education pathways

Badges

Professional Reader 80% Reviews Published 2016 NetGalley Challenge 25 Book Reviews

Goodreads

Advertisements

Night of Miracles–tales of sweetly intertwined lives

Night of Miracles

by Elizabeth Berg

Night of MiraclesOne of the most interesting things in the world is people. Elizabeth Berg created a gentle, touching world in The Story of Arthur Truluv. Then she expanded on the core characters, adding more characters that tie into one another in Night of Miracles. The chapters are short; the novel is a character driven set of tales of common people living out their interesting lives looking for meaning in the everyday circumstances and the extraordinary ones.

Arthur Truluv’s legacy of calmness and kindness lives on in the family he adopted. His neighbor Lucille’s legacy is the culinary wisdom she imparts during an age of “fast” everything. Neighbors Jason and Abby learn the importance of living in the present. Tiny and Monica learn to share the love that has been in front of them all along. The chapters bounce back and forth from one storyline to the next. This is one of those stories I had to keep reading. I read the last of the book with tissue in hand, not because it is tragic, but because there is sweet sadness in knowing that life keeps progressing toward an inevitable conclusion and we can find happiness by reaching out to share life with others.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Random House for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Women’s Fiction

Notes: For those who enjoyed The Story of Arthur Truluv, this is not a sequel in the traditional sense. It takes a few of the characters from that book and builds a story around them. Although it could happen, I wouldn’t expect any more stories in this line. From my perspective the story has been told.

Publication:   November 13, 2018—Random House

Memorable Lines:

It was true what they told her on the first day of teachers’ college: you never forget some of your students. For Lucille, it was the cut-ups she could never keep from laughing at, the dreamers she had to keep reeling back into the classroom, and little Danny Matthews, with his ragged heart of gold.

At least Link loves to read. There’s always hope when a kid—or an adult, for that matter—likes to read.

All those years, and not one person that she had truly opened up to, or kept up with. Probably she expected her husband to be everything to her when it wasn’t his place to do that, even if he wanted to or could. Another thing she regrets: having made him feel that he was failing her when she was the one failing herself.

Advertisements

Reason to Doubt–stopping a serial killer

Reason to Doubt

by Nancy Cole Silverman

Reason to DoubtIn Reason to Doubt, Carol Childs, a forty year old divorced mother of two works as an investigative reporter for a small southern CA talk radio station. She is currently involved in trying to find the serial killer known as Model Slayer because of his choice of victims and his trademarks at the crime scene. This investigation takes Carol into some seedy places and dangerous situations. It also puts her in direct conflict with her daughter Cate at the same time she is trying to prove Cate’s boyfriend’s innocence. She finds herself in conflict with the official investigation as she protects her confidential sources.

The plot is complicated and although the crimes are solved, the psychological motivation is hinted at but not specified. At times it feels like the investigation is circular, not really going anywhere. Cate is a major driver of the storyline, but she is not well developed. What I knew of her, I didn’t like; she is immature and selfish. On the positive side, she does  stand up for the person she believed in, but she could be a poster child for a “love is blind” movement. The ending is a surprise because it is not a conclusion you would expect from Carol’s research, but I had my suspicions about that character from the time of his introduction into the plot. Despite those criticisms, I did like the book and would recommend it.

I would like to extend my thanks to Edelweiss and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #5 in the Carol Childs Mystery Series

Publication:  November 6, 2018—Henery Press

Memorable Lines:

As a reporter, it was my job to take what a confidential informant gave me, verify that information with a second and third source, and report it. If word got out a reporter had rolled over and given up to the police what information had been given to us in confidence, that reporter would be burned and the station toast.

I had reported on enough police investigations to know how overworked many LAPD detectives were and how easy it was to coerce a nervous witness. Under the right circumstances, people confessed to all kinds of things.

Tyler didn’t have to tell me reporters who squealed to the police about their confidential sources and what they told them would be out of luck when it came to finding another job. Sources wouldn’t trust them, and potential employers had a pool of fresh young talent to choose from as opposed to a reporter who had burned her sources.

A Cold Brew Killing–political aspirations turn deadly

A Cold Brew Killing

by Lena Gregory

A Cold Brew KillingA group of former high school friends converge on their hometown in Florida as two of their number compete for the job of mayor. As all eyes are focused on the politics, one is found murdered in the ice cream shop belonging to Gia’s friend, Trevor. Trevor appears guilty, and Gia wonders if she knew him as well as she thought she did.

If you have read other books in the series, you will remember the regular cast of characters. In A Cold Brew Killing, author Lena Gregory gives more depth to these characters as she reveals some of their background. She also adds many more characters for this storyline. The author boldly dances between plot threads and the importance of characters, intertwining the two into an inseparable and fascinating storyline. Are secrets of the past playing out in the present? How far should one go to keep a secret that protects someone else?

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: 1. #3 in the All-Day Breakfast Café Series, but can be read as a standalone

2. If you are not a coffee drinker or are an old school coffee drinker, you can learn about something new: cold brew coffee!

Publication:   November 6, 2018—Kensington Press (Lyrical Underground)

Memorable Lines:

“I believe there are a few people we meet in our lives who are meant to be a part of something special. Sometimes lasting friends, other times just part of an important event in your life. Either way, I think we recognize those people when our paths cross.”

Her mental to-do list was getting longer and longer. If she didn’t start writing this stuff down somewhere, there was no way she’d remember to do it all. She hadn’t even remembered she was supposed to go away in less than a day.

Sometimes you didn’t need a friend to interfere; sometimes you needed them to stand by while you made a mess of your life, then jump in and help pick up the pieces.

Santa Puppy–sweet Christmas tale with a little mystery

Santa Puppy

by Lynn Cahoon Santa Puppy

Santa Puppy

A short and sweet novella

With a Christmas-grumpy Jill

And her handsome, supportive boyfriend Greg.

Live Christmas trees

Family and friends

A cookie exchange

Older rescue dogs needing a new forever home

Christmas party in support of the animal shelter

A homeless man’s search for the woman of his dreams

And a magical Santa flitting in and out of Jill’s vision.

Merry Christmas to all!


I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: A Tourist Trap Novella with recipe for Russian Tea Cakes appended

Publication: November 6, 2018—Kensington Press (Lyrical Underground)

Memorable Lines:

I reached out and ran my hand over a tree’s needles. They were soft, and the smell that covered my hand was Christmas in a bottle.

For a lot of years, celebrating the holidays just brought on memories of a past we couldn’t recreate. This year, with the addition of friends and loved ones it felt like the holidays again.

“Regrets are just a way of not dealing with today. You can’t change the past, now, can you?”

Thread Herrings–innocent beginning to a deadly plot

Thread Herrings 

by Lea Wait

Thread HerringsHow could a faded and deteriorated needlework piece featuring a coat of arms possibly be the motive for murder? Join Angie as she goes to her first auction with her friend Sarah, an antiques dealer. When Angie buys a large, framed work of needlecraft that others pass over, she is getting more than she bargained for—including trouble and danger.

Thread Herrings’ author Lea Wait delves into the world of auctions, Maine history, and embroidery samplers in this interesting cozy that ties several modern day crimes into a mystery from the 1700’s. Angie, whose business, Mainely Needlepoint, is located in the small coastal town of Haven Harbor has returned to the frigid north from a stint as assistant to a private investigator in Arizona. With that background she takes more chances than perhaps are wise. An appealing setting, a plot with plenty of twists and turns, and characters that are likable wrap up this cozy mystery like a package just waiting to be opened by the reader.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #7 in the Mainely Needlepoint Mystery Series, but works surprisingly well as a standalone

Publication:   October 30, 2018—Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

I was certainly nervous. The haddock I’d eaten for lunch was swimming circles in my stomach.

True, February in Arizona was warm and bright, but nothing was warmer than this room full of friends on a snowy night in Haven Harbor.

Tonight’s snowstorm would only result in four to six inches. (My friends in Arizona would have been freaked out by that much, but in Maine it was only borderline “plowable snow.”) Nothing to worry about.

Killed on Blueberry Hill–murder at the Blueberry Blowout

Killed on Blueberry Hill

by Sharon Farrow

Killed on Blueberry HillOh, yes! I have a new series to add to a favorites list for cozy mysteries. Although I jumped into Sharon Farrow’s Berry Basket Mystery Series with the third book, I had no trouble following the storyline of Killed on Blueberry Hill. At first, given the theme of the book and the series, I was afraid blueberries would be overdone in this book. While they do take center stage as a motif, the emphasis is not forced because the setting is Oriole Point’s Blueberry Blow Out festival. It is, in fact, integral to the plot. Although blueberries are found all through the book, their inclusion is not repetitious because of the variety of ways the theme is used—food, drinks, atmosphere, businesses, costumes, and carnival fun.

The plot of Killed on Blueberry Hill has lots of threads that tie together well…in the end. Along the way they seem contradictory and confusing, pointing a finger at many suspects with plausible motives. This cozy mystery contains a wonderful assortment of characters, but many are not who they seem to be. Secrets and deceptions underlie the festive atmosphere. Marlee is the owner of The Berry Basket, a store in town that sells blueberry products, so she knows the three major producers, all family-run businesses. Her fiancé Ryan is a member of the close-knit Zellar family. Why is he pushing Marlee so hard on the wedding date, selling her family home, and just about every other decision in her life? When the owner of another blueberry farm is murdered on his own carnival ride, who will get the blame? There are several deaths in Oriole County. Who is set to inherit the wealth? This cozy has an exciting, action packed ending and major surprises. Along the way we meet Natasha, the recently widowed Miss Russia, with her delightful accent and choice of words. Not only does she add humor to the book, but she is instrumental in helping Marlee. I don’t know if Natasha will be included in future books in the series, but I hope so. She ramped up the book from 4 stars to 5 for me.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #3 in the Berry Basket Mystery Series, but works well as a standalone. Added to the book are three delicious sounding recipes that were featured in the story—blueberry, of course.

Publication:   October 30, 2018—Kensington Publishing

Memorable Lines:

When I came to a stop in front of the yellow farmhouse, I could almost see my younger pigtailed self on the bottom porch step, eating fresh-picked blueberries from a pail. It seemed a lifetime ago. But also as recent as last month.

“Don’t be such a snob. Not everyone was born with an entire set of silver spoons in their mouth.”

I threw myself into work with such single-minded dedication, Ebenezer Scrooge himself would have given me a raise. And he wouldn’t have needed any visits from ghosts to prompt it.

Murder by the Book–rare books

Murder by the Book

by Lauren Elliott

Murder by the BookIf you are looking for an interesting cozy mystery with lots of crimes and suspects, you will find it in Lauren Elliott’s Murder by the Book. Addison Greyborne, with a background as a researcher of rare books, inherits her aunt’s huge house and large collection of books. Some of the residents of the small town where she decides to open a bookshop are not particularly welcoming, but she finds a friend in Serena who owns the tea shop next to Addie’s bookstore and in Serena’s brother Marc, the police chief.

Addie believes her research skills are similar to those needed for a murder investigation, so when Selena is arrested for murder, Addie decides to get involved. Although I enjoyed the story, there are parts of it that just don’t seem plausible. Addie personally, her shop, and her home are targeted numerous times without anyone being able to identify the mischief makers or their motives—although mysterious vehicles are seen many times. There are also several deaths tied into the plot and a number of suspicious newcomers to the small town that no one suspects until it is too late. The storyline contains too many characters dealing in rare books one way or another for that not to be the motive. Secret compartments, a fun device, abound. Unfortunately that device is overused as is the irritating tendency for other characters to tuck a strand of hair behind Addie’s ear. Serena also overplays her interest in Addie and Marc’s relationship while she is still under suspicion for murder.  In addition, I have to wonder at the number of customers the bookstore maintains day after day and at the ease with which both Addie and Selena can leave their shops unattended or closed any time they feel like it. On the positive side, there are gems of information about rare books tucked into the pages of this cozy. So, recommended? Yes. A terrific cozy? No, but since this is the first in the series, I am willing to give it another try when the next one is published.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #1 in the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery Series

Publication:   October 30, 2018—Kensington Press

Google Translator

%d bloggers like this: