Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Dangerous Texas Hideout by Virginia Vaughan

 Dangerous Texas Hideout
Book Summary

Seeking refuge from danger…

with threats at every turn

When her daughter is the only witness able to identify a group of bank robbers, single mom Penny Jackson knows their lives are in danger. These men will do anything to keep Missy quiet—permanently. Escaping to a small Texas town was supposed to be safe, but when the criminals track them down, police chief Caleb Harmon becomes their only hope for survival…

My Thoughts

Dangerous Texas Hideout by Virginia Vaughan is an action-packed tale.  I liked Penny, Caleb, and Missy.   I felt for Penny who is trying to keep her daughter safe.  The story moved at swift pace.  I enjoyed the mystery, suspense, and action.  There were some twists and turns along the way.  I liked seeing Caleb and Penny’s faith grow over the course of the story.  The underlying theme throughout the story is that no matter what, God is in control.  As a worrier, I know how hard it is to let go and trust God.  While Dangerous Texas Hideout is the third book in the Cowboy Protectors series, it can be read as a standalone.  Dangerous Texas Hideout had an uplifting ending that left me smiling.  

Dangerous Texas Hideout is available from Amazon*.  You can find the first two book in the Cowboy Protectors series here.  You can follow Virginia Vaughan on Amazon, and they will send you an email when she has a new book release.  Thank you for joining me today.  I hope that you have a joyful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

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

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Their Inseparable Bond by Jill Weatherholt

 Their Inseparable Bond JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Their Inseparable Bond by Jill Weatherholt, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Their Inseparable Bond

Title: Their Inseparable Bond
K-9 Companions
Author: Jill Weatherholt
Love Inspired
Release Date:
January 23, 2024
Contemporary Christian Romance

They’re a mismatched family… 

But their hearts line up just right 

Training service dogs is single dad Jake Beckett’s calling. He’s determined to train rambunctious puppy Callie to help his ailing friend Myrna live independently with her growing blindness. Myrna’s granddaughter, Olivia Hart, isn’t easily convinced, but Jake, his twins and Callie are an incredibly persuasive team. If Olivia agrees to give Callie a chance, will working with Jake risk her lifelong dreams?  

From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | ChristianBook | Bookshop | BookBub

About the Author

Jill Weatherholt

Jill Weatherholt is an author of sweet, emotional, small-town romance novels that guarantee a happy ending.

She's sold over half a dozen sweet romance short stories to Woman's World Magazine
Raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., she now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, but her heart belongs to Virginia. She holds a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and Paralegal Studies Certification from Duke University. 
She shares her life with her real-life hero and number one supporter. Their relationship grew on the golf course, and now they have one in their backyard. 
Jill believes in enjoying every moment of this journey because God has everything under control.

Connect with Jill by visiting to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

My Thoughts

Their Inseparable Bond by Jill Weatherholt is a sweet story.  I thought the story was well written with realistic, developed characters.  I enjoyed getting to know Jake, Olivia, Myrna, and the twins, Kayla and Kyle.  Callie was a delightful puppy.  You would need patience to train her, but you cannot help falling in love with the rambunctious Callie.  I liked Myrna’s comfortable home, and I could tell that the twins did too.  I bet her home perpetually smelled of cookies.  The romance progressed at a nice pace.  We get to see how grief or loss affects people differently.  We also see that there is more than one type of family.  There are the families we are born into and the families we create. They can each be equally special and loving. Lost love, grief, family, empathy, second chances, and faith are the themes in Their Inseparable Bond.  I enjoyed the humor sprinkled throughout the story.  Their Inseparable Bond is a touching tale with tasty treats, a concerned granddaughter, a playful puppy, a grieving girl, tether trouble, and a chance at romance.  


Daddy!” Kyle raced through the kitchen door.

“What is it? Is Kayla hurt?” Jake’s pulse quickened.

Kyle blinked rapidly. “No! It’s Callie. Dr. Olivia accidentally put her outside the fence without

her leash. Callie took off like a rocket ship.”

“Oh, dear.” Myrna placed her hand against the side of her face.

“Hurry, Daddy!” Kyle cried out.

“You and your sister stay here and feed Tank. I’ll go after Callie. Don’t worry. I’ll find her.”

Jake sprinted out the door and right past Olivia.

“Jake, I’m sorry!” Olivia yelled. “Let me help!”

Jake ignored the apology and her offer to help. He had to find Callie. He increased his pace as he neared the steep hill. On the other side were deep woods, and with the cloud cover that had moved in, it would be dark soon. Jake pumped his arms as he neared the top of the hill. If Callie continued into the wooded area, finding her would be impossible.

Tour Giveaway

(2) winners will win a print copy of Their Inseparable Bond and a $25 gift card.

Their Inseparable Bond JustRead Tours giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight January 22, 2024 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on January 29, 2024. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway

Their Inseparable Bond is available from Amazon*.  You can find the other novels in the K-9 Companions series hereJill Weatherholt has Her Son's Faithful Companion coming out May 21, 2024.  It is the 21st book in the K-9 Companions series.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will return tomorrow with Dangerous Texas Hideout by Virginia Vaughan.  It is the third book in the Cowboy Protectors series.  Do not forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of Their Inseparable Bond and a $25 Amazon gift card.  I hope that you have a peaceful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Thursday, January 18, 2024

The Divine Proverb of Streusel by Sara Brunsvold

 The Divine Proverb of Streusel

Book Summary

Shaken by her parents' divorce and discouraged by the growing chasm between herself and her serious boyfriend, Nikki Werner seeks solace at her uncle's farm in a small Missouri hamlet. She'll spend the summer there, picking up the pieces of her shattered present so she can plan a better future. But what awaits her at the ancestral farm is a past she barely knows.

Among her late grandmother's belongings, Nikki finds an old notebook filled with handwritten German recipes and wise sayings pulled from the book of Proverbs. With each recipe she makes, she invites locals to the family table to hear their stories about the town's history, her ancestors--and her estranged father.

What started as a cathartic way to connect to her heritage soon becomes the means through which she learns how the women before her endured--with the help of their cooking prowess. Nikki realizes how delicious streusel with a healthy dollop of faith can serve as a guide to heal wounds of the past.

My Thoughts

The Divine Proverb of Streusel by Sara Brunsvold has Nikki Werner looking for a connection to her family’s past.  I like the premise of the story.  It would be intriguing to find an old notebook belonging to my grandmother filled with recipes and proverbs.  I was not, though, a fan of Nikki.  I found her immature.  She is a woman in her twenties who is a schoolteacher, but she acted like a teenager.  Her boyfriend acted juvenile as well.  I loved Aunt Emma.  She is a lively, spunky woman.  Wes was also a good character.  I liked seeing his growth and enjoyed his interactions with Aunt Emma.  The story moves at a slow pace with it being particularly sluggish in the middle.  I like how faith is woven throughout the story (it is never preachy). 

The development of the characters was good.  The plot is predictable (it was easy to envisage how the story would end).  The romance between two of the middle-aged characters was sweet (preferred it to the younger characters romance).  There are descriptions of various German dishes (brought back memories of my childhood growing up in German Village).  I like the fact that Nikki invited people to the farmhouse for them to try out the dishes and it enabled her to learn more about her family’s history.  There are aspects of the story I enjoyed and others that I did not.  So, The Divine Proverb of Streusel is a mixed bag for me.  

The Divine Proverb of Streusel is available from Amazon*.  To see if The Divine Proverb of Streusel is your type of story, I suggest you download a sample. Sara Brunsvold's other novel is The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will return on Tuesday, January 23 with Their Inseparable Bond by Jill Weatherholt.  I hope that you have a relaxing weekend.  Take care and Happy Reading


The Avid Reader

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

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Hammers and Homicide by Paula Charles

 Hammers and Homicide
Book Summary

Recent sexagenarian widow Dawna Carpenter thought running her own hardware store after the death of her husband was hard enough. With her adult daughter, April, moving back into town, and Darlene, the annoying boutique owner next door to her shop poking around, Dawna has her hands full. But when she finds a dead man in the bathroom of her store, with a framing hammer by his side, she’s in way over her head.

The victim, Warren Highcastle, was a land developer who was looking to purchase the old theater in town to build a new hotel. Dawna and April, worried about the implications of the crime scene at the hardware store, put themselves on the case. They soon learn that Warren had made quite a few enemies in his short amount of time in town. As the suspect list starts growing, so too do the threats against Dawna and April. Can Dawna and April nail the killer before they strike again?

My Thoughts

Hammers and Homicide by Paula Charles is the debut of A Hometown Hardware Mysteries.  I like the fact that Dawna Carpenter is an older protagonist (I wanted to start with something positive).   I did not understand why the author made her extremely clumsy (it seems to be the standard to make a cozy mystery protagonist clumsy).  We get to all the details of Dawna’s life.  I understand the author wanted to establish the character, but we really did not need to know so much about Dawna’s past (and not in such detail).  Nor did we need to know so much about the hardware store.  I am surprised that Dawna is managing to keep the doors of the hardware store open considering her lack of knowledge and her failure to update her stock.  Dawna’s daughter, April, has moved back to town.  There is too much attention focused on the mother daughter duo (it overshadows the whodunit). 

The mystery is simple.  It was obvious who would die and who would end up at the top of the suspect list.    The police chief is viewed as competent (mostly) by Dawna until he arrests a friend.  Dawna along with April investigate the crime.  I rolled my eyes more than once at their investigative skills.  The suspect pool is miniscule.  The clues are obvious (there might as well be a giant noon arrow pointing at the killer).    The pacing was leisurely and there were repetitive details.  There is humor sprinkled throughout the story.  One plot point was left unresolved at the end of the book.  My curiosity is not sufficiently aroused to seek out the next A Hometown Hardware Mystery 

Hammers and Homicide is available from Amazon*.  Thank you for stopping by today.  Tomorrow I will be sharing my thoughts on The Divine Proverb of Streusel by Sara Brunsvold.  I am currently reading Ill-Fated Fortune by Jennifer J. Chow.  It is the debut of a Magical Fortune Cookie series.  I hope that you have a stellar day.  Take care and Happy Reading.


The Avid Reader

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

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Deadly to the Core by Joyce Tremel

Deadly to the Core

About Deadly to the Core


Deadly to the Core (A Cider House Mystery) 

Cozy Mystery 

1st in Series

Setting - Pennsylvania 

Crooked Lane Books '

(January 16, 2024) 

Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 250 pages 


Perfect for fans of Amanda Flower and Julie Anne Lindsey, when Kate Mulligan inherits her great uncle’s fruit orchard, she quickly realizes that apples aren’t the only thing that can have rotten cores.

After losing her husband in a terrible car crash, thirty-five-year-old Kate is left to pick up the pieces of her life alone. Although she has physically recovered, she worries her spirit never will. But when she learns that she has inherited a fruit orchard in a small town just outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, from her great uncle Stan, she takes this as an opportunity ripe for the picking. Kate knew immediately what to do with it: open a cider house. Her hopeful plans fall far from the tree when she finds the body of the orchard manager, Carl Randolph, leaving her to figure out who is at the core of this murder.

She had been in correspondence with Carl, who had agreed with her brilliant idea of opening a cider house. But not everyone is so quick to buy what she was selling—Uncle Stan’s lawyer, Robert Larabee, paints a less rosy financial outlook of the orchard’s past, present, and future.

Kate discovers that Carl had large, unexplained deposits to his bank account and it becomes clear that either he was blackmailing someone, or someone was paying him to keep quiet. Meanwhile, Kate and her neighbors receive offers to buy their property from a mysterious buyer. And there’s more than meets the eye with the neighboring orchard owner, Daniel Martinez, although Kate can’t quite put her finger on if it’s sweet or sour.

Will she be able to pick out the bad apple among the bunch before it’s too late?

About Joyce Tremel

Joyce Tremel was a police secretary for ten years and more than once envisioned the demise of certain co-workers, but settled on writing as a way to keep herself out of jail. In addition to the Cider House Mysteries, she wrote the Brewing Trouble Mysteries. As Joyce St. Anthony, she writes the Homefront News historical mysteries. She lives in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania with her husband and two cats named Hops and Lager.

Author Links

Deadly to the Core is available from AmazonB&N,  Kobo,, and PenguinRandomHouse.  If you follow Joyce Tremel on Amazon, they will send you an email when she has a new book release.  As part of the tour, the author is hosting a giveaway for a print copy of Deadly to the Core (Sorry US Only).  You can click here to enter or use the Rafflecopter form below.  Leave a comment for an extra entry.  Good Luck!  I will return tomorrow with my thoughts on Hammers and Homicide by Paula Charles.  It is the debut of A Hometown Hardware Mysteries.  I hope that you have an appealing day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

Tour Participants

January 15 – Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense – SPOTLIGHT 

January 15 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT 

January 16 – The Avid Reader – SPOTLIGHT

January 16 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 17 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
January 17 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 18 – Christy's Cozy Corners – AUTHOR GUEST POST

January 18 – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 19 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT
January 20 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

January 20 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT

January 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 21 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

January 22 – CelticLady Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 22 – Cassidy's Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT

January 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

January 23 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW


January 24 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 25 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 25 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

January 26 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

January 26 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
January 27 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author – SPOTLIGHT

January 27 – Cozy, Suspenseful, and Sweet – SPOTLIGHT

January 28 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Death at a Scottish Wedding by Lucy Connelly

 Death at a Scottish Wedding
Book Summary

Finally feeling like Sea Isle, Scotland is becoming her new home, American doctor Emilia McRoy is delighted when she is invited to a wedding at Morrigan's Castle. Her friends have warned her that it's a three-day party and it's bound to get wild, not to mention the impending snowstorm. Constable Ewan Campbell, owner of the castle, ensures their safety with the blizzard. What he didn’t ensure, is that all of his guests would survive the night alive. When Emilia explores the impressive castle, she finds a dead man in one of the turrets.

 The snowstorm hits and the local police can’t reach the castle until it lets up. With no one able to leave, the family insists they carry on with the wedding, which makes Emilia's job as the coroner a bit easier—the suspects are in one place­––and complicated because the killer has Emilia in his sights. The fact no one claims to know the victim isn't helping. Why would someone no one knows be murdered at a castle in the middle of nowhere?

It’s up to Emilia to uncover the mystery who the victim is, so the killer doesn’t get away Scot free.
My Thoughts

Death at a Scottish Wedding by Lucy Connelly has Dr. Emilia McRoy attending the wedding of her friend, Angie at Morrigan Castle.  A man ends up dead in a turret in the middle of a blizzard.  I liked the descriptions of the castle (perfect place for a murder especially with the turret and a storm raging outside).   The mystery had an intriguing start.  No one can leave the castle thanks to the blizzard.  Emilia is also the local coroner and, between her and Ewan, they come up with enough supplies to conduct an autopsy.  I can understand Emilia bringing her medical bag with her stocked with extra supplies (since everyone in the village seems to be attending the wedding), but I cannot imagine bringing the necessary instruments needed for an autopsy (it just seemed farfetched).  Emilia and her friends discuss the case endlessly (I could have used a shot of whiskey to get through the endless theorizing).    I was baffled at how no one seemed to remember anything of importance regarding the case (they seemed to be an unobservant group of people).  The whodunit can easily be solved.  The reveal was lackluster (it needed a little pizzaz aka action, drama, or suspense).  
Emilia seemed to feel that if she stated “I’m a doctor” or “I’m the coroner” that it justified her interference.  Emilia, the steady and calm ER doctor, screamed at unexpected noises and movements (she needed a dram of whiskey to calm her nerves).  Other ladies seem to scream frequently as well.  The independent and strong women came across immature (I would rather brave the blizzard than deal with this bunch of nervous Nellie’s).  The story had a slow pace and it especially dragged in the middle.  I tired of Emilia going on and on about her wonderful group of friends (she has only known them for three months).  She considers them her Sea Isle family.  Death at a Scottish Wedding is the second A Scottish Isle Mystery.  It can be read as a standalone for those new to the series.  Unfortunately, this series is not for me.  

Death at a Scottish Wedding is available from Amazon*.  The first book in A Scottish Isle Mysteries is An American in Scotland.  You can find Lucy Connelly's other novels here.  Thank you for joining me today.  I hope everyone is enjoying the new year.  I am working on organizing the house.  The closets are a mess and so are the cupboards.  It is a good time to to organize and declutter.  I hope that you have a jolly good day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

The Dog Across the Lake by Krista Davis

 The Dog Across the Lake

Book Summary

Holly and Trixie meet a strange new dog in Wagtail that leads them right into murder. 

Holly Miller is looking forward to finally taking a few days to relax. Enjoying an early morning on her terrace, she spots an unfamiliar reddish-gold pooch across the lake. She’s intrigued, but never expects to find the very same dog smiling at her in bed when she wakes up the next morning! Trixie and Twinkletoes appear to accept this cute stranger, but Holly doesn’t know to whom he belongs.

Oma thinks the dog looks familiar, and it turns out the wayward pooch belongs to Holly’s cousin Josh. Holly knew her cousin well as a child, but she hasn’t seen him in over a decade. He’s camping with his girlfriend across the lake. Holly returns the cute dog to Josh’s campsite twice, but the second time, Josh and his girlfriend are nowhere to be found. Instead, a guest 

My Thoughts

The Dog Across the Lake by Krista Davis takes us back to Wagtail, Virginia where the town is getting ready to celebrate Oma’s (Liesel Miller who is the mayor of Wagtail) birthday.  I look forward to my visits to Wagtail each year.  It is a charming town where cats and dogs are welcome along with their owners (of course).  The story contains good writing along with developed characters.  Holly Miller, the protagonist, has grown over the course of the series.  It is easy to see that Wagtail is where she belongs, and that Holly is meant to run the Sugar Maple Inn.  It is obvious how much Holly loves the inn.  All the regular characters are back along with a couple of visitors.  Holly’s father, cousin, and aunt are in town for Oma’s birthday dinner.  Trixie and Twinkletoes are as wonderful as ever and they have a new friend.  I appreciate that the author includes a cast of characters especially since the cast has grown with the series.  

The mystery has Holly fretting about her cousin, Josh.  Josh’s mother is worried (a regular nervous Nelly) and wants Holly to unravel the thorny puzzle.  Holly asks questions, observes people, looks for clues, and just “happens” to overhear conversations.  There are clues for the readers that will help them identify the guilty party.  I pinpointed the killer quite a while before Holly.  There is a secondary mystery that Holly solves as well.  While The Dog Across the Lake is the ninth A Paws and Claws Mystery, it can be read as a standalone.  It will take a new reader a beat to get the characters straight but that is where the cast of characters comes in handy.   I enjoyed the humor sprinkled throughout the story.  Friendship, family, and a love of animals if prevalent throughout.  I was sorry when my visit to Wagtail came to an end.  The Dog Across the Lake is a delightful tale with a roving Radar, a victim in a tent, a questionable girlfriend, a birthday bash, a mournful howl, a laid-up officer, and visiting siblings.  

The Dog Across the Lake is available from Amazon*.  You can find the other A Paws & Claws Mysteries here.  Kris Davis has The Diva Goes Overboard coming out May 21.  It is the 17th A Domestic Diva Mystery.  Thank you for stopping by today.  Also out today is  The Amish Quilter's Unlikely Match by Jennifer Beckstrand.  It is the latest book in The Amish Quiltmaker seriesThe Son's Secret by Daryl Wood Gerber is another new release along with Upside Down by Danielle Steel.  As you can tell, I have been cutting back on my blog.  My fibromyalgia has been acting up, so my doctors have added some new medications.  Unfortunately, the new meds make me tired. Until I adjust, I have to cut back a little.  I appreciate your understanding. I hope that you have a peaceful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

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