Blessings in Disguise

Blessings in Disguise (Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries #1) by Nancy Mehl

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I picked this up in the library as I was interested in the little proverb they had on the first page. These are part of a Christian Inspirational series, so they are clean mysteries. No murder, no swearing, no sex. Mysterious happenings and investigation.

Anyways, on with the review…

Plot Synopsis:

Cheryl Cooper was ready for a change. Her boyfriend turned out to be a stuck up prig, she dislikes her job as a banker in Columbus, Ohio; so when her aunt calls her asking her to take over her shop as she goes overseas as a missionary-Cheryl jumps at the chance.

Cheryl finds herself in Sugarcreek, right next to the Amish community. She runs the Swiss Miss gift shop, which carries all kinds of local Amish products.

Who else thinks of these guys when they hear “Amish”.

She quickly becomes friends with Naomi Miller, an Amish farmer-and her family. Naomi’s daughter Esther and her best friend help out in the Swiss Miss.

Cheryl is learning a lot about the Amish life as the two girls are on their rumspringa. There also are two brothers who meet in her store to play chess, but do not speak as one brother is Amish and the other is shunned.

Things are going well…except Cheryl starts finding items she never purchased or remembers having stocked. They are beautiful items and people want to spend quite a bit to take them home. She sells them, but places the money aside-unsure of who to give it.

Esther also finds a beautiful leather bible, and inside is a note:

“Someone is not who they seem.”

Cheryl is shocked at the note, and wonders what it means.

It turns out the bible belongs to Levi Miller, Naomi’s son. He’s handsome, the same age as Cheryl, and she finds herself admiring him.

Levi doesn’t know what the note means, and Cheryl, Naomi, and Levi decide to stick their heads together trying to find out what it could mean.

Cheryl keeps getting invited to visit the corn maze her neighbors have. When she goes she overhears a man talking about finding “her”. He knows she is there somewhere and he won’t rest until she is found or killed.

Ooops…

Cheryl is upset and discusses it with Naomi and Levi. They begin trying to look into it and stumble onto a secret. An Amish woman, Rachel, is pregnant and has her cousin visiting to help her. Rachel confesses that she lost the note, and it is about her cousin.

Her “cousin” is really a abused friend of a friend hiding out until she can come up with a better plan to escape her husband. Cheryl promises to keep mum about it all, but warns her about the husband being in Sugarcreek.

They give the best description they can to Cheryl, and she, Naomi, and Levi try to figure out who could be the abusive husband. There are three suspects that match the description…

  1. There is a new bus driver for the tourist buses that visit the Amish areas. He claims to be married and started this new route to be home more…but is he lying?
  2. There is a man that is approaching buisnesses about buying their land and shops. It seems legit but he doesn’t ask a lot of questions for a potential buyer.
  3. Cheryl’s neighbor’s have a cousin Stanley visiting and helping with their corn maze. But Levi was told that both of them don’t have any aunts, uncles, or siblings..so how can they have a cousin?

Who is it? And will Cheryl and the gang figure it out before Rachel’s friend is caught? Or will Cheryl be the next on his hit list.

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved it!

The characters were awesome! I loved how they became their own Scooby-Doo crew.

I can’t wait for the next book!!

For more Amish mysteries, go to The Lesson

For more Christian mysteries, go to A Match of Wits

For more mysteries, go to The Key to Midnight

On a sad note, given the context of this book I wanted to add this:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

 

A Match of Wits

A Match of Wits (Ladies of Distinction #4) by Jen Turano

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I am very unhappy with this book.

Ever since I read the first book in the Ladies of Distinction series, A Change of Fortune I adored Agatha. I thought she was amazing, witty, fun, adorable, etc. She is a women from high class as her father is a wealthy businessman, but refuses to be sold off like cattle to a wealthy man.

Instead she gets a job at a newspaper and writes under a male pseudonym, being an investigative reporter and trying to clean up the city along with giving a voice to those who are disenfranchised.

I was hoping the second book would be all about her, but instead we got Arabella. Initially I was upset and hurt, but A Most Peculiar Circumstance was a good story as we got to learn more about Theodore Wilde and Arabella.

Squeal!

Then we had book three which was about Felicia Murdock?! REALLY?!! We barely even heard of her in the other books, WHY DID SHE GET HER OWN STORY BEFORE AGATHA?!! I’d been waiting for Agatha! This book was awful too, really starting to deteriorate and going downhill.

Ugh!

And then we get this book. We get a book about Agatha that I’ve been waiting FOREVER for and is it good? NO it SUCKS. MAJORLY! WHAT WAS SHE THINKING? I MEAN COME ON!!!.

 So Zayne Beckett has been engaged to Helena for quite some time now and has finally left to join her in the West. Agatha, who has been in love with him since forever, was heartbroken, to see him go but resolved to move on with life.

It has been two years since then and Agatha has been forced to leave New York and travel as their has been multiple threats against her life. She is in Colorado, when to her surprise she comes across Zayne!

What?!

A single Zayne? He did not marry Helena? A dirty mining Zayne that is nothing like the debonair one that left New York? A drunk Zayne that no longer believes in God? And a wounded Zayne, he has a limp in one leg.

Agatha saves him from being robbed by a girl gang, and strikes up their acquaintance again. She finds out that Helena did not want to marry him after all, and he was injured trying to save her in an accident, she ditching him. The accident broke his leg and it was poorly reset, causing him to have a limp.

I hate my life!

Agatha learns all about gold mining from him, planning on doing a story, when they are attacked by the girl gang again. It turns out they want Zayne’s gold along with being assassins hired to hunt down and kill Agatha.

They all head back to New York, where Agatha plans on bringing Zayne back to God and for him to be the man he once was. Zayne on the other hand plots to match Agatha with a man that will keep her out of trouble. Which one will win this match of wits?

Hmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

IT WAS AWFUL!!! This one was incredibly bad. Agatha was such a great character, but they made her incredibly dumb in this and she made horrible decisions. It was completely lackluster and I do not recommend it.

I mean she acted so stupid in everything, running off just asking to be killed. I mean really-you are an intelligent women. It is as of with each book she had a lobotomy.

It was just dumb and deteriorating into stupid stiff. I mean they add a pig sidekick. Really? Really? I hated it.

For more Ladies of Distinction, go to A Talent for Trouble

For more Jen Turano, go to A Most Peculiar Circumstance

For more investigative reporters, go to Conspiracy

For more Christian fiction, go to The Butterfly and the Violin

For more historical fiction, go to Weak Flesh

A Talent for Trouble

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A Talent for Trouble (Ladies of Distinction #3) by Jen Turano

Thoughts Before Reading:

So thus far we have had a book about Lady Eliza Sumner (Beckett), and Arabella Beckett (Wilder) and even though we have had Agatha Watson as an important character we still don’t have a book about her!

Why not!

That is so unfair! Agatha is one of the best characters!

Instead we get a book on Felicia Murdock! Felicia?!!! We’ve barely spent any time with her and we get a book on her life? Really?!

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Plot Synopsis:

Felicia Murdock has been after the young handsome minister for quite some time now. She has done everything in her dress, actions, volunteer work, and demeanor to prove that she is the best woman for him.

Unfortunately, he has chosen another woman.

Felicia, being upset, decides she needs a drastic change from her life. She throws out her frumpy clothes, let’s down her hair, and starts living life up with no worry for reputation or how this will affect others.

Grayson Sumner, Lord Sefton (and Lady Eliza’s brother), has had a wild time sowing his oats and adventuring. He now is ready to become respectable, live in New York, and raise his adopted Chinese daughter Ming.

He is asked to help raise Felicia’s spirits, but finds her wild spirit the exact opposite of what he wants his life’s path to be; yet at the same time he finds her irresistible.

Unfortunately, Grayson’s past refuses to remain in China and comes to get him; Felicia getting caught up in it. Will they be able to get out of this trouble?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like this book at all. I thought the character of Felicia was annoying.

The first two books were better. I think they had a stronger foundation as we spent time with the characters in the previous books, while not so much with these ones. It seemed very repetitive of the previous book and the end was not very good.

And I’m still mad that Agatha hasn’t had a book yet. She should have been book #2.

For more Ladies of Distinction, go to A Most Peculiar Circumstance

For more by Jen Turano, go to A Change of Fortune

For more historical fiction, go to Capital Bride

For more Christian fiction, go to The Butterfly and the Violin

 

The Butterfly and the Violin

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The Butterfly and the Violin (A Hidden Masterpiece Novel) by Kristy Cambron

This book is two stories intertwining that connect by the end of the novel.

He’s cute!

First we have Adele Von Bron concert violinist and Austria’s sweetheart, living in pre-World War II Europe. She is the daughter of a high ranking Nazi official, but doesn’t agree with his politics as they go against her Christian faith.

She is part of the Philharmonic, where she meets the son of an average man, but the one she falls in love with is, Vladamir.

Everything in her world is changed when she is caught trying to help a Jewish family flee Austria. She is caught and her punishment to be sent to Auschwitz to work in the camps.

But when she gets there, she is set to join Auschwitz’s Women’s Orchestra. There she goes through all kinds of troubles and problems, doing her best to stay alive.

The second half of the book is about Sera James, art gallery owner. She was left at the altar two years ago, and has been completely brokenhearted.

Since then she has focused all her attention on trying to find this painting of Adele Von Bron, one that was created while they were in Auschwitz.

Her research has reached a dead end and Sera is at a loss for the next step until she discovers a a copy of the painting behind an object up for auction at an estate sale. She emails the owner and then receives a plane ticket and request from millionaire and businessman Will Hanover.

She flies out to meet him and finds out that Will Hanover is in a tough spot. His grandfather died recently and left all the money, assets, and business to the owner of the painting of Adele.

He has been searching for the owner when he heard from Sera. He infuriates Sera when he accuses her of trying to steal his family’s fortune.

He returns and asks for forgiveness. The two then begin searching and Sera starts falling for Will. But does Will feel the same way? Or is he just using her to get the painting?

Hmm…

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Thoughts After Reading:

The book wasn’t that good.

The author suffered from trying to do too much with the two story lines that it caused her to fall into overdone clichés and have a lack of character development. The book was rushed too fast to reach a conclusion, and to quote Wayne’s World they made it a “super happy ending”.

I hate it

I didn’t care for it and thought it would be better if it had been focused on either storyline of Adele or the search of the painting instead of stretching the author with these two pairings. Adele’s journey is told in half points with a quick summary of what happened next, and Sera’s search barely anything as the painting felt like it was instantly discovered after the two “joined” forces.

That’s it?

Like Will’s grandpa just choose to leave it to the girl so Will could become a minister instead of taking the mantle of the business. Well that’s fine for him but what about everybody else? Did you even think how that would affect them all?

And what qualifications does that woman have to run a business? I mean really? All he knows of her was what happened in WWII. How do you know she won’t run everything down to the ground?

For more historical fiction, go to Whistling in the Dark

For more books that take place in World War II, go to The Hyde Park Murder

For more Christian books, go to The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

For more bible verses, go to Everybody Called Her a Saint

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The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

Are we ready for our first Christmas Countdown mystery? Let’s celebrate 20 days until Christmas with:

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus: A Novel by Beth Moore

Thoughts Before Reading:

This is Beth Moore’s first novel after years of nonfiction. It was something new, but something she had been thinking about doing for a while.

It was suggested by my sister blog after she read it for book club. It isn’t a Christmas centered mystery, but does have important scenes that take place at Christmas, so I thought I would set it out for our first review.

Jillian Slater is living in San Francisco in an controlling and very bad relationship. But when she discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her she is hit hard and unsure of what to do.

Then she receives a call that her long estranged father is dead.

And that her grandmother, the ice queen, who she also hasn’t seen in over twenty years is offering to pay her way to New Orleans so she could attend the funeral.

As her life is currently in shambles, Jillian decides to take it.

However, there is a lot that was kept from her. It turns out that the housekeeper, Adella Atwater, came up with the idea for a family reunion, not her grandmother, Olivia.

It also turns out that she lives in an church turned boarding house-full of all kinds of characters. There is David a forty-year old bachelor and music teacher; Carrie a student in medical school and always studying or working; and an elderly dementia suffering woman.

With no money, no reason to go back to San Francisco, and not sure what to do…she remains in the house.

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Police Department have been looking into the murder of Jillian’s father, Raphael. But while they try to uncover a killer, a lot of other strange things start happening. Baby things are left outside the house, someone tries to break into the house, things go missing, etc. The NOPD spend a lot of time coming to the house trying to figure out what does this all mean? A sentiment shared by the rest of the residents.

Besides that Saint Silvanus holds a secret from its first beginning as a church. Will it be revealed?

Will Jillian ever learn the truth about her fathers death? Will she grow to enjoy living in Saint Silvanus? Will her family rifts be mended? Or torn further apart?

Through in a life changing Christmas concert and last supper, and this book has everything.

Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t love this book.

Jillian bugged me, a LOT. First she is unsure what to do when she comes across the homeless. She has never had to deal with such things and finds the “sour smells” of the city unbearable. Come on now. I am from California and have been to San Francisco many times. I have been everywhere from the high price areas to the touristy ones and there are homeless EVERYWHERE. They hide in bushes and jump out to surprise you; walk out into traffic; are on every street corner along with “sour” smells. I don’t know what San Francisco Moore encountered but that sounds nothing like the one in California. Jillian should have experienced this numerous times and know how to deal with it.

And what happened with the church?

So throughout the novel, Moore has the story of the church’s beginning and the first pastor intersecting with the story of Jillian. But she never really says why this matters to the characters as they have no connection to each other and they never say who killed the minister. Was it suicide or murder?

There were also a lot of little details missing as Moore doesn’t always describe her characters. For instance she calls Jillian “dark”. Dark hair? Dark skin? Mexican? African-American? Greek? Spanish? Italian? Black hair? Brown? Chestnut? I know it is her first time writing a “novel” so it makes sense there are a few kinks.

The mystery also isn’t very mysterious. I knew as soon as the character entered the picture. It was extremely obvious the way they acted was not normal.

But there was something I did like: the characters.

The characters were amazing! I loved every single one and each felt extremely lifelike and ones you would meet in real life.

They all had their own hangups, issues, and backgrounds that were relatable-either to you or reminded you of someone you know. They made the book interesting, a page turner, and had you feel at home in Saint Silvanus.

This in itself made the book worth reading.

For more Christmas mysteries, go to Gingerbread Cookie Murder

For more mysteries not in a series, go to The Manchurian Candidate

For more Christian mysteries, go to Everbody Loved Roger Harlan

For more mysteries set in New Orleans, go to Triple Six

Everbody Loved Roger Harlan

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Everybody Loved Roger Harlan (Everybody’s a Suspect #1) by Ceil Murphey

In the guise of Ten Little Indians/And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, this group of ten dinner guests of Roger Harlan (plus his wife and stepson) find themselves stranded on an island.

When Roger Harlan is murdered they have to root out his killer.

Seriously?

Meanwhile, Dr. West has faced a lot of sadness and pain in her life and has turned from the Christian faith long ago. Pastor Burton takes it upon himself use this situation as a way to preach the word to her.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was horrible.

A good premise but badly constructed book and boring. The characters were just so bland and predictable.

This book is also a Christian novel, but those parts are written extremely bad and feel thrown in last minute rather than a part of the story. I give it 0 out of 0 stars.

For more Christian mysteries, go to Spring Breakdown

For more mystery reviews, go to Run Run As Fast As You Can

Spring Breakdown

So first of all, Happy First Day of Spring!

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Now on to the review:

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Spring Breakdown (Carter House Girls #7) by Melody Carlson

Thoughts Before Reading:

So this is a part of the series The Carter House Girls. Part Gossip Girl, part America’s Next Top Model, and all blended together with Christianity.

Each book is written like television episodes as every one gives more events of the group along with ending on just the right amount of cliffhanger so that you have a desire to read more and find out what happens next.

After D.J.’s mom died, she was sent to live with her grandmother, a famous ’60s fashion model Katherine Carter. Miss Carter decided to take this further and open her house up to five other girls and teach them about fashion, modeling, and more.

There is Taylor, daughter of singer Eva, beautiful, troubled, and very catty; Eliza, southern gal from Kentucky who wants to be the queen bee; Kriti, Indian, petite, and from New York; Cassie, D.J.’s old best friend from California who has been through a lot of changes and trouble; and Rhiannon, the only local, a nice girl, who’s mother is in rehab and the only Christian.

These girls have to work together, survive high school, model training, car accidents, disappearances, high school politics, boyfriend stealing, car accidents, parties, Las Vegas, New York City, an internet smear campaign, and more! Will the girls grow closer together? Or farther apart? Will they come to understand God’s love? Will they make good decisions?

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Plot Synopsis:

In this book the Carter House Girls have been in for some power plays between the now Christian Taylor and the ever in need of the limelight, Eliza. On Taylor’s side she has D.J.  and Rhiannon; Eliza on the other hand has Cassie while Kriti has returned to New York.

The trip started out as a nice fun time in Palm Beach, but became a fashion shoot, and even escalates when Harry (Eliza’s ex-boyfriend who is now interested in Taylor) decides to rent a condo nearby with his best guy friends.

Eliza keeps trying to win a competition only she sees, from pitting herself and Cassie against the others, trying to out glam them with tans that go horribly awry and more.

But things get really crazy when Eliza takes off on a date. When she doesn’t come back, they begin to grow worried.

They question Casey but she doesn’t know anything about this guy. That begins to worry the girls even more.

The talk to security, but they aren’t much help. They then call the FBI. All the girls can do is pray in the hopes that they find Eliza before it is too late.

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As the girls talk about who could have done this, they remember a lothario on the plane who seemed very interested in them and their plans.

But before they can tell the FBI about the mystery man, they get a ransom demand. Give him the money or the heiress dies.

Will their prayers be answered or will Eliza be lost forever?

Thoughts After Reading:

So this is the second to last book in the series and it takes a drastic turn from being about these girls to be a mystery and kidnapping, full of drama.

I thought that it was pretty good. One has to read the rest of the series to understand what is happening with the characters, but otherwise this was a fun story that had a twist I wasn’t originally expecting.

For more Young Adult novels, go to Fangs But No Fangs

For more Christian books, go to Paper Roses

For more book reviews, go to Death Threads

Paper Roses

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Paper Roses (Texas Dreams #1) by Amanda Cabot

So I know some of you may be looking at this and thinking this doesn’t look like a mystery, it looks like a Western. Well it is, but as the plot revolves around two mysteries I decided it was okay to review for this blog. Besides sometimes a book can straddle genres.

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Sarah Dobbs has lost everything when her parents died. All she has left is her little sister, of which she can not take care of without some help. So she looks for an escape and starts writing letters to a man in Texas looking for a bride. As the two write, Sarah falls in love with Austin Caufield and his “paper roses” (the letters he writes).

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She decides to agree to marry him and journeys West. When she arrives in Texas she discovers things are not quite as she hoped. Her fiancé was murdered!

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To Austin’s brother Clay’s surprise, Sarah refuses to return East but live on the Caufield ranch with her sister.

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Clay feels as if he doesn’t have time for this. He is trying to keep his ranch going, assist the elderly town doctor, and solve who murdered his brother.

On the case!

On the case!

Sarah quickly finds a niche in the town, working in the mercantile and later as the schoolteacher. But she discovers that this cute Texas town has a lot of prejudices and problems between the Germans and the French, and it is really heating up the town.

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As Sarah and Clay start becoming friends Sarah is determined to help discover her fiancé’s killer. What they discover is that someone has a real vendetta against the Caulfield family; being behind Clay’s father’s injury, the death of his wife, and the murder of his brother.

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As the two’s relationship grows, it turns out Clay has a secret. He is the one who wrote the letters for Austin, pulling a Cyrano de Bergerac. Will he be able to admit the truth? Or will Sarah continue to be in love with who she thought his brother was?

I wonder...

I wonder…

While Clay and Sarah are occupied, someone is planning their next move to remove the Caulfield clan. Will they be able to stop them in time?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this book was extremely good. I loved the characters, the storyline, and the mystery.

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In fact the person responsible for the crimes against the Caufield’s was a great twist.

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A great read!

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For more historical fiction, go to A Most Peculiar Circumstance

For more Christian books, go to Bake Until Golden

For more book reviews, go to The Cat Who Could Read Backwards

Bake Until Golden

Bake Until Golden

Bake Until Golden (The Potluck Catering Club #3) by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson

In the third installment of the Potluck caterers the women are flying high from their win; being interviewed everywhere and treated like royalty.

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They also are excited about the improvements being made to the church and the anniversary that they will be catering. But as life always does, they find that things do not go as planned.

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Jack has been doing well since he had his surgery, but when Goldie returns from a TV interview, she finds him dead. Poor Goldie is heartbroken at the loss, and even more dismayed when she discovers a birth certificate stating that Jack has a son with someone else.

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Donna has decided that she needs to leave the past in the past and dumps Wade, dating David exclusively. When David shares that his friend Bobbie is coming to town, Donna is excited to meet him; that is until it turns out to be a her and David’s ex-fiancé.

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Lizzie, the high school librarian, is working with  group of kids after school to create a play for the anniversary of Founder’s Day. As they start researching the event and the minister; they also have the story of the hidden gold in mind. They start looking into it and trying their hand at solving the mystery.

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Meanwhile, Donna’s mother Doreen, who left her when she was four and returned last year, has been drinking again and caused a scene knocking Evangeline over. Evangeline goes to talk to her later and tries and convince her to go to rehab. Doreen starts yelling at first but calms down and says she will think about the idea.

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The next day Doreen is found dead

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And Evangeline is accused of the murder,

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Donna being the one anxious to strap her in chains.

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When she is arrested and arraigned for the murder, Evangeline finds herself praying for help and proof of her innocence.

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Vonnie is horrified at what happened with the reveal of Bobbie and that such a horrible girl is after David. She tries to be there for Donna, as ever since Doreen’s leaving, Vonnnie has been a surrogate mother. But then one day Vonnie is going to market to pick up one item, and leaves her dog in the car. When she returns she finds him missing!

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Later Vonnie receives a ransom note that is actually a trap to kidnap her. Why would anyone want the dog or Vonnie?

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Lisa Leann and Henry are still having issues, despite his proposal to renew their vows.

I felt whatever about it.

When their son-in-law is injured in Egypt, their daughter goes out of the country leaving her baby with Lisa and Henry. They care for their grand baby and try to help with everything that is going on. Then a person breaks into Lisa’s bridal shop.

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When the potluckers start looking into why, they discover that the shop is connected to the old legend of the missing gold.

WHAT!

WHAT!

Donna and the crew find themselves in the middle of a triple mystery. Who really killed Doreen? Who is trying to kidnap Vonnie? And where is the gold? And how is this all connected?

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Thoughts After Reading:

For me this is the weakest of the series all because of one person, Donna.

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I really liked Donna in the other books, but in this one I found her annoying. She was horrible to Evangeline, acting like a five-year-old girl instead of a grown woman.

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I also thought it was incredibly stupid how she instantly wanted to arrest her. Seriously, Donna why would she do it? No motive at all. She has nothing to gain from Doreen’s death and there is nothing that Doreen could do to make Evangeline be in a terrible rage; it made no sense at all.

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The gold was a little thrown out of left field, but I like the characters and enjoy reading about them.

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For more on Potluck Catering Club, go to A Taste of Fame

For more catering mysteries, go to Catering to Nobody

For more Christian books, go to The Oath

For more book reviews, go to C is for Corpse

The Oath

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The Oath by Frank Peretti

Thoughts Before Reading:

I am a huge fan of Frank Peretti, and this book was just another in a long line of greats. I started reading it and couldn’t stop, it was phenomenal.

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Plot Synopsis:

Steven Benson heads to Hyde’s Peak to research what killed his younger brother Cliff.

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A biologist, specializing in bears, he at first believes it to be a rogue grizzly. That is until he catches the bear and finds no evidence that it killed his brother.

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In fact, when he sent the saliva found in the few remaining pieces of his brother, they discovered the attacker was reptilian.

WHAT!

WHAT!

Deeply intrigued, but in a town where all have taken an oath of silence, Steve is determined to find out who or what killed his brother.

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He teams up with the hot deputy, Tracey,

Smirkity smirk smirk

Smirkity smirk smirk

and finds himself relying more and more on the town crank, Levi, a man convinced this beast or creature is not physical but spiritual.

wrestleagainstfleshandblooddemons

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Thoughts After Reading:

This book was unbelievably amazing.

fantastic

I became so entranced with it:

Peretti is just a master!

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For more Christian mysteries, go to A Taste of Fame

For more not in a series mysteries, go to Death Comes to Pemberley

For more Bible Verses, go to The Harlot’s Tale

A Taste of Fame

Atasteoffame

A Taste of Fame (Potluck Catering Club #2) by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson

So some of you might be wondering where is the review for book one? Well there is no review for book one.

What?

The first book isn’t a mystery but a Christian novel that chronicles the lives of six women who change from a potluck prayer group to a catering group. Each member has different issues in their lives, as they grow in friendship and through trials. I wanted to skip it, but as I can’t completely do that without confusing you, I’ll give you a bite.

gotthis

The potluck group was started by Evangeline and grew to have five other members; Vonnie, Goldie, Lizzie, Donna, and Lisa Leann. The women go through trials, tribulations, prayer, and delicious food.

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Synopsis:

So since the hiccups of the first novel, the women have had a successful time with their catering business in their hometown. But things are about to change.

change

Lisa Leann’s son came to visit, and decided to film them for his media class. It turns out that he also used the footage to enter them in the reality show, The Great Party Showdown.

ohnoyoudidn't

Even though most don’t want to participate, they signed a contract and have to, besides that the church could really use the money they win.

We are so happy for you

We are so happy for you

They win their first challenge of catering a special event in the community, creating a 1930s Animal Crackers themed party.

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And now the ladies are off to New York.

Yay!

Yay!

Evangeline has adapted to married life with her long time crush, Sheriff Vernon Vesey. She has even developed a better relationship with her stepdaughter, Donna, who has previously hated her. Her biggest issue, she and Lisa Leann are going into the city to do preliminary research, will she survive spending time with the Texan she can’t stand?

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Lisa Leann’s old affair came back to bite her in the last book. She admitted everything to her husband, but while he agreed to work on their marriage; he has been cold and silent. When Lisa Leann has to leave, Henry gives her an ultimatum: stay with him and they will stay together or leave and that will be the end.

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Vonnie is a little unsure about being in the city, but happy that her son David will be joining her. Vonnie was married when she moved to California to a Latina man. He died in Vietnam and Vonnie went into labor. Knocked out by grief and drugs; her mother told her that her son died and Vonnie signed the release papers, unknowingly signing her son’s adoption papers. When David surprised her by knocking on her door and revealing everything, Vonnie felt blessed to have her child back and loves every moment she has with him.

love

As they prepare for their next challenges, continuing the movie theme they find a few things they did not expect. They are doing very well, but a few things seem to be going wrong. Almost as if someone is sabotaging them.

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

But which team?

HMMM

Lizzie is enjoying the break and opportunity to visit New York as she has had a lot on her plate. In the last book she had her mother’s Alzheimer growing worse, her youngest daughter’s wedding to plan, her son and his family moving in with her when he lost his job, and her husband being injured. But when she helps a deaf couple find their lost handbag, she discovers one of the production assistants for the show on a date with a contestant. She reads their lips and sees that the assistant has “everything arranged.” Is the contest rigged from on high? And if so, what can Lizzie do to stop it?

badfeeling

Donna is feeling pressure from all sides. In high school Donna and Wade dated, and she became pregnant. She lost the baby and Wade began drinking. Now 12 years later, Donna is a deputy and Wade is sober and taking care of his nephew Peter, the boy being the same age as their boy would have been. Donna is considering getting back with him, but then there is David who is crazy about her and wants to start a new relationship.

idon'tknowwhatI'mdoing

But now there are the paparazzo hounding her, a Cajun cook trying to start a relationship; all the while Donna being on two cases. First looking to see if her tip about Pete’s mom fleeing her abusive husband for New York to be true, and second who the saboteur is.

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Goldie and her husband Jack have had a rocky relationship. Jack had been cheating on Goldie since they first got together, due to his compulsion for sex. They’ve been in counseling, and with the help, Jack has been able to master his compulsion. However, Jack’s health has been bothering him, and when he has to have surgery Goldie leaves the competition to fly out to be by his side. Will she make it in time? Will Jack survive?

Aw...

Aw…

How will the potluckers be able to win this whole thing down a player and with a saboteur on the loose? Time to pray.

dearlordhelpme

 

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was pretty good. The story was fun and interesting and I thought the development of the characters was great.

likeit

I loved the idea of the movie themed parties from An Affair to Remember, King Kong, and Guys and Dolls; defintely the theme direction I would have gone in.

You_know_thats_right

The only thing I thought was dumb was that Deputy Sheriff Donna was kind of dim about a few things. She starts investigating Bubba, the Cajun chef, as the potential saboteur and when he tells her she probably mistook his cousin Bordeaux who looks just like him.

really?

What a joke. Come on how could you not see through that.

seriously

There were a few other times when it would have been easy to see through things but she didn’t.

Idon'tthinkso Idontseeit

But otherwise, I thought it was a good read and think it is worth a read. 🙂

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For more caterer mysteries, go to Catering to Nobody

For more Christian novels, go to A Change of Fortune

For more sabotage mysteries, go to The Silence of the Llamas

For more mystery reviews, go to The October Game

The Harlot’s Tale

harlot'stale

The Harlot’s Tale (A Midwife Mystery #2) by Sam Thomas

This is the sequel to the novel The Midwife’s Tale. I LOVED the first book. I thought it was absolutely fantastic and quickly devoured it. And I eagerly awaited the sequel…

Please!

This book takes place one year after the previous one. It is August of 1645, the civil war is over but not all is well. York is suffering tremendously from a horrible summer heat, one that threatens to destroy the crops and causes tempers to rise.

It's not fair.

Meanwhile, the city’s council have decided that with one war completed, another is to be waged, the war of men’s souls. They have allowed all types of “ministers” into the city, of which are eager to whip the sinful into godly. One area they seem the most focused on? Prostitution.

Gold Digger and Grave Digger

One such group  that has soldiered in to the area is Hezikiah Ward, his wife Deborah, daughter Silence, and son Praise God.

gotthis

Lady Bridget continues with her midwifery, with Martha her trusted friend and deputy assisting. Will, however, has found much sorrow at the War’s end. With his brother Joseph, the war hero, returned; their father has once again ignored and mistreated Will, because of his club foot, and instead turned over quite a number of his affairs to Joseph. This extremely disheartened Will and causes him to drink to excess.

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Including these, Joseph has become a crusader “for God”, as he has taken the duty of constable and delights in bringing in people to face charges of slander, prostitution, etc. Joseph is altogether rather unpleasant as his ruthlessness in battle has changed him to become even more ambitious and unempathetic.

you're evil

One  morning Bridget is awaken by her servant Hannah. Joseph has come for her as something has happened and she is needed right away by Edward.

whatsthatsupposedtomean

Bridget awakens Martha, much to Joseph’s chagrin and they all take off to answer the summons. They come to a small apartment, one of which the prostitutes would use for business.

suspicious Hmm

Edward brings Bridget in to look at the room and the bloodshed is enormous. Someone had killed and mutilated the bodies, rearranging the man and woman in a parody of copulation.

creepyew

Edward’s mission for them is to question the prostitutes in town. As a midwife, Bridget has had her dealings with them before, and they most certainly would not trust Edward, Joseph, or any other constable or official.

Bridget and Martha go over the crime scene and find two pieces of papers with scripture on them,  Numbers 25:8:

“And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.”

And Revelations 2:14

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

Upon even further examination, the two were killed similar to first bible verse. And to their horror, they discover that the prostitute killed was done so by the cutting of the femoral artery, and afterwards her privities were slashed and disfigured.

Horrible!!!!

Horrible!!!!

Bridget and Martha are on the case again…or are they? As a pamphlet with similar themes is passed around the city, Joseph concludes the author is the murderer and has him arrested.

somethingisnotright0

This doesn’t sit well with Bridget or Martha who find it strange that it would be so simple.

notbelievingyouyeahright

When the murderer claims his innocence and is released from prison, Bridget, Martha, and Will decide to continue searching for the truth.

On the case!

On the case!

They see Helen Wright, owner of the tenement the dead bodies were found in, and while the exchange does not go as well as planned, they are given a lead to see Isabelle Dalton. She refers them to Barbara Rearsby, telling them she will send her their way if she finds her first.

As the three investigate more and more, it appears that in every spot the Wards and Joseph seem to be turning up again and again. Could one be a murderer?

Interesting

Interesting

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Thoughts After Reading:

**Spoiler Alert**

So I didn’t like this book as much as the first one. It wasn’t just the content of the hypocritical Christians, which have been done over and over again ; but it just seemed to be missing something.

Not-Good

I didn’t like the killing of Edward, although it was his own fault. For someone who reads the bible so much he clearly didn’t learn from the stories of Cain & Abel, Jacob & Esau, or Joseph & his 10 Brothers. Brotherly strife will not end well.

bigmistake

I also didn’t like how obviously evil Joseph was in this. From the first time he was introduced you knew he was the bad guy.

its-so-obvious-captain-obvious

But let me say what a twist with the Wards. I never suspected the mother, props to you Sam, props to you.

yougotme

I also didn’t care for the ending with Joseph getting everything and Will nothing.

2013-11-27-bradpitt friends ugh slap face stupid

Although I liked that he put Will & Martha together, glad he listened to my class’ suggestion.

Thank you, thank you!

Thank you, thank you!

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For more Midwife Mysteries, go to The Midwife’s Tale

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to The Book of Madness and Cures

For more bible verses, go to Good, Clean, Murder

For more mystery reviews, go to Decked

A Change of Fortune

changeoffortune

A Change of Fortune (Ladies of Distinction #1) by Jen Turano

We were first introduced to Lady Eliza Sumner in Gentlemen of Her Dreams as she attends a dinner banquet. This book, however, is her story.

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When Lady Eliza Sumner lost her father, fiancé, fortune, and faith; she decided she would track down the criminal who stole her wealth and make him pay.

paybacktime

Pretending to be a governess, and hiding what she looks like with a disguise, she prepares to use this to infiltrate high society and catch the thief.

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Mr. Hamilton Beckett is a widower with two children, and also the “catch of the season”. He doesn’t wish to be constantly paraded in front of single women as they all hope to catch his fortune.

youcan'thandlethiscarygranttocatchathief

However, he and Eliza cross paths when she is asked to participate in a banquet when a guest is unable to.

Hamilton finds himself going along with Eliza as he is after the same guy. Eliza doesn’t enjoy this as she doesn’t want his help, nor her employer’s daughter, Agatha. Agatha wants to be a newspaper reporter and is insistent on using her investigative skills to catch this thief.

investigate

At first Eliza is intent on not trusting anyone, but when all try to help her and show their care for her; she starts wondering if maybe her plans aren’t the ones she needs to follow after all, maybe God has something better in mind.

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Thoughts After Reading:

So I had read Gentlemen of Her Dreams and was not impressed. It was mostly the storyline of Gidget, just in historical fiction.

steal

However, I really enjoyed this book. I thought the characters were a lot of fun and interesting.

likeit

There were some really funny scenes when the girls are trying to break into the thief’s house, only to discover that the Beckett brothers are doing the same thing.

ToCatchAThief102

It was a great read, I highly recommend it.

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For more historical fiction, go to The Italian Wife

For more investigative reporters, go to The Saint Valentine’s Day Cookie Massacre

For more reviews, go to No Limits

Good, Clean, Murder

GoodCleanMurder

Good, Clean, Murder (A Plain Jane Mystery #1) by Traci Tyne Hilton

Sweet, kind, Jane’s ultimate dream is to become a missionary. When her parents wouldn’t pay for any type of Bible college or seminary, Jane decided to go it alone, cleaning houses to pay for school.

gotthis

One morning she is doing one of her regular jobs, when she discovers that her client, and owner of the Roly Burger fast-food franchise, dead she decides that cleaning isn’t all she can do.

Private Investigating!

Private Investigating!

Jane feels it is her duty to discover who murdered her best client. The police think it was natural causes, but Jane knows that with all the changes her client had been making and the protests surrounding him; there are plenty of possible suspects.

Who done it?

Who done it?

When her air-headed roommate loses their apartment, she accepts the housekeeping job provided by her recently deceased client’s son, Jake; as it will give her a roof, food she could never purchase, and a chance to investigate the family.

suspicious Hmm

To further complicate her life, one of Jane’s new classes has been given a young, attractive professor. Both are interested in each other, but with the school’s rules stand in the way.

luke-noooo-o

Besides this Jane also has her walk with God to consider, as some days are harder than others to live a Christian life and be Christlike to those who cause her pain.

nicethings

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Thoughts After Reading:

The beginning is strong,

this is going to be good

But the mystery is easily solved and falls flat.

IDon'tlikeit

I also fail to understand why she would be so interested in her professor, Isaac. He sounds like a weirdo and worst of all he knows that his flirting and asking her out will be harmful to her. BUT does it ANYWAY!!!

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I hope Jane ends up with Jake; riding the J train all the way.

I’d give this book three out of five stars.

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For more mysteries involving cleaning ladies, go to Grime and Punishment

For more mystery reviews, go to Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters