Thursday, December 5, 2019

Holiday Homecoming Secrets by Lynette Eason

Holiday Homecoming Secrets (Love Inspired Suspense) by [Eason, Lynette]
Welcome!  Award winning and bestselling author Lynette Eason writes for Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense line and for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.  Lynette lives in Greenville, South Carolina with her husband and is the mother to two grown children.  You can find out more about Lynette and her books by visiting her website.  Readers can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Amazon.
Country Christmas tree lot. I feel like I'm there
Holiday Homecoming Secrets by Lynette Eason has Detective Jade Hollis with the Cedar Canyon Police Department answering a call to an old mill where strange lights were reported.  Jade believes it is a local homeless man looking for shelter until she spots the large mound of dirt.  She investigates and gets hit by the escaping intruder.  Jade is surprised when she is helped up by Bryce Kingsley who she has not seen or heard from in six years.  This presents a dilemma for Jade because Bryce is unaware of their five year old daughter, Mia.  Bryce has spent his time away dealing with an issue and has returned home to Cedar Canyon to become a private investigator.  Despite the time apart, Bryce still has feelings for Jane.  But personal issues need to be put on the back burner when they look into the hole dug by the intruder and find a bloody jersey with two bullet holes.  The jersey belongs to their friend and journalist, Frank Shipman. Based on the amount of blood and location of the holes, they doubt Frank would have survived.  Jade and Bryce team up to locate their friend and the person responsible for harming him.  The perpetrator will do what it takes to keep Jade from getting the answers she seeks as well as making her arrest. 
Photographs of People Running Away From Unseen Dangers ...
Holiday Homecoming Secrets by Lynette Eason is an intriguing story.  The action begins right away and does not let up until the end.  I found Holiday Homecoming Secrets to be well-written and it moved at a quick pace.  Lynette Eason certainly knows how to ramp up the suspense.  I thought the characters were realistic and relatable (well, except for the killer).  The story has a complex plot that kept me engaged.  Jade Hollis is a detective with Cedar Canyon Police Department and has a five year old daughter named Mia.  Bryce Kingsley has returned to his hometown after being gone for six years to establish a PI practice.  He has no idea that Jade had a child after their one night encounter.  I bet he will regret not contacting her now!  Bryce had been dealing with some rough stuff and he is still not completely free of his demons.  He has an adorable dog, Sasha who travels with him.  The pair must put personal issues aside while they search for their friend and journalist, Frank Shipman.  I enjoyed the multifaceted mystery with the dangerous encounters.  I like that it is balanced with time spent with the kids, Jade’s parents, and trimming the tree.  The romance hit just the right note.  I was worried it would be the prominent feature of the book, but I was wrong.  The author managed to create an intriguing and balanced story. I liked the addition of the parents who foster children and currently have siblings residing with them.  You will not want to put down this page turner.  Holiday Homecoming Secrets is an enthralling story with has cute kids, a darling dog, a predatory perp and serious secrets.
Old fashioned garland crafting station from a Cozy Tree Trimming Holiday Party on Kara's Party Ideas | KarasPartyIdeas.com (39)
Holiday Homecoming Secrets is available through Amazon (Amazon UK) and Harlequin.  Thank you for reading my review.  I hope that I have helped you to find a new book and author.  I will be back tomorrow with my review of Invitation Only Murder by Leslie Meier.  It is the 26th A Lucy Stone Mystery.  I hope that you have splendid day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


Kris
The Avid Reader

Book lover Art, Gift for Reader, Woman Reading in Park, Figurative Painting by Gwen Meyerson

*This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Have a Deadly New Year by Lynn Cahoon

Have a Deadly New Year (Farm-to-Fork Mystery #3.5)
Good Day!  Matchmaking Can Be Murder by Amanda Flower comes out on December 31.  It is the debut book in An Amish Matchmaker Mystery series which is a spin-off from An Amish Candy Shop Mystery seriesVerse and Vengeance by Amanda  Flower releases on December 10.  It is fourth tale in A Magical Bookshop Mystery series.  I am featuring author Lynn Cahoon today who writes A Tourist Trap Mystery series as well A Cat Latimer Mystery series and A Farm-to-Fork Mystery series.  She also writes romance novels penned under Lynn Collins.  Lynn lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and three fur babies.  Get a free A Tourist Trap Mystery short story when you sign up for her newsletter by visiting her website.  You can follow Lynn on Amazon (get emails when she releases a new book), Facebook, Instagram and on Twitter.
A One-Day Winter Itinerary for Sun Valley, Idaho -- National Geographic Travel
Sun Valley, Idaho
Have a Deadly New Year by Lynn Cahoon has Angie Turner, chef and co-owner of County Seat, along with her business partner, Felicia Williams and their staff off to Sun Valley.  They have agreed to cater a party for Cliff Henry and his recently reunited band.  The first night turns sour when bandmate, Dane begins arguments.  The next morning, Angie comes downstairs and finds Dane dead in the dining room.  Angie and her staff are trapped in the house with the band when a blizzard comes blowing in.  Angie does not know which person killed Dane, but she intends to find out.   Will Angie and her staff make it to the New Year with a killer on the house?
Have a Deadly New Year by Lynn Cahoon is the fourth A Farm-to-Fork Mystery.  Angie Turners, chef and co-owner of County Seat, along with Felicia Williams and the rest of their staff are at Cliff Henry’s house in Sun Valley.  Cliff is the lead singer of the newly reunited band, Postal Mutiny.  County Seat has been hired to cater a party that evening, and they get the opportunity stay at the cabin until New Year’s Day.  During this retreat, Angie wants them to work on new recipes for the upcoming season.  Angie’s plans fly out the window when band member, Dane is found dead at the dining room table the next morning with a drumstick protruding from his chest.  Sheriff Pearson suspects it is an accidental death from Dane overindulging in alcohol until the test results come in.  Unfortunately, Angie and the gang are stuck at the house with a blizzard raging outside and a killer on the loose inside.  The group from the County Seat attempt to identify the guilty party in between whipping up delectable meals.  The mystery was simple with little investigation (seemed like Angie was avoiding it).  The focus of the book was on food and not murder.  Avid cozy mystery readers should have no problem pinpointing the guilty party before the first course is served.  I suggest reading Who Moved My Goat Cheese? Before reading Have a Deadly New Year.  As it is a novella, you do not get the opportunity to know the characters or their background.   I found the story to be disappointing and not like Lynn Cahoon’s A Tourist Trap Mystery series.  The characters felt flat and so did the story.  I felt Have a Deadly New Year was a miss and not in tune with the other books in A Farm-to-Fork Mystery series.  This will not keep me from reading the next A Farm-to-Fork Mystery this spring titled Deep Fried Revenge. 
4. Take a sleigh ride up to Trail Creek Cabin in Sun Valley.
Have a Deadly New Year is available here (UK).  I suggest you obtain a sample of the book to see if it is the right fit for you as we all have different reading tastes.  You can find the other titles in A Farm-to-Fork Mystery series hereDeep Fried Revenge is the next A Farm-to-Fork Mystery and it releases on April 7, 2020. Thank you for stopping by today and reading my review.  I hope that you have a beautiful day.  I will be back tomorrow with Holiday Homecoming Secrets by Lynette Eason.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader
Reading, Books

*This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra

Meg and Jo
Good Day!  I want to share some of today's new book releases with you.  They include Thin Ice by Paige Shelton, Holiday Homecoming Secrets by Lynette Eason, Have a Deadly New Year by Lynn Cahoon, Murder, She Encountered by Peg Cochran, The Shop Girls of Harpers by Rosie Clarke, The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen, Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra and Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard*.  There is a nice variety so there is something for every reader.  I am featuring Virginia Kantra today.  Virginia is a New York Times bestselling author who has written over twenty novels.  She is married to her college sweetheart who owns a coffee shop.  He keeps Virginia supplied with caffeine and material.  They live in North Carolina where they raised three children.  Virginia is a firm believer in the strength of family, the importance of storytelling and the power of love.  Virginia's favorite thing to make for dinner is reservations. You can find a list of books on her author page on Amazon.  You can find out more about Virginia plus sign up for her newsletter by visiting her website.  Readers can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The book that started my love for reading and is, therefore, my favorite book of all time.
Meg and Jo by Virginia Kantra is a contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Little Women.  The March sisters are grown up and they are each trying to achieve their dreams.  Jo March is living in New York City where after being laid off from the newspaper, she started the food blog, Hungry.  Jo does not use her name on the blog because she works at Gusto with Chef Eric Bhaer as a prep cook. Chef Bhaer has a low opinion of food bloggers but that does not stop Jo from being attracted to the handsome and kind chef.  Meg is married to John and they have twins, DJ and Daisy.  John quit teaching to take a higher paying position at Mr. Laurence’s car dealership which allowed Meg to stay home with the kids.  Meg has everything she has always dreamed of, but she is not happy.  Abby March, their mother, needs surgery and someone is needed to keep the farm running in her absence.  Meg is the only daughter who lives in Bunyan, North Carolina so the burden falls on her.  Circumstances send Jo home where she takes the time to contemplate her future.  The sisters will need each other is they are to survive this tough time and move forward to a brighter future.
Jo Seated on the Old Sofa by                                                       ....Norman Rockwell
Meg and Jo by Virginia Kantra is a modern reimagining of Little Women by Louisa M. AlcottLittle Women is my absolute favorite book which is why I was curious about Meg and Jo.  I wanted to see how an author would modernize this treasured classic.  Let me state that this was a mistake on my part.  I wish I had looked up the author and noticed that she writes romance novels.  This book focuses on Meg and Jo.  It is told from their perspectives in alternating chapters.  Jo still wishes to write, but newspapers are letting staff go.  For some reason, Jo was hired at Gusto by Chef Eric Bhaer to work as a prep cook.  I found this particularly odd since Jo disliked the domestic arts.  Jo has a blog titled Hungry which provides an insider’s view of the city’s food scene.  She does it anonymously which Jo is glad she did after hearing what Chef Bhaer thinks about food bloggers.  There is an attraction between Jo and the chef which develops into something more until complications arise.  Meg is married to John Brooke and they have very busy twins.  Meg quit her job as a loan officer to be a stay at home mom at John’s urging because his mother worked two jobs and was never at home for him.  While Meg loves John and the twins, she is dissatisfied with her life.  Meg comes across as whiny (it is unattractive).  She likes things done a certain way, so she does it all herself but then complains that she does not get help from hubby. Meg makes some poor choices.  I did not like how Meg was portrayed at all.  The story is set in Bunyan, North Carolina so there are stereotypical Southernisms in the story (“Bless her heart” was a repeated phrase).  I especially disliked how Mr. March was portrayed in this book.  It was unappealing and disappointing.  Abby March, the mother, is one who does not like fuss (as we are told repeatedly).  I missed the warm, loving Marmee from Little Women.   Beth is a singer who performs in front of audiences at Branson (can anyone see the shy Beth doing this) and Amy is an intern at Louis Vuitton in Paris (I could see Amy doing this).  Laurie is called Trey in this version and let me just say he is nothing like the kind boy next door from the original.  Meg and Jo comes across as a typical romance novel.  It lacks the warmth of family, sisterly bonding, love, and compassion that was present in the original Little Women.  The author was brave to tackle such a difficult project, but I feel she missed the mark.  There is a preview of Amy & Beth at the end.  
Book of the Week; Louis May Alcott's Little Women Illustrated by Rene Cloke www.marchhousebooks.com
Meg & Jo is available through Amazon* (Amazon UK) as well as other major booksellers (Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks).  While it did not appeal to me, I recommend you obtain a sample to see if it is the right fit for you.  I will return tomorrow with my review of Have a Deadly New Year by Lynn Cahoon.  It is the fourth A Farm-to-Fork Mystery.  I am off to the grocery store.  I hope that have a special day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

{title} (Books and Readers Art Prints)
*This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, December 2, 2019

An Amish Christmas Promise by Jo Ann Brown

An Amish Christmas Promise (Green Mountain Blessings #1)
Welcome!  I am featuring author Jo Ann Brown today.  Jo Ann Brown is a lifelong storyteller and the award-winning author of numerous romantic novels.  Jo Ann Brown also writes under Marianne Ellis*.  Jo Ann is a former U.S. Army officer and she taught creative writing at Brown University.  She lives in Nevada with her family which includes one spoiled cat.  You can find a list of books here on Amazon and on her website.
Mennonite Disaster Service (Lititz, PA)
An Amish Christmas Promise by Jo Ann Brown takes us to Evergreen Corners, Vermont.    Carolyn Wiebe along with her nice and nephew live in this small Mennonite town where thanks to Hurricane Kevin flood waters decimated many of the buildings.  Reporters descended upon the town filming the destruction along with interviewing people.  Carolyn is worried that Leland Reber may find them now that he is living as an Englischer.  Carolyn promised her sister that she would keep the kids safe from their abusive father plus she does not want them growing up in toxic atmosphere as she and her sister did.  Michael Miller, an Amish carpenter, comes to town with Amish Helping Hands to help build homes in conjunction with Mennonite Disaster Services.  Michael is going to use the next three months to help him decide upon his future.  He steps off the bus and encounters Carolyn whose lovely smile captivates him. As Michael works on Carolyn’s new home, they grow closer.  Carolyn is wary of trusting a man after her father and Leland.  Michael holds himself back after recently having his heart broken.  Is it possible for this two to have a future together considering the obstacles?
RV Program |  Mennonite Disaster Service
An Amish Christmas Promise by JoAnn Brown is the first installment in Green Mountain Blessings series.  I enjoyed reading this touching Amish story.  Carolyn Wiebe is a woman who is doing what it takes to keep her niece, Rose Ann and nephew, Kevin safe from their abusive father.  Kevin and Rose Ann are active, kind children.  I like that Carolyn is teaching them about God, the Bible and how to live a life of faith.  Michael Miller is an Amish carpenter from Harmony Creek Hollow is not sure what he wants to do.  He feels unsettled and unsure if he wishes to become baptized in the Amish faith.  He had a woman break his heart and is wary of trusting another with his heart.  Carolyn and the kids were doing well until the flood waters destroyed their home.  They lost everything but Carolyn manages to stay upbeat and calm (she is a better person than me).  Carolyn believes that God does things for a reason and that He will provide for them.  There are good life lessons and messages in An Amish Christmas Promise.  We get to see the devastating effects of hurricane floodwaters and how a community can come together to help each other in a time of need.  We see how life can change in an instant.  It was interesting to learn about Mennonite Disaster Services and Amish Helping Hands.  These are wonderful organizations with thoughtful, hardworking volunteers.  There are three phrases that I wanted to share from the An Amish Christmas Promise.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” and “God is always watching over you” are two that I want to remember.  The third one is “It’s not an easy task to ask others for help”.  I am guilty of this because I dislike asking for assistance.  An Amish Christmas Promise is a poignant story.  
At an Amish barn raising, a helping hand holds a brother from falling off edge , while he nails metal roof to barn rafters.
An Amish Christmas Promise is available in paperback now and comes out in ebook version* on December 1 (Amazon UK).  The next book in Green Mountain Blessings series is An Amish Easter Wish which comes out April 1, 2020 and is available for pre-order.  Thank you for joining me today.  I hope you have a chipper day. I will return tomorrow to share my thoughts on Meg and Jo by Virginia Kantra.  Take care, stay warm and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader
age is beautiful.
*This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Christmas from the Heart by Sheila Roberts: An Extract & Review

 
Happy First of December!  There are some delightful new books coming out this month that include Holiday Homecoming Secrets by Lynette Eason*, The Amish Marriage Bargain by Marie E. Bast, Husband Material by Emily Belden, and Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison.  There is something for every reader!  I am Sheila Roberts today who has written some of my favorite Christmas stories (The Snow Globe is one of them).

About the Author

Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her novels have been published in several languages. Her book, Angel Lane, was an Amazon Top Ten Romance pick for 2009. Her holiday perennial, On Strike for Christmas (I love this movie and watch it each year), was made into a movie for the Lifetime Movie Network and her novel, The Nine Lives of Christmas, was made into a movie for Hallmark . You can visit Sheila on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or at her website.

About the Book

USA TODAY bestselling author Sheila Roberts takes readers to a small, snowbound town, where a young woman fights to save her family’s charity that brings Christmas to families in need, and a stranded millionaire loses his heart and finds the true meaning of Christmas.

Sometimes you need to look beyond the big picture to see what really matters

Olivia Berg’s charity, Christmas from the Heart, has helped generations of families in need in Pine River, Washington, but this year might be the end of the road. Hightower Enterprises, one of their biggest donors since way back when Olivia’s grandmother ran the charity, has been taken over by Ebenezer Scrooge the Second, aka CFO Guy Hightower, and he’s declared there will be no more money coming to Christmas from the Heart.

Guy is simply being practical. Hightower Enterprises needs to tighten its belt, and when you don’t have money to spare, you don’t have money to share. You’d think even the pushy Olivia Berg could understand that.

With charitable donations dwindling, Olivia’s Christmas budget depends on Hightower’s contribution. She’s focused her whole life on helping this small town, even putting her love life on hold to support her mission.

When Guy’s Maserati breaks down at the edge of the Cascade foothills, he’s relieved to be rescued by a pretty young woman who drives him to the nearby town of Pine River. Until he realizes his rescuer is none other than Olivia Berg. What’s a Scrooge to do? Plug his nose and eat fruitcake and hope she doesn’t learn his true identity before he can get out of town. What could go wrong?

Holiday Fruitcake, this is the easiest and delicious fruitcake ever. You should try and I'm sure you will famous because of this recipe!!

My Thoughts

Christmas from the Heart by Sheila Roberts is a pleasing Christmas story that will leave you with a happy feeling.    Christmas from the Heart is a story with realistic character and a sweet small town.  Olivia is a warm character who misses her recently deceased mother.  She has taken over running the non-profit her mother started, and it is her sole focus.   Olivia is thoughtful, caring, a hard worker, generous and persistent which are all traits needed in her line of work.  She loves her father and is worried about him since he has retreated from life since the death of his wife. Guy Hightower is a hardworking man who is smart and caring.  He is trying to save Hightower Enterprises, but he keeps butting up against his older brother’s.  Christmas from the Heart has Sheila Roberts engaging writing which drew me right in.  I like the humor sprinkled throughout the story and the lovely town of Pine River.  I wish I lived in such a warm, helpful community.  I like how they help each other out.  There was more going on in Christmas from the Heart, but you will have to find out the rest for yourself.  I enjoyed reading Sheila Roberts latest Christmas story and look forward to her next book.  Christmas from the Heart is a charming Christmas tale with a caring community, a needy non-profit, tempting treats, a benign beau, frightful fruitcake and happy holiday happenings.  
Add fun and flair to every photo shoot with DropPlace printed photo backdrops…


Extract

From: Olivia Berg, Director, Christmas from the Heart
Date: 2-14-19
To: Ms. Marla Thompson, CSR Director, Hightower Enterprises
Subject: Holiday Joy

 Dear Ms. Thompson,

Happy Valentine’s Day to you! I’m following up our January newsletter with a special greeting as this is, of course, the month for love. Love for our sweethearts, our family and friends, and for those in need. As you could see from the newsletter, we put the money our loyal supporters donated to us to good use. So many families benefited from your generous donation to Christmas from the Heart last year and I just wanted to remind you that, even though the holidays seem far away they will be here before we know it. I hope we can count on Hightower Enterprises again this year. We have such a history together. Let’s keep up the good work!
Warmly,
Olivia Berg
Christmas from the Heart
Giving from the heart makes all the difference
 

From: Marla Thompson, CSR Director, Hightower Enterprises
Date: 2-14-19
To: Ms. Olivia Berg, Director, Christmas from the Heart
Subject: Holiday Joy

Dear Ms. Berg,

Thanks for reaching out. Our fiscal year is just ending and I haven’t yet received word as to how our charitable donations will be dispersed this year. I will keep you apprised.

Best, Marla Thompson
CSR Director, Hightower Enterprises


From: Olivia Berg, Director, Christmas from the Heart
Date: 2-14-19
To: Ms. Marla Thompson, CSR Director, Hightower Enterprises
Subject: Holiday Joy

Thank you so much. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Olivia Berg
Christmas from the Heart
Giving from the heart makes all the difference
 Cropped photo of pretty brunette woman typing email on laptop co. Mputer while s , #sponsored, #woman, #typing, #email, #brunette, #Cropped #ad
From: Olivia Berg, Director, Christmas from the Heart
Date: 5-1-19
To: Ms. Marla Thompson, CSR Director, Hightower Enterprises
Subject: Happy May Day!

Dear Ms. Thompson, just wanted to wish you a happy May Day. The flowers here in Pine River are now in full bloom, and our organization has been busy helping people make their dreams bloom, as well. As you know, while our focus is primarily the holidays, Christmas from the Heart tries to help people all year round when needs arise. Of course, Christmas is our big thrust, and as there is no other organization working in this area, we are much needed. As are your kind contributions. I still haven’t heard and I do hope we can count on you.

Warmly,
Olivia Berg
Christmas from the Heart
Giving from the heart makes all the difference


From: Olivia Berg, Director, Christmas from the Heart
Date: 5-5-19
To: Ms. Marla Thompson
Subject: Just checking

Reaching out again in case my last email went astray. I’m wondering if you have any news for me regarding Hightower’s involvement with our cause for this coming year.
Thanks!

Olivia Berg
Christmas from the Heart
Giving from the heart makes all the difference
 Young businesswoman working on her computer in the office. Writing an email clicking the keyboard and mouse. A clerk emailing a corporate letter and chatting. Stock Video Footage - VideoBlocks
From: Marla Thompson, CSR Director, Hightower Enterprises
Date: 5-5-19
To: Ms. Olivia Berg
Subject: Just checking

Ms. Berg, sorry I haven’t been able to get back to you sooner. I’m afraid I have some bad news for you. It appears that the company is going to be scaling back on their charitable giving this year and funds have already been budgeted for other causes. I’m aware of the fact that in the past we’ve donated to your organization and I’m sorry I don’t have better news for you. I do wish you all the best in your search for other funding.

Best,
Marla Thompson
CSR Director, Hightower Enterprises


From: Olivia Berg, Director, Christmas from the Heart
Date: 5-5-19
To: Ms. Marla Thompson
Subject: Just checking

There must be some sort of misunderstanding! Hightower has always donated to Christmas from the Heart. The company’s founder, Elias Hightower, was my great-grandmother’s first contributor, and he promised her that Hightower would always be there for this organization. This is a company tradition! Please speak to your director.

Hopefully,
Olivia Berg
Christmas from the Heart
Giving from the heart makes all the difference


From: Marla Thompson, CSR Director, Hightower Enterprises
Date: 5-5-19
To: Ms. Olivia Berg
Subject: Just checking

I’m sorry. The decision is out of my hands.
Marla Thompson
CSR Director, Hightower Enterprises
 Personality Type May Drive Email Use | Psych Central News
From: Olivia Berg, Director, Christmas from the Heart
Date: 5-5-19
To: Ms. Marla Thompson
Subject: Just checking

Then please tell me who I need to talk to. Who’s your CFO?
Olivia Berg
Christmas from the Heart
Giving from the heart makes all the difference

  
From: Marla Thompson, CSR Director, Hightower Enterprises
Date: 5-5-19
To: Ms. Olivia Berg
Subject: Just checking

Our CFO is Guy Hightower, and his email is ghightower@hightowerenterprises.com.  Good luck!
Marla Thompson
CSR Director, Hightower Enterprises
From: Olivia Berg, Director, Christmas from the Heart
Date: 5-5-19
To: Guy Hightower, CFO, Hightower Enterprises
Subject: Please reconsider

Dear Mr. Hightower, I understand from your corporate social resources director that Hightower isn’t planning on making any donation to Christmas from the Heart this year. There must be some mistake! Surely you’re aware of the long-standing relationship between your company and our organization. I’m sure I can count on you for some small amount.
Best, Olivia Berg
Christmas from the Heart
Giving from the heart makes all the difference
 woman using laptop | Email Reply Etiquette: How Do You Reply Inline To Someone’s Email? [INFOGRAPHIC] | email etiquette Email marketing tools | Email Marketing Tools Provider| Click the link to read the medium article about The best email marketing tools and solutions  Email marketing tools | Email Marketing Tools Provider| Click the link to read the medium article about The best email marketing tools and solutions
Guy Hightower frowned when he saw the email from Olivia Berg in his in-box. Marla Thompson had been forwarding her emails to him, keeping him abreast of Olivia Berg’s varied begging tactics, and had finally even come into his office, trying to dump the load of guilt the woman had laid on her from her shoulders to his.

“Don’t open it,” he told himself. He opened it anyway. Then he read it and swore. Actually, he’d been swearing ever since meeting with his brothers to discuss the budget back in December. If either of them had listened to him three years ago, they wouldn’t be having to pull the company belt so tight now. This was the problem with being the youngest. It didn’t matter how many degrees you had, how smart you were or what your job title was. Big brothers never listened.
Modern creative office desk worker in line flat style. Office workplace, routine process, businessman busy. Vector illustration
Hard to listen when you were going through your third divorce.  That was Mike’s excuse. What was Bryan’s? Oh yeah. He was a wuss. He always agreed with Mike, no matter what. And Mike hadn’t wanted to change directions. Never mind that the company was struggling, keep on doing the same thing. The definition of insanity.

Sorry, Little Miss Christmas. Times were tough all over. Hightower had kept its commitment to the more visible causes and turned the little fish loose. And that was how it worked in the corporate world.  He typed his reply. 

Dear Ms. Berg, I regret that Hightower can’t help you this year. We’ve had to reassess our commitments to various causes. I’m sure you’ll understand. 
               
                Then he signed off with the time-honored adios: Respectfully, Guy Hightower.  And if she didn’t understand, well, not his problem. He had his hands full trying to keep the family company afloat. Maybe now Mike would be ready to take his advice and diversify.
 Angry business woman breaks a computer at workplace in office
                Olivia Berg—Livi to her family and friends—read the email from Guy Hightower a second time. Yes, the message was the same. Really? Really? Who was this man, Ebenezer Scrooge the Second?  She plowed her fingers through her hair, the birthstone ring Morris had given her for her birthday catching in the curls. She was so angry she barely noticed.  With a snarl, she began to type.
 Ebenezer Scrooge. Illustration for a slot machine I did.
You should be ashamed. Your great-grandfather is probably turning in his grave right now. What’s the matter with you, anyway, you selfish bastard?
               
                She pulled her fingers off the keyboard with a gasp. What was she thinking? Was this any way to get someone to contribute to her cause? And what kind of language was this? Her great-grandmother would be turning in her grave right now, along with Elias. Adelaide Brimwell had been a lady through and through. So had Livi’s grandmother, Olivia, as well as Livi’s mom.

                The thought of her mother made her tear up. How she wished Mom was still around to advise her. They’d always planned that Livi would take over running the organization one day, but neither had dreamed that day would come so soon. Her mother’s heart attack had struck like lightning. Livi’s brother had left town, moving to Seattle, which was just far enough south to keep the memories at bay. Livi had stayed put, holding on to every single one, weaving them together into a lifeline to cling to as she kept Christmas from the Heart afloat.  Oh, Mom. What should I do?  Try again came the answer.

Yes, her mother never gave up. She’d chased one potential donor for two years before he finally came through. Livi still remembered the day her mom left the house, clad in a Mrs. Santa costume she’d created—requisite white wig along with a frilly white blouse and a red skirt topped with a red-striped apron. She’d taken with her a batch of home-baked cookies nestled in a red basket and returned home with a check for five hundred dollars. The man had been a loyal contributor ever since. Livi still took him cookies every year.  
Mrs Claus - Christmas cross stitch pattern designed by Ursula Michael. Category: Santa.
“Persistence pays,” she told herself as she deleted what she’d typed.  She started over.

I’m asking you to reconsider. Your company is our major donor, and without you so many people will have little joy this Christmas. Any amount you can give will be greatly appreciated.
               
       There. He’d have to be a heartless monster not to respond to that.     Guy trashed the guilt-inflicting email. What was he, Santa Claus? He had his hands full keeping his company solvent.  But then, people like Olivia Berg never considered the fact that a company might have needs of its own. What made them feel so entitled to sit at the edge of the salt mine while a man slaved away and then greet him with their hands out when he emerged broken and bruised? Maybe some of those people always begging for money should get out there and actually earn a living. Let them work their tails off, putting in seventy-hour weeks. Sheesh.
                Anyway, the company had already met their good deed quota for the year. The only cause Guy was interested in now was Hightower Enterprises. By the end of the workday, Guy Hightower still hadn’t responded to Livi’s last email. “You are a heartless monster,” she grumbled, glaring at her empty email in-box.  “No word yet?” her part-time assistant, Bettina Thomas, asked as she shut down her computer.

Livi sighed and shook her head.“That is so wrong,” Bettina said in disgust. It sure was. “They’ve been our major donor ever since my great-grandmother founded Christmas from the Heart. Without their contribution how will we put on the Christmas dinner at the community center? How many families won’t have presents under the tree or Christmas stockings or a Christmas turkey?” There was no Salvation Army in Pine River, no Toys for Tots— none of the usual organizations serviced this area. There had been no need. Christmas from the Heart had it under control.

Until now.  “We’ve had to reassess our commitments,” Livi quoted. The words left a bad taste in her mouth and she frowned. “It sounds like something your boyfriend says when he’s dumping you.”  “They are dumping us,” Bettina pointed out. “But don’t worry. We have time. We’ll find someone else to come through.”
Royalty-free Image: Woman in pink lipstick biting large chocolate bar
“Not like Hightower. There must be something I can do,” Livi mused. “There is. Go home and eat chocolate.”  And try not to think bad thoughts about Guy Hightower.  

In all fairness, he probably didn’t grasp the situation. She’d call him the next day and invite him to come to Pine River for a visit so she could let him see the need, show him a little of what Christmas from the Heart did for the community. She could take him to lunch, introduce him to some of the people in town, put a face—or better yet, several—to Christmas from the Heart. She’d top it all off by following in her mother’s footsteps and baking him cookies. Then how could he help but catch the vision his great-grandfather and her great-grandmother had shared?  Yes, that would do it. Sometimes you had to be a little patient, give people a second chance.
Christmas from the Heart
I bet you are ready to read Christmas from the Heart after that excerpt.  Christmas from the Heart is available at Amazon*, Amazon UK, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, iBooksKobo and Harlequin.  Thank you for joining me today.  I hope I have helped you discover a new book and author.  I will be back tomorrow with my review of An Amish Christmas Promise by Jo Ann Brown.  I hope that you have a day filled with happiness.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader 
Reading and Art: Deborah DeWit
*This post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden

A Desperate Hope (Empire State, #3)
Welcome! It is hard to believe that today is the last day of November.  Before we know it, 2019 will be over.   I am switching my Sunday feature to today for this week.  On Sunday's I review a book that I was unable to when it was released.  I am featuring Elizabeth Camden today who wrote An Empire State Novel series.  Elizabeth Camden is best known for her historical novels set in the gilded age with clever heroines and richly layered storylines.  Before becoming a writer, Elizabeth was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America.  Her favorite library, though, is the continually expanding one in her own home.  Elizabeth lives in Florida with her husband who graciously puts up with her stockpile of books.  The author's latest series is Hope and Glory which began with The Spice King.  The next book in that series is The Gilded Lady which comes out on June 2, 2020.   Christmas at Whitefriars is a new novella that released in October.
Ashokan Reservoir-Construction-Catskill Aqueduct-NYC Drinking Water
Construction of reservoir in New York
A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden takes us back in time to 1908 in New York.  Eloise Drake is an accountant for the New York State Water Board, and she has been handling the bills for the Duval Springs project.  Eloise is prim, proper and believes in following the rules.  She learned the hard way that it does not pay to follow your heart and break the rules.  Then she learns that she is being sent to Duval Springs to where the state plans to obliterate the town for the state’s new reservoir which will supply water for New York City.  Alex Duval is the mayor of Duval Springs and he has been fighting the state’s decision for the last five years.  They may have lost the suit, but Alex is determined to save the town.  Alex is shocked to see that Eloise is on the team charged with demolishing the town.  He has not seen Eloise in twelve years, but that has not diminished his love for her.  Alex comes up with a plan that could save the town.  He needs Eloise’s help, though, to pull it off.  Alex not only wants to save Duval Springs, he wants to win back Eloise.  Will Alex be able to save Duval Springs and captures Eloise’s heart?
Ashokan Reservoir in New York
A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden is the third An Empire State Novel.  It can be read as a standalone.  However, they are three delightful historical novels that tie together beautifully.  Elizabeth Camden provides an engaging story with developed characters and a multifaceted story.  Eloise is a mathematical genius who dresses in an understated manner to evoke a prim and proper appearance.  Eloise is prickly but who can blame her after what happened when she was caught with Alex Duval.  She likes to be needed and to help others.  Returning to Duval Springs is the last thing Eloise wishes to do, but that is where her boss is sending her.  Alex Duval fell in love with Eloise when she was a teen, but then her guardian yanked them apart.  He has not forgotten her, and Alex still loves her.  He has been fighting the state of New York to save the town.  Duval Spring resides in a valley that is perfect for the state’s new reservoir which will provide water to New York City.  Alex lost the lawsuit, but he is not done trying to find a way to save his town.  Alex is a strong character with a good heart.  You can tell how much he cares for the town and its residents.  There are other subplots going on in the story.  Elizabeth Camden beautifully weaves it all together into one compelling story.  I like that Nick and Rosalind from A Daring Venture appear in the story.  The point-of-view alternates between Alex and Eloise so we get to see both sides.  I like that because men and women see things in different ways.  I appreciated the epilogue that nicely wrapped up A Desperate Hope.  I liked the messages in the story especially that a child can grow up to be whatever they want.  Christian values are beautifully woven into the story.  I can tell that the author did her research.  There are discussion questions at the end which is helpful for book groups.  I enjoyed all three novels in An Empire State Novel series, and I look forward to reading Elizabeth Camden’s next book.  A Desperate Hope fascinating story that will hold your attention until you finish the very last word.  
Модный курьер 1908
1908 Fashions
A Desperate Hope can be purchased through Amazon* (Amazon UK) and other major booksellers.  The other two novels in An Empire State Novel series are A Dangerous Legacy (currently available through Kindle Unlimited) and A Daring Venture.  For details on towns lost to reservoirs in New York, read this article.  I will return tomorrow to feature Christmas from the Heart by Sheila Roberts.  I hope you have a leisurely day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


Kris
The Avid Reader
Vrouw in Jardin des Tuileries / Woman in the Tuileries ,1908 - Isaac Lazarus Israëls (Dutch, 1865-1934)
*This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, November 29, 2019

The Ghost of Christmas Past by Angie Fox

The Ghost of Christmas Past (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries, #8.5)
Happy Black Friday!  I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving.  Are you taking advantage of the Black Friday deals?  Amazon has some amazing deals (I belong to Amazon Prime so I can get the items delivered within two days and I do not have to fight the crowds).  Angie Fox is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.  She writes cute, humorous, action-packed paranormal mysteries.  While her characters are clever and fearless, Angie is afraid of basements, bees and going upstairs when it is dark behind her.  In other words, Angie would not last two minutes in one of her stories.  Angie writes The Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries and A Biker Witches Mystery series.  You can find out more about Angie and her books by visiting her website where you can also sign up for her newsletter which will garner you a free book.  You can also follow Angie Fox on Amazon and they will notify you when she has a new release.  Angie is on Facebook as well.
'A Christmas Carol: Day 6' “Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” It held up its chain at arm’s length, as if that were the cause of all its unavailing grief, and flung it heavily upon the ground again. #NoteStream #NoteStreamBookClub
The Ghost of Christmas Past by Angie Fox has Verity Long getting ready for the Wydells annual Christmas Eve party.  She borrowed a dress and shoes from her sister plus she has done up her hair and applied lipstick.  Then a delivery man arrives with an astonishing package that comes at a steep cost. Virginia has done it again and it is the last straw for Verity.  With her evening suddenly free, Verity is thrilled when an old friend who is now a ghost appears on her doorstep.  When she asks Verity for a favor, she is happy to oblige.  Frankie, though, is less than thrilled since he has a date with Molly in just two hours.  Verity believes it will be a simple errand, but things are never easy when there are animals and ghosts involved.  Verity gets an unexpected opportunity that will change her life.
 a christmas carol -- 1868 edition illustration
The Ghost of Christmas Past by Angie Fox is a “between the books” holiday story.  It can be read as a standalone, but The Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries are an entertaining series of books that are not to be missed.  I was instantly drawn into The Ghost of Christmas Past with Verity, Frankie, Lucy and Ellis.  I like Angie Fox’s engaging writing style which makes for a pleasant to read story.  The book has delightful characters (except for Virginia) with my favorite being Frankie the German.  He is a ghost that was a gangster in the 1920s.  I just love his snarky dialogue and he finds some new friends in this story that allows us to see Frankie’s softer side.  Virginia is my least favorite character who decides to humiliate Verity once again.  This is a humorous retelling of Charles Dickens classic tale.  The Ghost of Christmas Past is a magical tale with surprising spirits, a grating gift, alarming animals, lopsided lights and one painful party.
The Ghost of Christmas Future by vaughany_boy
The Ghost of Christmas Past is out today. It is available through Amazon*, Amazon UK, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Google Play.  You can The Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries here on Amazon.  The next tale in The Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries is Southern Bred and Dead which will be out on August 28, 2020.  It is available for pre-order.  I hope everyone has a jolly good day.  I plan on sharing my review of An Amish Christmas Promise by Jo Ann Brown which comes out on December 1.  Take care, drive safely and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader
Young Woman by a Christmas Tree - Max Rimböck , 1918 German, 1890-1956 Oil on artist’s board , 63,2 x 51,1 cm
*This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that all of you have a lovely day.  I will return tomorrow to share my review of The Ghost of Christmas Past by Angie Fox.  Take care, drive safely and Happy Reading!



Kris

The Avid Reader
Fresh Vintage by Lisa S: Vintage THANKSGIVING Postcard Printables