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False Account–family entitlement

False Account

by Veronica Heley

False AccountBea Abbot is the owner of the Abbot Domestic Agency and has a talent and good reputation for choosing honest, hard working domestic employees and matching them up with suitable employers. In this mystery she is approached by the very wealthy Tredgolds, an elderly mother and her quite unlikeable daughter, to replace several employees.  Initially Bea wants to have nothing to do with them, but so many things seem out of whack that she decides to help. Two cats have been killed and several staff members dismissed for criminal behaviors. Mrs. Tredgold is a mystery herself appearing at times to be weak and at other times manipulative. 

The plot of False Account by Veronica Heley is complicated and fast moving. More crimes occur, some putting Bea, her ex-husband Piers, and her ward Bernice in danger. Mrs. Tredgold’s family spends money as if there is a never ending supply and have developed a strong sense of entitlement which makes them unpleasant to be around. There are many surprises as the plot unwinds over the course of several chapters resulting in a quite satisfying conclusion.

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

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #12 in the Bea Abbot Agency Mystery Series. It could be read as a standalone, but would probably be enjoyed more having read others in the series. I have read 6 out of the 12 in the series, and there has never been a problem in keeping up with the characters.

Publication:   April 1, 2019—Severn House

Memorable Lines:

Someone clunked a mug down on Bea’s bedside table. She realized it was time to wake up. She didn’t want to wake up. She might not have her eyes open yet but she already knew that a large black cloud was hanging over the day. 

“The thing is, you can’t stop people being stupid, can you?”

“Is that bacon you’re cooking? I was thinking of going vegetarian but maybe I won’t start just yet.”

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The Year of Starting Over: A Feel-Good Novel about Second Chances and Finding Yourself. 

The Year of Starting Over

by Karen King

The Year of Starting OverI don’t know any honest person who won’t admit, at least to themselves, that there is something that they wish they had done differently. Since there are no “do-overs” in life, I am grateful for second chances and that is what The Year of Starting Over is all about. Its subtitle is A Feel-Good Novel about Second Chances and Finding Yourself. 

In Karen King’s novel, Holly is confronted with both the need and opportunity to hit the reset button on her life when it becomes apparent her relationship with boyfriend Scott will never lead to the type of loving marriage her Nanna and Pops enjoyed. Her job as a care assistant for the elderly is not the path to fulfillment for Holly as an artist. Holly is left money by her Pops giving her a chance to change those circumstances and begin living for herself. 

Holly has to sort through relationships as she reinvents herself in this gentle romance. She travels from England to Spain to help her friends, Fiona and Pedro, establish an artists’ retreat. With an adventure in another country, the interesting characters, and a female lead who steps out of her comfort zone, you may well be pleasantly reminded of Under the Tuscan Sun. The plots play out differently, but the feel-good aura is present in both.

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

Rating: 4/5

Category: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Publication:   February 7, 2019—Bookouture

Memorable Lines:

Although her family had always praised her designs, Scott had dismissed it as her “hobby” and had never taken much interest.

Holly felt frustrated as she listened to them, wishing she knew the language better. She’d improved since she’d started taking lessons with Felipe, but not enough to understand conversations, especially when they spoke so quickly.

Her family had been pretty poor, he knew that from what she’d told him, but they’d been happy. His family were rich by comparison, but there was no closeness between them.

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.

Where the Fire Falls–Yosemite National Park

Where the Fire Falls

by Karen Barnett

Where the Fire FallsThemes abound in Karen Barnett’s work of historical fiction, set in Yosemite National Park, and they intertwine and work together well. In Where the Fire Falls, the Park itself almost seems like a character as it and its God-created beauty are central to the book. The novel has the Christian focus of man’s relationship with God through His grace. The two main characters have pasts they are struggling to both hide and overcome: Olivia, a rising watercolor artist, and Clark, a former pastor and currently a guide for tourists who want to mule pack into the wilderness.

The main characters are likable and the plot is surprisingly complex with some chaste romance throughout. Supporting characters include socialite patrons, an art agent, rangers at the park, other workers at Yosemite, a hermit, and Olivia’s two younger sisters and her Aunt Phyllis. Olivia has to overcome fears of the past, her inexperience with the outdoors, and her own naiveté. She has to peel off the mask she has created as a shield for herself and as a tool to promote herself in the art world. Clark seeks God’s guidance and direction but is unable to hear it because he feels unworthy.

The descriptions in this book are so well written that I can imagine standing at the various scenic spots as I am taken in by the beauty. Likewise, I can almost picture Olivia’s priceless watercolors that attempt to evoke an emotional response rather than provide a realistic depiction.

I enjoyed this book even more than the first in the series as the plot held more puzzles and surprises. The characters in the two books do not overlap so each actually is a standalone. It is my hope that the author will continue the Vintage National Park Series with new characters in a different national park.

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

Rating: 5/5

Category: Historical Fiction, Christian

Notes : A Vintage National Parks Novel

 

Publication:   June 5, 2018—WaterBrook (Random House)

Memorable Lines:

The impulsive decision now hung on her like a dress two sizes too large.

“Scripture says faith can move mountains, but I’ve found time spent in the mountains sometimes moves us toward faith.”

“God saved up the best bits of creation and spent them here.” Viewing it from this angle, she could almost imagine a divine artist smiling as He carved the valley away from the giant monoliths.

Dis-grace is a human term, Clark. God invented grace. No one can take it from you.”

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