LadyoftheLodge in 2021

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LadyoftheLodge in 2021

1LadyoftheLodge
Modificato: Gen 1, 2:51pm



Hi there!

I am Cheryl from Indiana, USA. I live in the woods with my husband and four cats. I teach college classes online as part time faculty.

I am reading for the 2021 Category Challenges this year, and also continue reviewing for NetGalley. It is always fun to read the postings here and try to stay current with the discussions. Happy New Year 2021 to all, we surely need it!

2markon
Dic 27, 2020, 6:42pm

Waving hello from Georgia!

3LadyoftheLodge
Dic 28, 2020, 2:10pm

Hey there! Good to see you stopping by.

4BLBera
Gen 1, 11:24am

Happy New Year, Cheryl. I look forward to following your reading this year.

5AlisonY
Gen 1, 1:08pm

Happy new year! Here's to some great reads in 2021.

6LadyoftheLodge
Gen 1, 2:45pm

>4 BLBera: >5 AlisonY: Thanks! Here's to a Happy New Year and looking for hope and peace in 2021.

7LadyoftheLodge
Gen 1, 2:46pm

I ended 2020 with The Mischief of the Mistletoe which is actually a spy novel set during the Napoleonic wars, with a little craziness and romance thrown in along with the history. It is part of the Pink Carnation series.

I read 186 books in 2020. Now on to 2021!

8LadyoftheLodge
Modificato: Gen 1, 2:51pm

9AnnieMod
Gen 1, 5:59pm

Waving from Arizona :) Happy New Year! I think we will be bumping into each other in a few other groups as well this year :)

10LadyoftheLodge
Gen 2, 12:37pm

>9 AnnieMod: Thanks for dropping by! Happy New Year!

11LadyoftheLodge
Gen 4, 11:41am

Fishing for Trouble
In this second installment in the Alaskan Diner mysteries, Charlie and Chris assist local law enforcement with several cases. Charlie Cooke runs her family diner in Elkview, Alaska, but somehow gets embroiled in a mysterious death that occurs in her diner. Although the death is not related to her diner's food, she and reporter Chris Doucette are "recruited" by local law enforcement to assist with getting to the bottom of the crime. There is more than meets the eye when financial irregularities at the local fishery are uncovered.

The characters are quirky and fun, fitting to the Alaska setting (if you have visited Alaska, you understand). The unique setting grabbed my attention, as did the diner details and information about fisheries. Since I have visited Alaska and fisheries, I found this aspect of the book to be my favorite, and seemed realistic. I also enjoyed the developing relationship between Charlie and Chris. I am looking forward to the next one in the series.

As with most amateur sleuth novels, this one requires some suspension of skepticism on the part of the reader, with the characters' involvement in law enforcement and investigation of a murder. Although this novel is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone. The novel is clean, lacking overt violence, graphic intimacy, or strong language.

12sallypursell
Gen 5, 11:17pm

Hi, Cheryl, dropping off my star. I hope your holidays were good.

13LadyoftheLodge
Gen 6, 1:59pm

>12 sallypursell: Hi Sally! Good to see you here. Our holidays were very quiet, just the two of us. That was in a way a welcome change from our travels and our usual hectic holidays. Best wishes to you and blessings for the new year.

14LadyoftheLodge
Gen 6, 1:59pm

Readers of Amish romance/fiction will appreciate Her Amish Wedding Quilt, the first book in a new series. Greta possesses a forthright personality that seems off-putting to her Amish suitors. Disappointed in her recent relationship with Calvin, Greta immerses herself in her quilt shop and quilt design business. She also takes on the role of matchmaker to find her old friend Noah a new wife and mother for his children. However, Greta and Noah are in for a few surprises and moments of truth as they work together on this project.

The characters in this novel are likeable and realistic, with fears and dreams with which most readers can identify. The children are adorable and steal the show! Throw in a cat and kittens, an Amish craft mall, a cranky mother, and some scheming friends, and you have the makings of this likeable novel. I greatly enjoyed learning about Greta's artistic quilt designs too. The plot moves along quickly, engaging reader interest and motivation to continue.

Although some readers might find the story predictable, there are moments of surprise and suspense, with unpredictable plot twists and turns. (There will no doubt be some readers who want to give the characters a good shake at times, as I did!) I am looking forward to reading other books in this series, and hopefully will find out more about some of the characters introduced in this first installment. There are no cliffhangers or unfinished threads in this novel. Readers who seek a clean read, without strong language or graphic violence or intimacy, will find this well worth their time.

15LadyoftheLodge
Gen 8, 1:51pm

I just finished Vittoria Cottage by D. E. Stevenson. I am getting back to reading Stevenson after many years away from her. I was instantly hooked on this novel about people in a small English village, their families and relationships. It is first in the trilogy that continues with Music in the Hills featuring some of the same characters. The only complaint I have is that the book ended abruptly and I wanted to know more about what happened to the characters! I own quite a few of her books in paperback, which I acquired years ago when I first started to read her work.

16LadyoftheLodge
Modificato: Gen 8, 2:32pm

Today I received in the mail a beautiful planner (which I ordered in November from a small Canadian business Little Inklings Design) which focuses on books and reading. The cover is blue with gold embossing and gold spiral bound about 8.5 by 11.5 inches. There are sections for wishlist books, bookish hauls, challenges, reading lists, fave quotes, reading stats and goals, book reviews, and of course a month by month calendar with tabs. The paper is high quality and colorful. This item is much more lovely than I imagined it would be. It is now my companion next to my computer. Almost like having LT in print format!

17LadyoftheLodge
Gen 11, 1:36pm

His Accidental Amish Family portrays characters that differ significantly from those found in other Amish fiction stories. The book deals with issues of disability, foster children, results of drug abuse, and refugees.

Anna struggles to re-learn to walk after a buggy accident confines her to a wheelchair. Assisted by Levi, her therapist, Anna attains her goal, only to find her dreams of marriage dashed. Although increasingly drawn to each other, Levi and Anna both struggle with the results of secret hurts from their pasts. When Anna fosters three children of refugees, they work together to care for them.

This novel is somewhat predictable, but the plot twists and turns motivate readers to continue with the story. In addition, those who have read previous novels in the series will be reacquainted with characters they already know. The story can also be read as a standalone. The characters are portrayed as flawed individuals who have hurdles to overcome, with many misunderstandings along the way.

I am somewhat skeptical of the realism of the refugee children segments of the story, and I liked the story until it became a political and social commentary, which seemed like it could have been a separate novella. The author seems to have done her research on the topics of disabilities and therapies though. I do not think his acquisition of a family is at all "accidental" either, more likely it is unexpected or surprising. This is a clean novel without overt violence or intimacy, or strong language. The Christian message is overt.

18LadyoftheLodge
Gen 13, 2:58pm

Mail order brides are commonly found in novels, but mail order grooms are certainly a new topic! Marrying Matthew is the first in a series of Amish fiction novels that feature mail order grooms, not to mention feisty, independent women.

As heiress to her dad's mill and woodworking business, Tabitha has successfully avoided men who want to marry her in order to take over the business. However, Tabitha determines to marry on her own terms, so she places an ad for a groom. She never intends to fall in love with her mail order groom.

Matthew King answers her ad with the intention of gaining woodworking skills from Tabitha's dad, with marriage as an incidental. However, he never planned to fall in love with his new wife. Matthew also failed to consider the reactions of the men at the mill, or the independent attitude of his wife.

Another romance brews between Abner and Anke, older individuals who hide their secrets from each other. However, they find it increasingly difficult to hide their growing attraction to each other.

Of the many Amish fiction novels I have read, this one definitely contained many nuances that set it apart from the others. The story line includes twists and turns that motivate the reader to continue reading. Mystery and suspense also add to the unpredictable nature of the plot. The mountain setting and descriptions of the Mountain Amish community also display a unique aspect to this series.

The characters are interesting, likeable, and well-drawn, with depths to their personalities and motives. Although a "sweet" story, the novel contains a bit more spice than most Amish novels, although always within the bounds of good taste. Readers who enjoy Amish fiction will find this a thoughtful and well-written change of pace. I am looking forward to reading the next installment in the series.

19LadyoftheLodge
Gen 16, 12:10pm

I just finished An English Murder by Cyril Hare, which was an excellent example of the English country house/ limited cast of suspects novel, set at Christmas time with a snow storm raging outside and political machinations inside. This was the first one I read by this author, but I found several others for 99 cents as Kindle ebooks. I have to admit that I did not guess the perpetrator, which is unusual for me since I read a lot of mysteries. That to me is the mark of a good mystery! This one was a BB from another LT-er. 5 stars

20AnnieMod
Gen 17, 8:13pm

>19 LadyoftheLodge: Cyril Hare is criminally underappreciated - he is one of those solid crime authors that somehow got forgotten as soon as he died.

21LadyoftheLodge
Gen 18, 4:07pm

First Light in Morning Star continues the series about a group of young Amish women who open The Marketplace, starting their own business. The Marketplace offers spaces for individual businesses and vendors, including baked goods, furniture, flowers, and many other items.

This book focuses on Lydianne, the schoolteacher of the Amish community of Morning Star, and bookkeeper for The Marketplace. Lydianne enjoys teaching her eight scholars, but also harbors a secret! When she begins a relationship with Jeremiah, who is also the Bishop of the community, Lydianne's secret is revealed. However, the consequences can be far-reaching for the community as well as for Lydianne.

The story line proved to be intriguing and moved quickly, with enough suspense to keep readers engaged. The characters are likeable and multidimensional yet flawed individuals, who strive to stay true to their values, their community, and their families (sort of like most of us). The children in the story are adorable and realistically portrayed. I especially liked the independently business-minded women.

Readers who seek clean and sweet novels, with no violence or sexual scenes, will find this to be an enjoyable read. The book can be read as a standalone, although it is part of a series.

22LadyoftheLodge
Modificato: Gen 18, 4:57pm

I skimmed Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork which is part of a paranormal mystery series, set at a craft fair at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. The family of the main character is hilarious, and I loved her pink and white truck and her little vintage travel trailer, as well as her little chihuahua, Van (Vincent Van Gogh). The story also features spirits that pop out of paintings, and art theft, which made it intriguing in theory.

However, the sleuthing part of the book was so outrageous that I skipped a lot of the book and got to the last chapter to see how it all wrapped up. I mean really, who goes towards a scene when everyone else is running away in the opposite direction? And how did the main character/amateur sleuth/artist look at the body and immediately decide it was a homicide, knowing nothing about the situation, and immediately decide to investigate before the police arrive? Where were the security guards and docents at the Biltmore, which is where the crime occurred? This was all within the first pages. Too bad, as it sounded like a fun read. I just could not suspend enough of my logical brain to get past these questions.

23LadyoftheLodge
Gen 20, 2:32pm

What the Heart Wants
This Amish fiction novel tells the story of two sisters who are newly settled during the early days of Amish in America. Hilda and Christina could not be more different from each other. Hilda is the sensible one, Christina the dreamy one. After meeting two brothers who are newcomers to the settlement, Christina is attracted to Johan, but feels unable to leave her sister alone. She then commences to match Hilda with widower Wilhelm and his boisterous young sons. The comedy of manners presents a humorous and touching read. Those who enjoy a clean romantic read, without strong language or graphic violence or sexual situations, will find this historical novel to their liking. Although part of a series, it can be read as a standalone.

24LadyoftheLodge
Gen 20, 2:51pm

First Class Murder by Robin Stevens was recommended by middle schoolers. This is part of a series set in the 1900's featuring two 13-year-old girls (Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells) who form the Detective Society and solve crimes. They attend a boarding school in England, but end up traveling to various locales. In this novel, the author recreates the ideas and scenes from Murder on the Orient Express by Dame Agatha, as the girls head towards Istanbul with Hazel's dad. The similarities are quite striking, and the author explains in the endnotes how she came to write this novel and even took a trip on the Orient Express so she could make the novel authentic. I liked how the girls outwitted the adults, and even found a boy (of the Junior Pinkertons) who teamed up with them in their detecting. Themes include dealing with diverse people and prejudices, as well as using one's skills and experiences to solve problems, no matter one's age or background. I look forward to reading more of the books in the series.

25LadyoftheLodge
Gen 21, 1:04pm

The Lost Manuscript is a novel written in the form of a series of letters. These are exchanged among a group of people who are tied together by a manuscript, which was lost many years ago and has resurfaced. The finder of the manuscript writes to the original author, and then commences on a journey to trace the path of the manuscript, from its origin to present day. In the process, lives are affected and connected in many ways.

Once the reader gets to know the people in the novel, he or she will begin to understand the meaning of the letters. The connections among the different writers will become clear. Readers are encouraged to hang in there to consider how the manuscript has affected and changed lives.

26LadyoftheLodge
Gen 21, 1:29pm

I read a picture book sent to me as a gift by my sister. Substitute Creacher by Chris Gall is a sort of object lesson for kids who misbehave in school. Their regular teacher takes time off and the substitute turns out to be a green creature with one big eye in front (many in back of his head, like all good teachers) and he has many appendages. He shares with the naughty class stories of kids who misbehaved in class and what happened to them! The ending has quite a twist!! I loved this book!

27LadyoftheLodge
Modificato: Gen 25, 11:28am

The Elephant's Girl combines elements of family relationships, nature, and magical realism to create a story about an adolescent girl's search for her family roots. Lexington has grown up living at a zoo with her guardian who works there as the train engineer. She arrived at the zoo following a tornado, and has never been able to find her parents. With the help of her friends (human and nonhuman), Lexington finds clues to her heritage. Elephants and how they communicate with other living things play an important role in this book.

The characters are realistic and likeable. The plot moves along quickly and contains enough excitement, magic, and mystery, as well as animal love, to satisfy middle grade students. As an adult, I loved this book and learned a lot about elephants and zoos.

28LadyoftheLodge
Modificato: Gen 25, 11:28am

Stillmeadow Album includes black and white photos and narrative that tell about the house and surroundings at Stillmeadow, home of Gladys Taber. I love reading the books by this author that describe her life through the seasons at Stillmeadow. I have been reading her books for years, and am fortunate to have acquired most of them. Although Mrs. Taber has passed away, I still enjoy her books. They are part of my comfort reading. After her passing, Mrs. Taber's daughter compiled some of her writing into an anthology The Best of Stillmeadow but unfortunately she edited out some of the writing for political correctness, which changes the flavor somewhat. While I am not in favor of offending others, I think books need to be considered within the timeframe in which they were written.

29LadyoftheLodge
Modificato: Gen 28, 11:41am

A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking is absolutely hilarious. Just picture mean sourdough starter used as a weapon against invading mercenaries, 14-foot tall soldier men made of bread dough, and vicious gingerbread boys wreaking havoc amongst the enemy. Oh right, this is all being engineered by a 14-year-old magicker named Mona, who happens to be an excellent baker and that is where her magic exists. Picture dancing gingerbread men and wicked government officials. I laughed out loud! I love this book, which is obviously intended for a middle school audience, including enough silliness, scariness, and gross-outs to satisfy any boy or girl reader, not to mention kids outsmarting adults and helping defend the kingdom at the request of the ruling Duchess.

30NanaCC
Gen 27, 6:55pm

Hi Cheryl. I’m just catching up on some threads. I’m way behind. I see D. E. Stevenson mentioned. I’ve loved every book of hers that I’ve read. She’s great when you need a lift in spirit.

31LadyoftheLodge
Modificato: Gen 28, 11:53am

The Last Garden in England tells the stories of three women whose lives are connected by a garden in England. Each woman lives during a different time period, ranging from the early 1900's to present day. The novel skips from one woman to another, backwards and forwards in time. Readers learn of the life circumstances, secrets, and life events of each character, how the women were influenced by these, and finally of the ties that connect them over time.

Author notes inform readers of how the book came to be written. Information about gardening is subtly woven into the story. Readers who enjoy historical fiction and unique settings with a focus on strong, independent women will find this novel intriguing. This book contains no graphic violence, intimacy, or strong language. However, I do not "get" the title, as it is not really the last garden in England.

32LadyoftheLodge
Gen 28, 11:40am

>30 NanaCC: Hi there, good to see you here. It had been years since I read D.E. Stevenson, so it was a joy to get back to her and to see so many of her works in e-book format in relatively inexpensive editions.

33LadyoftheLodge
Gen 30, 12:26pm

I just finished Dear Teacher by Jack Sheffield. This novel is set in 1979-1980 school year. It is a fun read about a headmaster of a small village school. The inhabitants of the village are real "characters" and provide ample good humor, as well as motivating the reader to go on to other books in the series. The anecdotes about school kids read more like sight-gags or jokes than true happenings though. I like Miss Read a lot better, as I think her work focuses more on the classroom happenings, while Jack focuses more on his own life as headmaster and his romantic struggles with two sisters. However, I will read others in the series since I own them.

34LadyoftheLodge
Gen 31, 3:58pm

I read The Mystery of the Fire Dragon by Carolyn Keene, which is a Nancy Drew mystery. I suppose parts of it are outdated now, in terms of how to refer to people, and also would not be politically correct for some people. It also stretches my imagination to read about how the "young sleuth" gets involved with international intrigue without any government involvement, and how she works with the police to solve crimes and break up a smuggling ring. The parts about flying were also interesting, since no one had to go through security, and they just showed their "tickets" to the flight attendants (stewardesses) when they boarded. (I kept wondering where they were getting the money to just fly off to Hong Kong, and why they were not in school?) I loved these books when I was a kid. They are just fun to read as an adult too, suspending disbelief to a large extent.

I am currently reading Manhunt by Janet Evanovich, which is a sort of silly romantic comedy novel. Before writing the Stephanie Plum novels, she wrote a series of romance novels for Loveswept. I almost put it down after the first pages that told me how gorgeous the heroine is and how luscious the hero looks, but once I got past that, it may be do-able. I am about 70 pages into it now, hanging in there for the humor.

35LadyoftheLodge
Feb 2, 7:23pm

I just finished How to Raise an Elephant by Alexander McCall Smith, part of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series. I like the series (I have read all the books in this series) and the characters, but this is not one of his best, as I see it. Very light on mystery, heavy on philosophical meanderings about human nature and also "rabbit trails" of conversation.

36LadyoftheLodge
Feb 3, 1:42pm

The Crown In Crisis presents a well-researched, readable work about the abdication of King Edward VIII from the throne of England, in order to continue his association with the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. The author includes historical content to further explain the political and world situations that were occurring at the time. Part drama and part history, the book will provide an intriguing read for those interested in history and the royal family.

37LadyoftheLodge
Feb 4, 1:55pm

Manhunt by Janet Evanovich, a cute romantic comedy, and a fast read. She apparently wrote these romances before the Stephanie Plum books. I was drawn to the setting of Alaska, having been there, which was why I picked up the book. The idea of Alexandra giving up her corporate lifestyle and moving to Alaska seemed unrealistic though, especially moving to a cabin sight unseen. I thought Alex was a total klutz a lot of the time, and I got tired of the "push me--pull you" aspects of her relationship with Casey, her neighbor. Predictable storyline, sort of annoying, but humorous for a cold winter day with lots of coffee.

38LadyoftheLodge
Feb 6, 8:32pm

The Vatican Cameos was a Sherlock Holmes adventure/pastiche novel. The chapters alternated between the year 1901 (Holmes and Watson) and the year 1501 (Michaelangelo). The idea of the cameos was unique and intriguing, with its focus on the alternate egos of virtue and vice that war within human beings. Parts of it were rather shocking (the scenes from the Ball). I liked the Michaelangelo part better than the Holmes part. Some of the history of the papacy was difficult to follow. However, the main problem for me was the many typos--it just needed a final editing.

39LadyoftheLodge
Feb 6, 8:47pm

I got my covid vaccine first dose on Thursday. Other than waking up in the night with a very sore arm, I have had no side effects so far. Second dose March 1.

40dianeham
Feb 9, 5:58pm

Got a notice about this book in email and thought of you.


A Simple Murder
Linda Castillo
Release Date: February 9th, 2021
A New York Times bestselling “master of the genre” (People) delivers six fascinating stories: As murder creeps into Amish country, police chief Kate Burkholder and her partner, John Tomasetti, must contend with lies, deceit, and betrayal as they investigate brutal crimes...

41LadyoftheLodge
Feb 10, 3:24pm

>40 dianeham: Ohh, thanks! I will check it out. Thank you for thinking of me.

42LadyoftheLodge
Feb 10, 5:03pm

Dear Miss Kopp continues the adventures of the Kopp sisters. In this book, they take on different roles during World War 1. The book is written in epistolary form, alternating among the letters written by the sisters to each other and to various individuals with whom they work or are otherwise acquainted.

The Kopp sisters definitely had different personalities, which were displayed in each sister's unique writing style and activity. While excessive detail bogged down the storyline at some points, the novel moved along well for the most part. The action created suspense and drama that helped move the story forward. The historical aspects of the story also added interest and substance to the novel.I especially liked the author notes at the end which detailed the background for the novel.

It took me awhile to get used to the constant changing between the writers of the letters. This might prove frustrating for other readers like me, who had not read the previous novels in this series. However, the interest generated by this novel might encourage readers to go back and read other stories in this series.

43LadyoftheLodge
Feb 13, 2:57pm

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree is the second I have read in this series. I have read other books by Susan Wittig Albert in the Beatrix Potter series and the China Bayles mysteries. The book is set in the 1930's and involves several different mysteries that the Dahlias garden club women take on. These include the death of the cosmetics sales girl Bunny, embezzlement at the local Bank and Trust, an escaped convict, possible infidelity, an inheritance, and a ghost! The mysteries turn out to be interwoven with each other, and all the loose ends are tied up neatly at the end. This one seemed a bit slow to start, but I ended up enjoying it immensely. Some critics have stated that it romanticizes Depression heartaches and hardships, but I thought the ladies dealt with the mysteries in admirable fashion.

44LadyoftheLodge
Feb 14, 1:17pm

A Perfect Amish Romance features a bookmobile librarian as a matchmaker. Sarah Miller meets and influences many people as she drives the bookmobile to many community locations. Sarah gets to know the entire Coblenz family and finds many benefits and friendships beyond matching people with books. When she connects Aaron Coblenz with his GED tutor Kayla, Sarah never expects the two to form a relationship beyond studying together. Readers also learn of Kayla's family struggles, and of her courage and determination. Meanwhile, Aaron's sister Tiny explores the changes occurring in her friendship with childhood friend and neighbor Joel. Another theme in the story is the role of gossip and how it can destroy the good names of those within the community, particularly when conversations are based on false impressions and jealousy. The meaning of a "perfect romance" is also addressed.

This is a clean romance novel about Amish people, without overt violence, strong language, or graphic intimacy. The loose ends remaining at the close of the book will draw readers into the next novel in the Berlin Bookmobile series.

45LadyoftheLodge
Feb 18, 3:46pm

I just finished Sherlock Holmes and the Thistle of Scotland which is actually a book that was published in 1990! Makes me wonder how long it has been on my shelf . . .. It is a pastiche novel in which Holmes and Watson are involved in locating a missing amethyst. I sort of guessed what had occurred, but not all the details, and there were some surprises and some clues that had nothing to do with the final outcome. I liked it!!

I am now reading A Year Like No Other by Pauline Lawless which is a book that showed up as a "You might also like..." on Amazon with the daily deals. This is a new author for me, and I started out by downloading a sample, and then got hooked on the story of four very different women who spend a year in Paris as part of a bank project, in one way or another. There were some bad reviews, but some very good ones too, and that made me determined to pop for the low price of $2.98 to find out if the book was really that bad/good/indifferent.

46LadyoftheLodge
Feb 21, 8:04pm

A Year Like No Other turned out to be just as bad as the reviews stated. Too bad the premise was a good one, that failed due to the characterizations. The characters were not at all likeable, and there was very little about living in France after the first 45% of the book. All the characters seemed to be interested in was jumping into bed with the spouses of their friends, drinking, and criticizing others. Of course, the women were all gorgeous (or became so through make overs) and the guys were all handsome. The two female characters who seemed like regular people got made over into beauties. All the women were pregnant and happy at the end of the book. The Americans were portrayed as despicable drug-addicted social climbers, which I really resented. This one got returned to Amazon, thankfully. Don't be fooled by the interesting lead-ins if you are thinking about this book.

47LadyoftheLodge
Feb 25, 12:13pm

Readers who are looking for a combination of history, mystery, suspense, and romance will find it all in The Thief of Blackfriars Lane. Constable Jackson Forge finds himself in hot water with his superior after a series of mishaps. When he vows to find a missing person, Jackson does not expect to become involved with the underworld of thieves in London. Assisted by Kit Turner, one of the occupants of Blackfriars Lane, Jackson embarks upon adventures that take him from ballrooms to the docks on the Thames, as well as through underground passageways and pawnshops, right to the very door of the Lord Mayor of London.

I learned a great deal about the underworld of London by reading this historical novel. It reminded me of a Dickens novel, with its unique characters and settings. The Christian message is present although not preachy, and serves to guide the characters in their interactions with others. The novel contains adventure, without resorting to strong language, graphic gore, and sexual situations. Readers should be prepared for a surprise ending! End notes and bibliography provide additional information regarding the constabulary, criminal underworld, and geography of London. Highly recommended.

48LadyoftheLodge
Feb 27, 1:18pm

I just finished Killer Keys by Mildred Abbott, which is part of a cozy mystery series about a bookshop owner/sleuth. The characters are hilarious and quirky. This is number 10 in the series, although I read the books out of order, so this was a catch up. I don't consider this one of the best in the series though. There were too many loose ends that did not add up and many of my fave characters were barely mentioned in the story. The romantic scenes between the main character and her new beau were just too drawn out, although not sexually descriptive or steamy. "Just get on with the mystery."

49LadyoftheLodge
Mar 1, 2:52pm

An Amish Homecoming highlights the differences between the Amish culture and mainstream "Englisch" life. When Essie's three teenage cousins come to stay, her life is turned upside down as she tries to help them get used to living in a typical and busy Amish household. At the same time, Essie and her boyfriend Harlan face difficulties as they try to plan their future together.

This is definitely your typical Amish romance novel! The mix of two cultures added an interesting twist, whilst also describing situations from different viewpoints of the well-drawn, likeable, and fascinating characters. Personality differences are highlighted, while values and morals drive the behavior of the characters. Each character changes and experiences growth within the story. The Christian message forms an integral part of this novel, which contains no graphic language, violence, or sexual situations. Themes include personal change, the importance of family,and coping with difficult situations. I look forward to reading more novels in this series, and hints of things to come were provided, so readers have something to look forward to in future novels. Highly recommended.

50LadyoftheLodge
Mar 4, 3:48pm

An Extravagant Death by Charles Finch
Fans of the historical mysteries about detective Charles Lenox will not be disappointed by this latest entry in the series. Charles arrives in the United States of America with the intention of learning more about detection techniques and meeting some interesting and famous people. However, soon upon his arrival, Charles is called upon to assist in solving the mystery of a young woman's death. In the process, Charles becomes involved with Newport, Rhode Island and its wealthy inhabitants. He also acquires an assistant! However, things are not as they seem, and Charles finds himself in imminent danger amidst the wealthy and powerful in Newport society.

Those readers familiar with the series will enjoy the ways in which the characters have moved on with their lives, as well as this foray into American society. While some parts of the novel seemed to move slowly, the run up to the finale makes up for the slower parts of the novel. Although I read many mystery novels, this one certainly got the better of me! Many plot twists and turns will keep even the best armchair detectives puzzling this one out along with Charles Lenox. Returning to this series was like meeting up with old friends. Highly recommended.

51LadyoftheLodge
Mar 8, 12:05pm

Just completed A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie. The cover has nothing to do with the novel--there is no cruise ship involved, which was disappointing. Miss Marple is staying at a resort hotel in the West Indies and becomes involved in solving several crimes while she is there. I especially liked her interactions and partnership with the elderly Mr. Rafiel. There were a few twists at the end, as usual.

52LadyoftheLodge
Mar 15, 3:18pm

I just realized how long it has been since I checked in. Too much going on lately! I finished The Robin's Greeting and An Amish Surprise and I am currently reading Amish Midwives which is a collection of three stories.

53LadyoftheLodge
Mar 17, 2:18pm

Rhapsody by Mitchell James Kaplan
Readers who enjoy historical fiction with an interesting twist will be intrigued by this story of music and love. Set in the Jazz Age New York City, the book explores the brilliant yet doomed relationship between Kay Swift and George Gershwin. Although readers and music lovers no doubt have heard about George Gershwin, they may not be acquainted with Kay Swift, his lover and fellow musician. This book reveals an intriguing look at their troubled lives.

I received this book from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

54LadyoftheLodge
Mar 17, 2:30pm

The Robin's Greeting is the third book in the Amish Greenhouse Mystery series. In this novel, Belinda's daughters have married, and she and her son now run the greenhouse. In addition, two suitors vie for Belinda's attention, each of them different and attractive in their own way. How will she choose between them? Belinda must also contend with her son's discontent with her beginning to date. She must also come to terms with her Englischer neighbors, as well as the ongoing vandalism to the greenhouse. There are a few surprises in store at the ending of the story.

Readers who have read the previous two books in the series will find familiar characters in this one, although it can be read as a stand-alone novel. Characters from the "Healing Jars" series also make an appearance to connect the two series. The settings and characters in this clean and sweet novel are realistic. The Christian message is overt but not preachy.

55LadyoftheLodge
Mar 17, 2:49pm

An Amish Surprise contains several surprises for readers who enjoy Amish fiction. This is the second book in the Berlin Bookmobile series. Sarah Anne Miller serves as the bookmobile librarian, giving her an opportunity to meet and interact with many different people. Some of her bookmobile clients are Amish, including a family with a bunch of foster children, as well as a childless couple who long for children of their own.

When Calvin Gingerich meets 10-year-old Miles, who is currently a foster child, it seems like a match made in heaven. However, Calvin is uncertain how to introduce Miles to his wife Miriam, since she is not open to adoption.

Sarah Anne makes friends with Pete, a visitor to the bookmobile, and their friendship soon turns into something much more meaningful. When Pete encounters some health difficulties, Sarah Anne and Pete need to make some decisions about their future happiness.

Readers of the series will enjoy reconnecting with characters from Book 1, although this novel can be read as a stand-alone. The characters are likeable and realistic, and their problems and challenges will touch the hearts of readers. This is a clean and sweet novel, with a clear Christian message.

56LadyoftheLodge
Mar 17, 3:16pm

Amish Midwives features three stories about different midwives, just as the title implies. Each story presents a unique perspective on Amish women who dedicate their lives to bringing babies into the world. Whether dealing with past hurts, recent tragedies, or unexpected deliveries, the midwives approach their work in partnership with the new mothers and with God. The Christian message is overt but woven into the story in a delicate and thoughtful manner. Readers will sympathize with the midwives as well as with the new mothers, and gain an appreciation and understanding of the important role played by midwives in the Amish community.

57LadyoftheLodge
Modificato: Mar 20, 3:35pm

I finished Wretched Wool in the Cozy Corgi series of mysteries by Mildred Abbott. I have enjoyed the series for the most part, but this one seemed to go off the rails. I felt as if I had been dropped into the middle of a story that was already going on, sort of like walking into the theater having missed Act One of the play! The characters are not even likeable in this installment, and the main character Winifred seems more focused on investigating her dad's murder and trying to crack a crime syndicate than on running her bookstore. This one does not work as a standalone, because the author makes no attempt to backfill so readers know anything about the characters. I was even scratching my head trying to figure out who some of them were.This is not the author's best effort.

58LadyoftheLodge
Mar 21, 3:07pm

The Little French Bridal Shop
This book describes the dilemma of a woman caught at a crossroads in her life, and also caught up in her own web of lies. The most meaningful yet sad part of this book was how the main character dealt with her mom's dementia.

59LadyoftheLodge
Mar 28, 5:31pm

I am still here. We are planning to move from our current home to a smaller one in a few months. Ergo, I must heavily weed my library! Gasp!! A manager of a small independent bookstore came over last week to view my collection. He will arrive later in April with his crew to remove the books I am willing to give up, as well as any bookshelves, bookends, etc. It has been fun to work through my library holdings and decide those I want to keep and those with which I can part. (How many biographies of Queen Elizabeth do I need?) I am also very tired!

60AlisonY
Mar 28, 5:45pm

Gosh - difficult decisions ahead! That would take me forever.

61LadyoftheLodge
Mar 29, 9:18pm

An Unexpected Amish Proposal tells the story of people who sell their goods at a market. When the rent prices rise astronomically, the lives of the people are affected in many ways. Fern and Gideon both run food stalls, and they find a way to work together and to help others who are facing ruin due to the rent increase. They also find their long-time friendship has become a romantic relationship, but many obstacles stand in their way.

The characters are interesting and realistic, and deal with problems common to most people: job loss, income reduction, judgmental attitudes, family squabbles, and guilt over past events. The story never failed to hold my interest. Enough detail was provided to allow readers to use their imagination to picture the market and the people who work there. Surprising twists wrapped up the story and lead into the next novel in the series.

This is a sweet romance, with a clear Christian message. I received this novel from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

62LadyoftheLodge
Apr 6, 11:02am

I am still here! Trying to weed and pack my home library for storage until our new home is ready.

63LadyoftheLodge
Apr 9, 11:43am

Most of my home library is now weeded and packed in boxes in the storage unit. It has been a heart rending experience. I hope I can find room for the keepers in my new home which will have shelves too.

64gsm235
Apr 11, 7:00pm

>63 LadyoftheLodge: I’m feeling your angst. In July or August I’ll be making a cross country move from Washington state to Virginia. The new home will have a huge walk out basement so there will be space for bookshelves. Packing up the books and shipping them 2300 miles is a different problem. I’m getting rid of a lot of old mass market paperbacks of titles easily available, but it is hard to select them for removal.

65LadyoftheLodge
Apr 13, 9:06pm

The Jam and Jelly Nook completes the series of four books that tell the stories of marketplace vendors. In this final installment, Joanna and Emory meet in an unlikely setting. They bond when discussing concerns with their teen children and their difficulties as single parents. Joanna runs the Jam and Jelly Nook at the Amish Marketplace and she agrees to help with Emory's withdrawn daughter Maggie. Emory works in a family business building sheds, and agrees to employ Joanna's son Chester. Joanna and Emory draw ever closer to one another, yet fear to share their true feelings out of respect for their children's struggles. When family situations and romantic missteps threaten their relationship, both Joanna and Emory must decide what to do about their true feelings for each other.

This character-driven novel, demonstrates the difficult choices parents must sometimes make on behalf of their children. The story also shows how families can influence the decisions of the family members, sometimes to their detriment. The novel is a clean read, with no overt sexual situations and no strong language. The Christian message is clear but not preachy. Readers of the previous novels in the series will enjoy reuniting with old friends, although the book can be read as a stand-alone.

66LadyoftheLodge
Apr 13, 9:09pm

>64 gsm235: I also got rid of some mass market paperbacks, plus a lot of science and nature books that I used when I was teaching middle school. I have to stop myself from going back to my stacks and grabbing books to take to my new home. I will be glad when the bookmen arrive to take them away.

We have also been clearing out many years of accumulated stuff. My friend came over yesterday to help me clear out the kitchen goods and other items. She will include them in a huge yard sale over Memorial Day weekend. I never realized I had so much stuff. Next up is clearing out a small home office and my huge clothes closet.

67NanaCC
Apr 13, 10:09pm

I feel your pain with the move. We packed up a three floor, three bedroom townhouse in New Jersey last year, and moved to a one bedroom condo in Massachusetts. I have bookshelves in the living room, bedroom, and den, but had to get rid of a lot to make it work. Plus clearing out 30 years of accumulated “stuff”. It isn’t easy.

68jjmcgaffey
Apr 14, 1:19am

"Three moves equals one fire" is a saying I've repeated often over my life (of moving every 3-4 years, because of my parents' work).

69rhian_of_oz
Apr 16, 10:58am

I have no plans to move but am still slowly (very slowly) unaccumulating (yes I know this is apparently not a word) stuff via my local Buy Nothing group. Which is very satisfying. But books are not included in the things I am prepared to part with. Heart rending indeed.

70LadyoftheLodge
Apr 19, 7:31pm

Thanks for all the encouragement. I managed to get through the small home office in a few hours--six black garbage bags to discard, and seven boxes of papers that went to recycling at a local elementary school.

I will next tackle the huge closet. The local drama department will take my hat collection as well as a box of playbooks that belonged to my deceased husband--they were lurking in a hidden spot!

Today we took several boxes of papers to the office store for shredding, rather than burning up our home shredder. More paper to recycling, and boxes (probably full of junk) to the storage unit.

We have now had six sets of potential buyers walk through our home, but no written offers yet. Still waiting for the book guy to come back from his trip so they can come get the rest of my books that I am parting with. They need to do it soon, since I keep prowling the shelves and retrieving books to keep.

71LadyoftheLodge
Apr 21, 5:28pm

Fatal Fried Rice
My favorite part of this novel is the characters! They were so humorous and quirky, they made me laugh out loud. Lana Lee manages her parents' Asian restaurant, but lacks cooking skills. She signs up for a cooking class at a local college, but her plan is thwarted when she discovers the instructor's dead body in the classroom. Lana begins her own investigation to help clear her own name. She involves her friends and her roommate to help out, becoming embroiled in one after another dangerous situation. I enjoyed the descriptions of the different shops in the Asia Village. They were detailed enough for me to visualize, but not to the point of boredom.

Readers who like quirky characters and families with a fun and easy to read plot will enjoy this novel. It contains no swear words, adult intimacy situations, or gory details. This is the first novel by this author that I have read, but I will seek out others as well.

72LadyoftheLodge
Modificato: Apr 27, 4:38pm

I just finished Midwinter Murder and I am still reading The Amish Cowboy's Homecoming.

I also took on a new little project, which involves helping one of my colleagues with his dissertation research. I was randomly selected as a participant in a focus group that involves weekly online asynchronous chat for 10 weeks. I probably will be kicking myself for adding one more thing to my list of "to-dos," but I recall the difficulty of getting research subjects when I was doing my dissertation. I thought I should help out a colleague, so there it is.

Re our house--it has been 20 days on the market, not sold yet, so our agent suggested we reduce the asking price a bit. My husband and I were already thinking that, so we agreed and hopefully will get some more interest. We have had nine parties to tour our home, and a few snarky remarks, but hoping for better results soon.

Our new home is under construction, interior walls being knocked out and redone at this time. Good to know the work is progressing.

We are still working hard at clearing out our years of stuff. Today we boxed up my husband's collection of historical non-fiction and took it to the storage unit, also at the mercy of the bookmen and local thrift shop to come and pick up lots of stuff. Everything seems out of my control right now.

73LadyoftheLodge
Apr 29, 9:51pm

The Amish Cowboy's Homecoming focuses on two horse trainers who work together to train a magnificent yet undisciplined horse. Their work forms a bond between them, but also can drive a wedge between them. Grace and Isaac each stand to gain from successfully training "Cincinnati," but a lot is riding on the final outcome. For Grace, the funds would be used to obtain much-needed surgery for her mom. For Isaac, the funds would ensure a secure future and home for his little daughter. Who will emerge the victor?

Readers who enjoy a sweet romance, without descriptive adult situations, violence, or strong language, will find this novel interesting and intriguing. Themes include gender stereotypes, loss of a spouse, unrealized dreams, and family complications. Each character is described in detail, and readers will feel as if they have come to know them well as family members. Readers will also learn a lot about horse training!

74LadyoftheLodge
Maggio 4, 3:29pm

Our house sold on May 1! The buyers came through on April 30 and spent a lot of time here, wanting to talk to us and look at every room of the house and all the outside. They are the right fit for the place and we are happy for them and for us too. They gave us 60 days after closing on May 26, so that matches well with the date that our new place will be ready.

We visited our new place yesterday. The inside is really bare, but the rooms have been reconfigured and plumbing is going in next.

75Yells
Modificato: Maggio 4, 4:49pm

Congrats! Is it a common thing to meet the prospective buyers where you are? I ask because it's rare here in Ontario. Realtors seem to go out of their way to keep both parties apart. Twenty years ago I was selling a house and because of extenuating circumstances, we ended up inviting the buyer in for coffee while we all signed the final papers. I found it to be a wonderful way to sell a house. I learned that she was re-locating from another province for work so I left her a folder filled with information about local restaurants, maps etc.

I hope everything goes smoothly for you :)

76LadyoftheLodge
Maggio 8, 8:41pm

>75 Yells: Thanks for your comments. I do not think the realtors really want the parties to meet. They do everything possible to keep them apart. We were sitting outside in our car when the potential buyers and their agent arrived. Their agent came to us and asked us to come to the house and meet his clients and answer any questions they might have.

I can see both sides of the issue though. If the buyers and sellers become too friendly, it might be difficult to drive home a sale at the desired selling price. Sometimes I think we were "too nice" and gave up too soon for a lower selling price. We will see what happens.

77LadyoftheLodge
Maggio 10, 7:47pm

Yikes, I am starting to feel book withdrawal symptoms. I have packed up all the books I am keeping and they are now in the climate-controlled storage unit that costs me twice as much per month as the regular "outdoor" storage units. The books still on the shelves will be whisked away next week by the used book estate buying guys from a local indie bookstore. (I try to avoid prowling among them and "rescuing" books.) I still have my ebooks but that is not the same as having a book in hand. It will be fun to bring them out of storage in a few months and enjoy placing them on my new shelves at the new house. However, I am an impatient person.

78LadyoftheLodge
Maggio 11, 9:05pm

Today I am feeling very discouraged. The two online classes I am teaching ended yesterday and I am in the midst of grading the final week of papers. Now one of my students (who has turned in assignments and discussions late every week) has raised a temper tantrum and gone to his advisor because I followed the university policy for late work--10% penalty per day, so he received 20% penalty for a paper two days late. He claims his computer time stamp differed from the learning platform time stamp I must use when assessing student work. His advisor contacted me and directed me to change the grade to a 10% late penalty.
Since when do professors take directives from academic advisors? Where is the tough love for the student in asking why he repeatedly turned in late work? Why is the student always in the right and the prof has to be the one to make allowances? Why do we even have policies if they are not followed?
Thanks for permitting this rant. I know I am among friends. This is one of those times when I am ready to chuck the whole thing and quit teaching altogether.

79LadyoftheLodge
Maggio 13, 9:22pm

Sweetshop of Dreams
When Rosie is tasked with helping her elderly aunt clean out and sell the family sweetshop, little does Rosie suspect the twists and turns her life will take. Village life turns out to be very different from London life! As Rosie gets to know the local people, she finds many surprises, and discovers a lot about herself besides. The plot of this novel occurs in two different time periods, moving seamlessly between past and present. Readers learn about Aunt Lilian's past life and its effects on current events and village life. Loose ends are thoughtfully tied up in the end, sometimes in unexpected ways!

The novel contains some strong language, although it does not detract from the plot or the character development.

80LadyoftheLodge
Maggio 24, 8:58pm

I am still reading Big Dreams for the West End Girls which is about young women during World War II. It is part of a series, and I did not read the others in the series. A lot of it seemed confusing, sort of like walking into a play after the intermission, having missed the first half. I am about 70% done.

81LadyoftheLodge
Maggio 31, 8:49pm

Big Dreams for the West End Girls recounts the life events of a group of friends during World War II. Joyce carries on managing a local restaurant after her partner Simon joins the war effort. She is challenged by his younger sister who works alongside her, and suffers remorse at having rejected Simon's proposal of marriage. Joyce also finds herself in the unexpected circumstance of taking care of a small boy! Her friends Rose and Allie work in a local theater, and must deal with surly colleagues and missed chances. The story flows along, featuring each character's viewpoints. This is a clean novel without strong language or explicit sexual situations, featuring sweet romance and likeable but flawed characters. Readers will appreciate the twists and surprises that occur in the story line. My only complaint is the cliff-hanger ending!

82LadyoftheLodge
Giu 2, 8:26pm

Margreete's Harbor
This novel tells the story of a family over a 10 year span of time. Originally Liddie and Harry take up residence with Liddie's mom, Margreete, when she can no longer live on her own and take care of herself. The story evolves into a family timeline told from the viewpoints of each family member. The timeline takes the family through many crises and events, but they come through them all and become somewhat wiser for it, as is true for many of us.

The novel was just okay, and seemed boring in parts. I disliked the way in which Margreete just became a minor character, sidelined by the events buffeting the family.

83dchaikin
Giu 8, 1:52pm

Stopping by for a deep catch up. Congrats on selling your house and good luck on your move. The book keep/discard decision sounds really difficult. (This makes me think more about my own books and what i want to keep when i have to figure that out.)

84LadyoftheLodge
Giu 9, 8:23pm

>83 dchaikin: Thanks, so good to hear from you. Things with the house sale have been difficult, but we are still excited to move to our new smaller abode. We visited yesterday for a progress check and it is slow but at least work goes on apace.

Re. my books: they have gone to a good home (donated to Hoosier Hills book sale and friends of the library, as well as being sold in the indie shop), presumably, and of course books have already asserted themselves in my life. I already have a book box of items I acquired in the last few weeks. Some are duplicates of those I handed off and then regretted. A few others are (used) acquisitions and then there is at least one that I cannot recall if I kept it or handed it off, so I bought another copy. Here are some of the recent acquisitions:

Priscilla and Aquilla
Luncheon of the Boating Party
The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth
The Overachievers

These are the paper copies. I also acquired quite a few in digital form. Guess I am incurable when it comes to books, as I have been all my life. The rest of my library (the ones I kept) are languishing in one of the storage units we rented until our new home is ready to move into.

85LadyoftheLodge
Giu 12, 8:34pm

Currently finishing Lemon Drop Dead which is a cozy mystery. I need to catch up to my reading challenges and get to the Golden Age mystery and the Retelling categories for the Category Challenge group!

86LadyoftheLodge
Giu 14, 3:39pm

Lemon Drop Dead continues the series about the Amish candy shop, although it can be read as a standalone novel. This cozy mystery features Bailey, a candy maker who assists with her family's Amish candy shop, although Bailey is not Amish. In this installment, Bailey works to solve the mysterious death of a woman who is connected in some way to Bailey's friend Emily. The story involves Amish horse-racing, a deaf Amish child, and a huge Amish hardware store! These surprising elements add new twists to the Amish Swissman Sweets series. Readers of the series will enjoy connecting with old friends from the previous novels (including Jethro the pig!) and meeting some new characters as well. Newcomers to the series will also enjoy the fun of getting to know Bailey's backstory and the characters who populate the town. Although loose ends are tied up satisfactorily, the author leaves readers with some new happenings to keep the series alive. This is a clean novel, without strong language, graphic sexual scenes, or overt violence.

87LadyoftheLodge
Giu 29, 4:56pm

Our kitties made the trip to the apartment with a little bit of adventure! One of them who rode with my husband in his car moaned pitifully most of the way here. Two of them rode with me, and our magical cat managed to let himself out of the carrier by manipulating the zippers. He pranced over the arm rest and into my lap as we were driving over the bridge into Kentucky! He was quite the little rider and enjoyed being held in a death grip while purring as the sun shone onto his head and he observed all the cars rushing past. They are loving the apartment, since it is so small and mostly carpeted, plus they get to sleep on the bed with us. Lots of cool hiding places too.

I am currently reading Belle: An Amish Retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I hope to have more time for reading now that we are moved out of the house and into the apartment. July should be a time of respite until our new place is ready at the end of summer.

88rhian_of_oz
Giu 30, 11:12am

>87 LadyoftheLodge: I didn't realise you were needing to move twice! I hope you enjoy the lull and read lots of good books.

89LadyoftheLodge
Lug 1, 2:34pm

>88 rhian_of_oz: Well, we were only supposed to move once. When we accepted the offer on our house, the buyers were allowing us to stay until our new house was ready. However, once we accepted the offer, they came up with amendments and changes, including us having to get out a month earlier, hence moving twice. Grrr!

90LadyoftheLodge
Modificato: Lug 1, 2:38pm

I finished reading They Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie and Belle: An Amish Retelling of Beauty and the Beast by Sarah Price. Both were enjoyable reads and kept me distracted during this stressful time of life.

We visited our new house yesterday for a progress check, and things are coming along. We are still on target to move in at the beginning of August. Bathroom showers are done, vanities and kitchen cabinets are in, ceiling fans, granite countertops are in. The builders took measurements for my library shelves--yippee!--and all the appliances and fixtures were out in the garage waiting for installation. We also met our new neighbors and I was invited to join the community book club!

91LadyoftheLodge
Lug 3, 10:30am

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche
Enola joins forces with her brother Sherlock to investigate the disappearance of the twin sister of their client. The search places Enola in danger (of course!) and leads the two plus Dr. Watson into seedy asylums and dark mansions. Enola no longer runs the streets, but has grown up and now wears lady-like colorful clothing in the latest fashions (described in detail in the book--probably better when one can see them in the film version). She retains her independent and quirky character. In some ways, I felt as if this book was being written for film rather than to be read as a book, but I still enjoyed it immensely, especially the disguises and theatrics.

92LadyoftheLodge
Lug 5, 3:44pm

The Amish Secret Wish presents readers with a cross between slapstick comedy and thwarted romance. Hallie and Kiah conduct their romance as pen pals, although Kiah does not know Hallie's name. He knows her only as "the scribe" with initials GBH. When the opportunity to meet her presents itself, Kiah is determined to find and court the woman with whom he has fallen in love via letters. However, circumstances repeatedly work against them. The blessed Gott has a way of working things out for those who remain faithful, and this occurs in the course of the story. The characters reveal themselves as flawed individuals, with obstacles and hang-ups to be overcome. Although the action occurs over the course of just a few days, the roller coaster ride of emotions packs a lot into such a short time.

I sometimes felt as if the novel was written for filming, with the inclusion of quirky characters and Kiah's constant mishaps (thus my referral to slapstick comedy scenes). I also dislike the contemporary writing style that utilizes short,incomplete sentences for emphasis. However, that is a personal preference that may not present a problem for other readers. The plot became a bit tiresome as Kiah and Hallie engaged in the tug-of-war of emotions, as well as Kiah's wild goose chase for "the scribe" with Hallie's initials GBH. The Christian message is overt but not preachy.

Readers who enjoy a sweet romance with a touch of spice will find this a fun read, although it differs somewhat from traditional Amish novels. The book ends rather quickly with some surprising twists.

93SandDune
Lug 6, 7:01am

Good luck with the move! We’ve just to do a 9 hour round trip to collect my son and all his belongings from university because of a 3 day gap in accommodation contract dates. Very irritating! His friend living closer by had offered to put him up for a few days but he had no way of getting his stuff there.

94LadyoftheLodge
Lug 6, 11:42am

>93 SandDune: Thanks! My most annoying issue right now is not being able to find things that are packed up and/or in storage. Example: I usually have a travel kit of personal care items and medical items. I never unpack it, just transfer it to luggage or backpack. We are planning an overnight with my sisters, and I cannot find my travel kit. It is most likely in the storage unit. I will go there on Thursday to try to find it. Otherwise, I will have to recreate the kits.

95AnnieMod
Lug 6, 10:39pm

>94 LadyoftheLodge: Just build a new one - as soon as you do, the old one will reappear... :) Or at least this is how things seem to work around me...

96LadyoftheLodge
Modificato: Lug 11, 2:37pm

>95 AnnieMod: Taking your advice and rebuilding the make up kit! (Right-oh, as soon as I posted this message and started to make a new kit, the other two showed up in my backpack from the storage unit).

97LadyoftheLodge
Lug 11, 2:38pm

Just finished Summer at Fairacre and still reading the Oxford Tearoom Mystery.

98LadyoftheLodge
Lug 15, 2:16pm

I finished The Mousse Wonderful Time of the Year (Oxford Tearoom Mysteries) by H.Y. Hanna. This was a locked room mystery that took place in a mansion during a snowstorm. The final reveal scene was worthy of Poirot himself, very craftily done. The epilogue seemed rather pointless and silly other than to inject some slapstick humor into the story, as it described the highlights of a family Christmas celebration gone awry. It served to tie together all the characters who were introduced earlier in the story as guests at the celebration, but added nothing to the mystery aspect.

99LadyoftheLodge
Lug 15, 3:07pm

Postcards from a War shows the connection between present and past. The story is told through a series of postcards sent by a dad to his kids at home, as he serves in World War II. These postcards help a young boy cope with his mom's Air Force assignment that requires her to be absent from home. The correspondence is based on a true story. The artwork contrasts the past in sepia tones with the present in full color drawings. The story presents kids with an interesting, authentic historical take on World War II, while dealing with the emotions of being away from a parent. This is a good choice for a family to share.

100LadyoftheLodge
Lug 21, 3:58pm

Today is my birthday, and my husband drove us to Barnes and Noble where I selected whatever I wanted and he paid for the books. I selected a handful of mystery novels and also a book of Hercule Poirot short stories. Here is the bookish haul:

Cat Me If You Can
Twelve Angry Librarians
Mumbo Gumbo (set in the Big Easy, one of my fave spots)
The Murder of Twelve
Poirot Investigates

101LadyoftheLodge
Lug 21, 3:59pm

I just finished reading Debts of Dishonor by Jill Paton Walsh. The ending was quite a twist--I never saw that one coming!! Good read, will probably try to read the others in the series.

102LadyoftheLodge
Lug 24, 3:14pm

The Geometry of Holding Hands by Alexander McCall Smith
This novel continues the philosophical meanderings of Isabel Dalhousie as she attempts to use her skills to help others. Isabel contends with her niece's conniving husband, a man who wants her to serve as executor for his will, and a past jury duty participant. Along with these situations, Isabel is taking care of her husband Jamie and their two sons, as well as editing a professional journal and working at her niece's deli. All in all, Isabel has a lot on her plate!

The novel gets off to a slow start, with some obscure references to literary works. There is not a lot of action in this novel either. Long on philosophy, short on plot. Readers new to this series might find the philosophical sidebar thoughts to be confusing. I have read the other books in this series, and this one does not seem to be the best of the lot.

103LadyoftheLodge
Lug 28, 2:37pm

An Amish Barn Raising
This book contains three stories by experienced authors of Amish fiction. Barn-raisings are prominent parts of the stories, and serve as events that prompt the characters to new understandings of themselves and others. Each story contains romantic aspects as well, although the growth of the characters takes center stage in each one. Issues of pride, focus on oneself, and atonement for past unkindness provide a common theme throughout the stories. Each story is set in a different location and features a different Amish community. Readers who regularly follow these authors will enjoy reconnecting with familiar characters or families. Each story can be read as a stand-alone. The Christian message is overt but not preachy. These are clean stories with no graphic language, violence, or intimacy.

104LadyoftheLodge
Lug 28, 3:08pm


DNF Dance with Death although it is probably a good historical novel. I could not get past the graphic description of a man getting shot in the head and splatters on people etc. plus one of the main characters using a mentally ill man as a set up (same guy who got shot) and thinking nothing of it. Not my usual cup of tea.

105LadyoftheLodge
Lug 28, 3:19pm

For my LT friends following my tales of woe in house selling and moving, good news is in the offing I think. Our new house should be finished by Saturday and new furniture being delivered on Aug 6. We will go get the keys and garage door opener on Aug 5. Time to change our address to "permanent" and plan to move stuff out of storage. Keeping our fingers crossed.

106NanaCC
Lug 28, 6:44pm

>105 LadyoftheLodge: Good luck with the move. Exciting and stressful all at the same time.

107LadyoftheLodge
Lug 29, 2:12pm

Constellation of the Deep portrays the story of Fox as he sets out to find a glowing plant that he has heard of, which lives in the depths of the sea. Guided and helped by other sea creatures, Fox explores the sea but loses his camera and fails to find the glowing plant. When he locates his camera, he discovers that it has recorded a photo of the glowing "constellation of the deep."

The colored illustrations form the main attraction of this story that includes some science concepts. The scientific names of the plants that were included were difficult to pronounce, and could distract readers from the story. Finally, the story ended abruptly and seemed to lack depth, leading to a disappointing book for young readers and their families.

108LadyoftheLodge
Lug 29, 2:13pm

>106 NanaCC: Thanks! I hope it all works out and we can be in our new house by end of August. I am sure it will take time to get everything arranged the way we want and get most of the boxes moved out of storage.

109AnnieMod
Lug 29, 2:14pm

>105 LadyoftheLodge: Good luck! And have fun unpacking when it gets to that :)

110LadyoftheLodge
Lug 29, 2:21pm

>109 AnnieMod: Thanks! I am looking forward the most to unpacking my books and placing them on the shelves in the book room.

111LadyoftheLodge
Ago 2, 2:10pm

Reserved for Murder includes several different mystery threads for readers to follow. The mysteries are set at Chapters, a literary-themed bed and breakfast inn run by retired school teacher Charlotte Reed. The plot revolves around an author visit and literary events intended to market her books. The primary mystery thread involves the suspicious death of a woman who attends the special book publication events. Suspects abound, with a variety of motives. The woman apparently had several enemies!

Another mystery involves a visitor to the house next door to Chapters, who is apparently not what he seems. Charlotte has her hands full as she assists local law enforcement in surreptitiously discovering information about the suspects, while continuing to host the literary events as her inn.

For those who enjoy detailed, cozy, book-themed mysteries, this one might be a good choice. While part of a series, the book can be read as a stand alone. It contains no graphic violence, strong language, or intimacy. Readers might have their own theories, but will keep guessing until the end of the story.

112LadyoftheLodge
Ago 13, 12:49pm

I finished The 1-Hour Van Gogh Book which was surprisingly detailed and included repros of some of Van Gogh's work. I am finishing Village Diary which is one of my fave Miss Read novels.

I have been busy moving (finally!) into our beautiful new home. We are not done yet (many boxes of books still in storage) but all our furniture is in place and my lovely custom bookshelves are in the book room. Many contractors, gardeners, tech people, maintenance people have been in to help with different tasks. We hope to start staying there in a few days, once we get some clothing moved there!

113LadyoftheLodge
Ago 20, 12:21pm

I am still here! Reading Pup Fiction and trying to organize some of my books in my new home library. Hope I have enough room!

114rhian_of_oz
Ago 21, 8:14am

Are you having fun organising?

115LadyoftheLodge
Modificato: Ago 26, 6:52pm

>114 rhian_of_oz: I am having fun! I get way too engrossed in shelving my books and time slips away, when I should be doing something else. I keep thinking, "I will just take a peek into this one box here, and then I will (fill in the blank--clean the house, grade student work, take a shower, etc.)" My husband just leaves me alone, which is good!

116LadyoftheLodge
Ago 27, 2:00pm

Pup Fiction by Laurien Berenson
Readers who are familiar with other books in the series by Laurien Berenson will probably enjoy this newest addition. The plot revolves around Emily, the leader of a local and highly-respected private school. Mysterious accidents keep occurring in and around the school, and Emily enlists the help of Melanie Travis to try to figure things out. When Emily's ex-husband is found dead in the woods behind the school, Emily becomes a prime suspect. Melanie continues to work on the case, along with her contacts in local law enforcement, and of course the formidable Aunt Peg. As usual, adorable dogs are a key part of the plot!

Although part of a series, this book can be read as a stand alone novel. Readers who enjoy detailed cozy mystery novels will find this a fun read and an education about dogs and dog shows. While the plot seemed well-developed and the characters realistic, the novel seemed to drag in places and I just wanted to get on with the solving the mystery. Having read others in the series, this was not my favorite one.

117LadyoftheLodge
Ago 31, 11:59am

At Home by the Sea by Pam Weaver
This novel details the lives of the members of the Baxter family during the 1940s and into the 1950s. The main focus is on Izzie, who takes on many roles for the family while trying to find her lost mom, working, taking courses, and dealing with her dad and sister. While some reviewers found it heartwarming, I thought this book was depressing and many of the characters made the same bad choices over and over. Things get wrapped up in the end though.

Readers who like family stories may enjoy this novel. I received this book from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

118LadyoftheLodge
Set 11, 1:18pm

The Cafe Between Pumpkin and Pie features three stories by different authors. Set in the town of Moonbright, Maine, Halloween magic is afoot for three ladies and their would-be suitors. I loved the characters and setting, but disliked the steamy sex. The stories work well without all that detail. I also really dislike the style of writing that features short, choppy, incomplete sentences. I get that is for emphasis, but I am of the old school of writing and that style grates on my writing nerves.

119LadyoftheLodge
Set 11, 1:20pm

An Amish Schoolroom contains three stories about Amish teachers. Each story portrays the teaching experience of a different teacher. Each teacher is unique, in both her experience as an educator and in her own personal characteristics and background. Romance plays a key role in each story, although it is not the main focus in the stories.

Readers seek enjoy clean stories, without graphic violence or intimacy, and lacking strong language, will find these stories to be enjoyable. The stories also educate readers about the Amish beliefs and varied lifestyles.

120LadyoftheLodge
Set 11, 1:36pm

I am finally getting most of my books out of storage! Yippee! I think there about six more boxes there, which I intend to pick up next week. I am hoping not to run out of shelf space though! I am enjoying reconnecting with my books, since they are like old friends that have resurfaced. My Agatha Christie collection, P.G. Wodehouse books, and novels by D.E. Stevenson have finally breathed the air again, after living in the dark in the storage unit since April.

121LadyoftheLodge
Set 17, 3:44pm

I finished The Case of the Drowned Pearl and also reread The Fairacre Festival by Miss Read. Still working on An Unexpected Amish Courtship for NetGalley, but have read enough to post a review.

122LadyoftheLodge
Modificato: Set 17, 4:09pm

An Unexpected Amish Courtship
When Sovilla Mast goes to visit and assist her aunt, she gets more than she bargained for. In addition to dealing with her aunt's surly ways and prickly personality, Sovilla works at the market and meets Isaac. Sovilla also must deal with becoming integrated into a new Amish community and church fellowship.

Isaac Lantz falls for Sovilla as soon as he sees her. However, his speech impediment causes him to seem sometimes distant. Isaac excels at raising his puppies, and soon uses his skills and knowledge of training to help Sovilla deal with her aunt. The characters in the novel are realistic, and the plot develops well and keeps readers interested.

I enjoyed this Amish romance that featured some of the characters from An Unexpected Amish Proposal. Readers who seek a sweet romance without graphic violence, sexual intimacy, or strong language will find this an intriguing novel and follow-up to the first book featuring the marketplace. This book can also be read as a stand-alone novel.

I received this novel from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.