Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Review: Miss Dimple and the Slightly Bewildered Angel: A Mystery (Miss Dimple Kilpatrick #5) by Mignon F. Ballard

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1255 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Aug. 2 2016)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English

Book Description

October, 1944. It has been a challenging season for Elderberry's favorite first grade teacher, Miss Dimple Kilpatrick. A beloved former student was recently killed in the war, her brother has become distant, and her friend Odessa, the cook at Pheobe's rooming house, has taken a leave of absence to care for a relative. Still, when Dimple's librarian friend, Virginia, finds a young woman, Dora, on the library porch looking for a place to spend the night, soft-hearted Dimple brings her back to Phoebe's and offers her food and a warm coat. But when Dimple is trying to find her a place to sleep, the young girl disappears.

The next morning, Miss Dimple answers a knock on the door expecting it to be the girl. Instead, she is greeted by greeted by a somewhat disheveled young woman with lustrous hair and a sunrise of a smile who claims she has been assigned to fill in at the house. Augusta Goodnight, a guardian angel who has been summoned from a well-deserved rest after a series of troublesome earthly duties, has taken up at Phoebe's.

When Dora is discovered dead - murdered - the real reason for Augusta's "assignment" becomes clear, at least to Augusta. Reluctantly, Miss Dimple teams up with Augusta to find out who the killer is.

About the Author

Mignon Franklin Ballard grew up in a small town in Georgia, and now lives in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

My Review

Miss Dimple and the Slightly Bewildered Angel: A Mystery is the fifth Miss Dimple Kilpatrick by author Mignon F. Ballard. This is the first book by Mignon Ballard that I have read.

I really enjoyed this delightful book. It was a pleasure to read. It was interesting to be taken back to days of World War II in rural Georgia. I enjoyed the setting as I have traveled around the area looking at homes on the Antebellum Trail.

Miss Dimple lives in a boardinghouse with other teachers in a small Georgia town. A young woman, Dora, is murdered. Dora had been by the boardinghouse earlier looking for somewhere to stay then disappears before they can set her up with lodging. And a mysterious young woman shows up on the doorstep, just in time to fill in for Odessa who has been called away. How come Augusta Goodnight is such an amazing cook and how does she know so many people? Augusta is the slightly bewildered angel referred to in the title.

Good mystery...I was puzzled for quite some time. Great setting...time and place. Interesting characters. Well written. Great read.

Highly recommend  Miss Dimple and the Slightly Bewildered Angel: A Mystery.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Review: Arrowood by Laura McHugh

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1118 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (Aug. 9 2016)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B018PD2HJA

Book Description

 A dark, gripping novel from the author of The Weight of Blood about a mysterious kidnapping and the ways in which our lives are shaped by the stories we create about our past

Arrowood is the most ornate and beautiful of the grand historical houses that line the Mississippi River in southern Iowa, where the days are long and humid and communities are small and closed. It has its own secrets and ghostly presence: It’s where Arden’s young twin sisters were abducted nearly twenty years ago—never to be seen again. Now, Arden has inherited Arrowood, and she returns to her childhood home determined to establish what really happened that traumatic summer. But the house and the surrounding town hold their secrets close—and the truth, when Arden finds it, is more devastating than she ever could have imagined.

Praise for Arrowood

“Superb and subtle psychological suspense, and a compelling mystery, too . . . I thought I knew who did it, but I was wrong—four times.”—Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Reacher novels

“An eloquently eerie tale.”Booklist

“Poignant . . . lyrical.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A chilling, twisting tale of family, memory, and home . . . This engaging and thrilling tale about a young woman’s homecoming, the vagaries of memory, and the impact of tragedy on both a town and a family is a terrific choice for Laura Lippman and Sue Grafton readers.”Library Journal (starred review)

About the Author

 Facebook author page: Laura McHugh

Laura McHugh's debut novel, The Weight of Blood, won an International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel and a Silver Falchion Award for Best First Novel: Literary Suspense. The Weight of Blood was named a best book of the year by BookPage, the Kansas City Star, and the Sunday Times (UK), and was a GoodReads Choice Awards nominee for Best Mystery and Best Debut. Her second novel, Arrowood, will be published in 2016.

McHugh lives in Missouri with her husband and children.

My Review

Laura McHugh's The Weight of Blood was an excellent book therefore I was looking forward to Arrowood. I was not disappointed. Arrowood is another amazing book. Such a good story!

First the setting. Keokuk, Iowa. I had never heard of it before. Now I cannot wait to explore it one day. My last detour on a motorcycle road trip was to see Iowa's Bridges of Madison county. Now I need to see the beautiful old homes of Keokuk. Author McHugh really brought Keokuk to life.

Families are so fascinating and McHugh has written about a twisted family in Arrowood. Every time I thought I had things figured out I was wrong. The main character Arden Arrowood's young twin sisters disappeared before their second birthday. The story revolves around their disappearance and how it affected everyone around them. It is interesting how people's memories work.

The story in Arrowood is very well written. And it is addictive. I needed to know what was going to happen next...what really happened to the twins.

The character of Arden is very well written and developed. The supporting characters are well written as well. I knew who I was creeped out by pretty quickly.

I highly recommend Arrowood. It is impossible to put down. Fabulous read! I am eagerly awaiting McHugh's next book!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Review: Today's Moment of Truth: Devotions to Deepen Your Faith in Christ by Lee Strobel, Mark Mittelberg

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1542 KB
  • Print Length: 397 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (July 12 2016)
  • Sold by: Zondervan CA (CA SOR)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00UF72AV0

Book Description

Why do you believe what you believe? How can you know your faith is credible?

Many Christians today struggle to answer these questions. Though you may know what you believe, the why and how behind the thought can be complex, confusing, and even mysterious.

In Today’s Moment of Truth, bestselling author Lee Strobel articulates in 180 easy-to-read devotions the reasons why Christians believe what they believe. Combining his expertise in apologetics with his journalistic approach to parsing out the details, this devotional will leave you deeply encouraged and well-informed. Topics range from scientific discoveries to theological explanations, and each devotion is followed by a brief reflection and prayer for meditation.

The time has come to walk confidently in your faith. Today’s Moment of Truth will be an invaluable tool as you grow in your understanding of and faith in Christ.

About the Authors

Lee Patrick Strobel (born January 25, 1952) is an American Christian author, journalist, apologist and pastor. He has written several books, including four which received ECPA Christian Book Awards (1994, 1999, 2001, 2005) and a series which addresses challenges to a Biblically inerrant view of Christianity. Strobel also hosted a television program called Faith Under Fire on PAX TV, and runs a video apologetics web site. Strobel has been interviewed on numerous national television programs, including ABC's 20/20, Fox News, and CNN.

Mark Mittelberg (MA, Trinity Evangelical Theological School) is an author, speaker, and evangelism strategist. He is coauthor with Bill Hybels of Becoming a Contagious Christian and coauthor with Bill Hybels and Lee Strobel of the Becoming a Contagious Christian curriculum. He previously served as evangelism leader for the Willow Creek Association.

My Review

I am a huge fan of the writings and teachings of both Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg so I knew that the devotional, Today's Moment of Truth: Devotions to Deepen Your Faith in Christ, would be a great book.

As a journalistic, Lee Stroebel questions everything. Not only does he question everything but he passes that information along to his readers. The foundation of all Christian learning is the Bible. Stroebel ensures that followers have the evidence to back up the claims of the bible. When speaking with non believers it is essential that Christians have the back up to support the words of the Bible as we witness.

I liked the devotionals on archaeology and the bible. There is archaeological evidence that supports the words in the Old Testament and the New Testament. For example in Archaeology and the Bible, Part II, Stroebel bases his devotion on the words of Luke:

“This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
LUKE 24:44

“Now, Acts was authored by the historian Luke. Hemer gives more than a dozen reasons why Acts had to have been written before AD 62, or about thirty years after Jesus’ crucifixion. Even earlier, Luke wrote the gospel of Luke, which is substantially the same as the other biblical accounts of Jesus’ life.

“So here you have an impeccable historian, who has been proven right in hundreds of details and never proven wrong, writing the whole history of Jesus and the early church. And it’s written within one generation while eyewitnesses were still alive and could have disputed it if it were exaggerated or false. You don’t have anything like that from any other religious book from the ancient world.” 

Stroebel further directs readers to check out Zondervan's Archaeological Study Bible as well as the web site of the Biblical Archaeological Review which is a great bi-monthly publication.

Each devotion in Today's Moment of Truth begins with a bible quote, a devotion usually based on Stroebel's personal observations and experiences and then today's moment of truth which helps us apply the information to our daily life and our conversations with non-believers.

I highly recommend Today's Moment of Truth: Devotions to Deepen Your Faith in Christ by Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg. It is very enlightening and a great resource for bible study and reflection.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Review: Every Yesterday (Boot Creek) by Nancy Naigle

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2925 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Montlake Romance (Aug. 30 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01DAD219G

Book Description

Megan Howard used to be a successful painter—but that was a long time ago. These days she’s struggling to move forward, convinced her heart is permanently broken after her last relationship and grief stricken over the loss of her father. Clinging to memories of happier times, she holds tight to her father’s most cherished possession: a 1958 DeSoto Adventurer. Though she needs the money, she’ll never sell it—even loaning the prized automobile to her best friend on the day of her wedding stirs up painful memories.

Avowed bachelor and car collector Noah Black has never seen a car he can live without…or a woman he can live with. Reluctant to see his best friend condemned to matrimony, he flies to Boot Creek from California to be the best man in the wedding. But after discovering that the gorgeous maid of honor owns the car of his dreams, Noah makes a pricey bet that he’ll add the DeSoto to his collection, no matter what it takes.

Despite their determination to stay single, Noah and Megan soon find they can’t resist each other. His attention turns from getting the car to getting the girl, and thanks to Noah, Megan can imagine a life in the present. But when the truth about Noah’s wager comes to light, will it threaten to throw Megan’s new perspective into reverse?

About the Author

USA TODAY Bestselling author, Nancy Naigle, writes love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense.

With a career spent on the cutting edge of technology in the banking industry, she never let go of her dream to write. Now she works full-time writing stories that are a calming blend of community, family, and the simple things in life. She writes the kind of stories she hopes will provide an escape from the hectic day-to-day in the make believe worlds she creates.

Look for Nancy's titles in the Adams Grove series.
Sweet Tea and Secrets
Out of Focus
Wedding Cake and Big Mistakes
Pecan Pie and Deadly Lies
Mint Juleps and Justice
Barbecue and Bad News
~coming in 2016 Porch Swings and Promises

Nancy also has co-written books with:
Phyllis C. Johnson ~ inkBLOT

Kelsey Browning ~ The Granny Series
Book 1- In For A Penny
Book 2 - Fit To Be Tied
Book 3 - In High Cotton
Book 4 - Under The Gun

Coming August 30th, don't miss the second book set in Boot Creek, EVERY YESTERDAY. (The followup book to Life After Perfect.)

Also, this October, look for Christmas Joy. A heartwarming Christmas novel.

Aside from writing she enjoys hunting for treasures in junk and antique shoppes, and getting crafty no matter what the medium from painting and digitizing embroidery designs, to weaving pine needle baskets.

A Virginia native, and spending most of her life in the Tidewater area, she now calls North Carolina home.

My Review

Every Yesterday is the second book in the Boot Creek series by Nancy Naigle. Naigle is one of the romance authors whose books I always enjoy reading. Nancy is able to create small towns in her books that are welcoming and endearing.

The story centers around an amazingly gorgeous vintage car...a 1958 DeSoto Adventurer. Memories give the two main characters reasons for loving that model of car. Megan inherited her father's DeSoto Adventurer and Noah has been trying to find one for years. He is stunned to find such an impressive vehicle in a small North Carolina town where he is attending his best friends wedding. Megan is definitely not selling but Noah is convinced he can change her mind. In fact he even makes a wager about it that you just know is going to haunt him later on....

Well it's not just about a car. Every Yesterday is about a wedding. The two main characters are the maid of honor and the best man. Megan and Noah have been burned by love before and are definitely not looking...but that car! And the sparks that fly between them whenever they meet.

I thoroughly enjoyed Every Yesterday. It is well written and a great story. Now that I know about DeSoto Adventurers...I want a car with big fins! This romance has all the right ingredients needed for pleasurable reading. I am glad that the characters from the first book in the series, Life After Perfect, are front and center in this one.

Highly recommend Every Yesterday. It is available August 30th.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Review: The Baker Street Jurors (Baker Street Letters #5) by Michael Robertson

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1055 KB
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250060060
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (July 19 2016)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B017H2LBRO

Book Description

Michael Robertson has delighted mystery readers and Sherlock Holmes aficionados everywhere with his charming and innovative Baker Street mystery series, where brothers Reggie and Nigel Heath are charged with answering letters to Sherlock that arrive at their law office, located at 221B Baker Street.

Everyone must do jury duty. Even Sherlock Holmes.

A nation’s greatest sports hero has been accused of murder. The trial is approaching, and the public is clamoring—both for and against. And in a desperate, computer-generated quest to fill its quota of jurors, the Crown Court has included on its summons list the known occupants—real and otherwise—of 221B Baker Street. One summons is addressed to Sherlock Holmes; it doesn’t matter to the Crown Court Jury Selection Service whether Holmes is real or fictional, or in which century he existed.

The other is addressed to Mr. Nigel Heath—who is living and sleeping on the couch in his office at Baker Street Chambers. With Nigel in the jury selection pool are a lovely young woman with a mysterious tattoo, an elderly widow with piercing blue eyes and a mind like a tack, a slick millennial whose occupation is cornering the market on prescription drugs, and a tall man with an aquiline nose who seems reluctant to say exactly how he received his jury summons.

Before the trial is done, Nigel and each of his fellow prospective jurors will wonder not only which of them will be impaneled—and what verdict they will reach—but also who will survive to render it.

Other Reviews

"Agatha Christie fans will revel in Robertson’s fifth novel...This is Robertson’s best work yet, a classic fair play whodunit leavened with humor." --Publishers Weekly (Starred)

"Robertson, who seems to command an unlimited stream of clever ideas for recycling the Holmes legend without resuscitating the great man, outdoes himself in the most effervescent of his five Baker Street cocktails to date." --Kirkus Reviews (Starred)

Praise for The Baker Street Mystery series:

"Any Holmes fan would enjoy Michael Robertson's fresh new take on the Holmes and thoroughly entertaining." --CNN, Must Read Books

"A puzzler that cries out for the talented and imaginative Robertson to quickly bring forth a sequel." --The Richmond Times-Dispatch

"A thumbs-up to this new series." --The Charlotte Observer

"A heck of a ride, and fun to boot, which is all we need ask of the kind of puzzle story Mr. Robertson so ably delivers." ―The New York Journal of Books

"A fun caper, a mystery that spans two continents...A fast-paced chase." ―Mystery Readers Journal

Read an excerpt

About the Author

 MICHAEL ROBERTSON works for a large company with branches in the United States and England. His first novel in this series, The Baker Street Letters, has been optioned by Warner Bros. for television. He lives in San Clemente, California.

My Review

 The Baker Street Jurors is the fifth book in the Baker Street Letters series by author Michael Robertson. I have not read the earlier books in the series.

The Baker Street Jurors offers readers a new way of looking at Sherlock Holmes. This book is suitable for Holmes fans as well as those who are not. It is a good steady mystery. It is well written. Twists at the end make it quite satisfying.

Fun book. Highly recommend The Baker Street Jurors.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Review: Life Is Better at the Beach: Inspirational Rules for Living Each Day Like You're at the Beach by Thomas Nelson

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 60079 KB
  • Print Length: 165 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 28 2016)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Canada Limited
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01EZA816U

Book Description

Take long walks.

Watch the sunset.

Shoes are optional.

The beautiful four-color book of inspirational photos, Bible verses, quotations, and short writings invites you to escape the buzz of the everyday and into the tranquility that the beach offers. Each section of this book will cover a “beach rule” and encouraging thoughts on how you can incorporate that mind-set or behavior into your daily life.

Much of Jesus’ ministry happened along the seashore, where He told His followers about the peace and rest His Father offered them and modeled the best way to live. In the same way, this book transports you to a favorite beach locale and helps you apply rules for beach living to everyday life—rules to slow down, to notice the beauty in the little things, and to incorporate rest into even the most stressful times.

Full of serene images, inspiring quotations, and restful Bible verses, this book will be a natural addition to your coffee table or desk, as well as a lovely gift for that beach-loving friend.

For as the waters fill the sea,   
the earth will be filled with an awareness    
of the glory of the Lord.

—Habakkuk 2:14 NLT

My Review

Life Is Better at the Beach: Inspirational Rules for Living Each Day Like You're at the Beach is beautifully illustrated and inspiring book by Thomas Nelson publishers. Life is Better at the Beach...that really is true isn't it? Soaking up the sun and breathing in the fresh sea air...what could be better than that. I love the beach rules that Life is Better at the Beach presents to the reader.

The book is divided up by beach rules which are:

BEACH RULE #1: Wake up smiling.
BEACH RULE #2: Shoes are optional.
BEACH RULE #3: Soak up the sun.
BEACH RULE #4: Look for seashells.
BEACH RULE #5: Build sandcastles.
BEACH RULE #6: Ride the waves.
BEACH RULE #7: Breathe in the fresh air.
BEACH RULE #8: Nap often.
BEACH RULE #9: Take long walks.
BEACH RULE #10: Observe the tide.
BEACH RULE #11: Read a good book.
BEACH RULE #12: Listen to the crashing waves.
BEACH RULE #13: Don’t miss the sunset.
BEACH RULE #14: Leave your troubles behind.
BEACH RULE #15: Make memories.

I highly recommend Life is Better at the Beach as a perfect gift to someone who needs to slow down and appreciate life more. Or for someone who needs some inspiration in their lives. Amidst the beautiful photos and inspiring bible verses there is text that reminds us to live life everyday like we are at the beach.

Life is Better at the Beach is a lovely book. I know that I will refer to it often when I need to be reminded about the pleasures in life that the Lord has provided to us.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Review: Arsenic with Austen (Crime with the Classics #1) by Katherine Bolger Hyde

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1357 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 125006547X
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (July 12 2016)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B019N4X22Q

Book Description

 When Emily Cavanaugh inherits a fortune from her great aunt, she expects her life to change. She doesn't expect to embark on a murder investigation, confront the man who broke her heart 35 years before, and nearly lose her own life.

Emily travels to the sleepy coastal village of Stony Beach, Oregon, to claim her inheritance, centered in a beautiful Victorian estate called Windy Corner but also including a substantial portion of the real estate of the whole town. As she gets to know the town's eccentric inhabitants--including her own once-and-possibly-future love, Sheriff Luke Richards--she learns of a covert plan to develop Stony Beach into a major resort. She also hears hints that her aunt may have been murdered. Soon another suspicious death confirms this, and before long Emily herself experiences a near-fatal accident.

Meanwhile, Emily reads Persuasion, hoping to find belated happiness with her first love as Anne Elliot did with Captain Wentworth. She notices a similarity between her not-quite-cousin Brock Runcible, heir to a smaller portion of her aunt's property, and Mr. Elliot in Persuasion, and her suspicions of Brock crystallize. But as she and Luke continue to investigate and events speed toward a climax, Emily realizes that underneath the innocent-looking rocks of Stony Beach lurk festering jealousies that would have shocked even the worst of Jane Austen's charming reprobates.

About the Author

 Katherine Bolger Hyde is the author of the Crime with the Classics series (the first volume, Arsenic with Austen, will release in July 2016) as well as several books for children. A lifelong lover of literature (and alliteration), Katherine has a degree in Russian literature and works as editorial director for Ancient Faith Publishing. She lives in the redwoods of Santa Cruz County, California, with her husband and the youngest of her four children. Katherine loves to sing and knit, and she dreams of one day designing and building her own storybook cottage in the woods.

My Review

Arsenic with Austen is the first book in the Crime with the Classics series by author Katherine Bolger Hyde. This is the first book by author Bolger Hyde that I have read.

Arsenic with Austen is a great start to a new series. Katherine Bolger Hyde's has a great way with words. I found her writing style addictive. I had a hard time putting down Arsenic with Austen. 

I loved the characters and I loved the setting. The Oregon Coast is gorgeous and magical. Hyde captures it quite well. The old house Emily inherits is going to be the perfect location for future books in the series.  The characters were all well written. I could relate to the main character, Emily Cavanaugh as we are close in age. Bravo for giving her a love life!

I am not a fan of Jane Austen's books and that did not affect my enjoyment of the novel at all. Since this series is Crime with the Classics, I imagine the other books will feature other classic authors.

Overall a good mystery. I basically had it figured out early but not the details. The book was so well written and enjoyable that it didn't matter that the mystery was easily solved.

Great book. Eagerly looking forward to the next in the series! Well done Katherine Bolger Hyde!