manon back (she was so upset when Manon left).  Manon feels like she does not fit into either world (French or Huron).  Claudine Deschamps, Nicole’s younger sister, is hoping to make a prestigious match with an eligible bachelor.  Claudine imagines a life of luxury, but one wrong move can lead her down a very different path.  Emmanuelle Deschamps usually can be found with her nose in a book.  She has a kind personality and Claudine looks down upon her.  Gabrielle Giroux was taken in by Elisabeth and Gilbert Beaumont along with her brother, Pascal.  Since Gabrielle was born in New France, an edict states she must marry by her sixteenth birthday or the Beaumont’s will be forced to pay a penalty.  Not many men are willing to marry the daughter of the town drunk (her birth father).  Join these young women in New France as they experience love, friendship, heartache, and loss. 

Duty to the Crown is not a stand-alone novel.  You do need to read Promised to the Crown (first book in series) in order to understand the characters and their various relationships.  Aimie Runyan does a superb job of capturing time and place (Quebec settlement in New France in the late 1600s).  The novel has great characters, excellent writing, and is ripe with emotion.  You will laugh, cry, sigh and smile as you work your way through Duty to the Crown.  It was good to see how the characters grow over the course of the book.  We also get to revisit the characters from the first novel (Nicole, Alexandre, Elisabeth, Gilbert) to see how they are faring.  I give Duty to the Crown 5 out of 5 stars (I enjoyed it very much).  I kept reading this page turner until I finished it (I did not want it to end, but I wanted to see how it ended).   I look forward to reading more novels by Aimie K. Runyan in the future.  Promised to the Crown is the first novel in the Daughters of New France series.  

Thank you so much for visiting!  I am off to relax. I am wore out after the cooking and the cleaning up.  There is a new movie on Hallmark tonight called Christmas in Homestead.  I will pop some popcorn and enjoy. Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Killer Location

Happy Day Before Thanksgiving!  When I was growing up, we used to go to a relative's house in Lakeland for Thanksgiving.  On the way home the only thing open would be a random gas station or convenience store. Nowadays, I can eat out, go shopping, and take in a movie.  How times have changed.  Do you think it is a good change or bad change?

A Killer Location by Sarah T. Hobart is the second book in A Home Sweet Home Mystery series.  Sam Turner is a new real estate and she is working under Everett Sweet at Home Sweet Home Realty in Arlinda, California.  Everett is giving Sam a chance to do an open house in Campus Heights, a pricey neighborhood.  The open house is a disaster from the moment she opens.  It is one disaster after another.  A neighbor stops up the toilet and stink up the house, a dog tracks dirt on the newly cleaned carpets, and a couple cleans the house out of valuables when Sam tries to unclog the toilet.  The worst part is when she goes to bake cookies, she finds a finger in the frozen cookie dough.  Then the out of control dog returns and dig up the rest of the body in the front yard.  Sam will definitely not be getting a contract during this open house.  Sam’s boss, Everett Sweet ends up being the top suspect which puts Sam’s job in jeopardy.  Sam returns to the house to search for more clues and ends up finding another body.  Everett ends up in jail and Sam without a real estate license (because Everett’s broker license was revoked).  To top it off, Sam’s sister Stacy has moved into the studio apartment on Sam’s property.  Stacy is Bernie Aguilar’s ex-wife and Bernie is Sam’s current boyfriend.  Just when things were going good between Sam and Bernie.  Life is never dull for Sam Turner.  Will Sam be able to get Everett out of jail and get her license back?

A Killer Location is easy to read, has a simple mystery, and can be read as a stand-alone (first novel rehashed).  The type of humor used in the book is not for me (my mother claims I do not have a sense of humor).   The story had one ridiculous (and highly unbelievable) incident after another that mostly happen to Sam.  The mystery could be solved very early in the book to my disappointment.  I could have overlooked some of the incidents if the book had a good, complex mystery to solve.  The book does contain some foul language and mild sexual situations.  You should be aware that there are some disgusting food descriptions in the book (they made me nauseous).  I give A Killer Location 3 out of 5 stars (it was okay).  This is just not the right type of series for me.  Others, though, will find it enjoyable and humorous (provide you with a light read).   Death of a Fixer Upper is the first book in A Home Sweet Home Mystery series. 

I sincerely hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Enjoy the day with your families.  I am off to relax and enjoy more of the Gilmore the Merrier on UP! tv.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Unraveling the Pieces

Welcome!  Unraveling the Pieces by Terri DuLong and A Killer Location by Sarah T. Hobart came out today.  Plaid and Plagiarism by Molly MacRae comes out on December 6.  It is the first book in The Highland Bookshop Mystery series.  I am looking forward to reading it.  I am a fan of Molly MacRae's books.

Unraveling the Pieces by Terri DuLong is the third book in the An Ormond Beach Novel series.  Petra Garfield and her dog, Lotte are moving from Jacksonville, Florida to Ormond Beach to be close to her friend, Isabelle as well as her newfound friends at the Dreamcatcher.  Petra will be staying at Koi House (now that Isabelle has married and moved out).  Petra loves animals and is encouraged to volunteer her time at the local animal shelter run by Suzanne Palmer.  Petra is volunteering at an adoption event and meets Jonah.  Jonah is attracted to two cute little dogs that need a new home.  Jonah’s father does not appreciate Petra encouraging his son (nor the mention of checking with his mother).  The little boy tugged at Petra’s heart, and he lingers in her thoughts.  Petra takes her dog, Lotte to the recommended local vet and discovers it is Jonah’s father, Ben Wellington.  It is just the beginning for Petra, Ben and Jonah.  Petra lost her mother three years prior, but she had never told Petra about her birth father.  The only clue Petra has is a photo with the name Peter Maxwell written on the back.  Petra is intent upon getting answers that her mother, Rhonda did not provide.  Come back for another trip to Ormond Beach in Unraveling the Pieces.

Unraveling the Pieces is well-written, contains interesting, well-rounded characters, has a good pace and a sweet ending.  I did, though, feel it was predictable.  I did like how it went back in time to 1969 to tell the story of Petra’s mother and her birth father.  Emmalyn, the spirit who visits the residents of Koi House in their dreams, is back, but I did not feel she was very helpful.  Her dream “clues” were obscure and did not add to the story.  I give Unraveling the Pieces 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it even if it was predictable or expected).  While this is the third book in the series, it can be read alone.  It was interesting to see how Petra followed the clues to get answers or unravel the pieces.  Unraveling the Pieces is a nice escape and a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon (curl up in a cozy chair, blanket, and hot tea during the cold weather).  Patterns of Change and Stitches in Time are the first two books in An Ormond Beach Novel series.   For more information on Terri DuLong or her books, check out her website.

I sincerely hope all of you have a great evening.  I am still sick and looking forward to collapsing back in back.  I will be reviewing A Killer Location by Sarah T. Hobart tomorrow, and I hope you will return to see what I thought about this new cozy mystery.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Monday, November 21, 2016

Death on Lily Pond Lane

How is everyone today?  I hope all of you have had a delightful weekend. The Cherished Quilt by Amy Clipston comes out next week on Tuesday, November 29.  It is the third book in An Amish Heirloom series.  The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg will be out on the same day!  Fannie Flagg's books are always delightful (and very entertaining).  

Death on Lily Pond Lane by Carrie Doyle is the second book in A Hamptons Murder Mystery series.  Antonia Bingham owns the Windmill Inn in East Hampton where she is also the head chef.  During the off season, she is the caretaker to two properties (while their owners are at their primary residences).  Antonia is checking on the Mastersons’ property.  Warner Caruthers, a friend of Luke Masterson, had been staying in the guest quarters, but he was supposed to have departed the previous day.  Antonia searches the house for Warner and finds him in Eleanor’s bathroom (one of the Mastersons’ daughters).  He is dead in the bathtub.  Antonia calls the police and then quickly hides something from the bathroom.  Antonia’s nosiness and dislike of police officers leads her to investigate his death.  It turns out that Warner was doing a documentary that portrayed the wealthy town residents in a bad light (and they do not appreciate Antonia’s sticking her nose into their business).  Can Antonia find the culprit before the killer finds her?

Death on Lily Pond Lane was a snooze fest.  I found the book to be boring.  The book only has 308 pages, but it felt twice the length.  The mystery was basic (predictable).  I was able to identify the killer very early in the book (before I was quarter of the way through the story).  This is the second book in A Hamptons Murder Mystery series, but Death on Lily Pond Lane can be read alone.  The case from the first book (Death on Windmill Way) is mentioned more than once during the course of the novel as well as why Antonia relocated to East Hampton.   Actually, many things are replicated throughout the book.  The reader is subjected to the details of Antonia’s failed marriage many times (she is divorced from a cop that abused her and caused the death of her father).  I give Death on Lily Pond Lane 2 out of 5 stars.  I just felt it was too simple.  It was like the author used a cozy mystery checklist when writing.  I also did not like the main character very much or her flighty best friend.  Antonia puts herself down especially about her appearance and it is off-putting.  I wanted to like Death on Lily Pond Lane, but it was just not the right book for me.  Death on Windmill Way is the first book in A Hamptons Murder Mystery series.

May all of you have a lovely, relaxing evening (we all need it before the Thanksgiving bustle starts).  I am reading Shades of Wrath by Karen Rose Smith.  I will see you tomorrow when I return to review another novel.  Take care, stay warm, and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Christmas Angels

Welcome!  I hope everyone has had a good Sunday.  I woke up this morning with an extremely sore throat and a tightness in my chest. Lucky me (though not unexpected)!  It gives me a chance to read more though! A Killer Location by Sarah T. Hobart comes out on Tuesday.  It is the latest A Home Sweet Home Mystery novel.  

Christmas Angels by Viola Shipman is set in St. Louis, Missouri.  Kate Roseberry owns Holidays by Kate! She designs and executes holiday designs for malls, offices, events, etc. Tree toppers are her signature (she always puts the tree topper on herself).   Christmas is usually her favorite time of the year, but Kate has not been able to get into this spirit of the season this year.  The previous year her boyfriend, Tyler broke up with her during the holiday season.  Kate meets Chad Cooper while decorating the St. Louis Tower, a new shopping mall.  Chad is purchasing a Halloween costume for his son, Coop (he is seven). Coop wishes to go as an angel (unusual choice for a little boy).  Chad asks Kate if she believes in angels.  Kate can see that Chad is struggling.  Later when Kate is setting up the conference room for Cooper, Anderson, Schiff and Hines (a law firm) Christmas party when the firm asks her to decorate Chad’s house for him and his son.  Chad lost his wife, Ella the previous winter after years of illness (cancer).  They are worried about Chad and his son.  This could be what they need to help them heal. Chad’s son, Coop is very serious (yet sweet) little boy.  Coop is taken with Kate and she with him.  The three start to spend time together.  Can they help each other heal and move forward? Do you believe in angels?

Christmas Angels is a sweet, though short, story.  It is a light romance novel that will help put you in the mood for Christmas any time of the year.  It is well-written and easy to read. I like the characters (especially Coop) and the descriptions of the decorations.  I especially liked that Coop had a Sock Monkey stocking cap (my mother just loves everything Sock Monkey’s).  It was a cute touch for such a serious little boy. The book contains a good message about angels.  I give Christmas Angels 4 out of 5 stars.  I did enjoy the story, but I wish it had been a little longer.  It felt rushed at the end and the ending felt incomplete.  The book includes a preview of Viola Shipman’s next book The Hope Chest (takes up the last 40%) which comes out March 21, 2017.

I appreciate you visiting!  If you enjoy my reviews, please consider joining my blog (at right).  I am off to eat dinner and rest (need to knock this cold out of me).  The Librarians third season start tonight (such a wonderful show).  I will return tomorrow with another delightful book review (in my humble opinion).  Take care, stay warm and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Restless Spirits

Happy Saturday!  I hope all of you are having a lovely day.  Terri DuLong has a new An Ormond Beach Novel coming out on November 22.  It is titled Unraveling the Pieces.  It is the third book  in An Ormond Beach Novel series (and I will be reviewing it soon).

Restless Spirits by Jean Marie Bauhaus is a paranormal mystery novel.  Veronica “Ron” Wilson is a romance writer and a ghost hunter.  Ron went into business with her sister, Christine (prefers “Chris”).  Chris can see and talk to ghosts.  She has had the ability since she was a child (personally, I wish she was the main character).  Ron gets a call from Chris that they finally have permission to enter the Baird house.  The Baird house has a history of murder-suicides going back to the 1930s.  It took them months to get permission from the latest heirs to enter the house (the heirs are fighting over the house—neither one of them want it).  Ron rushes over to the Baird house (she decides to go by herself).  Chris is two hours away on another case and advises Ron to wait for her.  Ron, of course, decides to ignore her advice.  Ron enters the house and sets up her computer along with cameras (and other ghost detecting equipment).  Ron asks if anyone is present in the house.  Someone types a message on the computer.  They tell Ron to get out now while she can.  Ron is going to leave, but then she hears a child crying.  Ron goes up the stairs to investigate.  Ron then wakes up at the bottom of the staircase—dead!  Ron is locked in the house with other spirits (including the Baird family) and cannot escape.  Another ghost is holding them captive.  Ron sets out to find out who the spirit is and why she is terrorizing people and the other ghosts.  Will Ron ever be free?  Will she be able to communicate with her sister?

Restless Spirits is an interesting concept.  The premise has potential and could be a good series with a little reworking.  I found the main character, Ron to be pushy and annoying.  She is a hard character to like with her “my way or the highway” approach.  I would have preferred the sister, Chris to be the protagonist.  It was different, though, to have a ghost as the central character. It did offer a different perspective.  Restless Spirits had a little too much romance in it for a paranormal mystery novel.  I give Restless Spirits 3 out of 5 stars (it was okay).  The novel has a good pace, nice writing and some entertaining spirits.  The mystery was intriguing.  Be aware, though, that there is some violence in the book (along with the nasty descriptions).  There are some grammar issues and inconsistencies in the novel that need to be corrected (the editor must have been asleep on the keyboard). I did, though, read an advanced copy and the errors may have been removed from the final copy (I sincerely hope they were).

I am off to enjoy my dinner and read Death on Lily Pond Lane by Carrie Doyle (during the commercials of the Gilmore the Merrier). Enjoy your evening!  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Gingerbread Girl

It's Friday!  One week from today on November 25 Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life episodes start.  I happen to love Gilmore Girls, and I am very much looking forward to the new shows.  They will only be on Netflix (that's the only downfall).

The Gingerbread Girl by Sheila Newberry starts in November of 1936.  Cora Kelly is seven years old and is getting released from the hospital after an eight month stay for diphtheria.  The disease hit their East London tenement where the children had not been vaccinated against diphtheria.  The one thing that Cora has treasured is a gingerbread man Cora received from her mother (during a secret visit).  Cora did not eat the gingerbread man.  She has kept it as a reminder of her mother.  Upon her release, Eliza Quinn (her mother’s best friend) takes her to Westley Farm (belong to Eliza’s aunt) for the fresh air and relaxation.  Ginny Brookes runs the farm with the help of her two sons’ Mal and Jimmy.  Cora enjoys spending time with Jimmy (this is just the beginning of their story).  When Cora is ready to return home, Eliza comes to get her.  Cora is in for a shock when she finds out that her mother, Biddy passed away after giving birth to her sister, Deidre (Dede).  Cora’s birth father, Bertie took off long before and Eliza has no way of locating him.  Eliza is going to raise Cora and Dede.  Eliza is a housekeeper for Mr. Norton and his son, Neville (a real pill).  Mr. Norton is a retired baker and the son has taken over the business.  Things are going well for this little family when Bertie returns.  He wishes to get to know his daughter (he is unaware of Dede).  Will Cora give him an opportunity? Join Eliza and Cora in see what life was like for them during World War II.

The Gingerbread Girl is the story of Eliza and Cora.  We follow Cora and Eliza as Cora grows up, they experience the war, love, and loss.  The Gingerbread Girl reminds me of a children’s novel (chapter book similar to those by Laura Ingalls Wilder), but there are adult situations that would not be appropriate for someone under the age of 13 (would depend on the child’s maturity level too).  It is an interesting story that I did enjoy reading, but there are some slow sections.  The novel is simple and easy to read.  I give The Gingerbread Girl 3.5 out of 5 stars.  It is a sweet story that is nicely written.  Americans can see a different take on the war (it started much earlier in England than it did in the United States).  

I am off to watch Gilmore Girls marathon on Up!TV called Gilmore the Merrier.  They are showing every single Gilmore Girls episode over the next week.  During the commercials I am reading Prose and Cons by Amanda Flower (it is wonderful).  I hope all of you have a delightful evening.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Death of a Wolfman

Happy Thursday!  I want to tell you about a new book that came out today.  It is A Nightingale Christmas Carol by Donna Douglas. It is the eighth book in the Nightingales series. This is such an enjoyable and heartwarming series.

Death of a Wolfman by Susan Boles is the first novel in A Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery series.  Lily Gayle Lambert lives in Mercy, Mississippi.  Lily Gayle is hired by LizBeth Mitchell to do her family genealogy.  Lily Gayle is known for sniffing out the obscure and unusual (she is nosy).  That evening (Halloween night), Lily Gayle is having dinner with her cousin, Ben (the county sheriff), when he receives a call.  He believes it is a prank so he lets Lily Gayle tag along.  It turns out not to be a prank.  There is a very hairy man dead in a clearing in the woods.  The man resembles a werewolf (and he is missing clothing).  Lily Gayle has another theory behinds the man’s hairy exterior.   The autopsy reveals the victim was shot with a homemade silver bullet.  It looks like someone else thought he was a werewolf.  Who is the poor man and why was he shot?  LizBeth calls Lily Gayle and asks to meet with her at the family gazebo the next morning.  Lily Gayle shows up to find LizBeth dead (it is gruesome).  This sends Lily Gayle running and screaming (they probably heard her in the next county).  Is there a chance the two murders are connected?  Someone wanted to keep LizBeth quiet, but Lily Gayle is determined to get those answers. 

Death of a Wolfman did not feel like a first novel in the series.  I felt that the reader was missing information about Lily Gayle and her past.  Death of a Wolfman is easy to read and is nicely written.  There is humor that many readers will enjoy (you will laugh your way through the book at Lily Gayle’s antics).  I did find the mystery too simple and the killer was obvious.  I knew LizBeth would end up dead as soon as she requested the genealogy project from Lily Gayle.  I found Ben, Lily Gayle’s cousin, to be extremely overprotective.  I know he was looking out for her, but, personally, I found it offensive at times.  I know it is just a book but would you want someone telling you where you can and cannot go (restricting your daily movements).  Of course, Lily Gayle could have exercised more caution (but she is nosy and determined).  I give Death of a Wolfman 3.5 out of 5 stars.  There is a beautiful description of a dress Lily Gayle is making in the novel (I could picture it in my mind).   Those of you that watch CSI (the Vegas version) will remember the episode with the wolfman which you will find referenced in this book.  It is a good first book, and it will be interesting to see what happens in the next novel in The Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery series.  Death of a Wolfman is available on Kindle Unlimited.  You can follow Susan Boles on Amazon and Facebook.

I am off to enjoy dinner.  I am making homemade pizza for dinner (a favorite with my family).  I want to thank you for visiting and hope all of you have a lovely evening.  Make sure to take time for yourself before the hectic Thanksgiving preparations begin.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader