October 21, 2019

Fan Mail by Daryl Wood Gerber - Review

I received this book free from the author. All opinions are my own

Book details
Series: An Aspen Adams Novel of Suspense (Book 2)
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing (November 12, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1950461297
ISBN-13: 978-1950461295

Book description

Agatha Award–winning and national bestselling author Daryl Wood Gerber returns with a dark new novel of suspense . . .

An adoring fan and a string of murders: a demented show of love that leaves no one safe . . .

Local celebrity news anchor Gloria Morning is used to receiving declarations of love and praise in her weekly fan letters, but when a Lake Tahoe doctor is murdered and she gets an anonymous note telling her it was done for her glory, her appreciation turns to panic. Unsure of where else to turn, she enlists the help of novice private investigator Aspen Adams. No sooner does Aspen begin digging into who sent the macabre note than another murder occurs, followed by another note, and she soon realizes she’s up against a ruthless and deranged killer.

Working with scant clues and a puzzling array of potential suspects, Aspen is determined to unearth the elusive connection between the victims and her client. But as the body count grows and the murderer remains a mystery to both her and the police, Aspen discovers she’s gotten closer to the killer than she ever imagined, and now she must risk everything she holds dear to stop the killings, including her own life . . .


Meet the author Daryl Wood Gerber
Agatha Award–winning and nationally bestselling author Daryl Wood Gerber is the author of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, the French Bistro Mysteries, the Cheese Shop Mysteries (as Avery Aames), and stand-alone suspense thrillers. Little known facts about Daryl are that she’s jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, has hitchhiked around Ireland by herself, and has appeared on an episode of Murder, She Wrote. She loves to read, cook, and golf, and has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!
My thoughts
This book was even better than the first in this series (Desolate Shores).  I am liking Aspen more and more and I like how close she is with her niece.  I also like how her and Nick's relationship is progressing.  It is nice that even though he does not want her to and gets upset with her for trying to solve the murders he lets her do her thing and even asks her opinion on the cases.  This story had me on the edge of my seat at times.  I thought I had it figured out and then my suspect ended up dead so I had to rethink things and it did end up being my second suspect.  I hope this series keeps on going as I am looking forward to seeing what happens next. 

George Washington's Secret Six by Brian Kilmead and Don Yaeger - Review


Book details
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Sentinel; Reprint edition (October 18, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0143130609
ISBN-13: 978-0143130604

Book description
When George Washington beat a hasty retreat from New York City in August 1776, many thought the American Revolution might soon be over. Instead, Washington rallied—thanks in large part to a little-known, top-secret group called the Culper Spy Ring. He realized that he couldn’t defeat the British with military might, so he recruited a sophisticated and deeply secretive intelligence network to infiltrate New York.

Drawing on extensive research, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger have offered fascinating portraits of these spies: a reserved Quaker merchant, a tavern keeper, a brash young longshoreman, a curmudgeonly Long Island bachelor, a coffeehouse owner, and a mysterious woman. Long unrecognized, the secret six are finally receiving their due among the pantheon of American heroes.

Meet the authors: Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
Brian Kilmeade cohosts Fox News Channel’s morning show Fox & Friends and hosts the nationally syndicated radio show The Brian Kilmeade Show. The author of two previous books about sports, he lives on Long Island.

Don Yaeger has written twenty-three books, including seven New York Times bestsellers. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

My thoughts
I really enjoyed this book and thought the author did a good job.  It did not read like a normal history book it read like a novel.  The author's attention to detail added to the story for me.  He also gave some good theories on #355 that made sense.  I will be looking for more books by these authors. 

October 12, 2019

Coming Home for Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne - Review

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Book details
  • Series: Haven Point (Book 10)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HQN; Original edition (September 24, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1335504990
  • ISBN-13: 978-1335504999

Book description
Hearts are lighter and wishes burn a little brighter at Christmas…

Elizabeth Hamilton has been lost. Trapped in a tangle of postpartum depression and grief after the death of her beloved parents, she couldn’t quite see the way back to her husband and their two beautiful kids…until a car accident stole away her memories and changed her life. And when she finally remembered the sound of little Cassie’s laugh, the baby powder smell of Bridger and the feel of her husband’s hand in hers, Elizabeth worried that they’d moved on without her. That she’d missed too much. That perhaps she wasn’t the right mother for her kids or wife for Luke, no matter how much she loved them.

But now, seven years later, Luke finds her in a nearby town and brings Elizabeth back home to the family she loves, just in time for Christmas. And being reunited with Luke and her children is better than anything Elizabeth could have imagined. As they all trim the tree and bake cookies, making new holiday memories, Elizabeth and Luke are drawn ever closer. Can the hurt of the past seven years be healed over the course of one Christmas season and bring the Hamiltons the gift of a new beginning?

Meet the author RaeAnne Thayne
New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.raeannethayne.com.

My thoughts
This is another great addition to the Haven Point series. I enjoy coming back to this town to hang out with the characters and see what they are up too now. I can't imagine going through what Elizabeth and Luke have been through. To lose your family only to find them again what an emotional roller coaster. I like how the author uses real emotions and tough situations in her books. Her books have heart and soul along with some depth to them. An enjoyable book. 

October 11, 2019

Mumbo Gumbo Murder by Laura Childs with Terrie Farley Moran - Review and Guest Post

 

Book Details
Cozy Mystery 16th in Series 
Berkley (October 1, 2019) 
Hardcover: 320 pages 
ISBN-10: 0451489578 
ISBN-13: 978-0451489579 
Digital ASIN: B07M75KVSB 

Book Description
A shocking murder strikes a sour note during Jazz Fest in the latest New Orleans Scrapbooking Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

It's Jazz Fest in New Orleans, and the giant puppets from the Beastmaster Puppet Theatre are parading through the French Quarter. Some are very spooky and veiled, others are tall and gangly, like strange aliens.

As the parade proceeds, Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava, follow behind, down Royal Street and past the food booths. Suddenly, they hear a terrible crash from Devon Dowling's antiques shop. They rush inside to find Devon collapsed with blood streaming down the side of his face. Has he been shot? Stabbed? 911 is hastily called, and the police and EMTs show up. After the police examine Devon's body, they tell Carmela and Ava that their friend was murdered with an icepick. They're shocked beyond belief—and now Mimi, Devon's little pug, is left homeless.

Carmela and Ava are determined to catch the murderer, but the list of suspects is long. How long do they have before they find themselves on the killer's list?
About The Authors

Meet the authors - Laura Childs and Terrie Farley Moran
Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries - set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries - set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links: Webpage - http://www.laurachilds.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/laura.childs.31 Recipient of both the Agatha and the Derringer awards, 

Terrie Farley Moran is the author of the beachside Read 'Em and Eat cozy mystery series; co-author of Laura Childs’ New Orleans scrapbooking mystery series; and has published numerous short stories in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly Magazine and numerous anthologies. The only thing Terrie enjoys more than wrangling mystery plots into submission is hanging out with any or all of her seven grandchildren who reside in New York and Florida. 

I enjoyed this newest installment to this series. Although I have to say that Ava really annoyed me this time. I just wanted to tell her to grow up and be quiet for a minute. To me she acted like a snot at times. Of course I still love Carmela and her dogs. I hope that Carmela and Edgar get the wedding things figured out sooner rather than later. I just want them to have a happy ending. I thought Quigg was a little pushy but when is he not.  I was very surprised at who committed the murder in this book. I would have never guessed this person. I had my eye on a couple of others but that did not pan out. This has been a long time favorite series of mine and I have enjoyed watching these characters grow. I also like hearing about the crafts that Carmela has lined up. I love the stores ideas. It would be fun to shop there. 

Character Guest Post by Carmela Bertrand,
protagonist in Mumbo Gumbo Murder by
Laura Childs and Terrie Farley Moran

Welcome to New Orleans, my friends. To a city brimming with history, mystery, and rabble-rousing celebrations that seem to get bigger, badder, and more glorious every year.

I ought to know, because I live right in the middle of the Big Easy in a quaint little apartment in the French Quarter. My best friend, Ava Grieux, lives just across the courtyard from me. Her place (painted Pepto pink with lots of leopard accents) is on the second floor above her shop, Juju Voodoo.

My shop, Memory Mine, is down a few blocks on Governor Nicholls Street. It’s an adorable little place with yellow brick walls, sagging floors, and baskets filled with colorful scrapbook paper. We also carry a huge array of rubber stamps, cardstock, tempera paints, ribbons, tassels, beads, brads Paperclay, and colored pens.

Crafting is big here in New Orleans. You never know when someone will pop in and want to create invitations, make a paper theatre, stamp a velvet pillow, decoupage a frame, make a pair of earrings, create table decorations, or make a mask.

There’s another thing the Big Easy is known for – spooky goings-on. For some reason I’m always nearby when there’s a murder, hijacking, ghost sighting, exploding car, or strange above-ground cemetery occurrence. And because I’ve been blessed with the curiosity gene (yes, I know curiosity killed the cat!) I seem to get involved. Which bugs Detective Edgar Babcock, my sweetie du jour, to no end.

Take for instance the murder at Devon Dowling’s antiques shop that happened during Jazz Fest. His front window was stove in, priceless antiques trashed, and his adorable little pug Mimi left standing over his dead body.

Babcock warned me to not get involved. He said, “Carmela . . . don’t you dare!” I thought about that for about two seconds, then scooped up Mimi and decided to run my own shadow investigation. After all, Mimi saw the killer so she ought to be able to sniff him out, right?

Well, I don’t dare get into what happened next. Suffice it to say that there are more suspects than I can shake a stick at. I mean, there’s a penny-pinching landlord, a questionable young assistant, a fat cat art collector, a burglar named Sonny Boy, and the mysterious (but strangely attractive) president of the Vampire Society.

If you’re at all intrigued, why don’t you come along with me on my journey? Hear that mournful toot of a tugboat over on the Mississippi? Now gaze at the quarter moon hanging in a blue-black sky. Admire the old-fashioned gaslights glowing in the French Quarter. Then step this way and follow me down the dark but enchanting Pirate’s Alley. And help me spy on one more suspect!

All my best,
Carmela

Giveaway


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September 25, 2019

Christmas from the Heart by Sheila Roberts - Review

I received this book free from the author. All opinions are my own

Book details
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (September 24, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0778309614
ISBN-13: 978-0778309611

Book description
Sometimes you need to look beyond the big picture to see what really matters

Olivia Berg’s charity, Christmas from the Heart, has helped generations of families in need in Pine River, Washington, but this year might be the end of the road. Hightower Enterprises, one of their biggest donors since way back when Olivia’s grandmother ran the charity, has been taken over by Ebenezer Scrooge the Second, aka CFO Guy Hightower, and he’s declared there will be no more money coming to Christmas from the Heart.

Guy is simply being practical. Hightower Enterprises needs to tighten its belt, and when you don’t have money to spare, you don’t have money to share. You’d think even the pushy Olivia Berg could understand that.

With charitable donations dwindling, Olivia’s Christmas budget depends on Hightower’s contribution. She’s focused her whole life on helping this small town, even putting her love life on hold to support her mission.

When Guy’s Maserati breaks down at the edge of the Cascade foothills, he’s relieved to be rescued by a pretty young woman who drives him to the nearby town of Pine River. Until he realizes his rescuer is none other than Olivia Berg. What’s a Scrooge to do? Plug his nose and eat fruitcake and hope she doesn’t learn his true identity before he can get out of town. What could go wrong?

Meet the author - Sheila Roberts
Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her novels have been published in several languages. Her book, Angel Lane, was an Amazon Top Ten Romance pick for 2009. Her holiday perennial, On Strike for Christmas, was made into a movie for the Lifetime Movie Network and her novel, The Nine Lives of Christmas, was made into a movie for Hallmark . You can visit Sheila on Twitter and Facebook or at her website (http://www.sheilasplace.com).

My thoughts
I really enjoyed this book. Sheila has a way of writing books with a Christmas theme that make their way into your heart. Livi was such a nice girl and I wanted everything to work out for her from the very beginning. Guy was also a nice guy and I new under that big corporate exterior there had to be something special. The non-profit theme of a town helping each other out during rough times was especially nice. Sheila has hit it out of the part again.

Christmas Cow Bells by Mollie Cox Bryan - Review

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own

Book details
Series: A Buttermilk Creek Mystery (Book 1)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Kensington (September 24, 2019)
ISBN-13: 978-1496721327

Book description
The first novel in Mollie Cox Bryan’s brand new mystery series, set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, will keep you guessing until the cows come home . . .

Christmas is a time for new beginnings, so after her big breakup, Brynn MacAlister takes the gouda with the bad. With her three Red Devon cows, she settles in bucolic Shenandoah Springs, eager for a new life as an organic micro-dairy farmer and cheese-maker. Then her dear cow Petunia’s bellows set the whole town on edge. But it isn’t until Brynn’s neighbor, Nancy, dies in a mysterious fire that her feelings about small town life begin to curdle . . .

It seems some folks were not happy with Nancy’s plan to renovate the Old Glebe Church. But is a fear of change a motivation for murder? As a newcomer, Brynn can’t ignore the strange events happening just on the other side of her frosty pasture—and soon on her very own farm. Suddenly Christmas doesn’t feel so festive as everyone demands she muzzle sweet Petunia, and Brynn is wondering if someone wants to silence her—for good . .

Meet the author - Mollie Cox Bryan
Mollie Cox Bryan writes cozy mysteries with edge and romances with slow, sweet burn. The first book in her Cora Crafts Mystery series, Death Among the Doilies, was a "Fresh Fiction Not to Miss” selection and was a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award. The second book, No Charm Intended, was named a “Summer 2017 Top 10 Beach Read” by Woman's World. She also wrote the Agatha-award nominated Cumberland Creek Mysteries. She makes her home at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, where she works as a researcher and fact checker and writes in the early morning hours. Visit her and sign up for her newsletter at molliecoxbryan.com.

My thoughts
I loved the setting of this book and with the descriptions made it sound like a beautiful place. Then a murder happens. The main character Brynn was one of my favorite. I love that she was an organic farmer and cheese-maker.  The cows made the story for me. I just love Petunia.  The author does such a good job with the character development. I am looking forward to getting to know Brynn even better as the series goes along as well as some of the other characters. The author also did a good job of keeping you guessing up until the end. I am looking forward to more books in this series. 

September 12, 2019

Before and After by Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate - Review


Book details
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (October 22, 2019)
ISBN-13: 978-0593130148

Book description
The incredible, poignant true stories of victims of a notorious adoption scandal--some of whom learned the truth from Lisa Wingate's bestselling novel Before We Were Yours and were reunited with birth family members as a result of its wide reach

From the 1920s to 1950, Georgia Tann ran a black-market baby business at the Tennessee Children's Home Society in Memphis. She offered up more than 5,000 orphans tailored to the wish lists of eager parents--hiding the fact that many weren't orphans at all, but stolen sons and daughters of poor families, desperate single mothers, and women told in maternity wards that their babies had died.

The publication of Lisa Wingate's novel Before We Were Yours brought new awareness of Tann's lucrative career in child trafficking. Adoptees who knew little about their pasts gained insight into the startling facts behind their family histories. Encouraged by their contact with Wingate and award-winning journalist Judy Christie, who documented the stories of fifteen adoptees in this book, many determined Tann survivors set out to trace their roots and find their birth families.

Before and After includes moving and sometimes shocking accounts of the ways in which adoptees were separated from their first families. Often raised as only children, many have joyfully reunited with siblings in the final decades of their lives. In Before and After, Wingate and Christie tell of first meetings that are all the sweeter and more intense for time missed and of families from very different social backgrounds reaching out to embrace better-late-than-never brothers, sisters, and cousins. In a poignant culmination of art meeting life, long-silent victims of the tragically corrupt system return to Memphis with Wingate and Christie to reclaim their stories at a Tennessee Children's Home Society reunion . . . with extraordinary results.

Meet the authors - Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate
Judy Christie is an award-winning journalist and the author of eighteen books of both fiction and nonfiction. A former editor at daily newspapers in Tennessee, Louisiana, Florida, and Indiana, she holds a master’s degree in literature from Louisiana State University in Shreveport. She and her husband live in rural Colorado.

Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the author of numerous novels, including the New York Times bestseller Before We Were Yours and the national bestseller Tending Roses. She is a two-time ACFW Carol Award winner, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, and a Southern Book Prize winner. She lives with her husband in North Texas.


My thoughts
I just finished Before and After during my lunch today. I loved this book I think even more than Before We Were Yours. I just can't seem to say enough about this book or to really put into words how it made me feel but I will try.  It was so personal and I really felt for each person's story you shared. I can't imagine going through what those children and some of the parents went through. I highly recommend you read Before We Were Yours and then reading this book. There is something about this book and these stories that just stay with you even when ou are not reading it. You will not be able to put either book down.