Thursday, February 25, 2021

Frothy Foul Play by Tonya Kappes

 

Book Summary

Frothy Foul Play by Tonya Kappes has the town of Honey Springs buzzing about the opening of Crissy Lane’s Bee Happy Resort with its holistic health spa.  Roxy Bloom is curious as to the identity of Crissy’s investor, but Crissy is keeping the person’s identity under wraps.  She has made Roxy promise to attend the grand opening, but Roxy has a staffing problem.  Loretta Bebe happens to have a solution with her granddaughter, Birdie.  Roxy might have her hands full with Birdie whose behavioral problems are the reasons she is in Honey Springs.  Tom Foster is a reporter with Healthy Women’s Magazine who plans to do a feature on Crissy’s new spa.  After Tom has an encounter with Birdie, Roxy learns that the reporter is known for his caustic reviews that have caused enterprises to go out of business.  At the grand opening, Roxy is looking out of the window of a guest room when she observes someone killing Tom Foster.  Unfortunately, Roxy’s new employee becomes the prime suspect and Loretta insists on Roxy using her skills to prove Birdie’s innocence.  Can Roxy clear Birdie’s name or will Loretta’s granddaughter become one caged bird?

My Thoughts

Frothy Foul Play by Tonya Kappes is the 9th novel in A Killer Coffee Mystery series.  It can be read as a standalone for those new to the series.  Everything a reader needs to know is included.  Roxy Bloom owns the Bean Hive in Honey Springs, Kentucky where she roasts her own beans for unique blends of coffee for her customers plus bakes up sweet treats.  She is happily married to Patrick Cane and they have two fur babies at home.  I always enjoy diving into one of Tonya Kappes’ lighthearted tales.  I like the author’s conversational writing style which makes the story a joy to read.  This humorous tale moved along at a quick pace which had me finishing it in a couple of hours.  The series has a cast of developed, quirky characters that includes Maxi Bloom, Loretta Bebe, and Bunny.  The author’s word imagery brought the town to life for me.  The interactions between Roxy and Birdie are great.  I like Birdie who is a great addition to the series.   The mystery surrounding the death of Tom Foster had several good suspects.  Anyone of them could have done the deed.  There are clues to help the reader solve the crime if you are paying close attention.  There is a secondary mystery that is driving Roxy crazy.  She wants to know the identity of Crissy’s investor.  The person is quite a shocker.  Pepper and Sassy are so cute, and I love reading about their antics.  There is an adorable black kitten up for adoption who needs a forever home and a name.  The humor scattered throughout the story keeps it fun and lighthearted.  I enjoyed visiting Honey Springs, Kentucky and I look forward to catching up the Bean Hive family again soon.   Frothy Foul Play is a lively cozy mystery with a cute kitten, a departed reporter, killer coffee, a covert backer, a new employee, and a bevy of baked goods.

Frothy Foul Play is available from Amazon* along with the other novels in A Killer Coffee Mystery series.  You can find Tonya Kappes' other novels here.  Tonya Kappes has Paddlers, Promises, and Poison publishing on March 25.  It is the 16th A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery.  Thank you for visiting today.  I am a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour tomorrow for A Side of Murder by Amy Pershing. It is the debut of A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery series.  I hope you will join me and that you have a peaceful day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


Kris

The Avid Reader


*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Werewolves of London by Angie Fox

 

Book Summary

Werewolves of London by Angie Fox has Dr. Petra Robichaud being asked an important question when an interrupted by an emergency.  Galen has returned wounded and he has brought a severely wounded woman with him.  Galen broke her heart when he left.  Petra may have moved on with Marc, but she has not forgotten the wonderful warrior.  She does not have time to dwell on the repercussions of Galen’s return because the cease fire is over.  Wounded begin pouring into the camp and to top it off, a new prophecy is announced. As if Petra does not have enough going on, she receives an invitation to Medusa’s baby shower.  The Gorgon will soon give birth, but first Petra must come up with a baby gift before her transport arrives.  What role will Petra play in the latest prophecy?  Why does Galen’s return signal?  Is there a way to end this blasted war forever? 

My Thoughts

Werewolves of London by Angie Fox is the final novel in The Monster MASH trilogy.  While this paranormal tale can be read as a standalone, I recommend reading the series in order.  It will give you a better understanding of the characters and what is happening.  Angie Fox has given us another engaging story with unique characters, interesting storyline, and plenty of humor.  Everything comes to a head in Werewolves of London.  There is plenty going on in this book.  Petra’s current boyfriend, Marc is ready for the next step, but Petra has yet to get over Galen.  Galen, the former demigod, returns with a wounded dragon shifter who has had dreams of Petra, the one who can see the dead.  The cease fire is over which has wounded pouring into the MASH unit.  They need to keep Galen and his guest under wraps.  Petra will have to trust others if they are going to pull it off.  A new prophecy is announced that involves Petra and a bronze weapon.  It is time for Medusa’s baby shower and Petra’s attendance is requested (it is not a good idea to say no to a pregnant Gorgon).  Medusa will give birth soon and Petra has no idea what to expect.  Petra must also figure out which man is the right one for her.  I laughed often while reading the Werewolves of London. Medusa’s baby shower and the Gorgon birth were a riot.  I enjoy Angie Fox’s conversational writing style which makes her stories a joy to read.  The climax was fabulous with a charming ending.  Werewolves of London is a diverting tale with outrageous oracles, a crazed chimera, a gorgeous Galen, a wistful werewolf, an offbeat baby shower, a bothersome bronze blade, and puzzling prophecies.  

Werewolves of London can be obtained from Amazon*.  The other novels in The Monster MASH Trilogy are The Monster MASH and The Transylvania Twist.  You can find Angie Fox's other novels here.  Angie has The Haunted Homecoming releases August 17.  It is the 10th book in The Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries starring Verity Long, Frankie, and Lucy.  Thank you for stopping by today and reading my review.  On Thursday, I am featuring Frothy Foul Play by Tonya Kappes.  It is the 9th A Killer Coffee Mystery.  I hope you have a killer day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


Kris

The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Farm to Trouble by Amanda Flower

 

Book Summary

Farm to Trouble by Amanda Flower has Shiloh Bellamy returning home to Cherry Glen, Michigan after fifteen years.  Her father needs her help revitalizing the family farm.  Shiloh intends to turn it into an organic farm-to-fork farm with, eventually, a café.  In order to accomplish her goals, Shiloh needs an investor and her father left it up to her.  Unfortunately, Shiloh picked the wrong man with Jefferson Crocker who has his own agenda.  Shiloh had no idea that the man has been buying up surrounding land for a wind farm that the whole town is against.  Shiloh arrives at the farmer’s market to meet Crocker the next day and finds him dead from a gunshot wound next to the honey booth.  The owner of the booth is quick to point her finger at Shiloh as the guilty party.  Police Chief Randy Killian has Shiloh at the top of his suspect list as well as her father, Sully.  Before Shiloh can get to work on fixing up the farm, she must find Crocker’s killer.  

My Thoughts

Farm to Trouble by Amanda Flower is the first book in A Farm to Table Mystery series.  It contains Amanda Flower’s engaging writing style that makes the story easy to read.  The author took the time to develop the characters and establish the setting.  Shiloh Bellamy left Cherry Glen, Michigan fifteen years ago after the death of her fiancé, Logan.  Her father, Sully injured his back and has asked Shiloh to return to help with the family farm.  She quits her job, sells her home, and cashes in her 401K.  Unfortunately, her father had sizeable debts which took all of Shiloh’s funds.  She now needs an investor if she is to restore the farm and make it a success as an organic farm.  Unfortunately, Shiloh is not privy to the local gossip and picks the wrong man to invest in the venture.  When the investor ends up dead, Shiloh along with her father are prime suspects.  Shiloh talks to various people in the town trying to get information to help her solve the murder. I hope we see more active investigating in future books along with action.  There were little things that pointed at the killers’ identity.  There is a secondary mystery involving money that Grandma Bellamy saved and hid away for Shiloh.  She needs to figure out the clues if she wants to find it and save the farm.  I like that we get to know Shiloh, her father, her cousin, various friends of Shiloh’s, and some of the townspeople.  I enjoyed the descriptions of the Cherry Glen and the farm.  Huckleberry, Shiloh’s pug dog, is a show stealer.  He is such a cutie.  Other scene stealers are Esmerelda the cat and Hazel, Quinn Killian’s eleven-year-old daughter.  I have a feeling there will be a romance blooming between Quinn and Shiloh in the future.  I thought the author captured the small town feel especially with the people’s attitudes.   This was a cute story that I enjoyed reading.  I look forward to the next A Farm to Table Mystery.  Farm to Trouble is a charming cozy mystery with gossip galore, an insatiable investor, a high-strung hound named Huckleberry, tasty cherry treats, a cute convertible, and a mystifying treasure quest.  

Farm to Trouble is available from Amazon*.  Amanda Flower has Lemon Drop Dead coming out April 27.  It is the 6th book in An Amish Candy Shop Mystery series.  You can find Amanda Flower's other novels here.  Thank you for visiting today.  Tomorrow I am reviewing Werewolves of London by Angie Fox.  It is the third and final book in The Monster MASH Trilogy.  I hope that all of you have a cheery day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


Kris

The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Monday, February 22, 2021

Wedding Day and Foul Play by Duffy Brown: A Book Blast with Giveaway!

 

Wedding Day and Foul Play (A Consignment Shop Mystery) by Duffy Brown

 

Wedding Day and Foul Play (A Consignment Shop Mystery)

Wedding cake on top of the table, a dead body underneath and a favorite auntie accused of putting it there is no way to start a marriage.

It’s been one-hundred-and-eighty-three days and fourteen hours since Reagan Summerside tripped across yet another dead body but hopes of her Savannah wedding to Walker Boone going off without a hitch are dashed, when a corpse is found under the cake table and Auntie KiKi is accused of putting it there. Can Reagan and Walker find the killer without him finding them first, or will their new address be Bonaventure Cemetery?

About Duffy Brown

 
Duffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She is a National Bestselling author and now conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own. She has two series the Consignment Shop Mysteries set in Savannah along with rescue pup Bruce Willis and the Cycle Path Mysteries set on Mackinac Island with judgmental cats Cleveland and Bambino. 

Author Links



Wedding Day and Foul Play is available from AmazonIt can also be borrowed through Kindle Unlimited.  You can find the other novels in A Consignment Shop Mystery series here.  Check out Duffy Brown's other novel here.  The other is giving away two of her Foul Day and Wedding Day totes.  If you would like to win, please leave a comment with your email address (so I can contact you if you win).  The contest ends on February 23 at 11:59 p.m.  Good Luck!  Thank you for visiting.  I will return tomorrow with Farm to Trouble by Amanda Flower.  It is the first book in A Farm to Table Mystery series.  I hope you have a carefree day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!

Kris

The Avid Reader

Wedding Day and Foul Play Book Blast


FEBRUARY 22 
















*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Mending Hearts by Janice Kay Johnson

 

Book Summary

Mending Hearts by Janice Kay Johnson has David Miller returning to Tompkin’s Mill after being absent for six years.  He fled after the death of his best friend and business partner, Levi.  David feels that Levi’s death was his fault, and the guilt has been eating at him.  The day after he returns, David encounters Miriam Bowman at a barn raising.  Miriam and Levi had been courting and most people believed they would soon announce their betrothal.  Miriam blames herself for Levi’s death.  She works at the local quilt shop and has yet to marry.  With the Bowman farm bordering David’s new property, they are thrown together frequently.  It gives them a chance to talk and they become friends.  David has loved Miriam since she was a teen, and his feelings continue to deepen.  He does not feel he is worthy of Miriam while she does not feel worthy of love.  Miriam and David need to overcome their feelings of guilt if they are to move forward with their lives and have a fulfilling future.

My Thoughts

Mending Hearts by Janice Kay Johnson is the 2nd A Tompkin’s Mill Novel.  It can be read as a standalone for those who have not read Turning Home.  I thought Mending Hearts was well-written with developed characters.  I like that we get to catch up with the characters from Turning Home.  David Miller and Miriam Bowman both feel guilt over the death of Levi.  Both of them need to come to terms with Levi’s death plus forgive themselves.  It is the only way they can move forward with their lives.  We see Miriam and David struggle with the guilt and loss of faith.  I like that we get to know Miriam and David as well as their families and community.  I like how the people in the community help each other.  If someone has a need, they are there to assist (whether they want it or not).  I thought Mending Hearts was an emotional novel about love, forgiveness, family, faith, and second chances.  I like the drama in the second half of the book.  It added another level of depth to the story.  We get to see Miriam and David struggling with their faith.  They are both having difficulty turning their troubles over to God and relying on Him.  I did find the pace of Mending Hearts to be a little slow at time plus there is repetition.  I also thought the story was a little long.  These small issues aside, I enjoyed Mending Hearts.  I especially loved the puppies (they sounded adorable) and Copper, the horse David was training.  Mending Hearts is a heartwarming Amish tale with buggy rides, barn raising, quality quilts, fixing fences, disquieting guilt, and a special someone.  

Mending Hearts publishes Tuesday, February 23 and it can be obtained from Amazon*.  Turning Home is the first A Tompkin's Mill NovelFinding Hope is the third A Tompkin's Mill Novel and it will publish on June 29.  I appreciate you stopping by today and reading my review.  Tomorrow I am sharing Farm to Trouble by Amanda Flower.  It is the beginning of A Farm to Table Mystery series.  I hope that you have a sparkling day.  Take care of yourself, be kind, and Happy Reading!

Kris

The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Berried Motives by Peg Cochran

 

Book Summary

Berried Motives by Peg Cochran has Monica Albertson baking cranberry treats while her brother is busy harvesting the cranberries.  Jeff tells Monica that they are going to appear on What’s Up West Michigan with Betsy DeJong.  They will film the harvest with Jeff explaining the process and Monica will give a tour of the farm store explaining the products the offer for sale including her baked goods.  Despite Jeff’s nervousness, the filming goes well.  Later that day, Betsy is found dead in a ditch near the farm.  One of Jeff’s employees ends up at the top of the suspect list. Monica does not believe the man committed the crime and sets out to prove it. 

My Thoughts

Berried Motives by Peg Cochran is the sixth novel in A Cranberry Cove Mystery series.  It can be read as a standalone if you are new to the series, but you will be missing out on some good stories.  I thought Berried Motives was well-written with developed, relatable characters.  The story moves along at a good pace.  The mystery was nicely done with multiple suspects along with misdirection.  Monica actively questions people in her quest to clear Jeff’s employee off the suspect list.  There are good clues to help readers solve the whodunit and the mystery was nicely wrapped up at the end.  I had a good time following the investigation and solving the crime.  It was interesting learning about cranberry harvesting.  It is a fascinating process.  The ending was happy and heartwarming.  There are recipes at the end for some of the items Monica made.  I enjoyed reading Berried Motives and I look forward to the next A Cranberry Cove Mystery.  Berried Motives is an engaging cozy mystery with cranberry bogs, a happy hound, scrumptious salsa, a departed reporter, a suspicious senatorial candidate, and a healthy harvest.

Berried Motives can be purchased from Amazon* along with the other novels in A Cranberry Cove Mystery series.  You can find Peg Cochran's other novels here.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will be featuring Mending Hearts by Janice Kay Johnson next time.  It is the second A Tompkin's Mill Novel.  I hope all of you have a fulfilling day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!

Kris

The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Friday, February 19, 2021

A Glimmer of Death by Valerie Wilson Wesley

 

Book Summary

A Glimmer of Death by Valerie Wilson Wesley has Odessa Jones working as a realtor at Risko Realty for the last few months in Grovesville, New Jersey.  She can smell nutmeg in Charlie’s office which Odessa knows means death.  That night Charlie is shot to death in his office.  Harley Wilde, a fellow realtor & who feeds Odessa’s coffee addiction, is arrested for the crime.  Odessa knows that Harley did not commit the crime.  She sets out to discover which of her co-workers could have murdered Charlie.  All of them seem to have a reason to want Charlie dead.  Odessa bakes up each co-worker’s favorite treat and sets out to question them.  She hopes her gift will guide her to the guilty party.  

My Thoughts

A Glimmer of Death by Valerie Wilson Wesley is the debut of the Odessa Jones Mysteries.  Odessa “Dessa” Jones is a widow who is still grieving the loss of her beloved husband.  They had a catering business together, but Dessa has not felt like cooking since her husband’s death.  This is what led Dessa to get her realtor’s license and begin working at Risko Realty.  Dessa was hoping for a cozy work atmosphere where she would make friends, but that is not the case at Risko Realty.  Charlie Risko has a temper, and the atmosphere is tense.  Odessa inherited the family “gift”, but she is wary of it and has never learned to use it.  We learn more about Odessa, her deceased husband, her “gift”, and her family as the book progresses.   A Glimmer of Death is told in the first-person point-of-view, so we are privy to all of Odessa’s thoughts (which can be rambling and repetitious).  I was not a fan of Odessa nor many of the other characters in this book.  The exception is Odessa’s two aunts. The murder of Charlie Risko has Odessa questioning her fellow realtors in hopes of revealing the killer.  She uses baked goods as a way to get into their homes and ask questions.  There are a handful of unlikeable suspects all with motive to kill Charlie (he was an odious man).  Most readers will have no problem solving this whodunit long before the reveal.  I had hoped it would be more of a challenge since there were so many suspects.  The clues were a bit too obvious.  I do want to let readers know there is, unfortunately, some mild foul language in the book.  I like the potential love interest for Odessa.  He is a kind man who is a former cop who now runs a killer barbecue joint.  He is also helpful to Odessa’s investigation.  I wanted to like A Glimmer of Death, but it is a lukewarm read for me.  I could not get into the book. I found it a dull read (boring, unlikeable characters, sluggish pacing, and an easy to solve mystery).  The paranormal element was light and confusing.  The story needed more excitement and action.  It is classified as a cozy mystery, but it lacked that cozy feel (charming small town with friendly residents).  The ending was anticlimactic and rushed.  This is the first book in the series, so I am hoping for improvement in the next Odessa Jones Mystery

A Glimmer of Death is available from Amazon*.  You can find Valerie Wilson Wesley's other novels here.  While this story was not for me, I suggest you obtain a sample to see if it is the right fit for you.  A Glimmer of Death can be borrowed through Kindle Unlimited.    The picture above is of the 7UP Pound Cake that Odessa makes in A Glimmer of Death (recipe in book).  Thank you for reading my review today.  I will be back tomorrow to share another book with you.  I hope you have a special day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


Kris

The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Amish Quiltmaker's Unexpected Baby by Jennifer Beckstrand

 

Book Summary

The Amish Quiltmaker’s Unexpected Baby by Jennifer Beckstrand has Esther Zook in a panic when her sister, Ivy takes off leaving her four-month-old baby behind.  Levi Kiem knocks on her door to look at the repairs needed on Esther’s second bathroom.  He is surprised when Esther drags him in the house and asks for help in changing the babies diaper.  Esther is skilled at making quilts, but she has no experience with infants.  Levi, thankfully, is the oldest of a large brood and plenty of experience.  Levi makes sure that his grandmother and mother visit Esther and provide her with some needed lessons.  Levi returns to work on the bathroom to find a frazzled Esther and a crying Winnie.  While Levi holds Winnie, he instructs on Esther on the bathroom remodel.  The arrangement works out well for them (since Winnie sleeps best in Levi’s arms) and it gives them a chance to get to know each other.  Levi makes it clear, though, that he can only be friends with Esther who is older than him by several years.  As the weeks go by, Levi finds himself admiring Esther’s fiery temper, keen mind, and caring nature.  Is it possible that God brought these two together for a special reason?

My Thoughts

The Amish Quiltmaker’s Unexpected Baby By Jennifer Beckstrand is the delightful beginning of The Amish Quiltmaker series.  I was drawn into The Amish Quiltmaker’s Unexpected Baby from the very first page.  I found myself staying up late so I could finish it (I did not want to stop reading).  I thought it was well-written with engaging, developed characters.  Esther Zook is thirty years old and has not been married.  Her father recently passed away and left her the family farm.  Selling the farm allowed Esther to get a new start in Colorado.  Esther has an artistic eye and makes beautiful quilts.  When her younger sister, Ivy leaves her infant daughter, Winter with her, it throws Esther into a tizzy.  Esther has no experience with babies.  Esther is a wonderful character. She likes to keep things behind one ear and you never know what it will be (seam ripper, carrot, chalk).  The author shows a realistic view of what it is like to care for an infant (the joys and the frustrations).  My favorite line from the book is, “The sound of a baby crying is the most stressful noise in the world.”  Levi Kiem is a local handyman in his early twenties.  He will be heading to Ohio in a few months to look for a bride since there is a lack of eligible women in their community.  Levi puts his foot (and sometimes his whole leg) into his mouth on more than one occasion when chatting with Esther.  I laughed often while reading this book.  I loved Esther’s keen mind and her interest in learning how to renovate the bathroom.  Levi kept trying to keep Esther from using his power tools (it was a losing battle).  It sounded like she created a gorgeous bathroom floor.  The Amish Quiltmaker’s Unexpected Baby is not all rainbows and sunshine.   Esther’s sister, Ivy is a piece of work.  She is a manipulative woman.  We get to see, though, that there is always two sides to every story.  Each person has their own perspective on a situation.  Levi’s grandmother, Hannah is another great character.  She is a quilter who has a blog with followers all over the world.  It was interesting learning about pickleball.  I had never heard of it before this book.  I liked that the author had the Amish in this story doing things that I have not seen in any other Amish novel.  I enjoyed reading this amusing and unique Amish novel.  Jennifer Beckstrand did it again with The Amish Quiltmaker’s Unexpected Baby.  I was sorry when the story ended.  I am eager to read The Amish Quiltmaker’s Unruly In-LawThe Amish Quiltmaker’s Unexpected Baby is a charming Amish tale with quality quilts, a blubbering baby, a scheming sister, power tool turmoil, pickleball play, and a tile tour de force.

The Amish Quiltmaker's Unexpected Baby releases February 23 and can be preordered on Amazon*.  The next novel in The Amish Quiltmaker series is The Amish Quiltmaker's Unruly In-Law which publishes June 29.   I cannot wait to read it.  Thank you for joining me today.  I hope that you have a comfortable day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!

Kris

The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Best Laid Plans by Gwen Florio

 

Book Summary

Best Laid Plans by Gwen Florio has Nora Best and her husband, Joe having a farewell party before they depart the next day.  They are going to travel the country with their new truck and tricked out Airstream.  Nora will be working on her second book plus doing freelance assignments and keeping a blog.  Nora overindulges in tequila and heads inside her sold home to the restroom.  She discovers Joe and his best friend’s wife in flagrante delicto in the restroom.  Nora jumps into the truck with the Airstream hooked up to it and takes off.  She is not going to let the fact she has no idea how to drive the truck or tow an airstream hinder her.  Nora ends up at a campground in Wyoming outside Blackbird where she immediately falls asleep.  When she wakes up, Nora enjoys a dinner of elk steak and bourbon with campground caretakers Miranda and Brad. Nora is awakened the next morning by Miranda pounding on her door. It turns out that Brad is missing and there is a large brownish stain on the ground.  Sheriff Duncan is quick to pin the crime on Nora especially after compromising evidence is found in her airstream.  Nora has no choice but to prove her innocence unless she wants her next adventure to be incarcerated in prison.

My Thoughts

Best Laid Plans by Gwen Florio is the first book in A Nora Best Mystery series.  Nora Best has just turned fifty and is about to make some big changes.  Nora and her husband, Joe have quit their jobs and sold their home.  They have purchased a truck and an Airstream.  They are going to travel around the country with Nora writing her second book, a travel blog, and taking freelance writing assignments (which will pay for their adventures).  During the farewell party, Nora enters the bathroom to find her husband and his best friend’s wife in a compromising position.  Nora decides to begin her adventure early by taking off with the truck and Airstream.  Nora soon finds herself arrested for murder and she needs to uncover who is setting her up.  I was taken with the concept of this series.  Our protagonist traveling around and solving mysteries.  I liked that Nora is a woman my own age (a rarity in cozy mysteries).  I was, though, put off with the significant amount of foul language, alcohol, and talk of intimate situations.  The story is told from Nora’s point-of-view which turned me off because of her thoughts (and they say men have a one track mind).  I can understand that Nora has had some shocks, but I wish she had acted logically.  An example is when the attorney tells her that the police will soon have a warrant and will be searching her Airstream for further evidence.  I would go through the trailer with a fine-tooth comb.  Nora heads off to the lake to enjoy the view. I was hoping the whodunit would redeem the book, but I was disappointed.  It can easily be solved early in the book thanks to one little detail.  I thought the book contained many unneeded details along with repetition of information and the second half was a little off the rails (headed to crazy town).  As you can tell, I was not the right audience for Best Laid Plans.  Nora is an unlikeable protagonist who I would not let near my husband (if I had one).  She begins ogling a man less than two days after leaving her husband and has thoughts of doing more than sharing a dinner with him.  I also tired of hearing about the husband’s perfect tush.  Best Laid Plans is an outrageous mystery tale with a missing man, a ravenous bear, a razor-sharp axe, an awesome Airstream, scrumptious pie, and a remarkable ranger.  

Best Laid Plans is available from Amazon*.  You can find Gwen Florio's other novels here.  Thank you for reading my book review today.  Next time I am featuring The Amish Quiltmaker's Unexpected Baby by Jennifer Beckstrand.  It is the first book in The Amish Quiltmaker series.    I hope you have a serene day.  I am off to switch out my  Valentine's decorations outside for St. Patrick's Day decorations.  I have a six foot tall leprechaun blowup as well as garden flags and lights.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


Kris

The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The Preacher's Son by Patricia Johns

 

Book Summary

The Preacher’s Son by Patricia Johns takes us to Bountiful, Pennsylvania where Abe Yoder was recently sentenced to prison for fraud.  Abe’s misdeeds have caused his son and two daughters to lose the family farm which has them living with their father’s brother and his family.  Isaiah also lost the respect and trust of the community.  He wants to regain the community’s trust for himself and his sisters.  He knows the easy solution would be to move, but Isaiah has intention of departing Bountiful.  Isaiah is in town at the bus station looking for his sister, Lovina who could no longer handle the shame.  Isaiah runs into Bethany Glick whose family owns the bookbinding shop.  Bethany is not pleased to see Isaiah because her family lost money in Abe’s scheme which delays her father’s retirement also her fiance, Micah left to join the Englischers because of Abe.  Nathaniel Glick needs help in the bookbinding shop now that Micah has departed.  He agrees to give Isaiah a trial.  Bethany resents Isaiah’s presence, but she admits they need his strength plus he picks up the work quickly.  Micah asked Isaiah to watch out for Bethany and he can see that she could use a friend.  Isaiah learns that Bethany is in a fix and could use his help.  The last thing Bethany wants is Isaiah’s assistance, but she does not know who else to turn to.  What does the future hold for Bethany and Isaiah?

My Thoughts

The Preacher’s Son by Patricia Johns is the first book in The Infamous Amish series.  I thought The Preacher’s Son was well-written with developed characters.  I enjoyed the unique storyline.  The story moved along at a quick pace with drama, heartache, romance, sorrow, and shame.  In the beginning, I did feel like I had been dropped into the middle of an intriguing drama.  The details are soon provided.  I think a prologue would have helped.  The Preacher’s Son is an emotional story (have a hankie handy).  Isaiah is the preacher’s son who dreamed of becoming a preacher himself one day.  He lost everything thanks to his charismatic father:  his reputation, the family farm, a home, money, stability, the trust of the community, and one of his sisters.  Lovina Yoder left Bountiful because she could not handle the shame related to her father’s crime.  Bethany Glick was looking forward to her upcoming wedding to Micah when he jumped the fence.  Her father lost money to Abe Yoder’s scheme which puts off his retirement and he lost an employee when Micah left.  Bethany finds herself in a dilemma with no fiancé or wedding.  I felt bad for Isaiah who trusted his father.  He is determined to stay in Bountiful and provide for his sisters (Elizabeth is still with him and he hopes that Lovina will return).  I liked the information on bookbinding.  It was presented in an easy-to-understand manner and it was interesting.  I devoured this engaging Amish novel in just a couple of hours.  I enjoyed the ending and appreciated the epilogue that nicely wrapped it up.  I am looking forward to reading The Preacher’s Daughter which gives us Elizabeth’s story.  The Preacher’s Son is an appealing Amish novel with shattered trust, a missing sister, a fence jumping fiancé, a sympathetic bishop,  and a sticky wicket of a situation.

The Preacher's Son is available from Amazon*.  The Preacher's Daughter is the next novel in The Infamous Amish series.  It publishes on May 25 and can be pre-ordered from Amazon*.  You can find Patricia Johns other novels here.  Thank you for stopping by today and reading my review.  Tomorrow I am featuring Best Laid Plans by Gwen Florio.  It is the first book in A Nora Best Mystery series.  If you enjoy Amish novels, you will want to read The Amish Quiltmaker's Unexpected Baby by Jennifer Beckstrand.  It is a delightful Amish tale that releases February 23.  I hope you have a remarkable day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


Kris

The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.




Monday, February 15, 2021

Murder Ink by Betty Hechtman

 

Book Summary

Murder Ink by Betty Hechtman has Veronica Blackstone working as a writer for hire when she gets writer’s block while working on her second mystery novel.  She has been hired to write booklet for Rachel Parkers memorial service to celebrate her life.  Veronica had worked with Rachel and her then fiancé, Luke to polish their wedding vows a year ago.  She is shocked when she learned Rachel was dead.  Veronica finds it equally odd that the death been deemed undetermined.  Rachel’s family is more concerned with how it looks and reflects on them than on getting the truth.  Veronica feels that something is off about the situation.  While gathering information for the memorial booklet, Veronica decides to find about more about Rachel’s last days as well to see if she can discover the truth.  

My Thoughts

Murder Ink by Betty Hechtman is the first book in A Writer for Hire Mystery series.  This story is told in the first person from Veronica Blackstone’s point-of-view.  Veronica had a successful first book, but she is having trouble completing the second book.  While waiting for inspiration to hit, Veronica has become a writer for hire as well as a writing coach.  She is hired by Evan to write a letter to a co-worker in the hopes of getting him a date.  Evan is a nervous man who can use all the help he can get.  Veronica also gets hired by Mrs. Parker to create a celebration of life booklet for her recently deceased daughter, Rachel.  Veronica is shocked that the vibrant Rachel is dead.  She worked with Rachel and her then fiancé’, Luke to polish their wedding vows a year ago.  There are some unanswered questions regarding Rachel’s death and Veronica sets out to fill in the blanks.  Murder Ink was easy to read with some quirky characters.  I liked the storyline involving Evan.  It was humorous.  I am not a fan of stories told in the first person and that includes Murder Ink.  We get too much of what Veronica thinks as well as repetition of information.  I thought the pacing was a little slow.  It could have been peppier (it does pick up near the end).  The mystery was straightforward, though, I did not feel it was the main focus of the book.  Veronica did ask people questions but I felt she missed the mark at times.  There was some suspicious activity that made the mystery more interesting.  I thought that Veronica got lucky with the solution.  I found it easy to sus out the guilty party (might as well have been a neon arrow over the persons head).  The mystery wrapped up quickly.  If I did not know better, I would think this was the author’s first cozy mystery.  I did enjoy the descriptions of Chicago and Veronica’s neighborhood.  There were some interesting tidbits about buildings relating back to the Chicago Worlds Fair.  I also enjoyed the writer’s group and Veronica’s downstairs neighbor.   Will I read the next book in A Writer for Hire Mystery series?  I believe I will skip it as this series is not a good fit for me.  Murder Ink is an easygoing cozy mystery with a matchmaking stay-at-home mom, a undefine death, invigorating dance classes, a nervous Nellie, a troublesome television, and a cute cop.

Murder Ink is available from Amazon*.  You can find Betty Hechtman's other novels here.  Ms. Hechtman writes A Yarn Retreat Mystery series and A Crochet Mystery series.    Thank you for reading my review.  The Preacher's Son by Patricia Johns will be featured next time.  It is the first book in The Infamous Amish series.  I hope you have a sunny day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!

Kris

The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.