Book Reviews and Recommendations

Recent customer book reviews and opinions on books

Trying to decide on what books to read next? We’ve got some ideas for you! Biblio customers and booksellers share their thoughts and opinions on books they’ve read and enjoyed — or not…

A Season On the Wind

by Suzanne Woods Fisher

On Oct 26 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 4 of 5 Stars.

A Season on the Wind by Suzanne Woods Fisher is a lovely Amish novel. We get to return to Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania where it is almost time for the Christmas Bird Count. Micah Weaver, who is an avid birder, reports a rare White-winged Tern in the area. Author and birder, Ben Zook wants to get a picture of the bird for his latest book. His cousin, Natalie Crowell comes along with him because she needs a change after the end of her marriage and the betrayal she experienced. They are staying in the guesthouse on Lost Creek Farm managed by Penny. Penny cannot believe that Ben has returned after twenty years. She gave her heart to him when she was twelve and Penny has been waiting for his return. Unfortunately, Ben has no memory of Penny or the time they spent together one long ago summer. I enjoyed reading A Season on the Wind. It is a sweet story that draws you in and holds you until the end. I stayed up late trying to finish it. I like the characters in this story. They are well-crafted so they are realistic and relatable. We get to follow Penny, Ben, Micah, and Natalie. I like getting to see each of their perspectives. The story is filled with fascinating information about birds. I learned quite a bit about birds and the count that occurs each year at Christmas. This story makes you think about the beauty God created for us. He provided us with these beautiful birds. I like how the author handled a speech disability and Alzheimer's. The author handled them with dignity. There is also humor in the story courtesy of Hank Lapp. He is quite a character. You can always count on him to lighten up a situation. My favorite phrase from the book is, "Every day was a new day, . . .so yesterday really shouldn't matter. Even better, there was no point in worrying about the future." A Season on the Wind has romance, old wounds, new relationships, deep faith, and a stray bird. A Season on the Wind was a special and unique Amish tale.

The Pavilion In the Clouds

by Alexander McCall Smith

On Oct 25 2021, CloggieDownunder said:
CloggieDownunder rated this book 5 of 5 Stars.

The Pavilion In The Clouds is a stand-alone novel by popular Scottish author, Alexander McCall Smith. In 1938, when Bella Ferguson is eight, her parents employ a live-in governess, Miss Lavender White. Henry Ferguson owns a tea plantation in Ceylon, and rather than send Bella home to Scotland, he and Virginia decide to arrange tuition on their estate, Pitlochry.

Miss White is an excellent teacher and Bella enjoys her lessons. But it seemed that Virginia is somewhat intimidated by Miss White's intellect, and Bella picks up on this when her mother questions her about her governess.

Bella begins to suspect that Miss White is trying to get rid of her mother so she can marry her daddy, and her dolls, Li Po and Po Chü-i, named after Chinese poets and exhibiting their quite individual personalities, seem to agree, especially after a few strange incidents.

Bella's best friend Richard Macmillan, the ten-year-old son of another plantation owner, suggests a way to get Miss Lavender to go away. This would have the added advantage of Bella being able to go back home to Scotland for school, as Richard will soon do.

About those incidents, and certain things Bella has said, Virginia feels the need to consult her closest friend in the area, Heather Macmillan. Heather has seen it all before, and suggests quick action. Which is what happens. Later Bella is a bit sorry for what she has done, but she never expects to see Miss White again.

McCall Smith is such a skilled story-teller, and here, his main narrators are the slightly precocious Bella with her dolls and her diary and her very active imagination, and the perhaps over-sensitive Virginia. Suspicions are aroused by misinterpreted looks and words, a potentially fatal fall, unrefrigerated water and a cobra.

As always, there's plenty of gentle philosophy on a myriad of topics including colonisation, killing wild animals, the concept of home, intelligence and spinsterhood, a male-dominated society, that men and women think differently, competitiveness. And he includes a delightful twist (or two) in the final resolution.

About bible stories: "we had to believe in something, she told herself, because the truth sometimes seemed too thin to satisfy our yearnings."

"We are uninvited guests, just as we are uninvited guests in every corner of the globe, and yet we take it upon ourselves to dictate how things should be done. That was the massive, almost unbelievable, conceit upon which the whole colonial enterprise was built, and yet nobody seemed to see."

Insightful, sometimes poignant and often humorous, whether his setting is in present day London, Edinburgh, Botswana or pre-war Ceylon, McCall Smith's grasp of people and relationships is superb. Always a delight to read.

Deadly Target

by Elizabeth Goddard

On Oct 25 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 5 of 5 Stars.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Criminal Psychologist Erin Larson's life is shattered when she is almost killed in a boating accident. And while she is still in shock from the accident, she gets a call that her mom attempted suicide, so she moves to Montana to take care of her mom. Meanwhile Detective Nathan Campbell and his dad are fishing, and his dad is trying to tell him top secret stuff when he is gunned down. But that's not all. In her usual expertise in writing romantic suspense and mystery, author Elizabeth Goddard writes another heart stopping, edge of your seat thriller that will have you biting your nails as you turn the pages. I could not put this book down y'all. You have to read this one to get the full story and all of the suspense and mystery in the book.

I read the first book in the series, Present Danger, and it is amazing, and Deadly Target is just as awesome, if not better! I love Erin and Nathan, and wanted so much for them to find love again. I love the bits of attraction and sparks flying with they are together. Nathan is an all around good guy and Erin is a sweetheart and works so hard to overcome her past. All of the characters are fantastic and play their parts so well in each scene throughout the story. The plot was amazing, I kept going back re-reading parts of the story just to fully take it all in. There are twists and turns taking the story different directions, but the one big twist toward the end, I did not see that coming at all! What an amazing job Ms. Goddard does with the ending. And I think weaving the Christian life in the lives of her characters made this story even more enjoyable for me. I'm giving Deadly Target Five Stars, and would give it more if I could. If you enjoy a good clean edge of your seats  suspense, with faith running through, you have to give Deadly Target a try.

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

Time Pieces

by John Banville

On Oct 24 2021, Oldlibrarybook said:
oldlibrarybook rated this book 5 of 5 Stars.

This was such a beautiful book: beautifully written, beautifully illustrated with photos by Paul Joyce, and beautifully bound. To visit a city in the company of one who knows and loves it is always exciting and illuminating. But if that guide is also one of the most skillful writers in modern history, that visit becomes unforgettable. John Banville--or Benjamin Black, as he's known to fans of his mysteries--gives the reader not only the pleasure of his company but also that of some of Dublin's best known habitues past and present. For example, we lunch with Banville's friend Cicero and the Nobel poet Seamus Heaney, recovering from a stroke but "funny and entertaining as ever," and find Heaney "...touched with a tender melancholy, a kind of shadowed sweetness." Through much of the book, Cicero guides Banville to famous and infamous landmarks of the city's checkered history, and Banville connects them for the reader with his own personal and literary memories. "Time Pieces" is a portrait not only of Dublin--which Banville has treasured since his annual birthday excursions there in his childhood--but also a glimpse into the soul of the brilliant writer whose perambulations around the city reveal a "tender melancholy" of his own.

Riverbend Gap

by Denise Hunter

On Oct 22 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 5 of 5 Stars.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Katelyn and Cooper met when her car veered off a winding Appalachian Mountain road and Cooper came by just in time. Immediately they were both attracted to each other, but little did he know that Katelyn is the one his brother has been dating. So that made her off limits, despite the fact that his brother kept pushing them together. And the chemistry between the two keeps growing. Which makes for an interesting and entertaining read from author Denise Hunter.

Riverbend Gap is such an amazing story. It is so emotional and a heartbreaking but yet heartwarming read. The Robinson's are such a fabulous family, full of love for each other. I really felt bad for Copper and Katelyn because they truly cared for each other, but Copper would never hurt his brother. I love the family setting and the quaint village with the Appalachian Mountain nearby. The characters are so very realistic, they felt like family to me. With the excellent writing skills of the author, the plot runs smoothly, the emotions of the family drama would not let me put this book down. There is so much more to this story but I'll not give it away, so you need to read it for yourself. I'm giving Riverbend Gap Five Stars and its worth every one. If you love a good clean romance with faith weaved into the lives of the characters, I encourage you to checkout this new read from Denise Hunter. You will love it as much as I do.

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

In the Company Of Witches

by Auralee Wallace

On Oct 21 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 4 of 5 Stars.

In the Company of Witches by Auralee Wallace is the debut of An Evenfall Witches B&B Mysteries. Brynn Warren is a likeable and relatable protagonist. She is still dealing with the loss of her husband which makes her sympathetic. Brynn lives in the carriage house behind the bed-and-breakfast and helps her aunts take care of their guests. When their demanding guest, Constance Graves is murdered, Brynn's fiery Aunt Nora becomes the prime suspect. Brynn works to clear her aunt whose actions are making things worse. I thought the story contained good writing with some interesting characters. Each Warren woman has a unique personality. The animals are fun & quirky especially Dog. I like the magical elements. They enhance the story. The mystery was thought out. There are several good suspects in Constance's death. It does not help Brynn's investigation that Constance was a pain-in-the-you-know-what. Her own siblings are on the suspect list. There are clues to help readers solve the crime. I had fun cracking this whodunit. I like that all the details were wrapped up so there were no loose ends. The story had whimsy and humor that made it enjoyable to read. I look forward to reading When the Crow's Away next spring. In the Company of Witches is a spirited tale with a challenging guest, an angry aunt, an odd death, an irritating itch, a modicum of magical mayhem, and a killer confrontation.

Oh William

by Elizabeth Strout

On Oct 21 2021, CloggieDownunder said:
CloggieDownunder rated this book 5 of 5 Stars.

Oh William! is the third novel in the Amgash series by best-selling, Pulitzer Prize winning American author, Elizabeth Strout. Not long widowed and still very much grieving her second husband, David Abramson, Lucy Barton relates recent events in the life of her first husband, William Gerhardt.

Two life-changing things that occur in fairly short succession see her travelling with William to Maine to perhaps connect with a relative of whom William was, until recently, unaware. It's a journey of many revelations, both about newly-discovered family, those already departed, each other and themselves.

Lucy's narrative comes across as a little rambling, at first, but it soon becomes clear that all those casual asides, those frequently inserted anecdotes from earlier, are given to illustrate a certain point, a feeling, an opinion.

Musing on what she had with each husband, she tells the reader that even though "At times in our marriage I loathed him. I saw, with a kind of dull disc of dread in my chest, that with his pleasant distance, his mild expressions, he was unavailable", William was her home, that she felt safe in his presence.

She does not talk much about David, noting what they had in common "It is hard to describe what it is like when one is raised in such isolation from the outside world. So we became each other's home. But we— both of us felt this way—we felt that we were perched like birds on a telephone wire in New York City" and concluding that "David was a tremendous comfort to me."

Strout gives her characters palpable emotions, wise words and insightful observations. When Lucy is unable to understand why William married her, a nothing, he tells her: "Lucy, I married you because you were filled with joy. You were just filled with joy. And when I finally realized what you came from—when we went to your house that day to meet your family and tell them we were getting married, Lucy, I almost died at what you came from. I had no idea that was what you came from. And I kept thinking, But how is she what she is? How could she come from this and have so much exuberance? …. There has never been anyone in the world like you. You steal people's hearts, Lucy."

Strout's writing, both in style and subject matter, is reminiscent of Sebastian Barry with shades of Anne Tyler. Strout writes about ordinary people leading what they believe are ordinary lives (although there are definitely some quirky ones doing strange things amongst them) and does it with exquisite yet succinct prose. Another powerful read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Penguin UK Viking.

The Sand Pounder

by J M Evans

On Oct 18 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 5 of 5 Stars.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK 

The Sand Pounder – Love and Drama on Horseback in WWII by M. J. Evans is a different take on WWII stories I am use to reading. I have to admit, I didn't know what a Sand Pounder did before I read this book. I appreciate the attention to detail Evans shows readers in this book. I found myself learning several new things as I read this book. I enjoyed the carefully crafted characters and their development throughout the plot. John, aka Jane was fabulous! She played her part in the story so very well, and didn't mind having to dwell with the other men. She was more concerned about doing the job she came to do. Will she be found out? Well, this is a reason you need to read this book. You will love the easy reading of author M. J. Evans as she tells this story through the eye of young Jane. If you want a good clean read or know a young person that loves to read, this would be a wonderful choice. And those of you who love WWII, you will enjoy this different take on the war. I encourage you to pick up your copy today. 

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

Case Study

by Graeme MacRae Burnet

On Oct 18 2021, CloggieDownunder said:
CloggieDownunder rated this book 5 of 5 Stars.

Case Study is the fourth novel by best-selling award-winning Scottish author, Graeme Macrae Burnet. Two years after her older sister suicides by throwing herself off a railway overpass in Camden, a young woman becomes convinced that notorious psychotherapist A. Collins Braithwaite is responsible for her death. Determined to prove his guilt, she poses as a patient, writing detailed notes of her sessions with him.

Over fifty years later, her cousin Martin "Grey" discovers the five notebooks and offers them to the author, who happens to be researching the psychotherapist with a view to writing a biography of this now-forgotten, disgraced character. At first sceptical, the author eventually decides to supplement his own material with the notebooks because, if nothing else, they tell an interesting story.

The young woman does not reveal her identity in her notebooks. For the purpose of her visits to Braithwaite, she adopts a persona she names Rebecca Smyth, creating for Rebecca an alternate life quite different from her own strictly controlled existence. Rebecca's life is so attractive, she begins to inhabit it, rather losing sight of her initial objective as she is swept up in Braithwaite's "therapy".

This unnamed protagonist is clearly unworldly, her scheme evidence of a naïve arrogance. She is immature with a childlike self-absorption, admitting about herself: "I have understood from an early age that I am an unpleasant and spiteful person. I am unable to see events in any terms other than their benefit or injuriousness to myself." Her thought processes often prove darkly funny.

With later visits, it's clear she is losing touch with reality, having conversations and arguments with Rebecca; at one stage she records an exchange with Braithwaite thus: "'I don't believe I've ever encountered anyone quite as hollow as you. I'm beginning to wonder if you really are who you say you are.' 'I often wonder the same thing,' Rebecca responded, rather deftly, I thought. (She is so much brighter than me; I sometimes wonder whether I shouldn't let her take over completely)"

The last notebook offers no clue as to the young woman's ultimate fate, but her "progress" during the first four sessions with this unconventional man don't suggest a promising future. Braithwaite, from the author's research, is variously described as a "cheerleader for suicide" (having written a book titled Kill Your Self) and a "dangerous charlatan" who, throughout his life, never faltered in his conviction of his own genius.

While readers generally don't skip over the prologue, many are tempted to ignore any post-script, but, as with previous Macrae Burnet novels, this is unwise as the Post Script forms an integral part of the whole. Once again, very cleverly written, Macrae Burnet's latest work is thought-provoking, funny and utterly brilliant. This unbiased review is from a copy provided by NetGalley and Text Publishing.

Blood Card

by Elly Griffiths

On Oct 16 2021, CloggieDownunder said:
CloggieDownunder rated this book 5 of 5 Stars.

The Blood Card is the third book in the Stephens and Mephisto Mystery series by British author, Elly Griffiths. It's May, 1953 and the former Magic Men are busy with their lives; DI Edgar Stephens is investigating the death of gypsy fortune-teller, Madame Zabini (Doreen Barton) in Brighton; magician Max Mephisto is performing at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane.

They're puzzled to be summoned to Whitehall by General Petre, even more so when he explains they are to look into the murder of their former CO, Colonel Peter Cartwright. Certain things about the murder scene have led Petre to call them in: a playing card left on the body; a newspaper cutting about an American mesmerist; and a 1939 Liverpool Empire playbill.

Petre stresses urgency: there is a threat to the imminent coronation of the new Queen. Max makes an international phone call which yields only a cryptic clue. Ed is sent to Albany, NY, arrives too late for his purpose, is almost the victim of a hit-and-run driver and has his motel room ransacked.

Back in Brighton, DS Emma Holmes is keeping a close eye on the Barton family when it transpires there may be a connection to Cartwright's murder. Soon enough, Max and Ed conclude that all is not as it seems with the now-elusive General Petre, and the connection between the two deaths strengthens.

Griffiths gives the reader characters that are real and flawed; some are vain and selfish; others distracted by misdirection and convinced by illusion. Her plot is clever and original and has a few twists that even the most astute reader may fail to anticipate. The atmosphere of post-war Britain is skilfully evoked with description, dialogue and the attitudes common at the time.

The immediate post-war era ensures the absence of mobile phones, internet, DNA and even many personal vehicles; thus the detective work relies on heavily on legwork, personal visits and intelligent deduction.

Before the puzzles are solved and the murderers apprehended, there are communists, mafiosi and anarchists to investigate, there is arson, assault and attempted kidnapping, a bomb has to be defused on live TV and a knife thrower saves a young magician. Ed's short stay in America is quite entertaining, and there are plenty of unresolved situations to draw the reader to the next book, The Vanishing Box. Excellent Historical crime fiction.

On Oct 15 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 4 of 5 Stars.

His Amish Wife's Hidden Past by Mindy Steele drew me right in. I found this to be a touching tale. This Amish story has suspense, danger, family, fear, romance, and faith. I thought His Amish Wife's Hidden Past was well-written with engaging, developed characters. I just loved the characters in this story. They are realistic and friendly. Hannah's youngest two are adorable. M.J. will capture your heart. I liked that this was a different Amish story. A mother and her three girls need a place to hide out after one of the girls is witness to a deadly crime. Daniel Raber is an Amishman who run the local lumber mill. Daniel has never married because he has yet to find the right woman for him. We get to experience everyday life with the Raber's as Hannah and her daughters adjust to their new their new lives on an Amish farm. They are nervous because the man who is after them could show up at any moment, but it is a new experience for them. There are cows, horses, and goats that are the bane of Daniel's existence. I liked the humor incorporated into the book. I laughed several times while reading. I was sorry for this sweet story to end. His Amish Wife's Hidden Past is a heartwarming, suspenseful tale with waggish goats, a benevolent bishop, an indignant older daughter, a quiet child, mouthwatering meals, and a despicable killer.

In Hot Water

by Kate Kingsbury

On Oct 15 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 3 of 5 Stars.

In Hot Water by Kate Kingsbury is the beginning of A Misty Bay Tearoom Mysteries. Vivian Wainwright owns Willow Pattern Tearoom in Misty Bay, Oregon. Jenna and Gracie are her two employees. When Jenna's ex-husband, Dean is found dead on the cliffs under the Blue Surf Hotel, Jenna becomes Detective Lieutenant Tony Messina's prime suspect. Vivian, Jenna, and Gracie work to clear Jenna and find the guilty party. I thought In Hot Water was easy to read with good characters. The characters suited the story. I liked Vivian Wainwright who is an older protagonist (in her 60s). I like that we are seeing more mature characters in cozy mysteries. Normally in the first book in a series, we are introduced to our characters and given their background. I found that lacking in this book. We are given some background information, but I wanted more. The point-of-view alternates between Vivian and Messina. I am not sure how I like this format. It is unique and it does allow readers to see how the police investigation is progressing (which was slow). The mystery is straightforward. It can be solved early in the book. I wish it had been more of a challenge to solve. I was easily able to discern the who and why. There was a detail that came out later that was a surprise. The three ladies kept busy asking questions. They were able to obtain some helpful details. They do receive threats which, of course, they ignore. The mystery is wrapped up at the end. I like the humor in the story. I also like how well Jenna, Vivian, and Gracie get along. I enjoy the friendship between Hal and Vivian as well. In Hot Water is a lighthearted cozy mystery that provides a nice diversion from real life. In Hot Water is a cute cozy mystery with teatime treats, a pink negligee, a nosedive death, a direct detective, hotel happenings, bothersome reporters, and three snoopy amateur sleuths.

On Oct 14 2021, CloggieDownunder said:
CloggieDownunder rated this book 5 of 5 Stars.

When Two Feathers Fell From The Sky is the third novel by American Pulitzer Prize finalist, Margaret Verble. It's 1926 and Cherokee horse diver Two Feathers is performing at Glendale Park and Zoo near Nashville, Tennessee, regularly sending money home to her family at The Miller Brothers One Hundred and One Ranch in Oklahoma. She loves the animals of the zoo, especially the bison, and enjoys the company of three friends: Marty and Franny Montgomery, the Juggling Juggernauts, and Hank Crawford, the stable hand.

Two is used to propositions from male fans, but had her heart broken during the winter at home so she is wary of communications from a man who calls himself Strong-Red-Wolf, clearly a fake Indian name. Little Elk, on the other hand, is no fake, but she's mostly unaware of his presence. It takes him a while to understand why he has, once more, been drawn from the afterlife into the in-between: "To kill the murderous night-going witch. To save the woman and animals."

James Shackleford, owner of Glendale, consults with Two about establishing a box-turtle race as an attraction. Before this can get going, though, disaster strikes Two's act and she ends up on crutches after being rescued from an underground cave-in by Clive Lovett, the Zoo's general manager. Her enforced inactivity allows her to see certain things from a different perspective: the sick hippo, the romantic pursuit by the charming college anthropology graduate, and her performing future.

Verble populates her tale with a large cast, some of whom she allocates a vignette, while others receive much more than a potted history. And those characters are not exclusively human: buffalo, bear, monkey and hippopotamus also make a significant contribution.

Perhaps the most interesting are the zoo manager who, haunted by his wartime experience, becomes aware of spirits present in the park; Two Feathers, with her strong connection to the animals and her distrust of most whites; deep-thinking Hank whose genuine care for Two is unstinting; and Little Elk, whose naive perspective on a modern world occasionally provides humour.

Verble easily evokes the era with the customs of the day and the mindset of the community with regards the black population and the Indians, and the controversial Scopes trial and appeal. Her plot manages to include a scalping, theft from a tomb, electrocution, a spirit with a tobacco craving, several romances and, trigger warning, the death of three animals.

Verble states in her notes that many of the characters are based on the lives of real people, while certain activities and events have basis in fact. It is clear that her research on such topics as massacres omitted from teaching, and mass robbing of Indian graves, is thorough. Entertaining and thought-provoking historical fiction. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

A Brush With Murder

by Bailee Abbott

On Oct 13 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 3 of 5 Stars.

A Brush with Murder takes us to the charming town of Whisper Cove that has an Artisan Alley where Izzie has located her new venture. Painting classes with friends and family are becoming popular especially when wine and food are offered. I liked Chloe but was not a fan of her younger sister, Izzie. Izzie tends to be bossy and has a laissez-faire way about running her business. You can tell she wants it to be a success, but then Izzie fails to show up for planning meetings and leaves the first event in hands of Chloe and her shop assistant, Willow North. Fiona Gimble is not well-liked in the town thanks to her nasty reviews of the local shops. It is not a surprise when she turns up dead. Chloe finds herself preoccupied with the crime. She decides to do a little snooping. There are multiple suspects in her death including Chloe's sister. There are clues to help readers solve the crime if you pay close attention. The resolution was complete which I appreciated. Chloe's New York boyfriend arrives in town determined to win her back. I did not feel this storyline was necessary. It will only cause a love triangle with Chloe, Detective Barrett, and Ross (and I for one am not a fan of love triangles). I also found it odd that when Izzie decided they needed to pass out flyers to promote the business, she felt it necessary for them to wear costumes (Minnie and Mickey Mouse) as well as sandwich boards. I liked Chloe's cute dog, Max. He was a sweetie. It will be interesting to see what happens next at a Paint with a View. A Brush with Murder transports readers to Whisper Cove where there is a wrathful departed reporter, pleasurable paint projects, shop owner suspects, a cuddly canine, a determined detective, a bothersome ex-beau, and a curious Chloe.

On Oct 12 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 3 of 5 Stars.

Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off by Darci Hannah is the 2nd A Beacon Bakeshop Mystery. This new cozy can be read as a standalone. Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off is a fun lighthearted story with delicious cookies. The cookie descriptions will have your mouth watering. The story contains good writing with developed, relatable characters. I just love Lindsey's Newfoundland, Wellington. I loved the idea of Lindsey and Welly having matching coats (I wonder if I can get my dog to wear a coat). There is humor sprinkled throughout that had me chuckling. The author captured Michigan in the winter. Beacon Harbor sounds like a charming small town. I love Lindsey's lighthouse with its resident ghost. I enjoy the paranormal element and would actually like more of it. The mystery was well plotted with several suspects, a red herring, and good clues. It depends on your sleuthing ability on when you will solve this whodunit. Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off is a cute cozy that will put you in the mood for the holidays. There are cookie recipes at the end for several of the tasty treats featured in the book. Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off is a merry tale with cookie trickeries, dazzling lighthouse lighting, a bevy of baking, an affable assistant baker, delectable cookies, and a spectral captain.

What's Not True

by Valerie Taylor

On Oct 12 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 4 of 5 Stars.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK�

My thoughts when reading this book were, 'Oh what a tangled web we weave' because Kassie's story is just that. He life choices leads her into one bad issue after another. When she finally decides she is going to divorce her husband, she had the bomb dropped on her that her husband has a serious illness, no divorce wouldn't look so well right now. Kassie is so back and forth with everything happening in her life, it's hard to keep up with what she will do next and what the next issue will be. Following her story is interesting, that's one thing for sure. There were lots of emotions flying around, lots of sadness that will make you shed a tear, then I would get frustrated at Kassie for being so wishy washy at times. For some reason, I just couldn't connect with Kassie. Not to say the author didn't do a good job creating characters, in fact the character were wonderfully created and I enjoyed their development as the story unfolded. The setting and the scenes were vivid and detailed.�

What's Not True is a pretty quick read, I wanted to get to the last page and see how it ended. And it was a surprising bombshell dropped at the end. Something I didn't see coming. If you enjoy contemporary book with a pretty completed story, you will enjoy this one.�

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

On Oct 12 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 5 of 5 Stars.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Brooke Novak starts her new job in Hollydale� at the community center as the director, but she has her work cut out for her. The center is rundown and her job is to make it shine in the community again within six months. Things are not off to a good start, with officer Jonathan coming around so much in reference to a case he is working on. But then he is easy on the eyes and easy to talk to, so coming around could be a good thing.

I really did enjoy this sweet romance by Tanya Agler. I enjoyed watching the characters as they grew as the story unfolds. I quickly fell in love with Jonathan and Brooke and their personalities. And it was sweet watching how everyone supported Brooke so much as a new member of their community. There's a bit of mystery going on here as well,� that kept officer Jonathan on his toes. The mystery will keep folks reading, but so will the romance. We have to find out all of the details with Jonathan and Brooke. And Tanya Agler does just that in this story. I love her attention to detail in describing the different scenes, and in the personalities of each character. I can't wait to read what's next from Agler.�The Single Dad's Holiday Match is the first book in her new series, Smoky Mountain First Responders. I love that the series is set in the quaint little town of Hollydale and we could see what was happening in the lives of former character from the first series. If you enjoy contemporary sweet Romances with a touch of mystery, you will love this one.

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

Once Upon a Seaside Murder

by Maggie Blackburn

On Oct 12 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 3 of 5 Stars.

Once Upon a Seaside Murder by Maggie Blackburn is the 2nd A Beach Reads Mystery. It can be read as a standalone if you have not had a chance to indulge in Little Bookshop of Murder. I found Once Upon a Seaside Murder a Debbie downer. There is a lot of sadness, anxiousness, and stress in the story. Summer has several issues that affect her personality. She is grieving the loss of her mother, she zones out, and she is terrified of spiders. We get to hear in detail about her thoughts and feelings. These issues, of course, affect her attitude. I just do not find Summer appealing as a protagonist. Summer is learning about her birth father and family. We get to meet her newly found half-siblings as well as a grandmother plus she learns about a host of other relatives. The whodunit ties to a murder that occurred at Mermaid Point over thirty years ago. There are threats, break ins, and a kidnapping. There was one thing done that was a little extreme for a cozy mystery. The mystery is resolved in the end with complete explanation. I wish Once Upon a Seaside Murder had been lighter and shorter. I hope going forward that Summer starts to move past her grief and fears. There are some good characters in the story such as Glads, Marilyn, Mia, and Aunt Agatha. They are fun and engaging. Let us not forget Mr. Darcy. I also enjoyed the descriptions of the bookstore. I could get lost for hours inside Beach Reads. Once Upon a Seaside Murder takes readers to Brigid's Island, North Carolina where mayhem ensues when a cozy mystery author is kidnapped, and old secrets come to light.

The Eighth Sister

by Robert Dugoni

On Oct 11 2021, CloggieDownunder said:
CloggieDownunder rated this book 5 of 5 Stars.

4.5?s The Eighth Sister is the first book in the Charles Jenkins series by American author, Robert Dugoni. It might be forty years since Charles Jenkins left the CIA, but this sixty-four-year-old African American, now living on a Washington state farm, sticks to a fitness regimen. CJ Security, the successful business he named after his son, is currently having cash-flow problems, courtesy of a large account's tardiness; it's the only reason he agrees to leave his pregnant wife and nine-year-old son to go to Moscow at Carl Emerson's request.

The problem, Carl explains, is the murder of three of the Seven Sisters, women who have been, independent of any knowledge of each other, been passing information to the CIA for the past four decades. Charlie's Russian language skills and his client's branch in Moscow make him the ideal person to discover the identity of the eighth sister, the person who is apparently systematically, eliminating these women. Although a two-metre black man is hardly going to be inconspicuous amongst Muscovites!

Charlie is assured by his handler that as soon as he hints at having the names of the other sisters, the eighth sister will seek him out. But when she does, it's quickly clear they have both been fed lies. By whom, exactly, they're not sure, but they are now both targets of Russia's FSB, and end up together in a mad chase across Russia.

Charlie's attempts to return home involve a fist-fight in a bathroom, an underwater swim, a rendezvous with a Turkish fishing boat, clever disguises and false passports hurriedly acquired, buses, boats and planes and, at each turn, Charlie has cause to wonder whether he will ever see his second child born.

The pace is initially fairly sedate, but once the action begins, it doesn't let up until Charlie has followed a complicated route back to Seattle. There, dissatisfied with the outcome of his mission and the lack of resolution for the remaining sisters, he takes his concerns to a different government agency and, for his troubles, ends up in court on an espionage charge. Luckily, he has a close friend with legal expertise, but will that be enough? Excellent Dugoni spy drama.

The Girls In Blue

by Miller and Fenella J

On Oct 11 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 4 of 5 Stars.

The Girls in Blue by Fenella J. Miller transports readers back to 1939 when war is declared in England. Jane Hadley has been waiting for this day. Jane has been beaten by her father regularly for years. With war declared and her eighteenth birthday the next day, Jane can finally escape. With help from the vicar and his wife, Jane departs the next day for London where she volunteers for the Women's Air Auxiliary Force (WAAF). She trains with Charlotte and Nancy who become her close friends. Unfortunately, Jane is given a different assignment after training. On the first day at her new location, she has an accident and meets a handsome RAF pilot. Oscar Stanton would like to be more than friends, but Jane will not allow herself to get close to any man. Jane trains for a top-secret position and enjoys life in the WAAf. Her biggest worry is that her father will find her. One day Jane's biggest nightmare comes to true. The Girls in Blue is an appealing and poignant historical novel. The author has an engaging writing style. I began reading and I was surprised by how quickly the book flew by. I could tell the author did her research for this book. I enjoyed an inside look at the WAAF. Also included are details on RAF pilots, their assignments, and war events. It is terrible what Jane endured at the hands of her father (it will have you in tears). I liked the developed and charming characters. The Girls in Blue focuses on Jane with chapters from Oscar's point-of-view as well. Oscar is a delightful character. He is a cute RAF pilot with a big heart. This is an emotional story that will touch your heart. While I would have liked an epilogue, I understand why we did not get one (part of a series). I hope we get updates on Jane, Oscar, and Charlotte in the next book. I look forward to Nancy's tale in The East End Girl in Blue. The Girls in Blue is a gratifying historical novel with a toast threat, dog drama, trust troubles, a vicious father, and horrendous hikes.

What's Not Said

by Valerie Taylor

On Oct 11 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 4 of 5 Stars.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK�

What's Not Said is the debut novel from author Valerie Taylor and it is the first book in her What's Not Said series. It is clear Kassie is not happy being with her husband and not happy with her life. After all she is cheating on him with a much younger guy, with plans to divorce her husband. But when she finds out her he has a chronic kidney disease and is quite ill, the divorce is off, that is until she finds something in her husband's drawer that proves his deceit as well. This is quite the back and forth story and there are twists and turns that will through readers off chorus, so it makes you want to keep reading to see who is doing what next.

What's Not Said is well written with well created character that are pretty realistic. I have to admit that it is more of an adult story than I was expecting so I did skip over a lot of it to get to the main storyline. This would be good for those who enjoy a good contemporary romance. I think this one is a Four Stars for me.

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

Arbeit!

by Paul, and Alfred Tritschler Wolff

On Oct 11 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 5 of 5 Stars.

Paul Wolf was recruited by the Nazi party to create a photo-story promoting the superiority of the German industry and workplace. Page after page, what survives is stellar classic composition, something akin to the factory photography out of the UUSR by Margaret Bourke-White. Definitely a book to possess in one's collection of quality photography books.

Chipper Makes Merry

by Kimber Fox Morgan

On Oct 11 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 5 of 5 Stars.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK It is a cold winter in Artic Land, the howling wind brings its freezing cold breeze around the homes of the forest animals, the snow makes it hard for them to find food to eat. Poor Gus and Scout are having such a hard time that Chipper the Fox decides to Make them Merry to help them out. But Fox seems to mess up everything. Then he has an idea, and wants the help of his friends Gus and Scout. You need to read the book to find out what this big surprise is!

Chipper Makes Merry is an adorable children's book that teaches children the importance of helping others in need. What a clever idea to use a fox to teach such a valuable lesson. Kimber Fox Morgan does an amazing job writing this special book. The words are fun and easy to read for the older child. The illustrations by Kim Sponaugle are so very adorable your children will love looking at the pictures. Each page is filled with winter, snow covered forest ground and I love the way Morgan makes some of the words so much fun. Children will not only learn the valuable lesson of helping others, they have the beautiful illustrations to view any time they want.This special book is a must to read to children during the cold winter days. Chipper Makes Merry is a must for daycare, kindergarten and young elementary classrooms, as well as elementary school libraries.

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone.

Undercurrent Of Secrets, Volume 4

by Rachel Scott McDaniel

On Oct 11 2021, a reader said:
a reader rated this book 5 of 5 Stars.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Undercurrent of Secrets is book four in the Doors of the Past series from Barbour Fiction. I enjoyed this very well written dual timeliness story by Rachel Scott McDaniel. I think Scott handles the switching back and forth between the timelines well and makes the story run smoothly. I have always enjoyed riverboat stories and especially this one because of the different timelines. McDaniel does a wonderful job with details in each scene, which tells of her deep research for this book. I enjoyed the well created characters and how the developed throughout the story. Devyn and Chase, and Hattie and Jack's stories will stay with me for a while. If you enjoy historical and dual timeline stories you will love this one. I'm giving it Five Stars.

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.