Friday, February 15, 2019

Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake by Sarah Graves

Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery Book 2) by [Graves, Sarah]
Cookin' the Books (A Tish Tarragon Mystery Book 1) by [Meade, Amy Patricia]Welcome!  A Sister's Sorrow by Kitty Neale and Courage of the Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell are available on February 21.  Dead Memories by Angela Marsons releases on February 22.  It is the tenth DI Kim Stone NovelCookin' the Books by Amy Patricia Meade will be published on March 1.  These are just a few of the new books coming out in the next few months.

Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake by Sarah Graves is the second A Death by Chocolate Mystery.  Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree co-owns The Chocolate Moose with her best friend, Ellie White in Eastport, Maine.  They have been commissioned by Sharon Sweetwater and Andy Devine to make a whoopie pie cake for their upcoming nuptials.  Jake and Ellie need the influx of cash or they will be forced to close their doors.  Then Jake hears that Sharon’s ex-boyfriend turned stalker, Toby Moran was found dead near the Rubber Ducky Bar & Grille with a poisoned milkshake from their shop nearby.  Andy, a captain in the Coast Guard, is arrested for Toby’s murder since he was seen arguing with the victim at the bar.  People are shocked when Sharon confesses to the murder.  With the bride and groom behind bars, the wedding is canceled.  Ellie then confides in Jake that if The Chocolate Moose closes, she will be forced to move away.  Jake has no intention of losing her best friend and commences asking probing questions around town.  Toby was not well-liked and managed to anger numerous townspeople.  Jake and Ellie need to stir together the clues and see which of their likely suspects rises to the top. 
 A Death by Chocolate Mystery (2 Book Series) by  Sarah Graves
Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake may be the second book in A Death by Chocolate Mystery series, but I discovered it is a continuation of A Home Repair is Homicide Mystery series.  It can, though, be read as a standalone.  The characters are established.  There is Jake’s large family, Ellie’s family and the offbeat residents of Eastport.   I did find it hard to keep track of Jake’s extended family who all seem to live with her.  Jake’s father, Jake (I am not kidding) is feeling spry after his recent health scare and ready to zip about town upsetting his wife and daughter. He really stands out with his various antics and rebellious spirit. Jakes loves her family and cares about her friends.  I like the setting of Eastport, Maine and the description of the Jake’s large home.  It sounds like a charming small town with quaint shops that rely on tourists.  The winter months are tough times for the citizens of this small town as Jake and Ellie have learned.  The wedding of Sharon and Andy will keep the doors of The Chocolate Moose open until the tourist trade picks up (I am not sure why they do not advertise or sell products online).  When the happy couple find themselves in the slammer, Jake one again dons her sleuthing cap to save their chocolate bake shop.  Jake has no qualms about putting herself in harms way.  The murder of Toby Moran has a couple of suspects, pointed clues and a red herring.  I did not feel it was right for Jake to tamper with evidence (even in fiction) no matter her justification.  Unfortunately, I solved the whodunit very early in the book (the author served up the solution on a silver platter).  I appreciated that the mystery had a solid wrap up with facts from the police.   I could have done without the repetition of case details.  When one person learns a key detail or clue, they share it with Jake or Jake share it with a family member (and so on).  This happens frequently throughout the book and not just with the mystery. I liked the descriptions of the items served up at The Chocolate Moose and the little chocolate moose sprinkles are a cute touch to their milkshakes.  There is plenty of baking and eating taking place in Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake.  My rating for Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake is 3 out of 5 stars.  I thought the pace was too slow and I did not enjoy the endless dialogue.  Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake is for those readers who enjoy light, humorous cozy mysteries. 
Home Repair is Homicide (16 Book Series) by  Sarah Graves
Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake is the first book in A Death by Chocolate Mystery series.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I am going to share my thoughts on Dead as a Door Knocker by Diane Kelly next time.  It is the first book in A House Flipper Mystery series.  Diane Kelly is the author of A Paw Enforcement Novel series featuring Officer Megan Luz and Briget.  I hope you have a festive day.  Take care of yourself and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine Candy Murder by Leslie Meier

Valentine Candy Murder (Valentine's Day Mysteries) by [Meier, Leslie]
Image for Milk Chocolate Pecan/English Walnut Clusters, 15 oz. Box from Russell StoverHappy Valentine's Day!  I treated myself (thanksfully--Doozy, my dog has yet to learn how to use the computer) to my favorite chocolates which are Russell Stover English Walnut/Pecan Clusters (yum).  What is your favorite treat?  One Feta in the Grave by Tina Kashian will be available on February 26 along with Criminally Cocoa by Amanda Flower and Chocolate Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke (finally get answers regarding Hannah and her missing hubby).  

Valentine Candy Murder by Leslie Meier contains two previously published A Lucy Stone Valentine’s Day Mysteries.  Valentine Murder has Lucy Stone, as a new member of the library board, attending her first library board meeting.  They are ready to begin, but Bitsy Howell, the librarian, is missing.  Lucy goes to fetch Bitsy and finds her shot dead in the workroom.   The suspects are limited to the board members according to the police.  Lucy cannot stop thinking about the murder.  She decides to find out more about Bitsy and her fellow board members.  In a small town like Tinker’s Cove, secrets have a way of coming out especially with Lucy making inquiries.  Can Lucy unravel the clues to pinpoint the killer before someone she loves comes to harm?
Valentine Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery Series Book 5) by [Meier, Leslie]
Chocolate Covered Murder has Tinker’s Cove launching “Love is Best on Coast” travel promotion to attract tourists to the town.  Lucy Stone, reporter, is assigned to write a piece on Chanticleer Chocolate, which was just voted Best Candy on the Coast by Best of Maine magazine, to tie in with the town’s promotion. The upscale store is owned by chocolatier, Trey Meacham and run by the sultry Tamzin Graves who likes to flirt with the male clientele which is upsetting the local wives.  Lucy returns to Chanticleer Chocolate’s to take photographs and finds Tamzin dead behind the counter covered in chocolate.  Thanks to Tamzin’s behavior, there are no shortage of suspects.  Lucy puts her sleuthing skills to the test.  She needs to unscramble the clues, or she could end up the killer’s latest creation.
Chocolate Covered Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery Series Book 18) by [Meier, Leslie]
While Valentine Candy Murder contains two previous A Lucy Stone Mysteries, I enjoyed diving into them again.  I thought the stories were well-written with steady pacing.  I am a fan of Lucy Stone.  We have gotten to watch her mature over the years as she took care of her family, worked as a reporter and solved crimes.  We have seen her children grow up and leave the nest.  I like Leslie Meier’s engaging writing style.  It is always a pleasure to visit Tinker’s Cove and discover what crime Lucy is solving this time.   If you have not read any of the other books in the series, you can read this volume.  Everything a reader needs to know is included. Personally, I recommend reading A Lucy Stone Mysteries in order.  You will get to know Lucy, her family, friends and the town.  The mystery in Chocolate Covered Murder is more complex than the one in Valentine Murder.  I am giving Valentine Candy Murder 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  If you are looking for a diverting cozy mystery to read for Valentine’s Day, then join Lucy Stone in Valentine Candy Murder.
A Lucy Stone Mystery (24 Book Series) by  Leslie Meier
Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery Book 2) by [Graves, Sarah]The next A Lucy Stone Mystery is 'Tis the Season Murder which releases on October 29.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I plan on highlighting Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake by Sarah Graves tomorrow.  It is the first A House-Flipper Mystery.  I hope you have a lovely day with the special someone in your life.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Motorhomes, Maps and Murder by Tonya Kappes

Motorhomes, Maps, & Murder (A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery Book 5) by [Kappes, Tonya]
Welcome!  Broken Bone China by Laura Childs will be published on March 5 along with A Tender Hope by Amanda Cabot and Courting Mr. Emerson by Melody CarlsonA Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty releases on March 12.  One Potato, Two Potato, Dead by Lynn Cahoon comes out on March 19.  So many wonderful books to look forward to this spring.

Motorhomes, Maps & Murder by Tonya Kappes is the fifth A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery.  Mae West owns Happy Trails Campground in Normal, Kentucky.  The town is preparing for the reenactment of the Battle of Camp Wildcat from the Civil War and Mae will have a minor role thanks to organizer, Queenie French.  Detective Hank Sharp is picking up his uniform and bayonet when he is called away.  Convicted murderer, Greaser Gadie has escaped from the local jail while visiting with Preacher Lester Hager.  He has threatened to seek revenge on the jurors from his trial which has Darnell Grassel and Alvin Deets nervous. Hank is hot on Greaser’s trail with help of a hound with a keen sense of smell.  After the reenactment, Dottie runs up to Mae to notify her that one of their guest’s RV has been stolen.  If Mae does not recover the motorhome, she could lose her beloved campground.  Hank would love to help but he has bigger fish to fry.  Four people fail to get up after the battle and it turns out that it is not fake blood on their clothing.  Did Greaser make good on his threat?  Mae leaves the hunt for Greaser to Hank while she sets out to recover the missing motorhome.  What happens, though, when Mae stumbles into the killer’s path?
Motorhomes, Maps and Murder can be read as a standalone if you have not had time to indulge in the other novels in A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery series.  Mae West has settled into her new home in Normal, Kentucky where she is making a success of Happy Trails Campground.  She has good friends, a loyal dog, and a loving boyfriend.  When someone steals a camper’s motorhome, Mae is determined to recover it.  Otherwise, Mae could lose her beloved Happy Trails. The town is gearing up for tourists to descend on the town for the reenactment of the Battle of Camp Wildcat and Mae is hosting a party afterward at Happy Trails.  It is a bad time for a killer to escape custody after harming the guard and knocking over Preacher Hager.  Hank must hunt for Greaser Gadie while protecting the jurors he threatened and keep watch over a town filled with vacationers.  All our favorite characters are back in Motorhomes, Maps and Murder.  The quirky residents of Normal will have you laughing frequently as you read this Southern cozy mystery.  Mary Elizabeth, Mae’s adopted mother, means well, but her talkative nature can be a curse.  As you can see, there is plenty of action in Motorhomes, Maps and Murder.  I enjoy Tonya Kappes conversational writing style.  Readers are easily drawn into the book and the attention held until the end.  I like the steady pacing, the setting and the off-beat characters.  I enjoyed the addition of Chester, the dog with the good sniffer.  I am happy to see Mae’s character mature and her relationship with Hank is progressing nicely.  I believe readers will be surprised at how this mystery turns out.  There are recipes and cleaning hacks at the end of the book (clever ideas).  I look forward to returning to Normal in Canyons, Caravans and Cadavers (March 25).  

Valentine Candy Murder (Valentine's Day Mysteries) by [Meier, Leslie]The books in A Camper & Criminals  Cozy Mystery series are available on Kindle Unlimited.  Thank you for visiting today.  I will be featuring Valentine Candy Murder by Leslie Meier tomorrow for Valentine's Day!  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Murders and Metaphors by Amanda Flower

Murders and Metaphors (Magical Bookshop Mystery #3)

Murders and Metaphors by Amanda Flower takes readers back to Cascade Springs, New York.  Violet Waverly and her grandmother, Daisy own and run Charming Books with its magical birch tree.  Violet is the newest Caretaker and she is still adjusting to her new duties. The booksellers are heading to Morton Wineries where Belinda Perkins, a sommelier and bestselling author, will be holding a book signing for her newest release.  After the signing, the Morton’s will be hosting their annual ice wine cutting party.    During the signing Lacey Perkins arrives to see her estranged sister, but Belinda ends up causing a scene by refusing to talk with Lacey.  Emerson, Violet’s tuxedo cat, insisted on coming to the winery with them.  When they prepare to leave, Emerson takes off into the vineyard.  Violet gives chase and trips over a frozen Belinda Perkins with a curved grape cutting knife in her back.  Thanks to the public altercation, Lacey ends up at the top of Chief Rainwater’s suspect list.  Violet knows that Lacey would not harm anyone much less her sister, but Violet needs more information if she is to clear her friend.  The shop keeps giving Violet copies of Little Women to guide her in the investigation.  She now needs to figure out how the Perkins sisters relate to the March girls.  Join Violet, Daisy, Emerson and Faulkner in their quest to identify Belinda’s killer in Murders and Metaphors. 
A Magical Bookshop Mystery (2 Book Series) by  Amanda Flower
Murders and Metaphors is the third tale in A Magical Bookshop Mystery series, but it can be read alone.  Everything a reader needs to know is included.  Cascade Springs is a charming small town with a mystical spring.  Charming Books has an enchanted two hundred year old birch tree growing in the middle which needs this special water twice a week from the Caretaker.  The magical essence in the shop helps Daisy and Violet guide customers to the perfect book plus it has aided Violet in solving two local crimes.  I thought Murders and Metaphors was well-written with steady pacing.  I like the engaging yet quirky characters which include Faulkner, the talking crow and Emerson, a canny feline.  Daisy is a delightful woman and I hope I am as sprightly at her age.  She is a little bit at loose ends with Violet taking over the Caretaker duties, but I believe Daisy has found just the right job to keep her busy (I do not want to spoil it for you).  Violet has only been the Caretaker for six months.   She is a smart woman who teaches at the local college in addition to her work at the bookstore.  Violet is also finishing up work on her doctoral thesis which she will defend in May (busy woman).  The mystery has multiple suspects, good clues and misdirection.  Identifying the killer, though, was a snap (maybe I have read too many mysteries).  Violet needs to work on the way she asks questions.  She is too direct (Violet needs to channel Daisy).  I loved the inclusion of Little Women.  The store is trying to help Violet solve Belinda’s murder, and it is not being subtle. It was interesting to learn about ice wine.  I had not heard about this beverage before (I like learning new things).  There is a man in town who is too nosy for his own good and may cause trouble for our bookstore owners.  I have a feeling we have not seen the last of him.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this enchanting cozy mystery.  Murders and Metaphors has humor, a touch of romance, a talking crow, a murder, a busy cat, magic and references to my favorite book, Little Women. 

Criminally Cocoa (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery) by [Flower, Amanda]I want to thank Crooked Lane Books for picking up this spirited series.  Crime and Poetry and Prose and Cons are the first two books in A Magical Bookshop Mystery series.  Amanda Flower has Criminally Cocoa releasing on February 26.  It is An Amish Candy Shop Mystery novella.  Tomorrow I am highlighting Motorhomes, Maps and Murder by Tonya Kappes.  I hope you have a spellbinding day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Monday, February 11, 2019

Past Due for Murder by Victoria Gilbert: My Thoughts plus a Giveaway!

Past Due for Murder:
A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
by Victoria Gilbert

About the Book 

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (February 12, 2019)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1683318749
ISBN-13: 978-1683318743
Digital ASIN: B07D2GYM25
Has a curse fallen on the small town of Taylorsford, Virginia? After a young woman goes missing during a spring bonfire, library director Amy Webber must wade through the web of lies only to find a truth that she may not want to untangle.

Spring has sprung in quaint Taylorsford, Virginia, and the mayor has revived the town’s long-defunct May Day celebration to boost tourism. As part of the festivities, library director Amy Webber is helping to organize a research project and presentation by a local folklore expert. All seems well at first—but spring takes on a sudden chill when a university student inexplicably vanishes during a bonfire.

The local police cast a wide net to find the missing woman, but in a shocking turn of events, Amy’s swoon-worthy neighbor Richard Muir becomes a person of interest in the case. Not only is Richard the woman’s dance instructor, he also doesn’t have an alibi for the night the student vanished—or at least not one he’ll divulge, even to Amy.

When the missing student is finally discovered lost in the mountains, with no memory of recent events—and a dead body lying nearby—an already disturbing mystery takes on a sinister new hue. Blessed with her innate curiosity and a librarian’s gift for research, Amy may be the only one who can learn the truth in Past Due for Murder, Victoria Gilbert’s third charming Blue Ridge Library mystery.

About  the Author

Raised in a historic small town in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Victoria Gilbert turned her early obsession with books into a dual career as an author and librarian.

Victoria’s first cozy mystery series, the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, garnered her a three-book deal with Crooked Lane Books, which has since been expanded to five books. The first two books in the series have been optioned by Sony Pictures Television, and the first three were or will be produced in audiobook by Tantor Media.

Victoria also just inked a two book deal with Crooked Lane for a new cozy series, the Booklovers B & B series, set in historic Beaufort, NC.  A member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime, Victoria is represented by Frances Black at Literary Counsel.  You can connect with Victoria Gilbert through her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Instagram.
Past Due for Murder: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery by [Victoria Gilbert]

My Thoughts

Past Due for Murder by Victoria Gilbert has us journeying to Taylorsford, Virginia.  Amy Webber is the director of the Taylorsford Public Library and is hosting an event for the local Girl Scout troop.  Professor Mona Raymond, a folklorist, is sharing folktales and local legends from the Blue Ridge Mountains with the girls.  Amy has been assisting Mona with her research and learned about the fairy lights, two women who disappeared in 1879, and missing gold.  Two of Mona’s students who are assisting at the event ask if Amy has seen their fellow student, Lacey Jacobs.  No one has seen or heard from Lacey since the previous day.  Lacey’s disappearance leads investigators to Richard Muir, choreographer, dancer and Amy’s boyfriend.  Lacey was seen leaving his office in tears the day she disappeared.  Amy knows that Richard would not harm Lacey, but she must admit that he has been acting odd recently.  Lacey is finally found in the woods with Mona Raymond dead nearby.  Lacey is in a coma and cannot assist investigators.  Amy puts her natural curiosity and knack for research to use.  She finds several people with motive for harming Mona and Lacey.  Now she needs to ask questions to narrow down her suspect list and identify the killer.  This killer, though, is not about to go quietly.
 A Blue Ridge Library Mystery (2 Book Series) by  Victoria Gilbert
Taylorsford is all atwitter as they prepare for the newly reinstated May Day festivities.  Past Due For Murder begins by delving into the folk stories and legends of the area.  There are a variety of tales that include the disappearance of two women over a century ago, the strange lights that arise from the forest floor that are attributed to fairies, and missing gold.  Professor Raymond has spent the last few months in the library’s archives doing research with Amy’s assistance.  Past Due for Murder is the third book in The Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, and I recommend reading the series in order.  Past Due for Murder begins with a relaxed pace as we are eased into the multifaceted cozy mystery.  In Past Due for Murder, there is the missing Lacey Jacobs, the murdered Mona Raymond, Amy worried about her relationship with Richard, the old tale of the two missing women and gold that vanished around the same time.  The book starts off with the disappearance of Lacey and the murder then occurs a third of the way in.  Amy uses her skills to investigate Mona’s death.  She has several viable suspects and tension builds as Amy’s deductions lead her to the guilty party.  The storylines all come together for a satisfying conclusion.  I wish, though, that the whodunit had been harder to solve.   Amy’s relationship with Richard is prominent throughout Past Due for Murder along with her past association with musician, Charles Bartos.  There is a cute kitten, Loie in the story that has a perilous introduction.  I especially enjoy the time spent at the Taylorsford library and their amazing archive room.  The romantics will especially love the ending in Past Due for Murder.  Past Due for Murder has fairies, May Day festivities, a cuddly kitten, a missing coed, romantic entanglements and a slain professor.  Join Amy Webber on her latest adventure in Past Due for Murder.

Murders and Metaphors: A Magical Bookshop Mystery by [Amanda Flower]Past Due for Murder will be out on February 12.  It can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Indie Bound and Google Play.  The first two books in A Blue Ridge Library Mystery series are A Murder for the Books and Shelved Under Murder.  Now for the giveaway details.  To win a signed hardcover copy of Past Due for Murder, click here to enter or use the Rafflecopter form below.  Be sure to leave a comment for an extra entry.  Visit the other stops on the tour for author interviews, guests posts, reviews and character interviews (schedule below).  Thank you for joining me today.  Next time I am showcasing Murders and Metaphors by Amanda Flower.  It is the third A Magical Bookshop Mystery.  I hope you have a harmonious day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tour Participants

February 11 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

February 11 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

February 11 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT  

February 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

February 12 – Mallory Heart's Cozies – REVIEW

February 13 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

February 13 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

February 13 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 14 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

February 14 – Rae’s Books and Recipes – SPOTLIGHT

February 14 – The Montana Bookaholic – SPOTLIGHT

February 15 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

February 15 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

February 16 – Laura`s Interests - REVIEW

February 16 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 16 – That's What She's Reading – REVIEW

February 17 – StoreyBook Reviews - SPOTLIGHT

February 17 – Curling Up by the Fire – REVIEW

February 18 – The Bookwyrm's Hoard – REVIEW, GUEST POST

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

February 19 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 20 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 20 – Here's How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

February 21 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

February 21 – The Book Diva's Reads - CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 22 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW

February 22 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Friends to the End by Shelley Shepard Gray

Friends to the End by Shelley Shepard Gray
Hello!  Motorhomes, Maps and Murder by Tonya Kappes plus Friends to the End by Shelley Shepard Gray come out on February 11.  Dead Memories by Angela Marsons releases on February 22.  It is the tenth DI Kim Stone novel (a gripping series).  Hearts in Harmony by Beth Wiseman will publish on March 12.  

Friends to the End by Shelley Shepard Bray finds Tricia Warner stranded at her family’s cabin ninety minutes outside Walnut Creek, Ohio.  The electricity is out and she did not bring provisions with her.  Tricia her big brother, Andy, who is on vacation with their parents in Naples, for assistance and prepares herself for his lengthy lecture.  Andy knows that his close group of friends called the Magnificent Eight will rescue Tricia despite the storm.  Logan Clark, who is New Order Amish, is Andy’s first call since he can get to Tricia by sleigh.  Tricia has had a crush on Logan since the day she met him and worries about spending time alone with him.  It turns out that Tricia is not the only one with that concern.  When Andy hears that Tricia and Logan are alone in the cabin with a blizzard raging outside, he reaches out to Harley, Elizabeth Ann and Marie.  Logan was quick to respond to Andy’s request because he has been attracted to Tricia for a couple of years and she is frequently in his thoughts.  While the storm rages outside and the pair are alone, Logan tries to uncover why Tricia ventured to the cabin on her own.  Get to know Tricia, Logan, Andy and a few of the Magnificent Eight in Friends to the End.
Friends to the End is the prequel to The Walnut Creek Series.  Friends to the End is a well-written and thoughtful story.  It introduces readers to Tricia Warner along with brother, Andy plus a group of close friends.  Friends to the End is only 113 pages in length so it is a quick, easy to read novella.  Tricia is a junior at Bowling Green State University and is a mathematics whiz.  However, she has difficulties with other parts of her life.  Tricia feels like she is letting down her parents with her frequent mishaps.  Andy Warner is an organizer and worrier.  He cannot help fixing things for Tricia and his friends.  Logan Clark is New Order Amish, but he cannot help his feelings for Tricia.  He cannot imagine Tricia giving up her lifestyle to be with him.  We also meet Harley, Elizabeth Ann and Marie Hartman.  When Andy called, they dropped everything to come help Tricia (good friends).  I thought the story was realistic with interesting and relatable characters.  I look forward to learning more about them in The Patient One.  The author laid the groundwork in Friends to the End for the series and we get a glimpse of what will happen in the next book.  I do recommend reading Friends to the End before embarking on The Patient One.  Friends to the End is the perfect tale to settle down with in a cozy chair on a cold afternoon.

Past Due for Murder: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery by [Victoria Gilbert]Friends to the End will be out tomorrow and The Patient One releases on April 9.  Thank you for joining me today.  I am featuring Past Due for Murder by Victoria Gilbert tomorrow and there will be a giveaway.  I hope you have a gratifying day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Motorhomes, Maps, & Murder (A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery Book 5) by [Kappes, Tonya]Good Day!  Motorhomes, Maps and Murder by Tonya Kappes is the fifth book in A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery series.  It will be out on February 11 along with Friends to the End by Shelley Shepard Gray.  Eclairs, Scares and Haunted Home Repairs by Erin Johnson will be out soon (around Feb. 18).  I will be featuring this new Spells & Caramels tale on February 18.

Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods Fisher takes us on a journey to Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania.  Luke Schrock has just finished rehab for the third time and is returning to his hometown.  Luke is not sure of the reception he will receive after the various stunts he has pulled over the years.  Bishop David Stoltzfus meets Luke’s bus and takes him to Windmill Farm owned by Fern and Amos Lapp.  Luke will live in the barn since the Lapp’s have Izzy Miller, another recovering alcoholic, staying in their home.  He will work on the farm in exchange for room (aka bed in tack room) and board.  While the Amish have forgiven Luke, they do not trust him.  Bishop Stoltzfus has a plan to remedy the situation.  He hands Luke a thick packet of papers which lists the people he has harmed over the years and what he did to the individual.  Luke must make a sincere apology to each person and then ask how his actions harmed them.  He immediately starts on his “mending fences” list, but Luke is unprepared to hear the consequences his actions caused.  Luke tries all his usual charming tricks to get Izzy to befriend him, but she continues to remain cold and distant.  Luke asks what he can do to prove himself to her and Izzy asks that he locate her mother whom she has not seen she was four years old.  What Luke uncovers will surprise and shock several members of the community.  See how Luke makes amends and Izzy’s amazing journey in Mending Fences.
 The Inn at Eagle Hill (3 Book Series) by  Suzanne Woods Fisher
Mending Fences is the first novel in The Deacon’s Family series.  While it is the first book in a new series, it is based on characters and setting from The Inn at Eagle Hill, Stoney Ridge Seasons and The Bishop’s Family series.  Personally, I found it helpful to have read The Inn at Eagle Hill series prior to picking up Mending Fences.  I thought Mending Fences was well-written with good flow and steady pacing.  It contains developed characters and a lovely setting (I especially liked Windmill Farm).  I was drawn into the story right away and wanted to keep reading to see how Luke would fare with his “mending fences” list he received from Bishop Stoltzfus.  Luke never realized that his pranks (as he called them) had a harmful outcome, but he soon learns that his actions had devastating consequences for some people.  While Luke is outgoing and charming, Izzy is withdrawn and thoughtful.  She is wary of Luke thanks to her upbringing in the foster care system and her time on the streets.  Izzy came to Windmill Farm and reveled in the peace of the farm.  Izzy enjoys the Plain lifestyle and wants to remain with the them.  Luke and Izzy both have obstacles to overcome and growing up to do.  With the help of Amos, Fern, David and God, they just might succeed (I do not want to spoil it for you).  Suzanne Woods Fisher created wonderful characters.  You cannot help but wanting to know more about them.  Fern is a caring and compassionate woman who has faith that Luke will change.  Amos is a hardworking farmer who wants to protect Izzy.  It took them a long time to earn her trust and Amos does not want Luke messing up the progress Izzy has made.  Amos is wary of Luke and not sure if he has the ability to change his ways.  Bishop David Stoltzfus has endless patience and remains calm during trying times.  There is humor in the story thanks to Bob, Amos’ buggy horse and a peanut butter loving racoon.  It was interesting how certain events and people can touch so many lives. Two of my favorite phrases in the book is “love is not finite” and “God is love”.  I thought Mending Fences was a thoughtful, heartwarming and inspirational story. I am giving Mending Fences 4.5 out of 5 stars (I more than liked it).   I am eager to read the next installment in The Deacon’s Family series. 

Friends to the End (Walnut Creek Series, The) by [Shepard Gray, Shelley]I hope you have found my thoughts on Mending Fences helpful.  Tomorrow I am going to review Friends to the End by Shelley Shepard Gray.  It is the prequel to The Walnut Creek Series.  Thank you for visiting today.  I hope you have an uplifting day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, February 8, 2019

Hot Fudge Murder by Cynthia Baxter

Hot Fudge Murder (A Lickety Splits Mystery #2)
Courage of the Shipyard Girls: Shipyard Girls 6 (The Shipyard Girls Series) by [Revell, Nancy]Welcome!  Courage of the Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell will be published on February 21 along with A Sister's Sorrow by Kitty NealeChocolate Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke plus Final Exam by Carol J. Perry release on February 26.  I wish they would invent a way to read while you sleep (osmosis)!  My TBR pile is spread all over my home (I have books on shelves, in stacks and hidden under furniture).  I tried to whittle down my book collection, but, in the end, I could not bring myself to part with any books.

Hot Fudge Murder by Cynthia Baxter has readers visiting Wolfert’s Roost, New York.  Kate McKay owns Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe, and she has been hired to cater an event at fashion designer, Omar Devane’s estate, Greenway.  Two of the guests include fashion model, Gretchen Gruen and Pippa Somers, editor of Flair.  The evening is rousing success until they hear the housekeeper screaming and stating that Omar is dead.  Detective Stoltz quickly arrives on the scene to take charge and question the attendees while Kate’s handmade ice cream melts.  The next day, journalists descend upon the town and send the tourists fleeing.  If Kate is to save her fledgling business, she needs to solve Omar’s murder.  In between creating new ice cream flavors and a delicious, light sorbet, Kate talks with various people from Omar’s life to learn the true story about his rise to fame.  Can Kate solve the crime, or will the killer put her on ice?
 A Lickety Splits Mystery (2 Book Series) by  Cynthia Baxter
Hot Fudge Murder is a breezy and humorous cozy mystery.  It is the second book in A Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe Mystery series, but it can be read alone.  Everything a reader needs to know is included in Hot Fudge Murder.  Kate McKay opened Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe six weeks earlier and the shop has been doing well so far (fingers crossed).  Catering a high end event for Omar Devane (loves ice cream) will introduce Kate’s shop to a higher end clientele and, hopefully, provide her with more catering opportunities.  She did not anticipate the host being murdered during the event nor the vast number of journalists who would overtake the town.  Kate is worried if the murder does not get solved quickly, her ice cream shop will go under from the lack of customers.  Cynthia Baxter is a descriptive writer which provides readers with details they need to visualize the story.  Kate questions various suspects and looks around Omar’s home in the hopes of identifying the killer. There are a limited number of suspects which makes it simple to solve this whodunit.   I did find that Hot Fudge Murder slowed down in the middle with the pace picking up towards the end along with the action.  Romance is in the air as Kate has two men interested in dating her.  I sincerely hope the author will quickly nip the love triangle in the bud. Kate’s niece, Emma is having romance troubles of her own and we get to hear about every single detail.    I would have preferred less romance and a more complex mystery.  I did like the change in Grams and her idea involving the seniors from the local senior center.  Hot Fudge Murder is filled with delectable and some unusual ice cream descriptions.  Kate is always coming up with new flavor combinations which has caused her pants to become uncomfortably tight.  I like the historical tidbits on ice cream at the beginning of each chapter.  There are recipes for ice cream, sorbet and hot fudge sauce at the end.  Hot Fudge Murder is a lighthearted cozy mystery that will leave readers craving a frozen sweet treat.

Mending Fences (The Deacon's Family Book #1) by [Fisher, Suzanne Woods]The first book in A Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe Mystery series (what a mouthful) is Murder with a Cherry on Top.  I appreciate you visiting today and reading my review.  I plan on featuring  Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods Fisher tomorrow.  It is the first book in The Deacon's Family series. I hope you will stop by again soon. Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader