Sunday, July 31, 2016

Review: Echoes of Edisto (The Edisto Island Mysteries, #3) by C. Hope Clark

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 781 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (Aug. 5 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01GSNU76E

Book Description

Edisto Island is a paradise where people escape from the mainstream world. Yet for newly sworn-in Edisto Police Chief Callie Jean Morgan, the trouble has just begun . . .

When a rookie officer drowns in a freak crash in the marsh, Callie’s instincts tell her it wasn’t an accident. As suspects and clues mount, Callie’s outlandish mother complicates the investigation, and Callie’s long-time friendship with Officer Mike Seabrook takes a turn toward something new—but is shadowed by the unsolved mystery of his wife’s death. Everyone’s past rises to the surface, entangling with death that cuts to the bone.

"The roar of the surf made Callie’s steps soundless, her thoughts louder. Two and a half weeks on the job, and she’d lost an officer. Edisto hadn’t sacrificed an officer in its entire history, and the first female chief had to be the one to break the record.

She sniffled. Salty breezes began to clear her sinuses, but nothing could assuage the guilt clinging to her like the muggy air.

Sarah lived. Francis died. And somebody had to be disappointed at that freakish turn of events, because she suspected it was meant to be the other way around. Crime was for people who lived across the big bridge on the mainland. But whether the natives liked it or not, the brake lines were cut on Edisto. She didn’t want to go down that path, but one of them might be a frustrated, unfulfilled killer."

About the Author

C. Hope Clark was born and reared in the South, from Mississippi to South Carolina with a few stints in Alabama and Georgia. The granddaughter of a Mississippi cotton farmer, Hope holds a B.S. in Agriculture with honors from Clemson University and 25 years’ experience with the U. S. Department of Agriculture to include awards for her management, all of which enable her to talk the talk of Carolina Slade, the protagonist in most of her novels. Her love of writing, however, carried her up the ranks to the ability to retire young, and she left USDA to pen her stories and freelance.

Lowcountry Bribe‘s won several awards to include finalist status of the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense sponsored by Romance Writers of America. The novel enjoyed semi-finalist status (top 100 out of 10,000) in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. The book went on to win the 2012 Silver Falchion Award for Crime Fiction and the 2013 EPIC E-book Award for Best Mystery.

Tidewater Murder and Palmetto Poison followed close on Lowcountry's heels in the Carolina Slade series. Hope's recently released a new series, beginning with Murder on Edisto, of the Edisto Island Mysteries, followed by Edisto Jinx, with Echoes of Edisto and Affairs of Edisto forthcoming in 2016 and 2017..

Hope is married to a 30-year veteran of federal law enforcement, a Senior Special Agent, now a contract investigator. They met on a bribery investigation within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the basis for the opening scene to Lowcountry Bribe. Hope and her special agent live on the rural banks of Lake Murray outside of Chapin, South Carolina, forever spinning tales on their back porch, bourbon and coke in hand, when not tending a loveable flock of Orpington and Dominiquer hens.

She also currently manages, a weekly newsletter service she founded that reaches almost 35,000 writers to include university professors, professional journalists and published mystery authors. Writer’s Digest has recognized the site in its annual 101 Best Web Sites for Writers for 16 years.

She’s published in The Writer Magazine, Writer’s Digest, Chicken Soup, Next Step Magazine, College Bound Teen, Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), TURF Magazine, Landscape Management and other trade and online publications. She speaks at several writers’ conferences a year. Hope is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, EPIC, International Thriller Writers, SE Writers Assoc. and MENSA.

My Review

Echoes of Edisto  is the third book in the The Edisto Island Mysteries series by author C. Hope Clark. I love this series. Author Clark beautifully captures the essence of Edisto Island. It is a magical place hidden on the shores of South Carolina.

Echoes of Edisto begins just after the last book, Edisto Jinx, lets off. Callie is now the Police Chief of Edisto Island. The book opens with the death of one of her officers. Not the best way to start her new position. In fact it is quite devastating. As is the fact that somehow her mother may involved. And her dead father's mistress..whose brakes were tampered with. This accident caused her officer Francis's death. Who is this reporter who is intent on destroying Callie's mother's political career? And what is going on with Officer Mike Seabrook. Do they have a future together?

Callie is still struggling with her demons...past and present. Alcohol is her escape. Her son Jeb and her love Mike Seabrook are both looking out for her and encouraging her to find solace without the bottle. There are lots of twists and turns in this story. It is hard to put down.

Good mystery. It took me quite a while to figure out what was going on. Never assume anything about anyone in this tale!

Great read! Highly recommend Echoes of Edisto and the entire Edisto Island Mystery series. I'm already looking forward to what is going to happen to Callie next as she settles into life on Edisto.

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!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Cookbook Review and Giveaway: Pure Food: A Chef’s Handbook for Eating Clean, with Healthy, Delicious Recipes by Kurt Beecher Dammeier

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 13056 KB
  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: BenBella Books (July 5 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01E4BQ0IG


How would you like to win a copy of this amazing cookbook!

To win a copy of Pure Food leave a comment below. It is that simple. I will draw a winner on July 19th. I will post the winner here. Canadian and US mailing addresses only.

Book Description

You are what you eat. And what you’re eating isn’t good.

With the proliferation of artificial additives, hormones, antibiotics, and the thousand other man-made substances and chemical cocktails lurking in our grocery bags, eating healthy, natural foods is trickier than ever. It’s no coincidence that America’s health is flagging, with obesity and type 2 diabetes now at epidemic levels.

Taking control of your diet doesn’t have to be a challenge. Pure Food will show you how easy—and how much healthier—it is to cook clean, delicious foods.

Kurt Beecher Dammeier, chef, restaurateur, food entrepreneur, retailer, and educator has spent the past 30 years of his life working to rid his own diet of food additives, and nearly 20 creating and selling pure, unadulterated foods through his Seattle-based family of food businesses (including Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Pasta & Co, and Bennett’s Restaurant). In Pure Food, Kurt shares his own story, as well as providing a roadmap for readers to forge a diet based on pure, additive-free foods.

Part handbook and part cookbook, Pure Food contains more than 70 delicious and natural recipes for pure living.

Unlike most cookbooks, Pure Food’s recipes are organized in threads—which start with a primary meal component like chicken, and progress through a series of dishes that use the primary ingredient in different ways—to help you get the most from your cooking. Make Braised Beef Chuck Roast for Sunday supper, followed up by Monday night Beef Chili, and Beef and Mushroom Lasagna to use up the leftover roast on Tuesday. It also contains an assortment of sauces and sides, from Red Fresno Sriracha and 4 Year Flagship Aioli to Red Cabbage Peperonata and Wilted Collard Greens. And leave room for dessert, like Apple Pear Crisp and Beecher's No-Bake Super-Light Cheese Cake.

Whether you’re a serial dieter or trying for the first time to improve the way you eat, Pure Food will revolutionize how you approach food and lead you down the path to a healthier life.


“This spectacular cookbook reflects all the passion and joy Kurt puts into feeding people. Pure Food will inspire chefs and enliven meals everywhere.”
—Ethan Stowell, chef and owner of Ethan Stowell Restaurants

“Kurt Dammeier’s Pure Food is one of the most compelling books I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Part personal story, part treatise on ‘real’ food and part cookbook; this book sucks you into Kurt’s story, makes your mouth water and teaches you all at once. . . . Read this book—shop—cook with your family and then sit down at the table and enjoy!”
—Ann Cooper, internationally recognized chef, author, and founder of the Chef Ann Foundation

“With Kurt’s book Pure Food, he proves that healthy, well-sourced food doesn’t have to compromise on flavor.”
—Tom Colicchio, founder of Craft restaurants and Colicchio & Sons restaurants

“Kurt’s personal journey, skill as a chef, generosity of spirit, and commitment to helping people eat pure food is inspiring. No matter what your dietary stripes, this beautiful book gives you the tools to ditch processed foods, and instead source quality ingredients, and cook clean healthy foods with mind-blowing flavors.”
—Tess Masters, author of The Blender Girl and The Blender Girl Smoothies

“Let’s follow Kurt's lead and insist on truthful, pure foods and at the same time make our dinner tables tastier, healthier and full of integrity!”
—Tom Douglas, chef, restaurateur, author, and radio host

About the Author

A fourth generation Puget Sound native and nascent New Yorker, Kurt has always felt passionately about authentic, full-flavored foods free of artificial additives and preservatives. In 2000, he officially made his entrance onto the Seattle food scene by buying Pasta & Co, a Seattle icon for over thirty-five years. Since that time, he’s opened and served as head chef at a number of Seattle food destinations under the Sugar Mountain umbrella, including Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Bennett’s, Liam’s, Maximus / Minimus, and The Butcher’s Table. Sugar Mountain is also home to a line of premium meat products, including Mishima Reserve, a luxury Wagyu beef brand. With each operation, Kurt’s goal is to demonstrate how quality ingredients make for delicious meals, without added food colorings, flavor enhancers, or preservatives. Beyond the retail world, Kurt is effecting change in people’s eating habits through the Beecher’s Pure Food Kids Foundation (501c3), founded through Beecher’s in 2004. Each year, the foundation’s Pure Food Kids Workshop empowers more than 15,000 fourth and fifth grade students in the Seattle Metro area and in New York City to make healthy food choices for life. LEARN MORE AT PUREFOODREV.ORG.

My Review

Pure Food: A Chef’s Handbook for Eating Clean, with Healthy, Delicious Recipes by Kurt Beecher Dammeier is two books in one. It is a guide to healthy eating and it is a cookbook. It is filled with a magnitude of wise advice for clean additive free cooking and eating. I found the information about healthy eating to be extremely helpful and I know it will help me make better choices when selecting the recipes that I choose to make. Healthy food can be delicious!

Pure Food: A Chef’s Handbook for Eating Clean, with Healthy, Delicious Recipes by Kurt Beecher Dammeier is beautifully illustrated and filled with excellent recipes. And speaking of recipes, here is one of my favorites from the book:


Makes 1 ½ cups

Tzatziki is a cool, tangy yogurt-based sauce from Greece. I pair it with Lamb Gyros, but feel free to use it as a sandwich spread, alongside salads and grilled meats or vegetables, or as a dip. English cucumbers are drier and meatier and have fewer seeds and thinner skins than standard cucumbers. If you can’t find one, be sure to peel and seed your standard cucumber before grating.

1 ½ cups plain, whole milk Greek yogurt
½ English cucumber, coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon capers, mashed and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon lemon zest (from ¼ lemon)

Mix all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Either serve immediately or store for up to 3 days refrigerated in an airtight container.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Review: All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1281 KB
  • Print Length: 319 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250097916
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (July 12 2016)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B017RBWHO6

Book Description

 In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut everything seems picture perfect.

Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.

As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town - or perhaps lives among them - drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.

About the Author

 Wendy Walker is a practicing divorce attorney in Fairfield County, Connecticut who began writing while at home raising her three sons. She published two novels with St. Martin’s Press and edited multiple compilations for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series before writing her debut psychological thriller, All is Not Forgotten.

My Review

 All is Not Forgotten is a debut psychological thriller by new-to-me author Wendy Walker. Wow...what a ride she takes the reader on.

All is Not Forgotten surprised me! I was expecting one type of story then a totally different one happened. I was expecting more of a tale that revolved around the family but instead the story was actually told by the family psychiatrist. Fascinating.  It is a unique story line. I liked that.

All is Not Forgotten is very well written and suspenseful...a thoughtful suspense filled novel. It filled with interesting characters. I loved all the twists and hard to put down.

I am very impressed with All is Not Forgotten. The story itself gives the reader a lot to ponder...should victims of violent crimes or trauma be given a drug so that they cannot remember? Will that help with PTSD? Or will it cause more problems.

Great book. Highly recommend All is Not Forgotten.

Available Tuesday, July 12, 2016.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Recipe: Chocolate Marshmallow Squares

These are my favourite go-to squares for any occasion. My mother made them when I was a child then I made them for my children. They were always devoured when I brought them to potlucks and family gatherings. They are still a favourite treat for my husband and I.

Chocolate Marshmallow Squares

1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
1/2 c. butter
2 c. mini marshmallows

Melt the first 4 ingredients in the top of a double boiler. Remove from heat and immediately add 2 c. of mini marshmallows. Pour into buttered (or sprayed with Pam) 8x8 pan. Refrigerate until very firm. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

I keep mine in the freezer. Everyone loves them frozen. You may also store them in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Review: The Longing in Me: How Everything You Crave Leads to the Heart of God By Sheila Walsh

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1264 KB
  • Print Length: 190 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1400204895
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 5 2016)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Canada Limited
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B010R6N6MU

Book Description

Do your desires have you going around in circles? You may be looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places.

You vowed you’d never repeat the same mistakes—yet you find yourself right where you started. What is it that keeps drawing you back into the same old traps? The fact is, your longings are built from the blueprint of your needs: for protection, for love, for God. And those needs aren’t going anywhere.

Sheila speaks candidly about the trials in her life, including the heartache of her first marriage, and intertwines her story with the biblical saga of King David. As both Sheila’s and David’s stories make clear, some cravings are misguided, but they all stem from the same hunger—and they will haunt you until that hunger gets satisfied properly.

If you keep reaching out to the wrong people at the wrong times in your own life, The Longing in Me will help you understand that your cravings are not the problem. It’s where they lead you that makes all the difference.

About the Author

 Sheila Walsh (05-07-1956) is a powerful communicator, Bible teacher, and best-selling author with more than 4 million books sold. A featured speaker with Women of Faith®, Sheila has reached more than 3.5 million women by artistically combining honesty, vulnerability, and humor with God's Word.

Author of the best-selling memoir Honestly and the Gold Medallion nominee for The Heartache No One Sees, Sheila's most recent release, The Shelter of God's Promises, has also been turned into a DVD curriculum and in-depth Bible study. The Gigi, God's Little Princess book and video series has won the National Retailer's Choice Award twice and is the most popular Christian brand for young girls in the United States.

Sheila co-hosted The 700 Club and her own show Heart to Heart with Sheila Walsh. She is currently completing her Masters in Theology.

Twitter @SheilaWalsh!/sheilawalshconnects

My Review

No matter how great your longing is for God, it will never, ever compare to His longing for you.
From the Introduction.

Sheila Walsh is an amazing Christian speaker and author. The Longing in Me: How Everything You Crave Leads to the Heart of God is an impressive book that is an excellent resource for The Longing in Me bible study.

The Longing in Me contains an introduction and ten chapters:

 1. The Longing to Be Chosen
 2. The Longing to Be Protected
 3. The Longing for What Used to Be
 4. The Longing for Control
 5. The Longing for Your Rights
 6. The Longing for That One Thing You Think You Need to Be Happy
 7. The Longing to Make Everything Right
 8. The Longing for What Would Glorify God
 9. The Longing to Share the Grace and Mercy We’ve Received from God
 10. The Longing for God Alone

In The Longing in Me, Sheila Walsh brings the reader along on her journey as well as King David's journey.  "As we walk through David’s life, my life, and the lives of other women, we’ll study the longings we all have and learn how to channel those to know God more and determine what to do when we lose our way. Longings are a part of life. They are not inherently good or evil." This is from the Introduction.

We need to be reminded that when we make bad choices, God still loves us. He is always there. Sheila Walsh helps ingrain this truth in us in The Longing in Me. She effectively utilizes biblical truths to help us in our journey. On the world of women she writes:

Men seem to wear their insecurities through sports or cars or the blond on their arm. But women display insecurity by deciding who is “in” and who is “out.” As you know, women can be very cruel to each other. We love to point fingers and judge the thing that we’re not tempted by as if it’s a greater sin than the one we hide. In other words, we judge relentlessly those who sin differently than we do. Do we hope that it will make us feel better about ourselves? Judging others won’t make us feel better. Not only that, but someday we may need the very mercy we now withhold. Chapter 10

 I found this very fascinating...we judge relentlessly those who sin differently than we do.

I love Sheila's honestly. Sheila made a very bad choice in her first husband...I can relate and I know many other women can as well. I think this is a very valuable book for those of us who keep punishing ourselves for choices made when we were young.

Highly recommend The Longing in Me by Sheila Walsh. It will be a great bible study for small groups.
Also available is: The Longing in Me Study Guide: A Study in the Life of David