Monday, December 27, 2021

"A groom for Celia" by Cat Cahill

This is the 3rd book in the "Blizzard Brides series. In this book, we get to once again visit the town of Last Chance, Nebraska and the women who survived the sudden blizzard that had killed their husbands & livestock. In this one, we get to hear Celia Thornton's tale.

I enjoyed reading about what happened to Celia after she'd lost her husband to the storm and was left with a farm and no husband to help her keep it going. She chooses a letter from Jack Wendler, a businessman from New York, to hopefully become her husband and help her run the farm. He might not have started out as seeming to be what she needs in a husband, but watching the interplay between the two of them, as well as with others in the town leads to a surprising twist that I think the reader will love.

If you like mail order bride stories, with or without a twist, I think you'll enjoy not only this book, but very likely the rest of this series as well. It's a quick but very fun read.

Monday, December 20, 2021

"The Girl with the Star Spangled Heart"
by Alexa Kang

Vicky Kondo is a Japanese-American in Hawaii. She’s engaged to a man named Taro, another Japanese-American, and though not certain she's really ready to marry him, he's more than ready and wanting to set a wedding date. Time has passed since the fateful day when the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor, but it seems that there are even more changes coming in her future.

The Army is looking for Japanese-American women to Join the WAC (Women’s Army Corps) and help with the war effort, but most aren't willing to go against the traditional views among Japanese families that women should be married & not in the army.  The army is for men, and any woman wanting to be part of the WAC must be immodest & not someone who would ever make a suitable Japanese wife. So what happens when Vicky first begins not only to consider it, but decides to actually join up?

I really enjoyed reading this story. It was clearly very well researched and as accurate as any historical fiction book can possibly be. Vicky's story was one that grabbed my attention and wouldn't let go. It covered all the questions, problems, and emotions that she would have had to deal with as a young Japanese-American woman during WWII, both before and after she decided to join the WAC.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, WWII stories, or simply someone who wants to know more about what women joining the WAC had to face, whether of Asian descent or not. This was a very good book and the author's notes at the end are certainly something you won't want to miss reading either.

Monday, December 13, 2021

"Tattoos and Clues" by Trixie Silvertale

In this second book of the Mitzy Moon series, Mitzy is still trying to find her place in town. And once again, she stumbles across a dead body.  As before, she can't keep herself from trying to solve his murder before the local police do. And once again, she finds herself in quite a bit of danger while doing so.

I know that I started off reading this series out of order, and while it's easy enough to pick up on the things I've missed, finally getting the chance to read about her beginnings makes things from later in the series so much clearer and much easier to understand.

In this book, Mitzy begins to discover about her psychic gifts for the first time and begins receiving a bit of training in how they work/how to use them from Silas. She also begins to realize how useful that knowledge can be, especially when it is her own life that is at stake.

I enjoyed reading about Mitzy's early days. I think that if you've enjoyed any of the other books in this series as well cozy mysteries with a twist or any of the other books written by Trixie Silvertale, then this book will likely be one that you'll enjoy as well. If you haven't already, I'd recommend giving this fun series a try.

Monday, December 6, 2021

"The Legend of the Western Bride"
by Florence Linnington

After the mine collapse in Stillwater had killed all the town's men, the women were left on their own to find a way to manage to survive. Chloe has been acting as the town mayor, doing her best to keep everything running & to help the women of the town avoid starvation. She protects them from outsiders who might prey upon the women as best she can, but they live in near constant fear that outsiders will threaten them, and is very worried about what will happen once winter arrives & they no longer can feed themselves from their gardens. 

When strangers from a nearby ranch discover that the town is still there, will it be the town's salvation or their doom?

This was another one of Ms. Linnington's books that I enjoyed. At several points early in the book I wondered if I had already read this one as a good deal of it felt very familiar, but I quickly realized that it was because many of the characters in this book had featured in one or more of her other books, so parts of their stories had been told from a different perspective.

But while parts of this story may have felt like a simple retelling, the rest of it was completely new & entertaining. There were the usual misunderstandings & miscommunications causing the expected problems, but there was also the expected happy ending reached through a unique and unexpected solution.

Overall, I found this to be an entertaining & enjoyable story. I think anyone who enjoys mail order bride tales or any of Ms. Linnington's other books would also enjoy this one.

Monday, November 29, 2021

“Extraordinary Voyages” by Steven Paul Leiva

This book consists of multiple parts, all of which I found very entertaining. The first is a novella entitled “Made on the Moon.” The second is a number of poems written by the main character in the first story. The third part is a short story. And after that are some insights and information about the author. All of which I would recommend reading.

The easiest way for me to describe the first part of this book, is to ask a question. If you had always dreamed of going to the moon, even before anyone had ever thought it possible, what would you do to make your dream a reality? This story tells the tale of one man and his lifelong dream of going to the moon. There are some very interesting twists in this story, as parts of it touch on real life historical events, though others are purely fictional. And following this story are a number of poems written by the main character during his lifelong quest to visit the moon.

Following those two items is a short story involving Cyrano de Bergerac and Baron Munchausen travelling to Mars. It’s a fun little story that I found quite amusing. I think others will too.

But I almost think that my favorite part of this book was the two sections about the author that followed the fictional stories. Those two segments gave me an interesting and very entertaining look behind the curtain at the author and his life. If you read this book, I would urge you to not skip reading the author's history & bio at the end of the book. For me, they were every bit as entertaining & interesting as the fictional tales he has provided for us within these pages.

Monday, November 22, 2021

"Amish Joy" by Samantha Price

Florence has fallen in love with Carter Braithwaite. Unfortunately, he's considered unsuitable for her because he isn't Amish. But the heart wants what it wants, and the Amish man who had briefly seemed interested in her apparently had changed his mind and was no longer interested pursuing in a relationship with her. So her choices seem to be to find someone else to marry, live her life alone and unmarried, or to leave the Amish Community with Carter. Florence has so many unanswered questions, but can she find the answers she needs? Or will she need to make a lifelong decision without knowing any of those answers?

And in the meantime, her stepmother may be beginning a new relationship with a widowed man who wants to marry her. Also, her younger sister Joy is growing ever closer to a potential marriage proposal of her own. Things are certainly changing quite rapidly for all of them.

I enjoyed this forth entry in the Bonnet Sisters series. We get to learn a little bit more about this family and the past that surrounds them all.   It was a fun tale  and a very quick read. As with the previous books, I wanted it to go on longer as I was completely engrossed in the story & not yet ready for it to end. I wanted to know more. (I guess I'll just have to buy the next book in the series to find out what happens next.)

Monday, November 15, 2021

"A Midsummer Knight's Scream"
by Nova Nelson

Sir Olivia is a knight in a cursed Renaissance Faire. Before that, she was an Angel who was framed for murder of a fellow Angel and banished from Heaven. After her fall, she found herself on earth where she soon got herself a job in the cursed renaissance faire as the Autumn Knight. 

But now, history seems to have repeated itself, and she appears to have killed a fellow knight during their morning joust.  Only this time banishment isn't an option as everyone who is part of the faire is cursed with immortality and to remain there forever. Instead, if she can't find the real murderer by the end of the day, she will be killed. But she isn't yet ready to have her existence ended.

I enjoyed reading this cozy mystery. Ms. Nelson wove a fun and engaging tale that had me trying to solve the murder along with Sir Olivia. The story itself was quite interesting with a number of twists to keep the reader guessing along the way.

This was the last book in the Magical Renaissance Faire Mysteries trilogy. So far as I know, there are not currently any further books planned, though I do hope the authors of this trilogy will decide to continue on with it as I found the series to be unique and a lot of fun to read.  I believe that anyone who has read the first two books in this series, enjoys renaissance faires or cozy mysteries will enjoy reading this book.

Monday, November 8, 2021

"Carols and Yule Perils" by Trixie Silvertale

While out looking to cut down a fresh Christmas Tree for the bookstore, Mitzy & Erick stumble across a woman's body, and thus a fresh murder for them to solve. And this one hits close to home for Mitzy, as the dead woman had been married to her employee/friend Twiggy's boyfriend. And thus placing Twiggy firmly on the list of potential murder suspects. But she couldn't actually have been involved in killing someone, could she?

This was the most recent book in the Mitzy Moon Paranormal Cozy Mystery series, and it doesn't disappoint. This book was well written and captured my interest from the beginning and held it through multiple plot twists all the way to the end.. 

If you've enjoyed any of the earlier books in this series, you'll want to read this one as well. We once again get to not only follow Mitzi as as she manages to solve another murder, but we also get to learn a few more surprising secrets about those closest to her. Even if like me, you haven't yet read the entire series, I'd still suggest giving this book a try. I certainly enjoyed reading it.

Monday, November 1, 2021

"A Simple Kiss" by Samantha Price

Two of Florence's younger sisters have found love. One was now married and the other has permission to marry in another year. Florence has been feeling an attraction to their neighbor, but with him not being Amish, he is considered unacceptable as a spouse. Now her "aunt" Ada has arranged for a Pig Farmer to come & meet Florence to see if the two of them might be a match.

It seems that life is moving quickly and bringing multiple changes for her family, but will Ezekiel be the right man for her? And what about the attraction that she feels towards her neighbor, Carter?

This was the third book in the Bonnet Sisters series of books, and a quick and enjoyable read. Each book has improved from the previous story and only deepened my desire to know more about this family. I find myself enjoying relaxing while reading these books. If you've enjoyed the other books in this series, amish romances, or anything else by Ms. Price, I think you'll enjoy this one as well. This one definitely left me wanting to know what happens next.

Monday, October 25, 2021

"Dead by Midlife" by Macy Dixon

Gwen works for "The Agency", a government organization that works to ensure that all magic is kept hidden from the human world. It isn't an easy job, and she's been living under a prophecy that says she will be dead by midlife, which for her is quickly approaching.

Encouraged by her grandparents to attend a speed dating event, she doesn't have high hopes for the night, which are realized when one of the men who she meets turns out to be a shifter. Things only go downhill from there. But what else can she do? It's her job to bring in wayward magicals attempting to hide among human populations.

I found this to be an interesting story and a quick read that I didn't want to put down. The only complaint that I had was that the glossary of terms that were unique to this series came at the end of the book rather than at the beginning. (I spent most of the book guessing at what the author meant when referring to a "Wycke." My guess was pretty close to right, but it would have been a lot easier if I had seen the glossary before reading the rest of the book. It also would have cleared up a few other questions I had along the way.)

Regardless of that fact, the book was very enjoyable. I've already bought the next book in the series. I think that anyone who enjoys urban fantasy with a paranormal twist will enjoy this book.

Monday, October 18, 2021

"Prince of Wolves" by Quinn Loftis

Just before the beginning of their senior year in high school, a Romanian foreign exchange student comes to stay with the neighbors across the street from Jacque’s house. Not only is he extremely handsome, but there is something more to him. It turns out that he is a werewolf and her true mate, though she hadn't been aware that werewolves existed, let alone that she was half wolf.

As a young adult novel, this book left something to be desired. To me, it felt like the author was trying too hard to make the teen girls sound young and ended up making them act and sound much younger than 17. (My 16 year old daughter read a few pages & commented that it reminded her of a wattpad fanfiction story.)

But if I look at the book as something meant for younger teens instead of as a young adult novel, my perspective changes a bit. While nothing in the story is unexpected, it should still appeal to younger teen readers as it is neither overly violent nor overly sexualized. Admittedly, one of the side characters seems to have a pretty bad case of "sex-on-the-brain" and an inability to prevent anything she thinks from being spoken, her comments are never graphic and are mostly just innuendo.

So overall, while I probably wouldn't recommend it for young adult readers (I had some issues with the story that I think older readers would quickly pick up on as well), I would suggest that younger teen readers interested in werewolves or wolf shifter stories might want to give it a try.

Monday, October 11, 2021

"Schemes & Bad Dreams" by Trixie Silvertale

Mitzie's Day starts badly when the store alarm is accidentally set off & the disarm code doesn't work. Then instead of the expected Sheriff Erick being the one to respond to the alarm, it's Deputy Candy who shows up at her back door in response to the alarm. After that an old friend from back before she'd moved to Pin Cherry Harbor steps off the bus. And things seem to spiral downhill from there.

This was the 15th book in the Mitzi Moon Cozy Mystery series, and a very captivating one that was extremely hard to put down. I am definitely enjoying this series and while I don't want to give away too much, this book involves a kidnapping, abuse, and touches on a suicide and other often sensitive subjects as an important part of the story. As such, this book does provide a warning that it may be a trigger point some people and also provides the National Suicide Hotline phone number.

But if you enjoy cozy mysteries or have enjoyed any of the other Mitzy Moon books, I hope you won't skip this one as it is definitely worth reading. And if you're new to the series, while parts of it will likely make more sense after reading the beginning of the series, it is still very easy to quickly pick up on the important aspects of the series. (Thus far I've only managed to read a couple of the books in this series myself, but they've been well worth it, even out of order.) Recommended.

Monday, October 4, 2021

"The Bride For a Single Father"
by Florence Linnington

Violet was a singer, and only a singer, at a Saloon in New York. When she refused to take a rich and powerful man to her bed, he did everything he could to ruin her life, expecting that she would be forced to change her mind when she had nowhere else to turn. Instead, Violet became a mail order bride, travelling to Stillwater, Colorado to marry the doctor there.

This appeared to be the fresh start and a chance for a new life, love, and family that she'd always hoped for. But would it be? Especially when it turned out that she was not the intended recipient of Lewis's letter?

This book was a very fast read and I finished it in one day. It was also one of the best of Ms. Linnington's stories that I have read thus far. While it contains all the expected elements of a mail order bride story, this one seems to contain a bit more than many others, and it managed to get me rather teary eyed towards the end.

If you enjoy a good mail order bride story, any of Ms. Linnington's other books, or if you are just looking for an entertaining story that will tug at your heart, then I would strongly recommend giving this one a try.

Friday, October 1, 2021

"The Love-Haight Case Files, Book 2:
Fighting for Other-Than-Human Rights"
by Jean Rabe and Donald J. Bingle

This is the 2nd book in the Love-Haight Case Files Series. Two lawyers, Thomas Brock and Evelyn Love fight for the rights of "OTs” (Other Than Humans) who are often mistreated, mistrusted, or discriminated against while trying to go about their daily lives. Unfortunately, Thomas Brock’s father is often fighting against them, and is determined to win at any and all costs. This book contains 4 of their cases and continues the tale of the everyday lives of the characters we were introduced to in book 1.

As with the previous book, I really enjoyed these 4 stories and how they intertwined with everything else happening in the book as a whole. It was a very fun read and I often found it hard to put it down when I needed to do something else (such as sleeping at night.)

I don't want to give away anything, so all I'm going to say is that if you enjoyed book 1 in this series, you do want to read this one.  (And if you haven’t yet read book 1, then you really should give that one a try too.) Also, if you simply enjoy stories involving ghosts, werewolves, zombies, nixies, or any other supernatural creatures, this is a great series to try as it was written by two amazing authors. 

I'm already looking forward to getting the chance to read book 3 when it comes out!

Monday, September 27, 2021

"All Swell That Ends Spell" by Trixie Silvertale

Coriander the Conjurer is a fairy who is forever trapped in a cursed Renaissance Faire where none of the magical creatures can ever leave the faire but instead must travel from location to location within the mortal realm. She has a crush on a merman who barely seems to know she exists. Then one day his sister is found floating dead in her private water pod, with no obvious answer as to who killed her or why. Naturally Coriander offers to help solve the mystery behind Delphine's murder.

This was the 2nd book in the Magical Renaissance Faire Mysteries. I really enjoyed this cozy mystery. It was a fun little tale that easily held my interest throughout the book. And though I had not yet had the opportunity to read the first book in this series, the tale is complete, well written, and does not require that the series be read in any particular order. (And having recently read the first book in the series, I can confirm that they need not be read in any particular order. Unlike some series, nothing in this one is lost to the reader by having read them out of order.) 

It was a very fun book to read in a unique setting that I think will appeal to a wide variety of readers. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, a variety of magical creatures, fantasy novels, or the renaissance faire, give this book and series a try. It is a quick read and one that I think you’ll enjoy.

Monday, September 20, 2021

"Amish Honor" by Samantha Price

After Mercy married Stephen, Honor had fallen hard for his brother Jonathon, as did her younger sister Cherish. But their older sister Florence strongly dislikes Jonathon and doesn't believe that he's the right man for Honor, who is still slightly too young to be married to anyone. But as is to be expected with young love, the two are determined to find a way to be together, regardless of the cost.

This was the second book in the "Bonnet Sisters" series, and much like the first book is a nice, soothing and relaxing read. I enjoyed this "Romeo & Juliet" tale of young love and what can happen when young people make desperate and hasty choices without thinking them through or worrying about the possible consequences of those choices.

Anyone who enjoyed the first book in the series or enjoys reading a good Amish romance story should also enjoy reading this book. I know that I'll definitely be continuing on with book three in this series.

"Unforgiven" by Bridget E. Baker

Twins Judica & Chancery's mother is dead. Judica was originally their mother's heir until recently when their mother had changed her will and named Chancery as heir to the throne. Now, after the two met in single combat, Chancery is the victor. But what is to become of Judica's fate? 

This was book two in the series and did cover some of what happened in book one, though from Judica's point of view rather than Chancery's. I found it very interesting to read as it gave a very different perspective on what happened throughout their lives and the potential for a very different future. 

It's not often that we get to read a book from a different character's point of view, especially when that character was originally portrayed as the villain. It clearly makes you wonder, was she truly the villain of the first book or was she just a victim of circumstance? Was there actually even an actual villain of the story at all? 

Anyone who has read the first book in this series will definitely want to continue on and read this one as well. It gives you a lot to think about & leaves you wondering about what will come next in Chancery & Judica's story. I enjoyed this one and am looking forward to getting the opportunity to read book 3 in this series.

Monday, September 13, 2021

"Much A'broom About Nothing"
by Erin Johnson

What can be worse than running into your ex-fiance and his new girlfriend while on a bad blind date at the renaissance fair?  In this case Adelaide (or Laidy, as she prefers to be called) soon discovers that becoming forever trapped by a curse and unable to leave the faire, accused of murder, and needing to both find the real murderer to clear her name and learn how to survive in her new life has now become her immediate priority.

Everyone travelling with the faire is a magical creature, including herself, as she had just learned. It seems that she is actually a witch, as was discovered when she managed to make a hawk empty it’s bowels over her ex-fiance and his girlfriend. It's not an easy adjustment for someone to make, but it sure does make for an amusing story. 

I enjoyed this paranormal cozy mystery. The characters are fun to read & their plight in this tale is at times amusing and other times leaves you trying to solve the mystery of who killed a witch by stabbing her with a viking's  sword.  It was a fun tale to read, especially if you have ever visited a renaissance faire yourself.

This was the first book in this series & one that I think will leave you wanting to read the rest of the series too. It's a quick and enjoyable read and I found it to be a lot of fun.

Monday, September 6, 2021

"Pregnant Indian Bride"
by Florence Linnington

Ninovan is an indian woman who had been living with her peaceful tribe when soldiers attacked, killing everyone they could: men, women, children, & infants. They claimed that the tribe had been raiding in the nearby town of Red Canyon, but Ninovan knew that there were no raids. It was simply an excuse for the soldiers to kill everyone in the tribe. But somehow, she had escaped & found help from a kind woman.

Knowing that Ninovan dare not remain in Red Canyon, and that she will not be safe anywhere else she goes without the protection of a legal marriage to a settler, Ninovan is eventually convinced that her only option is to be married to Todd, the blacksmith in the nearby town of Stillwater. 

Everything seems to be going well enough until Ninovan realizes that she is pregnant with her first husband's child, and it has by then become obvious to her that Todd does not wish to be a father or even to be around children. And that is where things truly get problematic for the two of them.

I feel this was one of Ms. Linnington's more interesting books. Not only does it encompass two stranger's agreeing to marry, sight unseen, but it deals with the racial hatred that Ninovan must face on a daily basis, and that Todd must come face to face for the first time with her. And that is just where the story begins, for there is far more to this tale than we see in most mail order bride books.

I enjoyed reading this story and seeing how the characters come to terms with and deal with the variety of issues they had to face. If you enjoy a good mail order bride story that has a bit more to it than most do, and if you've enjoyed any of Ms. Linnington's other books, then you should give this one a try. I don't think you'll regret it.

Monday, August 30, 2021

"When The Goddess Wakes"
by Howard Andrew Jones

The Altenerai have been fighting a war for some time. First against the Naor, many of whom have now sworn Allegiance after their leader was defeated by the altenerai. But they have also been fighting many of their own after having been betrayed by the queen who has convinced  many that they must reassemble the magical hearthstones into a destroyed statue of a goddess. This goddess will then restore the realms to a kind of paradise, returning those whose lives had been lost to their loved ones. 

Because of this belief, the queen had stolen most of the hearthstones and abandoned many of her people in her quest to restore the goddess. However, those left behind believe that the goddess is actually going to destroy the realms and all within, and thus must stop the queen and her followers before it is too late for everyone. For if the queen succeeds, is there any way they can actually manage to stop an all powerful goddess?

This was the 3rd book in the Ring-Sworn Trilogy, and I found it to be a powerful ending to the series.  It was filled with action, heroics, sacrifice, and surprises throughout. I enjoyed this book a great deal, and honestly, I didn't see the path the ending took coming. But as it happened, it made perfect sense and I was almost surprised that the possibility hadn't even occurred to me. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy series as well as anyone who has read the first two books in this series. I very much enjoyed reading it.

Monday, August 23, 2021

"Bitten and Smitten" by Michelle Rowen

Sarah Dearly woke up to her blind date trying to bury her in a cemetery, claiming he was a vampire & that he'd bitten and turned her into a vampire (without her consent) as well. Assuming he was crazy and running away from him, she bumps into some men that she thinks will rescue her, but turn out to be vampire hunters who intend to kill her just as soon as they've finished killing her date.  Fleeing from them, she winds up being rescued by a centuries-old vampire who had been about to kill himself.

This was an interesting take on the traditional vampire legends in which it appears that instead of vampire hunters being the good guys in the story, they are the villians who are out to murder innocent people who just happen to drink blood.

I enjoyed this unusual vampire tale about Sara learning what being a vampire really means and what she needs to know in order to survive in her new existence both with other vampires and vampire hunters. I'd recommend giving this one a try if you're looking for something a little different or unexpected. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading  book 2 in this series.

Monday, August 16, 2021

"The Blue Dolphin" by Kathryn Gauci

Nefeli and her daughter live on one of the greek islands. Life has been difficult since the start of the war and the death of her husband, but they have been getting by. One night after a very bad storm, while walking along the shore, she came across an unconscious german soldier who had been washed ashore after the ship he was on was sunk by the andartes (greek resistance fighters). He was gravely wounded and would surely die without help. Yet, if the other villagers were to find him, they would kill him and likely anyone who aided him. But still, Nefeli couldn't just leave him to die.

I will be the first to admit that this story was not what I expected when reading a WWII novel. This was not a tale focused on combat or spycraft, but instead it was about how the war affected those living through it.  It was the backdrop for the story of Nefeli and what happens when she attempts to save an enemy soldier's life. She is aware of the risk she takes, but cannot bear to see more unnecessary death.

This was a story I greatly enjoyed. It did not try to hide the difficulties faced during the war, nor did it glorify the actions of one side or the other. This was a personal story of one woman, a man who was considered an enemy soldier, and what can happen when kindness is shown to someone who is helpless and injured. It is a story of life versus death, as well as the story of greek culture during a time that is quite different from what many of us know today.

I would definitely recommend this book. Anyone who enjoys WWII stories, tales of greek life during the war, or historical fiction. It is very definitely worth reading and one that you won't want to put down.

Monday, August 9, 2021

"Fries and Alibis" by Trixie Silvertale

When a strange older gentleman knocks on Mitzy Moon's apartment door one morning to deliver an envelope containing a large amount of cash and notice of her inheritance from a previously unknown grandmother, to say that Mitzy was shocked would have been an understatement. Of course, being accused of murdering a man she'd never met, who just happened to be her grandfather, shortly after arriving in town was an even bigger surprise. Just as big of a surprise was meeting the ghost of her deceased grandmother who lives in the bookstore Mitzy had just inherited.

This was the first book in the Mitzy Moon series, and was a wonderful beginning to this series and the vibrant and fascinating characters of Pin Harbor. Watching Mitzy navigate her way through clearing not only her name, but her father's as well was a great introduction into the personalities of these townsfolk. I had previously read some of the later books in this series and am very glad that I went back to see how it all began. (And if you’re wondering, I will be reading the rest of the books in this series.) I greatly enjoyed reading this book and believe that anyone enjoying cozy paranormal mysteries will enjoy it as much as I did.

Monday, August 2, 2021

"Forgotten Faces" by Florence Linnington

Sarah Smith has come to the small town of Stillwater as a mail order bride to marry the pastor, Stephen Tyler. Each is surprised that the other is young & attractive, as they both expected far less in a mail order spouse and neither had seen a picture of the other.

As expected in this type of story, each of them has secrets about their pasts that will likely cause problems as the plot unfolds. In Sarah's case, the issue is that she is unable to recognize the faces of anyone she meets, no matter how long or short of a time she has known them. She has been using other small tricks to keep that fact hidden as she believes that it means there is something fundamentally wrong with her that would make no one want her around.

Like Ms. Linnington’s other mail order bride tales, I greatly enjoyed reading this one. We get to see Sarah grow from a scared and unsure young woman into a stronger and braver version of herself than even she thought she could ever become. And as always, seeing the journey of how she gets there and who she would become is what I felt was the best part of the story.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mail order bride romances as well books that allow the characters to grow and to overcome unexpected hardships and other challenges.

Monday, July 26, 2021

"Amish Mercy" by Samantha Price

In this book we are introduced to the Baker family. They are an Amish family living and working in their apple orchard. The sisters are all unmarried, and Mercy is convinced that Stephen, the young man who is coming from another Amish community to help with the harvest, is the man she is destined to fall in love with and marry.

Her older half sister, Florence, isn't so sure. After all, the two have never met, so how could Mercy be so sure that Stephen is the right man for her? Is it merely a  sisterly concern? Or could it be that Florence is a bit jealous that her younger sister might find love before she herself does?

I enjoyed this nice relaxing tale of the "Bonnet Sisters" (as they are referred to by a new, non-amish neighbor). He seems to be someone who, though unsuitable to be considered for an amish girl's husband, might have caught Florence's interest. I am very interested in seeing how this relationship, as well as the rest of the Baker family’s future adventures, continues in the following books in this series.

Monday, July 19, 2021

"Shortbread and Sorrow" by Agatha Frost

When Julia's mother, Dot, wins a free 5 day trip to a spa & resort in Scotland for 3, Dot, Julia, and her sister Sue are off to enjoy a relaxing vacation  at a Scottish castle. But shortly after they arrive, the owner of the property is murdered. Naturally, Julia can't just sit back and leave things to the authorities to solve, she needs to try and figure out who killed him and why.

This was another fun cozy mystery involving the feisty baker from Peridale. This was the 5th book in the Peridale cafe series, and every bit as enjoyable as the first 4. It was a quick read and a fun one. The characters are just as amusing as they were in the first part of the series. 

Anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries or any of the other books in this series would likely enjoy this book as well.

Monday, July 12, 2021

"A groom for Claire"
by Patricia PacJac Carroll

After losing her husband in a freak blizzard that had killed almost all of the men from the town of Last Chance, Claire, like most of the town's women, had placed an ad seeking a husband to come and help keep their town alive. Ethan Freemont was the librarian who had answered her letter.

He arrived on Christmas day, bringing gifts and much needed supplies that Claire had not asked for, but greatly appreciated nonetheless. But in her heart, Claire was not yet truly ready for a new husband so soon after losing her beloved  Thomas. Can she find a way to start over again with someone else? Or would it be better if he were to take her away from the farm to live in a city?

I have been enjoying this twist on the traditional mail order bride genre. It gives a unique perspective on a situation that many faced at one point. Marrying someone you had barely met is rare in today's world, yet at one point in our history it was all but a necessity to survive. This tale shows a great sensitivity towards both those who needed but didn't really want a new spouse, and those who wanted nothing more than to start a completely new life.

I think this book would appeal to anyone who enjoys mail order bride stories as well as to those seeking something similar but with a bit of a twist on the basic storyline. I have definitely been enjoying this series and am looking forward to reading more of the mail order husband tales.

Monday, July 5, 2021

"Castaways & Longer Days"
by Trixie Silvertale

It's time for the Summer Solstice festival in the town of Pin Harbor. The tourists are many, the floating Casino is operating on the lake, and Mitzy Moon is ready to enjoy the celebration just like everyone else in town. But things take an unfortunate turn when an unexpected tornado hits the lake, crashes through the boats, and into town.

During the devastation, the owner of the casino boat is killed, and Mitzy Moon is on the job, trying to solve the murder of a woman she doesn't really like.

Like the previous book in the series, I enjoyed this one. The characters are fun and amusing to read about. And seeing the town pull together to help each other get through this disaster was a great example of a small but very friendly town. Watching Mitzy  follow the clues in a puzzle that seems to be missing a few key pieces at times to try and catch the murderer all while dealing with continuing in her search for a way to free her "ghost ma" from the cursed gem trapping her spirit within it was well worth the short time it took to read this book.

The interplay between the characters was great. At times it reminded me of family & friends teasing each other while at the same time lifting them up when they needed a helping hand. All in all, it was a fun story with a great cast of characters.

Anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist should enjoy this book, especially if you've enjoyed any of the other books in this series.

Monday, June 28, 2021

"Retribution" by S.L. Stacy

This was the 4th book in the Reborn series about the halfling children of Greek Gods of Olympus still living among humanity. There is a war going on that most of the human population are unaware of as they believe the gods to be only ancient myths.  But some among the Olympians feel they should be ruling Earth as well as Olympus.

The reason that most of humanity isn't aware of this is that the two dimensions have been protected by a barrier between the worlds, guarded by the descendants of Nike, goddess of victory. But now the barrier is failing, and like it or not a war that humanity is completely unprepared for is coming to Earth. Not all of the Olympians are seeking to take over earth, just as not all of the halflings are siding with humanity. Can Earth be kept safe and protected? Or will it become an extension of Olympus, once again ruled by those we know of as the Greek Gods of ancient history?

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. The story did not shy away from the harshness of being in a war, much less one that most weren't aware was even taking place until it fell right into their everyday lives. There were those who rose to become heroes as well as those who might be called traitors to one side or the other.

This was a complicated tale, with a number of twists and turns that added to its complexity. There were also quite a number of emotions that this story brings forth, as the reader can't help but feel for what the characters are facing and going through. I enjoyed it and I believe others will as well.

If you haven't yet read the first books in this series, I would strongly recommend starting at the beginning of the series as it will make much more sense than if you try starting here. But if you have already read the rest of the series, I think you'll enjoy it as much as I did. Just be warned that this is not a book meant for younger readers. The Greek Gods and their descendants were very sexual beings according to legend, and that is still quite true in this tale.

Monday, June 21, 2021

"Train to Colorado" by Florence Linnington

Margaret had lived with her mother, stepfather, and two young siblings for some time. It hadn't been a pleasant existence as her stepfather seemed to resent the financial burden of having her in the house after an accident had left her with a severe limp, making it impossible to find employment. After yet another unsuccessful day trying to find work, her stepfather informed her that she would be leaving the next day to marry a man she has never met in Stillwater, Colorado. She was not given a say in the decision,  but she realized she had no other options.

When she arrives in Stillwater, penniless and feeling lost, she discovers that the man she was sent to marry had given up on her & married someone else. What was she supposed to do now? Without the money to purchase a train ticket back home, and with the unlikelihood of her stepfather allowing her to stay there any longer, she needed to find another option. 

I felt this book was even better than the rest of the series so far. Margaret may start out seeming to be lost and scared, but she quickly proves that she is anything but weak or incapable of rising to a challenge. She has intelligence and bravery, and quickly proves herself to be a strong woman. 

While this book is not just her story, but also the story of William, the town's sheriff with a hidden past, I felt Margaret's tale was the strongest part of the book. Yes, there were the usual problems that came from misunderstandings, incorrect assumptions, and at times a lack of communication between the characters. But that seems to be a standard in all mail order bride stories. And as always, the book ends with the expected happy ending. It is the journey in getting there that made this book so enjoyable to me.

I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys mail order bride stories, romance, or simply a tale with a happy ending.

Monday, June 14, 2021

"Hairless Harassment" by Molly Fitz

Angie Russo is moving into her new home, which she had bought because of a promise made to Octo-Cat. It was the home that he had lived in with his previous owner until she had been murdered, and to him it was also the only place that would always truly be home to him.

But on moving day, the next door neighbor, a prominent & beloved senator is found dead, the victim of an apparent accident involving her two sphinx cats and a staircase. But was it really an accident or had the senator been murdered? And if so, who would do such a thing to someone so beloved by everyone and why?

This was the third book in the Pet Whisperer P.I. series. I enjoyed reading this cozy mystery immensely and had a difficult time putting it down to sleep at night. It was a fun and quick read, and my biggest complaint was that I wanted more!

The relationship between Octo-Cat & Angie is one that can be easily seen and understood by anyone who has ever been owned by a cat of their own, and I loved seeing the familiar behaviors between cat and human played out as clearly as I can see them enacted in my own house between each of our cats & their chosen human.

Anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries involving animals who are also the main characters should enjoy this book. I know I definitely did and am looking forward to reading book 4 in the series.

Monday, June 7, 2021

"The Triumph of the Fairy Queen"
by Gemma Perfect

Elsie has again been captured and kidnapped by Hardy, the man who had sought to find a way to take her rightful place as the kingdom's ruler. Unfortunately, things hadn't gone as he’d planned, and now his intent remains unclear, as killing her will clearly not win him the crown. So what exactly is he planning on doing with her?

This was the third and final book in the Fairy Queen Trilogy, and in my opinion, the best of the three books. With all that Elsie had to face and overcome, I found myself in tears at several points. I also couldn't put this book down. It was a quick read, but a very good one. (There is a lot that I would like to say, but I’m afraid that it would spoil too much of the story for anyone who has not yet read it, and they deserve the chance to experience for themselves all the emotional ups and downs provided within this tale.)

This book and series is a great suggestion for anyone who enjoys young adult fantasy novels, with this one in particular for anyone who enjoys having their heartstrings tugged while reading.

Monday, May 31, 2021

"Chocolate Cake and Chaos" by Agatha Frost

When someone new arrives in town who has a bit of an unhappy history with Detective Inspector Barker, unfortunate things begin happening. First a funeral wreath is left on the doorstep of Barker's cottage addressed to him, then before long, another officer is found dead in that same spot.

It seems that someone wants Barker dead, and the obvious suspect is the recently released prisoner staying at the local Bed & Breakfast. But if it wasn't him, as the man claims, then who is it that seems to want Barker dead and why?

This was the fourth book in the series, and I enjoyed reading it every bit as much as I did the first three books. It was well written and the story was entertaining enough to make it hard to put down at night.

Anyone who has read and enjoyed the first 3 books in the series should also enjoy this one, as would anyone who enjoys reading cozy mysteries. I would say it's definitely worth giving it a try, even if you’re new to the series.

Monday, May 24, 2021

"Spinster Mail Order Bride
and her Conflicted Suitor"
by Florence Linnington

Vivian arrived in a small Texas town to meet the man she had been writing to after he’d answered her mail order bride ad. Unfortunately, no one was there to meet her when the stagecoach arrived. He was sent for, but the man who arrived to meet his future wife was not the man she had been writing. The ticket office had sent her to the wrong place!

And things only got more difficult from there, as the next stage coach out wouldn't be leaving for another week, meaning Vivian would need to find a way to afford a hotel room for the week and buy another ticket elsewhere.

David, who had expected a different woman to arrive in another month was less than pleased at the mixup. He had sought a mail order bride to make his very ill mother's possible last days happy, knowing her son would soon be married. He wound up coming to an agreement with Vivian to pretend to be his fiance and make his mother happy until the next stage coach will arrive to take Vivian elsewhere.

Again, as with all her other mail order bride stories, I found this one just as enjoyable as the others. This one has a few extra elements of conflict that arise within the situation than most of Ms Linnington's previous tales, but they only add to the excitement of seeing the two main characters overcome their pasts and try to learn to trust in their own feelings as well as those of another person. 

This is another good book for anyone who enjoys mail order bride stories or any of Ms. Linnington's previous books.

I'm engaged to Mothman by Paige Lavoie

Heather and Moth are very happy with the life they are building in their cabin in the woods. But when a portal suddenly opens and takes them...