Monday, September 30, 2019

The MacInnes Affair by Blair MacDowell

The MacInnes Affair by [ McDowell, Blair]
It is hard to believe that it is the last day of September.  An Amish Christmas Bakery by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller and Kelly Irvin comes out on October 1 along with Mumbo Gumbo Murder by Laura Childs and Terrie Moran.  The Christmas Boutique by Jennifer Chiaverini plus A Mrs. Miracle Christmas also come out tomorrow. There are many delightful new books coming out in October (now I just need to finish the September list first)!
The MacInnes Affair by Blair McDowell takes readers on a journey to Scotland.  Lara MacInnes is spending the summer in Scotland to research her ancestor, Lachlan MacInnes and learn more about Clan MacInnes.  She is staying at Athdara Castle owned by the Glendenning family until she finds permanent accommodations.  On her first day, Lara encounters the rugged Iain Glendenning, the owner’s son, who raises Scottish Highland cattle along with horses.  Lady Aileen Glendenning offers to let Lara live in the stone cottage on the property and she eagerly accepts.  Lara and Iain are looking for a desk in the attic and come across an old trunk.  Inside Lara finds a beautiful blue dress from the 1800s with seed pearls and lace which looks familiar to Iain.  In the bottom of the trunk, Lara uncovers five journals belonging to Elspeth Glendenning.  As Lara reads the journals, she learns that Elspeth had met and fallen in love with her ancestor, Lachlan MacInnes.  Curious as to how the pair from two feuding clans came to be together, Lara and Iain dig into the past.  They soon learn that their forebearers did not have an easy path.  Murder, money and revenge do not lead to a happily-ever-after.  As Lara and Iain spend more time together, they fall in love.  Will they be able to lay the past to rest?
 I realize there are things amiss with this photo, but he sort of reminds me of Murtagh.
The MacInnes Affair is a captivating tale. Lara MacInnes has just gotten out of a relationship and has decided to spend the summer in Scotland researching Clan MacInnes.  She meets the handsome Iain Glendenning her first day and finds herself intrigued by the Scotsman.  The pair come across several diaries belonging to Elspeth Glendenning, an ancestor of Iain’s, that begin in 1850.  When Lara reads the diaries and finds that Elspeth was involved with her ancestor, Lachlan MacInnes.  Wanting to know more about Lachlan, Lara with help from Iain begins digging into the past.  They soon find themselves embroiled in a hundred and fifty year old mystery.  The MacInnes Affair is a story that captured and held my attention from beginning to end.  I liked the characters and the rugged landscape of Scotland.  Blair McDowell’s descriptions brought the book alive.  I enjoy being able to visualize the scenery like Athdara Castle surrounded by the woods and the stone cottage where Lara resided.  The dual-time line added depth to the story.  The author’s research is evident from the clothing, the food, modes of transportation, and attitudes of the people.  The ending of The MacInnes Affair left me smiling.  The MacInnes Affair has a dashing hero, a charming lady, warring clans, a Scottish estate, and historical intrigue.
Scottish Highlands  by AJ Photography
The MacInnes Affair is out today and available through Amazon.  I hope you find The MacInnes Affair as captivating as I did.  You can find a complete list of books that Blair McDowell has written on her Amazon page.  Thank you for dropping by today.  I plan on reviewing An Amish Christmas Bakery by Amy Clipston, et all tomorrow.  May you have a charming day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
I love the painting above her!! DG Mariga Guinness at Leixlip Castle, Horst

Stitches in Time by Suzanne Woods Fisher: Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Stitches in Time

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Contemporary Amish fiction

Release Date: October 1, 2019
Detachment had worked well as a life strategy for horse trainer Sam Schrock. Until he met Mollie Graber . . .

New to Stoney Ridge, schoolteacher Mollie has come to town for a fresh start. Aware of how fleeting and fragile life is, she wants to live it boldly and bravely. When Luke Schrock, new to his role as deacon, asks the church to take in foster girls from a group home, she’s the first to raise her hand. The power of love, she believes, can pick up the dropped stitches in a child’s heart and knit them back together.

Mollie envisions sleepovers and pillow fights. What the 11-year-old twins bring to her home is anything but. Visits from the sheriff at midnight. Phone calls from the school truancy officer. And then the most humiliating moment of all: the girls accuse Mollie of drug addiction.

There’s only one thing that breaks through the girls’ hard shell–an interest in horses. Reluctantly and skeptically, Sam Schrock gets drawn into Mollie’s chaotic life. What he didn’t expect was for love to knit together the dropped stitches in his own heart . . . just in time.

Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the little Amish church of Stoney Ridge for a touching story of the power of love.
Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Carol-award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes untold stories about inspiring people. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World to the historical novel Anna’s Crossing.
The SuperSaver package includes an Amish Farmlands Tour, a showing of Jacob's Choice at the Plain & Fancy Theater, and a stop at the one-room schoolhouse and Amish house. (Plus, you get a coupon for a free, local buggy ride.)
Amish Schoolhouse

More from Suzanne

Have you ever felt the tug to become a foster parent?
On any given day, there are nearly 438,000 children in foster care in the United States. Most states have a critical need for more foster parents, and the number of children placed in foster care increases yearly.
Hex signs- I like them better than the quilt trend.
There are plenty of assumptions about having foster children, but most are incorrect. The media has a tendency to focus on the negative, but from all the research I conducted to write this book, for every bad news story, there were two good ones. Good stories just don’t make the news.
Below are some of the most common assumptions about foster care, with corrected information that is applicable across the United States (but keep in mind that each state has their own requirements).
Myth: Kids in foster care are bad or troubled.
Truth: Children in foster care are good kids taken out of a troubled situation. They need a caring foster parent who is patient and understanding. When given the opportunity, most of these children begin to thrive.
Myth: To be a foster parent, you need to be married and own a home and be a college graduate.
Truth: You don’t need to be married or to own a home or even be a college graduate. That means if you’re single or renting, you can be a foster parent.
amish girls playing
Myth: I can’t afford to be a foster parent.
Truth: There are monthly reimbursement rates for children in foster care based on the level of care you provide. Medical and dental care is paid through state Medicaid programs.
Myth: Most kids in foster care are teenagers.
Truth: The average age of a child entering foster care is seven years old.
I dont know.why.but ive always been obsessed.with Amish people. They just interest me
Myth: Most kids are in foster care because their parents have abused drugs.
Truth: Now, this one is not a myth. It’s true. There are fifteen categories that can be responsible for a child’s removal from a home. Drug abuse from a parent has had the largest percentage increase.
Myth: Fostering could require a commitment until the child turns eighteen.
Truth: Generally, children remain in state care for less than two years. Only six percent spend five or more years in foster care.
Does the bishop say how many children you are allowed to have or do you decide yourself?   Hear the answer on!
Myth: It’s too hard to give a child up to his biological family.
Truth: Most children are in foster care for a short time, returning to their biological families. Reuniting a child to his family is the ideal situation. Foster families provide a safe haven for a child. Healthy grieving is to be expected, but it’s for the right reasons. It’s healthy.
Myth: You can’t adopt foster children.
Truth: In 2016, more than 65,000 children—whose mothers and fathers parental rights were legally terminated—waiting to be adopted. Also in 2016, more than 20,000 children “aged out” of foster care without permanent families. Research has shown that those who leave care without being linked to a “forever family” have a higher likelihood than the general youth population to experience homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration as adults.
This morning includes one of those times I will remember for the missed opportunity. I decided to drive around Amish country looking for images and as I came down this road I was struck by this fam…
Is there room in your heart and family for a child in need? There are many ways to get involved, some that do not even require foster care. One recommendation: volunteer with The National CASA Association (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children. You can find out more information here:
Our imaginations definitely can run wild with what it would be like to live a true Amish lifestyle.
Or consider small ways to connect to children in need—after school tutoring at your public library. Volunteering at a community center. Buy Christmas gifts for a family in need through an Adopt-a-Family program with a local church. Support a family who does provide foster care with respites—babysitting or meals. There’s many ways to get involved to care for children in need. And every little bit makes a difference.
"The Amish Buggy" by Monte Morton | Redbubble

My Thoughts

Stitches in Time by Suzanne Woods Fisher is the second novel in The Deacon’s Family series.  I recommend reading Mending Fences before embarking on Stitches in Time, so you fully understand what is happening. However, there is a cast of characters to help new readers to the series and some backstory is provided.  I found Stitches in Time to be well-written with developed characters going through realistic situations.  When Luke Schrock draws the lot for deacon, he knows his life will forever be changed and so does his wife, Izzy.  Luke has troubling following through on projects which will not fly as deacon.  He started the expansion of their small home by demoing some walls and then he became deacon (project is at a standstill).  Izzy is struggling to connect with her mother, Grace, but they are still two distant strangers.  Izzy is also upset because she has yet to become pregnant and Luke does not understand her concern.  Izzy is grateful for her sheep who provide comfort and a listening ear along with the sanctuary of her yarn shop.  Mollie Graber is the new schoolteacher and she is happy to be out from under her mother’s thumb.  She wants to live life to the fullest and when Luke asks for volunteers to become foster parents, Mollie is quick to raise her hand.  She wants two young girls but gets two eleven year old sisters who have been in the foster system since they were small.  They delight in skipping school and shooting off firecrackers to scare horses (and so much more).  Mollie and Sam were getting to know each other when she took in the girls.  Sam then became distant and Mollie does not understand why.  There are dropped stitches in Sam’s heart that need mending and God has a plan.  There is love, sadness, hope, faith, dismay, confusion and frustration in Stitches in Time (all of life’s normal emotions).  I like how I could feel the character’s emotions.  We watch as Izzy and Luke navigate married life with the added complication of his new job as deacon.  The importance of having strong faith and praying to God is emphasized in the story.  We forget to pray when faced with troubling situations and that should be the first step.  God can work wonders if we just let Him.  One of the phrases from Stitches in Time stuck with me and it is “The more I pray the more things happen.” Hank Lapp provided amusement as he always does with his loud voice and directness.  I like that we get to see that the Amish suffer from the same afflictions that Englishers do.  Stitches in Time is a thoughtful story that will linger in your mind with you long after you finish it.  I am eager to read the next installment in The Deacon's Family series.  I found Stitches in Time to be an inspiring story with troubled tweens, scared sheep, deacon duties, a half-done house, and startling surprises.


To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of her book.  Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway. Click here enter.  Good Luck!  Stitches in Time releases on October 1 and is available at Amazon (Amazon UK) as well as other major booksellers (Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, CBD).  The first book in The Deacon's Family series is Mending Fences.  Thank you for joining me today.  I will return on October 1 to share my review of An Amish Christmas Bakery by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Kelly Irvin and Kathleen Fuller.  May you have an uplifting day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, September 26
The Becca Files, September 26
SusanLovesBooks, September 26
Through the Fire Blogs, September 27
Texas Book-aholic, September 28
Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 29
Blogging With Carol , September 29
Hookmeinabook , September 29
The Avid Reader, September 30
Mia Reads, September 30
janicesbookreviews, October 1
CarpeDiem, October 1
Stories By Gina, October 2
Activating Faith, October 2
A Reader’s Brain, October 3
EmpowerMoms, October 3
Wishful Endings, October 3
Pause for Tales, October 4
Quiet Quilter, October 5
Vicky Sluiter, October 5
Hallie Reads, October 5
Bigreadersite, October 7
By The Book, October 7
She Lives to Read, October 7
Moments, October 8
AMISH DISCOVERIES: Amish Reading Moment

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

Christmas in Winter Hill by [Carlson, Melody]
Good Day!  The Candy Cane Caper by Jane Kilpatrick, The More the Merrier by Linda Byler and What Comes My Way by Tracie Peterson come out October 1.  The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron releases October 15 along with Read and Buried by Eva Gates.  My TBR pile keeps growing!
When you and your family live in different places, you should pick a different destination to meet up in the holiday in Christmas. If you don’t like to go far there are many small towns in the USA to find the best place to spend your Christmas vacation. Plenty of small well-decorated town offers you to spin over the city, getting enchanted by the winter wonderland.
Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson has us traveling to Winter Hill, Washington.  Krista Galloway and her daughter, Emily are moving from Phoenix to Winter Hill where Krista has gotten a job as the new city manager.  Emily is excited to have a home with a backyard, but when they arrive in town, they discover that due to a housing shortage, they will be living in a tiny, outdated apartment without a backyard.  Krista also noticed the sign when they drove in announcing that Winter Hill is the Home of Christmasville.  Christmas is Krista’s least favorite time of year (she has her reasons), and she hopes her job will keep her far away from the festivities.  Krista soon discovers that Christmasville is an important event for the town and it draws numerous tourists to the area.  As city manager Krista must make some unpopular decisions with the repercussions affecting her and Emily.  She wonders if she made the right decision moving to Winter Hill.  It is going to take a Christmas miracle to turn this situation around.
12 Free Things To Do In Toronto For November - Narcity
Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson is a sweet Christmas novella.  I look forward to reading this authors latest Christmas story each year and I was not disappointed with Christmas in Winter Hill.  It is well-written with relatable characters in realistic situations.  It moves along at a steady pace and can be finished quickly (only 164 pages).  Krista Galloway is looking forward to starting over in Winter Hill.  She has not had the easiest life growing up in the foster care system and the last few years have been difficult.  Her daughter, Emily is looking forward to having a white Christmas and she wants a real home with a backyard.  Unfortunately, things do not go as planned for the duo.  Emily, though, does enjoy living in Winter Hill and makes friends right away.  I enjoyed Emily’s enthusiasm as she embraced all the Christmas festivities.  The little girl wants her mother to love Christmas as much as she does and comes up with a plan (I just loved it).  The townspeople enthusiastically embrace Christmas and their Christmasville activities.  Winter Hill is a quaint town who came up with a clever way to revive their dying city.  It is the tenth year for their Christmasville celebration, and they have big plans.  Unfortunately, there are a few hiccups along the way.  I enjoyed the subplot with Winston Palmer who is the town’s grinch (bah humbug type of guy).  Christmas In Winter Hill has new beginnings, a cute little girl, crime, a touch of romance and cheery Christmas festivities.  The story has a good moral.  We learn that we get what we need in His timing, not when we want them (it can be hard to be patient though).  The ending was a delight and left me with a big smile on my face.  My favorite phrase comes from Krista who said, “I like to think our troubles make us stronger.”  Christmas in Winter Hill is a heartwarming, uplifting story with apartment anguish, Christmas catastrophes, elf escapades, a great giveaway, and holiday high spirits.
twinkle lights
Christmas in Winter Hill is available through major booksellers including Amazon (Amazon UK).  You can find out more about Melody Carlson's and a list of her books on her website (also a list of her books on Amazon).  Thank you for joining me.  I am going to review Stitches in Time by Suzanne Woods Fisher as part of the Celebrate Lit Tour.  It is the second novel in The Deacon's Family series.  May you have a merry day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Ilustração vintage de 1920's "A quarta Edição da Pesquisa Retratos da Leitura no Brasil, encomendada pelo Instituto Pró-Livro ao Ibope...

An Interview with Amy Clipston

An Amish Christmas Bakery: Four Stories by [Clipston, Amy, Wiseman, Beth, Fuller, Kathleen, Irvin, Kelly]

Cookies and Cheer by Amy Clipston
Alyssa Byler wants to build a sugar cookie nativity scene for her bakery’s Christmas window display—all she needs is the right cookie cutters. She turns to handsome blacksmith Kyle Smoker. Using Kyle’s handmade cutters, Alyssa created a striking display that brings more customers than she can handle. She soon realizes she’s been too busy to focus on the true meaning of Christmas—and too distracted to explore her feelings for Kyle. Together, they put aside the holiday rush to celebrate the season that brought them together.
This nativity is made from gingerbread
An Amish Christmas Bakery by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller and Kelly Irvin comes out on October 1.  In anticipation of her upcoming release, I was able to ask Amy a few questions about her Christmas traditions plus Cookies and Cheer (her novella in An Amish Christmas Bakery).  
Design Info: The Nativity (2016) This set was created from various modified commercially licensed ciparts as well as hand illustration. As a aset this is an original Sweetleigh Printed offering. Ordering Info: This may be ordered as a full set (this will increase expected
In "Cookies and Cheer" Alyssa came up with an incredible idea for a display. Have you ever seen a display like Alyssa's? What was your inspiration for the idea?

My mom and I brainstormed Christmas story ideas and together we came up with the bakery display. I hope readers enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoyed writing about it.
Sorta Fancy Decorated Sugar Cookies
Have you ever seen a sugar cookie nativity scene like Alyssa wants to make in “Cookies and Cheer?” What are some other creative, yet simple, ways the Amish might use to celebrate the Christmas season?
No, I have never seen a display like it; however, when I was little, we had cookie cutters. I remember having a star, a camel, a tree, and an angel, which were part of my inspiration. The Amish don’t decorate like we do. They may have a poinsettia and then decorate with some evergreen branches. They do send out Christmas cards, and they buy practical gifts. My Amish friend talked about decorating the kitchen table with gifts for her children and giving gifts such as ice skates.
Christmas Is the Biggest Holiday For the Amish - How to Simplify Christmas Holidays
How did you come up with such a cute name for the story?
To be completely honest, I can’t take credit for the name for the story. My publishing team holds meetings to name books and stories, and they chose it. I do love it!
25  beautiful handmade cards - this would be great to use up little pieces of scrap paper
Did any of your own Christmas traditions get written into this novella?
The only tradition I included was writing Christmas cards, which the Amish do. I love to send out Christmas cards every year. Lately, I have ordered cards with cats on them. What a surprise, right? I send them out to friends and family members and I always include a family photo that we had taken that year, along with the boys’ school photos. I already have decided what photo to include in this year’s card.
Royal Icing Cookie Decorating Tips | Sweetopia #cookiedecorating #christmascookies #holidaycookies
What are your boys' favorite Christmas cookies?

They would probably say any cookies are their favorites.
hallmark ornaments 2019
What is your favorite Christmas ornament and why?

I don’t think I could choose one favorite. Each year, I go to the Hallmark Store and buy one new one for each member of my family. I also make sure I get one that has the year on it. When we decorate the tree, it’s so fun to see the older ones with photos of the boys when they were little, the ones that they made when they were little, and also the ones that Joe and I made when we were little. I also love finding the ones with the year on it and then trying to remember something that happened that year. Someday I hope the boys have special memories from their previous Christmases when they put the ornaments on their trees.
Wonderful Christmas Cookies Decorating_41
What is your favorite cookie to bake for Christmas?
Sugar cookies! It reminds me of baking with my mom when I was little. I loved decorating them.

Join Amy on October 1 to celebrate the release of An Amish Christmas Bakery (see graphic below for details).  You can keep updated on Amy's latest books and news by signing up for email updates (click here).  Remember that An Amish Christmas Bakery will be out on October 1.  You can pre-order now through Amazon. Thank you for dropping by today. Please ignore the funky spacing on this posting. I tried to fix it without success. I will return tomorrow when I feature Stitches in Time by Suzanne Woods Fisher. It is the second story in The Deacon's Family series. I hope you have a special day. Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text

Saturday, September 28, 2019

A Christmas Haven by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

A Christmas Haven: An Amish Christmas Romance
Welcome!  Shot Through the Hearth by Kate Carlisle comes out October 29.  It is the seventh A Fixer-Upper MysteryChristmas with the Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell releases October 31.  It is seventh book in The Shipyard Girls seriesSpy by Danielle Steel will be out on November 26.  There are so many new books coming out in the next three months.  
An Amish one-horse open sleigh seen in Intercourse, Pa
A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall takes us to Raysburg, Pennsylvania in June.  Ivy Zook is twenty-three years old and her plans are finally falling into place.  Ivy has joined with her friend, Tegan to start a party planning business.  But while she is Old Order Amish, she is unable to have access to the technology she needs to promote her business.  She also feels confined by the numerous rules of their community.  Ivy has put down a deposit on an apartment that she will share with Tegan, but now she needs to break the news to her mother.  Betty Zook does not understand Ivy’s party planning dream or why she feels the desire to leave their community.  Betty wants Ivy to wait until after her sister, Holly’s wedding.  Holly is marrying Joshua Smucker in December and she needs permission from her new bishop to continue working at Greene’s Pharmacy.  The Zook’s lives are upended when a car driven by a Swartzentruber Amish man careens into the front window of Greene’s Pharmacy.  Arlan Keim was bringing his sister, Magda to get medical assistance when the car malfunctioned.  Arlan and Magda move in with the Zook’s so Magda can get the care she needs.  Arlan helps around the farm and with their dairy cows which Ivy appreciates.  But then Arlan encourages their mother to increase the size of their herd which is the opposite of what Ivy wishes.  What does the future hold for Ivy, Holly, Arlan and Magda?
Amish Kids Living On Traditional Farms Less Likely To Develop ...
A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall picks up shortly after The Christmas Remedy ends.  While A Christmas Haven can be read as a standalone, I recommend reading The Christmas Remedy first. There is a cast of characters at the beginning of the book.  I found the book to be well-written with developed characters and thoughtful pacing.  Ivy Zook finds the rules of her community restrictive and she believes going Englisch will allow her to be free to pursue her dream of having a party planning business.  Arlan Keim gives up everything to help his sister, Magda get the medical treatment she needs and save her from the future her parents have planned for her.  I liked how Arlan saw Ivy’s way of life in a totally different light.  Someone from the outside can give you a different perspective as Arlan did for Ivy.  The story is filled with hope which I found uplifting.  I like that we get to catch up with Holly and Joshua from The Christmas Remedy as well as Red Zook.  There is a sweet epilogue that gives a look at Ivy, Josh, Magda, Red, Arlan, and Holly’s lives a year later.  A Christmas Haven has hope, love, heartache, joy, and forgiveness.  We see that you never know what God will have in store for you.  You just need to be patient, pray and follow His lead.  I like how Arlan and Ivy bonded over books.  I was shocked to learn the Swartzentruber Amish do not read fiction.   My favorite phrase from A Christmas Haven is “Who I am can’t be defined by breaking bonds with my family.  It can only be defined by blooming right where He planted me.”  A Christmas Haven is a fulfilling novel with party planning, an auto accident, a benevolent bishop, restrictive rules and a wonderful wedding.
Mennonite  wedding party - very bright color dresses
A Christmas Haven is now out and can be purchased at major booksellers including Amazon (Amazon UK). The Christmas Remedy is also available through Amazon.  Thank you for dropping by today.  Tomorrow I am sharing an interview with Amy Clipston plus my review of Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson.  May you have a harmonious day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader  
Reading is Magical, and every child and adult deserve to experience this magic. This is one of my favorite pieces in my entire body of work, it will be a great gift for any lover of books or imaginative adventurers too!  ❧ Sizes : 8.5x12. Feel free to contact me if you would like a

Friday, September 27, 2019

Valleys, Vehicles and Victims by Tonya Kappes

Valleys, Vehicles & Victims: A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery Series by [Kappes, Tonya]
Greetings!  A Legacy of Murder by Connie Berry comes out October 8 along with A Christmas Home by Marta Perry and Child's Play by Danielle SteelChristmas Angels by Nancy Naigle is available on October 15.  I love reading Christmas stories.  They are always heartwarming, feel-good stories.
Daniel Boone National Forest | Drive The Nation
Daniel Boone National Park
Valleys, Vehicles and Victims by Tonya Kappes takes us back to Normal, Kentucky.  Mae West owns Happy Trails Campground which will be hosting a wedding party.  A giant RV pulls up to the campground office and the bride disembarks with her entourage.  Mae is surprised to recognize the bride’s mother as Misty Moon whose husband, Tom is the creator and owner of Moonbucks Coffee Company.  Mae associated with Misty Moon and her husband, Tom when she was married to Paul.  Shay Moon wants a Southern themed wedding (well, her idea of southern) which is being held at Old Train Station Motel in Coke Ogden’s renovated barn.  Mae gets roped into being Shay’s wedding planner and everything is a go except for coffee from Gert Hobson’s Trials Coffee Shop.  It turns out that the Moonbucks signature blend was created by Gert when she was in college which Tom stole.  Gert and Tom have a public argument which many people were happy to capture with their cell phones. Unfortunately for Gert, Tom ends up dead with her new knife in is back (want to guess who found the body).  With Gert the prime suspect, Mae and the Laundry Club ladies work to clear their friend’s name.  The killer is not happy with Mae’s snooping and attempts to eliminate her.  Can Mae and the Laundry Club ladies track down the killer before her strikes again?
Luxury Rvs For Sale - Bing Images #rvrenovation
Valleys, Vehicles and Victims by Tonya Kappes is the ninth A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery.  For those new to the series, the book can be read alone by why would you want to do that.  I always enjoy visiting Normal, Kentucky to catch up with Mae, Dottie, Hank, and the rest of the gang.  Tonya Kappes has created a delightful cast of quirky characters.  Mae is a spunky woman who has found her place in life which is in Normal.  Mae is happy with the campground, her camper, friends, boyfriend, and her little dog, Fifi.  Normal, Kentucky is a charming town with quaint shops and friendly residents.  It is situated next to the Daniel Boone National Park which is currently showcasing reds, oranges, and yellows for fall and the area is enjoying cooler temperatures.  Tonya’s conversational writing style draws a reader right into the story (it is like talking to an old friend).  The story moves along at a peppy pace. I liked that we get to learn more about Mae’s childhood and her parents.  The murder does not occur until after the halfway point.  By the time Tom is axed, there is a slew of suspects (he was not a pleasant man).  There is misdirection along with a twist or two.  I enjoyed how it all came together at the end.  Hank’s attitude, though, needs an adjustment.  He needs to accept the fact that Mae is going to meddle and there is no stopping her.  In the future, though, May might be forced to make a choice. I loved the drama and humor in this engaging tale.  A story that can make me laugh is special indeed.  Valleys, Vehicles and Victims is an appealing cozy mystery with a ritzy RV, a robbed recipe, a bratty bride, a relentless reporter, and greedy graspers. 
rustic farmhouse wedding
Valleys, Vehicles and Victims is out today and available at Amazon.  You can find a complete list of A Camper & Criminal Cozy Mysteries here.  The books in this series including Valleys, Vehicles and Victims are available through Kindle Unlimited.  Thank you for joining me today.  I will be reviewing A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall tomorrow.  May you have a day filled with laughter.  It is good for the soul.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
stock photo of girl reading outside in autumn

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Garden Club Murder by Amy Patricia Meade: Review & Giveaway!

The Garden Club Murder 

A Tish Tarragon Mystery

by Amy Patricia Meade

About The Garden Club Murder

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Severn House Publishers (September 1, 2019)
Hardcover: 208 pages
ISBN-10: 0727889443
ISBN-13: 978-0727889447
Literary caterer Letitia ‘Tish’ Tarragon is preparing her English Secret Garden-themed luncheon for Coleton Creek’s annual garden club awards, but when she is taken on a tour of some of the top contenders with the garden club’s president, Jim Ainsley, Tish is surprised at how seriously the residents take the awards – and how desperate they are to win.

Wealthy, retired businessman Sloane Shackleford has won the coveted best garden category five years in a row, but he and his Bichon Frise, Biscuit, are universally despised. When Sloane’s bludgeoned body is discovered in his pristine garden, Tish soon learns that he was disliked for reasons that go beyond his green fingers. Have the hotly contested awards brought out a competitive and murderous streak in one of the residents?

About Amy Patricia Meade

Author of the critically acclaimed Marjorie McClelland Mysteries, Amy Patricia Meade is a native of Long Island, NY where she cut her teeth on classic films and books featuring Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown.

After stints as an Operations Manager for a document imaging company and a freelance technical writer, Amy left the bright lights of New York City and headed north to pursue her creative writing career amidst the idyllic beauty of Vermont’s Green Mountains.

Now residing in Bristol, England, Amy spends her time writing mysteries with a humorous or historical bent.  When not writing, Amy enjoys traveling, testing out new recipes, classic films, and exploring her new home.
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The Garden Club Murder by Amy Patricia Meade is the second A Tish Tarragon Mystery.  Tish Tarragon owns Cookin’ the Books Café & Catering in Virginia.  She is a literary themed chef who has been hired to cater the Coleton Creek’s annual garden club awards luncheon for which she has created a Secret Garden theme.  Jim Ainsley’s, the garden club president, takes Tish and Jules Davis on a tour of the top contenders for the prize.  They find Sloane Shackleford on a chaise lounge bludgeoned with a garden spade.  Tish declares she is too busy with the luncheon to investigate, but the residents keep dropping by the kitchen and open up to her while eating her delectable scones.  The Garden Club Murder can be read as a standalone for those new to the series.  Everything a reader needs to know is disclosed in the book.  Tish owns Cookin’ the Books which is a café with a literary themed menu.  Her Secret Garden theme for the garden club luncheon sounded lovely as well as the scrumptious English menu.  Julian Jefferson Davis aka Jules is my favorite character in the book.  He is a unique individual with a zest for life.  Jules provided many humorous moments.  My favorite was when Tish finds him leading an early morning water aerobics class as Coleton Creek blaring Lady Gaga music.  Despite finding the body of the despised Sloane Shackleford, Tish declares she is not going to investigate.  However, residents keep visiting the kitchen (or waylaying her) and Tish manages to extract information that helps Sheriff Clemson Reade with his investigation (she cannot help but ask probing questions).  The whodunit is intriguing.  There are multiple suspects since Sloane went out of his way to antagonize residents of the community.  There are clues to help readers solve the crime before Tish.  There is a red herring or two to distract us from the real culprit along with a surprising twist.  I like the subplot (another mystery) which added depth to the story plus it was unique.  Tish also must help her best friend, Mary Jo who was told by her husband that he wants a divorce because he has fallen in love with a younger woman.  Mary Jo and her two kids (plus two of their friends) spend the weekend in Tish’s apartment above the café.  In addition, Tish has Biscuit, Sloane’s dog staying with her (she is a softie).  While Tish is dating attorney, Schuyler Thompson, there is another man interested in having a relationship with her.  I have to admit that I prefer this man to the attorney.  The Garden Club Murder is an eventful cozy mystery with scrumptious scones, a winsome weatherman, gorgeous gardens, a questionable quarry and one curious chef.  
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The Garden Club Murder can be purchased at Amazon, Amazon UKB&N, and AbeBooksThe first book in A Tish Tarragon Mystery series is Cookin' the Books.  To win a print copy (U.S. Only), click here or enter using the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck!  Thank you for popping in today and I hope we have helped you find a new author and book.  Tomorrow I am showcasing Valleys, Vehicles and Victims by  Tonya Kappes.  It is the ninth A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery.  Mae West finds herself organizing an entitled woman's wedding and spilling her secrets to a  reporter. Each book in this entertaining series is available through Kindle Unlimited.  I hope you have a peaceful day.  We all need one of those now and then.  Take care and Happy Reading!

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Woman Reading in a Garden Richard Edward Miller - circa 1912