Thursday, February 29, 2024

Book Review - Embers in the London Sky by Sarah Sundin

My Review
Embers in the London Sky is a historical novel set during World War II.  Aleida Martens lives in the Netherlands with her three year old son Theo and her controlling husband Sebastian.  Sebastian gives Theo to a British couple who whisk him away to safety before Sebastian is killed on the roadside.  Aleida travels to England, where her aunt and uncle live, and works tirelessly to find Theo.  She is helped by an intrepid BBC reporter, Hugh Collingwood.  They get closer as they participate in the war effort in England and search together for Theo.  They also work to solve the mystery of some seemingly unrelated murders in their circle of friends.

I wanted to read Embers in the London Sky because I love Sarah Sundin's books.  She is one of my favorite historical fiction authors, and I have recommended her novels many times to friends.  I love fiction set during World War II, so the time period was of interest to me.

I really liked the complexity of this novel.  There is the story of Aleida's search for her son, Hugh and his struggles with asthma, their war work in England, and the mysteries they work to solve.  

Aleida and Hugh are both wonderful protagonists - both with very human struggles (his asthma and what appeared to be her OCD) but both strengthened by their personal faith and their desire to do the right thing and make a difference.  I loved their connection, initially based on friendship and a slowly developing romance.  And of course I wanted Aleida to find Theo and be reunited with him.

There were several surprising twists in this novel.  It was more of a mystery than Sarah Sundin's other books, but I enjoyed it very much.  I recommend Embers in the London Sky to fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone interested in a 1940's setting.

Book Synopsis
London, 1940

As the German army invades the Netherlands in 1940, Aleida van der Zee Martens escapes to London to wait out the occupation. Separated from her three-year-old son, Theo, in the process, the young widow desperately searches for her little boy even as she works for an agency responsible for evacuating children to the countryside.

When German bombs set London ablaze, BBC radio correspondent Hugh Collingwood reports on the Blitz, eager to boost morale while walking the fine line between truth and censorship. But the Germans are not the only ones Londoners have to fear as a series of murders flame up amid the ashes.

The deaths hit close to home for Hugh, and Aleida needs his help to locate her missing son. As they work together, they grow closer and closer, both to each other and the answers they seek. But time is running short--and the worst is yet to come.

Author Bio
Sarah Sundin is the bestselling author of When Twilight BreaksUntil Leaves Fall in ParisThe Sound of Light, and the popular WWII series Sunrise at Normandy, among others. She is a Christy Award winner and a Carol Award winner, and her novels have received starred reviews from BooklistLibrary Journal, and Publishers Weekly, and have appeared on Booklist's "101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years." Sarah lives in California. Visit for more information.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Book Review and Giveaway - Murder Under A Honey Moon: A 1930s Mona Moon Historical Cozy Mystery by Abigail Keam

My Review
Murder Under a Honey Moon is a historical mystery about Mona Moon and Robert Farley, who are traveling on a 1930's ocean liner for their honeymoon.  After Mona's jewelry is stolen and the main suspect is murdered, they decide to investigate the case.

I wanted to read Murder Under a Honey Moon because I enjoy both historical mysteries and cozy mysteries, and this book falls into both genres.  The 1930's setting (unusual for me with historical reads) and long ago ocean liner travel was appealing.

This book is part of the Mona Moon series.  I have not read the other books (yet!) but had no problem enjoying this mystery as a standalone read.

I thoroughly enjoyed this smart, well written mystery.  The 1930's historical details were interesting.  I especially liked the ocean travel and the inclusion of characters like Noel Coward, Martha Gellhorn, and Unity Mitford, one of the Mitford sisters.  The snappy dialogue in the book was delightful!

The mystery plot was well done and kept me guessing.  I enjoyed Mona and Robert as amateur sleuths.

I am glad to learn about this mystery series, as I enjoyed Murder Under a Honey Moon and look forward to reading further with the series.  I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical mysteries, cozy mysteries, and 1930's settings.

Book Synopsis
Mona Moon and her new husband, Robert Farley, Duke of Brynelleth, are on their honeymoon at last. They have just boarded the RMS Majesty ocean liner. The couple are looking forward to visiting Robert’s ancestral English home, Brynelleth, and then off to Paris before winding up on the Italian Riviera. After a romantic evening of dancing until the wee hours of the night, Mona and Robert discover their suite has been ransacked and Mona’s jewelry, supposedly secured in their stateroom, has been stolen.

Mona is horrified, as some of the jewelry belongs to the Brynelleth Estate and were cherished pieces of Robert’s mother. The ship’s crew searches the ocean liner, and a gold brooch turns up in a bartender’s cabin. It is the same bartender who served Mona earlier in the evening. The only problem is the bartender has been murdered and the rest of the jewelry is still missing.

Author Bio
Award-winning author Abigail Keam writes the Mona Moon Mystery Series—a rags-to-riches 1930s mystery series, which includes real people and events into the story line. “I am a student of history and love to insert historical information into my mysteries. There is an addendum at the end of the mystery to give more information. My goal is to entertain my readers, but if they learn a little something along the way—well, then we are both happy.”

Miss Abigail currently lives on the Palisades bordering the Kentucky River in a metal house with her husband and various critters.


1930s Historical Mysteries

Murder Under A Blue Moon I

Murder Under A Blood Moon II

Murder Under A Bad Moon III

Murder Under A Silver Moon IV

Murder Under A Wolf Moon V

Murder Under A Black Moon VI

Murder Under A Full Moon VII

Murder Under A New Moon VIII

Murder Under A English Moon IX

Murder Under A British Moon X

Murder Under A Bridal Moon XI

Murder Under A Honeymoon XII

Author Links

Official Site 






Purchase Links –   Amazon –   Barnes and Noble –  Apple – Kobo – 


Friday, February 16, 2024

Book Review and Giveaway - Once Upon a Murder (A Lady Librarian Mystery) by Samantha Larsen

My Review
Once Upon a Murder is a historical mystery set in 1784 England.  Tiffany Woodall is a librarian at an English manor house.  When a man who used to work at the estate is found dead outside her cottage, her romantic interest, who owns the village bookstore, is accused of murder.  She works as an amateur detective to prove his innocence.

I wanted to read this mystery because I was intrigued by the idea of a librarian in 1780's England.  I love historical mysteries and cozy mysteries, and this book falls in both of those categories.

This is the second book in the Lady Librarian Mystery series, but it read fine as a standalone.  

I absolutely loved this book!  I read it over a couple of days because I wanted to read it in all my spare time.  Tiffany is a character to cheer for.  She is brave, bright, and loyal to her friends and the man she loves.

I especially liked the romantic relationship between Tiffany and Samir.  There were obstacles, but they were so well suited.  They are a literary couple to cheer for.

As someone who collects and sells vintage children's books, I loved the details about vintage children's books in this mystery.  The author did her research, and the details will delight other book lovers.

The book blurb compares Once Upon a Murder to Bridgerton, and I found that comparison apt.  I am a big fan of Bridgerton, and loved the diversity and smartly written dialogue in this novel as well.

I enthusiastically recommend Once Upon a Murder for fans of historical mysteries or cozy mysteries (and especially for readers who enjoy both).  I look forward to future mysteries in this series!

Book Synopsis
Miss Tiffany Woodall must sleuth the slaying of a footman to clear her beloved’s name in the second Lady Librarian mystery, in the vein of Deanna Raybourn and perfect for fans of Bridgerton.

1784 England. Officially hired as the librarian for the Duchess of Beaufort, Miss Tiffany Woodall is through with masquerades and murders for good. That is, until she stumbles upon the frozen dead body of former footman Mr. Bernard Coram. The speed with which her peaceful new life is upended is one for the record books: the justice of the peace immediately declares her the primary suspect in the murder.

As Tiffany hunts for the truth to clear her name, she learns that Bernard got into a fight over a woman at the local pub the night of his death–but he was also overheard blackmailing Samir. The justice of the peace arrests Samir, and Tiffany realizes that her life may have more in common with a tragic play than a light-hearted romance.

With her love locked up in jail and her own reputation on the line, Tiffany must attempt to solve the murder before the book closes on her or Samir’s life.

Author Bio
Samantha Larsen met her husband in a turkey sandwich line. They live in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she spends most of her time reading, eating popcorn, having tea parties, and chasing her four kids. She has degrees from Brigham Young University, the University of North Texas, and the University of Reading (UK). She also writes historical romances under Samantha Hastings. Learn more at

Author Links





Purchase Links
Amazon – B&N – Books A Million – Powells Books – – Target – Walmart 


Friday, February 9, 2024

Book Review and Giveaway - Murder, She Wrote: Fit for Murder by Jessica Fletcher & Terrie Farley Moran

My Review
Jessica Fletcher steps in to solve a mystery when an older lady in Cabot Cove is enamored of a much younger fitness instructor who is mysteriously killed.  When a kindly man in the neighborhood is suspected, Jessica works to find the truth and clear her neighbor's name.

I wanted to read Murder, She Wrote: Fit For Murder because I absolutely love this series of mysteries.  (And of course I loved the TV series Murder, She Wrote as well.)  The books are always such cozy reads.  I enjoy Jessica's detection skills, her details about writing mysteries, and Cabot Cove and Jessica's familiar friends.

This was a well written, well paced mystery.  There were several strong leads for Jessica to follow, including traveling to a neighboring town to do some detecting.  She even takes a chance exploring the crime scene on her own.

There was a great deal of detail about Jessica's writing process in this book, and that was particularly interesting to read.  I loved little details like her membership in Sisters in Crime.

This was a great addition to the Murder, She Wrote series, and I enthusiastically recommend it to other fans of cozy mysteries.  (I recommend the entire series!)

Book Synopsis

Jessica Fletcher learns that exercise can be murder in this new entry in the USA Today bestselling Murder, She Wrote series.

Former editor of the Cabot Cove Gazette, Evelyn Phillips is back in Cabot Cove. Evelyn tells Jessica and Seth that she got a couple of really weird notes from Bertha Mae Cormier so she’s come back to town to check on her old friend. She demands that Jessica come with her to see Bertha Mae, who is a bit dithery but no more so than Jessica remembers her being in recent years.

Jessica does become somewhat concerned when Bertha Mae starts to talk about her new neighbor, Martin Terranova. He is quite charming and very health conscious and he teaches yoga and meditation in his pool house. Maureen Metzger says that she and Bertha Mae became friends in Terranova’s class and mentions how solicitous he is to his older clients.

Jessica attends one of his classes and does notice that Terranova is flirtatious with several elderly clients, especially Bertha Mae. Evelyn is becoming convinced that Bertha Mae is being mesmerized by Terranova and that he is after Bertha Mae’s money. A short while late, Martin turns up dead in his weight room. What at first blush seems to be an accident, soon proves to be murder and Jessica must put her investigative skills to the test when Evelyn becomes the prime suspect.

Author Bio

Along with Jessica FletcherTerrie Farley Moran co-writes the Murder She Wrote mystery series including  Murder, She Wrote: Killer on the Court. She is the author of the Read ‘Em and Eat cozy mystery series and also co-writes the Scrapbooking Mysteries with Laura Childs. Recipient of both the Agatha and the Derringer Awards, Moran has published numerous mystery short stories. The only thing Terrie enjoys more than wrangling mystery plots into submission is hanging out with any or all of her seven grandchildren.

Author Links – Webpage   Facebook 

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – – PenguinRandomHouse – 


Thursday, February 8, 2024

Book Review - The Divine Proverb of Streusel by Sara Brunsvold

My Review
Nikki Werner is still reeling from her parents' divorce when she discovers, via social media, that her father has unexpectedly remarried.  She is also wondering whether her boyfriend Isaac is the right man for her.  Since she is a teacher between school years, she goes to visit her Uncle Wes on his farm.  There she discovers her grandmother's old recipes and she begins to slowly learn about her family history ... and the truths her grandmother's memory teaches through her recipes and wisdom.

I wanted to read this book because I was interested in the mention of recipes and family food history.  The family's German heritage was also of interest to me.

The Divine Proverb of Streusel is a lovely read.  Nikki deals with some hard issues and learns about the power of grace and forgiveness.  Her wonderful grandmother, even in memory and old recipes and writing from the past, imparts strength and wisdom.

This novel is very well written.  I cared about Sara and her family in general  - especially Uncle Wes and Aunt Emma.  There is a strong faith message through the book.  I recommend this novel for fans of Christian fiction, women's fiction, and uplifting storytelling.

Book Synopsis

Shaken by her parents' divorce and discouraged by the growing chasm between herself and her serious boyfriend, Nikki Werner seeks solace at her uncle's farm in a small Missouri hamlet. She'll spend the summer there, picking up the pieces of her shattered present so she can plan a better future. But what awaits her at the ancestral farm is the past--one she barely knows.

Among her late grandmother's belongings, Nikki finds an old notebook filled with handwritten German recipes and wise sayings pulled from the book of Proverbs. With each recipe she makes, she invites locals to the family table to hear their stories about the town's history, her ancestors, and her estranged father.

What started as a cathartic way to connect to her heritage soon becomes the means through which she learns how the women before her endured--with the help of their cooking prowess and a healthy dollop of faith.

Author Bio

Sara Brunsvold is the author of The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip. She creates stories that speak hope, truth, and life. Influenced by humble women of God who find his fingerprints in the everyday, she does the same in her life and her storytelling. Sara's recognitions include the 2020 ACFW Genesis Award for Contemporary Fiction. She lives with her family in Kansas City, Missouri, where she can often be spotted writing at a park or library. Learn more at