Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Thanksgiving Blessing by Marta Perry

 Thanksgiving Blessing
Book Summary

When Promise Glen is struck by a vandalism spree around the Thanksgiving holiday, a community’s values—and two weathered hearts—are put to the test.

As a widow with two-year-old twins and a struggling orchard, Rebecca King’s dreams of expanding her business seem near impossible. To make matters worse, a troublesome string of destructive acts around Promise Glen threatens her roadside fruit and vegetable stand, forcing Rebecca to accept the help of her condescending new neighbor, Nathan Mueller.
Nathan didn’t intend to offend Rebecca with his offer to share the stand, especially since he’s a widower and single parent himself. He admires Rebecca’s strength and kindness in the face of adversity. If only they hadn’t started off on the wrong foot…
Despite their best efforts to shield their hearts, working side by side through the busy harvest plants the seeds of a budding friendship. But when the vandalism spreading through Promise Glen escalates to arson and rumors blaze through the town, they’ll have to learn to rely on each other more than ever. As Thanksgiving approaches, Rebecca and Nathan are forced to reconcile with their own grief, forgive what can’t be changed, and come to truly understand the core values of the holiday: love and gratitude.

My Thoughts

Thanksgiving Blessing by Marta Perry takes up back to Promise Glen where Rebecca King, a widow, is raising her twins, managing her farm, and selling produce at her roadside fruit and vegetable stand.  Halloween is approaching and vandalism is occurring in the area.  Nathan Mueller and his teenage brother move into the neighboring farm that Nathan inherited from his ne’er-do-well uncle.  Nathan has no intention of getting involved with the pretty widow next door, but his protective instincts kick in.  Plus, Rebecca’s family has a way of drawing people into their circle.  I enjoyed returning to Promise Glen.  While Thanksgiving Blessing is the third An Amish Holiday Novel, it can be read on its own.  I like Marta Perry’s writing style.   The story is told from a dual third person protagonist point of view.  It allows us to see issues from Nathan and Rebecca’s point of view.  I thought the characters were developed and realistic.

We get to know Rebecca and Nathan as well as Peter (Nathan’s teenage brother), Miriam, Abel, and the twins (Joanna and James).  I like that each character has their own storyline.  The twins keep Rebecca hopping.  They provide some cute and amusing moments.  I like that a mystery was included in the story.  Someone is creating havoc, and it seems to be more than the normal Halloween hijinks.  I like how Amish traditions are included in the story. I like learning about the Amish culture and their traditions.  Thanksgiving Blessing is a story about family, grief, love, friendship, and faith.  Being supportive of family and friends was another element.  I like how Amos introduced Nathan to the men he would be doing business within the community.  He made sure to include him in family meals and gatherings. This is a story that is great to read on a rainy day or one of those rare, chilly days we have in Florida (because then I can lounge in a cozy chair with a warm blanket and read all afternoon).  Thanksgiving Blessing is a wholesome, heartwarming story that left me smiling. 

Thanksgiving Blessing is available from Amazon*.  You can find the other two An Amish Holiday Novels here.  Marta Perry has The Widow's Bachelor Bargain coming out January 23, 2024.  If you follow Marta Perry on Amazon, they will send you an email when she has a new book coming out.  Tomorrow I am featuring Snowbound Escape by Dana Mentink.  I hope that you have a Happy Halloween with more treats than tricks (my family loves to play tricks on me).  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

Happy Halloween
I hope you have a spooktacular day!

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Dating Can Be Deadly by Amanda Flower

 Dating Can Be Deadly

Book Summary

Set in the fan favorite Amish village of Harvest, Ohio, the latest novel in the USA Today bestselling author’s Amish Matchmaker series features the unlikely sleuthing duo of an Amish widow and her zany, oft-divorced English best friend. Will appeal to fans of cozy mysteries, small-town mysteries, wholesome romance, inspirational fiction, and readers of Jennifer Beckstrand, Charlotte Hubbard, Rachel J. Good, and other authors of Amish fiction.

It's August in Holmes County, and that means it's time for the Holmes County Fair. It's the county’s biggest annual event, drawing tourists and locals alike to see livestock, eat too much fried food, and watch the rodeo and speed racing contests. This year, Millie has entered the quilting competition—while her very not Amish best friend, Lois Henry, is distracted by her new dating app and her search for husband number five. In a place where quilting is a way of life, the competition is fierce—especially this year, when an anonymous donor doubles the winning cash prize. Amish and English women are up against each other, and some will do anything to win—even murder . . .
When someone attacks the quilt barn by slashing the quilt display, it’s unsettling enough. But when a quilting judge is found murdered, Millie knows it’s time to for Lois to get off her app and help her hunt for a killer instead—before the competition is wiped out for good . . .
My Thoughts

Dating Can Be Deadly by Amanda Flower takes us back to Harvest, Ohio for the Holmes County Fair.  I just love Millie Fisher and Lois Henry.  Those two are quite a pair.  Lois and Millie are opposites, but they have been best friends since they were children.  Lois’s handbag must weigh a ton.  I am just amazed at what Lois has in that bag (and I thought I carried a big bag).  Millie’s mischievous goats are entered into the competition at the county fair (thanks to Millie’s nephew Micah) and you know those two are itching to explore the fairgrounds.  When a murder occurs at the fair in the quilt barn, Lois and Millie are on the case.  There are a handful of suspects.  Millie and Lois ask questions plus nose around for clues.   Some readers may be surprised when the killer’s identity is revealed (it means you missed a vital clue or two). I like how Lois’s purse played into the reveal.  

I laughed often while reading Dating Can Be Deadly.  You never know what Lois will say or do next (and her outfits are something else especially her ensemble for the square dance).  I do wonder how much gel and hairspray Lois uses to get her hair to stay in place (I bet Lois could get picked up by a twister and her hair would remain intact).  I love that the story includes characters from An Amish Candy Shop Mysteries including a certain polka dotted pig.  Cupid is in town, and he is knocking at Millie’s door.  The question is, though, Millie ready to open her heart.  Dating Can Be Dating is the fifth An Amish Matchmaker Mystery.  It can be read as a standalone, but I encourage you to read this delightful series in order.  Dating Can Be Deadly is an entertaining tale with fighting fair officials, roguish goats, quality quilts, dating dilemmas, helmet hair, a heartless relative, and fair food.  

Dating Can Be Deadly is available from Amazon*.  You can find the other An Amish Matchmaker Mysteries here.  This series ties into An Amish Candy Shop Mysteries.  If you follow Amanda Flower on Amazon, they will send you an email when she has a new book release.  Amanda has a new series coming out in 2024 titled A Katharine Wright Mysteries.  The first book will be out on March 26, 2024, and it is titled To Slip the Bonds of Earth.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will return on Tuesday, October 31 with Thanksgiving Blessing by Marta Perry.  It is the third An Amish Holiday Novel.  I hope that you have a spooktacular weekend.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Killer Christmas Evidence by Sami A. Abrams


Killer Christmas Evidence

About the Book

The search for a criminal…becomes a fight for survival.

The moment detective Cassidy Bowman links a chain of suspicious deaths to a serial killer, she becomes the deadly assassin’s number one target. But a blow to the head robs her of her memory and she can’t put the pieces of the case back together alone. Can she convince detective Kyle Howard to help her catch the culprit by proving her theory…before the killer succeeds in taking Cassidy’s life?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Award-winning, bestselling author Sami Abrams grew up hating to read. It wasn’t until her 30’s that she found authors that captured her attention. Now, most evenings, you can find her engrossed in a Romantic Suspense. In her opinion, a crime and a little romance is the recipe for a great story.

She lives in Northern California, but she will always be a Kansas girl at heart. She has a love of sports, family, and travel. However, a cabin at Lake Tahoe writing her next story is definitely at the top of her list.

More from Sami

While coming up with the idea for Kyle and Cassidy’s story, Killer Christmas Evidence, I loved the idea of a serial killer that no one knew about. Someone who killed in different places and in different ways to avoid detection. Kim Rossmo’s theory on Geographic Profiling was intriguing, and I wanted to implement that concept. But, as I started to write, I realized the idea was too big for a Love Inspired Suspense length book, so I had to adjust the story a bit to fit the situation. The basics are there, just not the details I had hoped for.

However, when I sat down to write and I got to know Kyle and Cassidy a little better, I realized the story wasn’t about the stealth serial killer, but about learning to let go of guilt and learning to forgive. How many times in our lives due to being hurt or the pain of loss do we assume we know the truth? Yet, if we listened—really listened—we discover not everything is what is appears to be. And the truth is not painful, but healing.

My Thoughts

Killer Christmas Evidence by Sami A. Abrams is a story that will have you reading late into the night.  I enjoyed getting to know Cassidy and Kyle.  Both are still grieving the loss of Kyle’s fiancé and Cassidy’s friend (as well as roommate and coworker).  I like that the characters were flawed.  This made them realistic and relatable.  All the action kept the pace peppy.  There are twists and turns that keep things lively.  I had a good time unraveling the clues along with Kyle and Cassidy.  It was an intriguing mystery.  Faith is nicely incorporated into the story.  After so many losses, it can be difficult to have faith.  They need to learn to trust God which is something we all must do.  Pray for His help when someone is in trouble and place their worries in His hands.  Killer Christmas Evidence is the fourth book in the Deputies of Anderson County series.  It can be read as a standalone, but it is better to read as a series.  I was happy to catch up with the characters from the previous three books.  I like Ethan and Brent’s (the EMTs) humor.  I loved the ending which left me smiling.  Killer Christmas Evidence was over far too soon.  Killer Christmas Evidence is a fastmoving tale with a grieving fiancé, an anomalous accident, an almost fatal fire, a shadowy shape, faithful friends, and a Christmas romance.  


To celebrate her tour, Sami is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon Gift Card!!  Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click here to enter.  Good Luck!

Killer Christmas Evidence is available from Amazon*.  You can find the other novels in the Deputies of Anderson County series here.  If you follow Sami Abrams on Amazon, they will send you an email when she has a new book release.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will return tomorrow with Dating Can Be Deadly by Amanda Flower.  It is the fifth An Amish Matchmaker Mystery.  I hope that you have calm hump day.  Do not forget to enter the contest and leave a comment for nine extra entries. Take care, good luck, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 24

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 24

The Avid Reader, October 25

Lighthouse-Academy, October 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 26

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 27

Blogging With Carol, October 27

Britt Reads Fiction, October 28

Simple Harvest Reads, October 28 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 29

Elly Gilbert, October 29

Betti Mace, October 30

Texas Book-aholic, October 30

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, October 31 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, October 31

She Lives To Read, November 1

The Sacred Line, November 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 2

For Him and My Family, November 2

Blossoms and Blessings, November 3

EmpowerMoms, November 3

Holly’s Book Corner, November 4

Raining Butterfly Kisses, November 4

Splashes of Joy, November 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 5

Pause for Tales, November 6

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, November 6

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

The Twelve Books of Christmas by Kate Carlisle

 The Twelve Books of Christmas

Book Summary

The first ever Christmas mystery in the beloved New York Times bestselling Bibliophile Mystery series!

San Francisco book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright and her hunky security-expert husband, Derek Stone, face a locked-room murder mystery during the holidays in Scotland.

In the middle of a wonderful Christmas holiday in Dharma, Brooklyn and Derek receive a frantic phone call from their dear friend Claire in Loch Ness, Scotland. The laird of the castle, Cameron MacKinnon, has just proposed to her! They plan to be married on New Year’s Day, and they want Derek and Brooklyn to be their witnesses. And while they’re visiting, Claire hopes that Brooklyn will be able to solve a little mystery that’s occurred in the castle library—twelve very rare, very important books have gone missing.
Once in Scotland, Brooklyn starts working on the mystery of the missing books but is soon distracted by all of the thumping and bumping noises she’s been hearing in the middle of the night. You’d think the Ghost of Christmas Past had taken up residence. But when one of the guests is poisoned and another is killed by an arrow through the heart, Brooklyn and Derek know this is not the work of any ghost. Now they must race to find a killer and a book thief before another murder occurs and their friends’ bright and happy future turns dark and deadly.

My Thoughts

The Twelve Books of Christmas by Kate Carlisle has Brooklyn and Derek traveling to Oddlochen, Scotland for the wedding of two friends.  They also need Brooklyn’s help in locating twelve books that have disappeared from the castle’s library.  I look forward to reading the latest A Bibliophile Mystery each year.  Brooklyn and Derek are great characters.  I like that Derek does not discourage Brooklyn’s sleuthing (he usually is right by her side).  The vivid descriptions brought the castle and its surroundings to life.  I like how there was a Christmas tree in every room including the library.  Like Brooklyn, I could spend weeks holed up in the castle’s library.  The mystery was the weak point of the story (but it did not hinder my reading pleasure).  The clues were a wee bit obvious.  I enjoyed learning about the twelve books and how they related to Christmas.  There was a couple that I had not heard of previously. 

I liked Derek’s unique lockpick set (I want one for myself).  It was interesting learning about Scottish Hogmanay traditions.  I loved the gifts that Brooklyn created for her family and friends for Christmas. They were unique and I like that they were book themed without being books (it is shocking, but there are some people who do not appreciate books as gifts).  The Twelve Books of Christmas is the seventeenth A Bibliophile Mystery.  It can be read as a standalone as the author provides the necessary background information on the main characters.  I liked the ending, but I was sad for the story to end.  The Twelve Books of Christmas is an enchanting tale with an invite to nuptials, a private plane ride, spooky sounds, absent books, a murdered man, mouthwatering meals, and Scottish traditions.   

The Twelve Books of Christmas is available from Amazon*.  You can find the other A Bibliophile Mysteries here.  Kate Carlisle also writes A Fixer-Upper Mysteries featuring Shannon Hammer.  You can follow Kate Carlisle on Amazon and you will receive an email when she has a new book release.  Thank you for joining me today.  Tomorrow I am a stop on the Celebrate Lit Tour for Killer Christmas Evidence by Sami A. Abrams.  It is the fourth book in the Deputies of Anderson County series.  I am off to the rheumatologist and then I get to do a little fun shopping.  I hope that you have an entertaining day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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

Thursday, October 19, 2023

A Nutcracker Nightmare by Christina Romeril

A Nutcracker Nightmare 

Book Summary

Hanna and Alex, owners of the Murder and Mayhem book and chocolate shop, are busy preparing for the Harriston High School’s reunion weekend. Neighbors will connect with old friends and perhaps try to avoid old foes. One person no one can avoid is Kyle, the former star quarterback, who is busy using his entire playbook to try and score with Hanna, even threatening her if she doesn’t play nice. At the reunion, Alex glimpses more drama than nostalgia as insults are flung around like a football at a Friday night game. The party is put on hold when Alex finds the dead body of none other than Kyle himself, bludgeoned to death by a nutcracker that the sisters admired earlier in the night.
Hanna quickly becomes the prime suspect—someone saw her slap Kyle in the face at the reunion dance. She’ll need her sister, their sleuthing canine, Watson, and their old friends and colleagues to help break this case wide open. While looking through old yearbooks and taking a stroll down memory lane, Alex uncovers a few secrets about Kyle, now, it seems like everyone had a motive to kill him.

But when the suspects start becoming the victims, Alex and Hanna know that they can’t melt under the pressure—they must find the killer before they become just another yearbook memory.

My Thoughts

A Nutcracker Nightmare by Christina Romeril takes us back to Harriston, Montana where twin sisters Alex and Hanna own Murder and Mayhem, a mystery bookstore that sells handcrafted themed chocolates.  Each chocolate is named after a poison (an example is strawberry strychnine).   While the series features twins, the story is told from Alex’s point of view.  Alex and Hanna have a close relationship.  They live together and work together.  It looks like both sisters will have a chance at romance, but the path forward will be a rocky one.  The murder takes place at a Harriston High School reunion where Alex and Hanna are providing chocolates.  It was obvious who would die early on.  The victim was an unlikeable fellow.  Hanna finds herself at the top of the suspect list (of course) so Alex dons her sleuthing cap and dives into the case.  There are plenty of suspects since Kyle, the victim, was a bully, a groper, and so much more.  Alex’s investigative skills need work. When she questions people, it sounds like she is accusing them.  Alex can be blunt to the point of being rude.  The clues and suspects are repeated frequently (I got it the first time).   The whodunit is neatly tied up at the end.  

There are a number of characters in this story, and it can be challenging to keep them all straight (it made me want to set up a murder board).  The contest in which Hanna is entering her chocolates and Kyle was to judge seemed to be an afterthought.  Personally, I thought the mystery should have surrounded the contest instead of the reunion.  The chocolate descriptions will have you craving bonbons and truffles (there are recipes for a couple of Hanna’s creations at the end).  While chilly temperatures were mentioned, Christmas not so much.  A Nutcracker Nightmare is the second book in A Killer Chocolate Mysteries.  I believe readers would benefit from reading A Christmas Candy Killing first where there was more world building.  A Nutcracker Nightmare is a killer cozy with delectable chocolates, a slayed sleaze, a sister as a suspect, romance troubles, an excess of suspects, and a hopeful heart.  

A Nutcracker Nightmare is available from Amazon*.  The first A Killer Chocolate Mystery is A Christmas Candy Killing.  While A Nutcracker Nightmare was not for me, if the description appeals to you, I encourage you to download a sample to check it out for yourself.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will be back on October 24 with The Twelve Books of Christmas by Kate Carlisle.  It is the seventeenth A Bibliophile Mystery.  I hope that you have a fun weekend.  I am enjoying seeing the people drive by to view my front yard Halloween display.  I have included some daylight photos below.  You can see where the cemeteries guests are having a party to welcome the newest arrival who is in the reaper's coach.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Murder by the Seashore by Samara Yew

 Murder by the Seashore

Book Summary

Southern California is where dreams come true—or so Scarlett Gardner thought. When she moved there and opened the Palm Trees and Page Turners bookshop, she thought her boyfriend and business partner would be part of the story. When he leaves her for a better job, Scarlett finds herself struggling to keep her new business afloat. That’s not the only thing she has to worry about—she discovers something underneath the pier by her bookshop that she didn’t outline for her life’s story: the dead body of a book-buying customer.
After Scarlett gives a statement to the police, she thinks her life can go back to business as usual. But when a lawyer, representing someone named Lorelai Knight, tells Scarlett that she now stands to inherit a small fortune, she’s left with more questions than answers. Before she can make sense of any of it, the police bring her in for questioning; the body she found was Lorelai Knight. And the evidence they have against Scarlett doesn’t look good. Business is booming as Scarlett returns to Palm Trees and Page Turners, but for all the wrong reasons – curious tourists don’t want books, they want a glimpse of the Bookshop Killer.

Who could really be behind all of this? And why frame Scarlett? To clear her name, she’s going to have get creative—and hope she can remain one page ahead of the killer.

My Thoughts

Murder by the Seashore by Samara Yew is the debut of A California Bookshop Mysteries.  I thought Murder by the Seashore was a lighthearted cozy mystery.  Scarlett Gardner, a booklover, owns Palm Trees and Page Turners, a bookstore.  Scarlett went into the business with her boyfriend, but he ditched her and the business when a better opportunity came along.  She manages to keep the bookstore, but I am curious as to how Scarlett qualified for a bank loan (does not come from money, did not have a high paying job, no large inheritance, and she is not business savvy—I wonder if she has heard of a business plan).  Scarlett is struggling to manage the business side of the bookstore, but she loves helping patrons find books (wouldn’t it be prudent to hire a business manager or accountant, maybe take a night class).  With the bookstore being a new business, I am curious how Scarlett can afford a full-time employee and she plans to add a part-time one as well.  There are a variety of characters introduced.  I would like to see the main secondary characters fleshed out a bit more as well as Scarlett. 

The whodunit has Scarlett at the top of the suspect list (of course).  Scarlett clumsily investigates (imagine a bull in a china shop).  There are a limited number of suspects since the victim was visiting Oceanside.  Scarlett picked her suspects based on their dislike of her instead of how they felt about the victim.  The detective jumps to conclusions and zeros in on Scarlett based on circumstantial evidence.  It is a good thing that Scarlett’s roommate is a lawyer.  The whodunit is neatly wrapped up at the end.  The reveal had me rolling my eyes. I know I am in the minority regarding Murder by the Seashore, but I found it to be predictable with cliché characters and crime.  There is too much repetition.  I do not need the details of the crime repeated three, four, or five times.  The same can be said for information regarding the ex-boyfriend.  I mentioned a few inconsistencies regarding the business, and there were a couple of discrepancies concerning Scarlett’s inheritance.  The story was only two hundred and sixty pages long, but it felt longer.  I struggled to finish it.  Murder by the Seashore was not for me.  I wish the author had added something unique since I recently read a couple of cozies with the protagonist owning or opening a bookstore and driving a mini cooper.  While this cozy was not for me, I do suggest you download a sample to judge for yourself.  Murder by the Seashore is a casual cozy with a busy bookstore, a problem under the pier, unexpected news, a bothersome ex-boyfriend, a protective detective, and a lawyer for a roommate. 

Murder by the Seashore is available from Amazon*.  You can follow Samara Yew on Amazon and you will receive an email when she has a new book release.  Thank you for visiting today.  Tomorrow I am featuring A Nutcracker Nightmare by Christina Romeril.  It is the second A Killer Chocolate Mystery.   I hope that you have a calm day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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