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A Highlander Walks Into a Bar–romance in Highland, Georgia

A Highlander Walks Into a Bar

by Laura Trentham

A Highlander Walks Into a BarWhen your mom goes to Scotland and brings home a surprise, you don’t expect it to be a handsome Highlander…or that a younger version will follow. These two men, Gareth and Alasdair, along with Rose and Izzy (Isabel) are the main characters in A Highlander Walks Into a Bar by Laura Trentham. The setting is not Cairndow, home of the Blackmoor family, but Highland, Georgia, where Rose and Izzy try to keep their beloved Stonehaven, as well as the entire town of Highland, solvent through a Scottish festival every summer. The secrets the characters keep to themselves, even as their intimacy as couples grows, make for some uncomfortable and humorous situations. They all wonder, as does the reader, how there can ever be a positive outcome for the two couples given their respective responsibilities an ocean away from each other. There is resolution, of course, but the book ends with an epilogue that can obviously segue into another tale involving the same characters and a new one. Lots of potential fun lies in store for readers of this new series. 

I would like to extend my thanks to Carla (https://carlalovestoread.wordpress.com) and to St. Martin’s Paperbacks for gifting me with this book. I won this book in an online raffle after reading Carla’s review which you can enjoy yourself on her blog.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Romance

Notes: A Highlander Walks Into a Bar is a good, fun romance. If you don’t want the details of a hot and heavy passionate union, skip chapter 11. Omitting these details will not in any way hinder your enjoyment or understanding of this book.

Publication:   July 30, 2019—St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Memorable Lines:

More bagpipes joined in, and the march they played made her heart ache with an emotion she couldn’t categorize. Sometimes it was better to feel than to understand.

“Are you and Gareth in love?” The question popped out, and not for the first time Izzy wished she had a speedbump between her brain and her mouth.

“It is easier to tally who is right and wrong and hang onto your resentment and turn your back, because forgiveness and understanding are difficult. What you should tally are laughs and kisses and how many times you are made a better person because of your connection.”

Southern Discomfort–murder in the kitchen

Southern Discomfort

by Caroline Fardig

Southern DiscomfortSouthern Discomfort introduces the sweet and naive Quinn Ballandini, who was raised by her grandmother to have impeccable Southern manners. She and her more rebellious sister help their grandfather manage a successful bed and breakfast in Savannah, Georgia, where Quinn does most of the cooking.

Quinn discovers the dead body of a friend’s brother. This too trusting B & B manager tries to transform herself into an amateur sleuth to get her friend and potentially herself cleared. She is pretty bad at it, but she is persistent. There are lots of interesting characters including her magician grandfather, Papa Sal, her mother who is into drugs and auras, her older sister Delilah, and her Uncle Frank’s ghost who appears to Delilah and Papa Sal. Additionally, former high school football star Tyler re-enters her  life with a love-hate relationship. There are also a lot of suspects Quinn has to interview to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Southern Discomfort was a satisfactory read but not as well written as the one other book by Caroline Fardig that I have read from a different series. I would be willing to read the next book in the series, but the extent of the paranormal in the next book will determine further readings in this series.

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

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery, Women’s Fiction

Notes:  1. #1 in the Southern B&B Mystery Series.

  2. There are some paranormal elements that I found more amusing than offensive.

3. A few delicious sounding recipes are included at the end of the book.

Publication:   March 6, 2018—Random House (Alibi)

Memorable Lines:

Well, I’d had a fleeting moment of calm, thinking it might not be so bad to tell my sad story to my old friend Rufus. But with Detective Angrypants staring me down, my nerves frazzled again.

I’d always thought culinary reviewers were highfalutin foodies who savored their food morsel by morsel so as to taste every note and nuance of whatever they were eating. This guy was a inhaling his food. There was a no way he was savoring anything at that pace.

Her words stung me and brought tears to my eyes. Why did she have to be so stinking mean all the time? It was like I was back in high school again, getting picked on by the cool kids.

Mother’s Day, Muffins, and Murder–a cozy teachers will love

Mother’s Day, Muffins, and Murder

by Sara Rosett

Mother's DayMother’s Day, Muffins, and Murder is a thematic shoe-in for me, and it surpassed my expectations. The setting is Georgia, but the author grew up in and currently lives in Texas. The action occurs at an elementary school which is the unlikely scene of a murder. Except for the murder and mayhem, this could have been the elementary school I taught at for a few years in Leander, Texas. The details are perfect for a middle class school where parent participation is high, students wear an assigned color T-shirt for field day, and the Teacher Appreciation Week is five days of food, small gifts, and recognition for hard-working, appreciated teachers.

The main character is Ellie Avery, an Air Force wife, mother of two children, part-time organizing consultant, and very active volunteer at her children’s neighborhood school. The amiable Ellie finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. She tries not to actively involve herself, but others look to her for help because of previous associations with a murder. Later, someone takes the threat to her doorstep, potentially endangering Ellie and her children.

This mystery is a fun, “don’t put me down” kind of read. The plot has twists and turns that keep the reader engaged and wanting more. The characters are interesting and there is a subplot concerning a competing organizer in town which enhances the appeal. If you like cozy mysteries, you will love Mother’s Day, Muffins, and Murder.

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:  1. #10 in the Ellie Avery Mystery Series, also called the Mom Zone Series. I enjoyed it as a standalone.

2. The book also includes “Organizing Tips for PTA Moms” placed at the end of some chapters so as not to be intrusive into the storyline. They are practical and are approved by this former teacher who also volunteered with my school’s Parent/Teacher Organization.

Publication:  March 28, 2017–Kensington Books

Memorable Lines: 

“Yes, that is my favorite way to relax, supervising twenty-two eight-year-olds hyped up on sugar at eight in the morning.”

I wished the rest of the school year could be more like the end of the year. The end of the year–when the standardized tests were over–was when the kids got to do all the fun stuff, instead of studying for the standardized tests. Why couldn’t the kids do more hands-on activities like this throughout the year?

We rush through our days so quickly and have so many little rituals that we do, day in and day out, but then a moment like that last day of school comes along. It’s a milestone that makes a definite break in the continuum and emphasizes that one phase is ending and another beginning.

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