Friday, January 31, 2020

Shall We Dance? by Shelley Shepard Gray

Shall We Dance? (The Dance With Me Series Book 1) by [Shelley Shepard Gray]
Greetings!  Can you believe it is the last day of January?  This month has gone by swiftly.  Shall We Dance? by Shelley Shepard Gray is the first novel in The Dance With Me Series.  It is a spin-off of The Bridgeport Social Club Series which featured Kurt, Ace and Jackson.  The book in that series are Take a Chance, All In, and Hold on Tight.  
Arthur Murray Ballroom Dance Studio Marlton, NJ- Ballroom Dance ...
Shall We Dance? By Shelley Shepard Gray has Shannon Murphy and her two newly discovered sisters moving into the loft above her new dance studio in Bridgeport, Ohio.  Two months later in January, Shannon is welcoming her first private client, Dylan Lange.  It seems that Dylan, a police officer, lost the fantasy football league pool and now must take five dance lessons.  Dylan did not expect his instructor to look like Shannon turning his penance into a reward.  While Dylan is enjoying his time with Shannon, he worries about his younger sister, Jennifer.  She was attacked over two years ago and has finally started to venture out into the world.  Then Jennifer finds a threatening note inside her locked car.  All of Jennifer’s hard work could be derailed by this stalker.  Dylan and his new partner (& one of Shannon’s sister), Traci Lucky set out to track down the man frightening Jennifer.  Dylan is tightly wound which has him to saying some hurtful things to Shannon.  Will Dylan and Shannon’s relationship be over before it has barely begun?  Will Jennifer retreat from the world once again?
Silhouettes Of The Pairs Dancing Ballroom Dances. Tango. Royalty Free Cliparts, Vectors, And Stock Illustration. Image 8834187.
Shall We Dance? By Shelley Shepard Gray is the first tale in The Dance with Me Series.  It is an extension of The Bridgeport Social Club Series, but Shall We Dance? can be read on its own.  I found the story easy to read thanks to Shelley Shepard Gray’s writing.  The story moved along at a swift pace and I quickly finished it.  I love the setting of Bridgeport, Ohio.  It seems that a friendly town especially with the addition of Shannon Murphy and her two sisters, Kimber and Traci.  Shannon took a DNA test and was shocked to find she had two sisters.  After the three of them connected, Kimber and Traci agreed to move to Bridgeport with Shannon who is opening Dance with Me.  The three sisters are sharing the loft apartment above the studio.  Shannon opens her dance studio and Dylan Lange is her first private client.  It turns out that he lost the fantasy football league pool which forced him to perform a penance (Shannon really did not appreciate that word).  Dylan must take five dancing lessons.  I believe his friends expected the teacher to be an older woman with white hair and thick lensed glasses.  When I began reading Shall We Dance?, I felt like I was dumped into the middle of an existing book.  I kept wondering if there was a prequel.  I liked the main characters (Shannon, Kimber, Traci, Dylan and Jennifer) who are friendly and relatable.  I wish the author had taken more time to establish the characters.  As this is only the first book, I am sure we will get more details on Traci and Kimber in their books (I am curious to Kimber’s last name).  While we do learn about Shannon, I felt details about Dylan were missing.  The romance between Dylan and Shannon started off nicely, but then it was shoved aside when a threating note was left inside Jennifer Lange’s (Dylan’s sister) car.  Jennifer went through a horrific incident about two years ago and it devastated her as well as her family.  She is finally venturing out into the world by visiting a local bookstore, Backdoor Books which has a fabulous cookbook section.  I loved the descriptions of the cookbook area of Backdoor Books (reminds you of a 1950s kitchen).  I felt for Jennifer and I like how she handled the situation.  Jennifer’s story, in my opinion, should have been a novella on its own.  I felt the dancing and romance aspects of the story were neglected.  The parts of the romance that I wish were featured were left out (spoilers).  I did appreciate the epilogue that nicely wrapped up Shall We Dance?  I enjoyed the quotes on dancing before each chapter. There is humor sprinkled throughout especially regarding the sisters’ inability to cook.   There is also a puppy named Harvard who provides amusing and tender scenes.  It was nice to see the sisters connecting and establishing bonds.  They were getting to know each other after a lifetime apart.  I thought it was sweet and touching.  Shall We Dance? is an emotive story with revealed relations, a serious stalker, whirling waltzes, bibliophile bliss, racy rumbas, and scrumptious culinary creations.
Incredible niche cookbook store
There is a preview of Take the Lead which is the second book in The Dance with Me Series featuring Traci Lucky and Dr. Matt Rossi. Take the Lead releases September 8, 2020. Shall We Dance? is available through Amazon*.  Shelley Shepard Gray recently released The Protective One.  It is the latest novel in The Walnut Creek Series.  Thank you for stopping by today.  Tomorrow I am participating in the Celebrate Lit Tour for God Hears Her:  365 Devotions for Women by Women.  I hope you will join me.  May the rest of your day be a joyful one.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Dancer in bookstore, reading while dancing. From "Dancers Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday," by Jordan Matter.
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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Hannah's Courage by Molly Jebber: Recipe, Review and Giveaway!

About the Book

Author: Molly Jebber

Genre:  Amish Historical Romance

Release Date: January 28, 2020

A loaf of fragrant cinnamon bread for breakfast . . . a sweet and creamy custard pie for dessert. In 1912 Ohio, the Amish Charm Bakery has something to delight locals and visiting Englischer alike. And within this warm, welcoming community, there’s always room for love to grow . . .

Hannah Lapp’s life, like a long-cherished recipe, is satisfying just the way it is. She enjoys whipping up desserts at the bakery, tutoring local children, and socializing with dear friends. One of those friends, Timothy Barkman, has made his interest in Hannah clear, but she’s been in no hurry to change her circumstances.

No sooner does she feel ready to grow closer to hard-working, handsome Timothy than Hannah finds she may have waited too long. Charlene Shetler intends to become Timothy’s fraa. It’s little wonder he’s attracted to such a pretty, forthright young woman, but is the newcomer all that she seems? Only when Hannah is willing to confront some difficult truths can she move bravely toward a life of abiding faith and love . . .

Click here* to get your copy!
What makes a courting buggy different from a traditional Amish buggy? The answer may surprise you...  Photo by Bill Coleman, ©

About the Author

Molly Jebber’s Amish Historical Romance books have been featured on Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Ten Recommended Reads, in USA Today’s HEA, Romantic Times and many other media sites. She’s tours and speaks for Stonecroft Ministries – Women’s Christian Connection, and about Amish history/traditions, writing, marketing, publishing, and her books. She loves God, her family, and friends. She enjoys swimming, golf, reading, and says yes to butterscotch pie and parasailing, but no to coconut and skydiving! Visit for a complete list of her books and speaking events.  You will find Molly on Facebook here.
Holmes County, Ohio, 1901, Map, Millersburg, Holmesville, Lakesville, Nashville, Glenmont, Killbuck, Mount Hope, Berlin, Winesburg, Charm, OH

More From Molly

I related to Hannah in this book where I had to find the courage to make some hard decisions. Maybe you’ve had some hard choices to make and finding the courage to follow through has been difficult for you.

Have you had a bad day where nothing goes right? We’ve all had those. Hannah’s has many days like this, and she is torn about what to do from one problem to the next in her life. She makes some snap decisions, and faces life-altering challenges. You’ll laugh and want to stomp your feet at the twists and turns in this story.  She’s good at giving her friends advice, but has trouble following it. I can relate to this in my life at times. Maybe you can too.   
The Sheriff and Dr. Harrison are still regular customers at the bakery where she whips up mouth-watering desserts. She and her friends cry, laugh, and offer each other advice. I love time with girlfriends, and Hannah’s no different. You’ll relate to her, root for her, want to reach in the book and shake her at times (I’m sure my friends have wanted to do this with me a time or two!), and wonder how what the future holds for her. 

I hope you’ll follow my blog tour (schedule below) and enter for a chance to win the Grand Prize at the end of the tour. The more you enter, the more chances you have of winning!

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. Your Facebook comments help me to get to know you better, and I appreciate it so much!
Here’s a recipe Hannah’s whipped up for you. And there are more in the back of Hannah’s story.
A Cake Recipe from Hannah
A delicious cinnamon streusel bundt cake from McCormick.  Vanilla glaze and apple streusel options below.
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 ¾ teaspoons cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil

  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

  • ½ cup brown sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

  • 3 large apples, peeled and cut into large pieced
  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 9 x 13 pan with butter and coat with 2 tablespoons of flour

  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Sift two additional times and set aside.
  3. When and How You Should Sift Flour | Southern Living
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine oil and both sugars, and mix until well blended.

  5. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla and mix again.

  6. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the batter and mix thoroughly. By hand, fold in apples and walnuts and mix until evenly combined.

  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Apple crisp inspired bundt cake
  9. Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool in the bundt pan for 20 minutes.

  10. While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine all of the glaze ingredients. Bring to a boil and allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute.

  11. Remove the cake from the pan, onto a serving plate. Spoon the glaze over the warm cake.

  12. Cool for a little longer before serving.

Apple Cinnamon Chip Bundt Cake | My Baking Addiction
My Thoughts
Hannah’s Courage by Molly Jebber takes us back to May of 1913 in Charm, Ohio.  Hannah Lapp and Timothy Barkman have grown up together and have become close friends.  The relationship gradually changed, and they began courting.  Whenever Timothy would bring up their future, Hannah would change the subject.  Hannah is not one for change.  Seeing her best friend, Ellie Wenger happy with marriage has Hannah realizing she is ready to tell Timothy how she feels about him.  When Timothy enters Liza’s Amish Charm Bakery where Hannah works, she is delighted to see him until she notices the pretty woman on his arm.  Charlene Shetler is new to town and was quick to latch onto Timothy.  It seems that Hannah has waited too long to tell Timothy how she feels.  Charlene has no qualms about letting Timothy know she likes him and desires a future with him.  Timothy is uncomfortable with Charlene’s forthright manner, but he knows he needs to move on since Hannah does not reciprocate his feelings.  Matters can certainly go awry when we fail to communicate.  
Charm, Ohio - in the heart of Ohio Amish country
Hannah’s Courage by Molly Jebber is the third book in The Amish Charm Bakery series.  It can be read as a standalone, but I recommend reading this charming series in order.  Hannah’s Courage is nicely written, and the story moves along steadily.  The author made me feel like I was visiting Charm and could smell the delectable items that are whipped up at the bakery. I also liked that we get to see things from Hannah and Timothy’s perspective with the alternating chapters.  The characters are realistic.  We get to see them go through their daily lives where they have struggles as well as joyful moments.   The Amish community in Charm is close, and they help those in need.  They have a kindly and caring bishop.  Hannah works at Liza’s Amish Charm Bakery with her friends Ellie and Magdalena.  I like that we get to catch up with Liza and Ellie to see how they are doing.  Maryann and Rachel join the bakery ladies and they are a welcome addition.  The friendship between these ladies is heartwarming.  They are good friends who support each other.  Hannah is a kind woman with a strong faith who dislikes change (I can certainly relate).  I enjoyed seeing Hannah grow as a person and in her faith.  Charlene is a character that you love to dislike (she reminded me of Nellie Olson).  Aaron, Timothy’s brother, is a special individual.  Hannah is a patient teacher who helps Aaron to learn.  She can see the potential in him, and she encourages Aaron.  There is a special moment when Timothy makes a realization about Aaron that I find particularly touching.  I like how the author captured the time period by having the sheriff and the local doctor share the latest news each day.  I especially enjoyed the sheriff’s story (I do not want to say too much and spoil it for you).  Hannah’s Courage is a heartfelt Amish story about love, faith, forgiveness, second chances and courage.  
Bakery - pie-making.

To celebrate her tour, Molly is giving away a Molly Jebber grand prize collection that includes a handmade quilt and Amazon card.  Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click here to enter.  Good Luck!  You can purchase a copy of Hannah's Courage here*.  I hope you enjoy reading this inspiring tale.  The other two novels in An Amish Charm Bakery series are Liza's Second Chance and Ellie's Redemption.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I plan on sharing my review of Shall We Dance? by Shelley Shepard Gray tomorrow.  I hope that you have a splendid day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

Tour Participants

The Avid Reader, January 30
Genesis 5020, January 30
Texas Book-aholic, January 31
Batya’s Bits, February 1
Quiet Quilter, February 1
She Lives to Read, February 2
Bigreadersite , February 3
partied with the Amish -yes I truly did this-not like crazy party you are thinking~very nice & calm party-Awesome Amish in our area
deb’s Book Review, February 4
Pause for Tales, February 5
Older & Smarter?, February 6
Lighthouse Academy Blog, February 7 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
SusanLovesBooks, February 10
SPLASHES of Joy , February 11
Vicky Sluiter, February 12
Elizabeth Adela Forbes (1859-1912)_the open book
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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Buried to the Brim by Jenn McKinlay

Buried to the Brim (A Hat Shop Mystery Book 6) by [McKinlay, Jenn]
Good Day!  The Tea Chest by Heidi Chiavaroli comes out February 4 along with Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green and The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel HauckCoconut Layer Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke becomes available on February 25.  So many books and not enough time to get them all read.  
Sherlock Holmes Dog or Pet Hat #SHH
Buried to the Brim by Jenn McKinlay has Scarlett Parker enthralled with her fiancé, Harrison Wentworth and looking forward to their wedding in the summer.  Harry enters Mim’s Whims with his Aunt Betty and her Pembroke Welsh corgi, Freddy.  They are entering the PAWS (Pets and Wellness Society) annual charity dog show and Aunt Betty is determined to win this year.  The adorable Freddy has lost the last three years to Richard Freestone and his English bulldog, Muffin.  Aunt Betty wants an edge and requests that Vivian Tremont, Scarlett’s cousin and co-owner of Mim’s Whims, create a special hat for Freddy.  Vivian reluctantly agrees and creates matching chapeaus for Aunt Betty.  At the PAWS cocktail party, the night before the competition begins, Aunt Betty gets into an altercation with the shows main sponsor, Gerry Swendson over the quality of his pet food.  The next day finds Aunt Betty barred from the competition and Scarlett trotting Freddy around the agility course in her stead.  Freddy does an amazing job and then dives under a table to return with a show in his mouth.  Scarlett peers under the cloth to find Gerry Swendson dead.  Aunt Betty becomes the prime suspect which has Scarlett scurrying to find clues.  Can Scarlett lead Detective Inspector Bronson to the killer?
Witty Knitters - Hamburg #hat shop window:
Buried to the Brim by Jenn McKinlay is the sixth novel in A Hat Shop Mystery.  I love A Hat Shop Mystery series with its quirky characters and English setting.  Scarlett Parker and her cousin Vivian Tremont own Min’s Whims in Notting Hill on Portobello Road.  Vivian creates the hats with the aid of her assistant, Fee Felton while Scarlett deals with customers and publicity.  Scarlett is recently engaged to Harrison “Harry” Wentworth and she is viewing the world through love colored glasses.  Harry’s Aunt Betty along with her corgi, Freddy are entering the annual PAWS charity dog show and she wants to win this year.  Aunt Betty asks Vivian to create a hat for Freddy.  Aunt Betty is upset with the shows sponsor, Gerry Swenson over the quality of his dog food because it made Freddy sick last year.  After a run in with Gerry at the kickoff cocktail party for PAWS, Aunt Betty finds her paperwork “misplaced” for the competition.  Vivian enters Scarlett as Freddy’s handler much to Scarlett’s dismay.  Things go from bad to worse when Gerry is found dead next to the agility course by Freddy.  One person is quick to point the blame at Aunt Betty.  Scarlett begins listening in on conversations and searching for suspects so she can clear Aunt Betty of any wrongdoing.  I found Buried to the Brim to be a delightful book to read.  It can be read on its own if you have not read the other five books in A Hat Shop Mystery series.  It contains good writing and the story moves along as fast as Freddy on the agility course.  Scarlett is a fun character.  I like that she is an American in England.   There are fabulous British expressions.  I enjoyed the puns even Scarlett’s who seem to miss the mark.  There is plenty of tea along with various food items to keep the group up to snuff (must keep up their strength).  It was interesting to learn more about the game of rugby.  The explanations were easy to understand.  The mystery had several suspects with good clues.  It depends on your sleuthing level on whether you solve it completely or are surprised when Scarlett has a Miss Fletcher moment.  I loved the hat descriptions including the adorable ones made for Freddy.  Bella, a rescued corgi, was an loveable addition.  I look forward to the next A Hat Shop Mystery featuring Scarlett, Vivian, Fee, Harry and their friends.  I am hoping for a wedding with a gorgeous headpiece for Scarlett.  Buried to the Brim is an irresistible cozy mystery with pitiful puns, cute corgis, a succumbed sponsor, charming chapeaus, and a gobsmacked gumshoe.
I want to live in the era where we wear hats everywhere :)
Buried to the Brim can be purchased here*.  You can find the other five novels in A Hat Shop Mystery series (from Cloche and Dagger to Assault and Beret) here.  Thank you for dropping in.  I appreciate you taking the time to read my book reviews.  Tomorrow I am participating in the Celebrate Lit Tour for Hannah's Courage by Molly Jebber.  The third book in The Amish Charm Bakery series.  I hope that you have a day filled with happiness.  Joy is good for the soul.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Woman Reading by Fabio Hurtado ( b.1960)
*This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Book of Candlelight by Ellery Adams

The Book of Candlelight (Secret, Book, & Scone Society, #3)
The Book of Candlelight by Ellery Adams has Nora Pennington who owns Miracle Books in Miracle Springs, North Carolina with more business than she can handle courtesy of the continuous rain.  It has left her shelves looking a little bare.  Nora heads to the flea market to pick up some shelf enhancers.  While shopping, Nora purchases a beautiful bowl for Jed’s barren kitchen (her EMT boyfriend) from Cherokee Danny, a local potter.  The rain continues to deluge the town causing the footbridge to collapse.  Thanks to an accident on her bike, Nora is once again at the flea market.  On her way home, she looks into the river to see the debris from the broken footbridge along with a body.  The victim is identified as Cherokee Danny.  Sheriff Grant McCabe and Nora doubt that Danny slipped in the rain and fell into the river.  Nora calls a meeting of the Secret, Book and Scone Society so they can begin searching for answers for Danny’s wife, Marie.  An unexpected discovery at the Inn of Mists and Roses provides Nora with an astonishing clue.  When a second victim turns up, the ladies know they need to solve this case quickly before the killer strikes again.
Wow that's heavy rain! Love this pic. Rain photography, rain photos, pouring rain.
The Book of Candlelight by Ellery Adams is the third A Secret, Book and Scone Society Novel.  It can easily be read on its own for those new to this charming cozy mystery series.  Nora Pennington started life over in Miracle Springs, North Carolina.  Nora owns Miracle Books, lives in a cute caboose, has four close friends and a handsome EMT boyfriend.  The continual rain has tourists hitting the shops.  Nora is run off her feet with customers.  While she is enjoying the increased revenue, Nora is worn out plus her shelves are barren.  Nora discovers the body of Cherokee Danny in the Miracle River among the footbridge wreckage.  She is baffled as to why anyone would kill the kindly potter.  Nora along with June, Hester and Estella make up the Secret, Book and Scone Society.  They meet each week to chat, discuss books and solve the occasional crime.  I like the diverse cast of characters in The Book of Candlelight.  Each of the four women have issues from their past that trouble them.  I like how close these women have become and that they are there for each other.  They help each other out, are supportive of one other and how they help others.  The mystery was intriguing with two murders for the ladies to solve.  Native American folklore played into the mystery especially the symbolism of the red bird.  I like that the mystery tied into the past.  The author created an interesting whodunit with an abundance of clues to help readers identify the guilty party.  There were additional mysterious elements in The Book of Candlelight with the cagey man in the white t-shirt and someone who was committing outrageous crimes (hate crimes).  Sheldon Silverstein Vega is a new character and he is absolutely delightful.  He is over-the-top with a friendly demeanor.  The poor man suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia which causes him untold pain at times.  I like Sheldon and understood his pain as I have the same conditions.  I am glad that Sheldon will be staying in Miracle Springs because I want to see more of this extrovert.   I loved the clever banned book display Sheldon created.  It was unique and brings attention to the various (sometimes idiotic) reasons a book may be banned.  The Book of Candlelight is an emotional and realistic story that was over far too soon.  There is about a dozen bad words (aka foul language) in this book which surprised me.  I am not used to finding foul language in books written by this author.  The Book of Candlelight is a charming whodunit with banned books, a gregarious gentleman, a discovered diary, an ingenious exhibition, spooky symbolism, and four familiar friends.
Librairie "Chez Albertine"
The Book of Candlelight is available at  Amazon* along with other major booksellers (Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble).  You can find The Secret, Book and Scone Society as well as The Whispered Word here.  Thank you for joining me today.  I will return tomorrow to review Buried to the Brim by Jenn McKinlay tomorrow.  It is the sixth A Hat Shop Mystery.  I hope that you have an enchanting day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Otoño: días de lluvia y lectura (ilustración de Malene Laugesen)
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Monday, January 27, 2020

A Field Guide to Homicide by Lynn Cahoon: Excerpt, Review & a Giveaway!

A Field Guide to Homicide 

A Cat Latimer Mystery

by Lynn Cahoon

About A Field Guide To Homicide

Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Publisher: Kensington (January 28, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 149671685X
ISBN-13: 978-1496716859
Digital ASIN: B07R9SXCQ8
Cat Latimer and her writer’s retreat group go on a hiking trip—but a murderer has been lurking off the beaten path . . .

Cat’s sweetheart, Seth, is going all out on an outing into the local mountains—for the benefit of the writing group Cat’s hosting at her Colorado B&B. But when they try to identify some plant and animal life, they find death instead. The body belongs to a man with a gold claim a few miles away. Instead of striking it rich, he’s been struck down.

To his surprise, Seth recognizes the victim from his military days—and up to now believed he’d already died during his last tour of duty. Now Cat has to solve this mystery before the killer takes a hike . . .''
Vita Sackville-West's Writing Tower at Sissinghurst Castle

About Lynn Cahoon

Lynn Cahoon is the award-winning author of several New York Times and USA Today bestselling cozy mystery series.
Lynn Cahoon is the award-winning author of several New York Times and USA Today bestselling cozy mystery series. The Tourist Trap series is set in central coastal California with six-holiday novellas releasing in 2018–2019. She also pens the Cat Latimer series available in mass market paperback. Her newest series, the Farm to Fork mystery series, debuted in 2018. She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies. Sign up for her newsletter at  She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies.
Embedded image permalink

Author Links

  • Amazon author page
  • Website

  • Mike Savad - Writer - A hard day at work

    My Thoughts

    A Field Guide to Homicide by Lynn Cahoon is the 6th A Cat Latimer Mystery.  Cat Latimer and the group from her current writer’s retreat are on a hike led by Seth, Cat’s boyfriend.  The reach a resting place when Cat notices a foot sticking out of a huckleberry bush across the way.  The body belongs to a recluse who lived in the mountains near his gold claim.  The victim is identified as Chance McAllister which Seth says is impossible.  Seth served with Chance who supposedly died in Germany over ten years ago.  Cat’s curiosity is aroused.  It is lucky that Seth’s unit is having a reunion this week so Cat can do a little snooping around.  I thought A Field Guide to Homicide contained good writing and the story moved along quickly which made this cozy mystery easy to read.  This book can be read as a standalone for those new to the series.  All the necessary background information is included.  The characters are developed and realistic.  The mystery was unusual for a cozy in that the reader finds out information along with Cat.  We follow her along as she searches for clues and asks questions.  I thought the mystery could have used a little oomph.  I liked how the whodunit all tied together in the end.  I did feel that there was a question or two left unanswered at the end.  There were a couple side stories happening at the same time.  Shauna has returned from visiting her brother, Jake and it was not the visit she had hoped it would be.  Shauna must figure out how she will handle Jake’s persistent pestering for money.  Seth is very closemouthed about his time in the army.  He will not answer Cat’s questions and his mood has taken a downswing.  Uncle Pete’s girlfriend, Shirley Mann is visiting from Alaska.  Their relationship is progressing nicely and there might be wedding bells in their future.  The current student from Coventry, Brodie wants to take his writing in a new direction.  He could use a little guidance.  It was interesting to learn more about the publishing industry.  Cat shares her knowledge with her writer’s retreat group to help them decide whether to self-publish or go the traditional route.  I find Cat and Seth’s relationship to be realistic.  They have their ups and downs as do any couple.  A Field Guide to Homicide has charming cozy moments with writing, chatting, cooking, and eating Shauna’s tasty food along with a special ending.  A Field Guide to Homicide has a calamitous climb, a solitary stiff, a selfish sibling, a wistful writer, scrumptious cuisine, and a perplexing puzzle.  
    Trail sign and arrow at woods trailhead. A wooden TRAIL sign and arrow mark the , #AFFILIATE, #woods, #trailhead, #wooden, #Trail, #sign #ad


    Uncle Pete met them at the bottom of the trailhead.

    “You know, I should have realized it was retreat week and not scheduled Shirley to come out for some R&R.”

    “Just because it’s retreat week doesn’t mean that someone is going to die.” Cat felt defensive. “We could have just ignored the man’s leg hanging out of a tree so you could spend time with your girlfriend.”

    “That’s not polite.” He shook his head at her. 

    “You need to be nice to Shirley. She might wind up being your new aunt.” “Really? You two are that serious?” Cat was curious. She’d known that her uncle was dating the retired Alaskan deputy, but she hadn’t thought they would be making wedding plans yet.
    From the trailhead, continue along the pristine forests as you begin your climb upward
    “Gotcha. You should see the look on your face.” He motioned to one of his deputies. “Run up with Seth and have him show you what they found so we know where to start looking.” 

    The deputy nodded and her uncle leaned against his Charger. “You want to take the guests home? Seth should be back down in about ten to fifteen minutes.” 

    “We’ll wait. I think they’re a little shook up, so having some time to process might be a good thing. Do you really think that my retreat is the issue?” Cat tucked a wayward curl behind her ear. 

    He pulled her into a hug. “I was kidding. Although Shirley is going to be a little bummed when I have to work all the time. Do you mind putting her up at the house? She made a reservation with Shauna for the bed-and-breakfast part of the retreat, but she might be hanging out with your writers more than we expected.”
    Cape Falcon Trailhead (Oregon) by Bonnie Moreland cr.c.
    Shirley Mann was a retreat graduate. That’s how she and Uncle Pete met. “I’m fine with her staying at the house. I didn’t really plan for us to be a B-and-B, but Shirley’s almost family, right?” 

    He grinned. “I’m afraid I’ll have both of you sticking your nose into my investigation this time. But maybe you all can rein yourselves in a bit.” 

    “We’ll see.” Cat nodded to the SUV, where the four writers stood, looking shell-shocked. “I better go entertain our guests. I am sorry about the body.” 

    “As long as you didn’t kill him, there’s no reason to be sorry.” He waved her away. “Go do your job, I’ll do mine.”
    1860 Armour-Stiner Octagon House For Rent In Irvington New York — Captivating Houses
    Are you ready to read A Field Guide to HomicideA Field Guide to Homicide is available at Amazon*, B&NKobo, and Google Play.  You can find the other novels in A Cat Latimer Mystery series here.  As part of the tour, there is a giveaway for three (3) print copies of A Field Guide to Homicide (sorry, but open to U.S. residents only).  You can click here to enter or enter via the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck!  Thank you for stopping by today.  I am reviewing The Book of Candlelight by Ellery Adams tomorrow.  It is the third A Book, Secret, and Scone Society Novel.  I hope that you have a joyful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

    The Avid Reader

    "If Cinderella Was A Writer." I notice people sharing a cropped version without my copyright info. If anyone sees this, could they please point them to this image instead? Thanks so much. :-)

    Tour Participants

    January 27 – This Is My Truth Now – REVIEW

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    January 27 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

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    January 28 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT  

    January 28 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW
    I am a little bit of a writter and I would love to have one of my works published
    January 28 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

    January 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

    January 29 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

    January 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

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    January 30 – View from the Birdhouse - REVIEW

    January 31 – Baroness' Book Trove – REVIEW

    January 31 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
    Cute.  Yep, mine talk to me too.
    January 31 – The Cozy Pages - REVIEW

    February 1 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

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    February 3 – Here's How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

    February 3 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
    Heee heee!  Five Ways A Creative Course Helps Writers Find Their Inner Novelist - Writers Write
    February 3 – Reading Is My SuperPower - REVIEW

    February 4 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT 

    February 4 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

    February 5 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

    February 5 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – REVIEW

    February 5 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
    Jeune fille d'Evolene. Charles-Clos Olsommer (Swiss, 1883-1966).
    *This post contains affiliate links.

    Sunday, January 26, 2020

    Buried by Ellison Cooper

    Buried (Agent Sayer Altair, #2)
    Happy Sunday!  On Sunday's, I feature a book that I was unable to when it was released.  This week I picked Buried by Ellison Cooper.  Ellison Cooper is the author of the Agent Sayer Altair series.  The first book in the series is Caged
    Skyline Drive seen from Stony Man - Best Day Hikes in Shenandoah National Park
    Buried by Ellison Cooper has Max Cho hiking near Rockfish Gap in Shenandoah National Park when Kana, his human remains detection dog, alerts.  Max investigates and ends up falling into a cavern with multiple skeletons along with two newer corpses.  Senior Special Agent Sayer Altair is called to the scene along with her team.  Kyle Nelson, Rockfish Gap Chief of Police, wants to know if one of the victims could be his sister who disappeared seventeen years ago.  When they exam the newest corpse, they discover “Help Us” written on the body.  A local woman and her daughter were recently kidnapped.  Sayer and her team must work quickly to unravel the clues if they are to save them.  The killer, though, is aware of their efforts and does what he can to disrupt their investigation.  Sayer wonders who is the killer and how does he know what they have learned.  If Sayer is to rescue the woman and her daughter before it is too late, she will have to get help from an unlikely source.
    Cave in the Woods
    Buried by Ellison Cooper is an intense and gritty mystery.  It is the second novel in the Agent Sayer Altair series. If you have not read Caged, you will not be lost.  The author provides background information on Sayer Altair and a summary of what occurred in Caged.  I believe, though, that it would be a better reading experience if the series is read in order.  Sayer Altair is an FBI neuroscientist who studies serial killers’ brains when not in the field.  She has been benched after what happened in Caged, and this new case is her first time back in the field.  Max Cho is enjoying a day off hiking when Kana alerts to the presence of a cadaver.  A wrong step has Max falling into a cavern full of skeletons.  Sayer along with forensic anthropologist, Dana Wilbanks find two fresh victims after a harrowing encounter.  There is plenty of action in Buried as Sayer and the team search for the killer who recently kidnapped a woman and her little girl.  The authors vivid descriptions allowed me to visualize the grisly scene Max found in that cave.   It was interesting to see things from Sayer’s perspective.  I liked that the mystery was complex with one exception.  There are a number of victims over two decades.  The one downfall of Buried is that I could solve the whodunit before I was a quarter of a way through the book.  I prefer a mystery that scatters the clues throughout the book with surprising twists, so I am kept guessing.  Sayer is still investigating the death of her fiancé, Jake.  She has a feeling that what is in the case file is not the true story.  Plus, there still might be repercussions from the case in CagedBuried does contain graphic violence and foul language (these two things seem to par for the course with chilling crime novels).  Buried is a psychological thriller with curious clues, a variety of victims, irksome incidents, a pathological predator, and colossal changes.
    Pile of skulls and bones on black background
    Buried can be obtained here* (can also get a sample to check it out for yourself).  Caged is the first novel in An Agent Sayer Altair series.  Thank you for joining me today.  Tomorrow I am featuring A Field Guide to Homicide by Lynn Cahoon.  It is the sixth book in A Cat Latimer Mystery series.  May you have a fulfilling day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

    The Avid Reader
    Room with a view by blue mountain thyme on Flickr
    *This post contains affiliate links.