Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Amish Holiday Vendetta by Laura Scott

 Amish Holiday Vendetta
Book Summary

An Amish widow. An Englischer with a past.

Who’s the real target this Christmas?

Attacked in her barn just before Christmas, Amish quilter Elizabeth Walton doesn’t know why someone wants to harm her. But when gunfire narrowly misses Elizabeth and furniture maker David McKay, the 
Englischer fears his past has put them both in the crosshairs. David’s determined to protect the pretty widow…but is his presence the real danger? Or is there another motive behind the deadly threats?
My Thoughts

Amish Holiday Vendetta by Laura Scott is a page turner.  I was quickly drawn into the story.  I liked the main characters, Elizabeth Walton and David McKay.  They are characters that you will root for.  There is mystery and suspense.  I enjoyed all the action (you never knew what would happen next) which kept the story lively.  There is romance (naturally).  Elizabeth and David grow close during this challenging time in their lives.  Elizabeth is a widow who did not have a happy marriage.  The last thing Elizabeth wants is to marry again.  Elizabeth works hard making and selling her beautiful quilts as well as doing the chores around the house and taking care of her deceased husband’s mother (who likes to be waited on).  David is a woodworker who lives like the Amish (without modern amenities), but he is an Englisher.  I like that we get to catch up with the characters (Shauna and Liam) from Hiding in Plain Sight.  Amish Holiday Vendetta can be read as a standalone, but you are missing out on a captivating tale.  Elizabeth’s faith is strong while David’s faith is new.  They both trust God to get them through the difficulty.  I like that they turned to God for assistance in their time of need (instead of taking matters into their own hands).  I loved the ending which left me smiling.  The author combined mystery, suspense, and romance into one fetching tale.  Amish Holiday Vendetta is an engaging story with a demanding mother-in-law, a barn break in, perilous shots, a strongminded suitor, a caring community, and a dreadful discovery.

Amish Holiday Vendetta is available from Amazon*.  Laura Scott has Deadly Amish Abduction coming out on May 23, 2023 (I cannot wait to read it).  You can find Laura Scott's other novels here. Thank you for stopping by today.  I cannot believe it is the last day of November.  The month went by swiftly.  I need to start working on my Christmas tree.  Tomorrow I will share my thoughts on Coming Home by Shelley Shepard Gray.  It is the debut of A Woodland Park Firefighters Romances.  I hope you have a happy day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


Kris

The Avid Reader 

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Steeped in Secrets by Laura Elliott

Steeped in Secrets
Book Summary

Flat broke and divorced, intuitive gemologist Shay Myers has changed since leaving her artsy hometown of coastal Bray Harbor sixteen years ago. But when she moves back under strange circumstances, old instincts may be the only key to spilling the tea on a deadly mystery.
 
Even with her life in ruins in New Mexico, Shay feels uneasy about settling into the small seaside town where she grew up on California’s Monterey Peninsula and taking over an estate bequeathed to her by Bridget Early, a woman she had barely known. Her heightened senses—an empathic gift she’s had since childhood—go into overdrive upon touring Crystals & CuriosiTEAS, Bridget’s eclectic tea and psychic shop brimming with Irish lore and Celtic symbols. They reach a boiling point when Shay looks up to discover a stranger’s body sprawled across the shop’s greenhouse roof . . .
 
With her new business a crime scene and questions brewing over Bridget’s so-called accidental death, Shay fears she’s also inherited the attention of a killer. The terrifying realization sets her on an impractical investigation for answers aided by her sister, an elusive pure-white German Shepherd, a strikingly handsome pub owner who speaks in a gentle brogue, and a misunderstood young woman with perceptive talents of her own. As Shay struggles to figure out her true purpose in Bray Harbor and the powerful connection she has with the tea shop, she must trust her judgment above all else to identify a ruthless murderer and save herself from becoming victim number three.
My Thoughts

Steeped in Secrets by Lauren Elliott is the debut of A Crystals & CuriosiTEAS Mysteries.  Shayleigh “Shay” Myers returns to Bray Harbor, California with her life in a disarray.  Her ex-husband cheated on Shay, swindled her out of her jewelry store, and has ruined her reputation as a gemologist.    Shay has inherited Bridget Early’s shop and beach cottage, but she does not know why Bridget left them to her.  Shay is touring the Crystals & CuriosiTEAS with the realtor when they discover a man dead on the roof of the greenhouse.  Shay does not like how Sheriff Frank Burrows is railroading the local pub owner.  She decides to do a little investigating to see what she can uncover.  Shay gets help from her sister and Bridget’s special dog named Spirit.  She also uses her empathic gifts in her quest for the truth.

I enjoyed reading Steeped in Secrets.  Shay is an interesting character.  I liked learning about Shay and her special gift.  I have a feeling we have just scratched the surface.  There is an eclectic cast of secondary characters that includes the charming Liam who owns the pub next to Shay’s shop.  I enjoyed the descriptions of Bray Harbor.  The mystery was interesting, but I wish it had not been so easy to solve.  I enjoyed following Shay as she searched for clues and asked questions.  Her special gift guides her along with Spirit, Brigit’s dog (now Shay’s dog).  Shay still has questions regarding her inheritance and her ancestry.  We will have to wait for the next book to learn more.  My one negative comment is I was not fond of the repetitive details (I got it the first time).  Steeped in Secrets was a fun book to read.  Steeped in Secrets is a spirited tale with a smarmy ex-spouse, enigmatic inheritance, an appealing pub owner, a dishonest sheriff, a mysterious dead man, and empathic capabilities.  

Steeped in Secrets is available from Amazon*.  Lauren Elliott has Dedication to Murder coming out April 25.  It is the 9th A Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery.   You can find Lauren Elliott's other novels here.  Thank you for joining me today.  Tomorrow I am sharing my thoughts on Amish Holiday Vendetta by Laura Scott.  I hope that you have a fascinating day.  I am off to work outside on my Christmas decorations.  I am doing Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree with Santa (Santa singing into a microphone, Santa playing guitar, Santa with a boombox). I also have a small snowman band to go with it as well as a snowman playing a saxophone.  I am hoping it will turn out.  Take care and Happy Reading!


Kris

The Avid Reader 

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

The Whittiers by Danielle Steel

 The Whittiers

Book Summary

Preston and Constance Whittier have built a happy life together, with a brood of six children raised in a beautiful historic Manhattan mansion. Now, with a nearly empty nest, it’s easier than ever for the Whittiers to maintain their tradition of a solo romantic “Wintermoon” ski trip.

But with this year’s trip comes tragedy, and suddenly the Whittiers’ adult children find themselves reuniting in the family home without their parents for the first time ever. The oldest, Lyle, is reaching a breaking point in his marriage and must decide whether a divorce would be best for him and his two children. Gloria’s big job on Wall Street has kept her single at thirty-nine, and growing ever more cynical. The twins, Caroline and Charlie, moved out long ago to start a fashion business that may now be faltering. Benjie, with special needs, is hit hard by the loss of his parents and needs his siblings’ help. And Annabelle, the youngest, drops out of college and starts to spin out of control.

The eldest four are forced to put aside their personal issues and their grief to keep the family together and support each other and their two youngest siblings. Selling the house, along with all the memories that live in its walls, feels like yet another devastating loss. Could there be another way, as unconventional as it seems?

In 
The Whittiers, Danielle Steel delivers an inspiring story about the everlasting bonds of one unforgettable family.
My Thoughts

I enjoyed reading The Whittiers by Danielle Steel.  Preston and Constance Whittier go on a “wintermoon” each year.  Unfortunately, this one was their last.  We see how their six adult children cope with the loss of their parents.  I was drawn into the story.  I like the author’s writing style which is relaxed and friendly.   The story moved along at a fast clip.  There are quite a few characters to keep track of.  I found it easier as I got further into the story. I liked that the characters were not perfect.  Each character had something happening in their lives (life is messy).   Benjie is the youngest son, and he is at the high end of the autism spectrum.  The family soon learns just how much their mother did for Benjie.  The family will need to step up to fill the gap.  Benjie provides many of the uplifting and funny moments in the book.  Annabelle is the youngest child, and she was on a downward spiral before her parents’ death.  After the parent’s death, Annabelle’s life quickly spirals out of control.  The four older siblings are needed to handle the parent’s estate and help their youngest siblings.    There are many moving moments in this emotional story.  I found myself staying up late to finish The Whittiers.  It is a story that will leave you with a smile on your face.  My one negative is the repetition of backstory details.  It is a trait found in all of this author’s books, and I really wish she would discontinue doing it.  The Whittiers is a feel-good story with grief, regret, love, humor, and family.  I enjoyed seeing the family came together after such a tragic event.  The Whittiers is a touching tale with a terrible tragedy, a dreadful divorce, an unrestrained sister, dear dogs, a captivating Italian, cute kids, and a happy house.

The Whittiers is available from Amazon* along with other major retailers.  Danielle Steel will have Without a Trace coming out January 3, 2023 and Worthy Opponents on March 7, 2023.  You can find Danielle Steel's other novels here.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I hope that you have a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris

The Avid Reader 

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

Thursday, November 17, 2022

An Inheritance to Die For by Judy Moore

 An Inheritance To Die For

Book Summary

Was the death of her college roommate’s father suicide or murder?

That question takes Beck O’Rourke to Miami in this fourth standalone book in the Cozy Mysteries To Die For series.

With three successful murder investigations under her belt, Beck enters the privileged world of her spoiled freshman roommate and her fractured family to take on her first paid job as a private investigator.

Heirs stand to inherit millions from the death of Benjamin Greene. Was it more than a coincidence that he died the night before he was meeting with his lawyer to change his will?
An Inheritance To Die For brings readers back to the Beach Reads bookstore and cafĂ©, a block off the ocean in quaint Manatee Beach, Florida. Returning are Beck’s spirited grandmother Miss Alice, her fiesty lifeguard sister Lizzie, town character Scratchoff McLean, and, of course, her love interest, handsome Manatee Beach Police detective Devon Mathis.

Will their romance ever get off the ground?

My Thoughts

An Inheritance To Die For by Judy Moore has Beck O’Rourke heading to Miami to help her old college roommate, Jacqueline.  Jacqueline’s father was recently found dead in his bedroom.  The death is being ruled a suicide.  Jacqueline does not agree and wants to hire Beck to uncover the truth.  Beck has just earned her PI license and is excited to work her first official case.  Beck soon learns that Jacqueline’s father died the night before he was to change his will.  Beck works through her list of suspects one by one until she identifies the guilty party.  The trick will be to stay alive long enough to prove it.  An Inheritance To Die For is the fourth novel in Cozy Mysteries To Die For series.  Each book can be read on its own (but you will be missing out on some fun stories).  I like Judy Moore’s writing style.  It reminds me of chatting with friends.  The author is descriptive which help me to visualize the scenes.  I thought Judy Moore really captured Miami.  

I enjoyed getting to know Beck.  She is friendly, clever, determined, and spunky.  Beck had her hands full with Jacqueline.  We do not get to spend much time with Miss Alice, Beck’s grandmother, nor Lizzie, Beck’s sister since Beck travels to Miami for the case.  The mystery was plotted out nicely.  There are several suspects who could have done the deed.  I like how Beck works a case.  She is methodical and does not leave someone off the suspect list because they are nice.  There are clues to help readers solve the crime.  I enjoyed the dramatic reveal.   All the details regarding the whodunit are answered.  Beck gets a chance to see Devon while in Miami.  She also has the opportunity to meet his parents.  Beck learns something that puts Devon’s style of dating in perspective.  An Inheritance To Die For is a cute cozy with a blast from the past, a curious case, a nice nanny, twin trouble, a hurtful will, fragrant flowers, and a spunky sleuth.

An Inheritance To Die For is available from Amazon*.  You can read it for free with Kindle Unlimited.  You can find the other books in Cozy Mysteries To Die For series here.  You can find the Judy Moore's other novels here.  Thank you for joining me today.  I will return on Tuesday, November 22 with The Whittiers by Danielle Steel.  I hope that you have a relaxing weekend.  Take care and Happy Reading!


Kris

The Avid Reader 

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Mountain Town Mischief with a Poodle by Virginia Fox

 Mountain Town Mischief with a Poodle

Book Summary


A little romance, a dab of suspense, and a whole lot of fun await you in the first book of the genre-skipping Rocky Mountain Cozies series.

What’s a big-city girl to do when she finds out her boyfriend is dealing shady business out of the apartment they share in Seattle? She grabs her big standard poodle named Rambo and runs to granny in small-town Colorado, that’s what!

The dog fits in just fine, but Jasmine’s ways of vegetarian eating and yoga are a bit different for this little mountain place. Meanwhile, the hunky sheriff—single, with a reputation as a player—won’t stop poking his nose into Jasmine’s past. Plus, he’s a bit too fond of the way she looks in yoga pants. Her boyfriend isn’t ready to let go or forget that she knows about his illegal activities. Grandma, the colorful townsfolk, and the pets who populate the town are in for some thrills, chills and romantic double plays until Jasmine sorts her life out. Grab the popcorn!

My Thoughts

Mountain Town Mischief with a Poodle by Virginia Fox is the debut of Rocky Mountain Cozies.  Jasmine is a yoga instructor who lives in Seattle.  She forgets the key to the yoga studio where she works and rushes back home to retrieve it.  She overhears her lazy boyfriend, Gavin talking to two men about a counterfeiting scheme.  The lout plans on making off with some of Jasmine’s savings account as well.  Jasmine gets caught eavesdropping and she takes off.  She does not go to the police because Jasmine spots Gavin talking to an officer (she fears corruption in the ranks of the Seattle PD).  Jasmine picks up dog, Rambo (an adorable black Standard Poodle) and drives to her grandmother’s cabin in Colorado.  She ends up on the wrong end of the neighbor’s shotgun who believes she is a burglar. Jasmine gets to meet the hunky sheriff (cue romance).  When Jasmine calls Gavin (I never said she was the sharpest knife in the drawer), she buys his phony baloney story and tells him where she is hiding out (cue trouble).  The sheriff (who is equally as smitten as Jasmine) works to protect Jasmine from the bad guys (you know where this is going). 

I do not feel this story is a cozy mystery.  It is a romance with a smidgen of suspense.  There is no mystery to solve.  Jasmine is hard to like.  She is a yoga instructor, a vegetarian (we are told this many times), and firm believer in no gas guzzling vehicles.  Jasmine comes from a well-off family, and it is obvious (her pretentious attitude).  Jasmine has a tendency of making bad decisions.   The characters lacked development.  They were one-dimensional.  I found it hard to get through the story because the point-of-view jumps around.  It was hard to keep track (it would just change without warning).  There are inconsistencies in the story.  Jasmine tells Gavin where she is and the later wonders how he knew where to find her because she did not tell him (I distinctly remember the phone call where she overshared).  My favorite character was Rambo.  There was too much romance.  Jasmine has just left her lout of boyfriend and she is falling for the sheriff the next day.   Jasmine’s grandmother, Nana wants Jasmine to open a yoga retreat at the large family log cabin.  Instead, Jasmine rents a space in town for her classes.  She could have done that at the cabin and saved herself the rent.  There is mild foul language (just a couple of words maximum).  Mountain Town Mischief with a Poodle felt more like a telenovela than a cozy mystery.


Mountain Town Mischief with a Poodle will be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.   The book is not currently listed on either site (at the time I wrote this blog post).  I will update with links when they are available.  You can find Virginia Fox's other novels here.  Thank you for stopping by today.  Tomorrow I am featuring An Inheritance to  Die For by Judy Moore.  It is the fourth book in Cozy Mysteries to Die For.  I am off to tackle my closet.  It is a mess.  I hope that you have a happy day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris

The Avid Reader 

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green

 The Blackout Book Club
Book Summary

In 1942, an impulsive promise to her brother before he goes off to the European front puts Avis Montgomery in the unlikely position of head librarian in small-town Maine. Though she has never been much of a reader, when wartime needs threaten to close the library, she invents a book club to keep its doors open. The women she convinces to attend the first meeting couldn't be more different--a wealthy spinster determined to aid the war effort, an exhausted mother looking for a fresh start, and a determined young war worker.

At first, the struggles of the home front are all the club members have in common, but over time, the books they choose become more than an escape from the hardships of life and the fear of the U-boat battles that rage just past their shores. As the women face personal challenges and band together in the face of danger, they find they have more in common than they think. But when their growing friendships are tested by secrets of the past and present, they must decide whether depending on each other is worth the cost.
My Thoughts

The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green gives us a look at life on the home front during World War II.  A diverse group of people come together to discuss books when Avis dreams up the book club to save the library from closing. The book club turns out to be so much more.  As they meet, they begin to know each other.  Friendships are formed that turn into lasting bonds.  This is a heartwarming story.  I enjoyed getting to know the characters.  I liked seeing the characters grow as they got to know each other.  The cast of characters is diverse.  I also thought the characters were realistic.  The story is told from several points of view which I found challenging in the beginning.  It became easier as I got further into the story.  The book is full of history and literature.  You can tell the author did her research.  I especially enjoyed the references to Mrs. Miniver (love that movie).  I liked that the group did not just read novels.  They enjoyed poetry, how to books, Shakespeare, fiction, and much more. 

The notes from each meeting were entertaining.  I especially enjoyed them when Ginny wrote them.  Ginny is a lively character who has spunk.  We get to see how it was at home for different types of people during the war.  Avis is a young married woman who does not want her husband to go off fighting.  Avis is not a reader, but she agreed to take her brother’s librarian job while he is off fighting.  She promised him she would do her best to keep the library open.  Louise is a spinster and the richest woman in town.  Louise owns the library.  She has kept herself apart from others because she is afraid that they will discover her secret.  Ginny is working at the foundry (which is dirty, hot work).  She would rather be out on a boat, but the war department requisitioned the family island.  Martina is married with two kids.  She also works at the foundry.  Martina hopes her no-good husband will not find her.  I was sorry when The Blackout Book Club ended.  Those who love books, will enjoy reading this story.  The Blackout Book Club is a poignant tale with a large library, daycare center conundrum, blackout curtains, war rationing, a sly spouse, lively talks, and enduring friendships.  

The Blackout Book Club is available from Amazon*.  You can find Amy Lynn Green's other creations here.  Thank you for joining me today.  Tomorrow I am sharing my thoughts on Mountain Town Mischief with a Poodle by Virgina Fox.  I hope that you have a happy day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris

The Avid Reader 

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

Thursday, November 10, 2022

A Royal Visit to Victory Street by Pam Howes

 A Royal Visit to Victory Street
Book Summary

From Amazon charts bestseller Pam Howes comes an emotional and uplifting saga about the power of family and a community trying to rebuild their lives after the terrible war that nearly destroyed everything…

1956, Liverpool. With the shadow of the war looming over them and bomb craters littering the surrounding streets, hope feels far away for the residents of Victory Street. When they learn that the Queen has chosen to visit them on a tour of Liverpool, the delighted neighbors bring back the wartime spirit. Can they possibly get the street ready in time?

Even a royal visit cannot take away Bella Harrison’s worries. Her son, fourteen-year-old Levi, has just told her he wants to move to America to join the rest of his father’s family. The news has so shocked Bella that she’s not sure she’ll be able to sing for the Queen, jeopardizing all their plans for the big day.

Life has been hard for Levi, growing up as a mixed-race boy in Liverpool, but he’s the light of Bella’s life. The thought of losing him brings back the terrible memories of her father and sister dying during the war. If everyone pulls together to make the Queen’s visit an unforgettable celebration, perhaps she can persuade Levi that Victory Street is where he belongs.

But when Levi receives heartbreaking news from America and his move becomes uncertain, Bella starts to wonder if all her efforts to keep him in Liverpool have been for the right reasons. Can Bella find it in herself to sing for the big celebration, and make the right choice for her beloved son?

A totally unputdownable, heart-wrenching historical novel, packed with family secrets, perfect for fans of Dilly Court, Diney Costeloe and Nancy Revell.

 

About the Author

Pam Howes is a retired interior designer, mum to three daughters, grandma to seven assorted grandchildren and roadie to her musician partner.

The inspiration for Pam’s first novel came from her teenage years, working in a record store, and hanging around with musicians who frequented the business. The first novel evolved into a series about a fictional band, The Raiders. She is a fan of sixties music and it’s this love that compelled her to begin writing.

Author Links

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100041354393134

https://twitter.com/PamHowes1


Sign up to be the first to hear about new releases from Pam Howes here:  

My Thoughts

A Royal Visit to Victory Street by Pam Howes is the fifth book in The Bryant Sisters series.  I recommend reading this heartwarming series in order.  It will allow you to get to know the characters and their stories.  I enjoyed returning to Victory Street.  We get to catch up with the characters.  We follow Bella, Edie, Fran, and their extended families as they go about their daily tasks and adjust to postwar Liverpool.  It took time for things to return to normal in England after the war. Some items were still being rationed in the latter half of the 1950s.  I like how the author included the latest music groups and/or performers.  Elvis Presley was making a name for himself, and teens wanted to imitate his look.  Victory Street is chosen to receive a royal visit from Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Phillip.  The Wavetree WI goes into action to make sure everything is perfect for the visit.  Well, everyone except their leader who prefers to delegate.  I like Pam Howes writing style.  It is casual and friendly which makes the story easy to read.  The characters are realistic and relatable.  They continue to grow as the series progresses.  I like that the characters are not perfect.  They have flaws just like real people.  We get to see them overcome challenges that are put in their way.  There is nothing they cannot do as long as they have each other.    The ending had me smiling.  I was sorry when my visit to Victory Street came to an end.  A Royal Visit to Victory Street is a heartfelt tale with unforeseen news, party planning, cleaning crews, pots of tea, a singing sensation, regal royals, a startling surprise, and a new venture.  

A Royal Visit to Victory Street is available from Amazon*.  You can find the other novels in The Bryant Sisters series here.  You can find Pam Howes other heartwarming historical novels here.  Thank you for joining me today.  I hope that you have a delightful weekend.  Take care and Happy Reading!


Kris

The Avid Reader 




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