April 27, 2022

Sand Dollar Lane by Sheila Roberts - Review

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

Book details
Sand Dollar Lane by Sheila Roberts
Moonlight Harbor #6
Publisher ‏ : ‎ MIRA; Original edition (April 26, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 077838635X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0778386353

Book description
Brody Green is finding it hard to recover after being dumped by his fiancée, Jenna Jones, then watching her walk down the aisle with someone else. Jenna is determined to make up for her love defection and find him the perfect woman, but Brody is done with love. First a divorce, then a broken engagement. From now on he’s keeping things light, no commitments. Luckily Brody’s business is booming. Beach Dreams Realty is the best real estate company in town. And the only one. Until…

Lucy Holmes needs a new start. In business, in love, in…everything. If ever there was a cliché, it was her life back in Seattle. She was a real estate broker working with her husband until she caught him trying out the walk-in shower in a luxury condo—with another agent. She’s always been the more successful of the two, and with him gone, she’s determined to build a business even bigger than what she had. Moonlight Harbor is a charming town and it has only one real estate agency. Surely there’s room for a little competition.

Or not. Looks like it’s going to be a hot market in Moonlight Harbor. And maybe these two competitors will make some heat of their own.

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 love getting to visit Moonlight Harbor and reading about all my old friends.  Sheila's books always make me smile as I am reading them.  She also does such a good job in the details of everything and makes you want to run away and visit or live in Moonlight Harbor.  It is such a lovely place with such good people. I felt so sorry for Brody and was hoping he would find some happiness and the perfect mate for him. I enjoyed getting to meet Lucy.  I look forward to reading all of Sheila's books and I highly recommend them. 

Simmering With Resentment by Daryl Wood Gerber - Review

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

Book details
Simmering with Resentment by Daryl Wood Gerber
Cookbook Nook Mystery #11
Published April 26th, 2022
263 pages, paperback
ISBN: 9781954717916

Book description
With Bride’s Dream Expo in town, it’s all things wedding in Crystal Cove, including at the Cookbook Nook, where owner Jenna Hart is preparing for her own wedding in just a few short weeks. But there’s a dark cloud hanging over the festive mood by the name of Sarita Strachline, a woman Jenna helped convict of arson who is now out of jail and bent on revenge. And when Jenna and Rhett’s intimate prenuptial dinner is rocked by an explosion that nearly takes Rhett’s life, Jenna can’t help but think Sarita is to blame.

Desperate to prove Sarita’s guilt but consumed by worries over Rhett’s condition, Jenna reluctantly lays her case out for the police and leaves the investigation in their methodical hands. Still, she can’t help piecing together the clues, and as the evidence begins to mount, Jenna realizes that revenge may be a dish best served cold, but she can cook up a scheme of her own to bring the culprit to justice—she just has to hope it doesn’t blow up in her face . . .

Includes mouthwatering recipes!

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 Fairy Garden Mysteries, the French Bistro Mysteries, the Cheese Shop Mysteries (as Avery Aames), the Aspen Adams Novels of Suspense, and two other 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 is another fun installment in one of my favorite series. I always like coming back to Crystal Cove to see what Jenna has gotten herself into now. I liked that the wedding expo and Jenna planning her own wedding were the setting/theme of this book. There is a lot going on this book, multiple crimes being committed and the planning of the wedding, and it makes the book read that much faster. This also made it a little harder to figure out who committed the murder. I like it when it is a challenge to solve the murder along with the main character. I look forward to the next book in this series.


April 11, 2022

Blood on the Bayou by Douglas J. Wood - A review

Blood on the Bayou by Douglas Wood
386 pages - Paperback
Published: April 12, 2022
ISBN: 173488486X

About the book:
The Murder Accountability Project, a nonprofit that analyzes FBI data, estimates that there are as many as 2,000 serial killers responsible for the 185,000 unsolved murders in the United States. According to the FBI there could be as many as fifty active serial killers prowling for victims every day. Most of them will never be caught. - Douglas J. Wood

A serial killer is terrorizing the streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans. The victims are found with their throats slit, odd symbols on their faces, and a wooden cross in their hands. Detective Rebecca Simone and her team are working the case and when DNA from a local man is found on a body, it looks like the mystery is solved. However, someone in Washington D.C. has been quietly observing, and he is not satisfied with the outcome of the case. Unable to remain an outsider, Special Agent Christopher DiMeglio packs his bags and heads down to an unfamiliar city and an unwelcoming New Orleans police department.

Full of dark alleys and urban legends of voodoo, vampires, and hidden secrets, New Orleans is the perfect setting for a killer to get away with murder. Blood on the Bayou is a gripping mystery with a shocking twist that will leave readers guessing until the very end.

Meet the author - Douglas J. Wood:
Douglas J. Wood is Senior Counsel at the law firm of Reed Smith LLP, he has over 45 years of experience practicing entertainment and media law, often imparting knowledge gained from his career in his books. Listed among the leading global specialists in advertising law in Chambers, the Legal 500, The Best Lawyers in America, and Super Lawyers, he is known and respected worldwide and is a member of the Legal 500 Hall of Fame. He received his BA from the University of Rhode Island, his Juris Doctor from the Franklin Pierce Law Center, a Masters of Law in Trade Regulation from New York University School of Law, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of New Hampshire. Doug has been adjunct professor of advertising law at the UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law and the University College Cork in Ireland.

He is the author of the award-winning Samantha Harrison political trilogy. In 2018, he published his memoir, Asshole Attorney: Memories, Musings, and Missteps in A 40-Year Career (winner of the 2019 Independent Press Award for Best Humor and Wit). In the following year, he added Dark Data: Control, Alt, Delete, a thriller about cyberwar and financial terrorism and winner of the 2020 Independent Press Award for Best Political Thriller. Doug’s newest novel, Dragon on the Far Side of the Moon, a thriller that pits China and the United States in conquest of the Moon, was published this past summer to rave reviews. His other non-fiction titles include 101 Things I Want to Say…the Collection, a book of fatherly advice to his children and the best-selling text Please Be Ad-Vised: A Legal Reference Guide for the Advertising Executive, now in its seventh edition and described by Bob Liodice, CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, as the legal bible for the industry. He is currently working on his next novel, Blood on the Bayou, a criminal thriller set in the sultry streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Look for that in 2022.

Doug lives in North Carolina with Carol Ann, his wife of 48 years. They are blessed with three grown children and four adorable grandchildren.

My thoughts:
Another new to me author and another enjoyable book.  I liked how the book/author embraced some of the New Orleans culture and waves it into the story.  The author did a good job of keeping me guessing until the end of the book.  It was an engrossing story that kep me reading late into the night. 

March 21, 2022

The Last December by Velda Allard McElroy - A review

The Last December by Velada Allard McElroy
293 pages - Paperback
Published September 19th, 2019
ISBN: 9781088588451

About the book:
Eighteen-year-old Pearl Hardisty discovers the small town of Silver Lake in Eastern Oregon has more to offer than dry sage brush, old farmhouses, and unbearable freezing cold winters when she met Frank Bunyard. The kindhearted, handsome cowboy made her glad she decided to move with her family after all. Through stories Frank shares with her she learns about friendship, survival, and an unforgettable story of privation and loss from a small band of Modoc Indians who were left behind after the Modoc war. When the tightly knit community of Silver Lake experiences its own tragedy on Christmas Eve in 1894, they learn just how fragile life really is and how important it is to lean on one another and open their hearts and homes to those they once tried to destroy.

Meet the author - Velada Allard McElroy:
Velada Allard McElroy is proud to call Eugene Oregon her home. Her ancestors settled in the Oregon Territory mostly in Lake Co. around the mid 1850's after crossing the plains. Hearing stories that were passed down through generations she learned about the Silver Lake fire on Christmas Eve in 1894 where several of her relatives perished and about her third great grandfather, George C. Duncan, who was instrumental in helping several Modoc Indians after the Modoc war.

Velada is an Office Manager & Bookkeeper for a non-profit who loves creative writing, genealogy, studying history and cultural anthropology.

My thoughts:
I enjoyed reading this book from a new to me author.  Reading this book felt like you were right there feeling the same emotions as the characters.  The author did a good job of making you feel as if you were a part of the story. The Modoc Indian War was not one I had heard of before and I am thankful to have learned more about it through the author's telling of it.  Another tragic event in the Native American History.  I also liked how this was based on true facts and that the author had a person connection to the characters.  A very good book in my opinion. 

Murder Under the Tuscan Sun by Maureen Klovers - A review

Murder Under teh Tuscan Sun by Maureen Klovers
#5 in tht Rita Calabrese Culinary Series
318 pages, Paperback
Published March 10th, 2022
ISBN: 9780999494165

About the book:
An idyllic retreat in rural Tuscany seems like the least likely place for a murder….

Rita Calabrese is a lover of all things Italian—especially the food. So she is overjoyed when Sal, her normally oh-so-unromantic husband, proposes a second honeymoon at a villa in Tuscany. For two weeks, she’ll get a respite from her hectic life as a reporter, sleuth, and mother and be able to just lounge by the pool, traipse through vineyards and olive groves, and gorge on gelato and tiramisu.

Then Rita meets a suave Italian art crimes detective convinced that the villa is the epicenter of an antiquities trafficking ring, and her romantic getaway becomes a working vacation. As she quaffs glorious vino and learns to roll pici pasta by hand, Rita sizes up the other guests. Ostensibly, they have gathered for the nuptials of Alessandro and Giovanna, the Romeo and Juliet of the Italian archaeology world. But is one of them also a criminal mastermind?

When the villa’s owner is found dead in an ancient Etruscan tomb, Rita begins to wonder if something even more sinister is afoot. Plunging into an investigation filled with star-crossed lovers, bitter professional rivalries, long-buried secrets, and fabulous food, Rita finds that Italy never loses its ability to amaze.

Featuring delectable, authentic Italian recipes for caponata, pear and almond tart, peaches with mascarpone, and more!

Meet the author - Maureen Klovers
Maureen Klovers has held numerous positions in government, including a stint as a U.S. intelligence officer, and was a political commentator on DC 101’s talk radio show "Neighborhood Stuff." Ms. Klovers has traveled extensively in the United States, Europe, China, India, and Latin America. She’s hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, been escorted through a Bolivian prison by a German narco-trafficker, and fished for piranhas in Venezuela. She received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations (with a focus on Latin American politics) from the College of William and Mary in 1999 and a Master’s of Public Policy and Master’s of Business Administration from Georgetown University in 2006. She lives with her husband, Kevin, in Arlington, Virginia.

For more information or to sign up for her newsletter, please visit www.maureenklovers.com.

My thoughts:
This is my first book in this series that I have read and I really enjoyed it.  I had no trouble reading this as a standalone book.  One of the reasons I liked reading this book is that I enjoyed the setting: a villa in Tuscany, a dream vacation of mine.  The characters were a pleasure to get to know and to try to figure out whose motive was the strongest for getting rid of teh villa's owner.  Just when I thought I had it figured out I was thrown for a loop and it took me until the end to figure it out.  I think that is part of what made this a good mystery to read.  A very enjoyable weekend read for me.  I will have to check out the rest of the series. Don't forget to check out the recipes in the back, they sound delicious. 

November 10, 2021

Night Night Angel by Amy Parker and Slothy Claus by Jodie Shephard - Reviews

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

About the book
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Thomas Nelson (September 28, 2021)
Board book ‏ : ‎ 20 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1400212839
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1400212835
Reading age ‏ : ‎ Baby - 4 years

Little fox loves all the excitement that Christmas brings to the forest: making creative presents, placing the star on the tree, and making sure she is spotlight-ready for the big Christmas play. But soon she realizes that the perfect gift has already been given through the baby who arrived on the first Christmas night!

As the fourth seasonal title in the hugely successful Night Night bedtime storybook brand, this Christmas board book
gives families a fun way to say goodnight during the Advent season
celebrates the special moments of family holiday activities
gently reminds children that Baby Jesus is the reason for the season

The Christmas theme and sparkling cover make Night Night, Angel perfect for an Advent gift, stocking stuffer, or Christmas morning surprise from parents, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, and friends. Your little angel will be ready to snuggle in for the night as together you celebrate the many blessings of Christmas!

My thoughts
I have not read the other books in the Night Night series, but this book can be read as a standalone. I read this book to my six month old grandson.  He loved holding the book and seeing the bright colors.  The story was cute to read to your little one and they learn a lesson while enjoying storytime.  This is one of his first Christmas books and may be to become a tradition to read it each year, 

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

About this book
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Thomas Nelson (November 2, 2021)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 40 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 140022358X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1400223589
Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 - 8 years
Grade level ‏ : ‎ 1 - 2


What will children do when a sluggish Slothy Claus doesn't make it to their home in time for Christmas morning? This charming story helps kids learn that Christmas is about more than just presents under the tree.

Slothy Claus has lots of presents for good boys and girls this year, but how is this notoriously lethargic animal supposed to travel all around the world in just one night? You guessed it! Slothy takes his sweet time, and when kids wake up to empty stockings and bare trees, it feels like Christmas is ruined! How will they ever find happiness without their chocolates and toys?

Slothy Claus is equal parts humorous and heartwarming. Children ages 4 to 8 will

  • learn that the joy of Christmas doesn't come from material things but from the love between family and friends
  • enjoy the delightfully funny one-of-a-kind artwork
  • love the classic rhyme that will fill your own family's Christmas with love, laughter, and a spirit of giving

Slothy Claus concludes with a summer scene complete with flip flops and a barbecue when Slothy Claus finally flies down in his sleigh to deliver gift after gift--for a special celebration of Christmas in July. With a bright, glittery cover, this fun picture book is the perfect gift for advent or Christmas.

My thoughts
What a cute book to read to your little one. I loved Slothy Clause. The pictures were nice and bright so my little grandson enjoyed looking at the pictures.  This one will be one that we read for many Christmases to come. 

November 6, 2021

My October Reads

 My October Reads

Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops by Shaun Bythell

From behind the counter, Shaun Bythell catalogs the customers who roam his shop in Wigtown, Scotland. There's the Expert (divided into subspecies from the Bore to the Helpful Person), the Young Family (ranging from the Exhausted to the Aspirational), Occultists (from Conspiracy Theorist to Craft Woman).

Then there's the Loiterer (including the Erotica Browser and the Self-Published Author), the Bearded Pensioner (including the Lyrca Clad), and the The Not-So-Silent Traveller (the Whistler, Sniffer, Hummer, Farter, and Tutter). Two bonus sections include Staff and, finally, Perfect Customer--all add up to one of the funniest book about books you'll ever find.

My rating: It was ok. I listened to the audio version.  

Vamderbilt by Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe

New York Times bestselling author and journalist Anderson Cooper teams with New York Times bestselling historian and novelist Katherine Howe to chronicle the rise and fall of a legendary American dynasty—his mother’s family, the Vanderbilts.

When eleven-year-old Cornelius Vanderbilt began to work on his father’s small boat ferrying supplies in New York Harbor at the beginning of the nineteenth century, no one could have imagined that one day he would, through ruthlessness, cunning, and a pathological desire for money, build two empires—one in shipping and another in railroads—that would make him the richest man in America. His staggering fortune was fought over by his heirs after his death in 1877, sowing familial discord that would never fully heal. Though his son Billy doubled the money left by “the Commodore,” subsequent generations competed to find new and ever more extraordinary ways of spending it. By 2018, when the last Vanderbilt was forced out of The Breakers—the seventy-room summer estate in Newport, Rhode Island, that Cornelius’s grandson and namesake had built—the family would have been unrecognizable to the tycoon who started it all.

Now, the Commodore’s great-great-great-grandson Anderson Cooper, joins with historian Katherine Howe to explore the story of his legendary family and their outsized influence. Cooper and Howe breathe life into the ancestors who built the family’s empire, basked in the Commodore’s wealth, hosted lavish galas, and became synonymous with unfettered American capitalism and high society. Moving from the hardscrabble wharves of old Manhattan to the lavish drawing rooms of Gilded Age Fifth Avenue, from the ornate summer palaces of Newport to the courts of Europe, and all the way to modern-day New York, Cooper and Howe wryly recount the triumphs and tragedies of an American dynasty unlike any other.

Written with a unique insider’s viewpoint, this is a rollicking, quintessentially American history as remarkable as the family it so vividly captures.

My rating: I really enjoyed listening to this book.

The Vineyard by Barbara Delinsky

In The Vineyard, New York Times bestselling author Barbara Delinsky (Lake News, Coast Road, Three Wishes) has written her most complex and emotionally rewarding novel: a story of two women, a generation apart, each of whose dream becomes bound with the other's.

To her family, Natalie Seebring is a woman who prizes appearances. She is exquisitely mannered, socially adept, a supportive wife, and head of a successful wine-producing enterprise. So when she announces plans to marry a vineyard employee mere months after the death of her husband of fifty-eight years, her son and daughter are stunned. Faced with their disapproval, Natalie decides to write a memoir. There is much that her children don't know about her life -- about her love of the vineyard, her role in fighting to build it up, and the sacrifices she made for her family.

Olivia Jones is a dreamer, living vicariously through the old photographs she restores. She and her daughter, Tess, have no one but themselves, so they cling to the fantasy that a big, happy family is out there somewhere, just waiting to welcome them home. When Olivia is hired by Natalie to help with her memoir, a summer at Natalie's beautiful vineyard by the sea seems the perfect opportunity to live out that fantasy -- an elegant home by the shore, a salary that allows her to hire a tutor for her dyslexic daughter, a job that is creative, hours spent with a woman who has led a charmed life.

But all is not as it seems, Olivia and Tess discover when they arrive at Asquonset, the vineyard in Rhode Island. While welcoming, Natalie is not quite the mothering type, as is quickly evident in the hostility her daughter and son have toward her -- it's a hostility that Olivia must buffer. Another dose of stark reality comes in the form of Simon Burke, who runs the vineyard's day-to-day operation and sees in Olivia and Tess an unwelcome reminder of the wife and daughter he tragically lost. And then there is the cruel reality of Olivia's own life -- the mother who never wanted her, and a career that has floundered.

Natalie's story, intended for her own children, enlightens Olivia as well. The lives of these two women of different generations, parallel in so many ways, become, in The Vineyard, a powerful and moving story as the fantasy of an idealized life, complete with perfect romance, crashes headlong into reality.

My rating: This was my favorite read this month. I read the paperback book that is a re-release.