September 26th, 2016

death-by-pumpkin-spice

Bookstore café owner Krissy Hancock would rather spend Halloween serving pumpkin goodies than wearing costumes with Pine Hills’ wealthiest at Yarborough mansion, especially when the soiree shapes up to be more trick than treat . . .

As if a run-in with an old flame and a failed marriage proposal weren’t enough to horrify Krissy for one night, a woman is found strangled to death in a room filled with ominous jack-o’-lanterns. All signs suggest a crime of passion—but when the hostess’s jewelry disappears, malevolent intentions seem way more likely . . .

With the estate on lockdown and a killer roaming the halls, Krissy must help Officer Paul Dalton investigate each nook, cranny, and guest for answers—while also confronting a few demons of her own. Someone has lots of skeletons in the closet, and Krissy better tread lightly to expose them . . .

My Comments: I found this to be a sweet and easy read. I love reading books corresponding with the holidays, and this one does a great job with Halloween. I enjoy the love triangle as well as the mystery. The story moves a little slowly, but it is a good traditional cozy mystery.

I received a free copy of this e-copy from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

September 14th, 2016

gingerbread-boy

For this gingerbread boy, it’s eat or be eaten!

When Shirley bakes herself a gingerbread treat to bring to school, the last thing she expects is for him to leap out of her lunchbox and begin gobbling everything in sight. A wild chase ensues—on foot and by cable car—through iconic San Francisco neighborhoods including the Mission, Chinatown, North Beach, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Will Shirley be able to catch the gingerbread boy before he eats up the whole city? Friendship is at the heart of this retelling of the classic folktale. A recipe for (non-magical) gingerbread treats is included.

My Comments:  This is a fun book with great illustrations, and it will make a great addition to my Gingerbread Boy collection. The story is very different AND it has a happy ending! The gingerbread boy goes all throughout San Francisco and tastes the treats–FUN!

September 13th, 2016

Until I love again

Will a Secret from the Past Threaten Susanna’s Future?

Susanna Miller’s freedom during her rumspringa goes a bit further than she wants her family to know. A birthday sign innocently placed on a gas station billboard condemns Susanna as she realizes her relationship with the charming Joey Macalister, an Englisha man, has become far too close.

Her daett is not pleased, but what he hasn’t told her is that he himself has regrets about events from his own rumspringa. Widower Ernest Helmuth knows Ralph Miller’s secret, but he has said nothing as of yet. He plans on having Susanna as his bride no matter what.

With her baptism approaching, Susanna knows that time is running out to make her choice: stay with her family or hope she can find love in the Englisha world. With Ernest Helmuth watching, that decision might not be hers to make.

Is Susanna’s faith strong enough to make the right choice?

My Comments:  I love reading books about the Amish, especially when written by a former Amish person. This is exactly why I read books by Jerry Eicher. The books ring a little truer to life. This story shows what problems can occur from the Amish young person’s time of life known as “rumspringa.” Secrets are covered up and uncovered, difficult choices need to be made, many lives are effected by poor choices. This book, as all his others, is worth the re

September 12th, 2016

kangaroo-kisses

It’s time for… BED!

Not yet!

ELEPHANT must floss,

to make his teeth gloss!

Then I’ll brush furry BEAR.

Please brush your own HAIR!

Follow one mischievous child as she delays getting ready for bed, and has some amazing wildlife encounters along the way!

A perfect picture book for reading aloud at bedtime – or any time.

My Comments: This is a very sweet book Even though it is perfect for very young children (preschool or Kindergarten), my second graders loved it! The illustrations by  Pippa Curnick are very kid-friendly and striking. I can’t wait to read it to my grandsons!

September 5th, 2016

British Manor Murder

It’s a nippy spring in Tinker’s Cove, Maine, and so Lucy Stone can’t wait to join her friend Sue at the Earl of Wickham’s manor in England for the “Heads Up!” hat exhibition—even if she has to spend her entire holiday curtseying. But at Moreton Manor, privileged life isn’t always tea and crumpets . . .
Although Perry, the earl of the house, and his sister, Poppy, are surprisingly accommodating to their jetlagged guests, Lucy feels uneasy after a fallen portrait sparks talk of a deadly family omen. The bad vibes come in quickly—snobby Aunt Millicent and her handmaiden Harrison unexpectedly drop by for the exhibition, and meals with the family are consistently tense. But real trouble begins when a body, bludgeoned by the chapel’s gold-plated reliquary, is found in a hidden, sealed off room. Stranger still, the corpse is identified as Harrison’s son, Cyril.

Considering the weapon and the clandestine location, Lucy wouldn’t be shocked if the murder was an inside job. Cyril wasn’t exactly a gentleman, and it’s unclear what business he had on the property. Was the victim trying to make off with the family riches before meeting his end? Or was a scorned country squire looking to settle an ancient indiscretion for good? One thing’s for sure—the criminal is privy to Moreton Manor secrets . . .

To end the reign of terror, Lucy must keep her ear to the ground and mind time-honored traditions—no matter how unusual. Because Lucy has a hunch that the killer has been in her company all along, just waiting for a chance to make blueblood run red . . .

My Comments: I love Lucy Stone mysteries. I feel like as I’ve read the series that I’ve watched this family grow up, because they do grow up in the stories. I think in the very first one I read, Zoe was a nursing baby. Now she’s getting ready for college.

In this story Lucy and friend Sue go across the pond to England for a hat show. Although it’s not exactly like they expected (Downton Abbey), the scenery is beautiful and there is plenty to keep sleuth Lucy busy and to help her forget how much she misses her grandson, Patrick, who is now in Alaska with his parents.

The story is engaging, has a few twists and turns and interesting characters. Of course, there is a murder to solve.

I recommend this book to fans of cozy mysteries. This is a clean, entertaining read. Thank you Leslie Meier – keep the books coming!

August 30th, 2016

Return to Paradise

When David Stoltzfus’ father became overly stern and even abusive, he and his siblings did the only thing they knew to do to keep one another safe: they escaped from the Amish community of Paradise, Pennsylvania to a new life in the Englisch world. Leaving the only life they had ever known was hard, especially for David, because leaving Paradise meant leaving Lavina Zook, the woman he planned to wed. A year later, Lavina hasn’t forgiven David for abandoning her, but when his father is diagnosed with cancer she knows she has to get David to come back and make peace with his father before it’s too late. Even if she can get David to return, she’s not sure he will find forgiveness in his heart. She’s not sure she will, either.

My Comments: Reading about real-life issues from the Amish perspective is always interesting to me. I loved this book. It is a book of survival, heart-break, and redemption. I love reading Amish books because they can cut to the issues without all of the garbage – no language or sexual content. The story kept me reading to find out how it was going to end. It’s been a while since I’ve done that – I’ve gotten more hung up on streaming TV series. This was  refreshing change!

August 20th, 2016

address to die for
For professional organizer Maggie McDonald, moving her family into a new home should be the perfect organizational challenge. But murder was definitely not on the to-do list . . .

Maggie McDonald has a penchant for order that isn’t confined to her clients’ closets, kitchens, and sock drawers. As she lays out her plan to transfer her family to the hundred-year-old house her husband, Max, has inherited in the hills above Silicon Valley, she has every expectation for their new life to fall neatly into place. But as the family bounces up the driveway of their new home, she’s shocked to discover the house’s dilapidated condition. When her husband finds the caretaker face-down in their new basement, it’s the detectives who end up moving in. What a mess! While the investigation unravels and the family camps out in a barn, a killer remains at large-exactly the sort of loose end Maggie can’t help but clean up . . .

My Comments: Interesting concept—a professional organizer moving into a mess! Not only a mess, but a murdered body! Great beginning to what looks to be an engaging series! Thank you Ms. Feliz, this was a delightful read.

June 21st, 2016

the shark

At the grisly murder scene of a teen prostitute, Virginia state trooper Riley Tatum’s past roars back to haunt her. When she was a teenage runaway, she was kidnapped, drugged, and left unconscious on the streets. She has no memories of what happened, only strange recurring dreams of two men playing cards.

Former FBI agent Clay Bowman, Riley’s old flame, is Shield Security’s newest member. He’s plagued by the unsolved case of a serial killer nicknamed the Shark who murdered girls as part of a sadistic poker game. Only one girl survived. With the Shark now bent on evening that score, Clay has a chilling suspicion: Riley is the girl who escaped the Shark’s deadly amusement—and she is his next prey.

As the Shark gets ready to play his hand, can Riley and Clay stop him—or will this killer finally claim the one who got away?

My Comments:  

May 12th, 2016

The Gift

A New View on the Old Rugged Cross

Are peace, joy, and significance on your wish list? How about redemption, forgiveness, the salvation of your soul? Each of these descriptors bring us to the main event: grace. Saving grace, God’s immeasurable gift intended for all. Regardless of accomplishments or station in life, despite sins of the past, anyone can receive the free gift of grace.
Yet too often we take God’s incomparable gift for granted—despite the fact that God’s very Son paid for it with his body, breath, and blood. Understandably, we often find ourselves caught up in the daily routine of life, not taking time to reflect on the enormity of God’s mercy.
So here’s a suggestion: give yourself the gift of a few moments spent in the world of God’s grace. Read pastor Max Lucado’s unique, stirring insights into God’s role as grace-giver. Spend some time reflecting on the gift of grace, in all its magnificent meaning.
Let grace, the gift for all people, speak to you personally through these pages.
For All People—Even You

God loves you more than you can imagine.

Is that hard to believe? Many of us consider ourselves unworthy due to past sins and mistakes, wrong turns and missteps.,
But God’s gift of grace is limitless. Though we are undeserving, he offers grace. Though we are weak in our faith, he extends strength through grace. God’s endless grace is a free gift. It cannot be earned.
No matter who you are or what you’ve done, the all-powerful God waits for you to choose him, to choose life in his presence—here and in heaven.

“[God] simply wants you home with him. And to bring you home, he offers you a gift. My prayer is that through these pages you’ll see his gift like you’ve never seen it. If you’ve already accepted it, you’ll thank him again. And if you’ve never accepted it, you will. For it’s the gift of a lifetime, a gift for all people.”
—Max Lucado

My Comments:

This is a great devotional-type book. It’s easy to read, it has short chapters, and it’s a short book. Max Lucado is a prolific writer for good reason. I love every book I’ve read by him, this one included. The first half of the book focuses on Jesus – how He came. The second half deals with Jesus as well – why He came. The whole book deals with how he feels about us – His great love. God’s grace is hard for us to comprehend. This book full of short stories gives us a little more understanding. I recommend it. The book is short and an easy read.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

May 7th, 2016

5 Habits

Have you ever gotten to the place where you just couldn’t take it anymore?

Dreams. Programs. Jobs. Relationships. There are so many different areas where we feel like calling it quits.

It’s time for an honest conversation on how not to give in to the temptation to give up.

Nicki Koziarz is a woman who has thrown in the towel a time or two. In fact, she’s quit just about everything in her life. But with God’s help, she’s discovered a few habits that have helped her and others conquer the choice to quit.

5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit will enable you to:
Evaluate the internal personal struggles that make you want to quit.
Cultivate consistent habits to help you progress toward your goals.
Receive a fresh dose of perspective from the Bible that will help you develop perseverance.
You are not made to quit! Join Nicki as she identifies five habits to help you keep going no matter what struggles may come your way.

My Comments: I have been there – I was a quitter. I still quit at times. I just can’t do all that I want to do. Sometimes that is not a good thing, however, that is why I was interested in this book, especially since it is based on the Biblical character of Ruth. The author is very honest in her struggles, which I could relate to. I think this book encouraged me to wait a little longer before quitting. It also helped me to understand people who give up on things I’m interested in or involved in before giving it half a chance.

This is a great book for young mothers who need to set a good example for their children — not to give up and quit something that may seem very difficult.

I bought this book on Audible and enjoyed listening to it each day as I drove to work. I also received a free copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review which I have given.