In Laura Childs’s New York Times bestselling mystery series, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni—co-owners of the Cackleberry Club café—are back to track down another bad egg…
Maintaining good personal relationships with their suppliers is one of the secrets of the Cackleberry Club café’s success, so Suzanne doesn’t mind going out to Mike Mullen’s dairy farm to pick up some wheels of cheese. She’s looking forward to a nice visit with the mild-mannered farmer before heading back to their hectic kitchen.
But when she arrives, Mike’s nowhere to be found. The moaning of his cows leads her to look in the barn, where she discovers a bloodcurdling sight—the farmer’s dead body. Apparently not everyone was as fond of Mike Mullen as the Cackleberry Club.
Churning with grief and outrage, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to find the farmer’s murderer—but as they get closer to the truth, the desperate killer gets whipped into a frenzy and plans to put the squeeze on them…
My Comments: I have had several Laura Childs’ books in my TBR pile for a while now, but never got around to reading them. That has ENDED. this was a great book – very engaging and well written. I love the characters, and the twists and turns. I like the writing, it feels “full” and rich. This is also a Halloween-type book and captures that well. I love the main character, Suzanne, her friends who work in the cafe, and her boyfriend, Sam. I highly recommend this book to fans of cozies.
I received this book free from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion, which I have given.
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
STUFF. It’s everywhere. Lurking in corners and closets, spilling onto counters and coffee tables, creating havoc everywhere we look. And it’s not just the physical clutter that weighs us down. Oh no, it is the stress of overbooked schedule, and the weight of a life that sometimes feels oppressive and totally out of whack.
New York Times bestselling author Ruth Soukup feels your pain–she has been there too. Through personal stories, Biblical truth, and practical action plans, she will inspire and empower each of us to finally declutter not just our home, but our mind and soul as well. Unstuffed is real, honest, and gets right down to the question we are all facing–how can we take back our lives from the stuff that is weighing us down?
In this book we will:
Create a comprehensive vision for our homes, and make instant changes to improve its overall function.
Discover that more closet space is not the solution, and instead learn how to set strict limits for the stuff we bring in
Overcome the frustration of dealing with our kids’ influx of stuff and implement practical solutions for keeping the chaos at bay.
Recognize the pitfalls of an overstuffed schedule BEFORE it gets out of hand, and instead learn to combat the culture of busy that keeps us running from one thing to the next.
Finally conquer that mountain of paperwork that threatens to tumble down around us at any moment.
Let go of the guilt that gets attached to gifts and instead learn to separate our loved ones from their stuff.
Begin to cultivate our real friendships while eliminating the toxic relationships that weigh us down.
Who Needs This Book?
Unstuffed was written for anyone who feels stressed out or weighed down by a life that feel chaotic, out-of-control, and completely overstuffed. It speaks to the mom who is overwhelmed by the clutter that comes pouring into every facet of her home and schedule, from trinkets and paperwork to endless obligations and activities.
It is for the woman who craves not just a step-by-step guide to ridding our lives of STUFF, but a true understanding of why our lives become so stuffed in the first place–and what we can do to stop the madness, once and for all.
Most of all, it is for the person who is tired of feeling guilty for not being able to do it all, the woman who can’t ever quite seem to keep up with other people’s obligations of what her home is supposed to be, the mom who is exhausted by always trying to get it right.
Want to know if this book is for you?
Have you ever found yourself buying more storage containers to organize stuff you probably should have just gotten rid of?
Do you ever find yourself frustrated that even when you do manage to get your house cleaned up, it never seems to stay that way?
Do you sometimes feel like you can’t keep up with all the activities and obligations you have committed to?
Do you ever struggle to find an important piece of paper because there are just too many pieces of paper to keep track of?
Have you ever felt guilty for getting rid of something that was a gift, or held on to something you didn’t really like because someone gave it to you?
Do you feel like there are people in your life who simply suck the life out of you?
Have you ever felt like you need more balance?
If the answer to any of these questions is YES, this book provides realand practical solutions from someone who has been there. Ruth doesn’tjust offer advice, she walks it with you, and shares with brutal honesty her own mistakes, failures, and shortcomings. It is encouraging,motivating, and life-changing.
My Comments: This book is so practical and helpful! My favorite part is titled “The Unstuffed Weekend Challenge.” I plan on doing this this summer when I’m off. I don’t feel I can do it now because my work (teaching) takes all my energy and I need to rest on the weekends, but this summer…watch out! Another section that spoke to me was the amount of paper a school child takes home. I’ve rethought what I send home to parents — I won’t send everything home anymore, just what’s necessary for them to understand how their child is doing.
We have clutter and “stuff” in all areas of our lives and this book addresses those areas – our homes, our minds, and our souls. The American way says to stay busy, busy, busy. This really isn’t good for any of us. I suggest this book as a great start to get our lives under control. I bought it on Audible and have started listening to it again. The book is engaging, practical and helpful. I highly recommend it!
I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review which I have given.
About this book: A fictional tale about a little boy, who is terrified of stormy weather. He overcomes his fear with the help of three small animals called THE STORM BUDDIES, who live in the cloud pillow. The bundle comes with the book, cloud pillow, and three stuffed animals.
My Comments: Storms can be very frightening to young children (and sometimes even adults!). The idea behind this story is to have some buddies with you to keep you company during a storm so that you will not be afraid. You can pray with, talk to, and snuggle with the storm buddies buddies during the storm (look at the picture to see the buddies). The book comes with a pillow which has the buddies inside of it — cute idea! These buddies help young children cope and maybe even sleep during a storm.
Merry Christmas from me, Patricia Davids. If you love pecans the way I do, you’ll want to enjoy this delicious holiday recipe all year round. They are called Kentucky Pecan Bars and they are YUM. Pair them with a cup of hot peppermint cocoa and you’ll have a real treat to savor while you enjoy my latest book, An Amish Noel.
Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small dice
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
1 2/3 cups pecans
6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 cup honey
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons bourbon
Zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the crust: Adjust the oven rack to the bottom position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, salt and butter until the butter is pea-sized. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough begins to pull from the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a floured surface, gather together and pat into a rectangle. Roll the dough into a 1/8-inch-thick rectangle that measures about 13 by 15 inches. Trim the rough edges and ease the dough into the prepared pan, pressing it onto the bottom and about halfway up the sides (trim the dough more on the sides as needed). Prick the dough a couple times with a fork.
Cover with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the dough starts to set up, about 15 minutes. Remove the weights and foil and continue to bake until the crust is just golden, about 5 minutes more. Let it cool completely.
For the filling: Meanwhile, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and spread the pecans out on a baking sheet. Bake until toasted and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool and then coarsely chop.
Bring a couple of inches of water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Put the white chocolate in a heat-safe bowl that sits comfortably in the saucepan without touching the water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Spread it evenly on the crust and let it set up. Beat the honey and brown sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the eggs. Pour in the melted butter and continue to beat. Add the flour, bourbon, orange zest and vanilla. Sprinkle the pecans over the white chocolate and pour in the honey mixture.
Bake until the top of the filling is golden brown and the center sets up, 30 to 40 minutes. Cover and put in the refrigerator until cool. When ready to serve, cut into 36 even bars.
Recipe courtesy of Damaris Phillips, From The Food Network website.
Shortly after his miraculous birth, made possible with help from the phoenix, Prince Ru-lan is captured by Su-ling, the evil enchantress, who plans to raise Ru-lan and use him to take over the kingdom. Several years later, the phoenix reminds the little boy of his real identity and he escapes from Su-ling’s cottage with the help of his animal friends. Once their son is firmly ensconced in the palace, the emperor and empress undertake a daring plot to forever rid the kingdom of the threat of the evil enchantress. This book subtly teaches values while introducing the reader to interesting aspects of Chinese culture and language.
My comments: This book is an engaging read for children in about grades 3-4. It would work for a read-aloud for younger children. It reads very much like a fairy tale for the purpose of teaching cultural norms. The illustrations are outstanding and colorful. The themes include good versus evil; fantasy; loyalty; and beginnings. The story is very engaging and children love it! I recommend it for a primary-aged child’s library.
In this first book of the series, readers are introduced to a lovable little alligator named Dozi. Living in a swamp in central Florida, Dozi observes wondrous colorful lights over a distant amusement park. Eventually, the curiosity of the little alligator gets the best of him and he heads off to discover the strange and fascinating new world of humans.
While hiding inside one of Orlando’s popular theme parks, Dozi makes the decision to stow away in the unsuspecting Hoxwinder family’s minivan after the family has finished visiting the park. During the long over-night drive home from Florida, Dozi befriends young Byron Hoxwinder in the very back of the vehicle. The family arrives home without anybody but 9-year old Byron Hoxwinder realizing they have brought a young alligator home with them.
My Comments: This book is adorable. I like the fact that it has rhyming words and you could practice the skill of inferencing with it. Dozi is one cute alligator wanting a family. The illustrations are vibrant and definitely help with comprehension. The story is cute and child-centered. A great addition to a young child’s library – maybe ages 2-7.
Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, specializes in missing persons. Her cases have taken her to some very interesting places and put her in some dangerous situations, but she always solves the case. With the help of Rick Bonito, her sometime partner, her business is flourishing.
When Mrs. Brody hires Amelia and Rick to find her missing brother, they find themselves in Bali, Indonesia. They are mystified why her brother quit his job, put his home up for sale, and ran off to this mysterious and exotic island without telling a soul.
My Comments: I have been listening to this book on my commute back and forth to work on Amazon’s Audible. I love the reader/actress. She makes the book come alive as she uses voices as well as accents. Two things attracted me to this story — it’s clean and it’s cozy mystery – with romance thrown in. Amelia Moore is a dedicated detective and Rick Bonito works with/for her. They seem to be a cute couple who aren’t quite a couple yet. The mystery does not seem to involve anything gory or gruesome, which is a nice change. I’ve never heard of Bali, Indonesia, but the author causes me to want to visit. The people there sound interesting as well. I will be reading/listening to more books in this series.
I received a free e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.
Sunny-as-a-summer-sky rhymes chronicle a mother and son sharing a day of sand digging, seashell collecting, and seashore exploring. Kids will learn about a variety of shells and count along with the boy as he totals up his collection, puts his shells away, and then drifts off into a well-earned bedtime. A spread of seashell facts caps off the story.
This captivating, narrative nonfiction title featuring nature and counting is an ideal fit for home, preschool and kindergarten bookshelves. Pair it with the author’s beloved It’s a Firefly Night for a delightful day-to-night duo.
My Comments: My class and I enjoyed this book so much. Although it is kind of an easy book for second graders, the story is sweet and you can get lost in the illustrations – which can tell their own story. We spent time telling a story just using the illustrations and then went back and read the book together. Since we are launching a new school-wide discipline framework using S.A.I.L. as our acronym, this book was perfect to help reinforce that because of it’s beach theme. The children all wanted to hold it and read it for themselves. This is a great book for young children ages 3-6!