Secrets, Lies, and Crawfish Pies (by Abby L. Vandiver)…Cajun antics in East Texas has you wondering why a dead body shows up in a funeral home (unannounced!)

What a delightful read! Lots of great characters with quirky personalities. It’s obvious that the author spent a lot of time developing them and wanted you to become a part of the town of Roble, TX.

Great mystery from the very first of the book and keeps you guessing until the end. I had a clue, but wasn’t sure which person might be guilty of murder until the very end. But it doesn’t matter if you can’t figure it out right away, because the story is full of twists and turns and lots of crazy antics. Auntie Zanne has you chuckling and understanding how Romaine could lose her cool with her aunt.

It appears this book sets things up for a sequel and I am looking anxiously forward to seeing what happens with Romaine and a couple of interested “fellas”. The book moves along quickly and you are constantly facing a new clue as you try to figure out the identity of the dead body found at the funeral home and how he got there.

The one negative aspect is that I did not like the situation Romaine left in Chicago. She’s too smart to put up with that type of relationship. But we’ll see what happens when the next book comes out…hopefully soon!

Thank you to Henery Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest feedback.

Shadow Dancing (by Julie Mulhern)…the Country Club murder series has you wondering what will happen next

I really enjoyed this book. While I have only read the first book in the Country Club series, it really didn’t feel like I had missed a whole lot. (And to be honest, I didn’t enjoy the first book that much!) But now that I’ve had a chance to read another book by Julie Mulhern, I will be reading more of this series.

The author has you laughing out loud at some of the things that Ellison says and thinks. Her family is a hoot…from a sassy, independent daughter to her overcontrolling, judgmental mother. And Anarchy…well, let’s just say that I would let him eat crackers in my bed any day!

This book is full of murder, mystery, intrigue, crazy antics, excitement, and family relationship issues. It keeps you flipping the pages to find out what will happen next. I love the lingo and the way Ellison manages to keep finding or being involved with dead bodies. But she just keeps on plodding along and has you chuckling at her thought processes with each incident.

I am looking forward to more adventures with Ellison and the rest of the Country Club murder series. Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Kale to the Queen (by Nell Hampton)…murder mystery and delicious food

I really enjoyed this new series by Nell Hampton! The characters were fun and well developed…and of course, you loved some and hated others. Carrie Ann gets into a big mess as soon as she takes on the position as family chef to the duke and duchess. And you are floating along in the midst of chaos, mystery, and delicious meals. I wish Carrie Ann was cooking for me!

This was a delightful and easy read. But it was also very enjoyable. I am looking forward to the second book in the series.

Three Shoeboxes (by Steven Manchester)…PTSD and a desperate father

This book really helped the reader see inside the mind of someone experiencing PTSD. In addition, you get a glimpse of life for the family of that individual.

While it was not initially obvious what caused the panic attacks, once it comes to light, you understand how this could cause such a stress-related reaction. The author does a great job of allowing you to see and experience the anxiety for all of the family members.

I even think I like the fact that the book ends the way it does…and I won’t spoil it for you! A lot of issues are covered and dealt with in a reasonable way.

I would definitely recommend this book.  Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

The Sugarhouse Blues (by Mariah Stewart)…life, love, relationships, and conflict

This second book in the Sugarhouse series was good. I found myself flipping through the pages, anxious to see more into the lives of the Hudson sisters. This book is more from the viewpoint of Des, so you get a little different aspect (the first book was more from Cara’s viewpoint).

You continue to fall in love with the town and people of Hidden Falls. The continuing renovations of the Sugarhouse Theater gives you an inside view of the people involved in the creation of the theater as well as the Hudson family history. Allie, Des, and Cara are developing a relationship and growing closer. And the author does a great job of bringing you into their lives and discovering their faults, failures, and positive attributes.

I am looking forward to continuing the adventure and learn more about Allie and how she resolves the conflicts with the people in her life. I would encourage all lovers of books to begin a journey with the Hudson sisters and the life and times of Hidden Falls.

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Way of Beauty (by Camille di Maio)…a tale of suffering, conviction, goals, love, loss, and integrity

This was a delightful book. I really enjoyed the history and the connecting lives of the characters. This was a tale of suffering, conviction, goals, love, loss, and integrity. I loved how the story began in the 1960s and then went back to the beginning of the lives involved in this tale. The characters were well developed and you find yourself drawn into their story, cheering and crying, cringing and gasping, falling in love and questioning some of the decisions made. But no matter what your stance, you will LOVE this book!

I found myself looking up various facts stated throughout the book to find out if they were true or not (they always were!). The author did her homework and made this historical story interesting. I learned a lot about the history of the suffragettes, of the sandhogs and building of the tunnels for train travel, and the world in New York during World War I and II.

I loved this story so much that I’ve purchased all of the author’s books. That’s a high statement of praise!

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange of for an honest review.

Detective Cross (by James Patterson)…action but lightweight read

This was a nice short read in the Alex Cross series. This was the first Bookshots I’ve read…and will probably be the last! (Other than the one other book I had already purchased.) While it was action packed and kept you interested, it wasn’t worth the money.

Once again, Alex Cross finds himself in the middle of a mystery and has been called in as a consultant on his wife’s bombing case. There is lots of action and intrigue. But, I have to honest, I am falling out of love with James Patterson books. They are just too similar and not that well written.

The Last Chance Matinee (by Mariah Stewart)…hidden secrets in Hidden Falls (life with the Hudson sisters)

This was a great story. I loved the characters, their individual personalities, how they got (or didn’t) along with each other. The premise for this story was interesting and really starts the book off with a bang.

I enjoyed the little glimpse into each of the main characters’ lives in the prologue. You learn a little about each sister and what they are each dealing with and how they are responding to the situations. You will find yourself loving some of the characters and being really irritated with other(s)…at least that’s the way I felt.

Mariah Stewart is one of my favorite authors and this first book in the series has you wanting to return to Hidden Falls and follow the Hudson sisters to discover what adventures await. Can’t wait to read the second book!

The author does a great job of making you want to move to Hidden Falls and settle into life with the people of this delightful town. I want Barney as my aunt. I think she would be a hoot to spend time with!

The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go (by Amy Reichert)…a story of life, family relationships, acceptance, love, and loss

Wow! This book was a wonderful read. I found myself flipping through the pages and enjoying the story of Gina. No matter what Gina experienced, she tried to find the positive side of things. If we could all do that, I think the world would be a better place.

But when a medical emergency unleashes a hidden secret, Gina and her sister have to come to grips with a shocking discovery. However, at the same time, Gina and daughter have to learn how to connect with each other and share the love they each feel for the husband and father they both loved.

Such a poignant story of life, family relationships, acceptance, love, and loss. The way each character deals with their individual crises reflects the type of personality they possess and yet they are influenced by the relationships and dynamics of their family.

I really enjoyed this book and will make sure to read more by this author.

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for a honest opinion.

The Marmalade Murders (by Elizabeth Duncan)…sticky situations are abound in this delightful cozy mystery

This was a delightful cozy mystery. I loved the language and phrasing…especially since I’m an American. It was fun to “hear” them speak with unique words and phrases.

The characters were quirky and well developed. I loved the relationships between the various individuals. There were friendly interactions as well as some catty, ugly ones. But they were all interesting and helped lay the foundation for who committed murder.

I would definitely read another book by this author. It was a light and interesting read.

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.