Sunday, December 10, 2017

Review: Ginger Snapped (Spice Shop Mystery #5) by Gail Oust




  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3259.0 KB
  • Print Length: 299 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250081262
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Dec 12 2017)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B071LM71RR



  • Book Description

    Piper Prescott and Police Chief Wyatt McBride might have gotten off on the wrong foot but, over the past year, their interactions have evolved into a friendship of sorts. And when the body of Shirley Randolph is found floating in a fishing hole, their relationship reaches entirely new territory.

    Shirley, the town's Realtor of the Year, was also Wyatt's suspected romantic interest, and now the residents of Brandywine Creek are speculating that Wyatt is responsible for her death. As the town council moves to suspend the handsome lawman, Piper springs into action to save his reputation and possibly his freedom. She enlists the aid of her BFF, Reba Mae Johnson, along with Wyatt himself, to help solve the puzzle and find Shirley’s real killer.

    Pointing them toward high-powered real estate tactics and possible affairs, the investigation soon becomes personal when Piper's shop, Spice It Up!, is burglarized, and she’s forced off the road late one night, narrowly escaping serious injury. Realizing that she must be close to uncovering the truth, and that the evidence against Wyatt is no longer circumstantial, Piper resorts to drastic measures to prevent a grave miscarriage of justice.

    Murder comes well-seasoned in Ginger Snapped, Gail Oust's newest novel in the charming, "must-read" (Publishers Weekly) Spice Shop mystery series.

    About the Author

    GAIL OUST is often accused of flunking retirement. Hearing the words "maybe it's a dead body" while golfing fired her imagination for writing a cozy. Ever since then, she has spent more time on a computer than at a golf course. She lives with her husband in McCormick, South Carolina.


    My Review


    Ginger Snapped is the 5th Spice Shop Mystery by Gail Oust. It is the first book that I have read in the series. It can easily be read as a stand alone novel.

    Piper Prescott owns a spice shop in the southern town of Brandywine Creek. She and her best friend Reba Mae cannot seem to keep out of trouble. Piper has  developed a crush on the town's police chief Wyatt McBride so when the body of the town's best realtor is found on his property, Piper sets out to prove his innocence. 

    Ginger Snapped is well written and has a good reading pace. I really enjoyed reading this humorous cozy mystery. Recipes are included.








    Tuesday, December 5, 2017

    Review: The Dry (Aaron Falk #1) by Jane Harper




  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1205.0 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Flatiron Books (Jan. 10 2017)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01BSN15F6


  • Book Description

    After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke's steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn't tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.

    Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there's more to Luke's death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets

    About the Author

    Jane Harper is the author of Australian atmospheric thrillers, The Dry and Force of Nature.
    Winner of numerous awards including the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, the 2017 Indie Award Book of the Year and the 2017 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) Australian Book of the Year Award, The Dry is Jane’s first novel, with rights sold in 29 territories worldwide and film rights optioned to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea.


    Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK and lives in Melbourne.

    Her second novel, Force of Nature, was published in September 2017 in Australia and will be released in the US and UK in February 2018.


    My Review

    The Dry by Jane Harper is an absorbing and powerful debut novel. I thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic start to a new mystery series.

    The Dry is set in rural Victoria north of Melbourne in Australia. The area has been suffering through a punishing drought that devastated the farming industry. Federal Agent Aaron Falk returns the small community he left 20 years earlier. It appears that his childhood friend has murdered his family. When Falk returns for the funeral old hatreds come to the surface and Aaron is left to not only find out what has happened in the present but also in the past.

    The Dry is a fantastic read. I had trouble putting it down. Highly recommend. I am looking forward to Harper's next book, Force of Nature.


    Review: Bel, Book, and Scandal: A Belfast McGrath Mystery (Belfast McGrath Mystery #3) by Maggie McConnon



  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2253.0 KB
  • Print Length: 315 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250077303
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (Dec 5 2017)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0719HBMG8

  • Book Description

    Maggie McConnon rings in Christmas in Bel, Boiok, and Scandal, the third adventure for everybody's favorite Irish-American culinary artist turned amateur sleuth.

    Bel McGrath tries her best to keep herself on the straight and narrow but she just has a taste for trouble. This time danger arrives in the form of a newspaper left behind by visitors to Shamrock Manor--and a photograph that jolts Bel out of the present and back into a dark chapter from her past. The person in the photo is Bel's best friend Amy Mitchell, long gone from Foster's Landing, at a commune in upstate New York shortly after her disappearance. The picture, and Bel's burning desire to find out what happened to Amy--and whether she may still be alive--is the catalyst for a story in which old secrets are revealed, little by little...and certain characters are shown to not be as genuine as Bel once thought.

    Bel McGrath is:

    "Authentic...will leave you smiling."--Nancy Martin

    "Hilarious and surprising."--RT Book Reviews

    "A saucy, funny, flawed protagonist that readers are guaranteed to fall in love with." --Susan McBride

    About the Author

    MAGGIE MCCONNON grew up in New York immersed in Irish culture and tradition. A former Irish stepdancer, she was surrounded by a family of Irish musicians who still play at family gatherings. She credits her Irish grandparents with providing the stories of their homeland and their extended families as the basis for the stories she tells in her Belfast McGrath novels, beginning with Wedding Bel Blues.


    My Review


     Bel, Book, and Scandal: A Belfast McGrath Mystery is the third Belfast McGrath Mystery by author Maggie McConnon. I read the second book in the series previously so I was familiar with the location and Bel's large family. And Bel's obsession with finding an old friend Amy.

    Bel who is an incredible chef is still living and working at her family's Irish themed resort Shamrock Manor. Her past in New York City comes back to haunt her in this book. As does a photo she sees that she is convinced is her old friend Amy who has been missing for years. 

    There are lots of twists and turns in this enjoyable cozy mystery. Good read!


    Monday, December 4, 2017

    Review: Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart




  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2946.0 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1501133608
  • Publisher: Atria Books (Nov. 21 2017)
  • Sold by: Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B06ZYGFQQY

  • Book Description

    “If you liked Big Little Lies, you’ll want to crack open this new novel by Nicole Baart.” —Southern Living

    “Steeped in menace, Baart’s latest is a race-to-the-finish family drama.” —People

    An engrossing and suspenseful novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Amy Hatvany about an affluent suburban family whose carefully constructed facade starts to come apart with the unexpected arrival of an endangered young girl.

    I have something for you. When Quinn Cruz receives that cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it. They haven’t seen each other in nearly a year and thanks to Nora’s fierce aloofness, their relationship consists mostly of infrequent phone calls and an occasional email or text. But when a haunted Nora shows up at the lake near Quinn's house just hours later, a chain reaction is set into motion that will change both of their lives forever.

    Nora’s “something” is more shocking than Quinn could have ever imagined: a little girl, cowering, wide-eyed, and tight-lipped. Nora hands her over to Quinn with instructions to keep her safe, and not to utter a word about the child to anyone, especially not their buttoned-up mother who seems determined to pretend everything is perfect. But before Quinn can ask even one of the million questions swirling around her head, Nora disappears, and Quinn finds herself the unlikely caretaker of a girl introduced simply as Lucy.

    While Quinn struggles to honor her sister’s desperate request and care for the lost, scared Lucy, she fears that Nora may have gotten involved in something way over her head—something that will threaten them all. But Quinn’s worries are nothing compared to the firestorm that Nora is facing. It’s a matter of life and death, of family and freedom, and ultimately, about the lengths a woman will go to protect the ones she loves.

    "Compelling and exquisite.... Baart has crafted an unforgettable novel filled with characters and places so rich, they spill from the pages in beautiful, slow motion passages that you'll savor again and again. The Beautiful Daughters is one of those special novels that will stay with you long after you've turned the last page."--Roberta Gately, author of Lipstick in Afghanistan and The Bracelet

    "The Beautiful Daughters is a captivating story that showcases Nicole Baart's strong suits. Her sense of place and characters, her understanding of relationship dynamics, and her ability to craft a compelling plot filled with emotional highs and lows all make for an engrossing, fast-paced novel that will thrill fans of women's fiction."--Kellie Coates Gilbert, author of Where Rivers Part

    "An ambitious, complex novel, The Beautiful Daughters weaves an intricate web with one driving mystery trapped at its heart and several other secrets waiting to be unraveled. A gorgeous, dark, and winding read!"--Andrea Lochen, author of The Repeat Year and Imaginary Things

    "A meditation on friendship, betrayal and redemption, The Beautiful Daughters is the kind of story that grabs hold and doesn't let go until the final, moving page. Baart spins together multiple storylines with masterful skill, and her richly realized characters stay with you long after you've finished reading."--Elizabeth Blackwell, author of While Beauty Slept

    "Nicole Baart weaves exquisite writing with unstoppable drama in this tale of family schisms and secrets on a collision course with life-threatening danger. Putting down Little Broken Things was impossible." --Randy Susan Meyers, bestselling author of Accidents of Marriage and The Widow of Wall Street

    "Little Broken Things made me abandon my life and responsibilities for days. Stunning, beautifully wrought, tenaciously hopeful--move this book to the very top of your book club list."--Kimberly Stuart, author of Sugar: A Novel and the Heidi Elliott series

    "Richly atmospheric and featuring a compelling cast of sharply drawn female characters, Little Broken Things is both a page-turner and a thoughtful examination of what it means to mother and be mothered, in all its most real and varied forms."--Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia and Where They Found Her

    "Beautifully layered...gives readers everything they could possible want in a novel - vivid, engaging characters, a town filled with dark secrets, a mind-twisting mystery and the ferocious power of a mother's love. Original and gripping, Little Broken Things is a stunner that will linger with you long after the final page is turned."--Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not A Sound

    "Hold on to your hearts for this one. Nicole Baart leaves no emotion untapped with Little Broken Things as she nudges readers to ask: What kind of mother am I? With page after page of her trademark lyrical prose, Baart offers a treat of a tale that will please her loyal readers while drawing the praise of many more. Soul-stretchingly good!"
    --Julie Cantrell, author of Into the Free and Perennials

    "Suspenseful, heartfelt, and emotionally rich, Little Broken Things explores the complicated bonds of family--those we're born into and those we choose. Baart's writing--as always--is a delight."--Elizabeth Blackwell, author of While Beauty Slept and In the Shadow of Lakecrest

    About the Author

    Nicole Baart is the mother of five children from four different countries. The cofounder of a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, she lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the author of eight novels, including the upcoming LITTLE BROKEN THINGS. Nicole is a proud Tall Poppy Writer and a firm believer that we are, and always will be, better together. Find out more at NicoleBaart.com or connect with Nicole on social media.

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NicoleBaart/
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicolebaart/
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/NicoleLynnBaart

    My Review

    Little Broken Things is the first book of author Nicole Baart's that I have read. I really enjoyed this book so I will definitely reading more of Baart's books!

    I loved the setting of a Minnesota resort town, that swelled with people in the summer and was quiet the rest of the year. I loved the characters Baart created in this book. I found them all to be convincing and real. I liked the how the story went back and forth between the women in the tale.

    I enjoyed this contemporary tale. I didn't find it scary but found the situation to be scary. The story was filled with emotions and filled with family drama. The story took place over a few days which made the story more suspenseful. One detail in the book I kept changing my mind about but I was right in the first place...cannot tell what it is or I would give the story away.

    Great book. I really enjoyed it. Hard to put down. Highly recommend.





    Friday, December 1, 2017

    Review: Christmas at Grey Sage by Phyllis Clark Nichols



  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4604 KB
  • Print Length: 230 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Gilead Publishing (Oct. 17 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B074B2D78T

  • Book Description

    This Christmas, there’s plenty of room at the inn

    Nestled in the snow-covered Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe, the Grey Sage Inn is the perfect place for an unlikely group of traveling companions to spend a couple of days on their Christmas trip. There’s plenty to see in historic Santa Fe during the day, and the inn’s owners, Maude and Silas, are happy to spend their evenings hosting this year’s guests from across the country.

    But an unusual snowstorm throws a wrench in the plans of these folks who were escaping Christmas at home. The sprawling inn becomes close quarters as the innkeepers and stranded guests discover this won’t be the Christmas they planned. Tension and fear mount as the storm worsens, and a sudden crisis disrupts the normally peaceful haven. The snow and stress unlock tongues — and in the unexpected conversation that follows, secrets and pasts are revealed, and hearts are healed.

    Amidst snowdrifts and fireside conversations of days gone by, the warmth of this Christmas brings renewed hope as trapped strangers become friends — proof again that the joy, hope, peace, and love of Christmas can be experienced no matter where you are.

    About the Author

    Phyllis Clark Nichols believes everyone could use a little more hope and light. Her character-driven Southern fiction explores profound human questions from within the simple lives of small town communities you just know you've visited before. With a love for nature, art, faith and ordinary people, she tells redemptive tales of loss and recovery, estrangement and connection, longing and fulfillment, often through surprisingly serendipitous events. Phyllis grew up in the deep shade of magnolia trees in South Georgia. Now she lives in the Texas Hill Country with her portrait-artist husband, where red birds and axis deer are her ever-ravenous neighbors. She is an English major and classically-trained musician, seminary graduate, concert artist and co-founder of a national cable network for the health and disability-related programming. After retiring as a cable network executive, Phyllis began leading mission teams to orphanages in Guatemala and now serves on three non-profit boards where she works with others who are equally passionate about bringing hope and light to those who need it most.

    Find out more about Phyllis at http://www.phyllisclarknichols.com


    My Review


    Christmas at Grey Sage  by Phyllis Clark Nichols is the first book of Nichols that I have read. It is a heartwarming Christmas tale.

    Christmas at Grey Sage is set in an inn in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe at Christmas time. A terrible blizzard happens that strands the inn's guest at he Grey Sage. The guests end up having a Christmas like they never imagined.

    You will enjoy this heartwarming story. Sometimes we need to be reminded about the real meaning of Christmas. Highly recommend.



    Tuesday, November 28, 2017

    Review: Unshakeable: 365 Devotions for Finding Unwavering Strength in God’s Word by Christine Caine



  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1231.0 KB
  • Print Length: 383 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (Oct. 24 2017)
  • Sold by: Zondervan CA (CA SOR)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B06XF6KKXN

  • Book Description

    God is bigger than your current story. Bigger than fear or shame or that voice in your head that whispers that you are not enough, too broken, or too flawed. Join Him in a closer relationship—one rooted in truth and Unshakeable. In this daily devotional Christine Caine encourages you to find confidence to live as the person God created you to be.

    Everything in our world that can be shaken will be shaken. And yet, the Bible assures us it doesn’t matter what happens politically, morally, socially, or economically in the world around us if we have Christ in us—if we have the kingdom of God within us—because His kingdom is Unshakeable.

    In this daily devotional, bestselling author, speaker and activist Christine Caine will take you on a year-long journey of building your faith in our Unshakeable God. Through inspiring personal stories and powerful scriptures, she will equip you to live boldly and courageously, fully trusting our faithful God. She will inspire you how to activate living your life on mission. Unstoppable. Undaunted. Unashamed. Unshakable.

       “All of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.”

    –Hebrews 12:27 NLT

    About the Author

    Christine Caine is an Australian born, Greek blooded, lover of Jesus, activist, best-selling author and international speaker. Her primary passion is to make Jesus’ last command her first priority by giving her all to see the lost saved and to build the local church – globally. Christine also has a passion for justice, and together with her husband, founded the anti-human trafficking organization, The A21 Campaign. In 2015, they also founded Propel Women, an organization designed to honor the calling of every woman, empower her to lead, equip her for success and develop a sense of God-given purpose. Powered by hot, extra-dry, skinny, cappuccinos, Christine is a lover of words who speaks too fast, talks too much, and also writes them down. Her most recent book is, Unashamed: Drop the Baggage, Pick Up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny.

    My Review


    Unshakeable: 365 Devotions for Finding Unwavering Strength in God’s Word  by Christine Caine is a new devotional. Christine Caine has become one of my go to authors for Christian reading. She is insightful and inspiring.

    Unshakeable: 365 Devotions for Finding Unwavering Strength in God’s Word is dedicated to Lisa Harper's adopted daughter, Missy. She is also Caine's niece by choice. Very sweet to note that right off the start.

    Of course there are 365 devotions...one for every day of the year. This will be my 2018 devotional. I found Caine's book Unshakeable to be very valuable. I know this devotional will be too.

    Each page holds a devotion. Each contains a bible verse, then a devotion related to the bible verse and a short prayer. Everyone has time for this devotional. It can be read in minutes or pondered over for longer.

    Highly recommend Unshakeable: 365 Devotions for Finding Unwavering Strength in God’s Word  by Christine Caine.


    Review: The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman



  • Hardcover: 65 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Translation edition (Oct. 31 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 150119349X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1501193491




  • Book Description

    The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and Beartown delivers an insightful and poignant holiday novella about a man who sacrificed his family in the single-minded pursuit of success and the courageous little girl fighting for her life who crosses his path.

    It all begins with a father telling a story to his son on Christmas Eve. But this isn’t your typical Christmas story. The father admits to his son that he’s taken a life but he won’t say whose—not yet.

    One week earlier, in a hospital late at night, the man met a five-year-old girl with cancer. She’s a smart kid—smart enough to know that she won’t beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it.

    As the man tells his son about this plucky little girl, he slowly reveals more about himself: while he may be a successful businessman, idolized by the media and his peers, he knows he failed as a parent. Overwhelmed by the responsibility of fatherhood, he took the easy way out and left his wife and little boy twenty years ago to pursue professional success. Now he is left wondering if it’s too late to forge a relationship with his son, who seems to be his opposite in every way—prizing happiness over money, surrounded by loving friends in a cozy town where he feels right at home.

    Face to face with the idea that something is missing, the man is given the unexpected chance to do something selfless that could change the destiny of the little girl in the hospital bed. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he needs to find out what his own life has actually been worth in the eyes of his son. And so, he seeks him out and tells him this story…

    Written with Fredrik Backman’s signature humor, compassion, and “knack for weaving tales that are believable and fanciful” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), The Deal of a Lifetime reminds us that life is a fleeting gift, and our only legacy is how we share that gift with those we love


    About the Author

    Fredrik Backman is a Swedish author, blogger and columnist. He is the author of a work of nonfiction, Things My Son Needs to Know About Life, and a number of novels including A Man Called Ove, his first novel. Ove has sold more than 2.8 million copies worldwide, making it one of Sweden's most popular literary exports since Stieg Larsson's thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - not bad for a book that was initially ignored or rejected by publishers including one memorable response that reads, "we like your novel, we think your writing has potential, but we see no commercial potential."


    My Review

    The Deal of a Lifetime  by Fredrik Backman is a short Christmas story about the choices we make in life. It is short and sweet. A brilliant tale that will leave the reader thinking about the choices that they have made in their own life. 

    If you are only going to read one short story this Christmas, then this is definitely the one. Impossible to put down. A  great tale for everyone.




    Review: The Midnight Line (Jack Reacher #22) by Lee Child



  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2557.0 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0399593489
  • Publisher: Dell (Nov. 7 2017)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B06WP486XH

  • Book Description

    Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate: Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside. Reacher wonders what unlucky circumstance made her give up something she earned over four hard years. He decides to find out. And find the woman. And return her ring. Why not?

    So begins a harrowing journey that takes Reacher through the upper Midwest, from a lowlife bar on the sad side of small town to a dirt-blown crossroads in the middle of nowhere, encountering bikers, cops, crooks, muscle, and a missing persons PI who wears a suit and a tie in the Wyoming wilderness.

    The deeper Reacher digs, and the more he learns, the more dangerous the terrain becomes. Turns out the ring was just a small link in a far darker chain. Powerful forces are guarding a vast criminal enterprise. Some lines should never be crossed. But then, neither should Reacher.

    About the Author

    Lee Child was born October 29th, 1954 in Coventry, England, but spent his formative years in the nearby city of Birmingham. By coincidence he won a scholarship to the same high school that JRR Tolkien had attended. He went to law school in Sheffield, England, and after part-time work in the theater he joined Granada Television in Manchester for what turned out to be an eighteen-year career as a presentation director during British TV's "golden age." During his tenure his company made Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, Prime Suspect, and Cracker. But he was fired in 1995 at the age of 40 as a result of corporate restructuring. Always a voracious reader, he decided to see an opportunity where others might have seen a crisis and bought six dollars' worth of paper and pencils and sat down to write a book, Killing Floor, the first in the Jack Reacher series.

    My Review

    The Midnight Line  is the 22nd Jack Reacher novel  by Lee Child. This is an incredible series..well written and filled with action. 

    The Midnight Line is a return to what makes a great Reacher novel...in my opinion. The Midnight Line is set in small town America. Whenever a Reacher book is set in a small town you know you are going to get an amazing read!

    The Midnight Line is set in eastern Wyoming and western South Dakota. A beautiful area but an area that is beset with pharmaceutical drug addiction issues. The Midnight Line does a great job of bringing this problem to the forefront.

    I really enjoyed The Midnight Line. My book boyfriend Jack Reacher shines in this book. I highly recommend. 


    Wednesday, November 22, 2017

    Review: Murder in the Manuscript Room (A 42nd Street Library Mystery #2) by Con Lehane








    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 5583.0 KB
    • Print Length: 320 pages
    • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Nov. 21 2017)
    • Sold by: Macmillan CA
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B072L67N8W

    Book Description

     When a murder desecrates the somber, book-lined halls of New York City's iconic 42nd Street Library, Raymond Ambler, the library's curator of crime fiction, has a personal interest in solving the crime. His quest to solve the murder is complicated by personal entanglements involving his friend--or perhaps more-than-friend--Adele Morgan. Not only does Adele's relationship with the young woman staffer who was murdered get in the way of Ambler's investigation, more disturbing for him is Adele's growing interest in a darkly handsome Islamic scholar.

    Soon the Intelligence Division of the New York Police Department takes over the case from NYPD homicide detective Mike Cosgrove, Ambler's friend and sometimes partner-in-crime solving. Ambler suspects that the murder of the young woman, who'd been working at the library under an assumed name and the curious intervention of NYPD's intelligence division are connected. The trail of intrigue leads to a seemingly unrelated murder in an upstate prison and a long ago murder of a trade union reformer.

    No one else sees the connections Ambler is sure are there--not an unusual state of affairs for Ambler. But with the city's law enforcement establishment determined to stop his investigation, the inquisitive and intrepid librarian faces challenges that may put his very life at risk.


    Praise for Murder in the Manuscript Room:

    “Con Lehane has the whole package here: characters the reader cares about, plot twists like a grand slalom course, and in the middle of it, a story utterly relevant to the real-life horror story unfolding in America’s immigration politics.”―Sara Paretsky

    "The second title in a nicely bookish series, this one highlights the formidable memory and ratiocinative skills of Ambler, the curator of crime fiction at the landmark New York Public Library."―New York Times Book Review

    "Con Lehane's Murder in the Manuscript Room caught my attention because not only does its crime take place in a great library, its detective is also a believable librarian. That hook, though, brought me into a whole world of well-developed characters--relatives, crooks, good cops, bad cops, possible terrorists, and a plot ranging in scope from New York high society soirees down through back rooms in great neighborhood bars. I found, myself, Murder in the Manuscript Room is a fun book to read in a neighborhood bar!"―Thomas Mann, author of The Oxford Guide to Library Research

    "Not to be missed.” —Megan Abbott


    About The Author

      Con Lehane grew up in the suburbs of New York City and currently writes from just outside of Washington, DC. Once a college professor, union organizer, bartender, and editor at the National Education Association, he now writes full time and teaches at The Writer's Center. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction writing from Columbia University School of the Arts. Death at the Old Hotel is his third novel in the Bartender Brian McNulty mystery series. His newest offering, the first book in a new series, is due from Minotaur-Thomas Dunne Books in 2014.

    My Review

     Murder in the Manuscript Room is the second book in A 42nd Street Library Mystery series by Con Lehane. I had not read the first book in the series and found that Murder in the Manuscript Room can easily be read as a stand alone.

    I love the setting of the 42nd street library in New York City. While I have not been inside yet as I find myself in NYC infrequently, I have seen the outside and was very impressed.

    Murder in the Manuscript Room is a well written and deeply layered book. There is a lot going on...in the past and the present. As each new layer is exposed it is impossible to put this book down.

    There are great characters particularly Raymond Ambler, the library's curator of crime fiction, who is a librarian detective. He has a lot going on his life! I found the relationships in this book to be very realistic and authentic.

    I really enjoyed Murder in the Manuscript Room. Highly recommend.

    Thursday, November 16, 2017

    Review: Ordinary Graces: Word Gifts for Any Season by Lucinda Secrest McDowell








    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 788 KB
    • Print Length: 272 pages
    • Publisher: Abingdon Press (Oct. 17 2017)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B01N7Z954O


     Book Description

    Everyone loves to receive a gift. And God has given us many, such as his grace--the gift we don't deserve and can never earn. Promises from the One who declares we are already loved, already accepted, already created in his image. The question becomes, will we truly receive that gift? Will the reality of it actually change the way we think and notice and reach out?

    God's Word will stand forever, in any season of life. These truths prompt us to respond with compassion and courage.

    Through inspiring devotions, Lucinda Secrest McDowell reveals biblical blessings that remind us that: God's promises give us strength, God's grace can be most evident at our weakest points, a proper response to our abundance of blessings is simply gratitude, and the "more" we are all looking for is the same abundant life that Jesus came to give us.

    Would you like to receive these gifts of ordinary grace? Join Lucinda in focusing on one word a day through devotional readings and short benedictions for any and every season to explore the many facets of Grace, Strength, Gratitude, and Life.

    Ordinary Graces is filled with sweet surprises. Lucinda Secret McDowell presents her readers with one powerful word gift a day. She skillfully defines it within a biblical context, and then challenges us to take an action step. This devotional will transform the way you live each day. I highly recommend it!
    --Carol Kent, speaker and author He Holds My Hand



    Author Lucinda Secrest McDowell has given us an extraordinary book with her newest release, Ordinary Graces, Word Gifts for Any Season. Although this wonderful resource is one you'll always want close at hand, it's also one that you'll find yourself sharing with those you meet who need encouragement and hope. McDowell is an author you'll turn to again and again when you're looking to connect with our Heavenly Father in a deeper, more intimate way. Truly a book that is a gift to us all.
    --Edie Melson, Award Winning Author, Blogger, and Speaker

    Lucinda always brings me to a place closer to God, deeper in the Word, happier in relationships and more joyful in life with Ordinary Graces.
    --Pam Farrel, author of 45 books including Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti and 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman

    Whether read one day at a time or in a season of refreshing, Ordinary Graces by Lucinda Secrest McDowell offers focused reflection on key, attitude-altering words. McDowell's interweaving of quotes from other thoughtful considerers adds even more depth to the beautifully expressed ponderings.
    --Cynthia Ruchti, author Mornings With Jesus and As My Parents Age

    Little did Lucinda Secrest McDowell know that my 'life verse' is John 1:16: 'For of His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.' In Ordinary Graces, Lucinda has conveyed the strategic importance of looking for and finding God's grace in our everyday lives. His grace does transform our lives. Gently. Tenderly. Wonderfully. The words she has chosen are exquisitely real and important to my life--and yours. Indulge in the grace-filled truth she is sharing. Take it for yourself.
    --Ruth Graham, author In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart

    What a delight to slow down for a few minutes of quiet with this beautifully written devotional, Ordinary Graces. In a world of hurry, Lucinda's words remind us there is grace and strength available if we will just stop to receive. Each day's reading will speak to you from Scripture and change your life for the better.
    --Arlene Pellicane, author of Calm, Cool, and Connected: 5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life

    In the beginning was the Word ... and there were words ... and they all had meaning and they were good for the spirit of man. And then Lucinda Secrest McDowell came along and took ordinary words and ushered in ordinary graces. These are the words you'd expect in a book such as this, words like gift and life. But there are also words one doesn't expect, words like broken and anger. And perhaps my favorite word of all, sleep. In Ordinary Graces, Lucinda gives us a glimpse of the ordinary to the extraordinary, highlights of her heart, and moments within the heart of God. Close enough to hear His heartbeat.
    --Eva Marie Everson, CBA Bestselling Author, President, Word Weavers International

    Ordinary Graces is the sort of book I can return to again and again for wise and gracious words that encourage, challenge, inspire, and comfort. A feast for the soul.
    --Sharon Garlough Brown, author Sensible Shoes novel series

    When I buy a devotional, I want to know that I'm getting profound insights that are theologically grounded, yet relatable to my everyday, ordinary life. That's exactly what Lucinda Secret McDowell offers in Ordinary Graces. I wanted to underline something in every paragraph, and I found myself reflecting on her words when I went about my day as a mom and a wife. This beautiful devotional will minister to your heart and lead you straight to the source of all grace: Jesus.
    --Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of The Happiness Dare and Love Idol

    Ordinary Graces is a short excellent daily devotional, with a Scripture verse and then practical ways on how to put the presence of God in the forefront of our day. Each one is named with a word we use in our everyday lives which Cindy knows how to capture in an excellent illustration. She writes beautifully and succinctly of the things we need to hear, usually with some humor and sharing a fascinating story from her own or a friend's life. At the end of each day's devotion, she writes a short intimate message from God to us, always aligned with the truths of Scripture. I highly recommend this book for anyone seeking to grow in knowing God.
    --Valerie Elliot Shepard



    About the Author

    Lucinda Secrest McDowell is the author of 13 books including Ordinary Graces: Word Gifts for Any Season and Dwelling Places: Words to Live in Every Season?, has contributed to an additional 30 books, and has been published in more than 50 magazines. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, she speaks internationally through her ministry "Encouraging Words." An award-winning writer who has earned accolades from prominent writers' conferences and retreats, McDowell directs reNEW--retreat for New England Writing and has also worked in radio broadcasting and on church pastoral staffs. She writes from "Sunnyside" cottage in Connecticut. Find her online at EncouragingWords.net.

    My Review

     Ordinary Graces: Word Gifts for Any Season by Lucinda Secrest McDowell is an inspiring devotional that is perfect for yourself or for a gift.

    Ordinary Graces: Word Gifts for Any Season is divided into four sections: grace, strength, gratitude and life. Each one word topic in the devotional begins with a bible quote, then a devotional and ends with a prayer.

    Ordinary Graces: Word Gifts for Any Season if filled with meaningful and valuable encouraging words. I highly recommend this devotional.


    Thursday, October 26, 2017

    Review: The Ghost of Christmas Past: A Molly Murphy Mystery (Molly Murphy #17) by Rhys Bowen









    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 4202 KB
    • Print Length: 272 pages
    • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Nov. 14 2017)
    • Sold by: Macmillan CA
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B071V56DLF

    Book Description

     Semi-retired private detective Molly Murphy Sullivan is suffering from depression after a miscarriage following her adventure in San Francisco during the earthquake of 1906. She and her husband, Daniel, are invited for Christmas at a mansion on the Hudson, and they gratefully accept, expecting a peaceful and relaxing holiday season. Not long after they arrive, however, they start to feel the tension in the house’s atmosphere. Then they learn that the host couple's young daughter wandered out into the snow ten years ago and was never seen again. Molly can identify with the mother's pain at never knowing what happened to her child and wants to help, but there is so little to go on. No ransom note. No body ever found. But Molly slowly begins to suspect that the occupants of the house know more than they are letting on. Then, on Christmas Eve, there is a knock at the door and a young girl stands there. "I'm Charlotte," she says. "I've come home."

    About the Author

     "I'm a New York Times bestselling mystery author, winner of both Agatha and Anthony awards for my Molly Murphy mysteries, set in 1902 New York City.

    I also write the Agatha-winning Royal Spyness series, about the British royal family in the 1930s. It's lighter, sexier, funnier, wicked satire. It was voted by readers as best mystery series one year.
    I am also known for my Constable Evans books, set in North Wales, and for my award-winning short stories. "

    I was born and raised in England but currently divide my time between California and Arizona where I go to escape from the harsh California winters
    When I am not writing I love to travel, sing, hike, play my Celtic harp.
    Series:
    * Constable Evan Mystery
    * Molly Murphy Mysteries
    * Her Royal Spyness Mysteries

    Awards:
    Agatha Award
    ◊ Best Novel (2001): Murphy's Law
    Reviewer's Choice Award
    ◊ Historical Mystery (2001): Murphy's Law


    My Review

     The Ghost of Christmas Past: A Molly Murphy Mystery is the seventeenth Molly Murphy mystery by Rhys Bowen. I love love love this series that takes place at the turn of the twentieth century. While Molly is based in New York, most of this story is set outside of the city new Scarborough and White Plains.

    Molly is still recovering from her San Francisco adventure. She lost the baby she was carrying and has been suffering from depression. When they have the opportunity to spend Christmas outside of the city at a lovely home in the country with her husband Daniel's mother.

    All seems a little quiet at the country house. There are no other children there and it turns out that 10 years ago, the daughter of the house disappeared. She was only 3 years old. There is a knock at the door on Christmas Eve and the young lady claims to be the missing child. The twists and revelations keep coming.

    I really loved this book. What a great Christmas mystery. I highly recommend The Ghost of Christmas Past.

    Review: The Vineyard Victims (Wine Country Mysteries #8) by Ellen Crosby







    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 1064 KB
    • Print Length: 330 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250076625
    • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Nov. 7 2017)
    • Sold by: Macmillan CA
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B06Y5XJ4SV

    Book Description

     The death of a former presidential candidate in a fiery car crash at her Virginia vineyard has ties to a thirty year-old murder, as well as to Lucie Montgomery’s own near fatal accident ten years ago, as she searches for a killer who now may be stalking her.

    When Jamison Vaughn―billionaire real estate mogul, Virginia vineyard owner, and unsuccessful U.S. presidential candidate―drives his gold SUV into a stone pillar at the entrance to Montgomery Estate Vineyard, Lucie Montgomery is certain the crash was deliberate. But everyone else in Atoka, Virginia is equally sure that Jamie must have lost control of his car on a rain-slicked country road. In spite of being saddled with massive campaign debts from the recent election, Jamie is seemingly the man with the perfect life. What possible reason could he have for committing suicide . . . or was it murder?

    Before long Lucie uncovers a connection between Jamie and some of his old friends―an elite group of academics―and the brutal murder thirty years ago of a brilliant PhD student. Although a handyman is on death row for the crime, Lucie soon suspects someone else is guilty. But the investigation into the two deaths throws Lucie a curve ball when someone from her own past becomes involved, forcing her to confront old demons. Now the race to solve the mystery behind the two deaths becomes intensely personal as Lucie realizes someone wants her silenced . . . for good.


    About the Author

     Ellen Crosby is the author of THE CHAMPAGNE CONSPIRACY, the 7th book in the Virginia Wine Country mysteries, which will be out November 1, 2016. Also in 2016, GHOST IMAGE, the second Sophie Medina mystery will be out, along with the US edition of MOSCOW NIGHTS. Before writing fiction, Crosby was a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, Moscow correspondent for ABC Radio News, and an economist at the US Senate. After living overseas for many years, she now lives in the Washington, DC suburbs of northern Virginia. More information at www.ellencrosby.com or www.facebook.com/EllenCrosbyBooks

    My Review

     The Vineyard Victims is the eighth book in the Wine Country Mysteries series by Ellen Crosby. I have read all the previous books in this series. I am definitely a fan! Great series.

    The book opens with a car crash. Former Presidential Candidate and neighbour Jamie Vaughn crashes into a wall at Lucie Montgomery's winery. It is the same wall that caused Lucie's disabling accident. Vaughn is dead but did he need to die. Did he crash purposely?

     Lucie cannot help herself from trying to solve the mystery around Vaughn's death. Is one of her longtime neighbours involved in his death? And what about the death of Vaughn's friend 30 years ago?
    This tale is filled with riddles! Great mystery!

    Love this series and highly recommend The Vineyard Victims.




    Sunday, October 22, 2017

    Review: Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding (Tara Holloway #12) by Diane Kelly

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 4641 KB
    • Print Length: 348 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250094909
    • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (Oct. 31 2017)
    • Sold by: Macmillan CA
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B06Y5S12TF

    Book Description

     LOVE BEGINS--AND ENDS--WITH A BANG.
    For IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway, this case is personal...
    Wedding bells are ringing as Tara and her soon-to-be-husband Nick prepare for their big day. But along with all the RSVP cards are a series of death threats from an unknown source. The culprit must be someone from an earlier investigation--a white-collar criminal with a red-hot grudge--but Tara has run across too many lawbreakers to narrow down the search. And time, like her biological clock, is ticking.

    Now, while dodging attempts on her life, Tara also finds herself embroiled in a rental scam in which a heartless crook is ripping people off left and right. Will she be able to track down the con artist and make it down the aisle in one piece? Or will "til death do us part" come before Tara can even say "I do"?


    About the Author

     Award-winning author Diane Kelly writes romance and romantic mysteries featuring feisty heroines, quirky sidekicks, and sexy leading men, with humor that leaves readers laughing out loud.

    My Review

    Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding is the 12th book in the Tara Holloway mystery series by Diane Kelly. I don't know why I have not found this series before. This is the first book in the series that I have read.

    Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding follows the adventures of IRS Special Agent Tara Holoway. As Tara is preparing for her upcoming wedding, she is almost run down while mailing her invitations. Is someone from her past dealing in the IRS gunning for her? And will she be able to finish investigating a rental scam before someone tries to kill her? And what about her wedding?

    Death, Taxes and a Shotgun Wedding is a fun cozy mystery that all cozy fans will enjoy!





    Review: Gin and Panic (Discreet Retrieval Agency #3) by Maia Chance



    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 2020 KB
    • Print Length: 281 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250109051
    • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Oct. 24 2017)
    • Sold by: Macmillan CA
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B06Y17JTLC

    Book Description


    “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets—and has a high old time doing it! So will you.”—Ann B. Ross, New York Times bestselling author of the Miss Julia series

    Former socialite Lola Woodby is now struggling to make ends meet as a not-so-discreet private eye in Prohibtion-era New York City, along with her stern Swedish sidekick, Berta. When they’re offered a piece-of-cake job—retrieving a rhinoceros trophy from the Connecticut mansion of big game hunter Rudy Montgomery—it seems like a no-brainer. After all, their client, Lord Sudley, promises them a handsome paycheck, and the gin and tonics will be plentiful and free. But no sooner do they arrive at Montgomery Hall than Rudy is shot dead.

    When the police arrive to examine the scene, they conclude that Rudy had actually committed suicide. But Lord Sudley can’t believe his friend would have done that, and there’s a houseful of suspicious characters standing by. So Lord Sudley ups the ante for Lola and Berta, and suddenly, their easy retrieval job has turned into a murder investigation. Armed with handbags stuffed with emergency chocolate, gin flasks, and a Colt .25, Lola and Berta are swiftly embroiled in a madcap puzzle of stolen diamonds, family secrets, a clutch of gangsters, and plenty of suspects who know their way around a safari rifle.

    Gin and Panic is the next jaunty, compelling Discreet Retrieval Agency mystery from beloved crime writer Maia Chance.

    About the Author

     MAIA CHANCE was a finalist for the 2004 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington. She is writing her dissertation on nineteenth-century American literature. She is also the author of the Fairy Tale Fatal mystery series (Cinderella Six Feet Under, Snow White Red-Handed, and Beauty, Beast and Belladonna).



    My Review

    Gin and Panic is the third Discreet Retrieval Agency by author Maia Chance. This is the first book in the series that I have read. It can easily be read as a stand alone.

    Gin and Panic is set in the 1920 Prohibition Era in New York and Connecticut. Lola and Berta, the Discreet Retrieval Agency's two owners, are hired to retrieve a rhinoceros from the country mansion of a big game hunter. They were retrieving it for Lord Sudley, an Englishman and fellow big game hunter. Lola and Berta are set to spend the weekend at the mansion but their host is murdered and then they discovered raw diamonds in the rhino head. A madcap adventure ensues from this point.

    What a fun fun fun book! I loved the mystery aspect as well as the adventures that Berta and Lola became involved in. The book is well written and the author has ensured that we are back in the 1920s. I cannot wait to read more in this series!

    I highly recommend Gin and Panic.

    Review: Total Christmas Makeover: 31 Devotions to Celebrate with Purpose by Melissa Spoelstra








    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 465.0 KB
    • Print Length: 210 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1501848704
    • Publisher: Abingdon Press (Oct. 3 2017)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B01N7ZBJFY

    Book Description

    In the bustle of the Christmas season, it can be easy to get swept up in all of the things to do. But it's important to pause and remember that our priority should be to spend time celebrating Christ's birth and not forget to invite Jesus to his own party.

    Christmas is far more than a celebration of an event from long ago or a modern holiday centered around shopping. Mindfully take time to listen to how God continues to speak through the Christmas story as the Gospel narratives centered around the birth of Jesus provide encouragement and revelation concerning the love of God and his wisdom for us today.

    In Total Christmas Makeover, author and Bible teacher Melissa Spoelstra provides a practical approach for you and your family to turn your attention toward God's grace day-by-day as you prepare for Christmas. This 31-day devotional presents key scriptures, ideas to implement with each reading, and questions for reflection to guide you in rediscovering rituals, relationship, and rest to connect you more deeply with Christ this holiday season.


    About the Author

     Melissa Spoelstra is a popular women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages to seek Christ and know Him more intimately through serious Bible study. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible Theology and enjoys teaching God's Word to diverse groups and churches within the body of Christ. She is the author of Joseph: The Journey to Forgiveness, Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World, and the forthcoming Total Family Makeover: 8 Steps to Making Disciples at Home. She lives in Dublin, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids.

    My Review

    Total Christmas Makeover: 31 Devotions to Celebrate with Purpose by Melissa Spoelstra is lovely new book for the Advent season. It is a beautiful little book and I am looking forward to spending the Advent season fully immersed in it.

    Melissa Spoelstra has divided Total Christmas Makeover: 31 Devotions to Celebrate with Purpose into three sections:  Ritual, Relationships and Rest. She explains in the Introduction that rituals are special activities to remember God, relationships are the time spent with others and rest is time to reflect on God.

    Each of the 31 days has a bible reading, a devotion, a prayer, questions to reflect on what we've read and suggestions for a practical approach.

    Total Christmas Makeover: 31 Devotions to Celebrate with Purpose by Melissa Spoelstra is definitely a wonderful book to spend the Advent season with. Highly recommend.

    Wednesday, October 18, 2017

    Review: A Season to Lie (Detective Gemma Monroe #2) by Emily Littlejohn



    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • Print Length: 304 pages
    • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Nov. 14 2017)
    • Sold by: Macmillan CA
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B072DTQQJV


    Book Description

    Following her acclaimed debut Inherit the Bones, this is Emily Littlejohn’s next mesmerizing mystery featuring Colorado police officer Gemma Monroe.

    In Emily Littlejohn's follow-up to her acclaimed debut, Inherit the Bones, police officer Gemma Monroe has just returned to work from maternity leave. And what a first day back: a blizzard is blowing into her idyllic Colorado ski town, and while Gemma hopes for a quiet, warm evening in, she knows it will mean plenty of calls out for snow-related accidents. But when an anonymous caller reports seeing a lurker at the local high school, Gemma gets far more than she bargained for. Behind the school building, half covered in a drift of snow, lies the gruesomely murdered body of a world-famous author—whose presence in town was meant to be a secret.



    About the Author

    I was born and raised in Southern California but have called Colorado home for over a decade now. The beautiful mountains and open space continue to inspire me on a daily basis. 

    I wrote Inherit the Bones over the course of two years. I've always had a fascination with all things mystery, horror, and the macabre. Bones was inspired by a vision I had of a clown, found dead, in full costume. I wondered who was the man behind the make-up?

    And just like that, a story was born. 

    I hope you enjoy spending time in Cedar Valley with Detective Gemma Monroe, her partner Finn Nowlin and the rest of the people that bring the town to life. The second book in the series, A Season to Lie, will be available in November 2017, with a third and fourth book to come. 
    When I'm not writing, I'm enjoying life with my growing family, working at the local public library, and serving as the Program Director for the Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America. 

    I'd love to hear from you, so drop me a message on the Follow Me page or send me an e-mail at EmilyNLittlejohn@gmail.com.


    My Review

    A Season to Lie is the second Detective Gemma Monroe mystery by Emily Littlejohn. It is the first book by Littlejohn that I have read. A Season to Lie was a nice surprise. It is well written and has a good story. The characters all enhance the story.

    A Season to Lie follows small ski resort town Colorado police officer Gemma Monroe as she returns to work after maternity leave. It is tough on her heading back after an absence but even tougher when a murder occurs at a local private school. When it turns out that it was a famous author who died, the pressure is on to find the murderer before he hits again. Then a teacher at the school goes missing...

    Great characters. I loved that Gemma was dealing with a grandparent with dementia. So many of us deal with that these days. Very realistic. 

    I highly recommend A Season to Lie. It can easily be read as a stand alone. I am looking forward to the next book in the series!


    Monday, October 16, 2017

    Review: Hope at Christmas by Nancy Naigle








    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 3673.0 KB
    • Print Length: 354 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250108675
    • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (Oct. 10 2017)
    • Sold by: Macmillan CA
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B06XRJ36XV

    Book Description

     A recently divorced woman and her daughter look for a fresh start by moving to a small town that embraces them in ways that only fate and the magic of Christmas can explain.

    Sydney Ragsdale is divorced, but her husband is still calling the shots. In an attempt to shake free from his hold, she and her daughter, Ray Anne, head for tiny Hopewell, NC to the only asset her ex has no control over – a decaying farmhouse that once belonged to her grandparents. She finds solace at The Book Bea, the bookstore she’d loved as a child during her summer stays.

    Kevin MacAlea, Mac to his friends, is the local high school history teacher and baseball coach. Father of a twelve-year-old son, he’s Hopewell, North Carolina’s most sought after bachelor. His young bride abandoned him and his son just before Christmas and has never come back. It has left his son bitter about Christmas which is hard for Mac who loves the magic of the season. He’s been the Santa here in Hopewell since the year Seth was born. 


    But when a catastrophe forces The Book Bea to close before the end of the year, everyone in the small town is feeling the loss. While Sydney is already off-balance by the bad news, her ex-husband breaks a promise to their daughter that sends Ray Anne running away. As Sydney tries to figure out what her next steps are she discovers all of the answers are right here in Hopewell.


    About the Author

     USA TODAY Bestselling author, Nancy Naigle, writes love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense.

    With a career spent on the cutting edge of technology in the banking industry, she never let go of her dream to write. Now she works full-time writing stories that are a calming blend of community, family, and the simple things in life. She writes the kind of stories she hopes will provide an escape from the hectic day-to-day in the make believe worlds she creates.

    Look for Nancy's titles in the Adams Grove series.
    Sweet Tea and Secrets
    Out of Focus
    Wedding Cake and Big Mistakes
    Pecan Pie and Deadly Lies
    Mint Juleps and Justice
    Barbecue and Bad News

    Porch Swings and Promises

    Nancy also has co-written books with:


    Phyllis C. Johnson ~ inkBLOT


    Kelsey Browning ~ The Granny Series
    Book 1- In For A Penny
    Book 2 - Fit To Be Tied
    Book 3 - In High Cotton
    Book 4 - Under The Gun

    Coming August 30th, don't miss the second book set in Boot Creek, EVERY YESTERDAY. (The followup book to Life After Perfect.)

    Also, this October, look for Christmas Joy. A heartwarming Christmas novel.

    Aside from writing she enjoys hunting for treasures in junk and antique shoppes, and getting crafty no matter what the medium from painting and digitizing embroidery designs, to weaving pine needle baskets.

    A Virginia native, and spending most of her life in the Tidewater area, she now calls North Carolina home.



    My Review

    Hope at Christmas by Nancy Naigle is a stand alone charming Christmas story. I have read most of Nancy's books and they always warm your heart.

    After her divorce, Sydney and her daughter moved from Atlanta to small town North Carolina. Sydney had inherited a farmhouse there. She and her daughter RayAnne settle there and Sydney finds a short term job for Christmas at a bookstore, The Book Bea. The Book Bea had delighted Sydney in her youth and she was just as entranced as a adult.

    Sydney meets a local teacher, Mac, who is also divorced with a young son, Seth. It is a romance so you know a few road blocks will get in the way. Will true love win out for Christmas?

    Hope at Christmas is filled with hope and the joy of the Christmas season. Lovely read. If you like Christmas stories then this one is for you!

    Sunday, October 15, 2017

    Thomas Nelson's 'KJV Know The Word Study Bible' Kindle Fire Giveaway

    Diving deeper into God's Word can be easy and rewarding if you break it down book by book, verse by verse, or topic by topic with the new KJV Know The Word Study Bible by Thomas Nelson. The book-by-book series of notes leads you through the main points of each book of the Bible. The verse-by-verse notes help you to dig deeper into God's Word. The topic-by-topic articles, which cover 21 theological topics, guide you through a series of insightful notes and give you a thorough biblical understanding of each topic. With the beautiful and timeless text of the KJV translation, the KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers you choices of how to study Scripture and grow in your relationship with Christ.

    This fall, become a regular student of the Bible and enter to win the Kindle Fire giveaway!


    One grand prize winner will receive:
    • A copy of the KJV Know The Word Study Bible
    • A Kindle Fire 7
    • A Kindle Fire case (winner's choice)
    Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 31. The winner will be announced November 1 on the Litfuse blog.


    Book Description


    The KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers three easy ways to begin studying Scripture and helps individuals transition from being a casual reader of the Bible to becoming a regular student of the Bible. You can choose to study the Bible book-by-book, verse-by-verse, or topic-by-topic; each path offers powerful insights that will help you develop a daily routine of Bible study. The book-by-book series of notes leads you through the main points of each book of the Bible. The verse-by-verse notes help you to dig deeper into God’s Word. The topic-by-topic articles, which cover 21 theological topics, guide you through a series of insightful notes and give you a thorough biblical understanding of each topic. With the beautiful and timeless text of the KJV translation, the KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers you choices of how to study Scripture and grow in your relationship with Christ.



    My Review

    The Thomas Nelson's 'KJV Know The Word Study Bible' is a comprehensive new bible that provides insight for those who prefer the King James Version of the Bible.

    The KJV Know the Word Study Bible has subtitles on the first page: Gain a Greater Understanding of the  Bible, Book by Book, Verse by Verse and Topic by Topic.  There are notes on each book of the Bible, notes on the verses and also 21 theological topics to give the reader a greater understanding of the Bible.

    The KJV Know the Word Study Bible is a sturdy hardcover that I found easy to read...the font was a decent size so it was readable. 

     
    Features Include:
    • King James Version Bible text
    • Three easy approaches to study the Bible: 1. Book by Book; 2. Verse by Verse; 3. Topic by Topic
    • Insightful introductions for each book of Scripture
    • Words of Jesus in red
    • Beautiful two-color interior page design
    • Comprehensive list of theological notes
    • Concordance
    • Full-color maps


    Great study bible for those who like the language of the King James version. Sometimes you just want to study the Word as it was in your childhood. The KJV can be very comforting that way.

    Friday, October 13, 2017

    Review: Purple Palette for Murder: A Meg Harris Mystery by R.J. Harlick








    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 530 KB
    • Print Length: 392 pages
    • Publisher: Dundurn (Oct. 14 2017)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B01NCKQXCS

    Book Description

    With her husband under arrest for murder and Meg desperate to prove his innocence, she flies to Yellowknife, where a tangled web of family secrets and greed awaits her.
     
    Meg Harris is forced to leave the sanctuary of Three Deer Point and fly to Yellowknife, where her stepdaughter lies near death and her husband is in jail for killing a man. Expecting to find Eric shouting his innocence, she instead finds him cowed and willing to do hard time. But Meg doesn't believe he s guilty.


    Convinced that there s more to the murder victim and the attack on her stepdaughter than the police think, Meg finds herself on a sordid trail of family secrets and greed, hoping she can prove her husband s innocence. Fragments of an ancient embroidery lead her to a remote Dene hunting camp, where all is not what it seems."


    About the Author

     Called "queen of Canadian wilderness fiction", R.J. Harlick writes the acclaimed Meg Harris mystery series set in the wilds of Canada with an underlying native theme. There are currently seven books in the series with the eighth, Purple Palette for Murder, due out in October 2017.

    The fourth book, Arctic Blue Death, was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Best Novel award. Silver Totem of Shame was named one of the top ten summer crime fiction reads by the Globe & Mail and was a recommended beach read by the Seattle Public Library. Cold White Fear was a CBC recommended mystery read.

    With Death's Golden Whisper, the first book in the Meg Harris mystery series, RJ introduces protagonist Meg Harris who has fled the urban frenzy of Toronto and her failed marriage to Three Deer Point, a remote wilderness property in West Quebec, that she inherited from her Great Aunt Agatha. She lives in a century old Victorian timber cottage perched on a granite point overlooking the black waters of Echo Lake. Her only neighbour is the reserve of the Fishhook Algonquins, or Migiskan Anishinabeg. She drinks a little too much and is afraid of the dark, yet her only companion in this remote cottage is her wimpy standard poodle, Sergei.

    She has fled to this northern paradise to heal her bruised soul. But her sought after peace is invariably interrupted by injustice and murder. Unable to ignore it, Meg becomes enmeshed in a quagmire of murderous intrigue.

    After travelling to Baffin Island in Arctic Blue Death, Meg decided that she would love to explore a different Canadian wilderness and visit with its native peoples in every other book. Silver Totem of Shame takes place in Vancouver and Haida Gwaii, the mystical islands of the Haida. Purple Palette for Murder has Meg flying to the Northwest Territories when her husband is charged with murder.

    Though the story of each book can stand on its own, there is a backstory about Meg and other characters that evolves from book to book. So avid readers of mystery series might want to start with the first book, Death's Golden Whisper.

    Harlick is a member and past president of Crime Writers of Canada and Capital Crime Writers. She is also a member of Sisters in Crime, The Writers Union of Canada and Quebec Writers Federation.

    She is a regular panelists at such conferences as Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, and Malice Domestic. She also does many store signings and library readings. To check out her schedule visit her blog. http://rjharlick.blogspot.ca

    RJ blogs every second Tuesday on Criminal Minds - http://7criminalminds.blogspot.ca.

    Visit with RJ on Facebook -https://www.facebook.com/RJHarlick
    and on her website - http://www.rjharlick.ca


    My Review

    Purple Palette for Murder is the latest Meg Harris mystery by author R.J. Harlick. The Meg Harris series is set in Canada and written by a Canadian author. R.J. Harlick thoroughly researches the areas where she sets the stories and I find that I learn a lot while I am reading an enjoyable tale.

    Meg is still recovering from her experiences in the last book, A Cold White Fear, which was a terrifying read. I would still be recovering from them too. But when she finds out her husband has been arrested for the murder of his daughter's accused rapist and attacker, she is on the first plane to Yellowknife in Canada's North West Territories.

    Purple Palette for Murder is a great mystery but it is also a great geography lesson. More importantly, the book realistically approaches the problems that linger for Canada's First Nation people. Most of the problems lead back to the residential school system where native children where taken from their parents and placed in schools far from home. At these schools, the children were told to forget their native heritage and become "white" basically. There was terrible abuse at these schools. The results of the abuse have trickled down through the generations and we are left with a lot of damaged people. I applaud author Harlick for her realistic portrayal of a broken but resilient people.

    Purple Palette for Murder also touches on the resource development of the North West Territories. Diamonds were discovered there and there has been a boom accompanying this. A number of First Nations people are torn between leaving the habitat intact or exploiting the resources such as diamonds. 

    I highly recommend Purple Palette for Murder.

    Wednesday, October 11, 2017

    Review: The Beautiful Word for Christmas By Mary DeMuth








    • Hardcover: 208 pages
    • Publisher: Zondervan (Oct. 17 2017)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0310087562
    • ISBN-13: 978-0310087564

    Book Description

     Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

    Luke 2:11

     
    Read the Christmas story like never before with favorite scriptures hand-lettered and illustrated. Celebrate the wondrous birth of Christ with 31 devotionals that will point each day to the Savor.

    Savor the season with The Beautiful Word for Christmas.

    ***

    This book includes:

    23 Bible passages illustrated in full color

    31 timely devotions written especially for the Christmas season

    Activities to bring the heart of the season home



    About the Author

     http://www.marydemuth.com/


    My Review

     The Beautiful Word for Christmas to Bring the Joy of Advent to Your Heart by Mary DeMuth is a gorgeous square hardcover book about 7" x 7". It is a joy just to hold it and start flipping through the beautifully illustrated pages.

    The cover of  The Beautiful Word for Christmas to Bring the Joy of Advent to Your Heart is beautiful. It even has sparkles on it to catch your eye. This would be a great gift book for someone. I know I would be thrilled to receive it as a gift. The first section of the book is lovely calligraphy and illustrations representing the Nativity story from Luke. The remainder of the book is an advent devotional. Each day has a bible verse, a devotion, and an activity. 

    So what is an activity in The Beautiful Word for Christmas to Bring the Joy of Advent to Your Heart? For an example, the activity on Page 147 suggests you make a copy of the devotional, put it in a card and send it to someone who struggles with low self esteem. Each day has an activity or suggestion such as that.


    I am discovering that The Beautiful Word for Christmas to Bring the Joy of Advent to Your Heart is a delightful book and I cannot wait to read it through this Advent. I know it will be a blessing to me.

    I highly recommend The Beautiful Word for Christmas to Bring the Joy of Advent to Your Heart by Mary DeMuth.