Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Sunday Potluck Club by Melissa Storm

The Sunday Potluck Club (The Sunday Potluck Club, #1)
The Sunday Potluck Club by Melissa Storm has friends Amy, Hazel, Bridget and Nichole preparing for another funeral in Anchorage, Alaska.  Each one has had a parent suffer from cancer.  Three of them have lost a loved one to the dreadful disease.  Today is the funeral for Bridget’s sweet mother who requested that she be remembered with smiles not tears.  The four ladies meet each Sunday for a hot meal and friendship therapy.  They call their meetings the Sunday Potluck Club.  Amy is returning to her job on Monday after being off for the last year to take care of her mother and then grieve.  She is hoping that getting back to normal will help her with her grief.  A new girl in her classroom does not speak in class and keeps herself isolated.  Amy learns that the girl lost her mother recently to cancer.  Amy believes she is meant to help the child and reaches out to her father who has his own struggles. Bridget volunteers at the local animal shelter until the new semester begins and she can resume her veterinary studies.  She wants to get all the animals in the shelter adopted by Valentine’s Day which is in two weeks.  She comes up with a Valentine’s Day event and enlists her friends to help.  The ladies know that this is Bridget’s way of avoiding dealing with her grief and worry what will happen when she cracks.  But the ladies dive in to make this event a success.  They happily welcome the little girl and her father into their circle.  They all need to find a way to heal, find joy and continue living.  Will Bridget succeed with her goal?  Can Amy help the little girl and her father?  
Super Travel Pictures Ideas Photography Fun 62+ Ideas #travel #photography
The Sunday Potluck Club by Melissa Storm is a book of friendship, grief, love, unconditional love of animals and healing.  The beginning of the story is a little depressing, but the tone soon changes.  This is a story about people struggling with their grief which can be overwhelming.  Amy, Bridget, and Hazel became friends after meeting in the hospital cafeteria.  Each one had a parent going through chemotherapy.  Nichole is the fourth member of their group and is fortunate that her father’s cancer is in remission.  The four ladies meet each Sunday for a potluck meal and friendship therapy.  Amy is having a hard time handling her grief over the loss of her mother.  This is Amy’s third funeral in less than a year and it is wearing her down.  She is hoping that by returning to work, her life will return to normal.  Brigit just lost her mother and is handling her grief by keeping busy.  Brigit refuses to talk about her grief.  She becomes involved with the local animal shelter and becomes determined to make sure every dog is adopted by Valentine’s Day which is in two weeks.  The three friends get recruited to help Brigit pull off this massive endeavor.  Amy has a new girl in her second-grade class who has just moved to Anchorage with her father.  The child just lost her mother to cancer.  Amy notices the girl does not talk in class nor smile.  Amy wants to help the little girl and contacts the child’s father.  There is an instant spark of attraction between Amy and the father.  But there is an issue that prevents them from moving forward.  As Amy gets involved in activities, her grief lessens.  We follow Amy and Bridgit as the deal with their grief in their own way.  The Sunday Potluck Club is an uplifting story.  I enjoyed the Valentine’s Day event at the animal shelter.  It was a cute idea and a good way for people to interact with the animals (and help them find forever homes).  I would have liked more details on the characters as well as Anchorage.  It would have added more depth to the story.  There are several good lessons in this story.  That each person handles grief in their own way, you should be honest with your friends, and grief takes time.  I liked that the ladies were close friends and willing to help each other out at a moment’s notice.  People who are there for you no matter what are true friends.  The animals sounded like such cuties.  The author’s word imagery really brought them life.  You can tell that Melissa Storm has animals of her own from her descriptions.  The Sunday Potluck Club is an emotional novel with first class friends, agonizing grief, scrumptious potluck, furry friends,  fun forts, and a cold climate.
15 Dogs Waiting Patiently For You At Their Kissing Booths - I Can Has Cheezburger?
The Sunday Potluck Club is available from Amazon*.  The second book in The Sunday Potluck Club series is Wednesday Walks and Wags.  This story features Bridgit Moore and it will release on August 25.  Melissa Storm also writes humorous cozy mysteries under the pen name Molly Fitz.  The Pet Whisperer PI series features Angie Russo who can talk to cats and her pretentious cat, Octo-Cat.  The books in the series are available through Kindle Unlimited.  You can get two months free of Kindle Unlimited when you join the program (you can always cancel later if you do not like it).  You should give it a try.  Thank you for joining me today. Tomorrow I am sharing my review of Gone with A Whisker by Laurie Cass. It is the 8th novel in A Bookmobile Cat Mystery series. I hope that you have a positive day.  Take care, stay safe and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
Field of Flowers #literaturelovers #bookslove #novels #reader #illustration #painting #booklovers #bookpaintings #bookart #ruralhouse #floralpainting #naturelovers
*This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Darkness We Hide by Debra Webb

The Darkness We Hide (The Undertaker's Daughter Book 3) by [Webb, Debra]
Good Day!  I hope you and your family are doing well while you are home bound.  In our county, they are going to online teaching for our students.  They are equipping the students with computers (if they do not have one) and a company is providing an internet connection for those students who do not have one at home.  The teachers have been undergoing training.  I was glad to see the school board take a proactive approach (worked this out while students were on spring break).  How are things in your neck of the woods?
Grisell Funeral Home - Sardis, OH - Funeral Homes on Waymarking.com
A small town funeral home
The Darkness We Hide by Debra Webb-- Dr. Rowan Dupont grew up in the family funeral home.  She has returned to Winchester, Tennessee and taken over the family business. Rowan is happy being back home and living with chief of police, Billy Brannigan.  She knows that serial killer Julian Addington is still out there and wonders when he will reappear.  Rowan is surprised at what she has learned about her family and wonders what other secrets there are about her ancestors.  Her friend and local coroner, Burt Johnston dies.  He sent a final text to Rowan stating that he had found something she needed to see.  Then she receives a call from Detective April Jones that FBI Agent Josh Dressler is missing.  The next day a body is found on the grave of Rowan’s mother.  It appears that Julian is at it again.  When Rowan goes to Burt’s house to get a suit, she finds a bulletin board with pictures and notes relating to Rowan.  Rowan needs to figure out what Burt had learned and see if it will help her stop Julian.  Rowan knows that Julian will be coming for her, but she worries that he will attack those close to her first.  She wants to end this torment once and for all.  This might be their only shot at taking out Julian.
blue blue eyes, i hate her
The Darkness We Hide by Debra Webb is the third novel in The Undertaker’s Daughter series.  The author does provide a summary of what occurred in the earlier books in this series, but I believe it is better to read The Undertaker’s Daughter series in order (it makes more sense that way).  The beginning is a little slow, but the pace soon picks up.  The Darkness We Hide is a suspenseful novel with twists, turns and surprising revelations.  It is a dark tale with gruesome details that will have you cringing (that is a good thing).  I was put off, though, by the foul language (I find it offensive).  The Darkness We Hide is well written with developed, realistic characters.  I could feel the suspense and emotion in this twisty story.  The Darkness We Hide provides a thrilling conclusion to the series.  All the loose threads (there were so many) are tied up in this action-packed book.  You will find your mouth dropping open in disbelief during a certain scene. I was delighted with the satisfying epilogue.  I was amazed at the evil, warped characters in this story (this author has a vivid imagination).  There are also some truly kind individuals as well.  The Darkness We Hide is a dark and twisty suspense with surprising secrets, a perverse predator, a traitorous turncoat, a repugnant agent, and an upset undertaker.  
Ralph arrested Terry in front of hundreds of people.
The Darkness We Hide releases March 31.  You can pre-order from Amazon* so it will be on your Kindle when you wake up on release day (or have it delivered to your mailbox).  The other novels in The Undertaker's Daughter series are The Undertaker's Daughter (a novella), The Secrets We Bury (currently $1.99 on Amazon) and The Lies We Tell.  I also suggest checking out Debra Webb's A Winchester, Tennessee Thriller series. Tomorrow I am reviewing The Sunday Potluck Club by Melissa Storm.  It is the first book in The Sunday Potluck Club series.  By the way. . . What did the sketchbook say to the novel?  I'm drawing a blank!  I hope you have a safe and sane day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
*This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer

Murder at the Mena House (A Jane Wunderly Mystery Book 1) by [Neubauer, Erica Ruth]
Thank you for joining me today.  Marshmallow Malice by Amanda Flower is the 5th An Amish Candy Shop Mystery which comes out May 26.  Botched Butterscotch by Amanda Flower is An Amish Candy Shop Novella that will be out on April 28.  Lynn Cahoon introduced Kitchen Witch Mysteries with Chili Cauldron Curse on August 25.  One for the Books by Jenn McKinlay is the 11th A Library Lover's Mystery.  It releases on September 1, 2020.  Tea and Treachery by Vicki Delany is the debut of A Tea by the Sea Mystery series.  It is available for pre-order and it will release on July 28.  There are some fabulous new cozy mysteries coming out this year!  Which one appeals to you?
Tourism in Egypt 1800's
Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer has Jane Wunderly in Egypt with her Aunt Millie in 1926.  Jane is looking forward to visiting the pyramids and other local treasures.  Jane is a World War I widow and is not looking for a new man in her life.  Millie, though, has a romantic streak and likes playing matchmaker.  The first evening at Mena House, Jane is enjoying cocktails with the other guests.  Aunt Millie sends the charming Mr. Redvers over to socialize with Jane.  Everyone is friendly except Anna Stainton who has no intention of sharing the limelight with Jane.  When Anna is found dead in her room, Jane is at the top of the suspect list.  Jane wants to clear her name as quickly as possible.  She does not believe prison in Egypt would suit her.  After Redvers catches her sneaking into Anna’s room, he works with Jane to solve the case.  When a second person is shot to death in a similar manner, Jane and Redvers dig to find out how the victims are connected.  When Jane gets too close for comfort, the killer attempts to thwart her sleuthing.  Will Jane be able to unravel the clues and reveal the killer?  Or will Jane end up entombed with the mummies?
Mercedes-Benz in front of the pyramids , Egypt. The photo was taken in 1926.
Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer is the debut of A Jane Wunderly Mystery series. This historical cozy mystery takes us back in time to 1926 (the Roaring Twenties) where prohibition is in full swing in the United States, dress lengths are shorter than ever, and women are bobbing their hair.  Jane Wunderly is traveling with her Aunt Millie to Egypt where Jane cannot wait to visit the pyramids.  They are staying at Mena House which has a golf course and a pool along with a variety of intriguing guests.  Aunt Millie is quick to send an eligible bachelor in Jane’s direction the first evening (much to Jane’s annoyance).  Jane was widowed at age twenty-two when her husband died in the Great War.  She is not interested in finding a new husband after her experience with the first one.  Jane must admit, though, that Mr. Redvers is enigmatic and dashing.  Alcohol flows freely in Egypt much to Aunt Millie’s delight.  Anna Stainton, a female guest, takes a dislike to Jane and is quick to cause discord between them.  When Anna is found shot in her room, Jane becomes Inspector Hamadi’s top suspect.  Jane sets out to prove her innocence and gets assistance from Redvers.  There are a variety of suspects in Anna’s death.  Jane follows each lead searching for the guilty party.  It depends on your sleuthing level whether you find this mystery a cinch or perplexing.  I did like that there was more than one mystery to solve which made the book more interesting.  I was unable to get into Murder at the Mena House.  I believe part of the problem was the first-person narrative.  Jane’s descriptions of her facial expressions were awkward, and I was unsure why she would describe her own expressions in the first place.  The author is a detail-oriented writer which does allow a reader to visualize the character and scenes, but it also slows down the pace of the story.  I did enjoy the descriptions of the clothing and Egyptian sites.  I thought the author captured the time period especially with the attitudes and manners (an example is “I should have had security tackle her on the way out, but it seemed improper.”)  I wanted the book to have more action and a peppier pace.  I did like Jane Wunderly with her natural curiosity, the mysterious Redvers and the gregarious Aunt Millie.  Who knows where their adventures will take them next time!  Murder at the Mena House has murder, mystery and mayhem in Egypt.  
room with a view Mena House Hotel Cairo Egypt
Murder at the Mena House will be out on Tuesday, March 31.  It is available from Amazon* where you can pre-order it now.  Thank you for reading my review today.  I hope you are doing well during these unusual times.  Tomorrow I am sharing The Darkness We Hide by Debra Webb.  It is the third novel in The Undertaker's Daughter series.  I hope that you have a noteworthy day.  Before I go. . .What do librarians take with them when they go fishing?  Bookworms! Take care, stay safe and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Girl in Hammock. Theodore Robinson (American, 1852-1896).
*This post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Dead in the Doorway by Diane Kelly

Dead in the Doorway (House-Flipper Mystery #2)
Welcome!  I hope all of you staying safe and healthy.  Have You Seen Me? by Kate White releases on April 28 along with Murder in the Wine Country by Janet FinsilverSecrets of the Treasure King by Terry Ambrose comes out April 29.  To Kill a Mocking Girl by Harper Kincaid publishes on May 12 as well as A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette.  There are many new books coming out over the next couple of months (and I have requested too many once again).  
Set inside an ornate pillared stone porch, this elegant red front door and frame with part glazed panelling creates an impressive welcome. The vibrant paintwork is a bold finishing touch to this beautifully crafted Victorian door.
Dead in the Doorway by Diane Kelly has Whitney Whitaker and her cousin, Buck purchasing a home on Songbird Circle in Nashville, Tennessee to flip.  The owner recently passed away and her two sons sold it to them.  They do a walk through on Friday to make plans on how to proceed with updating the outdated abode.  The house is littered with items the heirs did not want which means additional work for the cousins.  Whitney arrives early on Saturday to begin the clean up and demoing process.  She is unable to get the front door to open.  She comes in through the garage to find a woman dead at the bottom of the stairs blocking the front door.  Whitney gets another surprise when a man in pajamas comes up the stairs from the lower level.  Dakota was not aware that his grandmother’s home had been sold and let himself in using the key in the frog on the front porch (change locks just moved up on the to do list).  At first it looks like the victim died from falling down the stairs.  Then Detective Collin Flynn shows up at Whitney’s home.  It seems that someone helped the deceased down the steps and Detective Flynn asks Whitney for her assistance. The victim is Nelda Dolan who lived across the street.  The residents of Songbird Lane are a tight knit bunch who have lived on the street for decades.  Whitney finds herself invited to the ladies Friday night poker game which gives her an opportunity to snoop.  She soon learns that Lillian Walsh, who owned Whitney’s latest flip, was an expert baker who won numerous blue ribbons.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Walsh took her recipes to the grave with her. The neighbors miss Lillian’s peach pie more than Nelda Dolan.   Could that be the reason Nelda was in the home?  Whitney continues to work on the flip while searching for clues.  What happens when the killer decides Whitney is too close for comfort?
Borrow from these before-and-afters and give the neighbors something to talk about
Dead in the Doorway by Diane Kelly is the second book in A House-Flipper Mystery series.  Dead in the Doorway can be read without having picked up Dead as a Doorknocker.  However, I recommend reading the cute debut of this series.  A House-Flipper Mystery series is similar to A Paw Enforcement series written by Diane Kelly with chapters from an animal’s point-of-view. Sawdust, Whitney’s cat, is cute and smart, and I like reading about his perspective on things.  I would like his chapters to have a wee bit more humor (I love Brigit’s snarky comments from A Paw Enforcement series).  I thought Dead in the Doorway contained good writing, steady pacing and friendly characters.  Whitney Whitaker works as property manager as well as a carpenter (for her uncle’s carpentry business).  Her true love, though, is flipping houses which she does with her cousin, Buck Whitaker.  They are both hoping for a better experience after the murder that happened in their first slip that prevented them from selling it (Whitney and two roommates are currently living in it).  Whitney arrives early on demo day to find a woman dead at the base of the stairs and the deceased owner’s grandson squatting in the house (that gets the blood pumping).  At first blush, it appears the victim fell down the steps during the night.  Unfortunately, Detective Collin Flynn soon informs Whitney that the victim did not fall on her own.  Whitney, who was going to snoop anyway, is thrilled when Detective Flynn asks for her assistance.  There are definite sparks flying between the detective and Whitney (and he is a cat lover too).  The mystery had a handful of suspects along with misdirection.  There are clues to aid a reader in solving the crime.  I would have preferred more sleuthing and less speculation.  There was too much conjecture for my liking (I ended up skimming through some of it because it was repetitive).  My favorite line from Dead in the Doorway is courtesy of Detective Flynn when he said, “You again?” when he sees Whitney at the crime scene. I did enjoy reading Dead in the Doorway, and I will be reading the next A House-Flipper Mystery with Whitney, Buck, Detective Flynn and Sawdust.    Dead in the Doorway is a purr-fect cozy mystery to cuddle up with in a comfy chair.
Classic Peach Pie - a vintage handwritten recipe card for Peach Pie.   #ClassicPeachPie #VintageRecipes #PeachPie #Peaches #Pie #Recipe #Vintage
Handwritten Recipe for Peach Pie
Dead in the Doorway is available from Amazon*.  Click here to read an excerpt from Dead in the Doorway courtesy of Diane Kelly. Dead as a Doorknocker (first book in this series) is also available from Amazon.  You can find Diane Kelly's A Paw Enforcement series here. Thank you for visiting today.  I will return tomorrow to share Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer.  I hope that you have a relaxing day.  By the way. . .How did you manage to get hit on the head by a book?  I only have my shelf to blame!  Take care, stay safe and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Eating and reading, the best kind of mult-tasking!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Light Shines on Promise Lodge by Charlotte Hubbard

Light Shines on Promise Lodge (Promise Lodge #5)
Happy Friday!  I hope all of you are staying safe and well.  I was very fortunate this week that my very kind and generous brother-in-law came over and changed our kitchen faucet.  Our old one has been leaking terribly for a year.  I was unable to do the job and I am so thankful that he did this for us.  No more leaks!  How are things going at your house?  
Holmes County Ohio
Light Shines on Promise Lodge by Charlotte Hubbard opens with the wedding of Frances Lehman and Preacher Marlen Kurtz.  It is obvious to all present that the two are very much in love.  Annabelle Beachey has settled into Promise Lodge where she has started a sewing business.  She has become more confident and independent since her arrival thanks to the other ladies in the community.  Annabelle is shocked when Phineas, the husband who abandoned her, arrives during the wedding dinner.  He wants Annabelle to leave the Amish and relocate to Ohio where he has established his business.  Phineas is surprised at how Annabelle has changed especially at how she speaks up to him.  Cyrus Helmuth begins showing interest in Gloria Lehman.  She is unaware of the wager Cyrus has made with his brother, Jonathan.  The morning after the wedding, the town is surprised by the appearance of Bishop Clayton King who states he is there on behalf of the Council of Bishops.  He states that the council is concerned at how progressive Promise Lodge has become and Bishop Clayton sets out to make changes.  Bishop Clayton’s changes could ruin the community the group has built unless action is taken.  
Image result for amish women cooking pictures
Light Shines on Promise Lodge by Charlotte Hubbard is the fifth novel in the Promise Lodge Series.  I do recommend reading the series in order.  It is the best way to understand the people and the community.  I enjoyed reading Light Shines on Promise Lodge, and I did not want this delightful story to end.  I thought it was well-written with steady pacing and a good flow.  The characters are developed as well as endearing and continue to grow as individuals.  All our favorites are back (Bishop Monroe, Christine, Preacher Amos Troyer, Gloria, Allen, Laura, etc.) plus we have the addition of Annabelle and Phineas Beachey.  Annabelle’s husband left her to become English.  She only knew he left because she caught him searching for her egg money.  After her brother-in-law took over the farm and made Annabelle feel like a charity case, she relocated to Promise Lodge.  Annabelle develops a backbone along with loving friends who care and support her.  Phineas is determined to stay, but he will need to change his ways if wants to win back his wife.  Cyrus Helmuth and his older brother, Jonathan make a wager that will end up causing hurt feelings.  Hopefully, the pair will do some maturing along the way and learn a life lesson or two.  Bishop Clayton King shows up at Promise Lodge claiming their community is too progressive.  He is intent on making changes.  Trouble has come to their peaceful community.  Light Shines on Promise Lodge was an interesting story with its various storylines.  I like how everything played out including the appearance of some special guests (I cannot say too much or it will spoil it for you).  I especially liked the mystery surrounding Bishop King.  I have enjoyed watching Gloria go from a girl chasing boys to a woman who manages the cabins and apartments at the lodge. There are recipes from the Promise Lodge kitchen at the end of the book.   Light Shines on Promise Lodge is a story about forgiveness, love, friendship, family, community and second chances.  Charlotte Hubbard is a storyteller of the highest caliber.  She weaves a tale that will capture and hold your attention from beginning to end.  I hope there will be many more stories in this charming series.  
12 Unique Amish Wedding Traditions
Light Shines on Promise Lodge releases on Tuesday, March 31.  It can be pre-ordered through Amazon.  You can find the other novels in the Promise Lodge Series here.  If you enjoy reading the Promise Lodge Series, I highly suggest reading Charlotte Hubbard's Simple Gifts series. Thank you for reading my review today.  I will be sharing my thoughts on Dead in the Doorway by Diane Kelly which is the second A House-Flipper Mystery.  I hope that you have an inspired day.  By the way. . .Why did words and punctuation end up in court?  To be sentenced!  Take care, stay safe and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

susanne draws
*This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Runaway Bride by Jody Hedlund

The Runaway Bride (The Bride Ships, #2)
Good Day!  I hope everyone is surviving this time of isolation.  It is a good opportunity to catch up on chores at home (or sit and read).  I collect vintage mystery series like Cherry Ames, Vicki Barr, Trixie Belden, and Beverly Gray.  I have been hunting for one book to complete the Vicki Barr Flight Stewardess series for year.  Whenever The Brass Idol Mystery is listed on Ebay, it is usually above my price point ($45 and up).  I had an alert set up and this week I found it for $12.99.  I was shocked and excited.  I went online and purchased it immediately.  Those of you who love books will understand my joy.  Now I just need a vintage Ski Nurse Mystery from the Cherry Ames series to complete that collection.  Here are some cozy mysteries that will be coming out this year.  Mousse and Murder by Elizabeth Logan is the debut of An Alaskan Diner Mystery series.  It comes out May 5 and I will be featuring it on May 6 as part of the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.  Thread and Dead by Elizabeth Penney releases August 25.  It is the second tale in The Apron Shop seriesGoodnight Moo by Mollie Cox Bryan also comes out August 25.  It is the second A Buttermilk Creek Mystery.  Murder Outside the Lines by Krista Davis is the third A Pen & Ink Mystery.  It releases on October 26.  All of these books are available for pre-order.  I enjoy waking up and discovering new books on my kindle on release day (I am a book nerd).  
Victoria, BC, incorporated as a city in 1862, population 85,792 (2016c), 80,017 (2011c). The capital of British Columbia, the City of Victoria is situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, about 100 km south of Vancouver. Occupying a peninsular site, Victoria is bordered by the Juan de Fuca and Haro straits. In addition, the Olympic Mountains lie to the south, the San Juan Islands to the east, and the fjord-like Saanich Inlet and richly forested Malahat Ridge and Sooke Hills to the wes...
Victoria, British Columbia 1862
The Runaway Bride by Jody Hedlund has Arabella Lawrence fleeing England aboard a bride ship Tynemouth for Victoria, British Columbia in September of 1862.  Upon Arabella’s arrival, she has men vying for her attention.  Two, though, are more ardent than the others.  Lt. Richard Drummond, a gentleman in the Navy, who would provide Arabella with a life like she was accustomed to in England.  Peter Kelly, the local baker, is working hard to make his business a success and to purchase land he has coveted.  Arabella would not have fine clothes nor servants.  The two men have history which adds tension as they compete for Arabella’s heart.  Peter and Richard have different views regarding the natives and how they should be treated.  Early one morning, Arabella discovers a native girl who is starving and ill.  She immediately takes the girl to Peter knowing he will help.  The more time Arabella spends with Peter, the more she is attracted to the charming baker.  But she cannot help hearing her stepmother’s voice in her head lecturing her on the proper way to behave and act.  Arabella also worries that the man she fled from in England has sent his servant to drag her back to England.  Which man will win Arabella’s affections?  Can Arabella get the courage to make the right decision?
1865 - A STREET IN VICTORIA Large and substantial stone and brick warehouses, well stocked with goods, line the upper part of the harbour on the town side. Between 1861 and 1862 alone, fifty-six brick buildings were erected and since that period, very rapid progress has been made in edifices of that character. Several spacious hotels, elegantly furnished, and supplied with every comfort which the most fastidious could wish, have been built.
Victoria 1865
The Runaway Bride by Jody Hedlund grabbed by attention from the very first page.  I have not yet had the opportunity to read The Reluctant Bride (I have moved it to the top of my pile).  I was glad that The Runaway Bride could be read as a standalone.  I thought the story was well-written with realistic, developed characters.  Arabella Lawrence has left England for a new life in British Columbia.  She fled England before her wedding to Mr. Major.  The match was arranged between her father and Mr. Major.  The man was old enough to be Arabella’s grandfather and his other wives only lived a couple of years after they were wed.  Arabella has had rigid rules drilled into her by a nasty stepmother.  She arrives in British Columbia on a bride ship and hopes to make an advantageous match that suits her position.  Lt. Richard Drummond is among the dignitaries greeting the ship and he is instantly taken with Arabella.  Peter Kelly, the local baker, meets Arabella the same day and knows she is the woman he wants to marry.  Two very different men with differing belief systems vying for Arabella’s attention.  Peter Kelly is a charmer from the very beginning.  I can see why Arabella was taken with him.  I could feel Arabella’s mind versus heart dilemma.  She knows she should marry someone of her social station, but Arabella is attracted to Pete.  She also feels she can talk to him and that he likes her despite her flaws.  The author showed the contrast between the two men as well as how society would perceive Arabella if she did not do as expected of her.  I thought Jody Hedlund captured the time period and how it felt to arrive in a new country on a bride ship.  These women had no idea what the area would be like or what type of men would be waiting for them.  I liked that none of the women were forced to marry.  They were allowed to take their time in finding the right life partner.  The author’s vivid descriptions brought the story alive for me.  I could visualize the scenery and the characters.  I felt I was in the canoe with Arabella as she saw the wildlife and traversed along the water to the native’s village.  Included in the story is a little girl who needs help.  Smallpox has infected the natives, and many were worried it would claim those in Victoria.  There are those who wished to help the natives and others who wanted to drive them away.   Why Arabella fled England is revealed a little bit at a time.  I do want to let readers know there is violence which will make you cringe.  My favorite phrase from The Runaway Bride is “If we’re living rightly before God and pleasing Him, then that’s all that matters.”  Christian values were beautifully incorporate into the story.  It is an integral part of The Runaway Bride.  I stayed up very late to finish this moving historical novel.  I am looking forward to reading the other books in The Bride Ships series.  The Runaway Bride is a touching story with a beguiling baker, fierce frays, a shocking sickness, rapid rumors, a spiteful soldier, and beautiful brides.
Victorian Wedding Dresses: 27 Stunning Vintage Photographs of Brides Before 1900 ~ vintage everyday
The Runaway Bride is available from Amazon* (Barnes & Noble, CBD, Kobo, Google Play and other booksellers) along with the other novels in The Bride Ships series.  The first novel in the series is The Reluctant BrideA Bride of Convenience is available for pre-order and releases on June 30. The fourth book in The Bride Ships series is Almost A Bride which comes out August 25.  I hope you find The Runaway Bride as enjoyable as I did.  Thank you for visiting today.  Tomorrow I am sharing my review of Light Shines on Promise Lodge by Charlotte Hubbard. It is the fifth novel in The Promise Lodge series.  I hope you have a day filled with joy.  By the way. . .Why is Peter Pan always flying?  He neverlands! Please stay home if you do not need to go out.  Take care, stay safe and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
perugini, charles edward reading ||| fashion ||| sotheby's n09417lot866ffen
*This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Death on the Page by Essie Lang

Death on the Page (Castle Bookshop Mystery #2)
Welcome!  I hope you and your family are staying healthy, safe and sane.  One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak releases on April 7 along with The Stolen Letter by Paige Shelton and The Haunted Lady by Mary Roberts RinehartMurder in the Storybook Cottage by Ellery Adams comes out April 28.  It is the sixth A Book Retreat Mystery.  I just love this book themed series.  Which one of these new books appeals to you?
Death on the Page by Essie Lang has true crime writer, Savannah Page visiting Bayside Books in Alexandria Bay, New York to celebrate her latest release.  Co-owner, Shelby Cox is surprised when she hears that the board of directors for Blye Castle are allowing Savannah to stay in a guest suite over the weekend.  It seems that Savannah wants to research the cold case involving prohibition era rum runner and mobster, Joe Cabana.  At the book signing, a woman confronts Savannah claiming the best-selling author stole her book idea which Savannah denies.  The next day, Savannah signs books at Bayside Books inside Blye Castle before enjoying her weekend inside the beautiful historic property.  Shelby arrives at work the next day to learn that Savannah is missing.  She is later found at the bottom of a staircase inside a secret passage that Shelby did not know exist which arouses her curiosity.  With her inquisitiveness stirred, Shelby begins making inquiries and snooping around the castle.  Shelby has additional duties since Aunt Edie is out of commission.  A cat tripped her up and she injured her knee falling down her back steps.  Will Shelby survive another investigation?
Most Beautiful Places to Visit in New York State You Don't Know About - Thrillist
Death on the Page by Essie Lang is the second novel in A Castle Bookshop Mystery series.  It can be a standalone if you have not read Trouble on the Books.  Shelby Cox co-owns Bayside Books in Alexandria Bay, New York with her aunt, Edie Cox.  They have an auxiliary location in Blye Castle on Blye Island which is one of the Thousand Islands.  It is the 35th anniversary of their bookstore and Savannah Page has agreed to do a signing of her latest true crime novel.  Savannah also got the board of directors of Blye Castle to allow her to stay at the castle over the weekend.  The author plans on researching Joe Cabana, a prohibition mobster, whose murder was never solved.  Shelby arrives to open the bookstore on Sunday to learn that Savannah is dead at the bottom of a staircase in a secret passage.  Shelby is curious about the secret passages and the author’s death, so she begins asking questions.  There are a variety of suspects from the castle’s caretaker to the author’s fiancé.  Shelby asks questions of people involved in the case despite being told by her aunt, boyfriend and Chief Stone to stop being a nosey parker.  The mystery is straightforward, and readers will have no problem solving the whodunit before the solution is revealed.  When Shelby is not sleuthing, she is working at the bookstore, visiting friends or her aunt, spending time with Zach Griffin (the Coast Guard agent she is dating), or indulging in coffee at Chocomania. I wish the story had contained more action.  I found the pace to be on the slow side (for me).  I would like to see Shelby become more mature especially with regards to her relationship with Zach.  It would be nice is the author fleshed out the main characters (Erica, Matthew, Aunt Edie, Zach).  I also wanted more sleuthing at the castle.  I felt the author lost out on an opportunity   to make this an intriguing mystery with Shelby sneaking around the castle and finding clues in the secret passages.  The ending seemed abrupt and lacking in a solid conclusion to the mystery (I have questions).  Those readers who prefer more cozy than mystery will enjoy reading Death on the Page.  Death on the Page has secret stairs, chocolate coffee, pocketed objects, injured individuals, tricky thieves, and a cagey killer.
38 secret wine cellar ideas
Death on the Page can be obtained from Amazon* along with Trouble on the Books.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will return tomorrow to feature The Runaway Bride by Jody Hedlund.  It is the second novel in The Bride Ships series.  Now for a little book related joke. . .Why did Shakespeare always write in pen?  Because pencils were confusing to him.  2B or not 2B.  Take care, stay safe and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
Reading {108:365}
*This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Love & Marriage at Harpers by Rosie Clarke

Love and Marriage at Harpers: A heartwarming saga from bestseller Rosie Clarke (Welcome To Harpers Emporium Book 2)
Good Day!  I hope you and your family are doing well and staying sane.  Staying home is something I am used to, but I know it can be challenging for those not used to it.  Being productive can be difficult unless you get into a routine.  Setting a schedule is beneficial if you need to get work done.  There are some wonderful books coming out on March 31.  Here are a few examples:  The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag, Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer, A Fatal Yarn by Peggy Ehrhart, Gone with the Whisker by Laurie Cass, and Thursday's Bride by Patricia JohnsBerried in the Past by Peg Cochran and Sunsets, Sabbatical and Scandal by Tonya Kappes are out today.  They are both lighthearted cozy mysteries.  What are you reading?
Photographic Print: Selfridge's, Oxford Street, London, C1913 : 24x18in
Oxford Street in London where Harper's Emporium is located
Love and Marriage at Harpers by Rosie Clarke has Rachel, Sally, Maggie and Beth working at Harper’s Emporium in London in early 1913.  The four ladies also share an apartment and are ardent supporters of suffragette cause.  However, they do not agree with Emmeline Pankhurst’s militant approach (she blew up the villa being built for Lloyd George) and will be switching to a branch more in line with their beliefs.  Ben Harper has been gone for five months and Sally wonders if he will ever return.  She has feelings for him, but Ben has not contacted her since he has been in New York.  Mick O’Sullivan makes his interest in Sally known and she soon learns that Mick has hidden depths.   Could their friendship blossom into something more?  Beth Grey is a senior salesgirl who loves her job at Harper’s.  She is dating Jack Burrows when he is not out on a ship and they make plans for their future.  Beth is worried about her Aunt Helen who recently married Gerald.  Her aunt looks tired, worried and Beth noticed a bruise on her arm. Helen refuses to leave Gerald and Beth is worried Gerald will become more violent.  Maggie Gibbs is the youngest member of their group.  She runs into her ex-fiancé, Ralf who wishes to rekindle their relationship. Maggie is not sure Ralf has changed and is still hurt at how she was treated.  Rachel Craven is a widow who is being squired about by solicitor, William Bailey.  Rachel can see a future with him, but then she learns something about William that changes her opinion of him.  Come along to Harper’s Emporium to find out what happens with these four ladies.  
1913 Ladies Home Journal "The Mature Woman's Easter Hat"
1913 Easter Hats
Love and Marriage at Harpers by Rosie Clarke is the second novel in Welcome to Harpers Emporium series.  This is a series that needs to be read in order. I thought this historical novel contained good writing with engaging, developed characters.  The story flowed beautifully thanks to Rosie Clarke’s warm writing style.  I felt like I was joining the ladies in 1913 London.  The hats, jewelry and clothing descriptions allowed me to visualize them.  I could tell the author did her research for this series.  Women’s suffrage was a hot topic at the time especially Emmeline Pankhurst’s exploits.  The author included arrested suffragists going on hunger strikes, the “Cat and Mouse Act (horrible law), and the rumblings around Europe that will eventually lead to war.  Rachel Craven, Maggie Gibbs, Beth Grey and Sally Ross met when they applied for employment at Harper’s Emporium before it opened.  They became friends while working in the store and then roommates.  As they live and work together, they become a family.  The ladies are dating and falling in love in this story.  Ben Harper finally returns and tells Sally why he was away (he still should have written).  Jenni Harper visits and adds liveliness to the story.  Your emotions will run the gamut while reading Love and Marriage at Harpers.  I was sad when I reached the last page.  I am eager to find out what happens next to these ladies.  Love and Marriage at Harpers is a charming historical novel with suffragette supporters, a hectoring husband, sedulous salesgirls, a lively London, beloved beaus, and notable nuptials.
1913 Fashions--Hobble Skirt Women's Dress Suit
Love and Marriage at Harpers is available from Amazon* as well as The Shop Girls of Harpers.  Both are available through Kindle Unlimited. The next book in Welcome to Harpers Emporium series is Rainy Days for the Harpers Girls which will be released on June 2.  The next novel in Rosie Clarke's Mulberry Lane Series is A Reunion at Mulberry Lane which will be out on August 20. Thank you for joining me today.  Tomorrow I am sharing my review of Death on the Page by Essie Lang.  It is the second book in A Castle Bookshop Mystery series.  I hope you have an uplifting day.  Take care, stay safe and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Coles Phillips 'Woman reading book in window nook' 1913 | Flickr
*This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Basic Bible Atlas by John A. Beck

Welcome! I hope you are well and taking good care of yourself.  I want to share some upcoming book releases with you.  The House at the End of the Moor by Michelle Griep comes out April 1.  Pockets of Promise by Laurie Stroup Smith releases on April 30.  It is the debut of The Pocket Quilt series.  The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman will be out on April 28.  A Walk Along the Beach by Debbie Macomber publishes on July 28.  I just love Debbie Macomber's books.  Do any of these appeal to you?
Holy Land Map 4 Placemats in Biblical Time Jesus Places, Bible Christian Sites
Have you ever wondered where places are in the Bible?  The Basic Bible Atlas by John A. Beck has the maps that allows us to see where places are in the Bible.  I especially liked that we can see where the place was in biblical times and where the location is now in modern times.  This is a great beginner book for those new to biblical geography.  We get the events of the Bible told through places.  This allows you to get a better understanding of the locations mentioned in the Holy Bible.  The maps are in color with good details (terrain, rivers, etc.).  The book is divided into two sections:  Introduction to Geography and Putting the Story in its Place.  The first introduces you to the geography of biblical world.  It gives you an overview or the big picture.  The second section takes you through the Bible from Genesis through Revelation identifying the geography.  It identifies each shift in location, its impact and meaning.  The Basic Bible Atlas will help you to know the lands of the Bible and the role geography played in shaping the Lord’s message. This would be a great book for parents who are homeschooling.  I found this book helpful in allowing me to visualize the locations in the Bible.  This is a great book to add to my home Bible reference library (with my Bible, concordance, study Bible). 
Travel to Israel and the West Bank and be sure to check out these impressive holy sites! #visitisrael #bethlehem #jerusalem
The Basic Bible Atlas is available from Amazon*.  Thank you for joining me today.  Tomorrow I am featuring Love and Marriage at Harpers by Rosie Clarke.  It is the second book in Welcome to Harpers Emporium series.  May you have a chipper day. By the way. . . What building has the most stories?  The Library! Take care, stay safe at home and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

The Best Book & Reading Memes – That Help Justify Your Love For Books – An Intentional Life
*This post contains affiliate links.

My Fair Latte by Vickie Fee

My Fair Latte (Cafe Cinema Mystery Series, #1)
Good Day!  I hope you and your family are well.  These are difficult times with each day bringing news of more closures, the number of those affected rising, and more deaths.  I never thought I would see the day when it was dangerous to go to the grocery store.  I am thankful that I have plenty of things to keep me busy at home (my house has endless projects).  I am also grateful for books, television, puzzles and my craft room.  We need to find activities to keep us busy and engaged.  Mental health is just as important as physical health.  We need to keep our spirits up and think positive.  
Art Deco Theater Panama City Fl unusualbuildings #artdecobuildings #cinemaarchitecture #cinematheatre #theater #artdecostil #artdecohome #artdecofurniture #artnouveau
My Fair Latte by Vickie Fee has Halley Greer inheriting the Star Movie Palace in Utopia Springs, Arkansas from Leon, her great uncle.  With help from her new friends, Halley begins sprucing up the art deco theater (on a budget) where she plans on showing classic films.  She is adding a coffee and wine bar in the lobby in addition to selling movie theater staples.  Renovations are going well until someone breaks in one night and judiciously uses spray paint on her completed mural behind the coffee bar along with a message to go home.  Halley has no intention of backing down or leaving.  She quickly repairs the damage before her grand opening.  Halley is pleased with the opening night turnout for My Fair Lady.  Things are going well until one of the attendees is found dead in his seat during intermission.  Unfortunately, Halley becomes Detective Stedman’s prime suspect.  She works with her friends to clear her name and find the killer.  Will they be successful, or will it be curtains for Halley?
Beacon Theater Ticket Booth, via Flickr. | Old movie house ticket ... -  - #Beacon #Booth #Flickr #House #movie #Theater #Ticket
My Fair Latte by Vickie Fee is the debut A Café Cinema Mystery series.  Halley Greer has come to Utopia Springs, Arkansas to exam her inheritance from her Great Uncle Leon.  Halley was surprised her left her the Star Movie Palace since she had not seen him since she was a child.  She has not been able to get the complete story from her mother as to the reason for the estrangement.  She is grateful that the art deco movie house includes an apartment.  Unfortunately, Leon was not big on housekeeping and had enough items stuffed into the apartment to outfit a thrift store.  She quickly makes friends who help her fix up the theater on a limited budget.  The attendance is good for opening night of My Fair Lady and patrons seem to like Halley’s addition of the coffee and wine bar.  The group is ready to celebrate until a guest is found dead in his seat during intermission.  Detective Stedman has Halley at the top of his suspect list.  Halley, with help from her friends, works to uncover the victim’s killer.  My Fair Latte is a fun cozy mystery with humor, a mystery, and old movie references.  Halley is a down on her luck barista who does not have a good relationship with her mother.  The inheritance came along at a good time for Halley, but she is surprised that Leon left her the theater.  I wish the author had given more background information on Halley.  I found it lacking.  I hope she will provide more details on Halley in the next A Café Cinema Mystery.  Trudy and George Mayfield are delightful people.  They are warm, open and kindhearted.   Trudy also is a fabulous cook.  They are quick to help Halley and Trudy introduces her to Kendra Williams who owns Hidden Clue Escape Rooms (my type of entertainment).  The story moved along at a steady pace and I liked Vickie Fee’s conversational writing style.  The mystery had some interesting details, but it is a cinch to solve.  One little detail gives away the identity of the guilty party.  There was misdirection along with suspicious characters who could have done the evil deed.  I liked the old movie references and the descriptions of the beautiful art deco details.  I thought it was clever to add a coffee and wine bar in the theater (I do not drink either, but I imagine this will attract adult clientele).  My Fair Latte is a charming story with art deco décor, magnificent movies, a dear head named Derek, a jumble of junk, interrupted intermission, copious quantities of coffee and a dogged detective.  
My Fair Lady - Poster
My Fair Latte is available from Amazon*.  Thank you for reading my review.  Tomorrow I am sharing my thoughts on Love and Marriage at Harpers by Rosie Clarke.  It is the second novel in Welcome to Harpers Emporium series.  Both books are available through Kindle Unlimited.  I hope you have a sunny day.  Now for a little humor. . . He said "Books or me."  I sometimes remember him when I am buying new books.  Take care, stay safe and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Super Vintage Fashion Dresses Audrey Hepburn My Fair Lady 22+ Ideas #fashion #vintage
*This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sunsets, Sabbatical and Scandal by Tonya Kappes

Sunsets, Sabbatical and Scandal: A Camper and Criminals Cozy Mystery Series Book 10 by [Kappes, Tonya]
Happy Sunday!  I received twenty-two new books from NetGalley this past week (this is what happens when you have too much time to surf NetGalley).  Some of the titles include Proof of Murder by Lauren Elliott (April 28), Pulp Friction by Julie Anne Lindsey (April 28), Unyielding Hope by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan (May 5), Storing Up Trouble by Jen Turano (May 5), The Promise by Patrica Davids, South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber (July 21), Peace in the Valley by Kelly Irvin (August 4), and Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger (October 6).  Thank heavens for my Excel spreadsheet which helps me keep track of the books I have promised to review.  Is there an upcoming book you are eager to read?
Paul amendment to allow Daniel Boone National Forest land sale unsuccessful #hiking #camping #outdoors #nature #travel #backpacking #adventure #marmot #outdoor #mountains #photography
Sunsets, Sabbatical and Scandal by Tonya Kappes has Mae West busy at Happy Trails Campground in Normal, Kentucky.  She is thankful for book club night so she can enjoy a quiet evening with her Laundry Club friends.  Mae has just arrived when she hears Abby scream.  They find her outside the Normal Diner where Mae goes in to find longtime and beloved waitress, Trudy Bull dead.  Trudy was supposed to a plus one at a wedding that evening and no one seems to know why she had returned to the diner.  The only thing missing from Trudy’s belongings is her cell phone which she always kept handy.  Detective Hank Sharp has little to go on and warns Mae to keep her nose out of the investigation.  She begins thinking up suspects before Hank finishes the sentence.  The next day, Dottie and Mae begin assembling information on their “murder board” (the write on/wipe off board in the campground office).  To talk to Trudy’s plus one, Mae will have to return to her hometown which she is reluctant to do, but she will if it will help to get justice for Trudy.  Mae has another worrying matter on her mind.  She received a call from the bank telling her that a hacker drained her account.  A handful of other residents have experienced the same problem.  Who is behind these hacks?  Can Mae and the Laundry Club find who murdered Trudy?
Bring your vintage trailer and camp at the Inn Town Campground.
Sunsets, Sabbatical and Scandal by Tonya Kappes is the tenth novel in A Campers & Criminals Cozy Mystery series.  Each book in the series can be read on its own.  It is always fun to visit Normal, Kentucky with its quirky residents.  Mae West has just arrived for book club with the Laundry Club gals when she hears a woman screaming.  They find Abby Fawn pointing at the Normal Diner where Trudy Bull, a beloved waitress, is dead.  The motive was not robbery since her purse still has money inside, but Trudy’s cell phone (which she always had with her) is missing.  Mae along with the ladies of the Laundry Club work to solve the crime despite Hank’s warning to stay out of his investigation.  Mae must return to her hometown of Perrysburg to speak with the man Trudy was seen with the evening she died.  There are a handful of suspects in this whodunit. Mae gets bad news from the bank.  It turns out that someone has hacked her bank account and drained it.  Mae and a handful of other local residents were affected.  The police are working with the FBI to identify the evildoer.  I was able to recognize the murderer and the hacker early in the book but that did not hinder my enjoyment of this fun cozy mystery. With Mae returning to her hometown, we get to learn more about her plus Mae learns some startling information.  I like Tonya Kappes’ engaging writing style which makes the book a delight to read.  There is humor sprinkled throughout the story.  I enjoy the descriptions of Normal with its quaint shops and surrounded by the National Boone National Forest.  There are recipes and RV hacks at the end of the book.  Sunsets, Sabbatical and Scandal is a merry book with a harsh hacker, a cozy campground, out of the blue news, a pocketed phone, happy hikers and a meaningless murder.
Sunsets, Sabbatical and Scandal releases on March 24.  You can pre-order it here*.  You can find the rest of the novels in A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery series here.  All the books in the series are available on Kindle Unlimited.  The next book in this series is Tents, Trails and Turmoil which will be out on April 28. Thank you for dropping by today.  My Fair Latte by Vickie Fee  is on deck for tomorrow.  It is debut of A Cafe Cinema Mystery series.  May you have a peaceful day.  I want to leave you with a book pun.  I just wrote a book on reverse psychology.  Do not read it! (Did you laugh or groan?) Take care, stay safe, and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
reading, book, picture book, girl, Tent, and attic
*This post contains affiliate links.