Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (Jan. 2 2018)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B06Y55Z36S

  • Book Description

    What did she see?

    It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.

    Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.

    But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?

    “Astounding. Thrilling. Lovely and amazing....Finn has created a noir for the new millennium, packed with mesmerizing characters, stunning twists, beautiful writing and a narrator with whom I’d love to split a bottle of pinot. Maybe two bottles—I’ve got a lot of questions for her.” (#1 New York Times bestselling author Gillian Flynn)

    The Woman in the Window is one of those rare books that really is unputdownable. The writing is smooth and often remarkable. The way Finn plays off this totally original story against a background of film noir is both delightful and chilling.” (Stephen King)

    “Twisted to the power of max. Hitchcockian suspense with a 21st century twist.” (Bestselling author Val McDermid)

    The Woman in the Window is a tour de force. A twisting, twisted odyssey inside one woman’s mind, her illusions, delusions, reality. It left my own mind reeling and my heart pounding. An absolutely gripping thriller.” (#1 New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny )

    “Compelling, wrenching, and gasp-for-breath exciting―I was blown away.” (#1 New York Times bestselling author Joe Hill)

    “A dark, twisty confection with an irresistible film noir premise. Hitchcock would have snapped up the rights in a heartbeat.” (New York Times bestselling author Ruth Ware)

    The Woman in the Window is the most riveting thriller I’ve read since Gone Girl. A. J. Finn is a bold new talent with the touch of a master.” (New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen)

    “Finn’s debut lives up to the hype. . . . A riveting and mature first novel that stands out in a crowded genre.” (Library Journal (starred review))

    “Gripping, compelling, and utterly intriguing.” (Liz Nugent, author of the 2017 BEA “Buzz Book” Unraveling Oliver)

    The Woman in the Window reads like a classic Hitchcock movie in novel form, in fact I was half expecting a cameo. Dripping with suspense. Creaking with menace. Beautifully written. There’s a lot of buzz around this book and every single bit of it is totally justified.” (Simon Toyne, bestselling author of the Sanctus trilogy)

    About the Author

    A. J. Finn has written for numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Times Literary Supplement (UK). A native of New York, Finn lived in England for ten years before returning to New York City.

    My Review

    The Woman in the Window  by A.J. Finn is a completely engrossing and dark novel. It was one of those impossible to put down books.

    The Woman in the Window features Dr. Anna Fox. Anna has been housebound for most of the past year. Something happened in her life that has brought this on...something to do with her husband and daughter. We learn the truth as the novel progresses. But Anna has had some kind of shock that leaves her unable to leave her house. So she drinks, over medicates herself and she spies on the neighbours.

    One night Anna sees her neighbour murder his wife. But no one believes her. But Anna talked to the woman in question. It drives her further into depression when nobody believes her.

    I never expected the ending of this book. The Woman in the Window constantly surprised me. Great read!

    Highly recommend The Woman in the Window.

    Thursday, December 21, 2017

    Review: Another One Bites the Crust (A Bakeshop Mystery #7) by Ellie Alexander

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1175.0 KB
  • Print Length: 316 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250159350
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (Jan. 2 2018)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English

  • Book Description

    Torte―the beloved small-town bakeshop run by Jules Capshaw―is set to hit the stage. But who would have guessed that murder would makes a surprise appearance?

    It’s the role of a lifetime for Jules. The Shakespeare Festival has returned to Ashland, Oregon, for the season and Torte has been cast as the supplier of Elizabethan-era treats for the main event. But on the eve of opening night, a brawl between Jules’s friend Lance, the artistic director, and a strapping young thespian named Anthony almost brings down the house. . .and the next morning, Anthony is dead. Jules knows that Lance loves his drama―and his just desserts―but she also knows that murder is way off-script for him. Now it’s up to Jules to cut through a bevy of backstage betrayals and catty co-stars who all have their own secrets―before the curtain drops on someone else. .

    About the Author

    Ellie Alexander, author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series (St. Martin's Press), is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

    The 7th book in the Bakeshop Mysteries, ANOTHER ONE BITES THE CRUST, releases in January 2018, and be sure to check out Ellie's new beer series set in Leavenworth, WA, DEATH ON TAP.

    Find out more about Ellie and her books by visiting her websites at: or following her on Facebook:

    My Review

    Another One Bites the Crust is the seventh Bakeshop Mystery #7)  by Ellie Alexander. I have read most of the previous books in this series and I really enjoy it.

    Another One Bites the Crust is filled with interesting characters. Readers of this series will enjoy getting back to the bakeshop, Torte, in Ashland, Oregon with Jules and her co-workers. Jules has realized that she is going to build her life in Ashland and not with ex Carlos on the cruise ships. Her shop is going under major renovations and she is excited about the future.

    Jules is given an opportunity to provide the food for an elaborate party by the artistic director, Lance, of the town's Shakespeare festival. On the night before the opening of the festival, Lance fights with young actor Anthony. When Anthony is found dead Lance is blamed and Jules needs to help her friend.

    Another One Bites The Crust is a well written cozy mystery. Great addition to the series. Highly recommend.

    Review: The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen

    Book Description

    Winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition, Joanna Schaffhausen’s accomplished debut The Vanishing Season will grip readers from the opening page to the stunning conclusion.

    Ellery Hathaway knows a thing or two about serial killers, but not through her police training. She's an officer in sleepy Woodbury, MA, where a bicycle theft still makes the newspapers. No one there knows she was once victim number seventeen in the grisly story of serial killer Francis Michael Coben. The only victim who lived.

    When three people disappear from her town in three years, all around her birthday—the day she was kidnapped so long ago—Ellery fears someone knows her secret. Someone very dangerous. Her superiors dismiss her concerns, but Ellery knows the vanishing season is coming and anyone could be next. She contacts the one man she knows will believe her: the FBI agent who saved her from a killer’s closet all those years ago.

    Agent Reed Markham made his name and fame on the back of the Coben case, but his fortunes have since turned. His marriage is in shambles, his bosses think he's washed up, and worst of all, he blew a major investigation. When Ellery calls him, he can’t help but wonder: sure, he rescued her, but was she ever truly saved? His greatest triumph is Ellery’s waking nightmare, and now both of them are about to be sucked into the past, back to the case that made them...with a killer who can't let go.


    "Powerful...the complex plot and affecting characters―especially gritty survivor Ellie and her basset hound, Bump―make for some nail-bitingly tense thrills." ―Publishers Weekly

    "Schaffhausen’s debut is a fantastic, convoluted thriller that will have her audience on the edge of their seats, taking notes to catch every crumb of a clue. Ellery and Reed, her protagonists, are complex yet brilliantly believable, competent yet very imperfectly human.The villain is both evil and cunning. The storytelling is exceptional and the dialogue is powerful. This chilling tale will have readers guessing till the end! This one is sure to end upon the bestseller list." ―RT Book Reviews

    “Joanna Schaffhausen’s The Vanishing Season is a gripping debut with a plot twist readers won’t see coming. The main character, Ellery Hathaway, is a survivor whose grace, intelligence, and grit reminded me of Clarice Starling.”―HALLIE EPHRON, author of Night Night, Sleep Tight

    "Dark, disturbing, and relentlessly sinister―this intense thriller plumbs the darkest corners of terror, survival and psychological damage. Be warned: leave on the light! But start reading right now."―HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN

    "The Vanishing Season introduces small-town police detective Ellery Hathaway, a former child victim of an infamous sadistic psychopath. While attempting to hide the scars of past trauma, Ellery must hunt a terrifying serial killer whose methods eerily echo her former abuser’s. Is she next on his list? Schaffhausen does equal justice to Ellery’s inner and outer struggles as she keeps the plot twists coming in this gripping, compulsively readable debut. Be prepared to lose sleep."―ELISABETH ELO, author of North of Boston

    "A twisted story with an unforgettable protagonist and a drop-book-in-lap, sneaky twist that will make you say WOW!"―SHANNON KIRK, author of Method 15/33

    About the Author

    Joanna Schaffhausen is a scientific editor who spends her days immersed in research on potential new therapies for cancer, addiction, and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Previously, she worked as an editorial producer for ABC News, where she advised and wrote for programs such as World News Tonight, Good Morning America, and 20/20. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and daughter. The Vanishing Season is her first novel.

    My Review

    The Vanishing Season is the debut novel by Joanna Schaffhausen. I really enjoyed reading The Vanishing Season. It is a solid, well written mystery thriller.

    The Vanishing Season is filled with fascinating characters. Ellery Hathaway is a sole survivor of the famous serial killer Francis Michael Coben. Nobody knows her secret in Woodbury, MA where she works as a police officer. That is until copycat crimes begin to occur. Coben is safe behind bars so who is committing murders on Ellery's real birthday every year. And who is sending her birthday cards?

    Intriguing tale. I'm looking forward to more from Joanna Schaffhausen. Highly recommend.

    Wednesday, December 20, 2017

    Review: Robicheaux (Dave Robicheaux #21) by James Lee Burke

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 19019.0 KB
  • Print Length: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Jan. 2 2018)
  • Sold by: Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B074ZCQSZ6

  • Book Description

    James Lee Burke’s most beloved character, Dave Robicheaux, returns in this gritty, atmospheric mystery set in the towns and backwoods of Louisiana.


    Between his recurrent nightmares about Vietnam, his battle with alcoholism, and the sudden loss of his beloved wife, Molly, his thoughts drift from one irreconcilable memory to the next. Images of ghosts at Spanish Lake live on the edge of his vision.

    During a murder investigation, Dave Robicheaux discovers he may have committed the homicide he’s investigating, one which involved the death of the man who took the life of Dave’s beloved wife. As he works to clear his name and make sense of the murder, Robicheaux encounters a cast of characters and a resurgence of dark social forces that threaten to destroy all of those whom he loves. What emerges is not only a propulsive and thrilling novel, but a harrowing study of America: this nation’s abiding conflict between a sense of past grandeur and a legacy of shame, its easy seduction by demagogues and wealth, and its predilection for violence and revenge. James Lee Burke has returned with one of America’s favorite characters, in his most searing, most prescient novel to date.

    “Heaven-storming prose…the intimations of mortality that have hovered over this series for 30 years have never been sharper or sadder.”—Kirkus

    “[An] enthralling yet grim novel of crime, hate, and tragedy. … The novel’s murders and lies—both committed with unsettling smiles—will captivate, start to finish.” Publishers Weekly

    About the Author

    James Lee Burke is an American author best known for his mysteries, particularly the Dave Robicheaux series. He has twice received the Edgar Award for Best Novel, for Black Cherry Blues in 1990 and Cimarron Rose in 1998.

    Burke was born in Houston, Texas, but grew up on the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast. He attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Missouri, receiving a BA and MA from the latter. He has worked at a wide variety of jobs over the years, including working in the oil industry, as a reporter, and as a social worker. He was Writer in Residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, succeeding his good friend and posthumous Pulitzer Prize winner John Kennedy Toole, and preceding Ernest Gaines in the position. Shortly before his move to Montana, he taught for several years in the Creative Writing program at Wichita State University in the 1980s.

    Burke and his wife, Pearl, split their time between Lolo, Montana, and New Iberia, Louisiana. Their daughter, Alafair Burke, is also a mystery novelist.

    The book that has influenced his life the most is the 1929 family tragedy "The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner.

    My Review

    Robicheaux is the 21st book in the Dave Robicheaux series by American author James Lee Burke. Burke is definitely America's greatest living author and each of his books are a treasure. I feel like Robicheaux is a gift to Burke's many fans. It has all the satisfaction that comes from a great present.

    Robicheaux finds Dave and Clete in New Iberia and New Orleans. Dave has just lost his wife Molly and has been drinking again. The book centers around whether or not Dave took revenge on the driver that killed Molly. Dave has been suffering blackouts so he has no idea what happened on the night in question.

    Robicheaux is a love story. It is a story about a deep abiding friendship between Dave and Clete. Never more does the reader understand the depths of affection between these two. And it is the story of a father's love for daughter. And it is a story about losing someone unexpectedly and the trauma it leaves behind in one's heart.

    Robicheaux is filled with fascinating characters as every Burke novel is. Burke understands evil in a way that other author's struggle with. His portrayal of evil in his characters define his writing. I felt the evil in the politician Jimmy Nightingale in Robicheaux.  In a mirror of today's political scene in the US, Burke gives us a character who is able to work up people based on old prejudices that are simmering beneath the surface of society. He shows us how someone can rise to power using old hatreds.

    The writing of course is amazing. Burke has a way with words like no other. Everyone has an author whose books they look forward to each year. James Lee Burke's books are always met with huge excitement in this household. My husband and I have even been to New Iberia to look for Dave and Clete. (We live thousands of miles away in western Canada).

    Highly recommend! Cannot wait for Burke's next book!!!

    Friday, December 15, 2017

    Review: NKJV, Unapologetic Study Bible, Hardcover, Red Letter Edition: Confidence for Such a Time As This

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 9639.0 KB
  • Print Length: 1568 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (Nov. 7 2017)
  • Sold by: Zondervan CA (CA SOR)
  • Language: English

  • Book Description

    The NKJV Unapologetic Study Bible will equip, encourage, and embolden you to live and share what you believe, solidly grounded in the truth of Scripture. Articles within the Bible text provide insights and perspective on topics such as justice and prejudice, marriage and family, church and state, poverty and wealth, war and peace, euthanasia and suicide, greed and hypocrisy.

    The NKJV Unapologetic Study Bible cuts through the confusion with clear answers for today’s most complicated and controversial issues. With timely articles, thoughtful book introductions, insightful quotations, and profiles on some of history’s most unapologetic defenders of the faith, this is a Bible that won’t leave you guessing. You’ll grow in confidence as you discover how to defend your faith and share it with others in a world increasingly at odds with the truth of God’s Word. The Bible doesn’t shy away from the tough topics, and neither should you.

    Features Include:
    • Book Introductions: Provide key passages and background information for each book
    • Articles: Over 220 articles placed near relevant Scripture passages bring keen biblical insight to the current issues of the day
    • Quotations: Over 60 quotations from historical figures help you understand, first, that the issues of the day are not new; and second, that wise people throughout history have been challenged to live by biblical standards, just as we are today
    • Unapologetic Profiles: Over 40 profiles of historical figures inspire you with biblical faith lived out in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances
    • Indexes: Categorize each of the above features to assist you in a topical study of the issues that matter to you
    • 8.9-point print size

    About the Author

    The Emmanuel Foundation is organized, for the Glory of God, to:
    • Provide ministers and teachers with information and commentary designed to help them evaluate current events from the perspective of the Kingdom of God
    • Create, maintain, and distribute content and platform options, enabling educators to carry out their missions more effectively
    • Encourage innovation in the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
    • Support those whose ministries harmonize with the principles and goals of the Foundation

    My Review

    This review is for the Kindle Edition. The Kindle Edition is currently on sale for $3.99 on Amazon in both the US and Canada.

    The NKJV, Unapologetic Study Bible, Hardcover, Red Letter Edition: Confidence for Such a Time As This, is a new bible from The Emmanuel Foundation.

    An Unapologetic Study Bible is probably different from the other study bibles you have in your collection. This bible offers a viewpoint that provides a strong stand regarding moral and social issues, worldwide.  

    Here is how the bible deals with Sanctity of Life: 
    We live in a convenience culture. We’ve become desperate to stave off or terminate life through Contraception, Abortion, Euthanasia, and Suicide when we feel it has become troublesome; yet we also spend small fortunes on Fertility, or one day Cloning, to conceive a child or “restore” what was once lost. The promise of Biotechnology and Stem-Cell Research may appear, at once dazzling, will turn terrifying as the science employed for such gains will go astray morally. Of course, feelings of compassion can come into play in all of these areas — whether to relieve suffering and heartache or to alleviate misery — but feelings, which are often conflicting, are an unreliable guide to morality.

    You can learn all about the NKJV Unapologetic Study Bible here:

    If you are looking for an Unapologetic Study Bible then the NKJV, Unapologetic Study Bible, Hardcover, Red Letter Edition: Confidence for Such a Time As This would be a great purchase.

    Sunday, December 10, 2017

    Review: Ginger Snapped (Spice Shop Mystery #5) by Gail Oust

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3259.0 KB
  • Print Length: 299 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250081262
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Dec 12 2017)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B071LM71RR

  • Book Description

    Piper Prescott and Police Chief Wyatt McBride might have gotten off on the wrong foot but, over the past year, their interactions have evolved into a friendship of sorts. And when the body of Shirley Randolph is found floating in a fishing hole, their relationship reaches entirely new territory.

    Shirley, the town's Realtor of the Year, was also Wyatt's suspected romantic interest, and now the residents of Brandywine Creek are speculating that Wyatt is responsible for her death. As the town council moves to suspend the handsome lawman, Piper springs into action to save his reputation and possibly his freedom. She enlists the aid of her BFF, Reba Mae Johnson, along with Wyatt himself, to help solve the puzzle and find Shirley’s real killer.

    Pointing them toward high-powered real estate tactics and possible affairs, the investigation soon becomes personal when Piper's shop, Spice It Up!, is burglarized, and she’s forced off the road late one night, narrowly escaping serious injury. Realizing that she must be close to uncovering the truth, and that the evidence against Wyatt is no longer circumstantial, Piper resorts to drastic measures to prevent a grave miscarriage of justice.

    Murder comes well-seasoned in Ginger Snapped, Gail Oust's newest novel in the charming, "must-read" (Publishers Weekly) Spice Shop mystery series.

    About the Author

    GAIL OUST is often accused of flunking retirement. Hearing the words "maybe it's a dead body" while golfing fired her imagination for writing a cozy. Ever since then, she has spent more time on a computer than at a golf course. She lives with her husband in McCormick, South Carolina.

    My Review

    Ginger Snapped is the 5th Spice Shop Mystery by Gail Oust. It is the first book that I have read in the series. It can easily be read as a stand alone novel.

    Piper Prescott owns a spice shop in the southern town of Brandywine Creek. She and her best friend Reba Mae cannot seem to keep out of trouble. Piper has  developed a crush on the town's police chief Wyatt McBride so when the body of the town's best realtor is found on his property, Piper sets out to prove his innocence. 

    Ginger Snapped is well written and has a good reading pace. I really enjoyed reading this humorous cozy mystery. Recipes are included.

    Tuesday, December 5, 2017

    Review: The Dry (Aaron Falk #1) by Jane Harper

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1205.0 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Flatiron Books (Jan. 10 2017)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01BSN15F6

  • Book Description

    After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke's steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn't tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.

    Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there's more to Luke's death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets

    About the Author

    Jane Harper is the author of Australian atmospheric thrillers, The Dry and Force of Nature.
    Winner of numerous awards including the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, the 2017 Indie Award Book of the Year and the 2017 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) Australian Book of the Year Award, The Dry is Jane’s first novel, with rights sold in 29 territories worldwide and film rights optioned to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea.

    Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK and lives in Melbourne.

    Her second novel, Force of Nature, was published in September 2017 in Australia and will be released in the US and UK in February 2018.

    My Review

    The Dry by Jane Harper is an absorbing and powerful debut novel. I thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic start to a new mystery series.

    The Dry is set in rural Victoria north of Melbourne in Australia. The area has been suffering through a punishing drought that devastated the farming industry. Federal Agent Aaron Falk returns the small community he left 20 years earlier. It appears that his childhood friend has murdered his family. When Falk returns for the funeral old hatreds come to the surface and Aaron is left to not only find out what has happened in the present but also in the past.

    The Dry is a fantastic read. I had trouble putting it down. Highly recommend. I am looking forward to Harper's next book, Force of Nature.

    Review: Bel, Book, and Scandal: A Belfast McGrath Mystery (Belfast McGrath Mystery #3) by Maggie McConnon

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2253.0 KB
  • Print Length: 315 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250077303
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (Dec 5 2017)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0719HBMG8

  • Book Description

    Maggie McConnon rings in Christmas in Bel, Boiok, and Scandal, the third adventure for everybody's favorite Irish-American culinary artist turned amateur sleuth.

    Bel McGrath tries her best to keep herself on the straight and narrow but she just has a taste for trouble. This time danger arrives in the form of a newspaper left behind by visitors to Shamrock Manor--and a photograph that jolts Bel out of the present and back into a dark chapter from her past. The person in the photo is Bel's best friend Amy Mitchell, long gone from Foster's Landing, at a commune in upstate New York shortly after her disappearance. The picture, and Bel's burning desire to find out what happened to Amy--and whether she may still be alive--is the catalyst for a story in which old secrets are revealed, little by little...and certain characters are shown to not be as genuine as Bel once thought.

    Bel McGrath is:

    "Authentic...will leave you smiling."--Nancy Martin

    "Hilarious and surprising."--RT Book Reviews

    "A saucy, funny, flawed protagonist that readers are guaranteed to fall in love with." --Susan McBride

    About the Author

    MAGGIE MCCONNON grew up in New York immersed in Irish culture and tradition. A former Irish stepdancer, she was surrounded by a family of Irish musicians who still play at family gatherings. She credits her Irish grandparents with providing the stories of their homeland and their extended families as the basis for the stories she tells in her Belfast McGrath novels, beginning with Wedding Bel Blues.

    My Review

     Bel, Book, and Scandal: A Belfast McGrath Mystery is the third Belfast McGrath Mystery by author Maggie McConnon. I read the second book in the series previously so I was familiar with the location and Bel's large family. And Bel's obsession with finding an old friend Amy.

    Bel who is an incredible chef is still living and working at her family's Irish themed resort Shamrock Manor. Her past in New York City comes back to haunt her in this book. As does a photo she sees that she is convinced is her old friend Amy who has been missing for years. 

    There are lots of twists and turns in this enjoyable cozy mystery. Good read!

    Monday, December 4, 2017

    Review: Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2946.0 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1501133608
  • Publisher: Atria Books (Nov. 21 2017)
  • Sold by: Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
  • Language: English

  • Book Description

    “If you liked Big Little Lies, you’ll want to crack open this new novel by Nicole Baart.” —Southern Living

    “Steeped in menace, Baart’s latest is a race-to-the-finish family drama.” —People

    An engrossing and suspenseful novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Amy Hatvany about an affluent suburban family whose carefully constructed facade starts to come apart with the unexpected arrival of an endangered young girl.

    I have something for you. When Quinn Cruz receives that cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it. They haven’t seen each other in nearly a year and thanks to Nora’s fierce aloofness, their relationship consists mostly of infrequent phone calls and an occasional email or text. But when a haunted Nora shows up at the lake near Quinn's house just hours later, a chain reaction is set into motion that will change both of their lives forever.

    Nora’s “something” is more shocking than Quinn could have ever imagined: a little girl, cowering, wide-eyed, and tight-lipped. Nora hands her over to Quinn with instructions to keep her safe, and not to utter a word about the child to anyone, especially not their buttoned-up mother who seems determined to pretend everything is perfect. But before Quinn can ask even one of the million questions swirling around her head, Nora disappears, and Quinn finds herself the unlikely caretaker of a girl introduced simply as Lucy.

    While Quinn struggles to honor her sister’s desperate request and care for the lost, scared Lucy, she fears that Nora may have gotten involved in something way over her head—something that will threaten them all. But Quinn’s worries are nothing compared to the firestorm that Nora is facing. It’s a matter of life and death, of family and freedom, and ultimately, about the lengths a woman will go to protect the ones she loves.

    "Compelling and exquisite.... Baart has crafted an unforgettable novel filled with characters and places so rich, they spill from the pages in beautiful, slow motion passages that you'll savor again and again. The Beautiful Daughters is one of those special novels that will stay with you long after you've turned the last page."--Roberta Gately, author of Lipstick in Afghanistan and The Bracelet

    "The Beautiful Daughters is a captivating story that showcases Nicole Baart's strong suits. Her sense of place and characters, her understanding of relationship dynamics, and her ability to craft a compelling plot filled with emotional highs and lows all make for an engrossing, fast-paced novel that will thrill fans of women's fiction."--Kellie Coates Gilbert, author of Where Rivers Part

    "An ambitious, complex novel, The Beautiful Daughters weaves an intricate web with one driving mystery trapped at its heart and several other secrets waiting to be unraveled. A gorgeous, dark, and winding read!"--Andrea Lochen, author of The Repeat Year and Imaginary Things

    "A meditation on friendship, betrayal and redemption, The Beautiful Daughters is the kind of story that grabs hold and doesn't let go until the final, moving page. Baart spins together multiple storylines with masterful skill, and her richly realized characters stay with you long after you've finished reading."--Elizabeth Blackwell, author of While Beauty Slept

    "Nicole Baart weaves exquisite writing with unstoppable drama in this tale of family schisms and secrets on a collision course with life-threatening danger. Putting down Little Broken Things was impossible." --Randy Susan Meyers, bestselling author of Accidents of Marriage and The Widow of Wall Street

    "Little Broken Things made me abandon my life and responsibilities for days. Stunning, beautifully wrought, tenaciously hopeful--move this book to the very top of your book club list."--Kimberly Stuart, author of Sugar: A Novel and the Heidi Elliott series

    "Richly atmospheric and featuring a compelling cast of sharply drawn female characters, Little Broken Things is both a page-turner and a thoughtful examination of what it means to mother and be mothered, in all its most real and varied forms."--Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia and Where They Found Her

    "Beautifully readers everything they could possible want in a novel - vivid, engaging characters, a town filled with dark secrets, a mind-twisting mystery and the ferocious power of a mother's love. Original and gripping, Little Broken Things is a stunner that will linger with you long after the final page is turned."--Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not A Sound

    "Hold on to your hearts for this one. Nicole Baart leaves no emotion untapped with Little Broken Things as she nudges readers to ask: What kind of mother am I? With page after page of her trademark lyrical prose, Baart offers a treat of a tale that will please her loyal readers while drawing the praise of many more. Soul-stretchingly good!"
    --Julie Cantrell, author of Into the Free and Perennials

    "Suspenseful, heartfelt, and emotionally rich, Little Broken Things explores the complicated bonds of family--those we're born into and those we choose. Baart's writing--as always--is a delight."--Elizabeth Blackwell, author of While Beauty Slept and In the Shadow of Lakecrest

    About the Author

    Nicole Baart is the mother of five children from four different countries. The cofounder of a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, she lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the author of eight novels, including the upcoming LITTLE BROKEN THINGS. Nicole is a proud Tall Poppy Writer and a firm believer that we are, and always will be, better together. Find out more at or connect with Nicole on social media.


    My Review

    Little Broken Things is the first book of author Nicole Baart's that I have read. I really enjoyed this book so I will definitely reading more of Baart's books!

    I loved the setting of a Minnesota resort town, that swelled with people in the summer and was quiet the rest of the year. I loved the characters Baart created in this book. I found them all to be convincing and real. I liked the how the story went back and forth between the women in the tale.

    I enjoyed this contemporary tale. I didn't find it scary but found the situation to be scary. The story was filled with emotions and filled with family drama. The story took place over a few days which made the story more suspenseful. One detail in the book I kept changing my mind about but I was right in the first place...cannot tell what it is or I would give the story away.

    Great book. I really enjoyed it. Hard to put down. Highly recommend.

    Friday, December 1, 2017

    Review: Christmas at Grey Sage by Phyllis Clark Nichols

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4604 KB
  • Print Length: 230 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Gilead Publishing (Oct. 17 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B074B2D78T

  • Book Description

    This Christmas, there’s plenty of room at the inn

    Nestled in the snow-covered Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe, the Grey Sage Inn is the perfect place for an unlikely group of traveling companions to spend a couple of days on their Christmas trip. There’s plenty to see in historic Santa Fe during the day, and the inn’s owners, Maude and Silas, are happy to spend their evenings hosting this year’s guests from across the country.

    But an unusual snowstorm throws a wrench in the plans of these folks who were escaping Christmas at home. The sprawling inn becomes close quarters as the innkeepers and stranded guests discover this won’t be the Christmas they planned. Tension and fear mount as the storm worsens, and a sudden crisis disrupts the normally peaceful haven. The snow and stress unlock tongues — and in the unexpected conversation that follows, secrets and pasts are revealed, and hearts are healed.

    Amidst snowdrifts and fireside conversations of days gone by, the warmth of this Christmas brings renewed hope as trapped strangers become friends — proof again that the joy, hope, peace, and love of Christmas can be experienced no matter where you are.

    About the Author

    Phyllis Clark Nichols believes everyone could use a little more hope and light. Her character-driven Southern fiction explores profound human questions from within the simple lives of small town communities you just know you've visited before. With a love for nature, art, faith and ordinary people, she tells redemptive tales of loss and recovery, estrangement and connection, longing and fulfillment, often through surprisingly serendipitous events. Phyllis grew up in the deep shade of magnolia trees in South Georgia. Now she lives in the Texas Hill Country with her portrait-artist husband, where red birds and axis deer are her ever-ravenous neighbors. She is an English major and classically-trained musician, seminary graduate, concert artist and co-founder of a national cable network for the health and disability-related programming. After retiring as a cable network executive, Phyllis began leading mission teams to orphanages in Guatemala and now serves on three non-profit boards where she works with others who are equally passionate about bringing hope and light to those who need it most.

    Find out more about Phyllis at

    My Review

    Christmas at Grey Sage  by Phyllis Clark Nichols is the first book of Nichols that I have read. It is a heartwarming Christmas tale.

    Christmas at Grey Sage is set in an inn in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe at Christmas time. A terrible blizzard happens that strands the inn's guest at he Grey Sage. The guests end up having a Christmas like they never imagined.

    You will enjoy this heartwarming story. Sometimes we need to be reminded about the real meaning of Christmas. Highly recommend.

    Tuesday, November 28, 2017

    Review: Unshakeable: 365 Devotions for Finding Unwavering Strength in God’s Word by Christine Caine

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1231.0 KB
  • Print Length: 383 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (Oct. 24 2017)
  • Sold by: Zondervan CA (CA SOR)
  • Language: English

  • Book Description

    God is bigger than your current story. Bigger than fear or shame or that voice in your head that whispers that you are not enough, too broken, or too flawed. Join Him in a closer relationship—one rooted in truth and Unshakeable. In this daily devotional Christine Caine encourages you to find confidence to live as the person God created you to be.

    Everything in our world that can be shaken will be shaken. And yet, the Bible assures us it doesn’t matter what happens politically, morally, socially, or economically in the world around us if we have Christ in us—if we have the kingdom of God within us—because His kingdom is Unshakeable.

    In this daily devotional, bestselling author, speaker and activist Christine Caine will take you on a year-long journey of building your faith in our Unshakeable God. Through inspiring personal stories and powerful scriptures, she will equip you to live boldly and courageously, fully trusting our faithful God. She will inspire you how to activate living your life on mission. Unstoppable. Undaunted. Unashamed. Unshakable.

       “All of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.”

    –Hebrews 12:27 NLT

    About the Author

    Christine Caine is an Australian born, Greek blooded, lover of Jesus, activist, best-selling author and international speaker. Her primary passion is to make Jesus’ last command her first priority by giving her all to see the lost saved and to build the local church – globally. Christine also has a passion for justice, and together with her husband, founded the anti-human trafficking organization, The A21 Campaign. In 2015, they also founded Propel Women, an organization designed to honor the calling of every woman, empower her to lead, equip her for success and develop a sense of God-given purpose. Powered by hot, extra-dry, skinny, cappuccinos, Christine is a lover of words who speaks too fast, talks too much, and also writes them down. Her most recent book is, Unashamed: Drop the Baggage, Pick Up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny.

    My Review

    Unshakeable: 365 Devotions for Finding Unwavering Strength in God’s Word  by Christine Caine is a new devotional. Christine Caine has become one of my go to authors for Christian reading. She is insightful and inspiring.

    Unshakeable: 365 Devotions for Finding Unwavering Strength in God’s Word is dedicated to Lisa Harper's adopted daughter, Missy. She is also Caine's niece by choice. Very sweet to note that right off the start.

    Of course there are 365 for every day of the year. This will be my 2018 devotional. I found Caine's book Unshakeable to be very valuable. I know this devotional will be too.

    Each page holds a devotion. Each contains a bible verse, then a devotion related to the bible verse and a short prayer. Everyone has time for this devotional. It can be read in minutes or pondered over for longer.

    Highly recommend Unshakeable: 365 Devotions for Finding Unwavering Strength in God’s Word  by Christine Caine.

    Review: The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman

  • Hardcover: 65 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Translation edition (Oct. 31 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 150119349X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1501193491

  • Book Description

    The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and Beartown delivers an insightful and poignant holiday novella about a man who sacrificed his family in the single-minded pursuit of success and the courageous little girl fighting for her life who crosses his path.

    It all begins with a father telling a story to his son on Christmas Eve. But this isn’t your typical Christmas story. The father admits to his son that he’s taken a life but he won’t say whose—not yet.

    One week earlier, in a hospital late at night, the man met a five-year-old girl with cancer. She’s a smart kid—smart enough to know that she won’t beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it.

    As the man tells his son about this plucky little girl, he slowly reveals more about himself: while he may be a successful businessman, idolized by the media and his peers, he knows he failed as a parent. Overwhelmed by the responsibility of fatherhood, he took the easy way out and left his wife and little boy twenty years ago to pursue professional success. Now he is left wondering if it’s too late to forge a relationship with his son, who seems to be his opposite in every way—prizing happiness over money, surrounded by loving friends in a cozy town where he feels right at home.

    Face to face with the idea that something is missing, the man is given the unexpected chance to do something selfless that could change the destiny of the little girl in the hospital bed. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he needs to find out what his own life has actually been worth in the eyes of his son. And so, he seeks him out and tells him this story…

    Written with Fredrik Backman’s signature humor, compassion, and “knack for weaving tales that are believable and fanciful” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), The Deal of a Lifetime reminds us that life is a fleeting gift, and our only legacy is how we share that gift with those we love

    About the Author

    Fredrik Backman is a Swedish author, blogger and columnist. He is the author of a work of nonfiction, Things My Son Needs to Know About Life, and a number of novels including A Man Called Ove, his first novel. Ove has sold more than 2.8 million copies worldwide, making it one of Sweden's most popular literary exports since Stieg Larsson's thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - not bad for a book that was initially ignored or rejected by publishers including one memorable response that reads, "we like your novel, we think your writing has potential, but we see no commercial potential."

    My Review

    The Deal of a Lifetime  by Fredrik Backman is a short Christmas story about the choices we make in life. It is short and sweet. A brilliant tale that will leave the reader thinking about the choices that they have made in their own life. 

    If you are only going to read one short story this Christmas, then this is definitely the one. Impossible to put down. A  great tale for everyone.

    Review: The Midnight Line (Jack Reacher #22) by Lee Child

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2557.0 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0399593489
  • Publisher: Dell (Nov. 7 2017)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B06WP486XH

  • Book Description

    Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate: Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside. Reacher wonders what unlucky circumstance made her give up something she earned over four hard years. He decides to find out. And find the woman. And return her ring. Why not?

    So begins a harrowing journey that takes Reacher through the upper Midwest, from a lowlife bar on the sad side of small town to a dirt-blown crossroads in the middle of nowhere, encountering bikers, cops, crooks, muscle, and a missing persons PI who wears a suit and a tie in the Wyoming wilderness.

    The deeper Reacher digs, and the more he learns, the more dangerous the terrain becomes. Turns out the ring was just a small link in a far darker chain. Powerful forces are guarding a vast criminal enterprise. Some lines should never be crossed. But then, neither should Reacher.

    About the Author

    Lee Child was born October 29th, 1954 in Coventry, England, but spent his formative years in the nearby city of Birmingham. By coincidence he won a scholarship to the same high school that JRR Tolkien had attended. He went to law school in Sheffield, England, and after part-time work in the theater he joined Granada Television in Manchester for what turned out to be an eighteen-year career as a presentation director during British TV's "golden age." During his tenure his company made Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, Prime Suspect, and Cracker. But he was fired in 1995 at the age of 40 as a result of corporate restructuring. Always a voracious reader, he decided to see an opportunity where others might have seen a crisis and bought six dollars' worth of paper and pencils and sat down to write a book, Killing Floor, the first in the Jack Reacher series.

    My Review

    The Midnight Line  is the 22nd Jack Reacher novel  by Lee Child. This is an incredible series..well written and filled with action. 

    The Midnight Line is a return to what makes a great Reacher my opinion. The Midnight Line is set in small town America. Whenever a Reacher book is set in a small town you know you are going to get an amazing read!

    The Midnight Line is set in eastern Wyoming and western South Dakota. A beautiful area but an area that is beset with pharmaceutical drug addiction issues. The Midnight Line does a great job of bringing this problem to the forefront.

    I really enjoyed The Midnight Line. My book boyfriend Jack Reacher shines in this book. I highly recommend. 

    Wednesday, November 22, 2017

    Review: Murder in the Manuscript Room (A 42nd Street Library Mystery #2) by Con Lehane

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 5583.0 KB
    • Print Length: 320 pages
    • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Nov. 21 2017)
    • Sold by: Macmillan CA
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B072L67N8W

    Book Description

     When a murder desecrates the somber, book-lined halls of New York City's iconic 42nd Street Library, Raymond Ambler, the library's curator of crime fiction, has a personal interest in solving the crime. His quest to solve the murder is complicated by personal entanglements involving his friend--or perhaps more-than-friend--Adele Morgan. Not only does Adele's relationship with the young woman staffer who was murdered get in the way of Ambler's investigation, more disturbing for him is Adele's growing interest in a darkly handsome Islamic scholar.

    Soon the Intelligence Division of the New York Police Department takes over the case from NYPD homicide detective Mike Cosgrove, Ambler's friend and sometimes partner-in-crime solving. Ambler suspects that the murder of the young woman, who'd been working at the library under an assumed name and the curious intervention of NYPD's intelligence division are connected. The trail of intrigue leads to a seemingly unrelated murder in an upstate prison and a long ago murder of a trade union reformer.

    No one else sees the connections Ambler is sure are there--not an unusual state of affairs for Ambler. But with the city's law enforcement establishment determined to stop his investigation, the inquisitive and intrepid librarian faces challenges that may put his very life at risk.

    Praise for Murder in the Manuscript Room:

    “Con Lehane has the whole package here: characters the reader cares about, plot twists like a grand slalom course, and in the middle of it, a story utterly relevant to the real-life horror story unfolding in America’s immigration politics.”―Sara Paretsky

    "The second title in a nicely bookish series, this one highlights the formidable memory and ratiocinative skills of Ambler, the curator of crime fiction at the landmark New York Public Library."―New York Times Book Review

    "Con Lehane's Murder in the Manuscript Room caught my attention because not only does its crime take place in a great library, its detective is also a believable librarian. That hook, though, brought me into a whole world of well-developed characters--relatives, crooks, good cops, bad cops, possible terrorists, and a plot ranging in scope from New York high society soirees down through back rooms in great neighborhood bars. I found, myself, Murder in the Manuscript Room is a fun book to read in a neighborhood bar!"―Thomas Mann, author of The Oxford Guide to Library Research

    "Not to be missed.” —Megan Abbott

    About The Author

      Con Lehane grew up in the suburbs of New York City and currently writes from just outside of Washington, DC. Once a college professor, union organizer, bartender, and editor at the National Education Association, he now writes full time and teaches at The Writer's Center. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction writing from Columbia University School of the Arts. Death at the Old Hotel is his third novel in the Bartender Brian McNulty mystery series. His newest offering, the first book in a new series, is due from Minotaur-Thomas Dunne Books in 2014.

    My Review

     Murder in the Manuscript Room is the second book in A 42nd Street Library Mystery series by Con Lehane. I had not read the first book in the series and found that Murder in the Manuscript Room can easily be read as a stand alone.

    I love the setting of the 42nd street library in New York City. While I have not been inside yet as I find myself in NYC infrequently, I have seen the outside and was very impressed.

    Murder in the Manuscript Room is a well written and deeply layered book. There is a lot going the past and the present. As each new layer is exposed it is impossible to put this book down.

    There are great characters particularly Raymond Ambler, the library's curator of crime fiction, who is a librarian detective. He has a lot going on his life! I found the relationships in this book to be very realistic and authentic.

    I really enjoyed Murder in the Manuscript Room. Highly recommend.

    Thursday, November 16, 2017

    Review: Ordinary Graces: Word Gifts for Any Season by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 788 KB
    • Print Length: 272 pages
    • Publisher: Abingdon Press (Oct. 17 2017)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B01N7Z954O

     Book Description

    Everyone loves to receive a gift. And God has given us many, such as his grace--the gift we don't deserve and can never earn. Promises from the One who declares we are already loved, already accepted, already created in his image. The question becomes, will we truly receive that gift? Will the reality of it actually change the way we think and notice and reach out?

    God's Word will stand forever, in any season of life. These truths prompt us to respond with compassion and courage.

    Through inspiring devotions, Lucinda Secrest McDowell reveals biblical blessings that remind us that: God's promises give us strength, God's grace can be most evident at our weakest points, a proper response to our abundance of blessings is simply gratitude, and the "more" we are all looking for is the same abundant life that Jesus came to give us.

    Would you like to receive these gifts of ordinary grace? Join Lucinda in focusing on one word a day through devotional readings and short benedictions for any and every season to explore the many facets of Grace, Strength, Gratitude, and Life.

    Ordinary Graces is filled with sweet surprises. Lucinda Secret McDowell presents her readers with one powerful word gift a day. She skillfully defines it within a biblical context, and then challenges us to take an action step. This devotional will transform the way you live each day. I highly recommend it!
    --Carol Kent, speaker and author He Holds My Hand

    Author Lucinda Secrest McDowell has given us an extraordinary book with her newest release, Ordinary Graces, Word Gifts for Any Season. Although this wonderful resource is one you'll always want close at hand, it's also one that you'll find yourself sharing with those you meet who need encouragement and hope. McDowell is an author you'll turn to again and again when you're looking to connect with our Heavenly Father in a deeper, more intimate way. Truly a book that is a gift to us all.
    --Edie Melson, Award Winning Author, Blogger, and Speaker

    Lucinda always brings me to a place closer to God, deeper in the Word, happier in relationships and more joyful in life with Ordinary Graces.
    --Pam Farrel, author of 45 books including Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti and 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman

    Whether read one day at a time or in a season of refreshing, Ordinary Graces by Lucinda Secrest McDowell offers focused reflection on key, attitude-altering words. McDowell's interweaving of quotes from other thoughtful considerers adds even more depth to the beautifully expressed ponderings.
    --Cynthia Ruchti, author Mornings With Jesus and As My Parents Age

    Little did Lucinda Secrest McDowell know that my 'life verse' is John 1:16: 'For of His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.' In Ordinary Graces, Lucinda has conveyed the strategic importance of looking for and finding God's grace in our everyday lives. His grace does transform our lives. Gently. Tenderly. Wonderfully. The words she has chosen are exquisitely real and important to my life--and yours. Indulge in the grace-filled truth she is sharing. Take it for yourself.
    --Ruth Graham, author In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart

    What a delight to slow down for a few minutes of quiet with this beautifully written devotional, Ordinary Graces. In a world of hurry, Lucinda's words remind us there is grace and strength available if we will just stop to receive. Each day's reading will speak to you from Scripture and change your life for the better.
    --Arlene Pellicane, author of Calm, Cool, and Connected: 5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life

    In the beginning was the Word ... and there were words ... and they all had meaning and they were good for the spirit of man. And then Lucinda Secrest McDowell came along and took ordinary words and ushered in ordinary graces. These are the words you'd expect in a book such as this, words like gift and life. But there are also words one doesn't expect, words like broken and anger. And perhaps my favorite word of all, sleep. In Ordinary Graces, Lucinda gives us a glimpse of the ordinary to the extraordinary, highlights of her heart, and moments within the heart of God. Close enough to hear His heartbeat.
    --Eva Marie Everson, CBA Bestselling Author, President, Word Weavers International

    Ordinary Graces is the sort of book I can return to again and again for wise and gracious words that encourage, challenge, inspire, and comfort. A feast for the soul.
    --Sharon Garlough Brown, author Sensible Shoes novel series

    When I buy a devotional, I want to know that I'm getting profound insights that are theologically grounded, yet relatable to my everyday, ordinary life. That's exactly what Lucinda Secret McDowell offers in Ordinary Graces. I wanted to underline something in every paragraph, and I found myself reflecting on her words when I went about my day as a mom and a wife. This beautiful devotional will minister to your heart and lead you straight to the source of all grace: Jesus.
    --Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of The Happiness Dare and Love Idol

    Ordinary Graces is a short excellent daily devotional, with a Scripture verse and then practical ways on how to put the presence of God in the forefront of our day. Each one is named with a word we use in our everyday lives which Cindy knows how to capture in an excellent illustration. She writes beautifully and succinctly of the things we need to hear, usually with some humor and sharing a fascinating story from her own or a friend's life. At the end of each day's devotion, she writes a short intimate message from God to us, always aligned with the truths of Scripture. I highly recommend this book for anyone seeking to grow in knowing God.
    --Valerie Elliot Shepard

    About the Author

    Lucinda Secrest McDowell is the author of 13 books including Ordinary Graces: Word Gifts for Any Season and Dwelling Places: Words to Live in Every Season?, has contributed to an additional 30 books, and has been published in more than 50 magazines. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, she speaks internationally through her ministry "Encouraging Words." An award-winning writer who has earned accolades from prominent writers' conferences and retreats, McDowell directs reNEW--retreat for New England Writing and has also worked in radio broadcasting and on church pastoral staffs. She writes from "Sunnyside" cottage in Connecticut. Find her online at

    My Review

     Ordinary Graces: Word Gifts for Any Season by Lucinda Secrest McDowell is an inspiring devotional that is perfect for yourself or for a gift.

    Ordinary Graces: Word Gifts for Any Season is divided into four sections: grace, strength, gratitude and life. Each one word topic in the devotional begins with a bible quote, then a devotional and ends with a prayer.

    Ordinary Graces: Word Gifts for Any Season if filled with meaningful and valuable encouraging words. I highly recommend this devotional.

    Thursday, October 26, 2017

    Review: The Ghost of Christmas Past: A Molly Murphy Mystery (Molly Murphy #17) by Rhys Bowen

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 4202 KB
    • Print Length: 272 pages
    • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Nov. 14 2017)
    • Sold by: Macmillan CA
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B071V56DLF

    Book Description

     Semi-retired private detective Molly Murphy Sullivan is suffering from depression after a miscarriage following her adventure in San Francisco during the earthquake of 1906. She and her husband, Daniel, are invited for Christmas at a mansion on the Hudson, and they gratefully accept, expecting a peaceful and relaxing holiday season. Not long after they arrive, however, they start to feel the tension in the house’s atmosphere. Then they learn that the host couple's young daughter wandered out into the snow ten years ago and was never seen again. Molly can identify with the mother's pain at never knowing what happened to her child and wants to help, but there is so little to go on. No ransom note. No body ever found. But Molly slowly begins to suspect that the occupants of the house know more than they are letting on. Then, on Christmas Eve, there is a knock at the door and a young girl stands there. "I'm Charlotte," she says. "I've come home."

    About the Author

     "I'm a New York Times bestselling mystery author, winner of both Agatha and Anthony awards for my Molly Murphy mysteries, set in 1902 New York City.

    I also write the Agatha-winning Royal Spyness series, about the British royal family in the 1930s. It's lighter, sexier, funnier, wicked satire. It was voted by readers as best mystery series one year.
    I am also known for my Constable Evans books, set in North Wales, and for my award-winning short stories. "

    I was born and raised in England but currently divide my time between California and Arizona where I go to escape from the harsh California winters
    When I am not writing I love to travel, sing, hike, play my Celtic harp.
    * Constable Evan Mystery
    * Molly Murphy Mysteries
    * Her Royal Spyness Mysteries

    Agatha Award
    ◊ Best Novel (2001): Murphy's Law
    Reviewer's Choice Award
    ◊ Historical Mystery (2001): Murphy's Law

    My Review

     The Ghost of Christmas Past: A Molly Murphy Mystery is the seventeenth Molly Murphy mystery by Rhys Bowen. I love love love this series that takes place at the turn of the twentieth century. While Molly is based in New York, most of this story is set outside of the city new Scarborough and White Plains.

    Molly is still recovering from her San Francisco adventure. She lost the baby she was carrying and has been suffering from depression. When they have the opportunity to spend Christmas outside of the city at a lovely home in the country with her husband Daniel's mother.

    All seems a little quiet at the country house. There are no other children there and it turns out that 10 years ago, the daughter of the house disappeared. She was only 3 years old. There is a knock at the door on Christmas Eve and the young lady claims to be the missing child. The twists and revelations keep coming.

    I really loved this book. What a great Christmas mystery. I highly recommend The Ghost of Christmas Past.

    Review: The Vineyard Victims (Wine Country Mysteries #8) by Ellen Crosby

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 1064 KB
    • Print Length: 330 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250076625
    • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Nov. 7 2017)
    • Sold by: Macmillan CA
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B06Y5XJ4SV

    Book Description

     The death of a former presidential candidate in a fiery car crash at her Virginia vineyard has ties to a thirty year-old murder, as well as to Lucie Montgomery’s own near fatal accident ten years ago, as she searches for a killer who now may be stalking her.

    When Jamison Vaughn―billionaire real estate mogul, Virginia vineyard owner, and unsuccessful U.S. presidential candidate―drives his gold SUV into a stone pillar at the entrance to Montgomery Estate Vineyard, Lucie Montgomery is certain the crash was deliberate. But everyone else in Atoka, Virginia is equally sure that Jamie must have lost control of his car on a rain-slicked country road. In spite of being saddled with massive campaign debts from the recent election, Jamie is seemingly the man with the perfect life. What possible reason could he have for committing suicide . . . or was it murder?

    Before long Lucie uncovers a connection between Jamie and some of his old friends―an elite group of academics―and the brutal murder thirty years ago of a brilliant PhD student. Although a handyman is on death row for the crime, Lucie soon suspects someone else is guilty. But the investigation into the two deaths throws Lucie a curve ball when someone from her own past becomes involved, forcing her to confront old demons. Now the race to solve the mystery behind the two deaths becomes intensely personal as Lucie realizes someone wants her silenced . . . for good.

    About the Author

     Ellen Crosby is the author of THE CHAMPAGNE CONSPIRACY, the 7th book in the Virginia Wine Country mysteries, which will be out November 1, 2016. Also in 2016, GHOST IMAGE, the second Sophie Medina mystery will be out, along with the US edition of MOSCOW NIGHTS. Before writing fiction, Crosby was a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, Moscow correspondent for ABC Radio News, and an economist at the US Senate. After living overseas for many years, she now lives in the Washington, DC suburbs of northern Virginia. More information at or

    My Review

     The Vineyard Victims is the eighth book in the Wine Country Mysteries series by Ellen Crosby. I have read all the previous books in this series. I am definitely a fan! Great series.

    The book opens with a car crash. Former Presidential Candidate and neighbour Jamie Vaughn crashes into a wall at Lucie Montgomery's winery. It is the same wall that caused Lucie's disabling accident. Vaughn is dead but did he need to die. Did he crash purposely?

     Lucie cannot help herself from trying to solve the mystery around Vaughn's death. Is one of her longtime neighbours involved in his death? And what about the death of Vaughn's friend 30 years ago?
    This tale is filled with riddles! Great mystery!

    Love this series and highly recommend The Vineyard Victims.

    Sunday, October 22, 2017

    Review: Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding (Tara Holloway #12) by Diane Kelly

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 4641 KB
    • Print Length: 348 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250094909
    • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (Oct. 31 2017)
    • Sold by: Macmillan CA
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B06Y5S12TF

    Book Description

    For IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway, this case is personal...
    Wedding bells are ringing as Tara and her soon-to-be-husband Nick prepare for their big day. But along with all the RSVP cards are a series of death threats from an unknown source. The culprit must be someone from an earlier investigation--a white-collar criminal with a red-hot grudge--but Tara has run across too many lawbreakers to narrow down the search. And time, like her biological clock, is ticking.

    Now, while dodging attempts on her life, Tara also finds herself embroiled in a rental scam in which a heartless crook is ripping people off left and right. Will she be able to track down the con artist and make it down the aisle in one piece? Or will "til death do us part" come before Tara can even say "I do"?

    About the Author

     Award-winning author Diane Kelly writes romance and romantic mysteries featuring feisty heroines, quirky sidekicks, and sexy leading men, with humor that leaves readers laughing out loud.

    My Review

    Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding is the 12th book in the Tara Holloway mystery series by Diane Kelly. I don't know why I have not found this series before. This is the first book in the series that I have read.

    Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding follows the adventures of IRS Special Agent Tara Holoway. As Tara is preparing for her upcoming wedding, she is almost run down while mailing her invitations. Is someone from her past dealing in the IRS gunning for her? And will she be able to finish investigating a rental scam before someone tries to kill her? And what about her wedding?

    Death, Taxes and a Shotgun Wedding is a fun cozy mystery that all cozy fans will enjoy!

    Review: Gin and Panic (Discreet Retrieval Agency #3) by Maia Chance

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 2020 KB
    • Print Length: 281 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250109051
    • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Oct. 24 2017)
    • Sold by: Macmillan CA
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B06Y17JTLC

    Book Description

    “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets—and has a high old time doing it! So will you.”—Ann B. Ross, New York Times bestselling author of the Miss Julia series

    Former socialite Lola Woodby is now struggling to make ends meet as a not-so-discreet private eye in Prohibtion-era New York City, along with her stern Swedish sidekick, Berta. When they’re offered a piece-of-cake job—retrieving a rhinoceros trophy from the Connecticut mansion of big game hunter Rudy Montgomery—it seems like a no-brainer. After all, their client, Lord Sudley, promises them a handsome paycheck, and the gin and tonics will be plentiful and free. But no sooner do they arrive at Montgomery Hall than Rudy is shot dead.

    When the police arrive to examine the scene, they conclude that Rudy had actually committed suicide. But Lord Sudley can’t believe his friend would have done that, and there’s a houseful of suspicious characters standing by. So Lord Sudley ups the ante for Lola and Berta, and suddenly, their easy retrieval job has turned into a murder investigation. Armed with handbags stuffed with emergency chocolate, gin flasks, and a Colt .25, Lola and Berta are swiftly embroiled in a madcap puzzle of stolen diamonds, family secrets, a clutch of gangsters, and plenty of suspects who know their way around a safari rifle.

    Gin and Panic is the next jaunty, compelling Discreet Retrieval Agency mystery from beloved crime writer Maia Chance.

    About the Author

     MAIA CHANCE was a finalist for the 2004 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington. She is writing her dissertation on nineteenth-century American literature. She is also the author of the Fairy Tale Fatal mystery series (Cinderella Six Feet Under, Snow White Red-Handed, and Beauty, Beast and Belladonna).

    My Review

    Gin and Panic is the third Discreet Retrieval Agency by author Maia Chance. This is the first book in the series that I have read. It can easily be read as a stand alone.

    Gin and Panic is set in the 1920 Prohibition Era in New York and Connecticut. Lola and Berta, the Discreet Retrieval Agency's two owners, are hired to retrieve a rhinoceros from the country mansion of a big game hunter. They were retrieving it for Lord Sudley, an Englishman and fellow big game hunter. Lola and Berta are set to spend the weekend at the mansion but their host is murdered and then they discovered raw diamonds in the rhino head. A madcap adventure ensues from this point.

    What a fun fun fun book! I loved the mystery aspect as well as the adventures that Berta and Lola became involved in. The book is well written and the author has ensured that we are back in the 1920s. I cannot wait to read more in this series!

    I highly recommend Gin and Panic.