Sunday, March 24, 2024

Review: The Diva Says Cheesecake! by: Krista Davis


Title: The Diva Says Cheesecake!
Author: Krista Davis
Publisher: Kensington
Series: A Domestic Diva Mystery #15
Format: e-book ( 304 p.) NetGalley

Description 

A delightful new story from a New York Times bestselling author perfect for fans of Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen Mystery series! In this page-turning new book, entertaining guru Sophie Winston is faced with a midsummer nightmare when a celebration in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, is the appetizer for murder…

Old Town’s midsummer festivities are getting a tasty addition this year. To coincide with a public performance of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Bobbie Sue Bodoin, the Queen of Cheesecake, has hired Sophie to organize a dinner with a dessert buffet on the waterfront. Bobbie Sue’s homegrown company is thriving, and since her baking dish overfloweth, she wants to reward her employees.

Bobbie Sue has only one menu demand: no cheesecake! But her specialty isn’t the only thing missing from the evening—Tate, Bobbie Sue’s husband, is too much to her annoyance. Next morning, however, Tate’s dead body is discovered. Bobbie Sue insists she didn’t kick her spouse to the curb, and begs for Sophie’s help finding the real killer. Digging in, Sophie discovers an assortment of Old Town locals who all had reason to want a piece of Tate. Can she gather together the crumbs the killer left behind in time to prevent a second helping of murder?

Includes delectable recipes and fabulous DIY decorating tips!

My Thoughts: 

Sophie Winston is helping out organizing a dinner on the night of A Midsummer Night's Dream as a way to reward her workers.  What Sophie is worried about is when Bobbie Sue can't find her husband anywhere even into the next morning when she and Sophie find the dead body of her husband.  What happened and why?  Who would want to kill Tate Bobbie Sue's husband?  Did he have a tryst with someone?  Or was it something worse?

This book had so much going on including the fate of Bernie a friend of both Sophie's and Mar's. When he's on the hook for the murder.  Who would think Bernie would do this clearly hasn't read any of the previous books.  It was a great read and see how those close to Bernie would jump up to protect him and get to the bottom of the whole situation!

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Review: Hidden Beneath by: Barbara Ross


Title: Hidden Beneath
Author: Barbara Ross
Publisher: Kensington
Series: Maine Clambake Mystery #11
Format: e-book ( 230 p.) NetGalley

Description:

Serving up mouthwatering shellfish, the Snowden Family Clambake has become a beloved institution in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. But when new clues rise to the surface five years after the disappearance of Julia Snowden’ s mother’s friend, the family business shifts to sleuthing . . .

Julia and her mother, Jacqueline, have come to the exclusive summer colony of Chipmunk Island to attend a memorial service for Jacqueline’s old friend Ginny, who’s been officially declared dead half a decade after she went out for her daily swim in the harbor and was never seen again. But something seems fishy at the service—especially with the ladies of the Wednesday Club. As Julia and Jacqueline begin looking into Ginny’s cold case, a present-day murder stirs the pot, and mother and daughter must dive into the deep end to get to the bottom of both mysteries . . .

My Thoughts:

This book has Julia and her mother Jacqueline trying to get to the bottom of a death on Chipmunk Island.  When an old friend of Julia's mother Ginny who had been declared for 10 years, but when her body turns up it's up to Julia to figure out what is going on and what is with the Wednesday Club.

Jacqueline feels guilty as she had an email from her friend Ginny wanting to talk to her.  She thinks she had more time to talk with her friend but all that changed when her friend Ginny disappeared.  The more baffling part is when the will is read and Jacqueline finds herself the executor of the estate of her friend.

Who killed Ginny and for what reason?  Did she see something she shouldn't have?  This book had so much going on between the clambakes they do and what is going on Chipmunk Island.  Definitely a great story everyone who has been following Julia will definitely want to check this one out!

Monday, February 12, 2024

Review: Muddled Through by: Barbara Ross


Title: Muddled Through
Author: Barbara Ross
Publisher: Kensington
Series: Maine Clambake Mystery #10
Format: e-book ( 265 p.) NetGalley

Description:

Mud season takes on a whole new meaning in the coastal town of Busman's Harbor, Maine, when local business owners sling dirt at one another in a heated feud over a proposed pedestrian mall. Vandalism is one thing, but murder means Julia Snowden of the Snowden Family Clambake steps in to clean up the case . . .

When Julia spots police cars in front of Lupine Design, she races over. Her sister Livvie works there as a potter. Livvie is unharmed but surrounded by smashed up pottery. The police find the owner Zoey Butterfield digging clay by a nearby bay, but she has no idea who would target her store. Zoey is a vocal advocate for turning four blocks of Main Street into a pedestrian mall on summer weekends. Other shop owners, including her next-door neighbor, are vehemently opposed. Could a small-town fight provoke such destruction? When a murder follows the break-in, it's up to Julia to dig through the secrets and lies to uncover the truth . . .

My Thoughts:

This book focus's on Julia's sister's Livvie's boss Zoey Butterfield who is being targeted by someone and finds her shop busted up and Julia is determined to find out what is happening. Zoey is also trying to help advocate to help make a pedestrian mall on summer weekends to bring more business to town, but some locals aren't keen on this and are making it happen. When one of the locals is dead the heat is on Zoey for having committed murder, but did she really kill Phinney a local who didn't want all the changes that Zoey was trying to make?  Who had it in for him and why?

I really enjoyed this book and I have enjoyed this series as it has progressed and have enjoyed watching as Julia has moved on from Chris and made it clear she can't go back to him even if she does love him.  She ends up going out with a few guys which she knows don't pan out as she's not completely ready for or interested in the guys she goes out with.  Which I think sets up for when she will be ready for the right guy when she is ready!

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Review: Schucked Apart by: Barbara Ross


Title: Schucked Apart
Author: Barbara Ross
Series: A Maine Clambake Mystery #9
Format: Paperback (228 p.) NetGalley

Description:

The Snowden Family Clambake Company has a beloved reputation in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. Almost as famous is the sleuthing ability of proprietor Julia Snowden, which is why an oyster farmer seeks her out when she’s in trouble.   

When Andie Greatorex is robbed of two buckets of oyster seed worth $35,000, she wonders if somebody’s trying to mussel her out of business. Could it be a rival oyster farmer, a steamed former employee, or a snooty summer resident who objects to her unsightly oyster cages floating on the beautiful Damariscotta River? There’s also a lobsterman who’s worried the farm’s expanding lease will encroach on his territory and Andie’s ex-partner, who may come to regret their split. Before Julia can make much headway in the investigation, Andie turns up dead, stabbed by a shucking knife. Now it’s up to Julia to set a trap for a cold and clammy killer . . .  

My Thoughts: 

Julia Snowden's boyfriend Chris asks Julia to investigate when his poker partner Andie is having trouble with people in her business so she goes to find out what she can do.  Andie is being robbed of oyster seed worth 35 thousand dollars who would want to hurt her that much and why?   Could it be an ex partner or someone she has annoyed?  What makes it worse when Andie winds up dead and the pressure is on when Julia is determined to find out who killed her.

This book was full of so much secrets and mysteries going on and a turning point in Julia's relationship with Chris.  Julia has to come to terms with so much happening about why he wouldn't show Julia every aspect of his life and why he felt the need to hide his poker friends and his family from her.  Julia also learns who had killed Andie and why.  It was definitely a great page turner and showed how Julia had to make some hard decisions in life.

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Review: One Book in The Grave by: Kate Carlisle


Title: One Book in the Grave
Author: Kate Carlisle
Publisher: Berkley 
Series: Bibliophile Mystery #5
Format: Paperback (280 p.) Personal Purchase

Description:

There may be grave consequences for bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright as she attempts to solve two murders tied to one book...

Brooklyn's chance to restore a rare first edition of Beauty and the Beast seems a fairy tale come true—until she realizes the book belonged to an old friend of hers. Ten years ago, Max Adams, a brawny renowned papermaker, fell in love with a stunning beauty, Emily, and gave her the copy of Beauty and the Beast as a symbol of their love. Soon afterward, he died in a car crash, and Brooklyn has always suspected his possessive ex-girlfriend and her jealous beau.

Now she decides to find out who sold the book and return it to its rightful owner—Emily. She believes a rare book dealer can assist her, but when she arrives at his shop, she finds him murdered. Is it possible that the same couple who may have killed Max are now after his edition of Beauty and the Beast? With the help of her handsome boyfriend, Derek Stone, Brooklyn must unravel the murder plot—before she ends up in a plot herself....

My Thoughts:

When Broolyn gets a copy of Beauty and The Beast to restore she is stunned to find it's a copy of the book she gave to her friend Max Adams and his fiancĂ© Emily.  Max Adams has been dead for three years so why is Brooklyn wondering what is going on?  Is there something sinister going on?  The more she digs the more questions she has who found the book that Brooklyn has and what does this have to do with Max when he's been dead for 3 years?

I love this series and the writing style really pulls you and takes you from Brooklyn's apartment to her parent's house and Guru Bob to get to the bottom of everything!  Definitely a great adventure in California with everyone! 

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Book Spotlight: The Confident Hope & Overflow with Hope by: E. C. Jackson

About the Book:


 

Title: The Confident Hope: Hope Series Book 4

Author: E.C. Jackson

Publisher: Independent

Publication Date: September 28, 2020

Pages: 338

Genre: Inspirational Romance


BOOK BLURB:


Is there hope for this love between friends?


Pamela Hayes is a smart, successful business owner with a supportive family and a thriving bakery. She should be the happiest girl in the world. But she can’t shake the melancholy that accompanies every conversation she has with her best friend, Mark. Pamela doesn’t know how much longer she can hide her true feelings.


Why can’t Mark see how perfect they would be together? She would make a much better girlfriend than the one he currently has. Pamela prays he’ll come to his senses soon and realize he’s with the wrong girl. But when her dream comes true, it isn’t the fantasy she had envisioned.


There is trouble in paradise from the start, and all the red flags she’s been ignoring are starting to threaten her confidence…and her relationship with Mark. She’ll have to rely on family and her faith in God to help her secure the hope she so desperately needs.

Buy Link

Amazon



Book Excerpt:

Motes reflected in the sunlight that beamed through an eastern bedroom window. Background noise filtered past closed doors. Turning over in bed onto her stomach, Pamela Hayes yanked a beige satin comforter off the floor with one hand. That same hand then tossed a navy-blue neck pillow upon the bed. Footsteps on the other side of the door grabbed her attention.

Mom’s on her Saturday-morning prowl. Five, four, three, two, one …

Anna Hayes’s head poked inside her daughter’s bedroom. Hallway lighting bathed her trim figure in artificial brightness. “Morning, babe. Touching base before I go.” Her warm gaze surveyed the tousled bed. “From the tangled cover, it looks like you had a rough night.”

With a hand covering her yawn, Pamela shook her head and turned onto her side. “Just my normal Friday night tug-of-war. It’s my preferred method of winding down.”

Anna’s soft laugh sounded like music. “Any special plans today?”

Leaning on her elbow, Pamela rested her face on spread fingers as she gazed at her mother. Forty-eight-year-old Anna wore desert-green ankle boots, cropped white pants, and an oversized olive-green sweater. A brown suede bag hung over her shoulder. 

“You look like a dream, Mom. If I didn’t know otherwise, I’d think you were going out with someone special.” 

Laughter flitted through slightly parted lips. “I’m late. Give me a quick rundown on your activities for today.”

Oh boy. I had hoped she wouldn’t ask. Better mention my afternoon expedition last. 

“Shopping for a spring wardrobe around noon. My jeans are tatty. And then, shooting the rapids.” 

The door opened wider as Anna grasped the doorknob. “Water rafting somewhere near South Town?”

“Oklahoma City. The spring season begins today. It’s safe, Mom. Stop frowning.”

“I’m sure they take safety precautions. But promise to be extra careful. I can do without mental pictures of my twenty-five-year-old daughter drowning.”

Pamela flopped onto her back. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Thank you. I love surrender whenever I hear it.” Anna checked her watch. “I’ll be out late. Don’t hesitate to call if you need me.” 

After those parting words, her mother floated out of the house. Her all-day Saturday excursions had begun late last year. A seeming whim had developed into a lengthy pattern.

After the front door lock clicked, a sleepy Pamela hid her head beneath the sheets and immediately fell back to sleep. 


About the Book:

Title: Overflow With Hope: Hope Series Book 5

Author: E.C. Jackson

Publisher: Independent

Publication Date: TBA

Pages: TBA

Genre: Inspirational Romance


BOOK BLURB:


Two men. One wrong choice. 

Tempia Wade’s life had jumped the rails. 

One fateful night, she believed a stranger’s lie rather than the assurance of a trusted friend. For her lapse in judgment, she paid an agonizing price. 

Her now-bankrupt life featured shattered dreams, ruined friendships, and the loss of a promising relationship. Now, two years later, the twenty-three-year-old prayed for a second chance with the man she had fallen for at first sight. 

Would Cory Sanders finally overlook her egregious mistake in accepting a next-day date and liaison with another man? Or would she have to truly accept life without him?  


Buy Link

Amazon 




Book Excerpt:

After installing HVAC systems at a new apartment complex, twenty-eight-year-old Cory Sanders should’ve headed home, eaten a sandwich, and stretched his five-foot-eleven-inch frame onto his king-sized bed. But today he sought diversions at a friend’s pool hall. The short trek across the parking lot led him inside a large yet cozy space teeming with some of his favorite folks. As his eyes adjusted to dim lighting, he stepped up to the counter of the juice and coffee bar. 

Glancing at Cory, a middle-aged woman, brown eyes alert, paused her conversation with a customer. “Wait till I tell Dan who stopped by on a late Friday afternoon,” she said to Cory. “Of course, neither he nor our sons will believe me.” 

Miss Laura’s husband, Dan, had been Cory’s father’s best friend since their HVAC training program days. He and his youngest son worked for Cory’s father’s heating and cooling business, while his wife helped their oldest son, Scott, run his pool hall. 

“Keep our secret, Miss Laura, or someone will demand I show up more often.”

She winked as she laughed. “If anyone asks me, I’ll say you were just winding down from a tough workday.”

Cory chuckled. “Sounds like the perfect plan,” he said. “One pomegranate slush, please. And Miss Laura, let your son know adding slushes to the juice menu was an excellent idea. If he asks, tell him to add grilled cheese, hamburgers, and hot sausage sandwiches.”

“More approval will swell his head. Thank God, he won’t inquire.”  

“I bet you he’d consider those suggestions if he did.”

“Serving food ain’t happening on my watch. This mama has enough tasks without piling on more. We’ll hold off on a food menu until Scott quits his day job.”

As Cory left the counter, Miss Laura snuck in, “See you next Friday.” 

While sipping his slush, Cory peered around the cavernous room and took in the lively atmosphere. Ten pool tables were strategically set up to maximize solo and group play. Walking across the space, he passed a group of men ribbing each other. A fifty-something man pocketed a ball then spotted Cory. “Lookee here. Grab a pool stick, son.”

Cory sat on a seat close to the action and pointed at the bald, clean-shaven man. “Not today. I just came to watch you masters clean the table.”

“Take notes,” another man said. “Stu left this little boy hanging in the pocket.”

With that, Cory realized he had chosen the correct diversion after all. His bed and sandwich could wait until later that evening. These lively antics might delete a tiresome woman from his mind. Last year, he had purged her from his heart, but no matter how hard he tried, he could never seem to evict her from his mind. He hoped that changing his long-established habits might help.


 

 

 

 

About the Author

 

E. C. Jackson began her writing career with the full-length play Pajama Party. Thirty-one years later, she adapted the play into Pajama Party: The Story, a companion book to the second book in the five-book standalone Hope series. 

Jackson’s favorite pastime is reading fiction. She enjoys taking the journey along with the characters in the books. That also led to her unorthodox approach to story writing. Her vision for each book she writes is to immerse readers into the storyline so they become connected with each character.  

“The Write Way: A Real Slice of Life” is the slogan on her Facebook author page. She feels that if every person reading her books feels connected to the characters, her job is done.

Author Links  

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads




Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Book Tour: The Certain Hope by: E. C. Jackson

 

Title: The Certain Hope: Hope Series Book 3

Author: E.C. Jackson

Publisher: Independent

Publication Date: December 5, 2018

Pages: 263

Genre: Inspirational Romance


BOOK BLURB:


Love at first sight. It’s every girl’s dream. But Tara Simpkins is finding out it’s not as easy as it seems. Is this truly the man God sent to be her husband, or is she just desperate to escape her loneliness? The recent loss of both parents has left her reeling, and close friends don’t think she’s in any position to make major life decisions. She and her new-found love are convinced they can live happily ever after in the home of their dreams. His family thinks he’s moving way too fast and might disappoint the kind-hearted woman he’s fallen head over heels for. And then there’s Leah. Leah is supposed to be part of his past, but what if she decides she’s his future? Tara’s match made in Heaven may be over before it truly begins.


Buy Link


Amazon



Book Excerpt:

Tara Simpkins nibbled her balled fist, hoping to turn a rout into a win. Andy had spent three days installing her roof. He’d come into her life last Friday and was the perfect man. But unless she developed a way to keep him close, his exit would be speedier than his entrance had been. 

The handsome roofer had captured her attention his first day on the job. He had even appeared mesmerized by Tara. That had never happened before. Men ran from her, not to her. She couldn’t tell what prompted his interest in her, yet he continued to hang around. She loved the chase but was unsure how to get herself caught. And that dilemma wouldn’t get resolved soon. 

Andy seemed like her dream man. He was adept at keeping a conversation going, even though she wasn’t. Plus, he’d seemed curious about his customer in a non-threatening way. He resembled an old friend. The charisma he oozed added to his appeal.

Andy engaged her in conversation, despite her ignoring his charm. Thoroughly smitten, she downplayed his attention. Because of that, he seemed to slow the hunt. But he still knocked on her door each evening after the work ended. 

Tara had come to expect those knocks. How would she survive once they stopped?

My Thoughts:

Tara is dealing with death of her parents and wondering if she will ever find her happily ever after.  She finds herself drawn to a roofer wondering if this is who God sent for her to build a life with.  Will Tara ever find her happily ever after?

This series is incredible with the different situations that the author has them deal with.  Definitely a new great series to check out that has great characters that we learn about and grow attached too.  Something you should definitely check out!


Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Book Tour: A Living Hope by: E. C. Jackson

 

Title: A Living Hope: Hope Series Book 2

Author: E.C. Jackson

Publisher: Independent

Publication Date: ‎ July 31, 2016

Pages: 287

Genre: Inspirational Romance


BOOK BLURB:


It was a match made in heaven. Or so everyone thought. Sadie Mae Cummings is all set to marry her childhood sweetheart, Kyle, when she is assigned to tutor Lincoln, the new college football running back. This sophomore phenomenon has all the girls on campus knocking on his door. But Sadie isn't interested in his advances.


Lincoln’s overblown ego doesn't take well to being shunned, and he resolves to make Sadie his own. He pursues her relentlessly, until finally Kyle finds himself shut out of Sadie's life, with their shared future crumbling around him.


After two years, Sadie’s relationship with Lincoln ends, and she is left having to put the pieces of her life back together. She desires nothing more than to recapture her relationship with Kyle. He has stayed true to the dreams they had planned together, living the vision even without Sadie by his side.


When she moves back to her hometown, she labors to rekindle their love. But things have changed, and Kyle has moved on. Sadie quickly discovers how hard it is to rebuild burned bridges.


Follow Sadie’s story as she fights for a chance to restore broken dreams. Will love endure?


This inspirational romance by E. C. Jackson is book two of the Hope series and is a standalone book.

Buy Link

Amazon



Book Excerpt:

Restless, twenty-one-year-old Sadie Cummings wiped down the counter space in her

small kitchen nook. It was eleven o’clock. Five minutes had passed since the

last time she’d checked. Sighing, she fretted about her boyfriend’s visit that

morning. 

“Why does he agree to come over, then not show up?”

In no time, morning had slipped into early afternoon. The breakfast she’d hoped would

receive raves from Lincoln congealed on the stovetop. So much for using her cooking

skills to entice him. With several swift movements, she scraped the masterpiece into the

garbage disposal,

fighting to control the uneasiness she couldn’t dismiss.

She was an expert at fooling herself and others, but today her mind refused to be pacified.

One could only pretend for so long before the bottom dropped out completely. Truth had a bad habit of intruding into fairy tales. Especially when the make-believe stories were about real-life events. 

The ringing cell phone grabbed Sadie’s attention. That her mother was on the other end was a forgone conclusion. Except for an occasional chat with her younger sister and older brother, the cell phone never rang. These days only her mother contacted Sadie on a regular basis. She peeked at the caller ID.

A moment before the call transferred to voicemail, Sadie snatched up the cell phone, held it against her chest, then gave a cheery greeting. Minutes later, she sauntered through the studio apartment thinking up reasonable excuses to end the call early. Jeanette Cummings expected a good deal more than her middle child was able to give.

Still stumped about finding an excuse to satisfy her mother, Sadie walked around in circles. 

“Mother, I’m not trying to hurry you off the phone. I recognize your concern for the Franklins. Our families have been friends for years. It’s just . . . look . . . it’s . . . mother, I don’t have time to talk now.” 

Sadie picked up twine from the counter and wove it between her fingers. Pulling it too tight, she winced, then unwound it from around her fingers and wrapped it around her thumb. 

“I made plans for the day.” 

Lincoln could arrive any moment. Somehow, she had to quickly end this conversation without hurting the only person who regularly called. Friendships were difficult to maintain these days. And her brother and sister only gave duty calls, then ended the conversation in a snap. 

Jeanette sighed loudly. “I would offer to call back at a better time, but there isn’t one, is there, Sadie?”

“Mom . . .” 

Sadie slowly shook her head. Guilt surfaced each time she talked to her mother. Raised in an orphanage, her mother wasn’t a clingy parent. She believed loneliness caused people to accept unhealthy conditions that a person who felt treasured might avoid. 

“Of course, you’re removed from the lives of the families in Shiatown,” said Jeanette. 

Blowing breath through her lips, Sadie laid her head on the cabinet with more force than intended. Wincing in pain, she rubbed the sore spot. The lull in the conversation helped gather her thoughts as her fingers massaged the painful area on her forehead. She parted her lips, then she shut them in hopes that her mother would continue speaking. 

After a long pause, Jeanette spoke with a harsher tone than any she’d ever used with her daughter. “Listen to me. The Franklin family supported us through your father’s illness and death. We are burying Pastor Franklin this afternoon. His wife deserves a phone call from you.”

She paused before continuing. “Don’t forget, Sarah treated you like a daughter. You and Pastor Franklin shared the same birthday. September twelfth is four days away. My friend is burying her husband four days before his fifty-eighth birthday. And . . . what about Kyle? He lost his father and inherited a ton of responsibility on top of it. Honey, be the friend that I know you are. Time is slipping away. The funeral starts in two hours.”

Sadie stretched her neck from side to side, hanging her head in despair. Lately, her mother had begun to accept her decisions without fussing. However, today she seemed determined for Sadie to send well wishes to a man she’d rather forget. Feeling faint, she squeezed her eyelids together, but all she could see was Kyle’s sad gaze begging, pleading with her to choose him over the man Sadie picked. 

Instantly, anger rose as Sadie justified that choice. She couldn’t back down now. There was too much lost ground and no way to regain her footing. The future she’d hoped for was gone. Somehow the leftovers had to be salvaged into a win or, at least, a tolerable solution. 

Eyes darting around the room, she braced against the wall. “Friend? Kyle and I didn’t break up as friends. He acted like a judgmental pig; his last remarks were cruel.” 

Sadie fumed. With one look Kyle had made her feel like trash. Less than the muck beneath his shoes. Disposable at best, and at worse . .

My Thoughts:

This book follows Sadie whose life has turned upside down when her boyfriend dumps her and she finds herself going home. Thinking she can rebuild a relationship with Kyle she has to learn that people move on and some bridges get burned can she fix what she broke or is it permanently broken?

I enjoy this series as it offers romance with keeping it clean and not so harsh that one doesn't want to read it. Definitely a great series for anyone looking for a clean religious romance series to check out!