Monday, January 30, 2012

Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs - Review of the first book in A Tea Shop Mystery series

Death by Darjeeling
First book in A Tea Shop Mystery series
by Laura Childs

Theodosia Browning owns the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, SC. She only  has two employees, Drayton, her right hand man, and Haley, and it is a profitable business. Everything runs smoothly until they cater a tea for two hundred or so for the Annual Historic Homes Garden Party. As the guests are singing praises about the teas and blackberry scones being served, one prominent guest is being poisoned. Bethany, who is a friend of Haley's and helping with the tea party,  screams as she discovers Hughes Barron slumped over. This draws a screeching halt to the tea and police are called.

Theodosia soon finds herself and Bethany among the list of persons of interest. Because word has gotten out that Hughes was poisoned, the locals are avoiding the Indigo Tea Shop and because Theodosia and Bethany are on the list of suspects, Theodosia starts doing her own investigating.

With garden shears being held to her neck, right at the carotid artery, her life is in grave danger. Has her sleuthing gone too far? You'll have to read the book to discover 'who dunnit' and if Theodosia survives.

This was my first cozy mystery and I had a hard time reading it, I'm not blaming the book or the author because it isn't my normal storyline to read, I was sick when I started it, and then I had to deal with an insurance company for several days on other issues. I will recommend this book because I did finish it and am on to the second one in the series. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter - Review

Natalie: Birthday Wishes    by Colleen Coble
Julia:  Small Town, big Dreams    by Kristin Billerbeck
Shelby:  You've Got a Friend    by Diann Hunt
Reese:  All Along    by Denise Hunter

Smitten is the story of how the people in a small town fought together to save it after the closing of the lumber mill. Natalie, Julia, Shelby and Reese dreamed up the plan to make Smitten the new romantic vacation spot. The men in town don't see it working, but eventually get just as involved as the women.

There are four stories with each one telling about the plans of each woman. Each one has a man of interest that helps them and everyone knows everyone from their younger years. Some have moved away and come back home, others have lived in Smitten all their lives. The ladies don't really have a past with their man of interest, but they have things that make them feel they can never be together. 

I would recommend this book for a good clean read, it show's how people can pull together for the good of their community. Even with disagreements things can get worked out and people prosper not only financially but emotionally as well. You have to forget about things in the past and see what the present and future hold for you.

I won this book and was not required to read it or do a review.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Missing Your Smile by Jerry S Eicher - Review of the first book in the Fields of Home series

Missing Your Smile
First book in the Fields of Home series
by Jerry S. Eicher

Susan Hostetler and Thomas Stoll are engaged to be married, that is until Susan catches Thomas kissing her best friend Eunice. Susan breaks off the engagement without any explanation to anyone else and with the help of an Englisha friend picks up and moves from Indiana to Asbury Park, New Jersey. She goes to work in Laura's bakery and lives by herself in the attached apartment, they soon become more than owner and employee, they become friends. Laura's son Robby and Susan become like brother and sister, spend a lot of time together, teasing each other, Robby drives Susan places when she needs to run errands, teaches her to drive and helps her get her GED. Susan makes a good listener for Robby and helps him find his faith again.

Duane Moran comes into the bakery quite often and is a good friend of Laura's, when he see's Susan, he shows an interest and asks her for lunch, with Laura's encouragement she accepts. One lunch date leads to a dinner date, then a home cooked meal by Susan. Duane, not being used to the Amish lifestyle thinks Susan is trying to "catch" him and runs off without helping Susan with her math studies. He does get in touch with Susan to apologize and explain what scared him, when she explains that she was doing what Amish do, they become friends again.

Teresa doesn't come into the bakery often, but she does notice Susan and on her second visit asks her if she's Amish. Teresa is pregnant, unmarried, and lives with her Mother on the wrong side of the tracks so to speak. Charlie, her boyfriend, wants her to have an abortion and her Mother wants the same thing if she doesn't give the child up for adoption. Teresa seeks out Susan to help her, she asks her to find an Amish family to adopt her baby. Susan finally agrees to write and ask her parents if she knows of anyone that would be willing to adopt a baby.

After Susan drops the letter in the mailbox, she realizes that her parents may get the wrong idea and think it is her baby, hers and Thomas's. She tried to reach in the drop box, but the letter had fallen down too far for her to reach it. Susan starts considering going home for a visit and maybe taking Teresa with her so Thomas's reputation isn't ruined by everyone thinking they'd let things go to far and that was the reason for the break up. When her parents receive the letter, they show it to one of Susan's sisters and her husband, after some discussion, not wanting to believe that Susan was talking about herself and thinking about the rumor mill, they decide it would be best if they invite Teresa to live in their community.

As Susan, Teresa and baby Samuel, who was born early, board a train and head to Indiana, Thomas is getting on a bus headed to New Jersey. Susan isn't sure if she will remain in Indiana or return to New Jersey and when Thomas arrives and asks about Susan at the bakery, Laura tell him that she's gone and that Susan and Robby are good friends. Thomas leaves the bakery to do some site seeing, until his train leaves that night, thinking Susan and Robby are more than friends. Will Susan return to New Jersey before Thomas returns to Indiana so they can talk to each other and work things out? I can't tell you, I hope it's in the next book, Following Your Heart, due out in May 2012. This book, Missing Your Smile is due out in February 2012.

I would recommend this book as a good investment of your money and time and I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next. Jerry S Eicher did a great job on this one.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Harvest House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Amish Knitting Circle by Karen Anna Vogel - Review of the first six volumes of this series

by Karen Anna Vogel

I just finished these short stories by reading the last two volumes this afternoon and evening, not steadily but while stopping to to other things too, the first four I read during the short drives to town and back only, so they took a while longer. Yes, they are very short and I read the last ones so fast because the stories are so good.

Granny Weaver decides to start a knitting circle with five ladies, to make items for people in Joplin, MO after the tornado hit that community. Granny had all boys and no girls, until her sons married that is, then she had daughters. Every lady she invites has some problem that Granny 'casts' prayers for. She is doing it as much for the ladies and herself as she is Joplin, they all need the interaction with other wives and mothers, as we do. Reading these stories, you find out how the Amish deal with a lot of the same health, personal, marital and emotional problems that we have. There are some problems you wouldn't think about them having to deal with. 

You can get these eBooks at Amazon or Barnes & Noble for $.99 per book. They are quite enjoyable and a very quick read. Karen has started on the seventh volume in the series.

Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist - Review

Love on the Line
by Deeanne Gist

I loved this book, I read the 362 pages in about four days, that was over the holidays so there wasn't a lot of reading time. Needless to say I read until the wee hours of the morning so I could finish it.

Georgie Gail finds herself right in the middle of a train robbery, then Lucious Landrum, a Texas Ranger arrives and captures six members of the gang but fails to get the leader Frank Comer. Even though Frank Comer is the thief, he's the one that everyone admires not Lucious. Frank never does the actual robbing, just comes in treats the victims nicely, even giving them some of the stolen money sometimes and lets them keep their own money., he only takes the money bags that are on the train.

The rangers are tired of Frank getting away and give Lucious one last chance to capture him. They send him to Brenham, TX as Luke Palmer posing as a Telephone salesman/repairman, including bill collection, books and accounting for the Southwestern Telegraph and Telephone Company, better known as the SWT&T. Unbeknownst to him, this is where Georgie Gail was headed, when the train robbery occurred and he first saw her, to be the switchboard operator.

When he arrives she is not pleased to have someone working with her looking over her shoulder, not to mention that the 'office' is in her one bedroom house that is supplied by SWT&T, he stays in the local hotel. Luke doesn't like doing undercover work and doesn't like Georgie's views on things either, so sparks do fly on and off in this book.

Then there's little Bettina , known as Bettina Hyena by the locals, the daughter of the town drunk. Since he mother died they live in a shanty outside of town and she takes care of her father the best she can, cooks his supper every night, makes sure he gets home every night and is the wage earner for them, she delivers messages for Miss Gail to the residents that don't have a phone line. Bettina is a major character in this book and in the end could cause both Luke and Georgie to lose their lives.

That's it, go get the book, I guarantee you'll enjoy it if this is the genre you like. I've read several of Deeanna's book and have liked every one.