Sunday, May 31, 2015

Review: Making Your Mind Up by Jill Mansell


Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 30th 2006 by Headline Review (first published 2006)               

ISBN: 0755304896 (ISBN13: 9780755304899)                
edition language : English
From Goodreads:

Lottie Carlyle isn't looking for love when she meets her new boss, Tyler Klein. Living in a beautiful cottage with her two adorable - sometimes - kids in an idyllic village in the Cotswolds, on good terms with her ex-husband and with friends all around, she's happy enough with her lot. But Tyler's perfect for Lottie and quickly she falls for him - and he for her. Unfortunately, there's a problem. For reasons that are totally unfair, Lottie's children HATE Tyler. When a rival for Lottie's affections comes on the scene in the shape of charmer Seb, the children adore him, and he's certainly a distraction. But he's not Tyler - and he's not even at all what he seems. Lottie's got a problem - but thanks, in classic Jill Mansell style, to a tobogganing accident and a delicious series of mix-ups, all will be revealed and true love will find a way.

My thoughts:

Ah, another Jill Mansell book; always a fun read and  never a disappointment. Her stories consistently have light  moments along with tender moments and lots of heart. Toss in some humor and what you get is an enjoyable few hours of reading pleasure.

I think it is the characters that are so endearing and the situations they get themselves into that makes for such a fun reading experience. Mansell really gives her characters personality, so much so that they come to life on the page with plenty of scintillating verve. Mansell really knows how to show her characters' feelings and their coping mechanisms for the relationships they're in. I've yet to find one that has let me down.

Making Your Mind Up is a reprint from 2006. Even so, it is still timely and a wonderful piece of women's contemporary fiction.

 For two former reviews of Mansell's books please click on the following links:

You can tell I really like her books! 4****

Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Netgalley/Sourcebooks Landmark  in exchange for my honest opinion.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review: Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway

Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: April 7th 2015 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
ISBN: 0399170804 (ISBN13

The award-winning author of How to Be an American Housewife returns with a poignant story of estranged sisters, forced together by family tragedy, who soon learn that sisterhood knows no limits.

Rachel and Drew Snow may be sisters, but their lives have followed completely different paths.

Married to a wonderful man and a mother to two strong-minded teens, Rachel hasn’t returned to her childhood home since being kicked out by her strict father after an act of careless teenage rebellion. Drew, her younger sister, followed her passion for music but takes side jobs to make ends meet and longs for the stability that has always eluded her. Both sisters recall how close they were, but the distance between them seems more than they can bridge. When their deferential Japanese mother, Hikari, is diagnosed with dementia and gives Rachel power of attorney, Rachel’s domineering father, Killian becomes enraged.

In a rare moment of lucidity, Hikari asks Rachel for a book in her sewing room, and Rachel enlists her sister’s help in the search. The book—which tells the tale of real-life female samurai Tomoe Gozen, an epic saga of love, loss, and conflict during twelfth-century Japan—reveals truths about Drew and Rachel’s relationship that resonate across the centuries, connecting them in ways that turn their differences into assets.

My thoughts: Dilloway has done it again! She captured my attention from the cover; precursor of what was to come - hard, cold, steely image entwined with soft fragile flowers.. The  characters of both caliber found inside . Told from points of views from strong women, one of the twelfth  century Japan and sisters from present day San Diego.

Sisters of Heart and Snow is a wonderful story of family drama, sisterhood/love and motherhood. When Hikari, mother of Rachel and Drew, requested the book, the sisters are somewhat baffled as to the meaning of it all. As time goes by, the sisters begin to empathize with the characters in the book, seeing themselves as either the samurai. Tomoe Gozen or Yamabuchi, housewife and mother.

Both time frames are equally gripping as the women have to deal with life and all it's ups and downs. Not only do they learn a lot about their reticent mother but also a lot about themselves. One thing about Dilloway's books is the fact that the characters stick with me for a long time. I read How to be an American Housewife several years ago and still remember the plot, the characters and how much I liked the book. The same with The Care and Feeding of Roses. Dilloway is an extraordinary author in this respect. I've read hundreds of books since I read Dilloway's first and yet I still remember it while some books I read last week, I can't even remember a single character. This says a lot about the author's ability to capture the reader's attention and make the plot truly memorable. 4****

Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by G.P. Putnam's Sons/Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Review: The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey by Rachel Joyce

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Random House (first published October 7th 2014)

ISBN: 0812996674 (ISBN13: 9780812996678)
edition language: English
I really liked this one. By the author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy fills in the blanks of Queenie's friendship with former co-worker Harold Fry. I read Harold Fry a few years ago and enjoyed that one too. It was a little quirky but I liked the characters and the premise was so unusual; that of a man who hadn't spoken to a woman in twenty years, yet he sets out to walk 600 + miles across England to see her one more time before she dies. Maybe this sounds a little morbid but actually it isn't. I got really caught up in Harold's journey, the intriguing hints at his relationship to his son and wife.

In The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, we learn a lot more about Harold's son and his relationship to Queenie through a letter she is writing to Harold while she waits for him to show up.

I think Rachel Joyce did a fantastic job with her characters and setting. I was very emotionally invested in all of them and enjoyed her writing quite a bit. I think you could read The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy alone but I would recommend reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry first.

Disclosure: A review copy of The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy was provided by Random House/Library Thing in exchange for my honest opinion.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review: The Lost and the Blind by Declan Burke

Hardcover, 240 pages
Expected publication: April 1st 2015 by Severn House Publishers      
ISBN :0727884646 (ISBN13: 9780727884640)
From Goodreads: 
This gripping Irish thriller is an intriguing new departure for comic noir writer Declan Burke."
A dying man, if he is any kind of man, will live beyond the law. The elderly German, Karl Uxkull, was senile or desperate for attention. Why else would he concoct a tale of Nazi atrocity on the remote island of Delphi, off the coast of Donegal? And why now, 60 years after the event, just when Irish-American billionaire Shay Govern has tendered for a prospecting licence for gold in Lough Swilly?
Journalist Tom Noone doesn t want to know. With his young daughter Emily to provide for, and a ghost-writing commission on Shay Govern s autobiography to deliver, the timing is all wrong. Besides, can it be mere coincidence that Karl Uxkull s tale bears a strong resemblance to the first thriller published by legendary spy novelist Sebastian Devereaux, the reclusive English author who has spent the past 50 years holed up on Delphi?
But when a body is discovered drowned, Tom and Emily find themselves running for their lives, in pursuit of the truth that is their only hope of survival.

 My thoughts: For a book that is billed as a thriller, this one just did not do it for me. That's almost strange because I love books set in Ireland and I love conspiracy theories. Nazi characters involvement in a story fascinate me for some bizarre reason. So, all told, this should have been right up my alley. Wrong!

I found the pace excruciatingly slow, the characters not well developed and the thriller bits were somewhat MIA. My attention kept wandering. This type of book should have had me spellbound and riveted to the pages. Sadly, that did not happen.

I hate to write a negative review but honesty is my primary goal This is just MY experience with the book, you however might love it. Sorry, but this one garners the "meh" 2** rating from me.

Declan Burke is a Goodreads author and can be found on his page here

Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Severn House Publishers/Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Review: Meadowlands: A World War I Family Saga by Elizabeth Jeffrey


Hardcover, 224 pages
Expected publication: April 1st 2015 by Severn House Publishers

ISBN: 0727884697 (ISBN13: 9780727884695)
From Goodreads:
The comfortable, upper-class lives of the aristocratic Barsham family are set to change forever with the onset of World War I."
August, 1914. The silver wedding celebrations of Sir George Barsham, MP, and his wife, Lady Adelaide, are overshadowed by the declaration of war with Germany. Over the following months, as the male estate workers head for the Front and the maids disappear to work in the newly-opened munitions factory, the Barsham family s comfortable, aristocratic lifestyle is set to change forever.
Determined to do his bit for King and country, James Barsham enlists as an officer and heads for Flanders, leaving Lady Adelaide s maid Polly devastated. To Lady Adelaide s dismay, her younger daughter Millie learns to drive an ambulance: a most unladylike skill. Meanwhile Millie s sister Gina finds fulfilment in helping the local wives and children, left destitute while their husbands are away fighting.
During the course of the war, with devastating loses, the strength of character of the four Barsham siblings will be tested as never before. They will encounter hardship, danger, heartache and unexpected love.

My Thoughts:. With the popularity of Downton Abby, a historical drama on PBS,it seems there have been quite a few books set during the same WWI timeframe all with all the same "upstairs downstairs" themes and characters seemingly from the same mold. I swear I've read about a butler ironing the newspaper over and over. I still remember Mr. Hudson from Upstairs, Downstairs, ( PBS drama from the 1970's) ironing the newspaper.  So . . . . . .

I started out thinking this was going to be one big clichéd story but then found myself engrossed in the book right away. I was anxious to see what happened with all the  characters especially Polly, James and Gina. I think the author did a credible job with the historical bits and feel of the time, especially the effects of wartime hardship on poor families. It is hard to imagine what those  injured soldiers and their families went through but Ms. Jeffrey really brought these tragic circumstances to life.

Okay, so a few bits were a tad predictable, and yes, Lady Adelaide was more than just a bit annoying, I still enjoyed the book immensely. If you're a fan of romance, family drama, historical/WWI stories or British fiction, this could be the book for you. 4****

Elizabeth Jeffrey was born and grew up in Wivenhoe, the village of her parents and grandparents. Far from being born with a quill in her hand, Elizabeth didn't start serious writing until after her children were born, beginning with short stories - on the premise that not so much paper was wasted if they were rejected! She won first prize in a short story competition run by the Daily Express, which led to an invitation to write for Mills & Boon. This was a useful stepping stone and after publishing five titles for them she moved on to writing historical novels. Her third novel, Cassie Jordan, was short-listed for Angel Prize for East Anglian writers and later The Buttercup Fields (under the title. The Chair Mender,) was short-listed for the very first Catherine Cookson prize. She has written over 15 novels.   Author info from Severn House Publishers website.

Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Severn House Publishers/Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Murder Tightly Knit by Vannetta Chapman

Murder Tightly Knit (Amish Village Mystery #2) 

Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published December 6th 2014 by HarperCollins Publishing

From Goodreads:

"In a town where Amish and Englisch mingle every day, a grisly murder leads to mutual suspicion. Can Amber and Hannah find the killer before fear unravels the community . . . or he strikes again?

Even before she heard of Owen Esch’s death, Hannah Troyer knew something was amiss at The Cat’s Meow yarn shop. The store has been closing at odd times, the ever-dependable Mary isn’t always at her post . . . and an Englisch man h as been seen loitering around back.

Now, as leaves of brown, gold, and orange blanket Middlebury, Indiana, Owen lies dead on the Pumpkinvine Trail. The only clues to the murderer’s identity point in two very different directions—one of them leading right to The Cat’s Meow.

The police call in a federal investigator, but Hannah and Village manager Amber Bowman are in no mood to wait for them to figure out what they already know—that no one from the Amish Village could have killed Owen Esch.

Amber and Hannah will need to work quickly to solve the murder mystery and bring harmony back to the Amish community."

My thoughts: Even though my first love in reading is a good mystery, in the last few years I have become very enamored of Amish fiction. Mix the two together and you have a winner! One of the best writers of this genre is Vannetta Chapman. She does both equally well.

One mark of a good mystery writer is the inclusion of several viable suspects and Chapman is quite adept at this. Of her six mysteries I have read, all of them have enough red herrings and suspects to keep the reader guessing. Isn't this the fun of reading a whodunit?

Murder Tightly Knit is the second book in the series. Readers do not need to have read the first, although I would recommend it as it was a very enjoyable read. Either book can stand alone. A very enjoyable read earning the 4**** rating from me.

Vannetta Chapman is the author of numerous works of Christian fiction featuring members of the Amish community. For more information, visit her at or blog with her at She can also be found at

Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by HarperCollins/NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review: The Unexpected Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell


Paperback, 432 pages
Expected publication: February 3rd 2015 by Sourcebooks Landmark

original title: The Unexpected Consequences of Love
ISBN: 1492602086 (ISBN13: 9781492602088)
From Goodreads:

Sophie has no interest in finding love. But what happens when love finds her?

Sophie Wells is a successful photographer with a focus on putting the past firmly behind her. When Josh Strachan returns to the seaside town of Cornwall from the States to run his family's hotel, he can't understand why the fun, sexy girl has zero interest in letting him-or any man for that matter-into her life. He also can't understand how he's been duped into employing Sophie's impulsive friend Tula, whose crush on him is decidedly unrequited. Both girls remain mum about the reasons behind Sophie's indifference to love. But that doesn't mean Josh is going to quit trying...
My thoughts : I have never read a Jill Mansell book that I didn't care for. I think I've read just about every book she has written and I've loved them all, a few more than others, but still they are all enjoyable reads. One of Mansell's strong points is her ability to write with her heart and still inject some (okay, lots) of humor into the situations. Every story has more than just a few "laugh out loud" moments. Some of the situations her characters get into just make me chuckle as they are so easy to imagine. Mansell is extremely adroit at bringing farce to life.

In her latest, The Unexpected Consequences of Love, several of the characters find out that love endures even when you think it's not possible. The main character, Sophie, tries to shut off her emotions after a bad situation with her ex-husband but she finds this is not as easy to do as she first thought. I really liked Dot, the older character, who learns that age is not immune to love nor is it as easy to forego especially when a fluke incident puts someone's life is in danger.

I really enjoyed Mansell's book and would highly recommend her to anyone who likes chick-lit, humorous British fiction or contemporary romance. There's something for everyone in her books! 4****

Jill Mansell, author of numerous books, can be found on her page.

Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Sourcebooks/Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Read in 2015

Here is where I plan to keep a record of books read and to be read. Once I finish the book it will be rated. If there is no rating, it means I just want to read that book in that month.
Ratings criteria or what I call the "put down, pick up factor":
  • 1* put it down and leave it down, couldn't stand it, best used as a paperweight, doorstop or kindling.
  • 2* meh, could take it or leave it but mostly leave it. I could put it down and not care if I picked it up again or not
  • 3* okay enjoyable read, although I liked it, I could put it down easily and not rush back to continue
  • 4* I really liked this one, I could put it down but reluctantly and was anxious to get back to it
  • 5* Loved it! Couldn't put it down and if I absolutely had to ( if something was on fire or flooding) I couldn't wait to get back to it.

  1. Wrapped in Death and Chocolate by C.S. Patra (kindle) 1*
  2. The Unexpected Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell (NG)  4****
  3. The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin (ccls/digital) 4****
  4. Amish Summer by Kristina Ludwig (kindle) 1.5*
  5. Careless in Red by Elizabeth George (pb) 3***
  6. The Red Rooster  by Michael Wallace  (kindle) 4****
  7. Blackbird, Fly by Lise McLendon (kinde) 3.5***
  8. Eggs in a Casket by Laura Childs? (kindle) 3***
  9. A Whole New Light by Sandra Brown (pb) 2**
  10. The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro  (nook) $1.93 4****
  11. The Siren of Paris by David Leroy  (kindle ) 3***
  12. Dead Before Morning by Geraldine Evans (pb) 4****
  13. Out Cold by William Tapply 3.5***
  14. My Heart Remembers by Kim Vogel Sawyer  (nook) 3***
  15. Midnight Promises by Sherryl Woods (pb) 4****
  16. Murder Tightly Knit by Vannetta Chapman (NG) 3*
  17. To the Grave by Steve Robinson (kindle) 4****
  18. A Mind to Murder by P.D. James 3***
  19. The Bartender's Tale by Ivan Doig (ccls bk club sel March)
  20. A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin (pb) 4****
  21. Lisette's List by Susan Vreeland (ccls/digital) 3***
  22. Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand (ccls/digital) 4****
  23. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen (ccls) 4****

    1. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (ccls/digital) 4***
    2. Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (pb) 3.5***
    3. War Brides by Helen Bryan 4**** $.99
    4. Riptide by Paul Levine  (kindle ) 3.5*
    5. The Mazovia Legacy by Michael Rose (kindle) 4****
    6. How to Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman (pb) 2**
    7. Meadowlands by Elizabeth Jeffreys  (NG) 4****
    8. Valentined by Patricia Rockwell  (kindle ) 3***
    9. Legally Dead by Edna Buchanan (hc) 4****
    10. Trial by Fire by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg (hc) 4****
    11. The Lost and the Blind by Declan Burke (NG) 2.5**
    12. Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews (ccls/audio) 3***
    13. A Change of Heart by Beth Wiseman (ccls/digital) 3.5***
    14. Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend by Robert James Waller (hc) 3***
    15. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (ILL) 3***
    16. Tall, Dark and Deadly by Heather Graham (pb) 3.5***
    17. Shadows on the Nile by Kate Furnivall (ILL)
    18. Under the Hill by Sheila Connolly (kindle)
    19. My Favorite Corpse by Kathy Carmichael (kindle)
    20. Chef Maurice and the Rather Fishy Tale by J.A. Lang (kindle)
    21. Waking Kate by Sarah Addison Allen (kindle)

    1. The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce (LT) 4****
    2. Roasted in Christmas River by Meg Muldoon (kindle)3***
    3. The Big Bad City by Ed McBain (hc) 4****
    4. Blood Magick by Norah Roberts (ccls/digital) 2**
    5. Amish Love of a Lifetime by Sadie Palmer (kindle) 2**
    6. The Hidden Man by David Ellis (arc) 4****
    7. A Neighbor in Need by Melanie Schmidt (kindle) 3***
    8. Snapdragon Murder by Carol Lee (kindle) 2.5**
    9. Warsaw by Richard Foreman (kindle) 3.5***
    10. A Murder Moist Foul by Carol Durand  (kindle ) 3*
    11. A Bicycle Built for Murder by Karen Kingsbury (kindle) 3.5***
    12. The Day After Tomorrow by Alan Folsom 3***
    13. Tanglewood Plantation by Jocelyn Miller (kindle) 3.5*** $.99
    14. Murder by the Fool by Heather Stone (kindle) 3***
    15. Too Near the Edge by Lynn Osterkamp (nook) 1*
    16. Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith (nook) 3***
    17. The Heart of Justice by William Coughlin (hc) 3***
    18. A Perfect Love by Melanie Schmidt (kindle) 1*
    19. Foreclosed by Tracy Tyne Hilton (kindle) 2**
    20. Mercy  by Jean Brashear (pb) 3***
    21. Death is in the Air by Kate Kingsbury (ILL/pb) 3.5***
    22. Still Life in Brunswick Stew by Larissa Reinhart (kindle) 3*** $.99
    23. The Woman Next Door by Barbara Delinsky (pb)  3.5***
    24. Partners in Crime by Gallagher Gray (kindle) 3.5***
    25. Fatal Burn by Lisa Jackson (pb) 4****
    26. Sins of a Nation by Don McGraw (nook) 3.5***
    27. At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks (pb) 3.5***
    28. Death Cakes by Maggie Hunter (kindle) 1*
    29. First Impressions by Norah Roberts (pb) 3***
    1. For Whom Death Tolls by Kate Kingsbury (ILL) 4****
    2. Blithe Images by Norah Roberts (pb) 4****
    3. Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway  (NG ) 4****
    4. Romeo's Tells by William Neubauer (Spring Challenge) ( kindle ) 3.5***
    5. The Far Side of the Sun by Kate Furnivall  (ccls) 4****
    6. Going, Going, Ganache by Jenn MacKinlay (ccls) 3.5***
    7. In Their Blood by Sharon Potts (kindle) 4****
    8. Seaside Secrets by Cindy Bell (kindle) 2**
    9. Dying to Read by Lorena McCourtney  (kindle) 3***
    10. Charity Begins with Murder by Annie McDowell (kindle) 3***
    11. Just the Way You Are by Barbara Freethy  (kindle) 4**** $1.99
    12. One Wish by Robyn Carr (ccls) 4****
    13. The Floating Girl by Sujata Massey (pb) 3***
    14. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (ccls) 3.5***
    15. Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett  (ccls/digital) 3***
    1. Night of the Storm by Lindsay Townsend (kindle)  2.5**
    2. The Race by Richard North Patterson ( pb) 4****
    3. Death of a Dapper Snowman  by Angela Pepper  (kindle) 3***
    4. Making up your Mind by Jill Mansell  (kindle) (NG) 3***
    5. Warm Hearts by Barbara Delinsky (pb) 1*
    6. Grey Areas by Brad Carl (suspense) (kindle) 2**
    7. Ruthlessness, Revenge and Raspberry Cheesecake by Alison Janda (kindle) 2**
    8. Scorpion House by Maria Hudgens (kindle) 3***
    9. Murder to Go by Chloe Kendrick (kindle) 3***
    10. Poland by James Michener (pb) 4****
    11. Corpse Way by Susan Parry  (kindle) 4****
    1. Death Cart by Susan Parry (kindle) 3***
    2. Widows by Ed McBain (pb) 4****
    3. Grave Hand by Susan Parry (kindle) 4****
    4. The Fifth Angel by Tim Green (pb) 4****
    5. Out of Darkness by Ruth Price (bk 1-4) (nook) 2**
    6. Who Murdered Mr. Malone? By Hope Callaghan  (kindle ) 3***
    7. Twisted  Creek by Jodie Thomas  (kindle ) 2**
    8. Slated for Death by Elizabeth J. Duncan (ccls) 4**** 
    9. A Week at the Lake by Wendy Wax (pb) 4****
    10. Christmas at the Beach by Wendy Wax  (kindle) 4****
    11. Murderous Muffins by Lois Lavrisa (kindle) 2**
    12. Aunt  Dimity and the Summer King by Nancy Atherton  (ccls/digital) 3***
    13. Deadly Wedding by Robyn Bridges (kindle) 2**
    14. Deadly Bridesmaids by Robyn Bridges (kindle) 2**
    15. Deadly Vacation by Robyn Bridges (kindle) 2**
    16. Murder at Zero Hour by Paul Westwood (nook) 2.5**
    17. The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths  (ccls) 4****
    18. Death Pays a Visit by Elizabeth Spann  Craig  (kindle )
    19. The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai  (pb) 2**
    20. The Point of Death: An Austin, Texas art mystery by Roslyn Woods (kindle) 3***
    21. An Accidental Shroud: A Gil Mayo Mystery by Marjorie Eccles (kindle) 4****
    22. Mistaken  Identity by Lisa Scottoline  (pb) 4****
    23. A Lancaster Amish Storm by Mindy Starns Clark  (nook) 2** 
    24. Lillies on Daybreak Pond  By Mindy Starns Clark  (nook) 2**
    25. A Touch of Gold by Jim & Joyce LaVerne (pb) 3***
    26. Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews (ccls/digital) 4****
    27. Unspeakable by Sandra Brown (pb) 4****

    1. All the Single Ladies/ Frank, Dorothea Benton  (ccls/digital) 3.5***
    2. Broken by Karin Slaughter (pb) 3***
    3. Funerals are Fatal (After the Funeral) by Agatha Christie (hc) 3***
    4. An  Lancaster Anish Sketch Book by Ruth Price (kindle) 3***
    5. Killer Wedding Cake by Gayle Trent (kindle) 4****  $.99
    6. The Labors of Hercules by Agatha Christie (hc) 3***
    7. Art of a Jewish Woman: True Story of How a Penniless Holocaust Escapee Became an Influential Modern Art Connoisseur by Henry N. Massie (kindle) 2**
    8. Scoop by Kit Frazier  3.5***
    9. Irresistible Impulse by Robert K. Tanenbaum (pb) 4****
    10. Murder on Thames by Matthew Costello (Cherringham cozy bk 1) (kindle) 3.5***
    11. Undue Influence by Steve Martini (pb) 4****
    12. Killer Cupcakes by Jan Stevens (kindle) 2**
    13. Glass House by Patrick Reinken (nook) 3***
    14. Lancaster Amish Storm by Ruth Price ( nook ) $.99
    15. (The) Full Cup of Murder by Ruby Jones  (kindle) 2**
    16. The Shadow of Death by Ruth Price  (kindle ) 2**
    17. Death of a Crafty Knitter by Angela Pepper (kindle) 3***
    18. Felony Fruitcake by Linda Kozar (kindle) ( 47 pages) 2**
    19. Murder at Claira's Coffee Shop by Jan Stevens (kindle) 2**
    20. The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer (ccls) (kindle) 3.5***
    21. Mistletoe and Murder by Lawrence Rotch (kindle) 4****
    22. Double Tap by Steve Martini (pb) 4****
    1. Murder in Bermuda by Penelope Sotheby (kindle) 2**
    2. Clambake Murder by Summer Prescott (kindle) 3.5***
    3. Ruth's Story by Melanie Schmitt (kindle) 3***
    4. The Kill by Allison Brennan (pb)  4****
    5. Exit Stage Left by Adam Croft (nook) 3***
    6. The Ghostway by Tony Hillerman (pb) 3***
    7. The French Pastry Murder by Leslie Meier (ccls) 4****
    8. An Uncollected Death by Meg Wolfe  (kindle ) 3.5***
    9. The Blood of an Englishman by M.C. Beaton (ccls/digital) 3.5***
    10. The Murder Pit by Jeff Shelby (kindle) 3.5***
    11. Killer Tiramisu by S.Y. Robins  (kindle) 2**
    12. Chocolate Pie Murder by Tom Soule (kindle )  1*
    13. Frozen Scoop of Murder by Constance Barker  (kindle ) 3***
    14. Total Recall by Sara Paretsky (pb) 2**
    15. Death of an Old Git by Andrea Frazer  (kindle ) 4****
    16. Cream Pie Murderous Intent by Tom Soule (kindle) 1*
    17. Brutal Brulee by Leighann Dobbs (kindle) 2**
    18. Lancaster County Second Chances by Ruth Price (kindle) 3***
    19. Skeleton Key by Robert Richardson ( kindle ) 3***
    20. Death by Chocolate Sundae by Constance Barker (kindle) 3***
    21. Hotcake Homicide by Anisa Clare West (kindle) 2**
    22. All Booked by Terri Curran (kindle) 2**
    23. Portrait of a Murder by Kerry J. Charles (kindle) 3***
    24. Ice Cream & Murder by Jennifer Martin (kindle) 2**
    25. A Body in  the Backyard by Elizabeth Spann Craig ( kindle ) 3***
    26. Playing for the Ashes by Elizabeth George (pb)  3***
    27. Death of a Second Wife by Maria Hudgens (kindle) 3***
    28. Murder  Souffle by Alexa Cookstown (kindle ) 2**
    29. (A) Spirited Tail by Leighann Dobbs (kindle) $.99 
    30. Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman (pb) 3***

    1. Don't Go Home by Caroline Hart (ccls/digital) 
    2. Unburied Dead by Douglas Lindsay (Autumn challenge )
    3. After the Storm by Linda Castillo  (ccls/digital) On hold 5/25/15
    4. Watches of the Night by Sally Wright (kindle)
    5. First There is a River by Kathy Steffen (kindle)
    6. Waiter, There's a Clue in my Soup by Camille Laguire?
    7. The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand  (ccls/digital) On Hold
    8. A Shiver at Twilight by Erica Quinn (kindle)
    9. Diners, Dives and Deadends by Terri L. Austin (kindle) $.99
    10. Druids Daughter by Jean Hart Stewart (kindle)
    11. The Emperor Of Ocean Park  by Stephen Carter (pb)
    12. No Sin in the House of Death by Tim M. Raymond (kindle)
    13. In this Hospitable Land by Lynmar Brock  Jr. (kindle)  $.87
    14. A Plot to Die For by C.A. Larmer  (kindle) $.99
    15. Bubba and the Missing Woman by C.L Bevill (kindle) $.99
    16. Revolutionary tax 
    17. N

    1. There Must be Murder by Margaret C. Sullivan (autumn challenge N11)

    1. Patricia Davids Brides of Amish Country/An Amish Christmas/The Christmas Quilt/A Hope Springs Christmas by Patricia Davids 570 pgs
    2. An Unlawful Order by Carver Green  (autumn challenge k12)
    3. Murder at Zero Hour by Paul Westwood  (autumn challenge k11)
    1. An Appalachian Christmas by Irene Brand (kindle) $.99 (pt of Love Finds you under the Mistletoe)
    2. A Marriage Carol by Chris Fabry, Gary Chapman (kindle)(Christmas story)
    3. Not a Suspicious Death by Amanda Glen  (kindle12) (autumn challenge )
    4. December Dread by Jess Louery (kindle)


          Saturday, December 27, 2014

          Review: The Amber Keeper by Freda Lightfoot

          Paperback, 384 pages

          Published December 1st 2014 by Lake Union Publishing

          ISBN: 1477826157 (ISBN13: 9781477826157)                

          From Goodreads:
          Set against the backdrop of revolutionary Russia, The Amber Keeper is a sweeping tale of jealousy and revenge, reconciliation and forgiveness.
          English Lake District, 1960s: A young Abbie Myers returns home after learning of her mother’s death. Estranged from her turbulent family for many years, Abbie is heartbroken to hear that they blame her for the tragedy.
          Determined to uncover her mother’s past, Abbie approaches her beloved grandmother, Millie, in search of answers. As the old woman recounts her own past, Abbie is transported back to the grandeur of the Russian Empire in 1911 with tales of her grandmother’s life as a governess and the revolution that exploded around her.
          As Abbie struggles to reconcile with her family, and to support herself and her child, she realizes that those long-ago events created aftershocks that threaten to upset the fragile peace she longs to create.

          My thoughts: For some reason, Tsarist Russia has always fascinated me so I really liked this time frame and dual perspectives as told by Abbie in the 1960's and Millie in 1911. Ms. Lightfoot's excellent characterizations, sense of place and historical feel made this a wonderful read.

          Although, I did like Millie' s story of her time in Russia  a tad better than Abbie's, they were both very good. There were some characters you could love and hate which made for a good balance in the storyline. The family ties and old hurts were well done. I could actually empathize with the characters. Along with Millie's past story and Amber's present day story, there was a plot line fraught with mystery and danger. It all came together with a fine cohesiveness. My attention never wavered and I even learned something about amber along the way. 4****

          Ms. Lightfoot is the author of numerous historical fiction books and is a Goodreads author. She can be found on her page at Goodreads.

          Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Lake Union Publishing/Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

          Saturday, December 6, 2014

          Review: Farewell to Cedar Key by Terri DuLong

          From Goodreads: "

          Josie Sullivan adores her Cedar Key home. It's been the ideal place to raise her daughter, Orli, who's just turning sixteen. Now that Josie has realized her dream of becoming a registered nurse, she's been offered the perfect job too--helping Dr. Simon Mancini run his new practice.

          Until the clinic opens, Josie is filling in at Yarning Together, where she launches a series of knitting classes for men. Yet for all the vibrant changes, there are some tangled threads. Josie's romance-author mother, Shelby, receives a worrying diagnosis. And though Josie has always guarded her independence, her connection to Orli's father, Grant, seems to be rekindling. Most of all, as Shelby's college classmates rally around their dear friend, Josie begins to see that "home" is more than a place;it's the relationships woven into each life, strand by strand"

          My thoughts: I have yet to read a Terri DuLong book that I didn't like. All her characters  in the Cedar Key series are wonderful. Right away they  become like dear friends. It is so easy to get caught up in their day to day lives and living through all their heartaches and joys right along with them.  I love the realistic dialogue also.

          Even though these Stories are fiction, there is always a theme or an issue that needs to be dealt with. In Farewell to Cedar Key, the theme/issue is one of the main characters, Shelby, has been diagnosed with uterine cancer. At first she tried to ignore her "twinges" but after some dedicated nagging by her daughter she finally sought some help.

            Having gone through the same experience myself, I can testify that Ms. DuLong handled this perfectly; the initial fear, coming to grips with the diagnosis and the aftermath of treatment. All her characters support each other at every turn.

          Although this is the last book in the series, I am confident Ms. DuLong's next book/series will be just as wonderful as Cedar Key has been. Any books in the series can be read as a stand-alone but I would suggest reading from the beginning as they are all wonderfully entertaining and heart felt.

          Terri DuLong is a Goodreads author and can be found on her page, on her Facebook page or on her website.

          Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by the author, Terri DuLong  in exchange for my honest opinion.