A Year on Ladybug Farm (by Donna Ball)…a second chance at life, adventure, and amazing friendships

I am in love with the Ladybug Farm and the delightful ladies that have made it their home! Of course, the fact that ladybug was in the title of the book drew me in immediately. I’m such a ladybug fan. And then to read that the ladybugs were everywhere made me want to pack up my bags and move to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

The three ladies who end up on Ladybug Farm are each very different and have different gifts. Which makes them perfect friends and roommates. They each bring their varying abilities and personalities into this newly formed situation. And, of course, it is not without its struggles. New adventures are waiting around every corner and something is always happening. Such quirky people in the town but also people who make a small town friendly and welcoming. It is amazing to see how they rally around each other when someone is in need.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll gasp. You’ll get sucked into the lives of Cici, Lindsay, and Bridget. And you’ll come out richer for sharing the year on Ladybug Farms with them! Can’t wait to get my copy of the second book in this series (At Home on Ladybug Farm).

The Orphan Daughter (by Cari Nova)…a moving story of loss and family relationships

This was a difficult book to read because of the tragedies that the characters experience. But it was also filled with a sense of family and growth…both personally and in relationships. The characters were well developed and you had strong feelings about them (you loved them or you were a little irritated with their behavior). Lucy had a lot of growing up to do. And even though she had experienced a major loss in her life, she was really a spoiled brat. Luckily Jane was the perfect aunt to help her overcome those shortcomings.

The farm life and growing things naturally was appealing. It let you know that the work is hard and there are no guarantees about the crop surviving Mother Nature’s wrath. But you learn so much and see how Jane’s farm affects the lives of many people.

This was an educational ready and addressed many issues…loss, divorce, immigration, friendship, family, neighbors, etc. I would definitely recommend this book to others!

Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Beach House Reunion (by Mary Alice Monroe)…turtle nests and rescues amind family dynamics

I really enjoyed this book in the Beach House series. Even though I have not read any of the previous books from this series, it did not affect my enjoyment of this one.

Lots of wonderful beach activities and family relationships abound. I am a huge beach fan and wanted to move in with Cara and Hope in the beach cottage. And one of my favorite aspects was the turtle team activities. I enjoyed the information before each chapter about turtles…especially the loggerhead turtle. What wonderful details and it continued throughout the story with part the story surrounding the family and turtle nests and rescues.

This was a delightful read for curling up in a chair on a porch feeling the ocean breeze and smelling the salty air as you get lost in the story of Isle of Palms and Charleston. Delightful characters and some family dynamics and exciting weather will keep you turning the pages.

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Miss Julia Inherits a Mess (by Ann B. Ross)…what craziness will Miss Julia find for herself this time around

Once more Miss Julia has you laughing out loud and sitting on the edge of your seat because you don’t know what escapade awaits her. Miss Julia is such a hoot and when she gets Etta Mae involved in her antics, you know you are going to be chuckling and waiting to see how things will end.

While this book is focused on Miss Julia’s responsibility as an executor of a will, you can just imagine how she will display her typical judgmental personality and easily jump to conclusions. But, of course, Miss Julia would argue that she never portrays these characteristics.

Ann B. Ross does a wonderful job of pulling you into the lives of the characters and wraps you up in the community of Abbottsville. You will want to pull up a chair and and listen to Miss Julia and Sam and Etta Mae and eat some of the delicious food that Lillian creates. You find that you don’t want to leave once you’ve turned the last page. But be excited that there is hopefully another Miss Julia story waiting to be released soon. I can’t wait for the next adventure!

Grace (by T. Greenwood)…family relationships and the love, hate, and misunderstandings that abound

This was my first book by T. Greenwood. But it will not be the last. I found myself aching with what the characters experienced as I inhaled every word on the page. This was definitely a book about family dynamics and how we love…or don’t love each other. Lots of lessons to be learned. Whether you’re a young person experiencing the pains of bullying, a parent struggling with how to respond to his/her spouse or child, a young person who is dealing with controlling parents and whether the decisions they make are the best for you, a husband or wife who isn’t sure whether their spouse has been unfaithful, an adult who struggles to provide for their family’s needs, an adult child dealing with an aging parent…they are all issues people face every day.

I couldn’t put this book down. And because the beginning sets you up to assume what is happening at the end, you’re flipping through the pages and cringing with each word to get to the climax. But it’s worth every moment, every word read.

But, when all is said and done, will grace get them through this?

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.