Thursday, June 20, 2019

Death by Dissertation by Kelly Brakenhoff: Review & Giveaway!

Death by Dissertation

A Cassandra Sato Mystery
by Kelly Brakenhoff

About the Book

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting - Nebraska
Emerald Prairie Press (April 17, 2019)
Paperback: 355 pages
ISBN-10: 1733742409
ISBN-13: 978-1733742405
Digital ASIN: B07PKRD658
Ambitious Cassandra Sato traded her life in Hawai’i for a dream position as Student Affairs VP at Morton College in tiny Carson, Nebraska. She expected the Midwestern church casseroles, land-locked cornfields, and face-freezing winters would be her biggest challenges, but it’s her job that’s rapidly becoming a nightmare.
A deaf student is dead and the investigation reveals a complicated trail of connections between campus food service, a local farmer’s beef, and the science lab’s cancer research. Together with her few allies, Cassandra must protect the students caught up in the entanglement.
Dealing with homesickness, vandalism, and a stalker, Cassandra is trapped in a public relations disaster that could cost her job, or more. No one said college was easy.

About the Author

Kelly Brakenhoff is an American Sign Language Interpreter whose motivation for learning ASL began in high school when she wanted to converse with her deaf friends. As an American Sign Language Interpreter with more than twenty years of experience, Kelly’s worked in college classrooms for fifteen different majors. From traipsing across muddy farm fields to stomach-churning medical procedures, and stage interpreting for famous figures, Kelly’s community interpreting interactions number in the thousands. Unfortunately, once she’s stepped away from the job, she usually forgets 90% of what happened. Which helps her keep confidential information safe, but also makes it really hard to grocery shop for more than 5 items without a written list.  Kelly wants to live in a world filled with peace, love, and joy, where people who can hear learn enough sign language to include deaf people in everyday conversations and work. Where every deaf child has early access to language and books with characters like them, and dark chocolate is cheap and plentiful.  When she’s not interpreting or writing, you can find Kelly cheering for her favorite Husker teams or training for half-marathons because she really likes dessert.  Her first mystery, Death by Dissertation, released April 22, 2019.

Here are Kelly Brakenhoff's links:  WebsiteAmazonTwitter, and Instagram (@kellybrak).
ASL Woodgrain Large Clock

My Summary

Death by Dissertation by Kelly Brakenhoff takes readers on a trip to Carson, Nebraska.  Cassandra Sato is the new Vice President of Student Affairs at Morton College.  It is a big change for Cassandra who grew up in the tropical environment of Hawaii.  While President Gary Neilson is on a business trip to China, Cassandra will be taking over his extensive duties.  But before he can depart, Austin Price has been found dead on the stairs outside Edgerton Science Center.  Austin was one of the college’s deaf students who had a work study job in the biology lab.  Cassandra begins her investigation by learning more about Austin.  She soon uncovers information that links the beef the college obtains from a local farmer, the ABG blood bank, and a research study.  What did Austin uncover that led to his death?   Cassandra is also dealing with threatening emails, vandalism, complaints and a break in.  Someone does not want Cassandra at Morton College, and she is wondering if she made the right decision leaving Hawaii.  The longer the case remains open, the more publicity there is surrounding the matter.  Cassandra needs Austin’s killer caught before she is out of job or, if her stalker has their way, the next victim.
The Ohio State University - University Hall

My Thoughts

Death by Dissertation is the first novel in A Cassandra Sato Mystery series.  The author sets the stage for the book by telling readers about the inner workings of a college.  We get an inside look at the administrative side of college life and how they handle various situations.   Cassandra Sato has plans on becoming a college president one day and this is the first step towards her goal.  On a day to day basis, Cassandra deals with students who are more interested in playing video games and attending frat parties than going to class and turning in their assignments.  Cassandra looks and dresses differently from the rest of the staff at Morton College.  She is not used to see a sea of Caucasian faces and land all around her.  Cassandra misses the tropical climate of her home along with the friendly people, veggies and the ocean.  She is glad to have her friend Meg O’Brien, an ASL interpreter, working at the college and living nearby.  Readers get a look at what deaf students must deal with on a daily basis (needing an interpreter for classes, people not understanding them, or treating them inappropriately).  The author is an ASL interpreter herself and her knowledge is evident in Death by Dissertation.  The mystery delves into the scientific arena and readers are provided with detailed technical information as the search for the killer ramps up.  I had to laugh when Meg helped Cassandra with her hair and asked, “How close to God do you want your hair?”  I also enjoyed Cassandra and Meg’s commentary on women wearing yoga pants.  Death by Dissertation has collegiate spirit, a complex crime, scientific exploration, an avaricious killer, and a gifted gumshoe.  
Law Quad, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, May 2007 by Conlawprof, via Flickr

Death by Dissertation is available on AmazonWould you like to win a copy of Death by Dissertation?  You can enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter form below or click here.  Good Luck! The next novel in A Cassandra Sato Mystery series is Dead Week.  Thank you for joining me today.  I am reviewing No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky tomorrow.  It is a captivating historical novel.  May you have a dynamite day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tour Participants

June 17 - The Layaway Dragon – REVIEW

June 17 - Only By Grace Reviews – REVIEW

June 18 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

June 18 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

June 19 – Island Confidential – REVIEW

June 20 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 20 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

June 21 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW  

June 21 – That's What She's Reading – GUEST POST

June 22 – Mallory Heart's Cozies – REVIEW

June 22 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 23 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

June 24 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

June 24 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 25 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – REVIEW

June 25 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

June 26 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

June 27 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  

June 27 – I'm All About Books – GUEST POST

June 28 – Baroness' Book Trove – REVIEW

June 29 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW, GUEST POST

June 30 - Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Work Break, Darren Thompson

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Lost and Found by Danielle Steel

Lost and Found: A Novel by [Steel, Danielle]
Welcome!  A Ghostly Suspect by Tonya Kappes will be out on June 29.  Plain Truth by Susan Lantz Simpson releases on June 30 and it is the third book in the Plainly Maryland seriesAmish Covert Operation by Meghan Carver publishes on July 1.  It is a Love Inspired Suspense novel.  Is there a book you are looking forward to reading this summer?  I am always looking for new books to add to my TBR pile.
Firehouse converted to home. West village New York City
Lost and Found by Danielle Steel takes readers to New York City, New York.  Madison “Maddie” Allen, a famous photographer, lives in a firehouse that she converted to a home and photography studio fifteen years ago.  She is divorced with three grown children with two of them living in California.  She is not close to them, so Maddie lives a lonely existence dedicating herself to her work.  On a Friday evening, Maddie begins sorting through a closet when she finds a box that contains love letters and photographs from three old lovers.  Maddie climbs up for the last box and end up falling off the ladder which results in a broken ankle.  Her eldest daughter, Deanna reads Maddie the riot act stating she is too old to be climbing a ladder (she is fifty-eight) and that Maddie should sell her beloved home, move into an assisted living facility, get a caretaker to live in and wear an emergency alarm around her neck.  Maddie’s confidence is shaken after the fall and from Deanna’s critical words.  She goes through the box of love letters and wonders if she made the right decision regarding each of the three men.  Since she has four weeks until her big shoot in Shanghai, Maddie decides to take a road trip to revisit the past.  She feels compelled to get closure on the past before moving forward with her life.  Maddie embarks on a journey that will change the course of her life.  
Looking for things to do in Big Sur, California? Here's how to find the best Big Sur sunsets, beaches, restaurants, and more. #bigsur #travel #travelphotography #views #sunset #california #photos
Lost and Found is a story about a women’s self-reflective journey.  Maddie Allen is a famous photographer who is divorced and on her own after raising her three children.  She does not have a close relationship with any of her kids, and Maddie leads a quiet life focusing on her work where she excels.  Maddie loves her home which is a converted firehouse with a spiral staircase and where she has her studio and offices on the ground floor.  After breaking her ankle in a fall and a dress down from her eldest daughter, Maddie decides to take a trip.  She wants to see if the choices she made in the past were the right ones.  It also allows Maddie to reflect on her life, lay old ghosts to rest and see what the future holds for her.  Lost and Found reminds me of Danielle Steel’s earlier books.  It is a light women’s fiction story with a heaping helping of romance and a splash of fairy tale (happily ever after).  I like the author’s relaxed writing style.  It makes the story easy to read and it has a smooth flow.  I did not understand how Maddie could let her daughter run roughshod over her and be intimidated by Deanna’s words.  Of course, critical comments from family affect us more than remarks from others.  There is a significant amount of repetition in the first half of the book.  After a while, I knew the information by heart (a little rewriting would have dramatically improved this book).  As Maddie’s journey progresses, the story improves.  I was especially moved by her Wyoming visit.  There were some heartwarming scenes that were touching.  I liked seeing the characters develop and the changes in various relationships.  I agree with Maddie when she said. “strange things happen in life when you don’t expect them”.  Sometimes it helps to look back before moving forward.  Lost and Found is sweet story about reflection, family, romance, and choices. 

Lost and Found comes out June 25.  Danielle Steel's next novel is The Dark Side which releases on August 27.  I appreciate you joining me today.  Tomorrow I am featuring Death by Dissertation by Kelly Brakenhoff.  It is the first A Cassandra Sato Mystery.  I hope you have a stupendous day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Summer Reading List Art Print at

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White: Review & Giveaway!

About the Book

The Toughest Puzzle She’ll Have to Solve
Might be the Wishes of Her Own Heart
Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, she discovers for the first time in her life that numbers aren’t enough.
Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the intelligent Margot, but soon the dangers of the war draw ever closer. Margot and Drake will have to work together to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.

Click here to purchase your copy. 

About the Author

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at
The secretaries with Sir Malcolm, on the roof of the Old Admiralty Building

More from Roseanna

When I told my best friend and critique partner what book I was pitching next to my publisher, her response was something along the lines of, “That sounds awesome. Also, you’re crazy, and I do not envy you writing that one.”
I laughed…and knew exactly what she meant. Because I was setting out to write a heroine who was a mathematician—which I am definitely not. A heroine who was utterly indifferent to love and marriage—which makes for a difficult story when one writes romance. A character who had an unshakeable faith—which has to be shaken at least a bit in order to make for growth throughout the story. And more, a character who has “issues,” let’s call it, that those familiar with such things will recognize…and which those who aren’t will probably think are quirks.
I was setting out to write a story that would be challenging for me, every step of the way. And the result is a book I’m incredibly in love with and so happy to share with the world.
The Number of Love is all about Margot, who thinks and even prays in numbers. Born and raised in Belgium, she and her family fled to England in 1914 when the Germans invaded her homeland. Thanks to her remarkable abilities with numbers and patterns, she’s now employed at Room 40, the Admiralty’s secret codebreaking branch. But as I was contemplating what sort of man could ever win Margot’s heart, I knew he had to be very different… someone active where she’s still. Someone outgoing where she turns inward. Someone who sees in her what she never can, and who believes she can grasp the dreams that society tells her are unbefitting a woman. This is how Drake was born—a field agent employed by Room 40.
I can honestly say this is the only book I’ve ever written that required me to borrow my daughter’s algebra book while I was writing it, LOL. And though every single scene was a challenge, it was one I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope you’ll join me on the journey that Margot and Drake are on, which answer the question my husband cheekily asked more than once as I was writing it: what is the number of love?
World War I codebreakers working in Room 40, British Admirality, cracking German military and diplomatic codes. Room 40 played a significant role in the final outcome of the war when they decoded the 'Zimmerman Telegram'.

My Summary

The Number of Love by Roseanna M.White is the first novel in The Codebreakers series.  Margot De Wilde works as a cryptographer in Room 40 in the Old Admiralty Building in London where she concentrates on breaking the enemy’s codes so they can decipher their intercepted communications.  The Great War has been raging in Europe for the last three years and England has an extensive intelligence network working to gather information to thwart the enemy.  Lt. Drake Elton encounters Margot when his sister applies for a secretarial position.  He likes her unique humor, but he is departing for Spain where he will be working undercover.  Margot loses someone close to her and the grief causes the numbers that run through her head to become quiet.  Drake returns to England after he is injured, and a deadly enemy follows him.  He spends time with Margot who has become his sister’s best friend.  But Margot has plans for after the war and they do not involve love.  Drake needs to convince Margot that sometimes it is good to follow one’s heart and not one’s mind.  Can love blossom amid espionage, encrypted correspondence, biological warfare, and a deadly enemy intent on revenge? 
 Bletchley Park - also known as Station X - was where Turing, along with Cambridge mathemat...

My Thoughts

The Number of Love is powerful historical novel.  Roseanna M. White produced a well-crafted and thoughtful novel with strong, complex characters.  Margot De Wilde is a brilliant mathematician whose education was interrupted by the war.  She utilizes her talents by breaking the enemy’s codes.  Numbers are constantly running through her head and some of them are vitally important.  She relies on facts instead of emotions and pours herself into her work. Drake Elton is a naval lieutenant whose background makes him a perfect field agent for the intelligence services.  Drake has a big heart and Margot is never far from his thoughts since the moment they met.  Drake has an enemy following him who performs missions, but he also has his own agenda.  The author did her research for this book.  I like how she incorporated the historical information from the Great War along with Room 40 with the codebreakers and the work of the field agents.  Faith was an integral part of the story and our character’s lives.  I appreciated that Barclay, Willa, Lukas and other characters from Shadows Over England series were included in the story.  The vivid and detailed descriptions allowed me to visualize the characters and scenes.  I would have liked a little more action which would have added a little more spark to the story.  The Number ofLove is an intriguing and captivating historical novel with suspense, romance, friendship, mystery, faith and family.   

To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of winner’s choice of TWO signed books, Fruit and Floral Flavors Sugar Shapes, and some Roseanna M. White swag.  Be sure to comment on the blog stops (see below) for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click here to enter.   The next novel in The Codebreakers series is On Wings of Devotion which comes out January 7, 2020. Thank you for stopping by today.  I will share my review of Lost and Found by Danielle Steel next time.  I hope you have a blessed day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

Wrens working on the Enigma operation at Bletchley Park, an operation which is said to hav...
Blog Stops

Among the Reads, June 17
Moments, June 17
The Avid Reader, June 18
Stories By Gina, June 18
Worthy2Read, June 19
Multifarious, June 21
Emily Yager, June 21
Bigreadersite, June 22
Simple Harvest Reads, June 22 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Genesis 5020, June 24
The Becca Files, June 26
Splashes of Joy, June 26

Monday, June 17, 2019

Amish Outsider by Marta Perry

Amish Outsider (River Haven #1)
Hello!  No Ocean to Wide by Carrie Turansky releases on June 25 along with Guilty as Charred by Devon Delaney, Strangled Eggs and Ham by Maddie Day and Manor of Dying by Kathleen Bridge.  I keep finding new books that I want to read (my wish list is getting long).  
Elizabeth Mullet instructs inside the Amish school house in Bergholz, OH. photo by Marvin Fong
Amish Outsider by Marta Perry is the first novel in the River Haven series.  Michael Forster and his daughter, Allie are returning to the Amish community where he grew up and left as a teenager.  Michael’s wife, Diana was murdered eight months ago, and the police focused their investigation on him.  He is hoping this will be a fresh start for the two of them.  The only problem is his wife’s family also lives in River Haven.  Michael enrolls Allie in the Creekside Amish School taught by Catherine Brandt.  Teacher Cathy, as she is called, feels drawn to Allie who is quiet and withdrawn.  Cathy wants to help the little girl which means spending time with her attractive father.  As time passes, Michael and Cathy become close.  Michael knows he should stay away from Cathy, so he does not mar her reputation.    A series of incidents threaten the safety of those Michael loves.  The only way to move forward is to put the past to rest which means finding the person responsible for Diana’s death. 
 amish lifestyle facts | ... indiana and visit the amish acres have you ever heard of amish people
Amish Outsider is a compelling novel.  I thought the book was well-written and it proceeded at a steady pace.  Amish Outsider is different from other Amish novels.  There is mystery, suspense, family, friendships and romance.  I liked getting to know the residents of River Haven.  Stubbornness seems to run in the Forster family.  Michael left home as a teenager with Diana and has been living as an Englischer.  He was running a successful construction company until his wife died and the legal bills crippled him financially.  Diana was unhappy with their life which ended up with the pair becoming separated.  Michael did not kill his wife, but he is unable to convince the police of his innocence.  Michael wants a safe place for his daughter, Allie and he hopes it is in River Haven with his Amish family.  Aunt Verna and Sarah provided levity with their schemes to help their family.  Family is important as we see in Amish Outsider and they stick together which I found endearing.  I like how the community came together to help when one of their own was in need and to support a good cause.  I delighted in the unpredictability of an Amish Outsider.  You never knew what would happen next.  The scary incidents were suspenseful and kept me on the edge of my seat.  The tension builds as the story progressed in this page turner.  There are several suspects in Diana’s murder with good clues.  One of the phrases that stuck with me from Amish Outsider is “Evil can be anywhere.  But peace is inside us.”  Marta Perry has outdone herself with the absorbing and suspenseful Amish Outsider. 
 THE AMISH COOK BY GLORIA YODER Today, we as a church had an excellent time together at what we call our “annual school picnic.” For the last five weeks the three teachers and 22 students in our little
Amish Outsider comes out June 18. The next novel in the River Haven series is Amish Protector which releases on March 24, 2020.  It tells the story of Cathy's friend, Joanna Kohler and Noah Troyer.  Thank you for joining me today.  Tomorrow I will share my review of The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White as part of the Celebrate Lit Tour.  I hope you have a pleasant day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Reading and Art: Rowland Davidson. Girl in her favorite chair

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Bite Club by Laurien Berenson

Bite Club (A Melanie Travis Mystery Book 23) by [Berenson, Laurien]
Good Day!  I hope everyone is having a lovely day.  Left Fur Dead by J.M. Griffin, Down in Flames by Cheryl Hollon, Clause and Effect by Kaitlyn Dunnett come out on June 25.  A Ghostly Suspect by Tonya Kappes will be out on June 29.  Window on the Bay by Debbie Macomber releases on my mother's birthday which is July 16.  There are many wonderful new books coming out this summer.  
More About The Athletic Poodle Pups Personality #poodlehouse #poodlerescue #miniaturepoodle
Bite Club by Laurien Berenson returns readers to Stamford, Connecticut.  Melanie Travis enjoy reading and particularly relishes a good mystery.  She contacted a few of her friends to see if they were interested in starting a book club.  The club caters to mysteries and Melanie came up with a quirky name Bite Club (books with bite).  She wants to keep the numbers low, so it is intimate to allow a lively discussion.  But Aunt Peg got wind of the club and invited her dog show pals doubling the number of attendees.  Alice Brickman brings along her new neighbor, Evan Major who needs assistance training his new Bulldog puppy, Bully.  Melanie, of course, offers to help Evan, but she soon comes to regret her generosity when a detective shows up her house.  Evan was found dead in his home and a neighbor saw Melanie peering in his windows the day before.  Melanie was there for a training session for which Evan did not show, and she found little Bully down the street.  With Melanie in the hot seat, she is quick to delve into the victim’s past and is shocked by what she uncovers.  Unassuming Evan had a big skeleton in his closet that lost him his wife and estranged him from his brother.  Melanie, with help from Aunt Peg (of course), chases down clues and alibis to narrow down her suspect list.  Now they just need a plan to catch the mangy mongrel. 
Visit our site for additional information on bulldogs. It is a superb place to get more information.
Bite Club is the twenty-third novel in A Melanie Travis Mystery series.  While the book can be read as a standalone, you will be missing out on a great series.  The author provides everything a reader needs to know about Melanie, her family, her dogs, and friends.  Bite Club is well-written and progresses at a steady trot.  Melanie Travis is married to Sam and has two kids:  Davey and Kevin.  Davey is thirteen and is acting as a handler for Aunt Peg’s latest poodle puppy, Coral.  Kevin is an inquisitive and active four year old boy.  Aunt Peg (she reminds me of one of my aunts) is an intimidating woman and dog show judge who frequently ropes Melanie into her schemes. When Evan Major is killed and Melanie is at the top of the suspect list, she sets out to learn more about the quiet man.  The mystery was well-plotted with unexpected disclosures and a jaw dropping reveal.  As an avid cozy mystery reader, I enjoy a complex whodunit.  I enjoy the family interactions and how Melanie talks to Faith, her oldest poodle (and looks for a response).  I like that it is not a picture perfect family.  Melanie’s household is always lively with four people and six dogs.  Dinner may not be served on time, groceries run low and there are messes from kids and animals, but the house is filled with love.  This is what adds to the appeal of this charming series.  The dog show information is told in a way for a layman to understand (which I appreciate).  I was unaware of the intricacies of dog shows and all that goes into maintaining a Standard Poodles fur for competition.   There is humor sprinkled throughout the story along with the antics of the adorable canines, the kids and Aunt Peg.  Bite Club is an engaging cozy mystery with a friendly sleuth, energetic book discussions, loving husband, sweet kids, endearing dogs, one dead guy with an unexpected past, and bossy Aunt Peg.
A Melanie Travis Mystery (22 Book Series) by  Laurien Berenson
You can find a complete list of the books in A Melanie Travis Mystery series here on Amazon.  Bite Club comes out June 25 and is available for pre-order on Amazon and other major retailers.  Thank you for visiting today.  I will feature Amish Outsider by Marta Perry tomorrow.  You do not want to miss this suspenseful Amish novel.  I hope you have a phenomenal day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Инга Измайлова такса кресло книга чтение ученый кофе отдых открытка иллюстрация

Saturday, June 15, 2019

A Love for Lizzie by Tracey J. Lyons

Welcome!  Died in the Wool by Melinda Mullet comes out June 18.  It is the fourth novel in A Whiskey Business Mystery series.  The Brighton Guest House Girls by Lesley Eames releases July 4.  A Ghostly Suspect by Tonya Kappes is out on June 28.  The latest novel in A Ghostly Southern Mystery series. 
A Love for Lizzie (Love Inspired) by [Lyons, Tracey J.]
A Love for Lizzie by Tracey J. Lyons has readers traveling to Miller’s Crossing, New York.  Elizabeth “Lizzie” Miller lives at home with her parents on their dairy farm.  Her father has been working long hours to keep up with the numerous chores.  Paul Burkholder, Lizzie’s friend and their neighbor, arrives with a gift of watercolor supplies for Lizzie who wants to keep her artistic endeavors a secret.  Paul has been friends with Lizzie all her life and he would like more, but Lizzie rebuffs his efforts.  Lizzie is still haunted by the accident ten years ago that killed her brother and left her with a permanent reminder.  The pair notice something amiss at the barn and rush to find Lizzie’s father, Joseph unconscious on the floor.  At the hospital they learn Joseph has suffered a heart attack and he will need time to recover. Paul and the other men in the community rally to help.  Paul is hoping that Lizzie will change her mind about courting him and hopes that seeing him every day will make a difference.  Lizzie needs to find a way to move forward from the past and not let herself be hampered by her outward appearance.  Is it possible for Lizzie and Paul to overcome the past?  Can Lizzie love Paul?
 Asthma cure could be found in Amish barn dust
A Love for Lizzie is a rewarding Amish novel.  This is the first book I have read by Tracey J. Lyons and I enjoyed it.  This is Ms. Lyons debut novel for Love Inspired and her first Amish novel as well.  I liked her engaging writing style with lovely but realistic characters.  Lizzie is twenty years old and prefers to stay on the family farm to avoid strangers who stare at her.  When Lizzie was ten years old, an accident took her brother’s life and left her with visible scar.  Paul Burkholder is Lizzie’s friend and has been since they were children.  Paul would like to court Lizzie, but she keeps pushing him away.  Lizzie has not been able to move forward with her life since her brother died and feels that no man would want her because of her outward appearance.  Lizzie fails to realize that Paul fell in love with her beautiful inside.  It was so sweet when Paul said that Lizzie’s paintings show her inner beauty and strength.  I thought A Love for Lizzie was an emotional story.   Readers get to join Lizzie on a journey to overcome the past.  I like how the community came together to help the Miller family in their time of need and continued to show up each day for them.  God has a guiding hand in our lives, and everything happens for a reason as we see in A Love for Lizzie.  My favorite quote from A Love for Lizzie is “this day wasn’t my doing—it’s a gift from God”.  I did find one discrepancy in the story regarding the death of Lizzie’s brother.  At one point, Paul stated he had just arrived when the accident occurred.  Later in the story, it states Paul did not arrive until after the incident had happened.  Otherwise, A Love for Lizzie was an engaging and satisfying novel. There is a recipe for Double Treat Cookies included (a peanut butter cookie with chocolate chips and peanuts).  A Love for Lizzie is an uplifting Amish story with its focus on faith, love and family. 
Belleville Amish Farm Photograph  - Lori Deiter
A Love for Lizzie will be available in paperback on June 18 and ebook on July 1.  Thank you for stopping by today and reading my review.  I hope you have a blessed day.  I will be back tomorrow but I am not sure which book I will share just yet.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Portrait of a Girl in a Striped Dress with a Red Book  2013   -  Rick Beerhorst

Friday, June 14, 2019

A Shot of Murder by J. A. Kazimer

A Shot of Murder by J.A. Kazimer
Welcome!  We have been enjoying some much needed rain in my area.  My plants certainly appreciate it.  Toxic Toffee by Amanda Flower comes out on June 25 along with Lost and Found by Danielle Steel, Down in Flames by Cheryl Hollon and Bite Club by Laurien Berenson.  
Barrel house full of bourbon at Willet Distillery, Kentucky.
A Shot of Murder by J. A. Kazimer takes readers south to Gett, Florida.  Charlotte “Charms” Lucky was working as an actress in Los Angeles until six months ago when she got a call that her grandfather, Jack had suffered a heart attack.  Charlotte returns home to run The Lucky Whiskey Distillery while Jack recovers under the watchful eye of Sweet Jayme Babbitt.  One evening she is in the rackhouse to test a cask, Charlotte ends up opening the cask to find head distiller, Roger Kerrick bobbing in the brew.  Sheriff Danny Gett speedily arrests Jack for first degree murder.  Charlotte knows her grandfather is innocent, and she intends to get answers so he can return home where he belongs.  The problem is a townful of Getts.  Gett Whiskey is the rival distillery and has been for two hundred years (think Hatfield and McCoy’s) since the founder supposedly stole the recipe from Charlotte’s ancestor.  Brodie Gett insists on helping Charlotte, but she has never trusted him plus he is on her list of suspects.  Someone is intent on derailing Charlotte, but she is not about to let a few incidents stop her from saving Jack and the family business.  Who is behind Roger’s death and why did they set up Jack?  Join Charlotte as she wades through the suspects in A Shot of Murder.
"World-renowned Bourbon.  Winding country roads.  Inviting historic towns.  Rolling green hills.  And Bluegrass hospitality at its best.  The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour - where the spirit leads you."
A Shot of Murder is a lighthearted Southern cozy mystery and the debut novel in A Lucky Whiskey Mystery series.  The story is told from Charlotte Lucky’s point-of-view.  She has returned to Gett, Florida to help her grandfather after his heart attack, but Charlotte continues to hold onto her studio apartment in LA (a girl can hope).  When Lucky finds their head distiller of The Lucky Whiskey Distillery shot to death in one of their casks of aging whiskey, her grandfather is arrested.  Lucky begins questioning people around town and accusing them of murdering the man.  Readers are then introduced to what seems like the entire population of Gett with many of them having the last name of Gett or related in some capacity.  The two whiskey families (Gett and Lucky) have been feuding for two hundred years and Lucky is happy to keep the tradition alive.  The Gett family is wealthy and owns many businesses in town while the Lucky family is decidedly unlucky.  The bickering and rivalry continues throughout the story.  Brodie Gett offers to help Charlotte, or Charms as he calls her, is clearing Jack’s name.  Distrust, miscommunication and misunderstanding persists between them all through A Shot of Murder.  Other recurring themes are Charlotte’s Prius (mentioned approximately 30 times), Brodie’s Jeep, the STD commercial Charlotte starred in (big mistake), extraordinarily bad food at the Gett Diner, and Charlotte blamed for writing Getting Lucky on water tower as a teenager.  The townspeople are portrayed as redneck Southerners, with bad tempers, shabby clothing, large trucks, big guns and bad grammar.  Alligators seem to pop up whenever Charlotte is in trouble (which is frequently) and incapacitated.  The mystery was hard to concentrate on with everything else that was going on along with the multiple attacks threatening Charlotte’s life.  I had no problem, though, identifying the guilty party along with the reason for the violence.  There is one man (Boone) who believes a woman’s place is on her knees (unfortunately, he does not mean praying) and is particularly violent towards Charlotte.  Foul language is rampant in A Shot of Murder.  Charlotte is an immature woman with her foot stomping when she does not get her way, petulant attitude, eye rolling, accusations, rudeness, yelling and foul mouth.  I found reading A Shot of Murder to be a frustrating experience (it gave me a migraine). I did like Rue Gett and her grandson, Brodie.  It is plain to see that Jack loves Charlotte plus I liked that the book is set in Florida.  A Shot of Murder could have benefited from a severe editing and a major rewrite. 
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While A Shot of Murder was not the right fit for me, I suggest you get a sample and form your own opinion.  Thank you for visiting today.  I hope you will join me tomorrow when I share my thoughts on a book that I have recently read.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Chica junto al mar por Emel Erten