Friday, December 15, 2023

Holiday Blogging Break


Tasha Tudor illustration

Hi friends!

I will be taking a blogging break until mid-January.  I wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas, a happy holiday season, and a Happy New Year!


Book Review and Giveaway - A Christmas Conundrum: A Liz Adams Mystery by Stacy Wilder

My Review

Liz Adams is preparing for Christmas in Charleston with her husband Brad when she becomes involved in solving a mystery.  Her friend Lou, an event planner, is having an issue with missing Christmas decorations - first in one area and then all over town!  

I wanted to read A Christmas Conundrum because I love cozy mysteries and like Christmas settings.

This was a fun short read (novella length).  The mystery is very light - missing decorations, not murder or an act of violence.  The Charleston setting is charming.  

This book is part of a series but it worked fine as a standalone.

I liked Liz, her family, and her friend Lou.  She also has a lovable lab dog named Duke.  Liz is a professional private investigator, with a specially equipped van and a white board at home where she sorts out mysteries.  I found her process of detection fascinating.

Fans of cozy mysteries who are looking for a short holiday read will enjoy A Christmas Conundrum.

Book Synopsis

Nancy Drew meets How the Grinch Stole Christmas in this delightful cozy mystery set in Charleston, SC.

Who’s stealing the holiday decorations? They’re disappearing like Christmas cookies from PeggyLou Designs, and Lou’s newly launched event planning service is in trouble. He implores his neighbor and friend, Private Investigator Liz Adams, to bring the thief to justice.

The clock is ticking. It’s only ten days until the mayor’s big holiday celebration. The party that will make or break Lou’s business.

Liz’s mom, Babs, steps in to help, and the investigation becomes complicated. Suddenly the holidays are not all mistletoe and merriment when Bab’s life is threatened. Will Liz and her lie-detecting Labrador retriever, Duke, discover the perpetrator before it’s too late?

Experience Charleston in the city’s full Christmas glory in this fun fast-paced holiday story.

Author Bio

Stacy Wilder has traveled to six out of seven continents Books have shaped her life and her travels. Her love of mysteries began with Nancy Drew.

A Christmas Conundrum is the third book in the riveting Liz Adams Mystery series. In addition to mysteries, Stacy writes children’s stories, short stories, and poetry. She and her husband live in Houston, Texas, with a totally spoiled Labrador retriever, Eve.

Author Links






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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Book Review - The Warsaw Sisters: A Novel of WWII Poland by Amanda Barratt

My Review

The Warsaw Sisters is a historical novel set during World War II.  Twin sisters Antonina and Helena Dąbrowska see their father off to war, and then endure the bombing of their beloved city.  Antonina's love Marek is sent to the Warsaw ghetto because he is Jewish.  Both women get involved in the Resistance movement as a way of fighting back.

I wanted to read The Warsaw Sisters because I love historical fiction, and am especially interested in the World War II time period.  I had never read a book set in Poland during the war, so this was particularly interesting to me.

This is a sprawling novel that spans the time period of 1939 - 1945.  The author delves into historical detail to depict the war in Poland.  This was a time of great brutality and cruelty (especially toward the Jewish people) and some of the descriptions are hard to read.

The author does a great job at delineating the two very different personalities of Antonina and Helena, and we see both their perspectives.  Descriptions of Antonina's work to save Jewish children was especially compelling.

The historical detail and descriptions in the book are vivid and the author's writing style is fluid.

Fans of historical fiction who want to read about the years of World War II in Poland will find The Warsaw Sisters of interest.

Book Synopsis

A richly rendered portrait of courage, sacrifice, and resilience

On a golden August morning in 1939, sisters Antonina and Helena Dąbrowska send their father off to defend Poland against the looming threat of German invasion. The next day, the first bombs fall on Warsaw, decimating their beloved city and shattering the world of their youth.

When Antonina's beloved Marek is forced behind ghetto walls, along with the rest of Warsaw's Jewish population, Antonina knows she cannot stand by and soon becomes a key figure in a daring network of women risking their lives to shelter Jewish children. Meanwhile, Helena finds herself drawn into the ranks of Poland's secret army, joining the fight to free her homeland from occupation.

But the secrets both are forced to keep threaten to tear them apart--and the cost of resistance may prove greater than either ever imagined.

Author Bio

Amanda Barratt is the bestselling author of numerous historical novels and novellas, including The White Rose Resists (a 2021 Christy Award winner) and Within These Walls of Sorrow. She is passionate about illuminating oft-forgotten facets of history through a fictional narrative. Amanda lives in Michigan. Learn more at


Friday, December 1, 2023

Book Review and Giveaway - Grounds for Murder (Coffee & Cream Cafe Mysteries) by Lena Gregory

My Review
Danika Delaney is settling in at the little coffee house on Long Island that was a malt shop in her family years ago. On opening night she has an author reading, and the next day the author turns up dead!  Danika works to solve the mystery.

I wanted to read this mystery because I have enjoyed other cozy mysteries by Lena Gregory.  This is the second book in a new series, but I was able to jump right in and enjoy it as a standalone read.

I enjoyed Grounds for Murder.  Danika is a fun protagonist.  She's smart and has good amateur detective instincts.  The mystery was intriguing with several viable suspects.  I particularly enjoyed the setting of the Coffee and Cream Cafe and the little food descriptions included in the book.  I also liked Danika's friends and family, and her potential romantic interest.

I'm so happy to have discovered this new mystery series. I recommend Grounds for Murder for other fans of cozy mysteries. It was a fun read!

Book Synopsis
From author Lena Gregory comes a tasty new mystery with a killer twist…

Danika Delaney is thrilled to have taken over her uncle Jimmie’s old fashioned malt shop on eastern Long Island and is working hard to make it her own. In an effort to increase business, Danika invites a mystery writer to the Coffee & Cream Café for a discussion and book signing. Things seem to be going well, until a guest shows up and confronts the author, accusing him of plagiarizing his work. Embarrassed by the incident, Danika goes to the inn where the writer is staying the following morning, hoping to apologize and offer him another chance to return. What she finds instead is his dead body—beside a cup of poisoned coffee! Now it’s up to Danika to find out who wanted to silence the author… before the killer decides to write Danika a not-so-happy ending!

Author Bio
Lena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, but she recently traded in cold, damp, gray winters for the warmth and sunshine of central Florida, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime.

Author Links

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