March 20, 2019

The Witch and the Dead by Heather Blake - Review


Book details
Series: Wishcraft Mystery (Book 7)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley (October 4, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-1101990131

Book description
When Darcy moved to Salem, Massachusetts, she never expected her life to change as drastically as it did. But within a short time, the Enchanted Village has become her home, its mystical residents have become her family, and As You Wish, the personal concierge business formerly run by her Aunt Ve, has become her calling. Still, the time has come for change—and for Darcy to move out of Aunt Ve’s house.

Darcy’s belongings are stashed in Aunt Ve’s garage, alongside a mess of memories, forgotten possessions, and, to both Ve and Darcy’s horror, a pile of old bones. It turns out they belong to Ve’s long missing second husband. Now Darcy must unpack old secrets to solve a cold case—and make sure her aunt isn’t looking at a spell behind bars.

Meet the author - Heather Blake
Heather Blake (aka Heather Webber) is the author of more than twenty mystery novels and has been twice nominated for an Agatha Award. She's a total homebody who loves to be close to her family, read, watch reality cooking competition shows, drink too much coffee, crochet, and bake cookies. Heather grew up in a suburb of Boston, but currently she lives in the Cincinnati area with her family.

My thoughts
I love this series and this one was not a disappointment. I felt bad that a body was found in Aunt Ve's garage as I know that she could not kill someone. There were some real twists in this installment with some of the characters. I don't want to say who with so I don't give anything away. I was happy that Darcy and Nick are in one house now. The usual characters made appearances although I would have liked just a little more of Pepe and Mrs. P as they are two of my favorites. Of course you are shocked at how the murderer was in the end. Another fun book. 

Outer Order Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin - Review


Book details
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Harmony (March 5, 2019)
ISBN-13: 978-1984822802

Book description
Bestselling author of The Four Tendencies and The Happiness Project Gretchen Rubin illuminates one of her key realizations about happiness: For most of us, outer order contributes to inner calm. In a new book packed with more than one hundred concrete ideas, she helps us create the order and organization that can make our lives happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative.

In the context of a happy life, a messy desk or crowded coat closet is a trivial problem–yet Gretchen Rubin has found that getting control of the stuff of life makes us feel more in control of our lives generally. By getting rid of things we don’t use, don’t need, or don’t love, as well as things that don’t work, don’t fit, or don’t suit, we free our mind (and our shelves) for what we truly value.

In this trim book filled with insights, strategies, and sometimes surprising tips, Gretchen tackles the key challenges of creating outer order, by explaining how to “Make Choices,” “Create Order,” “Know Yourself–and Others,” “Cultivate Helpful Habits,” and, of course, “Add Beauty.”

When we get our possessions under control, we feel both calmer and more energetic. With a sense of humor, and also a clear sense of what’s realistic for most people, Gretchen suggests dozens of manageable steps for creating a more serene, orderly environment–one that helps us to create the lives we yearn for.

Meet the author - Gretchen Rubin
I'm the author of THE HAPPINESS PROJECT, HAPPIER AT HOME, BETTER THAN BEFORE, THE FOUR TENDENCIES, and my new book OUTER ORDER, INNER CALM releases March 2019.

I also have a free app where you can connect with others to harness the Four Tendencies to create a better life. Search "Better Gretchen Rubin" in your app store or visit Betterapp.us.

I also have a popular, award-winning podcast, "Happier with Gretchen Rubin" (search in your favorite podcast app) and a blog (GretchenRubin.com), where I write about my daily adventures in happiness and habit-formation.

My previous books include a bestselling biography of Winston Churchill, "Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill," and one of John Kennedy, "Forty Ways to Look at JFK." My first book, "Power Money Fame S..: A User's Guide," is social criticism in the guise of a user's manual. "Profane Waste" was a collaboration with artist Dana Hoey. I've also written three dreadful novels that are safely locked away in a drawer.

Before turning to writing, I had a career in law. A graduate of Yale and Yale Law School, I clerked for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. I live in New York City with my husband and two daughters.

My thoughts
This book was easy to read and follow. I liked the tips that Gretchen gave and how to organize your home. I agree that outer order can create inner calm at least for me. If things are neat and tidy I feel better. With that being said I do have some of my own things I need to put in order. Since reading this book I have started just that. I also have a list of things that I want to go through to create more order in my home. This book is a useful tool that may need to be looked at more than once.

Sunrise Point by Robyn Carr - Review


Book details
Series: Virgin River (Book 19)
Paperback: 378 pages
Publisher: MIRA Books; 1st edition (April 24, 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-0778313175

Book description
Tom Cavanaugh returns home to take over his family's apple orchard and settle down.

Single mom Nora Crane is nothing like the kind of woman he thought he' d fall for- yet he can' t take his eyes off her. And while they have different concepts about family, they soon find out how quickly those ideas can change.

Meet the author - Robyn Carr
Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, eleven-time #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost sixty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. The third novel (THE FAMILY GATHERING) in her fan-favorite new series, Sullivan's Crossing, will be released in April 2018. Robyn is a recipient of the Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award 2016 and in 2017, VIRGIN RIVER was named one of the HarperCollins 200 Iconic Books of the past 200 years. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr's website at www.RobynCarr.com.

My thoughts
This book as with the rest of the series have been enjoyable to me. I really did not like Darla in this book and was happy when she got what was coming to her. One of my favorite characters was Maxie. She was just sassy enough to like. Hearing more about Nora and her story was nice and I am glad that the author gave us more about her. I also liked Tom he was a nice guy who was a little dumb when it came to women. A good story

March 14, 2019

Murder Once Removed by S.C. Perkins - Review and Giveaway


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

Book details

(An Ancestor Detective Mystery) 
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series 
Minotaur Books (March 19, 2019) 
Hardcover: 336 pages 
ISBN-10: 1250189039 
ISBN-13: 978-1250189035 
Digital ASIN: B07D2BJ2JT

  

Book description
S.C. Perkins' Murder Once Removed is the captivating first mystery in the Ancestry Detective series, in which Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster uses her skills to solve murders in both the past and present.

Except for a good taco, genealogist Lucy Lancaster loves nothing more than tracking down her clients’ long-dead ancestors, and her job has never been so exciting as when she discovers a daguerreotype photograph and a journal proving Austin, Texas, billionaire Gus Halloran’s great-great-grandfather was murdered back in 1849. What’s more, Lucy is able to tell Gus who was responsible for his ancestor’s death.

Partly, at least. Using clues from the journal, Lucy narrows the suspects down to two nineteenth-century Texans, one of whom is the ancestor of present-day U.S. senator Daniel Applewhite. But when Gus publicly outs the senator as the descendant of a murderer—with the accidental help of Lucy herself—and her former co-worker is murdered protecting the daguerreotype, Lucy will find that shaking the branches of some family trees proves them to be more twisted and dangerous than she ever thought possible.

Meet the author - S.C. Perkins
S.C. Perkins is a fifth-generation Texan who grew up hearing fascinating stories of her ancestry and eating lots of great Tex-Mex, both of which inspired the plot of her debut mystery novel. Murder Once Removed was the winner of the 2017 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery competition. She resides in Houston and, when she’s not writing or working at her day job, she’s likely outside in the sun, on the beach, or riding horses.

Author Links o www.scperkins.com o www.twitter.com/scperkinswriter o www.instagram.com/scperkinswriter o www.facebook.com/scperkinswriter o www.pinterest.com/scperkinswriter o www.goodreads.com/scperkinswriter

Purchase links IndieBound Amazon Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million

My thoughts
This book was right up my alley.  I had many things in common with Lucy, taco lover, love history and I would love to be a professional genealogist. That is what appealed to me first but then I started reading the book and fell in love with the story. I enjoyed the way the author mixed genealogy, history, mystery and a little humor all in one story. The story line flowed nicely and she kept you guessing. It was a book I did not want to put down until I got to the end.  A great start to a new series that I will continue to follow.

Giveaway


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March 12, 2019

Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy


Book details
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (October 23, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062697714
ISBN-13: 978-0062697714

Book description
A bold, heartfelt tale of life at Green Gables . . . before Anne: A marvelously entertaining and moving historical novel, set in rural Prince Edward Island in the nineteenth century, that imagines the young life of spinster Marilla Cuthbert, and the choices that will open her life to the possibility of heartbreak—and unimaginable greatness.

Plucky and ambitious, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen years old when her world is turned upside down. Her beloved mother dies in childbirth, and Marilla suddenly must bear the responsibilities of a farm wife: cooking, sewing, keeping house, and overseeing the day-to-day life of Green Gables with her brother, Matthew and father, Hugh.

In Avonlea—a small, tight-knit farming town on a remote island—life holds few options for farm girls. Her one connection to the wider world is Aunt Elizabeth "Izzy" Johnson, her mother’s sister, who managed to escape from Avonlea to the bustling city of St. Catharines. An opinionated spinster, Aunt Izzy’s talent as a seamstress has allowed her to build a thriving business and make her own way in the world.

Emboldened by her aunt, Marilla dares to venture beyond the safety of Green Gables and discovers new friends and new opportunities. Joining the Ladies Aid Society, she raises funds for an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in nearby Nova Scotia that secretly serves as a way station for runaway slaves from America. Her budding romance with John Blythe, the charming son of a neighbor, offers her a possibility of future happiness—Marilla is in no rush to trade one farm life for another. She soon finds herself caught up in the dangerous work of politics, and abolition—jeopardizing all she cherishes, including her bond with her dearest John Blythe. Now Marilla must face a reckoning between her dreams of making a difference in the wider world and the small-town reality of life at Green Gables.

Meet the author - Sarah McCoy
SARAH McCOY is the New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author of the novels MARILLA OF GREEN GABLES; THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN; THE BAKER'S DAUGHTER, a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee; THE TIME IT SNOWED IN PUERTO RICO (Random House); "The Branch of Hazel: a novella" in GRAND CENTRAL; and LE SOUFFLE DES FEUILLES ET DES PROMESSES, a French exclusive title.

Sarah's work has been featured in Real Simple, The Millions, Huffington Post, Read It Forward, Writer Unboxed, and other publications. She has taught English writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. She currently lives with her husband, an orthopedic sports surgeon, and their dog, Gilbert, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

You can find out more about her books at her website or reach her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @SarahMMcCoy.

My thoughts
I loved this book. As a long time fan of Anne of Green Gables I have to say thank you to this author for giving us the story of Marilla and Matthew. The author did such a good job of writing this that it felt like you were reading a book by L.M. Montgomery.  She was able to emulate the writing style to a T. I had a hard time putting this book down.  To see Marilla's life and to know what made her who she was is a treat.  I also liked that we learned about Matthew's back story as well. This is a book that I will be reading again and it will be added to my Anne of Green Gables collection. 

March 7, 2019

Broken Bone China by Laura Childs - Review and Giveaway

Book details
Cozy Mystery 20th in Series
 Berkley (March 5, 2019) 
Hardcover: 336 pages 
ISBN-10: 0451489632 
ISBN-13: 978-0451489630 
Digital ASIN: B07DMZPLWY
  

Book description
Theodosia Browning serves tea and solves crimes in Charleston, a city steeped in tradition and treachery in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

It is Sunday afternoon, and Theodosia and Drayton are catering a formal tea at a hot-air balloon rally. The view aloft is not only stunning, they are also surrounded by a dozen other colorful hot-air balloons. But as the sky turns gray and the clouds start to boil up, a strange object zooms out of nowhere. It is a drone, and it appears to be buzzing around the balloons, checking them out.

As Theodosia and Drayton watch, the drone, hovering like some angry, mechanized insect, deliberately crashes into the balloon next to them. An enormous, fiery explosion erupts, and everyone watches in horror as the balloon plummets to the earth, killing all three of its passengers.

Sirens scream, first responders arrive, and Theodosia is interviewed by the police. During the interview she learns that one of the downed occupants was Don Kingsley, the CEO of a local software company, SyncSoft. Not only do the police suspect Kingsley as the primary target, they learn that he possessed a rare Revolutionary War Union Jack flag that several people were rabidly bidding on.

Intrigued, Theodosia begins her own investigation. Was it the CEO's soon-to-be ex-wife, who is restoring an enormous mansion at no expense? The CEO's personal assistant, who also functioned as curator of his prized collection of Americana? Two rival antiques' dealers known for dirty dealing? Or was the killer the fiancĂ©e of one of Theodosia's dear friends, who turns out to be an employee—and whistle-blower—at SyncSoft?

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

Meet the author - Laura Childs
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:
Website – http://www.laurachilds.com/ Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/laura.childs.31 Purchase Links Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play 

My thoughts
I enjoyed this newest installment of the Tea Shop Mystery.  Drayton is one of my favorite characters so I was more than happy that he was a big part of this story. It would have also been fun to be a part of the Nancy Drew tea party that Theo hosted in her shop. I was a Nancy Drew fan as a child. Another part of this story that was interesting to me is that the murder was because of a rare Revolutionary War flag.  I am also of fan of story that contain a part of history no matter how small.  The action in this story starts from the first page and continues right until the end. Even though this is number twenty in the series you can read this as a stand alone although I suggest to get the most out of this start with number one. 

Giveaway


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February 28, 2019

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green - Review

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

Book details
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (February 5, 2019)
ISBN-13: 978-0764219085

Book description
The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it is easier to remain neutral in a world that is tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the fray against her wishes when her British ex-
fiance, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel asks her to help him escape, claiming he has information that could help end the war.

Peace appeals to Catherine, but helping the man who broke her heart does not. She delays . . . until attempts on Samuel's life convince her he's in mortal danger. Against her better judgment she helps him flee by river, using knowledge of the landscape to creep ever closer to freedom. Their time together rekindles feelings she thought long buried, and danger seems to hound their every mile. She's risked becoming a traitor by choosing a side, but will the decision cost her even more than she anticipated?

Meet the author - Jocelyn Green
Jocelyn Green is the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King and A Refuge Assured. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and have been honored with the Christy Award and the Golden Scroll. Jocelyn lives with her family in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com.

My thoughts
I loved this book. I have been trying to find more and more books to read in this time period and was not disappointed when I got the chance to read this one.  As with the other books I have ready by Jocelyn I enjoy this author's writing style.  She also makes sure that her research really shows.  I am sure it was hard for Catherine to have to choose whether or not to help Samuel.  The author does a good job of showing how Catherine is feeling through her writing. This book was full of emotions and adventure. This is a must read book of this season.