July 4, 2021

Along a Storied Trail by Ann H. Gabhart - Review

 

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

Book details

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Revell (June 1, 2021)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0800737210
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0800737214

Book description
Kentucky packhorse librarian Tansy Calhoun doesn't mind the rough trails and long hours as she serves her Appalachian mountain community during the Great Depression. Yet she longs to find love like the heroines in her books. When a charming writer comes to town, she thinks she might have found it--or is the perfect man actually closer than she thinks?

Perdita Sweet has called these mountains home for so long she's nearly as rocky as the soil around her small cabin. Long ago she thought she could love, but when the object of her affection up and married someone else, she stopped giving too much of herself away to others.

As is so often the case, it's easier to see what's best for others than to see what's best for oneself, and Perdita knows who Tansy should choose. But why would anyone listen to the romantic advice of an old spinster?

Meet the author
Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels--The Refuge, The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted--as well as other historical novels, including Angel Sister, These Healing Hills, River to Redemption, and An Appalachian Summer. She and her husband live on a farm a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Ann enjoys discovering the everyday wonders of nature while hiking in her farm's fields and woods with her grandchildren and her dogs, Frankie and Marley. Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com.

My thoughts
I enjoyed this book. Following Tansy on her book route and getting to know each of the characters was nice. They each had their own personality. I think if I lived in that time in that place I could have had the same job as Tansy - delivering books. I thought the author did a good job  of portraying how life was then for perople.  Then you have the added part of a love story. Who should Tansy choose, her old friend or the new author who came to town?  Should she listen to her gut or good ole Aunt Perdie? In the end I think she chose the right man for her. 


June 7, 2021

Sunset on Moonlight Beach by Sheila Roberts - Review

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

Book details
Publisher : MIRA; Original edition (April 27, 2021)
Language : English
Mass Market Paperback : 416 pages
ISBN-10 : 077833175X
ISBN-13 : 978-0778331759

Synopsis
Jenna Jones has been standing on the shore of the Sea of Love for too long. Even with two good men interested in her, she's been afraid to wade in. According to her best friend, Courtney, she should. The water’s fine. Life is great! Practically perfect, if you don’t count Courtney’s problems with her cranky ex-boss. Maybe Courtney’s right. It’s time to dive in.

When tragedy strikes, everything changes and Jenna's more confused than ever. But this fresh heartache might help her figure out at last who she can turn to when times get tough.

Full of warmth and humor, Sunset on Moonlight Beach proves that every ending can be the beginning of a beautiful new story

Meet the author

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
This is one of my favorite authors to read. This installment was a little heart wrenching for me at one point, When I read this book I felt as if I was sitting down with my old friends and catching up. I love that both Celeste and Mel are back with Jenna and the family is all in one place. I also liked Courtney's story line and how she is progressing. I look forward to the next book in this series.

May 25, 2021

Wining and Dying by Daryl Wood Gerber - Review

 

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

Wining and Dying by Daryl Wood Gerber
A Cookbook Mystery #10
Published: April 27th, 2021
Beyond the Page Publishing

Synopsis:
Crystal Cove is buzzing with the launch of its fifth annual Art and Wine Festival, when local wineries are paired with local artists to show off their latest creations. Jenna’s thrilled to be showing one of her own amateur paintings at the fair, but her excitement quickly fades when an up-and-coming artist is murdered. What’s more, all the evidence points to a good friend of Jenna’s as the culprit, and she’ll have to use all her wits to prove his innocence before he paints himself into a corner.

Certain that her friend is being framed, Jenna tries to blend in as she starts digging into an array of colorful suspects, including a tech guru with a penchant for stalking women, the mayor’s wayward son, and an older art instructor who might have been closer to the victim than anyone would have guessed. Jenna will have to wine and dine her way through all the clues before she can see the full picture and put the real killer behind bars—all the while avoiding her own brush with death . . .

My thoughts:
I enjoyed this book. Daryl is one of my go to authors as I enjoy her writing style. I also love the cast of characters in this series.  With each edition you feel like you are coming home to catch up with friends and family, of course I would not have to find a dead body on each visit. I liked the setting of the Art and Wine Festival, that would be fun to attend. There were a couple of people that I suspected as the killer with that being said I was kept guessing until the end. 

Meet the author - Daryl Wood Gerber
SIGN UP FOR HER NEWSLETTER, which comes out once a month and with a new release
https://darylwoodgerber.com/contact-media/

ALSO FOLLOW HER ON BOOKBUB: http://bookbub.com/authors/daryl-wood-gerber so you'll get an alert whenever she has a new release, preorder, or discount!

Tasty, zesty, dangerous!

Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber writes the bestselling COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERIES, the popular FAIRY GARDEN MYSTERIES, and the FRENCH BISTRO MYSTERIES. As Avery Aames, she pens the bestselling CHEESE SHOP MYSTERIES. In addition, Daryl writes suspense, including the ASPEN ADAMS NOVELS OF SUSPENSE and stand-alone suspense thrillers, including GIRL ON THE RUN and DAY OF SECRETS. Fun tidbits: Daryl jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, and she hitchhiked around Ireland by herself. Also, as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to read, cook, and golf. She has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!

May 22, 2021

The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery

 


Once upon a time, when her dad married Sage’s mom, Daisy was thrilled to get a bright and shiny new sister. But Sage was beautiful and popular, everything Daisy was not, and she made sure Daisy knew it.

Sage didn’t have Daisy’s smarts—she had to go back a grade to enroll in the fancy rich-kid school. So she used her popularity as a weapon, putting Daisy down to elevate herself. After the divorce, the stepsisters’ rivalry continued until the final, improbable straw: Daisy married Sage’s first love, and Sage fled California.

Eighteen years, two kids and one troubled marriage later, Daisy never expects—or wants—to see Sage again. But when the little sister they have in common needs them both, they put aside their differences to care for Cassidy. As long-buried truths are revealed, no one is more surprised than they when friendship blossoms.

Their fragile truce is threatened by one careless act that could have devastating consequences. They could turn their backs on each other again…or they could learn to forgive once and for all and finally become true sisters of the heart.

Excerpt:

Adam was taller than he had been in high school, and broader through the shoulders. He looked like he worked out.

She sat at one of the stools at the kitchen island as he measured tequila into a blender and added lime juice, simple syrup, orange liqueur and ice. While the blender worked its magic, he collected glasses from the freezer.

Less than a minute later, she had an icy margarita in her hand. Adam poured one for himself and sat next to her. He touched his glass to hers.

“To old friends.” One corner of his mouth turned up. “By that I mean friends who knew each other a while back. I’m not saying you’re old.”

“Good, because then I’d be forced to hit you really hard and as you wouldn’t hit me back, you’d be stuck.”

“You telling me I’m not allowed to hit a girl?”

She grinned. “I’m saying it’s not your style.” She wasn’t sure why she assumed that, but she did.

“You’re right,” he said with a heavy sigh. “It’s a thing.”

“Do you want to be able to hit women?”

“No.” He sounded shocked. “Why would you ask that?”

“And you prove my point.” She took a sip of the drink. “Nice. How did you know where I worked?”

“I asked your mom.”

“I’m surprised she told you.”

“I threatened to cut off her internet if she didn’t.”

“Can you do that?”

“Only if I unscrewed the connection at the cable box, which is kept locked. So not easily. But I figured she would believe me.”

“And she did.” Sage swung her chair to face him. “Now you know where I work, what do you do?” “I put companies on the cloud.”

She thought about her phone and how it backed up when she plugged it in to charge. “That’s like off-site storage, right?”

“Sort of. Do you want a detailed explanation?”

“Not really.”

He chuckled. “Good to know. Companies hire me to get them on the cloud. I’m an independent contractor, which is why I work from home.”

“Do you like what you do?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“Does it pay well?”

One eyebrow rose. “Looking for a loan?” He winced. “That came out wrong.”

She eyed him. “Yes, it did. I’m making adult conversation. It’s nice to have work you like that also pays well.”

“You’re right and yes, it pays well.”

He got up and pulled a bowl of guacamole out of the refrigerator, then emptied tortilla chips into a bowl.

“I have chicken taquitos I got from a little place I know, if you’re interested.”

Her stomach growled. Somehow she’d missed lunch.

“I love a taquito.”

He put several on a cookie sheet and set it in the oven, then started a kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato.

“Want to go outside?” he asked.

She nodded and picked up her drink, along with the bowl of chips. He brought the guacamole, his drink and the timer.

His patio was much larger than her mom’s, with Mexican pavers and a big covered area. Along with the desk where he worked, there were a couple of lounge chairs, a round table and four chairs. She took a seat. Adam settled across from her.

She turned her head and looked across the low fence. “Why do houses always look different when you see them from someone else’s perspective?”

“It’s just a trick of the light.”

She smiled, then squinted slightly at the rear view of her mom’s house. “Is that my bedroom?”

“It is.”

She faced him. “You can see into my bedroom?”

“I can and while I’m more mature now, I will admit that as a teenager, seeing into your bedroom was always the highlight of my night.”

She thought about how many hours she’d spent there, doing homework, talking to her friends, changing her clothes.

She swung her head between him and the window. “You were spying on me?”

“And desperately hoping you’d take off your clothes.”

“Did I?”

“Sometimes.” He leaned back in his chair. “Those were the days. You were my favorite masturbation fantasy.” He held up his drink. “I was sixteen at the time, so I say that with knowledge that my behavior was wrong and sexist and I would never do it now.”

“Masturbate or stare through my window?”

His mouth twitched, as if he were trying not to smile. “Stare through your window.”

An honest man, she thought, knowing how rare they could be.

“So you’ve seen me naked.”

Something flashed through his eyes. “Not in a long time, but yes.”

“I’m not sure how I feel about that.”

“Flattered?” he asked hopefully. “You’re very beautiful. The next naked woman I saw was much less impressive. Of course she was interested in having sex with me, so she could have looked like a tree stump and I would have been delighted.”

“Are you more discerning now?”

“I am, and you still remain the standard against which all my lovers are judged.”

She winced. “Don’t do that. No adult woman should be compared with her sixteen-year-old self.”

The timer dinged and Adam went to get the taquitos. Sage wondered what quirk of biology and sociology created a society where women were valued for their beauty and men were valued for strength and power. She supposed it had something to do with procreation, but while it might have worked ten thousand years ago, it was less appealing now.

Purchase Links

MIRA | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Excerpt tour:

Monday, May 3rd: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Tuesday, May 4th: Jathan and Heather

Wednesday, May 5th: Reading Reality

Thursday, May 6th: Palmer’s Page Turners

Thursday, May 6th: Reading Girl Reviews

Friday, May 7th: The Lit Bitch

Monday, May 10th: From the TBR Pile

Tuesday, May 11th: What is That Book About

Wednesday, May 12th: Kahakai Kitchen

Thursday, May 13th: Romantic Reads and Such

Friday, May 14th: View from the Birdhouse

Saturday, May 15th: Literary Quicksand

Sunday, May 16th: Pacific Northwest Bookworm

Monday, May 17th: Girl Who Reads

Tuesday, May 18th: Nurse Bookie

Thursday, May 20th: Why Girls are Weird

Thursday, May 20: Novel Gossip

Friday, May 21: Books & Bindings

Saturday, May 22nd: A Holland Reads

Sunday, May 23rd: Blunt Scissors Book Reviews

Monday, May 24th: Helen’s Book Blog

Instagram tour:

Monday, May 3rd: @bookscallmyheart

Tuesday, May 4th: @mommaleighellensbooknook

Wednesday, May 5th: @jenniaahava

Thursday, May 6th: @kelly_hunsaker_reads

Thursday, May 6th: @readinggirlreviews

Friday, May 7th: @welovebigbooksandwecannotlie

Saturday, May 8th: @lyon.brit.andthebookshelf

Sunday, May 9th: @k2reader

Monday, May 10th: @brianas_best_reads

Monday, May 10th: @sweethoneyandbrei

Tuesday, May 11th: @readsrandiread

Wednesday, May 12th: @mrsboomreads

Thursday, May 13th: @chill_jilland_read

Friday, May 14th: @marilyngcon

Saturday, May 15th: @bookshelfmomma

Sunday, May 16th: @pnwbookworm

Sunday, May 16th: @moonlight_rendezvous

Monday, May 17th: @booksloveandunderstanding

Monday, May 17th: @jenguerdy

Monday, May 17th: @rozierreadsandwine

Tuesday, May 18th: @nurse_bookie

Wednesday, May 19th: @readswithrosie

Thursday, May 20th: @readingwithremy

Thursday, May 20th: @novelgossip

Friday, May 21st: @bryantparkbooks

Saturday, May 22nd: @the_boozy_baking_bibliophile

Sunday, May 23rd: @bluntscissorsbookreviews

Monday, May 24th: @gingersbookclub



April 4, 2021

Answering Liberty's Call by Tracy Lawson

 

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

Book details
Published: January 27th, 2021
Paperback - 320 Pages
ISBN: 9781735428512

Synopsis
War might be men’s business, but that doesn’t stop independent-minded Anna Stone from trying to thwart a conspiracy against General George Washington.

My review
This was an enjoyable book for me.  I enjoy reading books from this time period and I liked that it has a strong female character as the lead character. The author did a good job of incorporating historical facts into this story. She made reading about this time period easy. It is a book that held my interest until the end. 

March 6, 2021

February 2021 Book Update

Books I read this month

Where the Heart Takes You by Virginia Wise

Synopsis:
Pennsylvania, 1737. Greta Scholtz braved a perilous journey--and the loss of her beloved father--to find religious freedom in America. With two orphan children she's taken under her wing, she's trying hard to survive this rugged new world. So she won't let settlement elders pressure her into marrying reserved widower Jacob Miller. She and Jacob simply can't agree on anything--even if the unexpected feeling between them is proving an irresistible force . . .

After losing his wife and baby, grief-stricken Jacob keeps everyone at arm's length. Duty is the only reason he began helping the headstrong Greta make a life for herself and her charges. Yet he's grown to admire her, especially her strength in the face of obstacles--including him and his wounded ways. But wrenching misunderstandings and a jealous rival could separate them forever. To find harmony--and perhaps even a future together--Greta and Jacob must take a leap of faith and risk opening their hearts . . .

My review
I liked this book but I have mixed feelings about it as well. I really liked the characters of Gretta, Ruth and Jacob. I was also super frustrated by Greta and Jacob. They knew they wanted to be with each other but they kept finding reasons not to be. I thought that scenario lasted a bit long and was making me angry reading it. But the end of the book had me so happy that it made up for the angriness. I was hoping for a little more history weaved into the book about them settling here for the first time. All in all I am glad I read the book.

Courting Can Be Killer by Amanda Flower

Synopsis:
Some Amish men don't know what's good for them. That's what Millie Fisher told herself when young Ben Baughman set his heart on marrying Tess Lieb. With Tess's father refusing to give his blessing and Tess's
ex-boyfriend being a wet blanket, the hapless couple was bound to butt heads more than Millie's Boer goats. But when Ben tragically dies in a mysterious fire, Millie wonders if someone in her hometown of Harvest, Ohio, wanted Ben out of the wedding picture altogether...

With the help of her quilting buddies, and her outspoken Englischer friend Lois, Millie is determined to patch together all the clues without even dropping a stitch. She only hopes it won't be the death of her...

Review:
I enjoyed this second installment of this series. I felt bad when Ben was killed in the flea market and then for some to say he was the cause of his own death. It was also hard to watch Millie go through the trauma of losing him. I liked how close Lois and Millie are they make a good team.


Rebecca by Daphne Du Mauier

Synopsis:
So the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter remembered the chilling events that led her down the turning drive past the beeches, white and naked, to the isolated gray stone manse on the windswept Cornish coast. With a husband she barely knew, the young bride arrived at this immense estate, only to be inexorably drawn into the life of the first Mrs. de Winter, the beautiful Rebecca, dead but never forgotten...her suite of rooms never touched, her clothes ready to be worn, her servant -- the sinister Mrs. Danvers -- still loyal. And as an eerie presentiment of the evil tightened around her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter began her search for the real fate of Rebecca...for the secrets of Manderley.

Review:
I tried read this book but had trouble getting into it so I switched to the audio book which I enjoyed better. I have to say I really did not like the head house keeper she was not nice and therefore I felt bad for the new wife there was a big twist at the end that I did not see coming. I also watched the movie which o thought was good and explained a few more things for me.


Hundred in the Hand by Joseph Marshall III

Synopsis:
Beautifully written and reminiscent of the oral tradition, Hundred in the Hand brings a new slant to the traditional Western: historical fiction written from the Native American viewpoint.

Review:
I have read more than one book by this author and really enjoyed them so I thought I would give this one a try. I hate to say it but I was disappointed in this one and think I will stick to his other books that I have. I just felt this one did not flow for me.


Murder with Clotted Cream by Karen Rose Smith

Synopsis:
Margaret Vaughn has hired Daisy to provide afternoon tea for her theater group. A local girl who left long ago for an acting career in New York, Margaret has returned home—with a multimillionaire husband in tow. But while Daisy bustles around Margaret’s historic farmhouse, she senses that there’s tension behind the scenes. Then she discovers the hostess on the floor of the pantry—dead and covered with clotted cream.

Barely recovered from her previous sleuthing adventure, Daisy joins forces with the former detective she’s been dating to help solve the case. Should she cast suspicion on the stars of the upcoming play? Can Margaret’s sister shine a spotlight on potential culprits? Or are there clues to be found in the victim’s past? With plenty of family stress of her own to deal with, all Daisy knows is she better act fast .

Review:
I enjoyed this book and liked that it addressed postpartum depression as many women have this but don't discuss it. This time we got to learn a little more about Daisy and her mom's relationship, which explains some things. I am liking that this series is continuing on.


Murder with Oolong Tea by Karen Rose Smith

Synopsis:
The faculty of Willow Creek High School are having a get-together after the spring concert with refreshments provided, courtesy of Daisy's Tea Garden. Oolong tea and chocolate biscuits are just what the staff needs to help them unwind from Althea Higgins' demanding curriculum. Her lessons on such controversial subjects as school uniforms and under qualified substitute teachers are earning her an F from her colleagues.

But a failing grade was preferable to Althea falling victim to foul play. Daisy was there when her body was discovered in the school swimming pool, murdered by strangulation. Althea was certainly a strict, opinionated taskmaster, unliked by both teachers and students, but would any of them actually want to kill her? As Daisy starts asking questions, she gets a real education in Althea's history, discovering more than enough enemies with more than enough motives to cancel her classes permanently...

Review:
Another great installment in a fun series. I will say this one had me sad for a little while but was good in the end. I enjoyed seeing what was happening with my friends. I liked that Daisy helped Jazzie’s friend and there was a little more of the Amish included.

Books I acquired this month
The Man Who Sent the SOS by Paul Amirault
Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Signing Their Lives Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D'Agnese
Signing Their Lives Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the United States Constitution by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D'Agnese
John Adams Under Fire by David Fisher