Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman

The Wartime Sisters

Welcome!  It is the last day of January.  This month whizzed by so quickly.  The Promised Amish Bride by Marta Perry comes out tomorrow in ebook (paperback is already available to purchase).  A Sister's Sorrow by Kitty Neale releases on February 21 along with Courage of the Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell.

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman begins its tale in Brooklyn, New York in 1919.  Ruth Kaplan was three years old when her younger sister, Millie was born. Ruth is a plain little girl with brown hair while Millie has red hair with bright blue eyes which everyone admired.  The girls are complete opposites with Millie being vibrant and popular while Ruth is quiet and studious.  Ruth is expected to tow the line, but Millie is catered to with excuses being made if she stepped out of line.  After their parents pass away, Millie marries Lenny Fein and continues to live in Brooklyn.  Ruth married Arthur Blum whose scientific mind is needed to aid the war and they move away to Springfield, Massachusetts.  In the spring of 1942, Millie writes that her husband has passed away leaving her with two year old, Michael to care for on her own.  Ruth offers Millie a place to live and assures her that she can get a job at the Springfield Armory.  The two estranged sisters are struggling to get along making for a house filled with tension.  Lillian Walsh, the commanding officer’s wife, takes a shine to Millie and helps her settle into her new life.  Millie also makes friends with Arietta Benevetto, the Armory cook with a beautiful singing voice.  One officer’s wife is unhappy with Millie’s lovely presence.  Ruth is unhappy that the life she built for herself has been upended and she is afraid a secret will come to light.  Millie has a skeleton in the closet that she desperately wants to keep concealed.  Unfortunately, like all secrets, they always find a way of coming out. 
 We Can Do It! Rosie the Riveter Pinback Button
The Wartime Sisters is a traditional story about two sisters who fail to get along (sounds like me and my sister).  It is more a women’s fiction novel than a historical book.  The focus of the book is the two sisters and their rivalry.  The author accurately captured the dynamics between the sisters along with the feelings (resentment, bitterness, jealousy, the feeling of inadequacy).  Ruth was jealous of Millie from the moment she was born.  The more people admired Millie, the more Ruth’s resentment grew.  Matters are not helped by the mother doting on Millie and her insistence that Millie will marry well one day.  When Ruth starts dating and the men are more captivated by Millie, it causes the rift between the sisters to grow to the size of the grand canyon.  Each sister has a secret and you know they will eventually find a way to come out.  I liked the setting of the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts, but we are not told enough about it.  I wanted more about the facility, the war, and the less about the animosity between the sisters.  Rivalry also exists between women in such a close atmosphere as the armory.  The ending felt rushed.  I thought it lacked emotion and realism.  It seemed that this story could have been set in any place or any time period and it would still play out the same way.  I found The Wartime Sisters to be lacking (at least for me).  I thought it was a predictable story.  My rating for The Wartime Sisters is 3 out of 5 stars.  While The Wartime Sisters was not my cup of tea, those who enjoy feel-good stories (like those on Lifetime or Hallmark Channel) will enjoy the happy ending.

I am sharing the cover for Hetty's Secret War by Rosie Clarke tomorrow which will come out on March 19 (I will feature on March 22).  It is the third novel in Women at War series.  I hope you have an amusing day (laughter is good for the soul).  Keep warm and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Ellie's Redemption by Molly Jebber

Ellie's Redemption (Amish Charm Bakery #2)
Murder's No Votive Confidence (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery Book 1) by [Brecher, Christin]Thank you for joining me today.  Final Exam by Carol J. Perry releases on February 26 with One Feta in the Grave by Tina Kashian and Chocolate Cream Pie Murder by Joanne FlukeHearts in Harmony by Beth Wiseman will be available on March 12.  So many delightful new books will be coming out this year.  I am looking forward to Murder's No Votive Confidence by Christin Becher and A Patchwork of Clues by Sally Goldenbaum (both will be available in June).

Ellie’s Redemption by Molly Jebber goes back to 1912 in Charm, Ohio.  Ellie Graber met Joel Wenger at her father’s wedding one month ago and he has been at the forefront of her mind ever since then.  After services on Sunday, Joel invites her to sit with him and chat so they can get acquainted.  They are soon interrupted by Joel’s mother, Naomi who is cold towards Ellie and pulls Joel away to introduce him to Abigail Fisher.  It is obvious that Mrs. Wenger has heard about Ellie’s past and does not want her son to become involved with Ellie.  Joel only has eyes for Ellie which he makes clear to his mother and the very persistent Abigail Fisher.  A friendship between Joel and Ellie slowly develops into a romantic relationship, but Ellie has yet to share her secret with Joel.  One day, Joel confides in Ellie why the family moved to Charm and how the situation has changed his mother from a warm, loving person into the bitter woman she has become.  When Mrs. Wenger alludes to Ellie’s past in front of Joel, Ellie finally comes clean.  Joel has a hard time understanding the decisions Ellie made after her mother’s death.  Joel is not sure he can move forward with their relationship after Ellie’s revelations.  Ellie loves Joel, but she doubts she will ever obtain Mrs. Wenger’s approval.  Is there a chance for these two lovebirds? 
 The Amish Charm Bakery (2 Book Series) by  Molly Jebber
Ellie’s Redemption is the second novel in An Amish Charm Bakery series.  I like Molly Jebber’s writing style.  It is conversational which makes the book easy to get into and to read.  Historical events are included in the story which adds realism plus helps capture the time period.  Charm, Ohio is a quaint small-town with a large Amish population.  Ellie works at The Amish Charm Bakery along with her two friends and her stepmother, Liza who owns it.  The characters are relatable with their feelings and the issues they face.  The story proceeds at a gentle pace as Ellie and Joel get to know each other and overcome obstacles in the path to a happy life.  Forgiveness of others and oneself, redemption, acceptance, and the harmful effects of gossip are featured in the story.  I do suggest reading Liza’s Second Chance prior to beginning Ellie’s Redemption.   I did find some details repeated throughout the book and a predictability to the story.  My favorite quote was “God never leaves us nor forsakes us”.  I am giving Ellie’s Redemption 3 out of 5 stars.   Ellie’s Redemption is a sweet, heartwarming Amish romance. 

I hope you have found my review helpful and maybe found some new books to add to your TBR list.  I plan on featuring The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman tomorrow.  Have you wanted to try some Amish recipes?  Take a look at Wanda Brunstetter's website.  Some of the recipes include Buckeyes (a candy that resembles the dried nut from the Ohio Buckeye tree), Apple Crumb Bread, Yummasette, and Quick Root Beer.  I hope you have a charming day.  Think positive and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Pruning the Dead by Julia Henry

Pruning the Dead (A Garden Squad Mystery Book 1) by [Henry, Julia]

Pruning the Dead by Julia Henry takes us on a jaunt to Goosebush, Massachusetts.  Lilly R. Jayne is a widow who lives in Windward, the family home.  Lilly has been reclusive since her deceased husband took ill and then passed away.  Lilly made a promise to her husband, Alan to host a garden party every year on their anniversary and she is holding the inaugural garden party today with the assistance of Delia Greenway.  Unfortunately, her first ex-husband, Pete Frank crashes the party with his insufferable third wife, Merilee.  No one is surprised when Merilee overindulges in the alcoholic refreshments and then shoves Tamara O’Connor into the koi pond.  Security ushers Merilee off the property much to everyone’s relief.  On clean up day for Alden Park, Delia opens the shed to find Merilee dead on bags of mulch with hedge clippers protruding from her chest.  When Pete Frank finds himself at the top of Chief Haywood’s list of suspects.  Lilly, with the aid of her friends who are dubbed the Garden Squad, dig into the case in the hopes of identifying the killer.  When not discussing the case, the group is trying to outwit the town clerk with her penchant for permits to spruce up select areas of the town.  Can Lilly Jayne and the Garden Squad root out the killer?
Pruning the Dead is the debut novel in A Garden Squad Mystery series.  I appreciated that the author took the time to establish the main character and her sidekicks who compose the Garden Squad. I like the town and most of the residents (there are always a few bad eggs).  Lilly comes across as a do-gooder (I am surprised there is not a golden halo shining over her head).  Goosebush is a small town that needs a little TLC.  Lilly has not been paying attention the last four years as she dealt with her husband’s illness and then grieving for her lost mate.  Now, she is aware that things have not been kept up around town and she has plans to rectify it.  Unfortunately, Pat French, the town clerk, has numerous rules in place to prevent the simplest task (like pulling weeds and installing plants around the flagpole).  Pruning the Dead is nicely written with steady pacing which makes for an easy to read book.  The mystery was very straightforward.  It is easy to distinguish who would die and who did the deed before the crime had been committed.  The why was equally obvious (insert disappointed sigh here).  There was repetition of case details as the Lilly and the Garden Squad got together to discuss the case.  Also, that Lilly creates order out of chaos was frequently mentioned along with Delia’s researching skills.  The friends like to get together to socialize, eat good food, and discuss gardening.  The gardening details are not lacking in Pruning the Dead.  There are gardening tips at the end of the book.  The story could have used more action (less gardening, talking and eating).  The pace slowed down when I was a quarter of the way through and did not pick back up until the end.  There is a hint that romance may blossom between Lilly and her new neighbor, Roderick Lyden as Lilly rejoins the living and becomes immersed in town matters.  I am giving Pruning the Dead 3 out of 5 stars.  Pruning the Dead is a good start to A Garden Squad Mystery series.  I will be reading Tilling the Truth (August 27) when it releases later this summer. 
Ellie's Redemption (The Amish Charm Bakery Book 2) by [Jebber, Molly]
Thank you for stopping by today.  I will share my thoughts on Ellie's Redemption by Molly Jebber next time.  By the way, it is National Puzzle Day.  The perfect day to stay inside and work on a jigsaw puzzle.  I hope you have a lovely day.  Take care, stay warm and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader 

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Gun Also Rises by Sherry Harris: Review and a Giveaway!

The Gun Also Rises
(A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery)
by Sherry Harris

About the Book


Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Kensington (January 29, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716965
ISBN-13: 978-1496716965
Digital ASIN: B07CWF942Q

A wealthy widow has asked Sarah Winston to sell her massive collection of mysteries through her garage sale business. While sorting through piles of books stashed in the woman's attic, Sarah is amazed to discover a case of lost Hemingway stories, stolen from a train in Paris back in 1922. How did they end up in Belle Winthrop Granville's attic in Ellington, Massachusetts, almost one hundred years later?


Before Sarah can get any answers, Belle is assaulted, the case is stolen, a maid is killed, and Sarah herself is dodging bullets. And when rumors spread that Belle has a limited edition of The Sun Also Rises in her house, Sarah is soon mixed up with a mobster, the fanatical League of Literary Treasure Hunters, and a hard-to-read rare book dealer. With someone willing to kill for the Hemingway, Sarah has to race to catch the culprit—or the bell may toll for her . . .

About the Author

Agatha Award-nominated author, Sherry Harris, started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series.  You can connect with the author on her WebpageFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

My Thoughts

The Gun Also Rises by Sherry Harris has us spending July in Ellington, Massachusetts.  Sarah Winston is hired by Mrs. Belle Winthrop Granville III to sort through her mystery collection for a garage sale with the proceeds to benefit the Ellington Free Library.  While digging through the large assortment of books that are stored in the attic, Sarah uncovers a traveling case filled with Ernest Hemingway manuscripts that disappeared from a train in Paris in 1922.  Sarah takes the case down to Miss Belle who is just as surprised as Sarah at the unexpected find and asks for time alone.  Soon Sarah hears Miss Belle cry out and Sarah rushes to her aid.  Miss Belle was assaulted by her maid who stole the case with the manuscripts.  Sarah rushes after Kay Kimble, the maid and finds her dead on a path in the woods from a bullet wound.  A shot rings out and Sarah ducks to avoid being hit.  Word gets out about the Hemingway papers and members of the League of Literary Treasure Hunters have descended on the town.  Then a masked gunman appears at Miss Belle’s demanding the limited edition of The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.  They thwart the masked bandit and start a search for the elusive novel.  Sarah must evade the literary treasure hunters while seeking clues that will lead her to Kay’s killer and the missing manuscripts.  To top it off, Sarah’s reporter brother returns to town and she is busy preparing for a sale to raise funds to help a veteran reunite with his dog from Iraq.  Can Sarah stay alive long enough to see another sunrise? 
A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery (7 Book Series) by  Sherry Harris
The Gun Also Rises is a busy novel.  Sarah has a full plate as she deals with missing manuscripts, her brother, a murder, preparing for a very special sale to help a veteran bring his dog to America, pricing Miss Belle’s mystery collection, evading the literary treasure hunters, hunting down the rare Hemingway book and trying not to be the killer’s next victim.  The Gun Also Rises can be read as a standalone if you have not read any of the previous A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries.  I find Sarah’s garage sale business interesting.  She never knows what treasures she will find.  I wanted to buy all the books in Miss Belle’s fictional attic.  I found The Gun Also Rises to be easy to read with steady pacing throughout most of the book (a little slow in the middle).  I loved all the mystery novels mentioned throughout the book (Trixie Belden and Agatha Christie are just two examples) as well as the details on Louisa May Alcott and historical sites that people can visit.  There are also some clever Gone with the Wind references.  The murder of Kay and the missing manuscripts leads readers on a merry chase as we follow the clues to figure out who is behind these appalling deeds.  I do wish it had been harder to identify the guilty parties, and I was unsatisfied with the ending (spoilers).   I was glad to see a move forward in Seth and Sarah’s romantic life.  Sarah’s ex-husband has left town (finally) and Sarah can finally move forward romantically with her life.   I appreciated the author highlighting the role of military spouses and the support they need when their significant other is serving overseas.  There is also a storyline about a veteran suffering from PTSD who is missing the dog he had in Iraq.  Sara is organizing a sale to help unite the man with his beloved canine.  Readers will find themselves laughing at Sarah’s various escapades.  Buckle your seatbelt for a humorous and fast paced romp with Sarah in The Gun Also Rises.  For a complete list of the books in A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery series, click here.

Pruning the Dead (A Garden Squad Mystery Book 1) by [Henry, Julia]The Gun Also Rises comes out on January 29 and is available at AmazonB&NKoboGoogle Play , and IndieBound.  The next book in A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery series is Let's Fake a Deal which releases on July 30. In honor of the tour, there is a giveaway of three print copies of The Gun Also Rises.  You can enter via the Rafflecopter form below or click here.  Good Luck!  If you have an opportunity, visit the other stops on the tour for guest posts, character interviews, spotlights, reviews and author interviews.  Thank you so much for joining me today.  I hope you can visit tomorrow when I return to share my review of Pruning the Dead by Julia Henry.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Participants

January 28 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

January 28 – Sapphyria's Books – REVIEW

January 29 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST

January 29 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

January 30 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 30 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 30 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 31 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

January 31 – Celticlady's Reviews  - SPOTLIGHT 

January 31 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 1 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

February 1 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

February 1 – Mallory Heart's Cozies – REVIEW

February 2 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 2 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW

February 2 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 3 – Carla Loves To Read - REVIEW

February 3 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

February 3 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 3 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

Sunday, January 27, 2019

A Daughter's Courage by Kitty Neale

A Daughter’s Courage: A powerful, gritty new saga from the Sunday Times bestseller by [Neale, Kitty]
Murder, She Meowed (A Pawsitively Organic Mystery Book 7) by [Mugavero, Liz]Hello!  Hot Fudge Murder by Cynthia Baxter plus Murder, She Meowed by Liz Mugavero will be published on January 29.  Delighting in Your Company by Blair McDowell comes out on February 4.  Corned Beef and Casualties by Lynn Cahoon releases on February 5 along with Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods Fisher.   There are numerous new books coming out in February (I overbooked myself once again).

A Daughter’s Courage by Kitty Neale is the story of Dorothy Butler.  Dorothy lives with her mother, Alice who works hard going laundry to take care of her family since her agoraphobia prevents her from leaving the home.  Dorothy’s father, Bill has not been the same since the war ended and receives a small pension.  Dorothy has fallen under the spell of Robbie Ferguson.  Robbie proposes to Dorothy and then proceeds to charm her into his bed.  Robbie has found an easy way to earn some money, but, when the job goes sideway, he takes off for Scotland.  Dorothy discovers she is in the family way and goes looking for her young man.  Adrian Ferguson, Robbie’s brother, provides financial assistance and has an unexpected offer for Dorothy.  Find out what happens to Dorothy in A Daughter’s Courage.

I thought A Daughter’s Courage was well-written and an engaging story.  Dorothy falls in love with ne’er do well, Robbie.  The old saying that love is blind applies to Dorothy because she refuses to see Robbie’s faults and falls for his excuses every time.  A Daughter’s Courage is a gritty and realistic family saga.  A Daughter’s Courage is a story with drama, romance, hurt, friendship, anger, intrigue, grief and family.  I thought the author captured the time period and locale.  There is British slang included which can be discerned from the text.  They have some interesting expressions.  A Daughter’s Courage has a satisfying ending.  I am giving A Daughter’s Courage 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  I look forward to reading more books by Kitty Neale (click here to find other novels by this other on Amazon). 

The Amish Candymaker by [Hilton, Laura V.]A Sister's Sorrow is Kitty Neale's next book and it will be available on February 21.  Thank you for stopping by today.  Tomorrow I am showcasing The Gun Also Rises by Sherry Harris. It is the sixth A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery.  I hope you have a red-letter day.  I am currently reading The Amish Candymaker by Laura V. Hilton which I will be featuring on February 7.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen

Greetings! Death by Dog Show by Arlene Kay releases on March 5 along with Broken Bone China by Laura ChildsThe Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner will be published on March 19.  Leave No Scone Unturned by Denise Swanson comes out on March 26.  Get ready for a busy spring of reading!

The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen takes us back to February 1821 in Ivy Hill, Wiltshire, England.  Mercy Grove and her aunt, Matilda are preparing for the arrival of hew newly married brother, George and his society bride, Helena.  Mercy was forced to close her school and have the lending library move to a new location in anticipation of the new occupants.  She misses Alice who she wished to adopt until her biological father and hotelier, James Drake arrived on the scene.  When Helena makes living in the home uncomfortable, Mercy contemplates becoming a governess.  Jane Bell has a big decision to make.  Gabriel Locke has proposed to Jane and, while she loves him, it would mean giving up her inn.  Plus, she is unable to have children and Jane does not want Gabriel to make such a sacrifice.  Then someone Jane never expected to see again returns to Ivy Hill.  The dressmakers shop is let by a new woman to town who answers to the name of Madame Victorine.  She doesn’t share many details of her past and Jane feels she looks familiar.  Victorine has beautiful dresses on display, but her sewing skills are not on the same caliber. Will the Ladies Tea and Knitting Society help Victorine or help her new venture fail?  Justine, Lady Brockwell, has a matchmaking mother who is intent on her daughter marrying well.  Justine’s mother has her sights set on Sir Cyril, but Justine has eyes for a local gentleman.  Will Justine give into pressure from her demanding mother?  Wedding bells are ringing, but which woman in Ivy Hill will be walking down the aisle? 
I have enjoyed my visits to Ivy Hill with Tales from Ivy Hill series.  I could not wait to get ahold of The Bride of Ivy Green to see what would happen with Mercy, Jane, Matty, and Justine.  I was especially looking forward to Mercy’s story because I wanted her to get a happy ending.  Tales from Ivy Hill is one series that you need to read in order.  Each book in the series builds upon the previous one.  The Bride of Ivy Green is a well-written story with a leisurely pace (sometimes a little too leisurely).   The setting is quaint with cozy shops and lovely homes (I picture stone homes with thatched roofs).  The characters are developed, and their personalities suit the time period.  They are all genteel and refined ladies with good manners.  I like that the women are close friends who look out for each other.  All the characters are friendly and likeable except Helena, George’s wife.  Her coldness and arrogance plus her indifference to Mercy’s feelings perfectly suit this unlikeable character.  I did not understand why the author decided to introduce Victorine to the story (it seemed too late in the series for this addition).  That time could have devoted to Justine’s or Matty’s story.  While the storylines did not play out how I would have liked them to (we all have expectations), I was happy with the outcome.  Julie Klassen captured the time period with the clothing, books, pastimes, and attitudes.  I am giving The Bride of Ivy Green 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  The Bride of Ivy Green is a satisfying conclusion to the Tales of Ivy Hill series.  I will miss visiting Ivy Hill and the charming ladies who inhabit it. 

A Daughter’s Courage: A powerful, gritty new saga from the Sunday Times bestseller by [Neale, Kitty]The first two books in The Tales of Ivy Hill are The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill and The Ladies of Ivy Cottage.  Thank you for joining me today.  I hope I have helped you discover a new series.  I am going to share my thoughts on A Daughter's Courage by Kitty Neale tomorrow.  I hope you have a pleasant day filled with happy thoughts.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, January 25, 2019

Nipped in the Bud by Sheila Connolly

Nipped in the Bud (An Orchard Mystery Book 12) by [Connolly, Sheila]
Murders and Metaphors: A Magical Bookshop Mystery by [Amanda Flower]Welcome!  The Amish Candymaker by Laura V. Hilton comes out on February 5 along with A Faithful Gathering by Leslie GouldPast Due for Murder by Victoria Gilbert releases on February 12 along with Murders and Metaphors by Amanda Flower (my mother loved this one).  There are numerous new books coming out in February (I need more time to read)!

Nipped in the Bud by Sheila Connolly is the twelfth An Orchard Mystery.  Meg Chapin is adjusting to married life with her new husband, Seth.  Winter is their down time which allows them to take care of miscellaneous chores around the apple orchard.  Larry Bennett is their new orchard manager who is living in Sean’s old home along with other renters.  He is going to build a tiny home on the site of the old chicken coop.  While out walking on the property, they hear a gunshot. Seth takes off running and finds a woman dead on the ground with no identification.  They later learn she is freelance reporter, Jenn Chambers who is researching the drug problem in Pioneer Valley for an article she hoped to write.  Meg is shocked to learn that illegal drugs have become a problem in Granford.  The police are chalking Jenn’s death up to a hunting accident, but Meg has her doubts.  Meg is not one to sit idly by when a killing occurred on her land especially when it she is warned not to by the State Police.  She starts asking questions which leads to someone taking a pot shot.  What did Jenn uncover that led to her death?  Someone knows the truth and Meg just needs to get that person to talk to her.  Join Meg on her latest case in Nipped in the Bud. 
 An Orchard Mystery (11 Book Series) by  Sheila Connolly

Nipped in the Bud is part of the delightful An Orchard Mystery series.  I was happy to see the series find a new publisher (Beyond the Page) so it could continue.  However, Nipped in the Bud is not on the same level as the other books in An Orchard Mystery (lots of fluff). Granford is a charming small town with a variety of residents (many of whom were not in the book).  I am happy to see Seth and Meg settling into married life (plenty of internal dialogue from Meg on this point).  But I did not like how Meg came across in Nipped in the Bud.  She is bored and whiney.  Their new orchard manager is introduced, and I like that he will be building a tiny home.  It is great that they are using the old chicken coop foundation for his new abode (though, their estimate on how long it will take to build seemed off).  I must admit that I miss Bree, the old orchard manager, with her friendly demeanor.  There are some cozy moments with chatting, eating, having coffee, talking about pruning and the building of the tiny home.  The mystery was straightforward, but it was light.  There was more discussion than sleuthing (lack of action too).  The case details are rehashed along with oodles of speculation.  The resolution was incomplete.  When a crime is solved, I want to know the facts instead of supposition.  Detective Marcus comes across as the cliché nasty detective and warns Meg to not investigate (of course).  I did not like that Meg kept putting him down (seemed unlike her).  I was surprised that Seth rented rooms out of his house without getting references or doing background checks.  There were also inconsistencies in character details especially with Meg’s friend, Lauren.  The characters seem to be behind the times when it comes to using modern technology (cell phones, tablets) which was puzzling (there were some odd comments).  While Nipped in the Bud can be read as a standalone, I recommend reading the series in order.  I have enjoyed An Orchard Mystery series until Nipped in the Bud.  I am giving Nipped in the Bud 3 out of 5 stars.  I hope the author is back on her game with the next An Orchard Mystery.  

The Bride of Ivy Green (Tales from Ivy Hill, #3)Thank you for visiting today.  I plan on showcasing The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen tomorrow.  It is the third book in Tales from Ivy Hill series.  I hope you have wondrous day.  Stay warm and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, January 24, 2019

With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander

With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander

Hello!  What Doesn't Kill Her by Christina Dodd will be out on January 29.  It is the second book in the Cape Charade series.  Healing Hearts by Sarah M. Eden publishes on February 5 along with The Forgiving Jar by Wanda E. Brunstetter and A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden.

With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander takes us on a journey back to November 30, 1864 to the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee.  Elizabeth “Lizzie” Clouston is the governess to Colonel and Mrs. McGavock’s children.  They soon notice Federal troops going by the house preparing to battle the southern forces across the field.  Reverend Markham comes in and announces that Carnton is being commandeered for a field hospital.   The brutal battle results in a significant number of casualties and Lizzie is enlisted to assist Dr. Phillips in the surgery.  Captain Roland Ward Jones, a Mississippi sharpshooter, is brought in with severe injuries to both legs and an arm.  Before going into surgery, Capt. Jones makes Lizzie promise to intervene should the surgeon wish to amputate his legs.  When Dr. Phillips decides it is in the patient’s best interest to amputate, Lizzie keeps her word.  Roland is in for a long recovery and they must pray he does not get an infection.   It seems Lizzie’s night for making promises.  A fourteen year old boy who is dying asks Lizzie to deliver a final message to his mother.  Lizzie only has the boys first name, a knife and a Bible page to guide her on the quest.  As Lizzie cares for the injured Capt. Jones, romance blooms between them.  However, Lizzie is betrothed to Lt. Blake Townsend and she cannot go back on her pledge.  Roland accompanies Lizzie on her journey to discover the boy’s identity.  Will Lizzie be able to deliver the young boy’s final words to his family?  Are Captain Jones and Lizzie destined to be star-crossed lovers? 
Tamera Alexander used the letters from the real Lizzie Clouston and Captain Roland Jones along with historical and personal accounts to weave this fascinating story.  I thought With This Pledge was well-written with gentle pacing.  With This Pledge is filled with rich historical details along with descriptions of the clothing, homes, conveyances, battles, wounds soldiers suffered and much more.  The battle scenes are realistic along with the injuries the soldiers received.  Many people had conflicted feelings about the war as evidenced by Lizzie.  Slavery was a contentious issue.  Owning people was wrong, but Southerners needed the slaves to work their plantations and they could not afford to pay wages to the number of workers needed.  The book is brought to life thanks to the descriptive writing.  The religious content is strong with our main characters being Christians who share their faith and live to set an example to others.  I like that the author included books that were popular during this time period like A Christmas Carol.  The romance between Lizzie and Roland is sweet.  It plays out softly, naturally and respectfully.  The dialogue suited the time period with its formality and word choices.  I am giving With This Pledge 4 out of 5 stars.   There were some areas that were not as engaging (battle details for example) and I would find myself skimming the text for the next intriguing section.    Readers will enjoy this sweeping historical romance its multifaceted story and relatable, heartwarming characters. 

Nipped in the Bud (An Orchard Mystery Book 12) by [Connolly, Sheila]You can find out more about Carnton and the Battle of Franklin by visiting the Battle of Franklin Trust.  If you enjoy historical novels, I suggest reading Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander.    I will feature Nipped in the Bud by Sheila Connolly tomorrow.  The twelfth An Orchard Mystery.  I hope you have a day filled with happiness.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Hooks Can Be Deceiving by Betty Hechtman

Hooks Can Be Deceiving by Betty Hechtman
Good Day!  Hot Fudge Murder by Cynthia Baker will be released on January 29 along with Ellie's Redemption by Molly Jebber and Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake by Sarah Graves.  Tonya Kappes' next A Kenni Lowry Mystery is Diggin' Up Dirt and it will be out soon (I am waiting for the exact date).  Kenni meets Finn Vincent's parents.  Something unexpected crops up and it could be a crimp in Kenni & Finn's relationship.  

Hooks Can Be Deceiving by Betty Hechtman is the thirteenth A Crochet Mystery.  Molly Pink is called into her boss’s office at Shedd & Royal Books & More.  The Craftee Channel is creating a new program called Creating with Crochet, and they want to film the premiere show in the yarn department at the bookstore.  Adele is confident that she will be chosen to host the new show with her explementary skills.  Rory Graham, an actress, is picked to host Creating the Crochet.  When Rory visits the store, she confides in Molly that she may have exaggerated her crocheting abilities (basically, she cannot crochet).  Molly cleverly pairs Rory with Adele who believes she is destined to be the actress’s sidekick on the show.  The Tarzana Hookers meet for Happy Hour each day and they have a new addition to the group.  Marianne Freeman joined the group three weeks prior with her companion, Connie Richards.  Molly befriends the Marianne and is worried when she fails to show up one evening.  Molly arrives at Marianne’s home to find Detective Heather Gilmore on the scene with Molly’s ex-boyfriend, Detective Barry Greenberg.  Connie is dead from electrocution and Heather is quick to accuse Marianne.  Barry has his doubts, but he is not the lead detective.  He enlists Molly’s help (talk about a shocker) in ferreting out the truth.  He wants Molly to ask questions only (that’s a laugh).  Molly works in her sleuthing in between her duties at the store, coming up with a make it and take it for the pilot program, keeping Rory on track with her lessons instead of doing a “dance break” every five minutes, keeping her furry companions in kibble and preparing for the upcoming taping of the show.  The killer is not happy with Molly’s investigation and attempts to threaten her away (obvious he does not know Molly).  Can Molly clear Marianne before filming of Creating with Crochet begins?
 A CROCHET MYSTERY (11 Book Series) by  Betty Hechtman
Hooks Can Be Deceiving is a fun and entertaining cozy mystery.  I thought the book was well-written with steady pacing.  Hooks Can Be Deceiving can be read as a standalone.  I like that Molly is a mature main character with an active life.  She has her son, her fur babies, her job, friends and she has started dating Mason again.  The story has humor courtesy of Adele with her outlandish ideas and fashions choices.  She is the perfect choice to host the children’s hour, but I am baffled why the children must register (Adele has an elaborate system in place).  I wish my local bookstore had a yarn department like Shedd & Royal Books & More (it sounds like a great place to spend an afternoon—books, tea, snacks and yarn).  The mystery is clever with a unique method of murder.  The mystery can be solved by the reveal, but I have a feeling some people will be surprised by the killer’s identity.  The ending did feel a bit rushed as the author hurried to wrap up the storylines.  While Adele was not as prominent in this story, the animals were (too much).  I would have liked the author to include descriptions of the yarns carried at the store.  I am not sure how I feel about the relationship between Mason and Molly.  His lifestyle and Molly’s do not seem compatible (she is more down to earth while he has fancy cars and dines in high end restaurants).   We will have to wait and see how it plays out.  I Hooks Can Be Deceiving is an engaging and spirited cozy mystery.  I am giving Hooks Can Be Deceiving 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  I am curious to see what trouble Molly will get herself into next time in the fourteenth A Crochet Mystery. 

Thank you for reading my review.  I am featuring With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander tomorrow.  The first book in The Carnton Series.  I hope you have a day filled with glee.  Take care of yourself and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Treacherous is the Night: A Verity Kent Mystery

Treacherous Is the Night by Anna Lee Huber
Felicitations!  Murder Wears a Little Black Dress by Debra Sennefelder is out today along with The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen LoigmarDead as a Door Knocker by Diane Kelly comes out on January 29.  Diane Kelly is the author of A Paw Enforcement series (they are delightful).  

Treacherous is the Night by Anna Lee Huber takes us back to July of 1919 in London.  Verity Kent is still adjusting to having her husband, Sidney back from the dead.  They have yet to have an in depth discussion about their time apart and the tension is so thick you would need a hacksaw to cut through it.  The Spiritualist movement is spreading across England and Verity’s friend, Daphne wants to attend a séance to contact her deceased brother.  Verity reluctantly attends and is surprised to see Max Westfield in attendance.  During the séance, Madame Zozza claims to have connected with Emilie who wants Verity to unearth her secrets and warns her to beware of the man in the mask.  Verity is shocked because she met Emilie during the war when she worked for the Secret Service and was undercover in Europe.  Verity does not believe Emilie is dead and she is determined to get answers.  Unable to speak with the medium that evening, Verity returns the next morning to find the woman’s home in flames with her trapped inside.  Verity’s attempts at getting information from the Secret Service are unsuccessful, so she departs for Belgium to search for Emilie.   On the journey, Verity is hoping that she and Sidney will get a chance to reconnect and salvage their marriage.  Someone, though, is determined to thwart their inquiries.  Will Verity find her old contact?  Join Verity on her latest quest in Treacherous is the Night.
A Verity Kent Mystery (2 Book Series) by  Anna Lee Huber
Treacherous is the Night is the second tale in A Verity Kent Mystery series.  If you have not read This Side of Murder, you will not be lost.  Everything a reader needs to know is included.  Verity Kent is a strong and intelligent woman who served her country during the World War I.  She believed her husband, Sidney was dead until he recently returned to the living (it is a long story).  Sidney has not been forthcoming with Verity and she still resents what he put her through.  Verity and Sidney have been changed by the war.   Their marriage is suffering, and they need to communicate.  Of course, they married in haste and have spent little time together since they said I do.  Then there is the dashing Max Westfield who is attracted to Verity (if only Sidney had really been dead).  I admit to not liking Sidney.  He is a bully with a quick temper, and there is a lot of Sidney in this book.  Anna Lee Huber is a detailed oriented writer which makes for a slow paced story.  I found it challenging to wade through this historical mystery.  I thought Treacherous is the Night lacked an ease to it.  It seemed formal and stilted.  The mystery is overly complex and the plot farfetched.  There are a number of officers introduced and it is impossible to keep them all straight (they just blend together).  I liked the clever clues left for Verity to find which she amazingly solves quickly.   I enjoyed the Kent’s trip through Belgium with the descriptions of how the country looked after the war.  I also liked how the author incorporated historical information into the story.    I am giving Treacherous is the Night 3 out of 5 stars.  While there are some interesting sections, I felt the book was a miss.  I will let Verity continue on with her adventures without me.

Hooks Can Be Deceiving: A Crochet Mystery (Crochet Mysteries) by [Betty Hechtman]Thank you for joining me today.  I plan on highlighting Hooks Can Be Deceiving by Betty Hechtman tomorrow.  It is the latest installment in A Crochet Mystery series.  I hope you have a fascinating day.  Stay warm and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader