Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Promised Amish Bride by Marta Perry

The Promised Amish Bride (Brides of Lost Creek #3)
Little Women (illustrated) by [Alcott , Louisa May]Good Day!  The Governess of Penwythe Hall by Sarah E. Ladd will be published on April 16.  It is the first book in The Cornwall Novels.  A Welcome at Our Door by Amy Clipston comes out on May 7 along with Read on Arrival by Nora Page.  When it is cold and dark outside, I crave to read a comfort book. My favorite book is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  I have read all of her novels, but the combined Little Women and Good Wives is my ultimate favorite.  Coming in a close second is Little Men.   What is your go to comfort book? Let me know in the comments.

The Promised Amish Bride by Marta Perry is the third installment in Brides of Lost Creek series.  Aaron King is returning home to Lost Creek, Pennsylvania where his family has a dairy farm.  He feels like the prodigal son, but he is not sure if her will be sticking around.  Aaron had been working for Mr. Winfield training race horses, but an incident caused him to leave without explanation.  Aaron encounters his childhood friend, Sally Stoltzfus on the way home.  She is having trouble with her new buggy horse, Star and Aaron helps calm the animal down for her.  Sally had a crush on Aaron when she was a teenager and the old spark returns when she encounters him.  Sally gets Aaron to agree to train her horse and she helps him with the process.  It gives her a chance to get to know Aaron again and find out what is bothering him.  While Sally’s parents are out of town, her brother and sister-in-law are staying with her.  Elizabeth, Sally’s sister-in-law, is an observant person (always watching out the window) and has no bones about speaking her mind.  Sally wonders if there is some reason behind her sister-in-law’s caustic tongue.  Aaron settles into life on the farm and appreciates the guidance of his Uncle Zeb.  He feels conflicted and unsure of his place in life.  The more time Sally spends with Aaron, the more she is sure that Aaron belongs with his family and the Amish community.  It is up to God, though, to open Aaron’s heart and let him hear the truth.
 Second Chance Amish Bride (Brides of Lost Creek) by [Perry, Marta]                                                                              The Wedding Quilt Bride (Brides of Lost Creek) by [Perry, Marta]
I thought The Promised Amish Bride was a heartwarming story. The Promised Amish Bride is a well-written and engaging story. I like Marta Perry’s writing style.  She has a way of drawing the reader into her tale and keeping their attention.  The Promised Amish Bride has friendly and realistic characters who are experiencing everyday problems.  Sally and Aaron feel an immediate attraction to each other, but they each resist for different reasons.  Aaron is unsure if he will remain in Lost Creek and Sally does not want her heart to be broken when Aaron ultimately leaves town.  The romance is inspiring and clean (only kissing).  There are good life lessons included in The Promised Amish Bride.  We can see how pride can get in the way of happiness and running away only puts off the inevitable.  Forgiveness of oneself and others as well as prayer and listening to God are emphasized in the story.  Aaron must do some soul searching if he is to discern the path God wishes him to follow.  While The Promised Amish Bride can be read as a standalone, I recommend reading the Brides of Lost Creek series in order.  The Promised Amish Bride is a sweet, Amish romance novel that will gladden your heart.  There is an excerpt from Her Amish Child by Lenora Worth at the end which releases on February 1.

Murder Wears a Little Black Dress (A Resale Boutique Mystery Book 1) by [Sennefelder, Debra]The Promised Amish Bride is now out in paperback.  The e-book version comes out on February 1.The first two books in Brides of Lost Creek series are Second Chance Amish Bride (on Kindle Unlimited) and The Wedding Quilt BrideMarta Perry is on Facebook.  I always suggest that readers follow  their favorite authors.  Authors post about upcoming releases, when books are on sale, and they hold contests (which is how I won a copy of The Promised Amish Bride).  Thank you for joining me today.  I will be showcasing Murder Wears a Little Black Dress by Debra Sennefelder tomorrow as part of the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.  May you have a dazzling day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Turning Point by Danielle Steel

Broken Bone China (A Tea Shop Mystery #20)Welcome!  The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin will be out on February 5 along with Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods FisherFinal Exam by Carol J. Perry  and One Feta in the Grave by Tina Kashian release on February 26.  Broken Bone China by Laura Childs will be published on March 5.  A Tea Shop Mystery series is one of the first cozy mysteries series I ever read (A Needlecraft Mystery series was the other).  I found it while wandering around my local Books-a-Million (which has since closed).  

Turning Point by Danielle Steel has us heading to San Francisco, California.  Bill Browning is head of the trauma unit at San Francisco General Hospital.  Since his divorce, Bill has thrown himself into his work.  His ex-wife, Athena lives in London along with their two daughters.  Bill looks forward to his rare visits with his two girls.  Stephanie Lawrence is married to freelance writer, Andy who stays at home and takes care of their two boys.  Stephanie is a trauma doctor at UCSF where she works long hours in her goal to become head of trauma.  Andy resents her long hours and their bickering has been escalating.  Tom Wylie is the charming emergency room doctor at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland and is popular with the female staff.  Tom spends his free time at the local hot spots and has no interest in a long term relationship or marriage.  Wendy Jones works in the trauma/surgical critical care center at Stanford and has had a six year relationship with the married Jeffrey Hunter.  Wendy looks forward to their Wednesday evenings, but holidays are a lonely time for her.  On Christmas, a fire breaks out in a major hotel flooding all their hospitals with victims.  In Paris, which is San Francisco’s sister city, terrorists bomb luxury stores and a movie theater causing a massive number of causalities.  In the New Year, these four doctors are given the opportunity to journey to Paris to participate in a four week mass-casualty training program.    Four physicians from Paris will then come to San Francisco so the two countries can learn from each other.   The four San Franciscan doctors bond immediately and look forward to their time in Paris.  When a tragedy strikes a Paris school, it causes the doctors to re-evaluate their lives and the choices they have made. 
Turning Point is a realistic story that lets us see tragic events from the point of trauma doctors and emergency services.  I thought Turning Point was well-written with a steady flow.  I found Turning Point to be a compelling novel.  I was drawn into the story wanting to see what choices the doctors would make.  Going to Paris is a wonderful opportunity for each doctor, but two of them must make a sacrifice.  Stephanie is leaving behind an angry husband and two distraught children.  However, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and it is an honor to be picked to participate.  Wendy is giving up her Wednesday nights with her lover.  She has made great sacrifices to be with him, but she is beginning to wonder if he feels the same way about her.  I will admit that her whining did grate on me after a while.  I could have done with less of Wendy waxing on about Jeffrey and their relationship.  Tom is looking forward to the Paris nightlife while Bill will be able to see his girls every weekend.  Tom is a charmer and his character provided levity to the book.  Tragedy has a way of making people evaluate their lives as we see in Turning Point.  It was interesting to learn more about the roll of trauma doctors and how emergency services operates in another country.  I did find some of the medical information presented to be intricate and I would find myself skimming through that paragraph.  Other medical knowledge imparted was straightforward and easy to understand.  There is, of course, romance in the story but it is light.  I liked the Parisian medical professionals and how their stories mixed with the doctors from San Francisco.  It is amazing how chaos can bring about change.  I am giving TurningPoint 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  Those readers who are addicted to Grey’s Anatomy will enjoy reading Turning Point.  I look forward to Ms. Steel’s next book which is Silent Night out on March 5.

The Promised Amish Bride (Brides of Lost Creek #3)Thank you for stopping by today and reading my review.  I will feature The Promised Amish Bride by Marta Perry tomorrow.  It is the third book in Brides of Lost Creek series.  I hope you have a smashing day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, January 18, 2019

Death Roll by Diana Welker

Death Roll
Welcome!  Death by Committee by Alexis Morgan is the debut novel in An Abby McCree Mystery series. comes out on January 22.  Pruning the Dead by Julia Henry releases on January 29.  The Promised Amish Bride by Marta Perry is now out in paperback.  It releases on e-book on February 1.  It is the third novel in Brides of Lost Creek series.

Diana Welker lives part time in the Midwest and part-time in the Southeast.  Her thirty year business career revolved around gems and gold.  After leaving the jewelry industry, she freelanced for a regional magazine writing articles of local interest.  Her love of reading and storytelling resulted in a second career of writing romance novels sprinkled with mystery and jewels of all types.
She also writes short stories and has a short story entitled “Tickle Pink” in the Southwest Florida Romance Writers of American anthology entitled From Florida with Love.  Besides her love of nature’s most colorful treasures, she enjoys travel photography and history.

Guest Post from Diana

In “Death Roll”, Meg buys a painting of a mysterious woman which draws her to Gasparilla Island near Ft. Myers, Florida, where she seeks a famous pirate’s sunken treasure. Her journey is filled with twists, turns, danger, suspense, and some strangers she flees from and some she befriends. If Meg survives her quest of find answers, what does the future have in store for her? Does one man gain special attention from Meg as she follows her clues left in pages behind the painting? You’ll have to read the story to find out!
I love any body of water whether I’m swimming in it or in a boat floating on it, I love history and I love gems leading me to write “Death Roll”. Meg’s a gemologist in the story giving her knowledge about the treasure she seeks. I enjoyed my career as one too. It was fun to design and sell pieces to customers looking for the perfect gift. I love sunshine, spending time with family and friends, and writing stories! Thank you for visiting me here today!

My Thoughts

Death Roll by Diana Welker takes us back to 2016 in Naples, Florida.  Megan Foster, a jewelry artist, is at an antique shop and takes a fancy to a beautiful portrait.  The picture portrays a woman wearing a gorgeous emerald necklace and when the paintings falls, she discovers there are items hidden inside. Diary pages and an old map were stashed behind the backing of the portrait and Megan believes the picture was painted by Cephas Thompson.  Megan purchases the painting which she titles “Princess” and quickly begins reading the diary pages.  The tell a two hundred year old tale of a young woman who stole from her pirate father and her ship ends up sinking in a storm with treasure on board.  Eric Cortes is an underwater photographer, diver and artist.  He is captivated by Megan from the moment he meets her and is happy to teach her how to dive.  Megan soon trusts Eric and shares her desire to recover the treasure which will fund her internship in Paris with a renowned jewelry designer.  Neither one anticipated getting involved in a murder or being chased by mobsters.   Can Eric and Megan recover the lost treasure?  Join them on their quest in Diana Welker’s Death Roll.
Death Roll
Death Roll is not what quite what I expected from reading the blurb.  Megan is wary of romance after her last boyfriend emptied her bank account and her safe.  She recently won a prestigious internship in Paris, but she must provide a $10,000 deposit for living expenses within a month.  If Megan can find the treasure, her financial woes would be over.  The only problem is she does not own a boat nor does she know how to dive.  Eric Cortes is drawn to Megan when he meets her at a local art gallery.  Teaching Megan to dive is the perfect opportunity to get to know her.    Megan learns that Eric has grown up hearing the legends of the mysterious pirate, Jose Gaspar.  Is it possible that the stories are all true?  Eric is currently staying with his brother in the hopes of them reconnecting.  He soon discovers that his brother is embroiled in some shady deals which soon leaks over into Eric’s life.  The mystery kicks into gear around the halfway point.  Soon the bodies start piling up and suspicion points to Eric.  Before they can hunt for treasure, they need to clear Eric off the suspect list.  Megan and Eric spend time learning to dive, flirting, enjoying good meals, and outings with their friends.  The author’s romance background is evident in Death Roll.  Death Roll is a slow starter with the pace picking up later in the story with the action.  I wish there had been more time devoted to the hunt for the underwater treasure.  Death Roll is a romantic suspense with friendship, family, mobsters, pirate treasure, romance and danger.   Death Roll is available on Amazon.

Thank you for joining me today.  I will return tomorrow with my thoughts on Turning Point by Danielle Steel.  I hope you have a brilliant day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Seven Deadly Zins by Nancy J. Parra

Seven Deadly Zins by Nancy J. Parra has us traveling to Sonoma County, California.  Taylor O’Brian owns and runs Off the Beaten Path which features quirky wine tours.  Tim Slade, who owns Rock Paths Winery, asks Taylor to bring a tour by his winery and she is happy to accommodate him.  The following week, Taylor brings a group of entrepreneurs who are interested in investing in wineries by Tim’s winery.  Tim is demonstrating to the tour group how he stirs a vat of zin twice a day when a purple body floats to the top.  The victim is realtor, Jeffery Hoag who Tim had a public argument with recently.  When Tim is arrested for Jeffery’s murder, Taylor starts nosing around.  Dr. Adam Brinkman, offers seminars on spiritual healing, has arrived in town and he is causing quite a stir.  Mandy, Tim’s girlfriend, is gaga for the guru and gets Taylor into one of his seminars.  After the lecture, Mandy takes Taylor to meet Dr. Brinkman.  Taylor sees Tim who is currently out on bail exiting the man’s dressing room and find Dr. Brinkman dead on the floor with a knife sticking out of his chest.  Tim is once again arrested and this time he is denied bail.  Something smells off and Taylor intends to get to the bottom of this conundrum.  She is also dealing with a rival tour owner who is taking the area by storm.  Just when Taylor seems to be making headway on the case, Aunt Jemma is kidnapped.  Can Taylor get a bead on the killer before it is too late?
Seven Deadly Zins is the second book in A Wine Country Mystery series and I did feel it can stand on its own.  Taylor O’Brian was lured to Sonoma County by her Aunt Jemma from her job in advertising in San Francisco.  Instead of working at Aunt Jemma’s winery, Taylor created Off the Beaten Path to provide tourists with unique wine tours.  Unfortunately, Bridget Miller decided to do the same thing and her business has doubled since she began (with fancy pink buses too).  It would help if Taylor networked and advertised her business (use social media too).  The author started this storyline and then it disappeared.  I wonder if she will pick it up again in the next book.  Taylor is a slightly annoying main character who wants to help her friends when they need assistance which is how she gets herself mixed up in a second murder.  Taylor enjoys spending time with her girlfriends eating barbecue and drinking wine (they do this frequently).  There are two men who are potential love interests for Taylor and she waffles between them.  I hope the author is not heading down the love triangle road.  The mystery appears to be convoluted, but the solution can effortlessly be discerned.  I was not a fan of how the police were portrayed (that they were not up to the task of solving the crime).  Taylor believes she can solve the crime better than the professionals and believes she is always right.  The author took the time to describe the female characters outfits (every single one of them) in detail.  I wish the author had spent the time describing what zinfandel looks and tastes like instead (I reached the end of the book and still had no clue—you can tell that I do not drink wine).  I also felt that Aunt Jemma’s fake séance was not needed in the book (really did not add anything).  The story could have used more character development and depth along with stronger dialogue.  Seven Deadly Zins is a slow starter, but it picks up as the story progresses.  There are some loose ends at the end of the book plus there are missing details (Aunt Jemma’s last name and the name of her winery for example).  I am giving Seven Deadly Zins 3 out of 5 stars.  Seven Deadly Zins is an airy cozy mystery with recipes at the end.

Death Roll by [Welker, Diana]The first book in A Wine Country Mystery series is A Case of Syrah, Syrah.  Thank you for reading my review.  I will be highlighting Death Roll by Diana Welker tomorrow which is a new romantic suspense novel.  I hope you have a lively day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Fashions Fade, Haunted it Eternal by Rose Pressey: Review & Giveaway

Fashions Fade, Haunted Is Eternal (A Haunted Vintage Mystery)

by Rose Pressey

About the Book

Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Kensington (December 18, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496714660
ISBN-13: 978-1496714664
Digital ASIN: B07BV3RM9S
A photo shoot in a graveyard ends in a grave shooting . . .

Cookie Chanel—owner of the chic clothing store It’s Vintage Y’All in Sugar Creek, Georgia—has been hired to dress models for a fashion shoot. The spread will be featured in Fashion and Style magazine's October issue—so the models are posing in a cemetery. As someone who can see and talk to ghosts, Cookie's not spooked by the location. But she is surprised when a new ghost appears, decked out in 1920s couture. And she's shocked when she hears a gunshot. Then a model runs toward her, saying the grumpy photographer has been edited out of the picture – for good. With help from her ghostly pals, Cookie must zoom in on the truth before she’s the next to strike a final pose . . .

Don’t Miss Cookie Chanel’s Savvy Vintage Shopping Tips and Charlotte's Fashionable Tips for the Afterlife!

About the Author

Rose Pressey enjoys writing quirky and fun novels with a paranormal twist. The paranormal has always captured her interest. The thought of finding answers to the unexplained fascinates her.  When she's not writing about werewolves, vampires and every other supernatural creature, she loves eating cupcakes with sprinkles, reading, spending time with family, and listening to oldies from the fifties. Yeah, she loves Elvis. She can't help myself.  Rose lives in the beautiful commonwealth of Kentucky with her husband, son and two sassy Chihuahuas.  

Author Links

My Thoughts

Fashions Fade, Haunted is Eternal by Rose Pressey takes us back to Sugar Creek, Georgia.  Cookie Chanel owns It’s Vintage, Y’All and has been hired by Tyler Fields, a photographer, to style models for a fashion shoot for the Halloween issue of Fashion & Style magazine.  The shoot is taking place at a local cemetery where Tyler has been snappish all day and Cookie saw him get into an argument with a man who has been lingering in the background all day.  Cookie is surprised when a ghost dressed in fashions from the 1920s appears next to her and her ghostly friend, Charlotte.  Minnie Lynn is wearing the pearls that Cookie recently acquired at an estate sale.  Before she can react to the spirit, a shot rings out which sends Cookie running towards the sound.  A model runs past her stating the photographer is dead.  Cookie finds Tyler lying next to a headstone and he has taken his last shot.  Detective Dylan Valentine, Cookie’s boyfriend, arrives on the scene and Cookie fills him in on all the details.  Dylan, thankfully, knows better than to warn Cookie not to delve into the case.  Cookie is back at her shop when her friend Heather pops in.  To their surprise, Heather can now see Charlotte and Minnie.  Cookie’s first order of business is identifying the man that Tyler was arguing with at the cemetery.  Krissy Dustin, one of the models from the shoot, is a talkative woman and provides a suspect in Tyler’s possessive ex-girlfriend.  Cookie goes back to examine the crime scene in more detail and a helpful cat leads her to a clue.  Cookie soon discovers that the cat is no ordinary feline.  Cookie, with the help of her spirit friends, Grandma Pearl (aka Wind Song) and her new feline companion, sets out to dig up Tyler’s killer. 
 A Haunted Vintage Mystery (7 Book Series) by  Rose Pressey
Fashions Fade, Haunted is Eternal is an entertaining and lighthearted cozy mystery.  Cookie Chanel is a quirky young woman who dresses in vintage fashions plus drives a beautiful classic car. Her best friend, Heather Sweet, owns Magic Emporium which has helpful books for Cookie plus a Ouija board when Grandma Pearl needs to converse.  Minnie Lynn was a fun addition to the book.  The witty repartee between Minnie and Charlotte will have you in stitches.  The way Cookie walks around town talking to the ghosts, I am surprised the whole town is not aware that she can see and talk with spirits.  I like that Dylan is now aware of Cookie’s secret.  Dylan Valentine is a good man and the perfect suitor for Cookie.  He understands her and accepts her (does not want to change her). I like that nothing seems to phase Dylan.  The mystery is straightforward and is a cinch to solve.    Cookie goes around asking questions, listening in on conversations, and does a little catfishing to garner information.  The ending is romantic and heartwarming (readers will love it).  It was the perfect ending for Fashions Fade, Haunted is Eternal.  Fashions Fade, Haunted is Eternal is the seventh book in A Haunted Vintage Mystery and it can be read alone.  Rose Pressey has an engaging, casual writing style which makes her stories a pleasure to read.  Her characters are likeable, and the setting is charming.  The town is filled with friendly residents who understand and accept Cookie’s quirks.  I am giving Fashions Fade, Haunted is Eternal 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  If you wish to read a lively and humorous cozy mystery, then look no further than Fashions Fade, Haunted is Eternal.

Seven Deadly Zins (A Sonoma Wine Country Mystery #2)Fashions Fade, Haunted is Eternal is available at AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboGoogle Play, and IndieBound.  For a complete list of books in A Haunted Vintage Mystery series, click here. There is a preview at the end of Fashions Fade, Haunted is Eternal for Rose Pressey's new The Haunted Arts & Crafts Mystery series featuring Celeste Cabot.  The first book is titled Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece, and Celeste owns a pink & white Shasta trailer (no release date yet).  In honor of the tour, there is a giveaway.  Click here to enter or use the Rafflecopter form below.  Stop by the other blogs for character guest posts, reviews, fashion tips and author interviews (schedule below).  I will be back tomorrow with my thoughts of Seven Deadly Zins by Nancy J. Parra.  I hope you have an enchanting day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tour Participants

January 14 – Carla Loves To Read - REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 14 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW

January 15 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

January 16 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

January 16 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 17 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy - CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 18 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

January 18 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

January 19 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 19 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog - REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

January 20 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

January 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST 

January 20 – The Montana Bookaholic – FASHION TIPS POST

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

In Times Gone By by Tracie Peterson

In Times Gone By is the third novel in Golden Gate Secrets series by Tracie Peterson.  It is April of 1906 in San Francisco and the city has just suffered devastating earth quakes.  Kenzie Gifford and her friends have relocated to a large warehouse to help those in need.  The warehouse will be turned into a shelter for women and children which will be called Shelter Rock.  Kenzie, at her friend’s urging, recently wrote her ex-fiancé, Arthur to let him know she forgives him for not showing up at the church on her wedding day.   She is currently worried about Dr. Micah Fisher whom she has not seen since the earthquake.  Kenzie has been keeping Micah at arm’s length because she is afraid of getting her heart broken again.  The destruction and number of deaths makes Kenzie rethink her decision.  She does care for Micah and is willing to let him court her.  Then Arthur arrives full of apologies and explains his father orchestrated the wedding day mishap.  Arthur states he still loves Kenzie and wants to marry her.  Kenzie is full of mixed emotions and unsure what to do.  Caleb wonders at Arthur’s true motivations and decides to do a little digging.  Victoria Whitley, Judith Whitley’s cousin, arrives in town and is outraged to learn that Judith controls the purse strings as well as being her guardian.  Victoria is determined to get free.  An unexpected ally can help Victoria achieve her goal.  What decision will Kenzie make in the end?  How will Judith, Kenzie and Camri’s stories play out? 
 Golden Gate Secrets (3 Book Series) by  Tracie Peterson
In Times Gone By is the final book in the Golden Gate Secrets series.  I do recommend reading the books in the Golden Gate Secrets series in order.  I found In Times Gone By to be well-written with a gentle pace.  I would have preferred more of a page turner.  Tracie Peterson captured the time period with the devastation of the earthquake, the clothing, conveyances, politics, and attitudes of the people. Tracie Peterson manages to incorporate the historical events seamlessly into the story.  Corruption was rampant in government and it was tough to fight the political machine as we see with Patrick Murdock’s story.  The characters are developed, and they continued to grow over the course of the series.  While In Times Gone By focuses on Kenzie, we also find out what happens with Camri and Judith.  Plus, Judith’s relation, Victoria comes to San Francisco and manages to cause problems.  I was not fond of Victoria and her shenanigans.  I was especially disappointed that the villains did not get what was coming to them (a great injustice).  Kenzie’s indecision where romance is concerned is understandable, but I felt it was drawn out.  I admired Micah’s persistence where Kenzie was considered, but it can come across as pushy (nowadays it would probably land him in jail and with a restraining order against him).  Christianity is an essential part of the story.  The main characters beliefs are a part of who they are, and it shows in their everyday lives (having faith, praying, following God’s will and the path he has for their lives).  The action picks up near the end of the book and the conclusion will leave readers smiling.  I was happy the author provided an epilogue.  I am giving In Times Gone By 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  Fans of historical fiction and Tracie Peterson will be satisfied with the final book in the Golden Gate Secrets series. 
Fashions Fade, Haunted Is Eternal (A Haunted Vintage Mystery Book 7) by [Pressey, Rose] 
The first two novels in the Golden Gate Secrets series are In Places Hidden and In Dreams Forgotten.  Thank you for stopping by today.  Tomorrow I am focusing on Fashions Fade, Haunted is Eternal by Rose Pressey.  It is the seventh book in A Haunted Vintage Mystery series (and felt like the last the way it ended).  I hope you will stop by (there might be a giveaway).  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Game of Scones by Mary Lee Ashford

Good Day!  The Promised Amish Bride by Marta Perry releases on February 1.  It is a Love Inspired novel (clean romance story).  Silent Night by Danielle Steel will be out on March 5.  I may not seem the type for Danielle Steel books, but I have been reading her novels since I was 12 (I am not kidding).  My sister, Nicole also reads her books (it is shocking, but we actually have something in common).  

Game of Scones by Mary Lee Ashford takes us to St. Ignatius, Iowa.   After the publishing company Rosetta Sugarbaker Calloway aka Sugar worked for downsized, she moved to St. Ignatius, Iowa.  Sugar joined her friend, Dixie Spicer to open Sugar and Spice Publishing to produce community cookbooks.  Their first project is the St. Ignatius Founders’ Day Commemorative Cookbook which is due to the printer in six weeks. Unfortunately, a scone war has broken out between Elsie Farmer and Bertie Sparks.  Only one scone recipe is needed for the book, but neither women is about to back down.  The next day Sugar heads over to Elsie’s house to talk to her about the scone situation.  When no one answers her knock, Sugar heads around to the back yard.  She notices someone disappearing through the bushes and finds Elsie dead on the ground with a scone in her hand.  Elsie was poisoned, and the evidence leads straight to Dixie’s Aunt Bertie who has disappeared.  Someone is setting up Bertie to take the fall which angers Dixie.  Sugar and Dixie start sifting through the clues and suspects.  Can they serve up the killer before he strikes again?  While investigating the murder, the pair need to continue working on the cookbook.  Dixie cooks up the recipes from the upcoming cookbook for handsome photographer, Max Windsor to snap.  Sugar is also dealing with a cranky neighbor and her elderly landlady who seems to need something she stowed in her attic daily (lonely for company at the senior living facility).  Will Sugar and Dixie get the cookbook completed in time while trying to crack the whodunit?

Game of Scones is a lighthearted cozy mystery with a charming small town and a variety of quirky characters.  I did feel like the book could have used a little reworking.  Sometimes the story moved along and other times it dragged from the amount of detail especially on how a cookbook is published (you have to wonder how Dixie and Sugar stay in business with only one client).  There were a couple of subplots in addition to the main mystery.  There is the cantankerous neighbor who seems to nitpick (I had a grandmother like that).  Greer, Sugar’s landlady, who has moved into the local senior living facility.  She left a number of her possessions in the attic of her home that she has rented to Sugar and calls Sugar frequently for a miscellaneous knickknack.  Then Greer’s son gets it in his head that Sugar is taking advantage of his mother.  There is a hint of romance between Max and Sugar plus Dixie and Sheriff Griffin.  Numerous townspeople are introduced in Game of Scones.  All the characters felt superficial and flat.  I wanted more character development to bring our main characters to life.  I did like the description of St. Ignatius.  The mystery is straightforward with the guilty party easily identified.  There are a limited number of suspects and little investigating.  The story follows Sugar on her day-to-day activities and her interactions with the people she encounters. Though Game of Scones is not set in the South, it reminds me of a certain authors Southern cozy mysteries.   I am giving Game of Scones 3 out of 5 stars.  There are two scone recipes at the end of the book.  Game of Scones contains a great deal of cooking and eating along with a cat, a dog, nosy townspeople, plenty of gossip, a mysterious aunt, a make-up maven, flirting, and thorny whodunit. 

In Times Gone By (Golden Gate Secrets Book #3) by [Peterson, Tracie]Risky Biscuits is the next A Sugar & Spice Mystery which will be out on July 9.  I appreciate you visiting today.  I plan on featuring In Times Gone By by Tracie Peterson next time.  It is the third novel in Golden Gate Secrets series.  I hope you have a splendid day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Sunday, January 13, 2019

A Literal Mess by J.C. Kenney: A Review and Giveaway!

A Literal Mess (An Allie Cobb Mystery)

by J.C. Kenney

About the Book


Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Lyrical Underground (January 8, 2019)
Print Length: 196 pages
ASIN: B07C6T6X41
The first book in a new series featuring Allie Cobb brings the New York literary agent back to her Hoosier home town where a mysterious death keeps everyone on spoiler alert . . .

Allie Cobb left home for the literary circles of Manhattan to make her name out from under the shadow of her legendary father. Now his death brings her and her rescue cat Ursula back to the southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek, population: 3,216. But a tragic new chapter hits the presses when the body of her father’s hard-drinking, #1 bestselling client is found under the historic town bridge. The local police suspect foul play and their prime candidate for murder is the author’s daughter—Allie’s longtime friend.

Determined to clear her bestie, Allie goes into fact-checking amateur detective mode while trying to ignore the usual rumormongers. Those with means, motive, and opportunity include the vic’s ex-wife, his rejected girlfriend, the mayor, and a rival agent trying to mooch clients. With a rugged genealogist distracting her and the imminent Fall Festival about to send tourists descending on their once-peaceful hamlet, Allie needs to stay alive long enough to get a read on a killer ready to close the book on a new victim: Allie . . .

About the Author

J.C. Kenney grew up in a household filled with books by legends Agatha Christie and Lilian Jackson Braun, among many others, so it was no surprise when he found himself writing mystery stories. When he's not writing, you can find him following IndyCar racing or listening to music. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, two sons, and a cat who is the inspiration for Ursula in the Allie Cobb Mysteries.

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My Thoughts

A Literal Mess by J.C. Kenney is debut book in An Allie Cobb Mystery series.  Allie Cobb is awakened during the night by a phone call from her brother, Luke.  Her father has passed away from pancreatic cancer, and Allie quickly heads home to Rushing Creek, Indiana.  The day after her father’s funeral, Sloane Winchester (her best friend) arrives at the Cobb house in distress.  Her father and famous author, Thornwell Winchester was found dead under the Rushing Creek Bridge.  It is a shame that someone killed him just when Thornwell was turning his life around. Police Chief Matt Roberson (and Allie’s ex-brother-in-law) has Sloane at the top of the suspect list which puts Allie into investigator mode. The mayor is pushing Roberson to quickly close the case before the Fall Festival begins and the leaf peepers arrive in town.  Allie is not about to let Sloane get railroaded for a crime she did not commit.  Allie uses her deductive skills and keen eye for detail to work on clearing her friend.  There are various suspects including Thornwell’s ex-girlfriend, a local literary agent and the mayor.  The killer is not happy with Allie’s sleuthing and attacks her to warn her off the case.  Allie is not to be dissuaded and redoubles her efforts to identify the murderer.  When not sleuthing, Allie is keeping up-to-date on literary clients in New York, catching up with her family and friends, and working to close her father’s agency as he requested.  Allie also meets local genealogist, Brent Reynolds who proves to be a distraction along with the delicious hot chocolate served up at Creekside Chocolates.  Can Allie locate the killer before she becomes his next victim?
A Literal Mess takes us to the small town of Rushing Creek, Indiana where Allie Cobb grew up with her parents and two siblings.  Allie went away to college and then moved to New York City to have a career as a literary agent.  She wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps who ran his own literary agency out of their home.  I enjoyed the descriptions of the cozy town which has a new chocolate shop that I would love to visit.  There are a variety of characters for readers to like and dislike.  The disagreeable residents are perfect murder suspects especially Mayor Larry Cannon (I am not sure how this man got elected).  The mystery was interesting with red herrings, multiple suspects and good clues.  Readers should have no problem solving the crime long before Allie confronts the killer.  I was surprised that Chief Matt Roberson asks for Allie’s assistance on the case and hands over case details plus video footage.  I found it be farfetched, but it does aid Allie’s investigation.  I was happy that the case was completely wrapped up at the end of the book.  There is some repetition of information and inconsistencies.  Allie has a boyfriend, Lance who at one point she states they have been dating a year and later says a couple of months.  I found A Literal Mess to be nicely written with various pacing.  I found the story to drag throughout the middle, but it does pick up again later in the story (could have used more action).  I like that the author set the stage for this book and the series by describing the town and various residents.  There is a cute tortoiseshell cat named Ursula plus a sweet dog named Sammy who takes a shine to Allie.  A Literal Mess is a light cozy mystery with a quaint small town, friendship, a close family, adorable animals, enticing chocolates and a mystery for readers to solve.  I am curious to see what trouble Allie gets into next time.

A Literal Mess is available on AmazonAppleGoogleKobo, and Barnes and Noble.  In honor of the tour, there is a giveaway with a prize of an Amazon Gift Card.  You can enter here or use the Rafflecopter form below.  Please take the time to visit the other stops on the tour (schedule below).  Thank you for stopping by today.  I hope I have helped you find a new book to add to your TBR pile.  I will return tomorrow to feature Game of Scones by Mary Lee Ashford.  I hope you have a delightful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tour Participants

January 9 – Mallory Heart's Cozies – REVIEW

January 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

January 9 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

January 10 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

January 10 – Carstairs Considers – REVIEW

January 10 – CelticLady Reviews - SPOTLIGHT

January 11 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 11 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

January 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

January 12 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 12 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 13 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

January 13 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

January 13 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT