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2017 Release

A Winter’s Wish Come True

A Winter’s Wish Come Trueby Lynsey James

Kindle Edition, 254 pages
Published November 22nd 2017 by HQ Digital
3.5 Stars

 

My Review: This was a very sweet romance that I had planned to read at Christmas, but it got pushed back a bit. Cleo is still in love with her ex-boyfriend Scott who up and left her a year earlier to move to Australia. When he returns to Silverdale, he wants to get back together. He admits he has made a mistake and begs Cleo to forgive him. She is not willing to do that, at least not at first. As they run into one another a few more times, they spend one passionate night in bed. In the morning Scott is gone without even leaving a note. Once again, he has left her. When Cleo finds out that she is pregnant, she is not sure what to do. Having dealt with body dysmorphia in the past she is worried about dealing with a growing body. She is also still in love with Scott, but he had agreed to help raise the child, but not as a couple. Will they get back together? Will his old girlfriend Natalie get a hold of him again?

There is humour as well as angst in this story. Besides the fact that Cleo got herself pregnant, this could be a Hallmark Movie. Two twenty or thirty somethings dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, single parenthood, parents who dislike each other and some cranky hospital employees all add up to a nice romantic read. If you like feel good romance stories, then pick this one up, you will definitely enjoy it. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “A Winter’s Wish Come True”

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Christmas at Conwenna Cove (Conwenna Cove #2)

Christmas at Conwenna Cove (Conwenna Cove, #2)by Darcie Boleyn

Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published October 9th 2017 by Canelo
4.5 stars
My Review: This was on my list for Christmas reads, but I got behind. Better late than never they say, and I am glad I got to it. I enjoyed meeting Grace and her parents as she was helping them to relocate to the beautiful Cornish village of Conwenna Cove. She is staying with them until New Year’s then heading home to Cardiff Wales, at least that is the plan. Everyone keeps talking about the magic of Conwenna Cove and encouraging her to stay. She is an author, so can work anywhere. As she meets people from the village she becomes more and more enchanted. When she meets the handsome veterinarian, Oli, who is a widower with two adorable children, she considers it even more. Dealing with loss is tough and people may grieve for years. Grace has vowed never to get married or have children of her own due to her brother having Cystic Fibrosis and dying 9 years earlier. Can she get over this and open herself to possibilities? A great romance whether it is Christmas or not. The characters are lovely. They are caring, friendly and loyal to one another. The animals are a wonderful addition to the story. There is a greyhound sanctuary close by and several of the villagers own rescued greyhounds. An abandoned cat and three kittens found in the playground end up at the vet hospital and need to find homes. All this is woven into the story of this wonderful little village. There is a bit of talk about cruelty to animals, but it is done in discussions of saving them and how can humans be so cruel. This is a very clean romance that will melt your heart. I recommend this story to any romance lover. Grab a warm blanket of glass of whatever you want to drink (wine did it for me) and take a visit to Conwenna Cove. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “Christmas at Conwenna Cove (Conwenna Cove #2)”

Etched in Tears (A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery #4)

Etched in Tears by Cheryl Hollonby Cheryl Hollon

Paperback
Published November 28th 2017 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
4.5 Stars

My Review: Etched in Tears is the fourth book in A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series by Cheryl Hollon. I have read them all, but you can read this book as a stand alone. Savannah Webb is attending the opening of Dennis Lansing’s show at the Dali Museum with her boyfriend, Edward Morris. Savannah received the invitation because she and Dennis had dated in high school. He was also one of the first apprentices in the program started by her father to help troubled youth. They do not get much time to visit at the opening, but have arranged for a lunch as well as a visit to one of her etching classes. Dennis has found a way to etch notes and letters into his projects. Unfortunately before they meet again, Dennis is found dead in the garden of the museum. The police as Savannah for help when they find a letter from her deceased father in Dennis’ pocket. She has a lot going on with a special order, issues with Edward wanting to move their relationship to the next level, a problem with her taxes as well as her classes and studio, but Dennis was her first boyfriend. So, with the help of her friends, Savannah takes the time to investigate and finally go through her father’s old records. Will they find the culprit? How does an enigma machine play into this story? Will Savannah and Edward be able to ride out the latest turmoil in their relationship?

Once again I flew through this story. Cheryl Hollon writes a mystery that is interesting, has a great plot and is easy to read. Her descriptions of the art work (i.e. the Green Bench at the museum), the museum itself, the methods used in her classes etc. enabled you to picture what she was talking about. The characters are such great friends and so well developed, it seems like I know them by now. I love how the character of Jacob (he has aspergers) is trying new things and feeling more confident with the glass shop, his customer service and working with others. Savannah and Edward’s relationship is easy to relate to. Again, it is not rushed and he is able to understand her hesitation, although he is not giving up. The mystery itself was not the easiest to solve. I did figure it out before the reveal, but I really liked how the clues were dealt in the story and how the use of glass was so important to the mystery. I definitely recommend this book to cozy mystery lovers as well as those who are interested in glass art and who live or visit in the St. Petersburg area. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “Etched in Tears (A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery #4)”

When the Grits Hit the Fan (Country Store Mysteries #3)

When the Grits Hit the Fan (Country Store Mysteries, #3)by Maddie Day

Paperback, 343 pages
Published February 28th 2017 by Kensington
4.5 Stars (rounded up on Goodreads)

My Review: When the Grits Hit the Fan is the third book in the Country Store Mystery series and is the best so far. Robbie Jordan is renovating the upstairs of Pan N’ Pancakes in South Lick Indiana. She talks to the old owner and her daughter about finding artifacts in the walls that she is tearing out to add some rooms as a Bed and Breakfast. They would love to see what she has found. Meanwhile business has slowed down a bit so she has closed for a couple of days a week to do the work. Her friend Lou, has set up a dinner for the Sociology department from the University every other Friday. It is at one of these dinners that a couple of arguments break out. The next day, Lou and Robbie are out snowshoeing. Taking a shortcut across the lake, they find the dead body of the professor that was involved in the arguments the previous evening. He is frozen under a light crust of ice in a large fishing hole. Because Lou was on of the people he argued with the night before, and she was one of the people to find the body, she is the number one suspect. Of course, Robbie wants to prove her innocence and begins to investigate on her own. The side story going on is that Robbie finds a hidden ladder and secret tunnels under her property and thinks someone has been using them. Things heat up with accusations, threats, questions and an eventual showdown. This was a great mystery.

Robbie Jordan is a great protagonist. She is smart, capable, loyal and knows her way around tools. She sure knows how to manage time as she cooks and serves at her restaurant, investigates the murder and the tunnels as well as wielding a pry bar to tear out plaster. With all this going on, she still has time to go snow showing, out for dinner and extracurricular activities with her boyfriend, Abe O’Neill. The murder mystery was pretty easy for me to solve, but there were still a lot of suspects, red herrings and some surprises in store. The mystery of the tunnels and secret passage was a different thing altogether, I had no idea who had been in the store and why. I read this book in one day as I wanted to see if I was right about the killer. I enjoyed this book and will definitely keep reading Country Store Mysteries.

Continue reading “When the Grits Hit the Fan (Country Store Mysteries #3)”

The Ice Sea Pirates

The Ice Sea Piratesby Frida Nilsson

Hardcover, 359 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by Gecko Press (first published September 1st 2015)
Originally written in Swedish
4 Stars

 

My Review: Everyone knows about the evil Captain Whitehead and his ship the Snow Raven. They kidnap children and take them to Whitehead’s island to work in his diamond mine. On the island of Bluesay, Mikki and Siri are out searching for snowberries. Siri sends Mikki off by herself to hunt and she is snatched by the pirated. Siri wants to go after her, but no one from the village will help. She decides that she will go alone. She leaves her father sleeping and sneaks onto the last ship leaving for Segelen. Her journey is full of danger and magic. She meets mean pirates, a merchild and his mother, a bogle bird and white wolves. She gets captured and ends up working in the mines with her sister and other children. Along the way she discovers how mean and evil humans can be. She also discovers that there is more to Captain Whitehead that the stories she has heard.

This is a story of adventure, hope, determination, cruelty and courage. This is a great story for older readers (grade 5 and up) as they read about the cruelty humans can be capable of to animals and each other. The other thing to discuss is when someone perpetrates evil, but tries to justify it. Siri is brave, loyal, willing to make sacrifices, smart, persevering and has an amazing respect of all life. She remains optimistic even with all the cruelty and harshness of the world that she had to face. The story was well written with a great story, but it was a bit long. I recommend this book for school and class libraries. I think it would make a great read aloud for a middle grades classroom with a lot of themes for discussion. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “The Ice Sea Pirates”

Stowed Away (A Maine Clambake Mystery #6)

Stowed Away (A Maine Clambake Mystery, #6)by Barbara Ross

Paperback, 280 pages
Published December 26th 2017 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
4.5 Stars

 

My Review: I have really enjoyed all the books in this series, and Barbara Ross has penned another winner. I loved that this book went back to Busman’s Harbor, Maine. It’s June and the Snowden Family Clambake on Morrow Island is getting ready to open for summer season. When Julia’s mother got her share of the sale of an antique piece of jewellery, she is considering either renovation or restoring Windsholme, the family home that is on the island. Quentin Tupper brings in Architect Wyatt Jayne to look it over and estimate the costs to renovate. A yacht belonging to billionaire recluse, Geoffrey Bower has anchored in the marina and it seems that Wyatt is in a relationship with the owner. Once again, there is a murder and Julia is asked to help investigate to clear certain people.

The usual characters are once again around including the rest of the family, Chris (Julia’s boyfriend), the police investigators that we have grown to know and love and some of the local townfolk. It makes me feel like I have gone home again. This story had Julia, Chris and Quentin opening up and sharing some secrets that give us more information about their backgrounds and how that has affected who they have become. This was a good story that had a lot of surprises that I never would have predicted. I did figure out who the murderer was before the end of the book, but not much before. This was a well plotted story with great pacing and characters. I recommend this story to any and all cozy mystery lovers. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley. Continue reading “Stowed Away (A Maine Clambake Mystery #6)”

Cold as Ice (The Country Club Murders #6)

Cold as Iceby Julie Mulhern

Kindle, Paperback, 268 pages
Published October 17th 2017
4.5 Stars

 

My Review: I love this series that takes place in the 70s. If is so wonderful to see families spend time together without cell phones, video games etc. taking the place of face to face communication. Once again, Ellison and her daughter Grace go back and forth from eye rolling to hugs. Having a sixteen year old daughter brings a lot of angst into her life. When Grace goes out to dinner with handsome detective Anarchy Jones, Grace allows Trip, her newest beau and what he things is god’s gift to women, over with a few friends. It quickly turns into a wild party with kids spilling onto the lawn and in every room in the house. When Grace turns Trip down, he finds Dawn, his old girlfriend, whom he uses for what he wants. When the police are called, Ellison and Anarchy head to the house where Ellison is shocked to see what is going on. She hopes this will wise up her lovely daughter to Trip, but she does not want to forbid their relationship. Fast forward to Ellison finding Trip’s mother dead a few days later at the Country Club. Add in some financial worries, embezzling, the usual partying and drinking of the Country Club set, and you are in for a delightful story.

Ellison has this unique ability to stumble or be in the immediate area when dead bodies are found, and this story has her find two. She is a pretty together lady most of the time. She is taking care of her daughter, trying to date and decide who to date, is an accomplished artist and in this book gets involved in a situation at the bank that was left to her daughter by her dead ex-husband. She has her moments with “Mr. Coffee” her sounding board, but is quite a strong woman. I admire her guts, brains and even her parenting skills. Grace is your typical sixteen year old. She thinks her mother is old fashioned and doesn’t really know what it is like to be a teenager. Between rolling her eyes and slamming doors, she really is listening to what her mother says and makes pretty good decisions for the the most part. The typical first love scenario where her heart is broken then miraculously healed, only to be broken again is well handled. I love how she deals with the attempted suicide of a classmate. Anarchy is wonderful. He cares for Ellison and deals with her foibles well. He worries about her investigating crimes and that she will be injured. He does get frustrated when he feels she is interfering with his investigation though. I really want these two to get together. I think they are real good for each other. This was quick read, I didn’t want to go to bed last night until I finished. This is a mystery with a lot of humor and family drama thrown in for good measure. Thanksgiving Dinner will have you laughing and praying that you never have one like it. This is a wonderful addition to the series and if you are a cozy mystery lover, especially where there is also humor, you will love this one. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “Cold as Ice (The Country Club Murders #6)”

The Fifth Letter

The Fifth Letterby Nicola Moriarty

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 24th 2017 by William Morrow
4 Stars

My Review: Joni, Deb, Trina & Eden have all been friends since the first day of high school. Joni brought the group together when the teacher made a comment about them all being born under the same sign. Joni actively sought each girl out and their group began. While growing up they were pretty much inseparable and shared everything as well as helping each other deal with things. In the book which is narrated by Joni, they are 30 and she is worried about them drifting apart. She has planned a girl’s weekend in a beach house. Because they have not shared their lives as much, with marriage and children happening, Joni suggests they each write a letter, not signed, sharing a secret. They will read the letters and offer solutions to the anonymous writer. This, Joni hopes, will rekindle the closeness they once felt. The letter sharing doesn’t go according to plan and when Joni finds a fifth letter that one of them wrote and tried to destroy, she embarks on a journey to determine who wrote the letter and would the person who wrote it follow through on what they put in it.

I enjoyed this book. The story flowed well and I rushed through it once I got about half way. It did start a bit slow, but got better as it went on. The story is told though flash backs and stories from their youth as well as what is going on in the present. The flashbacks help the reader to understand the friendship and personalities of the women. Of course, does anyone really know everyone’s secrets? I really wanted these women to work everything out as their friendship seemed so important to who they were, but as Joni says in the book, “Maybe you’re not suppose to stay friends with people from high school for so long after school. Maybe it just doesn’t work.” There were times that I really liked each character, and times where I didn’t. Joni seemed to be rather bullying and bossy at times, then you could see that this was a role foisted upon her by the others. Parts of this book were humorous, parts serious, and parts sad, which is exactly how life works. Throughout the story, I was constantly trying to figure out, who wrote that fifth letter. I recommend this book to anyone who likes women’s fiction, human drama with a bit of mystery to it.

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Free Spirits: The Story of Jack Ruffin and the Underground Railroad

Free Spirits: The Story of Jack Ruffin and the Underground Railroadby Grant Simpson

Kindle Edition, 308 pages
Published June 25th 2017 by Vicksburg Press
4 Stars

My Review: This is a great story about the Underground Railroad. Over the years I have read many books dealing with this subject, some very vividly descriptive of the horror and others geared for a much younger audience. This book would be a good one for anyone over the age of 15 or 16. The characters working for the Underground Railroad vary from escaped slaves and freemen, to doctors, teachers, lawyers and simple farmers. The idea that even if the slaves were treated well, they were still prisoners emanates from this story. Of course the risks that both the slaves and those helping them escape took were immense and it could cost them both their lives. The fact that the females were okay to have relations with, but the children resulting from this were not only their offspring but still their property to sell or do what they wanted with. The main character of Jack Ruffin was an interesting character and of course this could actually have happened. He was actually 1/8 negro so could pass easily for white, especially with his adoptive parents being white and very respected in the community. He wasn’t as strong physically as some of those he rescued, but he certainly was determined and loyal to the cause. Tracker, a freed black man was also integral to the story as well as Grace. You will see some famous names in this story as they also believed in the Underground Railroad. Overall, a very good story with a lot of details that were well researched. This would make a wonderful book to be read in a junior high classroom studying this period in time. A book that everyone should read to learn about this terrible time in history. I received a copy of this book via Netgalley to read. The comments are my own honest review.

Continue reading “Free Spirits: The Story of Jack Ruffin and the Underground Railroad”

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