Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Give Fudge a Chance by Nancy Coco

 Give Fudge a Chance
Book Summary

It’s time for cozy readers to return to the magic of Mackinac Island where sleuth extraordinaire Allie McMurphy solves another unsolved murder in Nancy Coco’s perennially popular Candy-Coated Mystery series.

The Mackinac County fair is in full swing, and the air is rich with the scent of funnel cakes and the sound of carnival rides. Allie is focused on the fudge competition—another win would really put her hotel and fudge shop on the map. But she’s willing to take a little break and walk through the haunted house attraction with her friend Jenn.

When they come across a body, though, it turns out not to be a prop. Soon Allie’s cop boyfriend is on the scene, and the sleuthing confectioner is hunting for clues. Danger strikes too close to home when the hotel becomes the scene of a suspicious fatal accident, and Allie suspects the two deaths are connected. The case is turning into a real rollercoaster. Allie will need to hold on tight . . .

My Thoughts

Give Fudge a Chance by Nancy Coco takes us back to Mackinac Island where Allie McMurphy is entering her latest fudge creation in the county fair.  I always enjoy returning to Mackinac Island.   I like the author’s beautiful descriptions of the island.  She brings the island to life with her vivid word imagery.  It sounds like a lovely vacation spot (I am not sure I would want to live there in the winter--burr).  With the fair on Mackinac Island, everyone should be upbeat and relaxed.  Unfortunately, competition brings out the worst in people.  Allie and her murder sniffing pooch stumble across a body.  I love the dispatcher’s response when Allie calls 9-1-1.  Detective Rex Manning and Allie have reached an understanding regarding her investigating (which I believe is totally unfair).  Rex only wants Allie to investigate crimes that affect her (a friend or family member) personally.  The current crime does not which has Allie focusing on her fudge duties.  It is time consuming making enough fudge to fill the cases and doing the demonstrations (Allie just needs to think about the dollar signs when she is up in the wee hours making fudge).  When a second murder hits close to home, Allie dons her sleuthing cap once again.  The ladies at the senior center are happy to help (after they receive some of Allie’s mouthwatering fudge).  Allie has her work cut out for her this time.  

The mystery was fun to solve.  I loved the addition of smugglers tunnels and parkour athletes.  The crime is nicely wrapped up at the end.  Give Fudge a Chance has great characters, cute furbabies, sweet treats, a county fair, and an entertaining mystery.  I laughed out loud several times while reading.  One senior provided many of the amusing moments. There are delectable fudge recipes scattered throughout the book.  While Give Fudge a Chance is the eleventh A Candy-Coated Mystery, it can be read as a standalone.  I have enjoyed reading the series in order.  It has allowed me to get to know the characters and follow their journeys.  I am looking forward to Allie’s next adventure in Three Fudges and a Baby.  Give Fudge a Chance is a fun fair tale with delightful fudge, passionate podcasters, best in show skirmish, parkour participants, a mysterious murder, untidy tunnels, a discussion snafu, a stealthy senior, and a feisty fudge maker.

Give Fudge a Chance is available from Amazon*.  You can find the other A Candy-Coated Mysteries here.  You can follow Nancy Coco on Amazon, and Amazon will send you an email letting you know about the author's latest releases   Thank you for joining me today.  The month of May has flown by so quickly.  Summer is here along with the heat.  It is going to be a scorching summer (thank heavens for air conditioning). I will return tomorrow with my thoughts on Deadly Fate by Angela Marsons.   It is the 18th A DI Kim Stone Mystery.  It is oo Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Breaking McKinley's Curse by Mindy Steele

 Breaking McKinley's Curse
Book Summary

A Woman Cursed

Plagued by a century-long family curse, Mammoth Cave Wildlife Conservationist, Josie McKinley has a reason to distrust strangers. But when a charming Warden arrives with a hundred-year-old photo and a dog, Josie must face the past chasing her to make room for the future she's been waiting for.

A Man Searching

On leave from Virginia Fish and Wildlife, Reed Montgomery agrees to help his older brother with his biggest flip ever, converting an early eighteenth-century Baltimore church into apartments. Finding a mysterious secret room, an heirloom desk, and a hundred-year-old photo, compels Reed to travel deep into Kentucky cave country to seek out the family to which it belongs.

Uncovering the secrets surrounding Josie’s great-grandfather’s disappearance will prove impossible a as a stranger from the north decides the past is better off hidden in this page turning romantic suspense novel.

My Thoughts

Breaking McKinley’s Curse by Mindy Steele is an intriguing dual timeline novel.  I thought the story contained good writing with developed characters.  I enjoyed going back in time learning about the desk and what was hidden inside.  I like how the two timelines were tied together for one complete story.  It was interesting to see how information was passed down from generation to generation.   I enjoyed getting to know Josie McKinley and her family as well as Reed and his relations.  Each character is vital to the story.  The bad guy is one of those characters that you love to dislike.  I like how everything came together at the end.  I enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of Mammoth Cave National Park.  I would love to visit Mammoth Caves.  The story has drama, suspense, family, friendship, humor, and love.  I had to laugh at Josie’s attention to footwear.  I can see why it is important to wear the right shoes while hiking and traversing the slippery caves. I loved Reed’s dog, Jane.  She is one smart cookie as well as a sweetheart.  Breaking McKinley’s Curse is a clean romance which I appreciated (no foul language or intimate scenes).  While Breaking McKinley’s Curse is the second book in The Mountain Protectors series, it can be read as a standalone for those who have not read Bones on the MountainBreaking McKinley’s Curse is a suspenseful story with a hand carved desk, an old photograph, a devoted dog, a suppressed secret, curious clues, slippery shoes, and the veracity revealed.  

Breaking McKinley's Curse is available from Amazon*.  You can find the other novels in The Mountain Protectors Series here.  You can find Mindy Steele's other novels here.  Mindy Steele has The Flower Quilter coming out August 15.  It is the first book in The Heart of the Amish series.  Thank you for stopping by today.  Tomorrow I am sharing my thoughts on Give Fudge a Chance by Nancy Coco.  It is the eleventh A Candy-Coated Mystery.  I hope that you have a fun day.  We need more humor in our lives (and less violence).  I live in Florida where I am glad that I can no longer get pregnant and my child is no longer in the school system.  It is a rough time to live in the United States.  Think positive!  It is important to find at least one positive thing in each day.  I gave my mother a calendar where she can write them down (she tends to be a negative nelly).  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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

Friday, May 26, 2023

Amish Friends One Pan Wonders Cookbook by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Wanda E. Brunstetter's
Amish Friends One-Pan Wonders Cookbook

Keep It Simple. Put It All in One Pan.
New, from New York Times bestselling author of Amish fiction, Wanda E. Brunstetter, is a new cookbook that feature ways to simplify meal prep and cleanup.
When you are busy and don’t want the hassle of a multi-step, multi-dish meal, keep it simple and put it all in one pan. A brand-new compilation of recipes from Amish cooks will help you manage mealtime with ease.

Over 200 recipes include:

  • Breakfasts
  • Soups
  • Casseroles
  • Sheet pan meals
  • Skillet meals
  • Salad as main dish 
  • and even some desserts.

Encased in a lay-flat binding and presented in full color, home cooks of all ages will find this cookbook to be a valuable addition to their collections.


Here are a couple of recipes from the book along with a pic of the finished product.

Cheddar Spoon Bread

Shortcake Delight

Amish Beef Stroganoff

I like making one pan dishes because it saves on clean up.  There are over two hundred recipes in Amish Friends One Pan Wonders Cookbook.  
Amish Friends One Pan Wonders Cookbook is available from Amazon*. You can find Wanda Brunstetter's other cookbooks and Amish novels here.  Wanda E. Brunstetter has Letters of Comfort coming out August 1.  It is the second book in the Friendship Letters series.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will return on Tuesday, June 6 with Amish Wilderness Survival by Mary Alford (it was a page turner).  I hope you have a delightful weekend.  I am going to be busy setting up my Fourth of July display outside.  I had a neighbor stop to ask me if I was okay.  They were worried because I only had one inflatable up outside.  I had a patriotic eagle for Memorial Day.  I assured them that I would soon have an over-the-top display for them.  I am glad that 98% of the community likes my displays.  Take care and Happy Reading!  


The Avid Reader 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Second Chances on Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand

Second Chances on Huckleberry Hill

Book Summary

Beloved inspirational romance author Jennifer Beckstrand continues her uplifting Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series featuring Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin’s, irrepressible eighty-something matchmakers Anna and Felty Helmuth! Will appeal to readers of Amish and inspirational romance and fans of Charlotte Hubbard, Amy Lillard, and Emma Miller.

Martha Sue Helmuth wishes she could just relax and enjoy her extended visit with her beloved grandparents. Instead, she is nursing a broken heart over gentle widower Yost Beiler.  Yost’s thirteen-year-old son, Jonah, refuses to accept Martha Sue, and she refuses to risk coming between them. For now, she is just trying to avoid her Mammi’s choice of yet another eligible suitor. But when Yost moves himself and Jonah to Huckleberry Hill to change Martha Sue’s mind, she can't help dreaming that somehow, some way, she and Yost will have a miraculous second chance to be together . . .
After his wife’s untimely death, Yost did everything he could to help Jonah through his grief.  He hopes that Martha Sue's outgoing family—and her generous ways—will show his son how loving and trustworthy she truly is. But Anna and Felty's matchmaking antics are inspiring Jonah to drive Martha Sue off for good. And when he goes too far, can Yost and Martha Sue find the understanding to forgive him—and the strength to prove they can overcome differences to make one joyous forever family?
My Thoughts

Second Chances on Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand is a delightful Amish tale.  I always look forward to returning to Huckleberry Hill.  Anna and Felty Helmuth are a joy to visit.  Anna always has something up her sleeve and Felty goes along because he loves his wife.  I like Jennifer Beckstrand’s writing style.  It is relaxed and engaging.  It reminds me of chatting with old friends.  The story is told from Martha Sue, Jonah, and Yost’s point of view in alternating chapters.  I like that we get to see what each one is thinking and feeling.  Jonah’s chapters are especially illuminating.  The characters are developed and relatable.  I like that we get to see them learn and grow.  I enjoyed getting to know Martha Sue, Yost, and Jonah.  Jonah is certainly a clever boy who can think up devilish pranks.  Vernon Schmucker cannot take a hint.  I understood why Anna kept inviting him to dinner, but Vernon is full of himself.  I can see why he is not married and lives with his mother.  If I was Martha Sue, I would have had Jonah play a prank or two on Vernon. 

I like that we get to catch up with characters from the previous books in the series.  I laughed, chuckled, and giggled while reading this story.  Anna should be banned from cooking.  Some of her food combinations made me want to gag.  Felty is the perfect mate for her since his tastebuds suffered from a burn (he cannot taste a thing).  Anna is still knitting and always has a potholder ready to hand out to a potential beau for one of her grandchildren (or someone who could use a pick me up).  Anna’s yarn colors are akin to her cooking choices (colorful).  Second Chances on Huckleberry Hill is the eleventh novel in The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series.  While it can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading this entire series.  You will find yourself laughing frequently and wondering which relative will be Anna’s next victim (she is bound to run out of grandchildren).

Second Chances on Huckleberry Hill is a story of second (and third) chances, forgiveness, grace, Amish faith, family, and love.  I found myself staying up late to finish the story while all the while not wanting the book to end.  Second Chances on Huckleberry Hill is an entertaining Amish tale with a matchmaking Mammi, stomach-churning cooking creations, painful pranks, an irksome suitor, a dutiful Dawdi, a plethora of potholders, and a second chance romance.  

Second Chances on Huckleberry Hill is available from Amazon*.  You can find the other eleven books in The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series here (many of them can be read for free through Kindle Unlimited).  The twelfth book in The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series is Happily Ever After on Huckleberry Hill and it will be out on October 24 (I cannot wait to read it).  You can find Jennifer Beckstrand's other novels here.  Thank you for joining me today.  I will return on Tuesday, May 30 with Breaking McKinley's Curse by Mindy Steele.  It is the second book in The Mountain Protectors series.  I have been taking a walk each evening as my doctor requested (to work off the menopause weight which does not want to go away).  I take my cat, Dickens with me in a cat stroller.  In the beginning, I could tell she was not sure what to think of the walks.  She has really started to enjoy them.  She likes meeting people and seeing what is going on (she laps up the attention).  She sits upright in the stroller looking all around.  I can see some people doing a double take when they see a cat in the stroller instead of a baby.  It is fun to watch their reactions.  I like the fact that most people are accepting. I hope that you have a happy day. Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Identity by Nora Roberts

Book Summary

The #1 New York Times-bestselling author's terrifying new thriller about one man's ice-cold malice, and one woman's fight to reclaim her life.

Former Army brat Morgan Albright has finally planted roots in a friendly neighborhood near Baltimore. Her friend and roommate Nina helps her make the mortgage payments, as does Morgan's job as a bartender. But after she and Nina host their first dinner party—attended by Luke, the flirtatious IT guy who'd been chatting her up at the bar—her carefully built world is shattered. The back door glass is broken, cash and jewelry are missing, her car is gone, and Nina lies dead on the floor.

Soon, a horrific truth emerges: It was Morgan who let the monster in. "Luke" is actually a cold-hearted con artist named Gavin who targets a particular type of woman, steals her assets and identity, and then commits his ultimate goal: murder.
What the FBI tells Morgan is beyond chilling. Nina wasn't his type. Morgan is. Nina was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. And Morgan's nightmare is just beginning. Soon she has no choice but to flee to her mother's home in Vermont. While she struggles to build something new, she meets another man, Miles Jameson. He isn't flashy or flirtatious, and his family business has deep roots in town. But Gavin is still out there hunting new victims, and he hasn't forgotten the one who got away.

My Thoughts

Identity by Nora Roberts is an intriguing story.  I thought the story was well-written with realistic, developed characters.  I was quickly drawn into Morgan Albright’s story.  I felt bad for her.  She let herself relax and enjoy an evening with a date.  Morgan quickly came to regret it.  I liked Morgan’s mother and grandmother.  Three generations of Albright woman living in one home.  Morgan’s mother and grandmother were strong, supportive women.  There is plenty of drama to keep readers intrigued.  I like that the author included chapters from the killer’s point of view.  It gave the reader insights into his sick mind.  I liked the Jameson family and their establishment.  They take care of their employees which inspires employee loyalty.  

The romance was a slow burn which suited this story.  Morgan is not the type to rush into romance, especially after being hurt by Gavin.  Miles and Morgan are perfect for each other.  Of course, they cannot have their happily ever after until Gavin is caught.  Gavin is intent on getting the woman who got away.  The author combined intrigue, drama, suspense, and romance into one engaging story.  I can tell the author did her research.  I am amazed how much personal information on an individual a nefarious person can amass and then the havoc they can create out of a person’s life.  I did feel the story was a touch long (448 pages) plus there was repetition of key details along with a substantial amount of foul language (it was not needed).  The ending will leave the reader smiling.  Identity is a captivating tale with charming criminal, a murdered roommate, a purloined identity, coming home, the perfect position, a killer clue, and a shocking showdown.

Identity is available from Amazon*.  You can find Nora Roberts' other novels here.  Thank you for stopping by today.  Tomorrow I am featuring Second Chances on Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand.  It is the eleventh book in the delightful The Matchmaker of Huckleberry Hill series.  I can always count on hours of entertainment when I pick up a book in this series.  I hope that you have a satisfying day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Blueberry Blunder by Amanda Flower

Blueberry Blunder

Book Summary

Bailey King, star of TV’s Bailey's Amish Sweets, is building her dream candy factory in Harvest, Ohio. But no sooner is the frame of the new building up than she finds the dead body of a surly contractor who has a long list of enemies—including people in the Amish community. To add to the drama, Bailey is being filmed by a crew for her upcoming show. . .
When Bailey’s TV producer pitched a reality show about building the factory, Bailey was shocked that the network picked it up. She’s not shocked that many of the Amish working on the jobsite refuse to be on camera. However, local community organizer Margot Rawlings is ecstatic—because the filming coincides with Harvest’s First Annual Blueberry Bash. Margot believes the media attention will make Harvest the most popular destination in Holmes County. But now, the county may become known for all the wrong reasons . . . 
Bailey will have to sift through a crowd of angry villagers and thousands of blueberries to solve the murder, save her new venture, and protect her Amish friends. At the same time, she and her longtime boyfriend, Aiden Brody, are making big decisions about their future together—a future that may be in jeopardy if Bailey is the next pick on a killer’s list . . .  

My Thoughts

Blueberry Blunder by Amanda Flower has Bailey King building a candy factory in Harvest, Ohio.  After numerous delays from the belligerent contractor, Bailey fires him (good for her).  Bailey has a camera crew following her around for a new series featuring the building of the factory.  The ambitious producer is thrilled with the drama around the construction and Harvest’s First Annual Blueberry Bash.  Margot Rawlings ropes Bailey into being the Blueberry Princess and she hopes the film coverage will draw more tourists to their town.  Harvest may become famous for another reason when the surly contractor is found dead.   

Blueberry Blunder by Amanda Flower is a witty tale.  I laughed often while reading this story.  I enjoyed returning to Harvest, Ohio for the Blueberry Bash.  I felt bad for Bailey King who has her hands full with making candy for Swissmen Sweets, the construction of the new factory, the filming of her new show, and Jethro (Juliet’s polka dotted pig) constantly being foisted on her.  Juliet takes advantage of Bailey.  She should not continually thrust Jethro on Bailey (Juliet needs a pig sitter).  Jethro is one mischievous pig who can only be left unsupervised at nap time.  I felt bad for Nutmeg who had to share her bed at Swissmen Sweets with the polka dotted porker.  I like that we are getting to know more about Charlotte.  She is really coming out of her shell.  Charlotte is getting to marry the love of her life in just a few days.  Harvest’s First Annual Blueberry Bash provided many laugh out loud moments.  The Blueberry Princesses dress and throne are indeed something.  I had to laugh when I learned who came up with the idea for the festival and why. I do not know if it will help the person or not (I hope it does).  

Harvest is a blend of Amish and Englisch.  Millie and Lois from Amanda Flower’s An Amish Matchmaker Mysteries are included.  Lois is a hoot.  Millie and Lois are polar opposites in looks, but they both have good hearts.  The mystery was straightforward.  I knew who would die and the identity of the guilty party before the crime took place.  The reason why took me a little longer to untangle.  My reading enjoyment was not dimmed by this knowledge.  I had a fun time following Bailey on her latest adventure.  I am glad Aiden is returning to town (it is about time).  The ending made me happy.  I see changes ahead in Harvest.  I cannot wait to see what happens in the next An Amish Candy Shop MysteryBlueberry Blunder can be read as a standalone for those new to the series, but I recommend reading this entertaining series in order. I like Amanda Flower’s writing style.  It is friendly and engaging.  I was drawn immediately drawn into Blueberry Blunder.  It is a lighthearted story that made me laugh.  My visit to Harvest was over far too soon.    Blueberry Blunder is a comical cozy with a blueberry bash, a construction catastrophe, a poufy princess dress, a playful pig, a killed contractor, blended nuptials, and a special surprise. 

Blueberry Blunder is available from Amazon*.  You can find the other An Amish Candy Shop Mysteries hereDating Can Be Deadly is the fifth An Amish Matchmaker Mystery and it will be out on October 24.  Amanda has Crime and Cherry Pitts releasing on February 27, 2024 and it is the fourth a Farm to Table Mystery.  You can find Amanda Flower's other novels here.  
A few of the other books out today are Identity by Nora Roberts, The Diva Delivers on a Promise by Krista Davis, Give Fudge a Chance by Nancy Coco, Second Chances on Blueberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand, Witch Upon a Star by Angela M. Sanders, and Breaking McKinley's Curse by Mindy Steele. Thank you for joining me today.  Tomorrow I am featuring Identity by Nora Roberts.  I have started walking for twenty to thirty minutes each evening.  My doctor said walking is the best exercise for me with my fibromyalgia and my bad knees. I did not want to walk alone and I am not ready to get another dog, so I picked up a cat stroller.  I have two cats (sisters) who are complete opposites.  Dickens who lives up to her name (she is a wily cat) and Bucky (for Buckeye) who is shy.    Dickens enjoys going outside (she is constantly sneaking out the door).  The stroller allows Dickens to get outside and for me to have a companion.  People are enjoying meeting my friendly feline. I hope that you have a joyful day.  


The Avid Reader 

Thursday, May 11, 2023

The Letter Reader by Jan Casey

 The Letter Reader

Book Summary

She read their secrets during the war. Now she cannot forget them...

1941. London. Keen to do her bit in the war, Connie Allinson joins the WRNS and is posted as a letter censor. Her task: to read and alter correspondence to ensure no sensitive information crosses enemy lines. At first, she is not sure she's up to it, but is soon drawn in by the letters she reads, and their secrets...

1967. Doncaster.
 Bored of her domestic life, Connie desperately wants a job, but her controlling husband Arthur won't hear of it. Looking for an escape and plagued by memories of letters she read during the war, she makes a bid for freedom and starts secretly tracking down their authors. Will uncovering their past give Connie the key to her present? And will she be able to find them all before Arthur discovers what she is keeping from him?

My Thoughts

The Letter Reader by Jan Casey is a dual timeline novel.  The novel takes readers between 1941 (through the war years) and 1967.  I decided to read this book despite my ban on books from World War II (there has been a glut of books on this topic, and I needed a respite) because I had not read a book about postal censors.  Connie Allinson joins the WRNS in 1941 and is posted as a letter censor (her husband wanted her to do something safe).  For those who are nosy, it would be the perfect occupation (as well as those who are curious).  It would be exciting to find a letter written in code.  I had no idea that some postal censors traveled around from post office to post office to complete their duties.  The war years part of the story was interesting, but I did not enjoy the 1967 portion.  It was boring and repetitive.  Connie is a housewife whose husband likes a strict routine.  He wants chores done on a certain day of the week, he has a meal schedule, and he gives Connie the bare minimum for housekeeping (aka the household budget).  Connie is bored staying at home and wants to get a job.  

I do not understand why she asked her husband’s permission to get a job (it was not needed).  I would have gotten a job and then told him about it (fait accompli).  Connie finds her thoughts consumed by certain letters that she read during the war.  She wonders what happened to the people who wrote the letters.  When Arthur, her husband, suggests Connie visit London every two months for three days (he is so generous) to catch up with her brother and sister-in-law, Connie jumps at the chance.  It will give Connie the opportunity to do some research at Somerset House.  I did find it odd that she would venture to find information on people who wrote letters.  

Connie signed the Official Secrets Act plus many people do not like “knowing” (there is knowing that your letter could be read and having someone show up saying they read your letter) that someone read their personal correspondence (much less remembered it twenty years after the war).    I found the story to be long with mixed pacing.  While the war year chapters flew by, the other chapters did not.  I did not find the ending satisfying.  The Letter Reader is a historical tale with a rough war, censored letters, a repetitive routine, a humdrum husband, and facing the future.

The Letter Reader is available from Amazon*.  You can read The Letter Reader for free if you are a Kindle Unlimited member.  You can find Jan Casey's other novels here.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I am taking next week off to get some work done around the house.  I have managed to carve out a small block of time to get a small list of items done (hopefully).  If I can get the living/dining area finished, I will be very happy (the last person I hired to paint finished the ceiling and never returned).  Wish me luck! I will return on Tuesday, May 23 with Blueberry Blunder by Amanda Flower.  It is the 8th An Amish Candy Shop Mystery.  It is a cute story that will have you chuckling often.  I hope that you have a lovely Mother's Day.  I am cooking dinner for my mother (she does not want to go out which was my choice) and I have a few gifts for her (one of them is Vera Bradley's Ohio State crossbody bag).  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

The Spirit Girls by Dawn Merriman

 The Spirit Girls

Book Summary

“Where are you taking me?” Rylan follows the figure through the trees. The girl’s dark ponytail swings as she turns back, then walks on without answering. Deep in the woods, she disappears… and Rylan finds her body, mouth wide in a silent, final plea for help.

Rylan Flynn has always been able to see what others don’t—the restless spirits haunting Ashby, Indiana. She’s learned to live with her “gift” but sometimes she longs to escape.

The woods have always been a peaceful place for Rylan. But on a visit to her aunt’s cabin, she catches sight of a spirit in the trees. The ghost of a young woman approaches, leading Rylan to her body.

With a flood of horror, Rylan realizes that the girl, 
Celeste Monroe, has been murdered. An outgoing newcomer to town, Celeste had no enemies. Who on earth would want to see her dead?

When a coin carved with strange symbols is discovered in Celeste’s throat, it’s clear that
twisted, cold-blooded killer is at work.

Rylan’s abilities could be the only way to prevent further deaths. But Ashby’s handsome head detective, 
Ford Pierce, has made it very clear that he doesn’t want her help.
And any unexplained knowledge of the case could make Rylan the perfect suspect.

When another body is discovered and blood at the scene points to Rylan’s family, she is more determined than ever to uncover the truth. She must race against time to untangle a web of dark secrets… 
but can she find answers before the murderer claims another victim?
My Thoughts

The Spirit Girls by Dawn Merriman is the debut of A Rylan Flynn Mystery series.  Rylan Flynn can see ghosts that present themselves to her.  Her goal is to help them move on.  She pays the bills by filming what she does for her You-Tube channel.  Rylan is visiting her Aunt Val for breakfast when she sees a female ghost.   The ghost leads her to a body hanging from a tree.  It turns out to be the ghost’s body.  One of the responding detectives is Detective Ford Pierce who makes Rylan heart zing.  Ford does believe Rylan can see spirits, but he would prefer she not trespass (like she did the previous evening) and stay safe.  When Aunt Val ends up at the top of the suspect list, Rylan will do whatever it takes to clear her.
The Spirit Girls by Dawn Merriman is easy to read.  I wish the author had given us more information on Rylan and there were other questions I wanted answered (how she got her powers, her mother, what is in her brother’s old bedroom).  The plot never developed to its fullest extent.  The story had potential, but it did not reach it.  It just scratched the surface.  The paranormal element was light (I thought there would be more).  I wanted a tricky mystery, some scary moments, and a little humor.  I was able to solve the crime early in the story.  The twist was not a surprise.  The ending was expected.   The repetition of details was not needed (the whispers through the walls at home, Rylan’s dead mother, Rylan’s attraction to Ford).  I wanted a surprise or two, more paranormal, less romance, and a more challenging mystery.  A Rylan Flynn Mystery series has potential, but it was not achieved in The Spirit GirlsThe Spirit Girls is a paranormal tale with lost souls, a dishy detective, an accused aunt, a horrific killing, and a sassy spiritualist.  
The Spirit Girls is available from Amazon*.  The Spirit Girls can be read for free if you are a Kindle Unlimited member.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will return on Thursday, May 11 with The Letter Reader by Jan Casey.  I am off to put up my Memorial Day decorations outside.  I hope that you have a spirited day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader