Review: Under the Boardwalk

Under the Boardwalk
Under the Boardwalk by Amie Denman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

💚💚💚💚 Under the Boardwalk was an enjoyable read. The amusement park setting was a perfect summertime theme, and I continually envisioned the carousel ride, the thundering roar of the roller coasters, the overhead cable cars, and the whimsical music playing all around. Here’s a little about the story…

Starlight Point amusement park owner Ford Hamilton has died, and his son, Jack Hamilton, has taken over as principal operator of the park.  He was the most practical choice among the siblings as he has been working alongside his father at Starlight Point since he was young. His two sisters are okay with his running things, and he’s ready to begin managing the park he’s always loved. Problem is his father left more than the park to him, he’s also left behind debt that Jack was unaware of. Jack’s solution involves increasing the flat fee and profit percentage from the lease vendors, many of which have been loyally working at The Point for several years under his father’s favored leadership. The increase doesn’t bode well for the seasoned vendors or the newest one, Augusta “Gus” Murphy, who has 3 bakeries at Starlight Point. She’s frustrated by the new negotiations, but she also finds Jack rather irresistible. How can she rally for the lease vendors and at the same time fall in love with the man who’s causing them all misery?

A very sweet story with a climactic ending.  A theme you won’t easily forget, and a satisfying HEA. A nice read for lovers of wholesome romance.

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Review: All-Butter ShortDead

All-Butter ShortDead
All-Butter ShortDead by H.Y. Hanna
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

💜💜💜💜 I enjoyed this prequel to the Oxford Tearoom Mysteries series. It’s a novella that takes us back to how Gemma Rose started up her tearoom in Oxford. We first meet some of the recurring characters that appear in the series including Gemma’s best friend Cassie, her baker, Fletcher, the old biddies, and mischievous cat, Muesli. Since I consider myself an Anglophile, the setting was very much to my liking, and I appreciated envisioning Oxford and the Cotswolds. There was a murder mystery that I thought I’d solved which involved Gemma and a mysterious woman she met on the flight from Australia to England, but I was wrong. The author did a nice job with the whodunnit, and I was surprised by the identity of the true culprit. Since the book is quite short, being a novella, there isn’t a whole lot of development, but it’s just right as a lead-in to the books that follow. I’m looking forward to reading the others in the series. If you love cozy mysteries, you’ll enjoy All-Butter ShortDead.

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Review: Hanover House

Hanover House
Hanover House by Brenda Novak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I enjoyed Hanover House, a book I’d classify as a Romantic Suspense Thriller. It’s a prequel to Her Darkest Nightmare, which will be released in September, 2016. I used to read a lot of true crime stories back in the day, but nowadays I read more contemporary romance, historicals, and cozy mysteries. However, the desire to read a good thriller remains innate. Hanover House was just my speed as far as books about serial killers and psychopaths go. While the theme is chilling, it isn’t over the top gruesome. In fact, I wasn’t expecting the romance element. For me, it somewhat tempered the severity of the subject, which I found rather pleasing. Let me tell you what this little novella was about…..

Evelyn Talbot was violated as a teen by her psychopath boyfriend, Jasper Moore, and left for dead. She escaped the attack, but her three friends did not. Jasper murdered all three and Evelyn has had to live her life knowing that Jasper is still out there somewhere. He’s never been caught. Twenty years later Evelyn has fought to have Hanover House, a jail for psychopaths and serial killers built for the purpose of studying their behavior. The town’s folk aren’t too pleased with the location being in their backyard, and Evelyn has been threatened and Hanover House vandalized even before its completion. But where are these threats really issuing forth from? Could Jasper be intent on finishing what he started 20 years earlier?

This book was a nice little segue into the sequel, Her Darkest Nightmare, and I’d be interested to find out how Brenda Novak goes about describing the minds of these psychopaths, and what ultimately happens to Evelyn and her love interest, Sergeant Amorak.

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Suntag: The Secret Life of A Book Blogger

I’d like to thank Babus at Ajoobacatsblog for thinking enough of me and my little blog to want to tag me. Thank you Babus!

How long have you been a blogger?

Not very long.  I’ve been blogging since 2014.

At what point do you think you will stop? 

I don’t plan to stop unless for some reason I’m unable to read books or type any longer.  I sure hope that’s not in my future.

What is the best part?

The best part is when someone lets me know that they’ve really enjoyed a book review I’ve written, and that it’s encouraged them to read said book.

What is the worst part? 

The worst part is wondering if I’m wasting my time writing these book reviews on my blog because even though I have a few followers, sometimes I wonder if they’re still interested in reading my posts.  Another worst part is not having sufficient time to expand my blog posts beyond book reviews and such to include other aspects of my life that I’d love to share.

How long does it take you to find/create pictures to use?

Since most of my posts consist of book reviews with book covers that are not difficult to find, not very long.  On the rare occasion that I post something unrelated to books, I typically find pictures fairly quickly and easily by browsing the web.

Who’s your book crush? 

Hmmm….I wouldn’t say I have an actual book crush, but I did love reading about Hugo Hawksworth in A Man of Some Repute by Elizabeth Edmondson.  He seemed so decidedly British, and since I was listening to an audiobook his swagger was undeniable.

What author would you like to have on your blog?

Nicholas Sparks or James Patterson because both men are incredibly good at writing love stories.  Nicholas Sparks’ movies usually bring me to tears.  I keep watching The Best of Me over and over again, and I cry every time.  (I didn’t actually read the book, but I LOVED the movie).  And when I saw James Patterson’s Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas on television I cried my eyes out and couldn’t believe it when I found out it was based on James Patterson’s book.  Do you hear me Mr. Sparks and Mr. Patterson….hello…..???

What do you wear when you write your blog?

Whatever I happen to have on at the time.  Could be a nightgown or dress or jeans.  Nothing in particular.

How long does it take you to prepare a post? 

It all depends on how long it takes me to write a review about a book.  I typically write my reviews directly after I finish reading a book so I don’t forget what I want to say.  I often take notes here and there while I’m reading sometimes and piece it all together when I’m done.  So, it usually takes about a half hour or so, give or take 15 minutes.  However, I finished reading a non-fiction book a few weeks ago called Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin and for the first time in a very long time I had SO MUCH to say about the horrors I read in that book that I’m still trying to piece together a proper review. Every once in a while a book like that comes along and it can take quite some time.  I did post a brief review in the meantime though with a stay tuned for more attached to it.

How do you feel about the book blogger community/culture? 

I think it’s wonderful!!  I’ve learned so many great things from so many vastly talented people that I look forward to reading posts from many of my favorite bloggers and others that I’m still discovering.

What do you think one should do to have a successful blog? 

 

Write about things that are dear to your heart, and that you think others would enjoy, and try not to be judgmental or narrow-minded.  Include an interesting picture or two and something inspirational if possible. And by inspirational I don’t mean preachy, just something uplifting that would put a smile on another person’s face.  Be kind and generous with compliments and be honest without being brutal. These are things I aspire to with my own blog, and I hope one day I’ll be able to expand it to include other material whereby I can put my own recommendations to good use.

Who do I want to know better?

 

Puppycuties

sweetdailycuteness

skinnychefs

booksbeforebandaids

thegrandworldofbooks

 

 

Review: Now and Then Friends

Now and Then Friends
Now and Then Friends by Kate Hewitt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Now and Then Friends can be summed up in one word:  BRILLIANT!!  Book 2 in the Hartley-by-The-Sea series, it has become my favorite book thus far in 2016.  It’s the first book this year to make me cry intermittently, and one in which I was sincerely disappointed to see end.  I have loved all of Kate Hewitt’s books, but she really outdid herself with this one. All of the characters, main and secondary, were so well developed and beautifully flawed with such admirable, redeeming qualities, that I was majorly interested in each of their stories.

In it we find two women, Rachel Campell and Claire West, best friends in primary school but who after four years drifted apart when Claire, the shy but financially privileged one, seemingly abandoned Rachel for the “in” crowd of girls that embraced her. It’s about 16 years later and Rachel stumbles upon Claire in her parent’s house, which Rachel cleans, presenting a very awkward reunion between the two.  Claire has been living and working in Portugal with her now ex-fiancé, Hugh, but has returned to her childhood home in Hartley-by-The-Sea to reclaim her life and start over on her own terms, without everyone else’s interference as to what’s the best course for her to take.  Rachel’s dreams of procuring a University education dissolved after a mere two weeks when her mother had an accident while on a cleaning job rendering her bedridden, and relegating Rachel to the tasks of caring for her, the cleaning business and her two younger sisters since her father took off shortly after their mum became incapacitated. These are the predicaments of the two women when they come face to face after 16 years. What ensues after that is stubborn pride, resentments, and misunderstandings that initially hinder a proper reconciliation.  However, as circumstances in life cause both women to converge and grow, there’s the hope that with some compromise everyone involved can see a brighter future.

The vivid setting, superb depth of characters, deeply emotional dialogue, complex relationships and wry humor kept me planted to my seat in eager expectation of each pursuant chapter. There are so many astonishing moments to relive in my mind’s eye that this book will have a lasting favorable impact on me for many days, weeks or even months to come. I await Book 3 in the series with eager anticipation.

Thank you Penguin Random House for a free copy of this amazing book in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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Review: When I Found You

When I Found You
When I Found You by Kate James
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 When I Found You is suspense and intrigue from start to nail-biting finish….

When a succession of security breaches at the San Diego airport calls chief of security, Ariana Atkins, reputation as a capable, proficient, and adept security expert into question, K-9 unit captain Logan O’Connor and his explosives detection dog, Boomer, are on the scene to help with the investigations. There’s an instant chemistry between Logan and Ariana, one that cannot be ignored. Romance desperately tries to flourish while both are diligently trying to get to the bottom of a series of explosions at the airport that are risking innocent lives, including Ariana’s. Oddly, Ariana’s body language when in the presence of Boomer suggests fear or dislike for the incredibly obedient dog. Why is she afraid of dogs?  Logan cares enough to find out about that and any other secrets she’s willing to confide. But when evidence begins to point in the direction of Ariana as a suspect in the unusual occurrences at the airport since her nearly one year tenure there, raising questions as to her true intentions, can Logan put his doubts aside and continue to pursue a relationship?  Or will he have to walk away from the woman he’s come closest to falling in love with?

I really enjoyed this book. Kate James’s settings and scene descriptions are so visually stimulating.  I felt as though I was at the airport, in amongst the loud roaring of airplane engines and SDPD personnel bustling about in pursuit of a perpetrator.  I could picture Ariana’s self doubt and the resultant anxiety regarding the circumstances surrounding her, and the decisions she had to make. She could appear so outwardly strong in her position as chief of security, and yet vulnerable and uncertain in matters of the heart. She was a likeable character and easy to root for.  Logan and Boomer were the perfect pair: brave, capable and determined.  What’s not to love about a police dog and a handsome, rugged handler? These three were meant to be together, and I am hoping to hear more about their story in future books.

If you like to read about tense situations that raise your pulse, along with a bit of blossoming romance, you’re sure to love When I Found You.  Very, very detailed and well written.

I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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**Interview and Giveaway** with Harlequin Heartwarming author Amy Vastine

I am interviewing Harlequin Heartwarming author Amy Vastine over on Goodreads today.  She has a new book out, The Girl He Used to Love, and she tells us all about it, and about her life as a writer.  Stop over, read the interview and comment for a chance to win one of her books.

http://bit.ly/29NYoCA

Thank you for following Cozynookbks.  ( :

 

Review: Discovering You

Discovering You
Discovering You by Brenda Novak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💜💜💜💜💜 Upon completing Discovering You, book 10 in the Whiskey Creek series, I could see how Brenda Novak acquired her best-selling author status. This book was ALWAYS hard to put down, and NEVER hard to pick up.  Ms. Novak’s story struck a chord with me. It was chock-full of everything that would keep a person fully absorbed in the story; a seemingly inappropriate relationship, obsession, rivalry, intrigue, suspense and of course, romance. (Uhh….this is not a wholesome romance book. There were a few, not a lot, of sexy scenes, which I preferred to gloss over.)  I was fully invested in the suspenseful parts of the book since I love romance with a bit of suspense. Ms. Novak handled this beautifully. I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how bad-boy Rod Amos was going to keep himself from being killed by his girlfriend’s (India Sommers) husband’s murderer; but he felt compelled to protect her, despite it meaning he might have to put himself in harm’s way. Rod and India certainly had many challenges to face in order to be a couple – India’s husband’s somewhat recent murder, her judgmental ex in-laws, Rod’s bad-boy image and blue-collar status, India’s guilt, her young child….  I really felt for Rod’s character. He was tough because of having lost his mother to suicide, and his father to prison. Fortunately he could depend on the love of his oldest brother, Dylan, who practically raised him. That’s another part of the book I loved, the brothers’ (five, including Rod) dialogue among themselves. It was portrayed in such a way that you cared about those men and their lives. Their affection for one another was palpable, even under the tough exterior, and this was endearing.

In a nutshell, Brenda Novak without question knows how to write a story. And even though I typically don’t comment on various errors I find in books, I noted that I didn’t catch even a spelling error in Discovering You.  It was flawless.

Aside from the fact that I prefer my romance sweet, this book, depicting modern-day relationships and contemporary life, was excellently executed and I thoroughly enjoyed the story.  Phenomenal.

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Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Thank you to fellow book blogger and bibliophile, Ajoobacats, for tagging me in this  mid-year reading reflection tag.

Here’s my Goodreads READ list thus far for 2016:

*Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2016

This is a really tough one because I’ve actually enjoyed all of the books I’ve read thus far this year.  If I have to choose one I’d say it would have to be The House on Primrose Pond by Yona Zeldis McDonough.  There were just so many elements that I loved about this book.

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*Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2016

The best sequel I’ve read so far this year is The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz.  Not surprising since Book 1, The Vicar’s Wife, was my favorite book of 2013.

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*New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

Truly an exhaustive list, beginning with all of the Harlequin Heartwarming books that I have, which are too many to mention, and these two:

A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell, and The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson.  I don’t know, I can’t resist those covers!!  Dumb, right?

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*Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

I love Karen Rose Smith’s Caprice De Luca Home Staging Mystery series, so my most anticipated release for the second half of the year would be her Shades of Wrath.

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*Biggest Disappointment

I’m happy to say that none of the books I’ve read so far this year have been a big disappointment.

*Biggest Surprise

That would be Carol Ross’s If Not for a Bee.  I just loved that book.  It was like coming home to a warm fire, a cup of hot cocoa, a cat at my feet and chocolate chip cookies.

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*Favorite New Author

That honor would have to go to Yona Zeldis McDonough, who I named above for The House on Primrose Pond.

*Newest Fictional Crush

I’d have to say Hugo Hawksworth from Elizabeth Edmondson’s A Man Of Some Repute.  He seemed very distinguished and debonair.  His cool manner when asking probing questions, and the way he cared for his very young sister, Georgia, makes him my newest fictional crush.  Also, he was wounded in war and walked with “that stick”, which made him even more crush-worthy for some reason.

(I was so sad, actually gasped, when I found out that the author, Elizabeth Edmondson, passed away only a month or so before I finished reading her book.)

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*Newest Favorite Character

Bailey Sheppard from Jennifer Snow’s What A Girl Wants.  She owned a body shop, a motorcycle, and drove a tow truck, but she was also beautiful and feminine.  I loved that she could do a man’s job, while still exhibiting very lady-like qualities.

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*Book That Made You Cry

So far no book has made me cry this year that I can recall.

*Book That Made You Happy

That would be Sophia Sasson’s First Comes Marriage.  I cracked up at some parts, and although I wasn’t sure how things were going to turn out, it truly had a happy ending.

First Comes Marriage

First Comes Marriage

*Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

I didn’t read any book to film adaptations yet this year that I’m aware of.

*Favorite Post You Have Done This Year

Probably my review for Back to McGuffey’s by Liz Flaherty.  I think it truly reflected my feelings about the book, which I really enjoyed.

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*Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

Beautiful as in the cover art?  Hmm…..that would have to be Robyn Carr’s Virgin River.  I love mountains, and the view pictured on the front cover is beautiful.  I have other books with beautiful covers, but technically they don’t count because I didn’t actually purchase them.

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Oh wait, I just thought of another one.  Will it disqualify me somehow? It’s Amie Denman’s Under the Boardwalk.  I bought that one this year.  I love the cover because of that ferris wheel in the background.  There’s just something wonderful about carnivals. I think the cover is delightful.

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*What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year

These are the ones I really NEED to read before year-end, but there are others that I also WANT to read that are not included on this list:

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I Tag the Following Bloggers to do the Same:

Josbons

meditatingmummy

Kimmy

mugglebooks

anhistorianabouttown

 

 

Review: Seek and Find

Seek and Find
Seek and Find by Dana Mentink
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Another great love-inspired suspense story by Dana Mentink. I was thoroughly entertained by Seek and Find – on the edge of my seat wondering who the perpetrator was. I always enjoy Dana Mentink’s suspense books. She writes them so skillfully.  If I didn’t know better I’d think she was a cop.

Madison Coles is a reporter intent on finding out why there is a string of homicides being committed in the town of Desert Valley.  With three attempts on her own life it’s clear that someone doesn’t appreciate her inquisitiveness. Rookie K-9 officer James Harrison, along with his lovable bloodhound Hawk, have to keep an eye on her, but that’s not easy when Madison prefers to be left alone to pursue her intentions, and James has little respect for reporters since they’ve more or less ruined his family’s life.  Only, while both are annoyed by each others’ assigned duties, they can’t deny the attraction that’s forming between them.  But both James and Madison have deeply-rooted trust issues that keep getting in the way.  Will they learn to let down their guard and allow love to blossom while at the same time joining forces to catch a killer, or will their stubborn resolve interfere with the investigation and drive them apart?

Seek and Find is a great little suspense novel that will hold your attention through to the end. The characters were relatable, and I found myself sympathizing with their personal plights. This made the story even more engaging because I wanted to know how things would turn out for both the main characters and a few of the secondary ones. Hawk was a joy to envision and I loved his presence in the book. There were a couple of small parts within the story that I was left feeling a little curious about, but since this book is part of a mini-series written by several different authors, I presume some of my questions could be answered in the next installment. Other than that, Seek and Find was a great book, and if you like fast moving suspense novels, you’re sure to be pleased with this one.

Thank you Dana Mentink for an ARC of Seek and Find. In exchange I have provided an honest review.

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Review: The Lost Garden

The Lost Garden
The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💜💜💜💜💜 The Lost Garden is Book 2 in the Tales from Goswell series, and like the first in the series, The Vicar’s Wife, it is set in England. (The Vicar’s Wife was my favorite book of 2013.)  Although The Lost Garden is book 2 in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone.

I relished The Lost Garden!  I shrieked with delight when characters from The Vicar’s wife appeared. It was like catching up with beloved old friends. The Lost Garden covered two time periods, the present day and the early 1900’s. Both stories were poignant and involved women who were affected by loss, guilt, and unrequited love, along with the desire to reinvigorate a garden that had been neglected and abandoned as a way to bring a little bit of joy into their grief-stricken lives. The garden is the same in both stories.  Marin Ellis, the woman of the present day, is trying to start a new life as guardian to her 15-year old half-sister, Rebecca. Their father and Rebecca’s mother were killed in a car accident. Having had no previous relationship, the two are trying to adjust to one another while struggling with feelings they secretly harbor against their respective parents.  While on holiday they fall in love with a little house on a vicarage property, called Bower House, and Rebecca convinces her half-sister to purchase it. They soon begin to settle in to their new lives and in time Marin becomes mystified by a photograph she sees of a young, unidentified woman who was standing in her little home’s walled garden with a butterfly on her fingertips, a yearning man in the background.  Who were these two people of over a century ago with the odd expressions, she wonders, and what was going on in their lives?

Eleanor Sanderson has lost her brother to war and she’s devastated. She so loved her brother Walter, and the news of his death is almost too much for her to bear.  Her brother’s friend James has returned physically unharmed by the war, but emotionally he’s a different man, a man who no longer seems interested in her sister, who he’s promised to marry.  Injured soldiers and dashed hopes permeate everyone’s existence in Cumberland, and Eleanor struggles with feelings of hopelessness. She makes up her mind to have the vicarage garden recultivated, along with the walled garden by the little house on the property where her grandmother Elizabeth resides, Bower House, to especially inspire blind soldiers with fragrant blooms that will hopefully lift their spirits; and the gardener, Jack Taylor, is just the man to help her do it. Jack has experience with the war, but Eleanor is intrigued by the way he seems able to cope, not like her brother-in-law James.  As a forbidden relationship begins to develop, secrets are uncovered and Eleanor’s life will change even further.

The two stories ultimately converge since the houses in both time periods are the same. This is referred to as a time slip novel, and I don’t know how Katharine Swartz does it every time, but she’s masterful at writing this type of novel.  I’ve enjoyed all of her stories in this particular format, and The Lost Garden was no exception. Both stories held my interest and the setting was one that I always enjoy, England.  I highly recommend The Lost Garden, and I hope there will be a book 3 in the Tales from Goswell series.

Thank you Library Thing and Lion Fiction for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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Review: First Comes Marriage

First Comes Marriage
First Comes Marriage by Sophia Sasson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💚💚💚💚💚 Sophia Sasson’s Heartwarming debut, First Comes Marriage, is a winner!!

Dr. Meera Malhotra’s upcoming marriage to childhood friend Raj Sharma has already been arranged.  Raj is Meera’s best friend and shares her goals, culture and financial status. By all accounts it seems like a perfect match. Then why is Meera trying to escape her family in London under the guise of completing her medical rotation in the States?  In truth she wants to get away from all of the prearranged plans for her life for just a month so she can breathe and taste a bit of freedom. While a brief respite from her stifling life is anticipated, meeting Jake Taylor, the rugged, handsome green-eyed cowboy who makes her heart leap, is not. Meera loves Raj, but this feeling she has when she’s in Jake’s company is different. In fact, Jake’s whole world is different.  She’s a vegetarian and he’s a cattle rancher. She was born in India and he’s American.  Her family is loaded and he’s struggling to keep his ranch afloat.  Meanwhile, Raj is so much better suited to her. They’re both doctors, they’re of the same culture and they’ve known each other for 20 years. Everyone expects the two of them to marry.  The pressure is on.  Will Meera return to London, marry Raj and live the life she was destined for?  Or can Jake convince her that theirs is the love that she was meant to have?

First Comes Marriage was such an entertaining and enjoyable read. I loved the characters, both primary and secondary, and I’m always thrilled when my reading experience gives me a glimpse into other cultures. Sophia Sasson crafted a story that kept my interest and heightened it as I proceeded reading. By the time I was 3/4 of the way through the book I was flipping pages so fast that before I knew it I had finished.  I highly recommend this book to those who love sweet romance with a bit of family drama and lovable, small-town community characters that will make you spit out your beverage from unexpected laughter.

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Review: The House on Primrose Pond

The House on Primrose Pond
The House on Primrose Pond by Yona Zeldis McDonough
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**#1 RECOMMENDED READ**  🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Compelling.  Intriguing.  Evocative. Enthralling. Captivating. These are the words that come to mind to describe my feelings about The House on Primrose Pond. Seriously, I never wanted to put the book down. It was so well constructed and comprised of so many riveting elements that I found myself glued to the pages, anxiously awaiting the next development. I was fully invested in the story, which actually consisted of two stories in one since the protagonist was a novelist who was writing a book.  I loved how the author incorporated a secondary story into the main one, giving you two tantalizing stories in one fascinating book.  And now, a little about the book…..
Susannah Gilmore experiences a tragedy in her life, upending it and taking her from her home in Brooklyn, New York to the small town of Eastwood, New Hampshire.  This is a prudent move given the circumstances, but one that her teenage daughter, Calista, struggles to embrace. The home that Susannah and her two children settle into in N.H. belonged to her now deceased parents, although technically they hardly ever lived there, having moved from the house before Susannah was born.  Her only memorable recollection of time spent there was one summer when she was about 17.  She recalls that her mother didn’t seem happy that summer.  That memory resurfaces when while moving in she finds what appears to be a love note to her mother that was not from her father.  Why was some other man giving her mother notes and writing her poems?  As Susannah uncovers more pieces to the puzzle her mother left behind, will she be able to accept the consequences that might result from her quest to find the truth.
Every once in a while a book comes along that seems especially written for you. It just speaks to your soul in a way that you understand.  It astounds you and you can’t stop thinking or talking about it.  That was my experience with The House on Primrose Pond. I just loved so many things about it – the tragic events, an old summer crush, a mystery poet, grief, human imperfection, a little romance, widowhood, presumed infidelity, a pristine setting, lovable animals and fascinating wildlife.  It was a gem with so many brilliant facets that kept me longing for the next revelation.

Yona Zeldis McDonough is a phenomenal storyteller and I am so glad I discovered her as an author along with her book, The House on Primrose Pond. I enjoyed this book immensely, and can’t recommend it highly enough.  It was an extraordinary read that easily ranks among one of my all-time favorites.  Now I’m off to investigate what else she’s written…..

Thank you so much to Penguin Random House and Yona Zeldis McDonough for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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Review: Harper’s Wish

Harper's Wish
Harper’s Wish by Cerella Sechrist
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

💚💚💚💚 Harper Worth is an esteemed food critic. Well, she was an esteemed food critic, until she went a little too far and insulted the wrong restaurant, that of her boss’s goddaughter, and he wasn’t the least bit amused by her harsh words. Her praiseworthy “Worth It” column virtually extinguished overnight by capricious followers, Harper finds herself looking for a new job. She stumbles upon a restaurant, the Rusty Anchor, which appears to live up to its name judging by the exterior of the place. But desperate for work she interviews with the owner and lo and behold he was one of the victims of her disparaging critiques, which cost him his upscale restaurant, Eire. Now he’s relegated to running the Rusty Anchor, his deceased father’s legacy. Connor Callahan can’t believe who’s sitting in front of him. The woman who ruined him, and now she wants a job in his restaurant? Upon discerning her identity Connor shows her the door at first, but then reconsiders. Work for the restaurant she would, and harder than any work in a restaurant she’d ever done before. But when she proves stellar at her duties, and the other workers praise her industriousness, Connor takes pity on her and feels somewhat guilty for putting her through the ringer. Who is this woman who excels at everything and seems to have a heart after all? Connor is soon won over by the attractive woman who is turning out to be a real asset to his restaurant, but when he learns of her future plans, will he still trust the Harper that he thought had changed?
I enjoyed this book. I liked the restaurant setting and learning about the ins and outs of maintaining a restaurant establishment. As is common in Cerella Sechrist’s books, there is great food being prepared or savored, another bonus that readers can appreciate. The relationship between Connor and his daughter was heartwarming, and I Iiked how it highlighted the tenderness and affection of a father for his young daughter. I was also in anticipation of how the two main characters would achieve their happily ever after since the stakes were quite high. All in all, Harper’s Wish was a delightful, wholesome romance that is sure to be enjoyed by lovers of sweet romance.

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Review: Pretty Baby

Pretty Baby
Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💜💜💜💜💜 THIS WAS AN AUDIOBOOK. Heidi Wood can’t stop thinking about the homeless teenager with the little baby, so she eventually, and without consent from her husband Chris, decides to bring them home where her husband and 12-yr old daughter Zoë live. Chris and Heidi differ on their views regarding cohabitating with this strange girl, Willow Greer, and her infant. Pretty Baby is presented from the point of view of the three main characters: Heidi, Chris and Willow.  The Wood family are not privy to Willow’s past. They don’t even know if Willow is her real name. When we hear from Willow’s perspective we learn that she came from a loving family but was orphaned, separated from her younger sister Lily, and placed in a foster home where she was abused by the husband of the couple that took her in, Joseph and Miriam Zieger. Although Joseph continually abuses Willow he manipulates her into believing that she’s a bad girl if she doesn’t relent to his commands, and that god will punish her for disobeying. She feels helpless and confused, trying to do what she can to alleviate her situation by cooking and doing chores for the family (which also consists of the Zieger’s two boys) to appease Joseph, while also helping the wife to bathe and dress since she suffers from severe mental illness and barely functions. Pretty Baby starts in the present, but Willow’s testimony gives us the backstory of how she winds up homeless with an infant. As the story moves forward we see the Wood family dynamic deteriorating as Willow and the baby become a lingering presence much to the dismay of Chris and Zoë. Heidi puts her own needs ahead of her family, advocating that the two guests stay as long as she determines. But is it really the two that she wants to stay?

I really liked how the author built the story. There were plot twists that I didn’t foresee and that intrigued me as the book climaxed to culminate in a very satisfying, psychologically thrilling outcome. As the story progressed it just got better and better. And although I am not one to read a lot of thriller type books, this one was what I would consider a milder version which was more my speed.

Pretty Baby was a hit with me and I recommend it to those who have a penchant for psychological thrillers.

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Interview with Giveaway

I interviewed award-winning author Kate James on Goodreads.  You can read her interview, which is in 2 parts, by clicking on the links below.  If you comment on the interview you will be entered to win a signed copy of one of her books pictured below.  Find out about the publishing process, how valuable reviewers are to Kate, why she likes writing for Harlequin, and much more.  Giveaway ends May 30th.

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The-truth-about-Hope

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18107061-interview-with-giveaway

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18113292-interview-with-giveaway—part-2

Review: Seaside Secrets

Seaside Secrets
Seaside Secrets by Dana Mentink
My rating: 5  of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Dana Mentink has done it again. Whenever I read one of her romantic suspense books I know I’m about to be taken on a fast-paced, riveting, action-packed joyride. And that’s exactly what I got with Seaside Secrets.
Tank Guzman needs Angela Gallagher’s help, but not the help she’s accustomed to giving. As navy chaplain she’s assisted many to cope with their grief, but the pain of witnessing Tank’s brother’s death in Kandahar, Afghanistan has her wondering if she’s truly qualified to carry on that role. Julio Guzman, Tank’s brother, died while trying to protect her, and the guilt she carries, along with the PTSD, finds her stepping away from her duties as chaplain and into helping with her family’s detective agency in California, Pacific Coast Investigations. Tank Guzman contends that someone is trying to kill him, but his bitter attitude towards Angela because of his twin brother’s dying while trying to save her, along with his checkered past, makes Angela skeptical. Perhaps he’s setting her up to be harmed as revenge for his brother’s death. Nevertheless, she feels that Tank is telling the truth, and an obligation to help him because of Julio. Dan Blackwater, the heart doctor who served in Afghanistan with Angela and tried but failed to save Julio’s life, wants to help her get to the bottom of what’s going on with Tank, but Angela wants to keep Dan at arms length because of her attraction to him, unwilling to foster a relationship while she’s uncertain about her own life and future. But when a young woman, Lila Brown, narrowly escapes being blown to bits, and Angela’s life is eventually threatened, she concedes to a helping hand in Dan; one that might aid her in healing, and possibly in finding someone intent on murder.
Seaside Secrets starts off at a fast pace and keeps your heart pounding until the stunning conclusion. Dana Mentink is an excellent suspense writer.  I was thoroughly impressed by the revelation of why Tank Guzman was running; very creative. I loved this book and recommend it highly.

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Review: Dressed for Death

Dressed for Death
Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ When Alice Henley dies during a week long Regency-Era party that Drew Farthering and his wife are attending, Drew is hesitant to accept the accused. Alice was to be married to Drew’s longtime friend Talbot Cummins, son to the hosters of the extravaganza. With Drew’s hunch that the inspectors have accused the wrong man of Alice’s murder, he is determined to pursue his own investigation. Alice had been acting peculiarly at the party, and was eager to talk to Talbot, but engrossed as he was in the festivities he kept putting her off. What was she trying to tell him?  As the days pass by and Drew puts his sleuthing skills to work, murder becomes more than an isolated incident, and Drew realizes that the culprit might possibly be someone he’d least expect.

Dressed for Death is the fourth book in the Drew Farthering Mystery series, and my first to read. Although it can be read and enjoyed alone, I am interested in learning more about Drew Farthering from the first book in the series, Rules of Murder. I liked the references to Jane Austen’s novels, and the setting was highly appealing.  There was a quirky cat that I always love to see in mysteries, and a cast of characters that kept me guessing.  Overall I enjoyed Dressed for Death and would recommend it to those looking for a good clean mystery with an intriguing plot.
Thank you Bethany House Publishers for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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Review: Sit, Stay, Love

Sit, Stay, Love
Sit, Stay, Love by Dana Mentink
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Cal Crawford, professional baseball pitcher, has just learned that he’s inherited his mother’s overweight geriatric pooch, Tippy. He’s not in the least bit happy about this revelation.  With travel commitments and training how could he possibly care for an old dog?  He doesn’t even like dogs, or so he thinks. Reminded that he has enough money to hire someone to like and care for the dog for him, that’s just what he does.  Gina Palmer’s very different from Cal Crawford.  She drives a beat up car, eats fattening doughnuts, loves dogs and is as free spirited as he is taciturn. Nevertheless, he’s in a bind and can use her help immediately and so he hires her.  Although their arrangement gets off to a rocky start, Gina and Tippy help Cal to learn the true meaning of a successful life, and it has very little to do with baseball or money.
I enjoyed Sit, Stay, Love.  It was refreshing seeing the transformation of Cal Crawford from a somewhat arrogant, cynical and faithless man to one who learned the meaning of redemption and compassion.  It was interesting watching the relationship between Cal and his absentee father, Mitch, unfold. The family dynamic kept me engrossed in parts of the book. The secondary characters were a nice addition to the story, and of course Tippy just steals your heart.  Overall, Sit, Stay, Love was a pleasant and satisfying read that I would recommend.

I received this book free from Harvest House Publishers in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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Review: Winner Takes All

Winner Takes All
Winner Takes All by Cheryl Harper
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Stephanie Yates is in love with her best friend Rebecca’s brother, Daniel Lincoln, who regards her more like a little sister than the mature young woman she’s become. When Stephanie finally gets up the nerve to ask Daniel out, it’s very bad timing and he rejects her invitation. Daniel is dealing with some serious issues of his own.  His arrogance in rejecting proper protocol at the Holly Heights hospital where he worked as a doctor, and disrespecting the Hospital Administrator has cost him his job and has sent him fleeing from Texas to the mountains of Peru, regretful and desiring to be as far away from home as his pride will take him. Having come into money, Stephanie’s friends have concocted a scheme to send her off to Peru to right whatever’s gone wrong between the two of them. Stephanie also plans to donate a large sum of money to fund Daniel’s projects there. But when Stephanie arrives in Peru, instead of a warm welcome, Daniel seems irritated by her presence. Is he simply not interested, or does her close proximity delight him to the point of distraction from his important work of setting up medical clinics in the developing land, a predicament he’d rather not be in.

Winner Takes All was another enjoyable Heartwarming read by Cheryl Harper.  I have enjoyed all of her Heartwarming books. I was captivated by the setting, the beautiful mountains of Peru. I could feel the tension as the team of medical volunteers climbed the steep mountains without rails. I imagined the sun disappearing almost instantaneously shrouding the solitary road in darkness. I felt like I was in the Andes mountains along with the rest of the chatacters, from Daniel’s team of medical helpers to the area residents.  Wondering how Daniel and Stephanie would resolve their feelings for each other was very satisfying.  Winner Takes All easily held my attention and I recommend it as a sweet romance read with an international flair that is sure to please.

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Review: Silence of the Lamps

Silence of the Lamps
Silence of the Lamps by Karen Rose Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Loved this book!!  In Silence of the Lamps, book 5 of the Caprice De Luca Home Staging Mystery series, Caprice is determined to uncover who murdered Drew Pierson, her sister Nikki’s nemesis and catering competitor. Caprice’s tenacity in investigating the murder stems from her desire to clear her sister’s name from the suspect list. Drew Pierson’s unprofessional behavior destroyed his prospects for partnering with Nikki, a consequence he seemingly bitterly regrets. Later, when Drew shows up to one of Caprice’s home stagings where Nikki’s providing the catering, an argument ensues causing a scene in front of many onlookers.  Shortly thereafter Caprice and Nikki pay a visit to Drew’s residence, his grandmother’s house, in an effort to resolve their differences.  Instead they find Drew dead on the floor, clobbered with a Tiffany lamp base. Nikki becomes an obvious suspect, but when Caprice’s sleuthing efforts reveal that Drew was an opportunist with his share of enemies, will she be able to convince the police that there were possibly others with a motive for murder? Might one of Drew’s disgruntled associates decided they’d had enough and done away with him?
As anticipated, Karen Rose Smith delivered on another thoroughly satisfying cozy mystery. I have enjoyed every book I’ve read in her home staging mystery series and Silence of the Lamps is no exception. I appreciate how she incorporates her love for family life, friends, relationships and animals into her stories. There’s a warmth that exudes her writing, and although I was in anxious expectation of learning who the murderer was, I was so invested in all of the other fine elements of the book that I probably would have been satisfied with whoever the culprit was.  Every moment I spend reading one of Karen Rose Smith’s books is well worth the time. I loved Silence of the Lamps and look forward to reading the next book in the series.
Thank you Karen Rose Smith and Kensington books for an ARC of Silence of the Lamps in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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Review: If Not for a Bee

If Not for a Bee
If Not for a Bee by Carol Ross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💜💜💜💜💜  I loved this book!!  An encounter with a bumble bee did not make for a pleasant introduction between Aidan Hollings and Janie Everett, and their future acquaintances weren’t faring much better. Janie, widowed and raising four boys, including a set of toddler twins, couldn’t be bothered with Botanist Aidan Hollings, although it would be difficult to avoid him since his sister was married to her brother. Why did he have to settle in Rankins, Alaska now anyway?  His meddling concerning a bumble bee had caused her boys pain, and that was the last thing she wanted to have happen.  However, was Janie being selfish and unwilling to accept how Aidan’s future meddling would transform the lives of her boys, teaching her lessons that would ultimately make her a better mother?  Although things started off on a bad note between Janie and Aidan, might he not be the one man who could help Janie to face her fears respecting her boys’ welfare, and propel them to their greatest potential?
As is customary with Carol Ross’s books, If Not for a Bee’s opening scene pulled me directly into the story. The pace was so refreshing, and even began to increase in intensity toward the end of the book which was a wonderful surprise, leading to a beautiful, Hearwarming ending.  There were so many great elements to this book. I loved how many of the characters learned to acquire confidence in their abilities, and to face their fears. I’m also happy that Janie got a second chance at love after all she’d been through.  I enjoyed this book so much and can’t recommend it enough to lovers of sweet romance.  Carol Ross’s books just keep getting better.  Thank you Carol Ross for gifting this book to me. In exchange I have provided an honest review.

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Review: The Other Side of The Bridge

The Other Side of The Bridge
The Other Side of The Bridge by Katharine Swartz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  The other side of the bridge is a beautifully written time-slip novel (a novel that covers two different time periods) that tells the story of two women,  Ava Lancet and her grandmother, Sophia Paranoussis.

Ava’s story –

Takes place in our current day. Grieving over her failing marriage and the loss of her newborn child, Ava makes the impetuous decision to leave England and travel to Greece where she has inherited her grandmother Sophia’s farmhouse, which has sat desolate for decades. Ava hadn’t even been aware that her grandmother owned a house in Greece. Nevertheless she is determined to travel there and stay in the farmhouse for an indefinite time in the hopes of sorting out her life. Her dreams of a fresh start in her grandmother’s native land are quickly shattered when she arrives to find the house in a delapidated state and practically uninhabitable. Alone and without an interim place to stay, Ava has to depend on local residents for help, and to come to terms with her spontaneous decision to move to Greece.  Fortunately for her the village of tight-knit residents are willing to lend a helping hand, especially in light of the fact that her grandmother was known to some of them. Although one particular older resident, Parthenope, becomes highly agitated when she sees Ava, as though her resemblance to her grandmother, Sophia, stirs up bad memories. But what bad memories? As Ava continues to dwell in Greece her curiosity about her grandmother’s legacy is kindled, and many secrets about Sophia are slowly revealed. And amidst it all she learns vital lessons about herself that will assist her in piecing her own life back together.

Sophia’s story –

Begins during WW2 with the German and Italian invasion of Greece. Sophia, her sister Angelika and their  father live a modest life in Iousidous, a small village in rural Greece. The girls’ mother is deceased, and discreet, sensible Sophia works hard both inside and outside of the home to keep the family safe and in tact during the perilous times in which they live. Her younger sister, Angelika, is more of an adventure seeker and foolishly becomes involved with a Greek resistance member to Sophia’s utter dismay. The resistance groups don’t all work together, and can be as much a nuisance and threat as the Nazis themselves. How could her sister be so careless? Soon Sophia is conscripted to aid the resistance and her life is changed forever.

The alternating narratives of Sophia and Ava’s stories was enthralling. Seeing how each of their lives was transformed by very different circumstances made for an interesting read. Katharine Swartz is, to me, Queen of the time-slip novel.  She is very adept at this type of storytelling.  I became acquainted with her books when I read The Vicar’s Wife, one of her other time-slip novels, which instantly became one of my favorites. I can always count on her for a good story, and that’s what I got with The Other Side of the Bridge. I enjoyed this book very much and would certainly recommend it. I only wish it had been longer.

This book was part of my Kindle Library.

You can find out more about Katharine Swartz and her books here:

http://www.amazon.com/Katharine-Swartz/e/B001JAO47U.

She also writes under the name Kate Hewitt. You can read more about her here:

http://www.kate-hewitt.com

 

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Review: A Man of Some Repute

A Man of Some Repute
A Man of Some Repute by Elizabeth Edmondson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ THIS WAS AN AUDIOBOOK. I loved, loved, LOVED this mystery set in a castle in rural England.
Lord Selchester vanishes one evening during a blustery winter snow storm while entertaining guests at Selchester castle. His body is never discovered and he is presumed dead.  Several years later Hugo Hawksworth, an intelligence officer injured in Berlin, is reluctantly relegated to a desk job at Thorn Hall supposedly as “a statistician” and is offered lodging at Selchester castle along with his young, precocious sister Georgia (age 13). When Lord Selchester’s body is discovered, Hugo sets about trying to piece together what might have happened to Selchester, and who would have wanted him dead. Lord Selchester’s guests on the night of the murder were peculiarly uncharacteristic for a man of some repute; an actress, a photographer, a local businessman, and a few others who were practically unknown to one another. Why would a man among the ton include as guests somewhat ordinary people?  Eager to dismiss the case rather than engulf the town in scandal, investigators are intent on pinning the crime on Selchester’s dead son Tom Arlingham, and niece, Freya Wryton, since a heated dispute arose between Tom and his father on the night in question, and Freya and Tom, close companions, were seen leaving the castle together that night. Might they have circled back and killed Selchester?  This is one theory, but as other characters and relations begin to surface with possible motives for murder, will that theory ultimately hold water?
A Man of Some Repute was an audiobook Daily Deal that I snagged and I am so glad I did.  My first book by author Elizabeth Edmondson, it will certainly not be my last.  The setting was intriguing and mysterious, and the characters were interesting and alluring, down to Freya’s surly and temperamental horse, Last Hurrah.
Overall, the story was a solid English mystery done right, with an ending that surprised me.  I’ll be back for the next installment in the series.  Highly recommended, especially to those who enjoy a good British mystery.

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Review: Yours Forevermore, Darcy

Yours Forevermore, Darcy
Yours Forevermore, Darcy by KaraLynne Mackrory
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 4.5 stars. A great read!!  Mr. Darcy is befuddled. Miss Elizabeth Bennet has refused his proposal of marriage, administering a stern rebuke along with it. Downtrodden and dejected, Darcy confides his situation to his cousin Anne who reveals to him that his proposal, while sincere, lacked tact and therefore exuded an air of impudence, resulting in Miss Bennet’s rejection. While acknowledging his goodness, she nevertheless recommends that Darcy take steps to improve his character.  In her estimation he interferes unnecessarily in the affairs of others, an impertinent gesture on his part, namely with regard to dissuading his friend Mr. Bingley from courting Elizabeth Bennet’s sister Jane, another factor contributing to Miss Bennet’s refusing him. Reflecting on the matter Darcy concludes that Anne is correct in her estimation, but it appears too late to reverse the outcome. Elizabeth’s bad opinion of Darcy is sealed and his dreams of betrothal to the lady are ruined. Or are they?  Darcy is incredulous, and as such he is anxious to quit Rosings Park immediately to avoid any further encounters with Elizabeth, preferring instead to placate himself by writing letters to his beloved which he never intends to mail.  But when Mr. Collins louses up Miss Bennet’s travel plans, placing Darcy in the awkward position to offer assistance, will the debacle give way to new opportunities for them?  Or perhaps will future encounters shed light on Darcy’s true character, improving his ill-fated lot with Miss Elizabeth?
KaraLynne Mackrory has a gift for writing Regency romance and she delivers it with ease in the most eloquent way. This is the second book I’ve read by this author and I truly enjoyed it. Those who’ve enjoyed Pride and Prejudice, and retellings thereof, will very likely appreciate Yours Forevermore, Darcy. Definitely a recommended read.
Thank you Meryton Press for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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Review: There Goes the Bride

There Goes the Bride
There Goes the Bride by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ THIS WAS AN AUDIOBOOK.  Agatha Raisin is feeling old and sorry for herself. She telephoned the French gentleman she’s taken a fancy to, Sylvan Dubois, only to hear a sultry woman’s voice in the background. Her assistant, Toni Gilmore, who’s young and pretty, gets all of the attention at Agatha’s detective agency, making Agatha feel ashamedly jealous.   Add to that her ex-husband, James Lacey, who is about to marry a woman almost half his age and exceptionally beautiful. Agatha further tortures herself by planning to attend the wedding. Before the ceremony, Agatha chats with James and he confides in her, telling her that if he could he would call the wedding off. Agatha recommends why doesn’t he just shoot Felicity, his bride to be. She’s being facetious of course, but when Felicity Bros-Tilkington is found shot dead, Agatha finds herself a suspect in a murder case. Turns out innocent, beautiful Felicity isn’t the sweet young woman James thought she was, and Agatha is on the case to find out who in her seedy past may have wanted her dead.

I read this book out of sequence and was surprised to find that James Lacey and Agatha Raisin were divorced. In the last book I read they weren’t steadily dating yet, so There Goes the Bride is further along in the series. I enjoyed this book too, listening to Agatha lament about growing older and feeling frumpy. I felt sorry for her as she struggled to find love, competing with the younger set who make her feel dowdy and antiquated. She even begins to question her skill as a detective. In her mind it seems that others are the real case solvers and this further depresses her. Nevertheless, Agatha perseveres and this brusque woman with the warm heart always seems to find her way in the end.

I enjoyed this Agatha Raisin mystery almost as much as I have the others. The only fault with this one is that I felt it should have ended sooner after the killer was identified. The additional couple of chapters were beginning to seem a little far-fetched. Other than that, another very engrossing and satisfying read.

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Review: What a Girl Wants

What a Girl Wants
What a Girl Wants by Jennifer Snow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💚💚💚💚💚 I loved this book!!  Ethan Bishop and Bailey Sheppard are best friends since grade school, but things have changed and Bailey realizes that she has fallen in love with Ethan.  Problem is Ethan’s still pining away over his ex-girlfriend of ten years, Emily, who jilted him for a corporate executive she knew for less than a month; her wanderlust taking her to Miami to be with her new beau, Greg Harrison, and away from the small town of Brookhollow, N.J.  Ethan has always considered Bailey one of the guys, and she’s no ordinary girl. She rides a motorcycle, owns a body shop garage and drives a tow truck.  But although tough, she’s also very beautiful.  Ethan hadn’t bothered to notice just how beautiful she really was until one particular day when he dropped by her house, catching Bailey off guard during a highly sentimental moment. What takes place next leaves him thoroughly confused.  Is he still in love with Emily? He can’t seem to stop thinking about his ex, but why does he suddenly feel so strongly about Bailey? Does he want to take their relationship to the next level and risk the comfortable friendship that they’ve always had?  When he’s ready to do just that Emily reappears, and the news she has could change his life forever.

What A Girl Wants was an enjoyable page-turner.  I was hooked from the start of the book, and each time I had to put it down I was eager to return to it.  There were so many great scenes; some very humorous and others deeply tender and emotional. There was a plot twist that kept the story interesting and had me glued to the pages until I finished the book. There were no lags in the storyline, and I must admit that What A Girl Wants is another one of my favorite Heartwarming books.  If you like a great romance set in a small town with a hunky firefighter who falls for the girl next door, and  lots more, then you’ll love What A Girl Wants. An excellent read.

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Review: Back to McGuffey’s

Back to McGuffey's
Back to McGuffey’s by Liz Flaherty

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💚💚💚💚💚 Back to McGuffey’s isn’t your typical romance novel.  There’s a maturity about it that greatly appealed to me. The main characters, Kate Rafael and Ben McGuffey are 37 and 39 respectively, and by this time in their lives they’ve already experienced many of life’s major challenges, including divorce, loss of a beloved home and long-held job, a terminally ill parent, and the painstaking realization that with the ticking of the proverbial biological clock, the dream of starting a family may not become a reality for Kate. The characters are dealing with real adult situations, and I like how the author undertook to have them handle life’s difficulties in a dignified and civilized way.  For instance, Ben McGuffey was married to a very beautiful woman, Nerissa, who is by this time happily remarried with children. She’s present off and on throughout the book with her husband and kids, but there’s no jealousy or bitterness when she’s in the presence of the woman that Ben truly loves, Kate. Nerissa honestly admits that what she had with Ben could never compare to what he could have with the true love of his life, the one he let get away, Katy. No cat-fights or petty jealousies. The two women can co-exist amicably without the childish caterwauling that could have ensued. This was refreshing.  Ben and Kate had broken up 13 years prior when Ben left to pursue his career in medicine.   Now he’s back to spend time with his ailing father during his final days and realizes he made a mistake when he let Katy go.  The love is there, but it’s not the giddy, young, silly kind. It’s a love of substance that’s achieved by people who have endured in life, and I appreciated how the two came together in a gradual way.

There are so many beautiful facets to Back to McGuffeys, but you’ll have to read it to find out more about Ben and Kate, Dirty Sally the cat and her best friend Lucy, an old dog; Jayson, the lovable young man with Down’s Syndrome and Maggie Hylton-Wise, a presumed curmudgeon with her own story to tell.  These and so many others will make you want to invest time in this book.

With chatacters you’ll want to applaud and root for, Back to McGuffeys is a highly enjoyable story that will warm your heart long after you’ve read it. Highly recommended.
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Review: Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet

Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet
Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

THIS WAS AN AUDIOBOOK. 4.5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Brassy Agatha Raisin has set her cap at the eligible new vet in town. Seems as though every middle-aged woman in Carsely is smitten with Paul Bladen, so when he asks Agatha on a date and then subsequently invites her back to his house she feels elated.  But a last minute prick of conscience sends her fleeing from his home. Turns out this charming vet is a philanderer. But before Agatha has time enough to sulk over being lured in by his charms, Bladen is found dead.  Presumably it was an accident, but might someone have wanted the vicious vet dead?

This was book 2 in the Agatha Raisin series and it too was greatly enjoyed. Like I mentioned in my review of Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, Agatha Raisin is no Jessica Fletcher, and this book is no cozy mystery. Agatha’s brusque manner and spontaneous outbursts can make one blush at times, but you just can’t help but like her, flaws and all. Her absence of decorum in times of distress is what captivates me.  She’s only human after all, and her down-to-earth character is endearing.

I am growing more and more fond of the Agatha Raisin series and of M.C. Beaton’s writing. If you like a good mystery with a mature female amateur sleuth, you will likely enjoy The Vicious Vet.

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Review: Gentle Persuasion

Gentle Persuasion
Gentle Persuasion by Cerella Sechrist
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I adored this book!! Dane Montgomery is a hot commodity, an ace in his field of Marketing and Advertising and recruiters have been clamoring to bring him out of retirement where he’s made a new life for himself in Hawaii as a coffee purveyor and owner of the Okina Inn and coffee plantation.

Meanwhile Lillian Reid, a.k.a. the dragon lady, and owner of Reid Recruiting has entrusted her daughter and employee, Ophelia Reid, with the task of enticing Dane back to the states. Towers International, Reid Recruiting Agency’s biggest client wants Dane, and Reid is determined to rise to the challenge. Their company is at stake, along with Ophelia’s future of expanding operations to Paris where she’s dreamed of residing for most of her life. But when Ophelia meets Dane and observes what he has built she begins to have second thoughts about her intentions, and maybe even some feelings for the charasmaric and elusive Dane Montgomery. Which will she choose? Will she proceed with luring Dane back to the mainland with Towers International’s lucrative offers and incentives; simultaneously saving her mother’s company and winning Lillian Reid’s respect and approval and finally fulfilling her dream of moving to Paris? Or will she opt for love instead?

I truly LOVED this book!! It was an engaging story with nicely developed characters and a beautiful ending. I’d already read book 2 in the series, The Paris Connection, and loved it so much that when I had an opportunity to go back and read book 1 I jumped on it. Cerella Sechrist is an excellent storyteller and I’m confident that if you like wholesome romance you will thoroughly enjoy Gentle Persuasion. Highly recommended.

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Review: The Little Paris Bookshop

The Little Paris Bookshop
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

🌟🌟🌟🌟💫 Monsieur Jean Perdu is the owner of a book barge which sits on the Seine River in France, and he is known as the Literary Apothecary, i.e., he prescribes books to people to help them to deal with their emotional problems. The irony is that Jean cannot fix the problems in his own life. Ever since the love of his life, Manon Basset, left him twenty years ago he’s been all but dead inside. Manon left a letter behind when she abruptly departed but Perdu neglected to read it, dreading its contents, until an occasion arises wherein he finally peers into it. The contents has him uprooting the book barge and setting off to bring closure to his languid existence. During his journey Perdu accumulates other errant, wayward passengers; each running away from something or seeking to find someone. Soon a menagerie of characters are inhabiting the book barge and during their travails learning the true meaning of love and loss and the value of abiding friendships.
This book was profound. I found the contents compelling and deeply introspective. There were little gems of wisdom scattered throughout that required me to pause and savor what the author was conveying. At times poignant, The Little Paris Book Shop also evoked feelings of joy and contentment and I appreciated the author’s skill in bringing out these varied emotions within me. I also liked the short, staccato-like dialogue between the characters.  They were an eccentric bunch and it was nice to make their acquaintance and learn of their interesting lives. Secondary characters also left deep impressions although their encounters were brief.
This is not a book to breeze through. I took my time to reflect on many of the passages and marked many pages in the book to refer back to.  I enjoyed The Little Paris Book Shop and would surely recommend it.
I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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Review: Sprig Muslin

Sprig Muslin
Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ THIS WAS AN AUDIOBOOK. Sprig Muslin is a delightful Regency era tale that begins with Sir Gareth Ludlow, a widow who lost his beloved wife Clarissa to a tragic accident. Convinced that he will never truly love again, he sets out to marry an amiable and respectable long-time friend, Hester Theale, whom his sister regards as old (at 29) and insipid. En route to propose marriage to Hester, Sir Gareth encounters a young woman unchaperoned at an Inn, Miss Amanda “Smith”, a feisty, pretty and high-spirited girl of about 16 who puts him in mind of his young niece.  Determined not to allow this spunky but innocent, gentile young lady to fend for herself in a public Inn without an escort, he takes on the role of guardian with the intention of delivering her back to the safety of her grandfather, who Amanda is running away from since he will not permit her to marry her beloved Neal.  Amanda’s age and Neal’s station in life being a major factor in his decision. Reluctantly Amanda accompanies Sir Gareth until she realizes his scheme to return her to her grandfather. From this point a series of blunders, falsehoods and unbelievable situations take the story in directions that excite, shock and ultimately leave you in such a satisfied state of mind that you will no doubt long remember it for many days, weeks or even months to come.  This was my first Georgette Heyer book and I am hooked. There was wit, charm and characters of great depth that regaled me from beginning to end.  A masterful writer of the Regency period, I will be looking forward to reading more of her books in the future.
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Review: Dangerous Tidings

Dangerous Tidings
Dangerous Tidings by Dana Mentink
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Dangerous Tidings is a solid suspense novel with pulse-racing action from start to finish.
Veterinarian Donna Gallagher is convinced that her father’s fatal car crash was no accident, and she’s determined to prove it. Meanwhile a young woman, Pauline Mitchell, has gone missing and Donna’s investigating efforts have led her to believe that the two incidents are somehow related since her father, a private eye, had an active case file in his office with Pauline’s name on it. Donna’s suspicions are shared by Pauline’s brother Brent who is looking for Pauline but who may just be the prime suspect in her disappearance. Can Brent be trusted, and will Donna put aside her growing attraction for the man so the two can find out what happened to their loved ones before they wind up the next victims?

I can always count on a riveting edge-of-my-seat suspense when I read Dana Mentink’s books. Suspense writing is her forté and Dangerous Tidings was another thoroughly enjoyable read. I love how Dana ends her chapters, often with a surprise or a hint of something that makes it difficult to put the book down. This book is marketed as Love Inspired Suspense (Christian Fiction), so there is no foul language, sex or gratuitous violence, just a great story, which is why I choose to read this particular genre. There are some occasional references to God and the alluding to biblical scriptures (which I have to admit differ in some respects from my interpretation of the Bible), however, since this is a minor portion of the book’s contents I was able to tolerate it without much perturbation.  Overall, Dangerous Tidings is yet another gratifying read from Dana Mentink and I highly recommend it to lovers of alacritous, action-packed suspense.
Thank you Dana Mentink for a copy of this book. In exchange I have provided an honest review.

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Review: Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death
Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ THIS WAS AN AUDIOBOOK. Agatha Raisin, 53, has recently retired early from her highly respected Public Relations firm in London, Raisin’s Promotions, and is determined to live out her dream of a more placid existence in the Cotswolds, where she has purchased a thatched roof cottage. This is the dream since childhood that she has finally realized, life in the quiet Cotswolds, nestled in among the bucolic setting of the lush countryside. As a way to become more familiar with her new neighbors she enters a quiche contest expecting to win and thus gain admiration and a measure of fame from the village residents. To Agatha’s dismay things don’t turn out exactly the way she expects, in fact someone turns up dead instead and Agatha’s presumed quiet life in the country turns out to be anything but.
This was my first M.C. Beaton mystery and I enjoyed it so much. I loved the setting and how the author expounds on the British way of life in a small village teeming with quirky, fun characters. Agatha Raisin is no sweet middle-aged woman, she is sharp tongued, dishonest at times, and can be downright mean. This made her character unique and once I adjusted to her personality (she’s no Jessica Fletcher), I began to relax and enjoy the story even more. The audio narrator was fabulous and I am so happy to have come across this audible daily deal because I look forward to many more of Agatha’s antics in this very enjoyable mystery series.

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Review: A Noble Masquerade

A Noble Masquerade
A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Lady Miranda Hawthorne, sister of Griffith Hawthorne, Duke of Riverton, fears that she will never secure a suitable marriage mate and as a consequence will be relegated to a life of spinsterhood. Her younger and decidedly prettier sister, Georgina, is about to embark on her first Season, while Miranda is heading to her fourth. Miranda has survived her mother’s harrowing “lady lessons” over the years by writing letters which she never intends to mail to her brother’s friend the Duke of Marshington, who Griffith always spoke of when corresponding with Miranda while he was away at school. Affectionately known as Marsh, the Duke was more than a friend, he was Griffith’s protector, and his character appealed to Miranda. The letters she wrote and kept hidden away provided an escape. She could pour out her heart and release the anguish, discouragement and discontent she endured to a man who she had come to know and respect through Griffith’s missives; ever careful not to mail the letters, which would be committing the ultimate breach in the rules of etiquette, that of writing to a man of whom she has no family relation. Her brother Griffith is home now and he has brought a most interesting new valet, Marlow, to replace old Herbert. While Miranda has practically accepted her fate as a future doting aunt, and not wife and mother, she begins to admit to herself that Marlow is quite captivating indeed. But there’s a niggling feeling that something is amiss, and when she finds out the truth about this mysterious man all of the lady lessons involving rules of gentility, propriety and decorum will be tossed to the wind.

Smart, witty, suspenseful, intriguing, illustrative, endearing and inspiring are all words that readily come to mind when describing A Noble Masquerade, a delightfully charming read. There was sufficient historical knowledge and verbiage to keep me stimulated and informed about the time period, but not to the point where a dictionary was constantly needed. And although this book is labeled inspirational fiction, it is not at all preachy or oversaturated with scriptural texts. I prefer this sort of mild christian fiction because I don’t have to be concerned about gratuitous violence, sex or foul language. I can safely enjoy the story without those distasteful elements. Also, I become highly perturbed when scriptures are misapplied or spiritual anecdotes seem to be thrown in for good measure, without any real basis for them. This was not the case with A Noble Masquerade. In fact I was only subtly reminded of its Christian aspects throughout reading, which was a plus for me.

In conclusion, Kristi Ann Hunter’s prose was a welcoming diversion to the pressures of everyday life and consumed me until forced to abandon it until the next opportune reading time. A great book that’s highly recommended. In fact, I was so pleased by it I immediately visited her website and then downloaded a novella that she’s written based on a couple who were secondary characters in A Noble Masquerade.

Thank you Bethany House Publishers for a copy of this lovely book in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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Review: Now She’s Back

Now She's Back
Now She’s Back by Anna Adams
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫  Stubborn, unyielding and proud Noah Gage possesses more of his father’s undesirable character traits than he realizes or would care to admit.  His family’s a mess, but he seems to have made a commitment to caring for and protecting his mother and siblings from his abusive father for a lifetime at the expense of his relationship with his fiancé, Emma Candler. Emma is fed up with Noah’s guarded reserve, and the way he puts his family’s needs ahead of hers. This is the last straw, so after an altercation involving Noah’s father and some members of her family, Emma leaves Bliss, TN without Noah.  Fast forward four years and Emma is back in Bliss to make repairs to her deceased grandmother’s house, which has been left to her. Now that she’s back, will Noah and Emma bury the hatchet and rekindle the flame that may still burn within them for each other?

This sweet romance kept me engaged and in the end warmed my heart. The setting was very appealing since I am familiar with the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.  I relished the descriptions of the scenery, and enjoyed wondering how Noah and Emma would mend their broken relationship. The secondary characters were interesting and added flavor to the story.  Overall I thought Now She’s Back was a gratifying read and I recommend it to those looking for a sweet, satisfying romance book.

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Review: Real Murders

Real Murders
Real Murders by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ THIS WAS AN AUDIOBOOK. Mamie Wright, a member of the Real Murders discussion group, which meets periodically to talk about past murders, has been found dead by Aurora Teagarden, another one of its members, just before a meeting is about to start. What’s odd about this murder is that it parallels the one that the group was set to talk about that very night. Whoever killed Mamie was mimicking an old murder. As additional details are discovered, and more bodies found, it appears that the perpetrator is a member of their very own murder club, but will the evidence lead to the correct member?
I enjoyed this audiobook immensely.  The narrator brought life to the characters, and the story was one that kept me guessing and intrigued to the very end.  The story centers around Aurora’s  life and interest in the various killings that are taking place. I liked her character. I’m not sure if I’d consider this mystery of a cozy nature, but it wasn’t over the top either; at least not to me. Overall, I listened with pleasure, and since it thoroughly entertained me, I’m giving it 5 stars. This audiobook was an Audible Daily Deal that I snagged at a deeply discounted rate.

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Review: Hunted

Hunted
Hunted by Elizabeth Heiter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Evelyn Baine, special agent and FBI profiler extraordinaire is on the hunt for a particularly cold-blooded, sadistic serial killer who displays his victim’s bodies from the neck up in the deep woods for his own pleasure.   Identifying this violent and demented killer won’t be easy for a petite, mixed-race woman working amidst a male-dominated investigation team that treats her more like a newbie than the skillfully trained, ardent and proficient professional that she is.  Her determination in catching these criminals can be attributed to the loss of her best friend, Cassie, who was abducted and never found nearly seventeen years ago. But now Evelyn is the one being Hunted, and this monster is intent on adding her to his list of victims.
This evenly paced, cleverly crafted thriller kept me interested throughout. I was intent on finding out how Evelyn would escape her fate of winding up like the victims before her.  The ending had me flipping pages faster than I could count!!  I really enjoyed this book and recommend it for thriller/suspense lovers everywhere. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, VANISHED.  Thank you Elizabeth Heiter for a copy of this book. In exchange I have provided an honest review.

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Review: Rainy Day Sisters: A Hartley-by-the-Sea Novel

Rainy Day Sisters: A Hartley-by-the-Sea Novel
Rainy Day Sisters: A Hartley-by-the-Sea Novel by Kate Hewitt
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Half sisters Juliet and Lucy Bagshaw, practically estranged from one another, with a mother who seemingly exists for the sole purpose of irritating them, are brought together when the younger sister Lucy loses her boyfriend, career and reputation back in Boston.  Meanwhile in England her older half-sister Juliet who runs a small B&B at Tarn House invites her to come and stay with her for a few months until she can get her life together.  Polar opposites, Lucy is youthful, easygoing, free-spirited, and affable.  Juliet is uptight, subdued, austere and bitter.  Things get off to a rocky start and Lucy questions her decision to live in England with her sister at Tarn House in the cold, rainy Hartley-by-the-sea. But when both sisters begin to co-exist amicably, secrets involving their mother Fiona eventually come to light, and hard decisions in their lives must be made.
From the very first few pages of Rainy Day Sisters a warmth enveloped me that is a hallmark of Kate Hewitt’s books, along with an atmospheric quality that I love.  I could immediately envision the bucolic, remote English village overlooking fields of sheep and fells while reading.  I could feel the tension between the two sisters, and could sense the varying natures of the village’s secondary characters that enlivened the story. There was a nice, mellow flow of events with an ending that left me satisfied and then hungering for a continuation of Juliet and Lucy’s story, particularly as it relates to their love lives, their mother and their relationship with one another. A very enjoyable read that I would highly recommend.
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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Review: Drape Expectations

Drape Expectations
Drape Expectations by Karen Rose Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Drape Expectations is more than a cozy mystery. The family dynamic factors strongly in this book. Our sleuth, Caprice De Luca, is determined to find the killer who murdered her rock star friend Ace Richland’s girlfriend, Alanna Goodwin. Since Ace finds the body it’s only natural that suspicion surrounds him, but Caprice feels in her heart that her friend could never commit murder. He may have a bad temper and all, but murder? Nah.  Besides, it’s beginning to look like others in Alanna Goodwin’s life had a motive for murder. There’s a mysterious child, an alleged affair and even sabotage involved in this murder case. As Caprice skillfully goes about piecing together clues that will ultimately lead her to the culprit, she also makes an addition to her pet family, helps her nana through a health crisis, mends broken family ties involving an estranged family member, and finally chooses which of her two suitors is the right man to spend her life with. There was a very evocative moment where the author did a superb job of conveying the feelings of the characters when Caprice makes a choice between her two men.  I loved that scene. All the while we contentedly meet up with Caprice’s friends and family members from prior books in the series, watch as her dog Lady and cat Sophia adjust to the new member of their family, Mirabelle, the shy kitty who was left behind when her neglectful owner Alanna was murdered, and wince as Caprice’s life is threatened as she unselfishly puts herself in one precarious situation after another to help clear her friend Ace’s name.
In conclusion, this cozy mystery is cozy in more ways than one. You will enjoy going along for the ride to find out who killed Alanna Goodwin, but you will also find pleasure in peering into the daily events of an amateur sleuth who loves life, love, her profession, her family and her pets. It’s for this reason that Drape Expectations was a major hit with me and I recommend it highly.
Thank you Karen Rose Smith for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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Ross Poldark Blog Tour with EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY – EXCITING NEWS!!

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EXCITING NEWS!! PBS has contributed a DVD of season one of Poldark to the list of prizes! (See updated prize list below.)  AND THERE IS STILL TIME FOR YOU TO LEAVE COMMENTS AND ENTER THE GIVEAWAY CONTEST until 11:59pm PT, AUGUST 10, 2015.

I am pleased to be a blog tour host for the first two books in the highly acclaimed POLDARK series: Poldark – Ross Poldark, and Poldark – Demelza.  These are the books behind the major new television series from Masterpiece on PBS which airs from June 21- Aug 2.

imageQUICK FACTS FOR ROSS POLDARK:

• Book Title: Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787
• Author: Winston Graham
• Genre: Historical Fiction
• Book 1 of The Poldark Saga
• New tie-in edition to the Masterpiece Classic PBS series airing 6/21 – 8/2, 2015
• Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (June 09, 2015) reprint of 1945
• Length: 400 pages
• Trade paperback & eBook ISBN: 9781492622079

BOOK DESCRPTION:
In the first novel in Winston Graham’s hit series, a weary Ross Poldark returns to England from war, looking forward to a joyful homecoming with his beloved Elizabeth. But instead he discovers his father has died, his home is overrun by livestock and drunken servants, and Elizabeth—believing Ross to be dead—is now engaged to his cousin. Ross has no choice but to start his life anew.
Thus begins the Poldark series, a heartwarming, gripping saga set in the windswept landscape of Cornwall. With an unforgettable cast of characters that spans loves, lives, and generations, this extraordinary masterwork from Winston Graham is a story you will never forget.

QUICK FACTS FOR DEMELZA:image

• Book Title: Demelza: A Novel of Cornwall, 1788-1790
• Author: Winston Graham
• Genre: Historical Fiction
• Book 2 of The Poldark Saga
• New tie-in edition tor the Masterpiece Classic PBS series airing 6/21 – 8/2, 2015
• Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (June 09, 2015) reprint of 1946
• Trade paperback & eBook ISBN: 9781492622109

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In the enchanting second novel in Winston Graham’s beloved Poldark series, Demelza Carne, an impoverished miner’s daughter Ross Poldark rescued from a fairground brawl, now happily finds herself his wife. But the events of these turbulent years test their marriage and their love. As Ross launches into a bitter struggle for the right of the mining communities, Demelza’s efforts to adapt to the ways of the gentry (and her husband) place her in increasingly odd and embarrassing situations. When tragedy strikes and sows the seeds of an enduring rivalry between Ross and the powerful George Warleggan, will Demelza manage to bridge their differences before they destroy her and her husband’s chance at happiness?

Against the stunning backdrop of eighteenth century Cornwall, Demelza sweeps readers into one of the greatest love stories of all time.

And now, here’s an excerpt from Chapter 13 of DEMELZA:

Jud had been fairly behaved for so long that Prudie overlooked the signs of a change. The settled domestic life of Nampara—so unlike old Joshua’s regime—had had a pacifying effect on her own impulses and she had come to think that the same was true of him. Ross left early in the morning—he was away three and four days a week—and when Demelza was out of sight, Prudie settled herself in the kitchen to brew a dish of tea and talk over the week’s scandal with Jinny Carter, overlooking the fact that an hour before she had caught Jud taking a sup of gin while he milked the cows.

Jinny, in an odd way, had come to fulfill for Prudie much the same function that Demelza had done; in short, she did most of the rough work of the house and left Prudie to potter and to brew her tea and gossip and complain of her feet. When Demelza was about, it wasn’t quite as easy as that, but when she went out, things settled into a very comfortable groove.

Jinny had been talking of Jim, of how thin and ill he had looked, of how she nightly prayed that the next eight months would slip away so that he might be free to come home. Prudie was glad to hear that she had no thought of leaving her work at Nampara. There was to be no more going down the mine for Jim, Jinny said. She had made him promise he would come back and work on the farm. He had never been so well as when he worked there and they never so happy. It wasn’t mining wages, but what did that matter? If she worked they could make do.

Prudie said, oh, there was no tellin’, things was upsy down, and it might be that them as worked on a farm would soon be earning more than them as went below, if half she’d heard tell of copper and tin was true. Look at Cap’n Ross, galloping about the countryside as if Old Scratch was at his coattails, and what was the use? What was the good of trying to puff life into a cold corpse? Better if he saved his smith’s fees and looked to his own taties.

During that, Jinny was in and out of the kitchen three or four times, and on her last return wore an anxious look on her thin young face.

“There’s someone in the cellar, Prudie. Truly. Just now as I were passing the door…”

“Nay,” said the other woman, wiggling her toes. “You’re mistook. ’Twas a rat maybe. Or wur it little Julia a-stirring in ’er cot, an? Go see, will ’ee, and save my poor feet.”

“Couldn’ be that,” said Jinny. “It were a man’s voice—grumble, grumble, grumble, like an old cart wheel—coming up from the cellar steps.”

Prudie was about to contradict her again, but then, with a thoughtful look, she pulled on her slippers and rose like the side of a mountain creakily out of her chair. She flapped out into the hall and peered through the cellar door, which opened in the angle made by the stairs.

For a few seconds the murmur was too indistinct to catch any words, but after a while, she heard:

There was an old couple an’ they was—was poor.
Tw-tw-tweedle, go tweedle, go twee.

“Tes Jud,” she said grimly to the anxious Jinny. “Drownin’ his guts in Cap’n Ross’s best gin. ’Ere, stay a breath, I’ll root en out.”

She flapped back to the kitchen. “Where’s that there broom ’andle?”

“In the stable,” said Jinny. “I seen it there this morning.”

Prudie went out to get it, Jinny with her, but when they came back, the song in the cellar had stopped. They lighted a candle from the kitchen fire and Prudie went down the stairs. There were several broken bottles about but no signs of Jud.

Prudie came up. “The knock-kneed ’ound’s wriggled out while we was away.”

“Hold a minute,” said Jinny.

They listened.

Someone was singing gently in the parlor.

Jud was in Ross’s best chair, with his boots on the mantelpiece. On his head, hiding the fringe and the tonsure, was one of Ross’s hats, a black riding hat turned up at the brim. In one hand was a jar of gin and in the other a riding crop, with which he gently stirred the cradle in which Julia slept.

“Jud!” said Prudie. “Get out o’ that chair!”

Jud turned his head.

“Ah,” he said in a ridiculous voice. “C-come in, good women all, good women all, g-good women. Your servant, ma’am. Damn, ’tis handsome of ’ee to make this visit. Tedn what I’d of expected in a couple o’ bitches. But there, one ’as to take the rough wi’ the rough, an’ a fine couple of bitches ye be. Pedigree stock, sir. Never have I seen the likes. Judgin’ only by the quarters, ’tis more’n a fair guess to say there’s good blood in ’ee, an’ no missment.”

He gave the cradle a prod with his riding crop to keep it rocking.

Prudie grasped her broom.

“’Ere, dear,” she said to Jinny. “You go finish yer work. I’ll deal with this.”

“Can you manage him?” Jinny asked anxiously.

“Manage ’im. I’ll mince ’im. Only ’tis a question of the cradle. We don’t want the little mite upset.”

When Jinny had gone, Jud said, “What, no more’n one lef ? What a cunning crack ye am, Mishtress Paynter, getting’ quit o’ she so’s there’ll be less to share the gin.” His little eyes were bloodshot with drink and bleary with cunning. “Come us in, my dear, an’ lift your legs up. I’m the owner ’ere; Jud Paynter, eskewer, of Nampara, mashter of hounds, mashter of cemeteries, justice of the peace. ’Ave a sup!”

“Pah!” said Prudie. “Ye’ll laugh on the other side of yer head if Cap’n Ross catches ’ee wi’ yer breeches glued to ’is bettermost chair. Ah…ye dirty glut!”

He had upended his jar of gin and was drinking it in great gulps.

“Nay, don’t ’ee get scratchy, for I’ve two more by the chair. Ye’ve overfanged notions o’ the importance of Ross an’ his kitchen girl in the scum of things. ’Ere, ’ave a spur.”

Jud leaned over and put a half-empty jar on the table behind him. Prudie stared at it.

“Look!” she said. “Out o’ that chair or I’ll cleave open yer ’ead with this broom. An’ leave the cheeil alone!” The last words came in a screech, for he had given the cradle another poke.

Jud turned and looked at her assessingly; through the blear of his gaze he tried to see how far his head was in danger. But Ross’s hat gave him confidence.

“Gis along, you. ’Ere, there’s brandy in the cupboard. Fetch it down an’ I’ll mix ye a Sampson.”

It had once been Prudie’s favorite drink: brandy and cider and sugar. She stared at Jud as if he were the Devil tempting her to sell her soul.

She said, “If I want drink I’ll get it and not akse you, nor no other else.” She went to the cupboard and genteelly mixed half a Sampson. With greedy, glassy eyes Jud watched her.

“Now,” said Prudie fiercely, “out o’ that chair!”

Jud wiped a hand across his face. “Dear life, it makes me weep to see ’ee. Drink un up first. An’ mix me one too. Mix me a Sampson wi’ his hair on. There, there, be a good wife now.”

A “Sampson with his hair on” was the same drink but with double the brandy. Prudie took no notice and drank her own. Then, gloomily, she mixed herself another.

“Tend on yerself,” she said. “I never was yer wife, and well you know it. Never in church proper like a good maid should. Never no passon to breathe ’is blessing. Never no music. Never no wedden feast. Just I was. I wonder you sleep of nights.”

“Well, a fine load ye was,” said Jud. “An’ more’s been added. Half enough to fill a tin ship now. And you didn’ want no wedden. Gis along, you old suss. ’Twas all I could do to get ’ee ’ere decent. ’Ave a drink.”

Prudie reached for the half-empty jar.

“Me old mother wouldn’ have liked it,” she said. “Tes fair to say she was happier dead. The only one she reared, I was. One out of twelve. Tes hard to think on after all these years.”

“One in twelve’s a fair portion,” said Jud, giving the cot another push. “The world’s too full as ’tis, and some should be drownded. Ef I ’ad me way, which mebbe I never shall, an’ more’s the pity, for there’s precious few has got the head on ’em that Jud Paynter has got, though there’s jealous folk as pretend to think other, and one o’ these days they’ll ’ave the shock of their lives, for Jud Paynter’ll up and tell ’em down-souse that tes jealous thoughts an’ no more keeps away a recognition that, if he ’ad un, would be no more than any man’s due who’s got the head on ’im. Where was I?”

“Killin’ off me little brothers and sisters,” said Prudie.

“Ais,” said Jud. “One in twelve. That’s what I say, one in twelve. Not swarming like the Martins an’ the Viguses an’ the Daniels. Not swarming like this house’ll be before long. Put ’em in the tub I would, like they was chets.”

Prudie’s great nose was beginning to light up.

“I’ll have no sich talk in my kitchen,” she declared.

“We bain’t in your kitchen now, so hold yer tongue, you fat cow.”

“Cow yerself, and more,” said Prudie. “Dirty old gale. Dirty old ox. Dirty old wort. Pass me that jar. This one’s dry.”

AUTHOR BIO:

Winston Graham (1908-2003) is the author of forty novels. His books have been widely translated and the Poldark series has been developed into two television series, shown in 22 countries. Six of Winston Graham’s books have been filmed for the big screen, the most notable being Marnie, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Winston Graham is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 1983 was awarded the O.B.E.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

GRAND GIVEAWAY CONTEST

Win One of Three Fabulous Prizes

Poldark Blog Tour Giveaway Updated x 500

In celebration of the re-release of Ross Poldark and Demelza, Sourcebooks Landmark is offering three chances to win copies of the books or a grand prize, an Anglophile-themed gift package.

Two winners will each receive one trade paperback copy of Ross Poldark and Demelza, and one grand prize winner will receive a prize package containing the following items:

(1) DVD of season one of Poldark
(2 ) Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Mugs by Johnson Brothers
(1) Twelve-inch Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Plater by Johnson Brothers
(1) London Telephone Box Tin of Ahmad English Breakfast Tea
(1) Jar of Mrs. Bridges Marmalade
(1) Package of Duchy Originals Organic Oaten Biscuits
(2) Packets of Blue Boy Cornflower Seeds by Renee’s Garden Heirloom (1) Trade Paperback Copy of Ross Poldark & Demelza, by Winston Graham

To enter the giveaway contest simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on the Ross Poldark Blog Tour starting July 06, 2015 through 11:59 pm PT, August 10, 2015. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the entrants and announced on the Buzz at Sourcebooks blog on August 13, 2015. Winners have until August 20, 2015 to claim their prize. The giveaway contest is open to US residents and the prizes will be shipped to US addresses.

SEE THE UPDATED ROSS POLDARK BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

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Review: Sailing in Style

Sailing in Style
Sailing in Style by Dana Mentink

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💙💙💙💙💙 Sailing in Style is the second book in the Love by Design series, and I have to say it is one of my favorite Heartwarming books to date. This one really struck a chord with me. I had a wonderful time aboard the old River King, a paddle-wheel riverboat, along with the menagerie of characters in the book. I laughed, I pondered, I imagined, I hoped….I was pleasantly engrossed in the story to the final page, which of course ended satisfyingly sweet.
Dana Mentink’s suspense-writer instincts are a little evident in this book and I LOVED that. There are so many great facets to this novel, and the romance aspect is but one of them. In it we find
a run-down historic riverboat in desperate need of some TLC, a crook, a bit of intrigue, a legend, a mystery, former lovers, a celebrity wannabe, sweet old feisty women, a parakeet named Peaches, and my old pal Baggy the dog, the lovable, pitiful creature that resembles a mole or something.  The characters truly run the gamut, and this made the story both fun and exciting. I enjoy a book that I can’t wait to get back to.  The author accomplishes this by finishing off each chapter at a fever pitch, leaving you in anticipation of what’s to follow. It was a romance book, yes, but oh so much more. It was like I was watching a good movie in my mind. Dana Mentink has a way with words that I easily relate to. Her comedic voice resonates with me and I think that’s why I have an affinity for her books, and each one seems to just get better and better. Sailing in Style exceeded my expectations and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys romance plus a whole lot more.
Thank you Dana Mentink for a copy of this much beloved book. I have provided an honest review in return.

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Book Tag: Reading Habits Tag


I have been tagged!!  Yay…my first time. (I hope I’m doing it right.) Gee….thank you ajoobacats. Please be sure to visit her amazing blog.  Here we go….

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

I prefer my large, comfy leather chair that’s by a picture window, and where a convenient tray table is situated that holds notepads, pens, solo teapot, candles (for when I pretend I’m in Jane Austen’s era….I know), and other reading essentials.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Bookmark.  If I need to hurriedly shove something into a page to hold my place, my OCD will not allow it to stay there longer than necessary before I must find a proper corresponding bookmark to take its place.

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/a certain amount of pages?

I can’t stop in a random spot…has to be directly before the start of a new paragraph or chapter. OCD tendencies again.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

Yes!! ….. way too much. Reading inspires eating for me which is BAD. Gotta work on that.

5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

Neither. Like it quiet when I’m reading. Although classical might be okay.

6. One book at a time or several at once?

Sometimes I have more than one book going at a time, but I typically stay focused on one.

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

Concentration is greatest at home, but enjoy reading in the park and in my car.

8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?

Silently in my head.

9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

Read strictly from beginning to end. No reading ahead. No skipping.  If a book is just killing me, I give up on it altogether.  Happily, that rarely occurs.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

The mere thought makes me shiver.

11. Do you write in your books?

Never!!  That’s what sticky notes are for.
I tag the following bibliophiles to answer the questions above (if they want to):

Friendlybookworm
Josbons
Acupofteaandacozymystery
Rissi
Caffeineepiphanies

Review: Bluebells in the Mourning

Bluebells in the Mourning Bluebells in the Mourning by KaraLynne Mackrory
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A Pride and Prejudice continuation, this book was astounding!!  Seriously, I was blown away by the lyrical prose that captured the very essence of a Jane Austen inspired fiction novel.  What a pleasant surprise from this new to me author, KaraLynne Mackrory.  I requested this book on the back cover summary alone and cannot believe how utterly engaging and phenomenal it was. The story opens shortly after Elizabeth becomes privy to Mr. Darcy’s foiling of Mr. Bingley’s attempts to form an attachment to her sister Jane. Elizabeth is furious that Darcy would be the cause of her sister’s distress at losing Bingley and thus she despises Darcy. Mr. Darcy is unaware that Lizzy knows what he has done, forbidding his friend Bingley to form an attachment to Jane.  All the while Darcy has since fallen in love with Elizabeth, unbeknownst to her, and is on his way to her to profess his undying love. Meanwhile, the Bennett family suffers a tragic loss when their youngest daughter, Lydia, dies from an accident. This new development thwarts Darcy’s plan to propose to Elizabeth. Instead he offers to convey Elizabeth and her best friend Charlotte’s sister, Maria, back to Longbourn to grieve with Lizzy’s family. Darcy offers accommodations at his home, Darcy House, to Elizabeth and Maria rather than the Inn that they are prepared to stay in on their way back home, and Elizabeth reluctantly acquiesces.  While determined to remain wrathful towards Darcy her attitude begins to change when she observes his manners while at Darcy House. His care and concern for his guests, his tender affection for his sister Giorgiana, and the warm familiarity that exists even amongst his servants towards him causes Lizzy to re-think his character.  And oh is he handsome!! Mr. and Mrs. Bennett’s backstory is revealed and we’re enlightened as to how the flame in their marriage died down to a mere flicker. I love how the author orchestrated this. A tired and distressed Fanny Bennet opens up to her daughter Elizabeth about her past with Mr. Bennet, and the poignancy of that revelation was both moving and deeply affecting. I could feel Mrs. Bennet’s sorrow and pain over the sustained tragedies she’d endured and I developed a profound respect for her.  Of course I won’t give away the details, but I believe you will come away with the same impression yourself if you read this delightful book.  The chase is on for the dastardly and elusive Wickham, and this lends an air of intrigue and suspense that enhances the story.  Mr. Darcy is determined once and for all to know if Wickham was in any way involved in the death of Lydia Bennet. Oh how I admire Mr. Darcy. His charm and gallantry shines throughout Bluebells, and he is portrayed as the perfect gentleman—swoon worthy and without blemish.  Anyone who loves Jane Austen’s works or Pride and Prejudice inspired books should read Bluebells in the Mourning. I recommend it highly. I will be looking for more books by KaraLynne Mackrory.  Thank you, Meryton Press for a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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Review: The Truth About Hope

The Truth About Hope
The Truth About Hope by Kate James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💚💚💚💚💚 The residents of Canyon Creek, TX are nursing a grudge against Hope Wilson and her father, Jock. Ever since Jock abandoned the town and closed down his manufacturing plant that employed many of the people of Canyon Creek, and Hope seemingly followed suit by carelessly and abruptly leaving over a decade later, the town is not particularly fond of either one of them. Now that Hope is back with intentions to make good on all of the hurt her father caused so long ago, it’s apparent that it will take more than a good deed to earn this town’s trust again. Even her boyfriend Luke who was a casualty to her leaving seems put off and aloof by her return. But in life things are not always as transparent as they might seem, and that’s certainly true in Hope’s case with regard to why she left Canyon Creek. Turns out even her father had his reasons.  Will the truth about Hope turn a town around, and will she find love again with the man whose heart she broke when she left him behind years earlier?

I loved this story right from the start. As it progressed I was pulled in and fully absorbed by the perseverance, determination, persistence and dedication of Hope Wilson. Her ex-boyfriend, Luke Carter, was a character that you could easily root for. I liked his level-headedness, bullheadedness and charismatic charm. Add to it a lovable old dog named Einstein, angry townsfolk and a couple that’s destined to be together but just as likely to have obstacles keep them apart, and you’ve got a page-turner that will delight you to the tear jerking end. The pace was great, the story was heartwarming and the ending was flawless.  This is a sweet romance that’s not to be missed.

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Review: Tempest in a Teapot

Tempest in a Teapot
Tempest in a Teapot by Amanda Cooper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sophie Taylor’s Manhattan restaurant, In Fashion, has failed, so she returns to Gracious Grove in upstate NY where her grandmother runs Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House to get a little respite and rethink her future goals. Sophie’s nana is getting up in age and can use her help running the much beloved teahouse. Sophie’s glad to be of help even as one of the upcoming venues includes a wedding shower tea for her longtime friend Cissy Peterson. The problem is Cissy’s own grandmother, Thelma Mae Earnshaw, owns a competing tearoom nearby, La Belle Époque, and Thelma Mae, former friend of Rose Freemont, has been holding a grudge against her for over 60 years for supposedly stealing Thelma Mae’s beau when they were just teenagers. How can Cissy do that to her own grandmother? Well, only the best for Cissy Peterson, and that means Auntie Rose’s wins out over the vastly inferior La Belle Époque. Even so, to appease Thelma Mae and assuage her own guilty conscience, Cissy commissions her grandmother to host an engagement tea for her at La Belle Époque. Who knew that Vivienne Whittaker, Cissy’s soon to be mother-in-law, would meet her demise at the engagement tea to the horror of everyone present. Who could possibly want Vivienne Whitakker dead? Perhaps a lot of people? Or was the intended victim someone other than Vivienne and did she just happen to get in the way?

I enjoyed this cozy….particularly the setting and cast of characters which ranged from crooked politicians to sweet old grandmothers to embittered relatives to jilted lovers. I had a fun time watching Sophie as amateur sleuth snooping around and asking markedly pointed questions to find out once and for all who killed Vivienne Whittaker. This was a first in the series, and although I found that in order to keep the list of characters straight in my head I had to read this one at a slightly slower pace, that was just fine since it was worth the extra time spent on it. I found that I really liked Thelma Mae Earnshaw’s character, Cissy’s crotchety old grandmother who I found hilarious. One of my favorite lines from her when being questioned by the detective regarding the murder went like this….

DETECTIVE:  “Mrs. Earnshaw, can you tell me in your own words what happened?”

THELMA MAE: “Well, now, who else’s’ words would I use? Stupidest thing I ever heard.”

LOL!!  I thought that was too funny and it gave me a glimpse as to what I could expect from the likes of Thelma Mae Earnshaw.

In conclusion, I thought this cozy could be classified along with the best of them and I recommend it to those who love to savor a good cozy mystery.

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Review: The House at Tyneford

The House at Tyneford
The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

THIS WAS AN AUDIOBOOK. Elise Landau is a Viennese Jewess and lives contentedly in Austria with her beloved parents, Julian and Anna; housemaid Hildergard and her sister, Margo. Elise is the least gifted of the clan; her mom a renowned opera singer, sister an accomplished viola player, and her father Julian, a novelist. Nevertheless, Elise is loved and nurtured just the same. However, as WW2 is on the horizon, her family must make preparations to emigrate from their home in Vienna to escape the harsh realities of war which are already bringing persecutions to their people. With no other recourse, Elise’s parents will leave for the United States, and so will her sister Margo with her husband, Robert. Without an American visa and insufficient time to attain one, Elise will be sent to England to work as a parlor maid in a manor house belonging to a Mr. Rivers until her parents can retrieve her. Elise’s relaxed and happy life in Vienna quickly changes when she arrives at the work agency in England, where she is acknowledged as nothing more than a refugee and domestic servant. What awaits her as she settles into life at Tyneford House?  Will Elise be relegated to the life of a servant girl forever, or will she find love and a new sense of home in this foreign land?

The House at Tyneford is a beautifully written historical novel with richly detailed characters that bring the story to life. I felt instantly transported back in time to England and into the lives of Elise and her benefactor, Mr. Christopher Rivers (affectionately called “Daniel” by Elise). The more than one dimensional secondary characters, which included staff that resided in and around Tyneford House, friends, family members and associates, added depth to the story and increased my enjoyment of the book.  Part of the ending was predictable for me, but the remainder was imbued with sentimental elements that I never expected and found deeply  moving. Overall, The House at Tyneford was a gratifying listening experience and I recommend it highly.

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Review: After the Silence

After the Silence After the Silence by Rula Sinara

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💜💜💜💜💜 Hope Alwanga needs a break. Interning in the emergency room of a public Nairobi, Kenya hospital with limited staff, working feverishly on the sick and injured for little money and with hardly any sleep is challenging even for a person in optimum health. So when Hope’s brother Simba sees her faltering in his lab during a visit after work, he insists that she take some time off from her hectic job. Simba’s friend and colleague Jack Harper has recently lost his sister Zoe. Zoe’s husband, instant single dad and Marine Ben Corallis, is caring for their three children back in Pennsylvania, USA with the assistance of Zoe’s parents. But when Simba and Jack suggest that Hope take a vacation to the U.S. to help out Ben with his kids as a nanny of sorts for a few months, Hope is skeptical.  How can caring for three young children, one of which hasn’t spoken since her mother died, be considered a relaxing vacation? After some gentle prodding from both men she agrees and heads to America.  Will Hope be satisfied with a few months of respite from her demanding job and return to Kenya rejuvenated and ready to dive back in, or will she find that the needs of a broken family are too important to leave behind?  Will she discover that dreams come in many forms, and that it’s always best to follow your own rather than those that others have mapped out for you? After the Silence is Book 2 of the From Kenya, With Love series—The Promise of Rain is the first in the series. After having read The Promise of Rain I eagerly anticipated the sequel, and as expected it fulfilled my expectations in the form of a deeply emotional and thoroughly gratifying read. (Although this is Book 2 in the series it can be enjoyed as a standalone as some backstory details are interwoven in the narrative to acquaint the reader with the characters and circumstances.) I loved the way the characters from The Promise of Rain were incorporated into After the Silence. Rula Sinara did a beautiful job of alloting many of the characters an inner conflict of their own that kept me fully engaged and wondering how each one would overcome their challenges and embrace the life that was meant for them to live. I also felt that the characters’ stories could be further expounded on, in what I hope will be Book 3 in the series. A tender and deeply moving story of loss, love, absolution and healing. After the Silence will grip your heart and won’t let it go until it concludes and you feel warm and comforted from the inside out. View all my reviews

Review: The Bluebird Bet

The Bluebird Bet
The Bluebird Bet by Cheryl Harper

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💙💙💙💙💙 Elaine Watson, Tall Pines doctor, is determined to purchase the neglected Bluebird Inn from a patient and owner of the Inn, Robert Collins. Robert’s beloved wife, Martha Collins, took pride in The Bluebird Inn and her labor of love was a beautiful place that Elaine fondly remembers visiting with her parents when she was just a girl. Martha is gone now and along with her went the meticulous efforts of maintaining the Inn. When a health crisis nearly takes Robert’s life, save the good doctor Elaine’s diligent care, he decides not to continue taking life for granted by heading out on his own travel adventures. What will become of the Bluebird Inn?  Elaine refuses to acknowledge her childhood place of contentment being lost forever, so she offers to purchase and restore it. Only problem is Robert’s son Dean is just as determined and wants to turn the Inn into a fishing camp. Who ultimately wins this battle of wills, and what will become of the old Bluebird Inn?  Will the good doctor employ her instinctively caring nature and physician’s training to help a wounded man heal, or is this war at all costs to obtain the Inn she wants to call her own?

I loved, loved, loved this Heartwarming story!  The Bluebird Bet is Book #2 in the Welcome To Tall Pines series; A Minute On The Lips was the first (which was also great). Cheryl Harper’s fluid storytelling skills and sense of humor pulled me into the narrative and I felt immediately connected to the characters, setting and the story overall. Devouring 100+ pages in one sitting without stirring is a great feat for me and means that I am thoroughly enjoying the writer’s style.  This was my experience with The Bluebird Bet. Great story, fun and endearing characters, lovely setting, familiar friends and a convincing love story with a happy ending. Would you like those elements in your sweet romance story? Then you’re sure to love The Bluebird Bet.

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**Interview and Giveaway** Catherine Lanigan interview part 2

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I’m welcoming back award-winning author Catherine Lanigan today on Goodreads for part 2 of her interview.  If you enjoyed part 1 you’re sure to love part 2.  Stop over and join me in  welcoming her back.  Comment on her interview in Goodreads for a chance to win one of her books, Fear of Falling.  If you comment on parts 1 and 2 you will receive two entries.  Hope to see you there.  Here’s the link:

http://bit.ly/29UOCzn

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