Tag Archives: cozy mystery fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Bookish Animals

27 Apr

This week our Top 10 Tuesday prompt is animals from books. I had a post like that back in November. Could I come up with another? Yes! I love when authors include animals. Some of these books I have read; others are in my TBR pile.

Do you have a favorite book that features an animal?

For more bookish animals, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Bookish Animals

Wild And Wonderful

A wild boar from More Than Meets The Eye by Karen Witemeyer

A python from Belinda Blake And The Snake in The Grass by Heather Day Gilbert

A parrot from Trial And Error by Robert Whitlow

Canine Companions

Called to Protect by Lynnette Eason

Cold Case Pursuit by Dana Mentink

No Filter by Heather Day Gilbert

Friendly Felines

The Cat That God Sent by Jim Kraus

The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson

Crime And Poetry by Amanda Flower

Book Review: Solid Ground

10 Dec

Do you like cozy mysteries set in real small towns? If so, consider Solid Ground by Danny and Wanda Pelfrey. Their descriptions of quaint Adairsville, Georgia just might inspire a road trip!

Seven years between them, Kirby and Riley Gordan, nurtured by their pastor father and loving mother, experienced almost ideal childhoods growing up in the Boston area. Then a season of misfortune culminated in the worse of all possible tragedies – the death of their beloved parents.

Four years have passed. Kirby, having failed at marriage and pro-baseball, is now a Florida police detective. He finds himself in little Adairsville, Georgia along with Riley, his law school bound sister. They are there to settle their uncle’s massive estate. It is soon apparent that Uncle James’s death was no accident. But the worst of it is their names at the top of the suspect list. The siblings are embraced by spunky caretakers, Amos and Carol, whose love, wit, faith, and plain ole horse-sense bolster efforts to solve the murder and put Kirby’s life back on track.

Danny Pelfrey along with his wife, Wanda, is currently writing mysteries with a message set in Adairsville, Georgia. Four volumes in the Davis Morgan Mystery series are available. A new series, The Adairsville Heritage mystery series, now occupies much of his time. He is also active in the areas of inspiration and Georgia history. Danny is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

 

My Impressions:

I love visiting small towns especially in my home state of Georgia. Alas, Covid has limited some of my ramblings, but I lucked out when I found Solid Ground by Danny and Wanda Pelfrey. A cozy mystery set in northeastern Georgia, this book includes some great descriptions of Adairsville and surrounding areas. I love it when a book captures the setting so well. In addition, the characters are likable and relatable, while secondary characters round out the cast well. Kirby and Riley are siblings who have just come into a sizable inheritance from their Uncle James. Some mystery surrounds his death, and Kirby, a St. Petersburg police detective, and  his sister Riley are on the case. There are a number of suspects with motive, keeping the reader guessing. There is also a promise of romance for both main characters — more books are promised in the Adairsville Heritage series. The faith message is strong and woven throughout the narrative. Characters are in various stages in their faith journeys. I especially liked the spiritual mentoring between the older characters and the young. There is a lot of backstory shared that slowed the book down a bit, but I imagine in future books the pace will increase. Also I found some of the dialog a bit stiff. Kirby, in particular, comes off as much older than someone in his 30s. But these are minor concerns.

A charming setting, down-to-earth characters, and a twisting plot make Solid Ground a good choice for fans of the cozy mystery series. I am looking forward to more in the series.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Books with Animals

17 Nov

I went the of way of easy today for Top 10 Tuesday. Instead of coming up with characters names for pets, I chose books that include pets or in some cases, books where wild animals are part of the story. Some are your run-of-the mill dogs (is there really such a thing?) and some are a bit exotic, like wolves, possums, seagulls, and kangaroos. All make the books a little more special. I did a Top 10 Tuesday a while ago with characters that made great cat names. You can check it out HERE.

For more animal fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Books with Special Animals

 

Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

Belinda Blake And The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Heather Day Gilbert

Chosen People by Robert Whitlow

 

Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon

Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

No Filter by Heather Day Gilbert

 

Star Rising by Janet Ferguson

Under a Turquoise Sky by Lisa Carter

The Woman in The Green Dress by Tea Cooper

 

Book Review: Belinda Blake And The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

17 Nov

Exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake is nervous about her new job at the White Pine Wolf Preserve, but it turns out that the care and feeding of wild carnivores may be the least dangerous part of the gig . . .
 
Pet-sitter Belinda Blake is no stranger to dealing with wild animals, but she’s wary when the owner of the Greenwich, Connecticut, preserve asks her to help out with her “fluffy darlings.” Her caution seems justified on her very first day, when she discovers a tour guide — dead, bloodied, and surrounded by wolves in the enclosure.
 
Was it death by predator or something more sinister? The body count rises, but something’s not adding up. As she gets to know the rescued wolves and wolf-dog hybrids better, Belinda realizes that her human colleagues are not above suspicion. With help from her own “pack”—her pregnant sister, Red the chauffeur/bodyguard, and hunky farmer Jonas — Belinda is hot on the killer’s tail, but if she doesn’t find him soon, he’ll do more than muzzle her to keep the truth from escaping.

Heather Day Gilbert, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Publisher’s Weekly gave Heather’s Viking historical Forest Child a starred review, saying it is “an engaging story depicting timeless human struggles with faith, love, loyalty, and leadership.”

Find Heather on Pinterest (heatherdgilbert), Instagram (@heatherdaygilbert), Twitter (@heatherdgilbert), and Facebook (heatherdaygilbert). You can find all her books at heatherdaygilbert.com

 

My Impressions:

Belinda Blake And The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing continues the amateur sleuthing of the intrepid exotic pet-sitter. Told in Belinda’s first person voice, this cozy mystery takes Belinda to a wolf preserve near her home in Greenwich, Connecticut. While a few of the continuing characters from book 1, Belinda Blake And The Snake in The Grass, make appearances, new acquaintances are the primary focus of another murder investigation. Belinda is an interesting character — a professional pet-sitter/video game reviewer — who observes everything. Her attention to details makes her excellent at her jobs and a pain to those who seek to deceive. There are lots of moving parts to the story, and Gilbert made me suspect everyone! While I again enjoyed Belinda’s investigations, her personal life leaves me wanting more. I know which team I am on, but I am not sure Belinda is as savvy with her own life as she is in discovering whodunit. 😉 The final book of the 3-part series is also currently available — that allows me and you to see what is next for Belinda. Need a binge-worthy series for a staycation or weekend getaway? Grab all three!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to the publisher for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Happy Release Day — Fair Trade

27 Oct

Book #3 in Heather Day Gilbert‘s Barks and Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery series, Fair Trade, released today! Yay! If you are a fan of this series, now is your chance to dive in. And if you haven’t started, there’s also great news — books 1-3 are either on sale or FREE on Kindle. (They are also available for free for KU subscribers.) What are you waiting for! Perfect reading on these longer days. You can also pre-order book #4, Spilled Milk, due out in spring 2021.

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java…and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

With the one-year anniversary of the now-successful Barks & Beans Cafe approaching, siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield set up an iced coffee booth at the state fair. Taking a break from brewing, Macy bumps into Carolina, a long-lost childhood friend who’s now sitting pretty as a country superstar. Macy tries not to fangirl too hard when her old friend extends an invitation to meet the rest of the Carolina Crush band before their opening show.

But when Carolina falls victim to not one, but two near-death experiences, Macy takes it upon herself to find out who has it in for her old friend. Fortified with plenty of roasted corn, cinnamon rolls, and her brother’s signature iced maple latte, Macy takes to the Ferris wheel to get the lay of the land from the air. She discovers too late that this year’s fair isn’t all fun and games . . . but she’s already locked in for the ride.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown . . . with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

Click HERE to purchase.

The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series in order:
Book 1: No Filter
Book 2: Iced Over
Book 3: Fair Trade
Book 4: Spilled Milk

Heather Day Gilbert, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Publisher’s Weekly gave Heather’s Viking historical Forest Child a starred review, saying it is “an engaging story depicting timeless human struggles with faith, love, loyalty, and leadership.”

Find Heather on Pinterest (heatherdgilbert), Instagram (@heatherdaygilbert), Twitter (@heatherdgilbert), and Facebook (heatherdaygilbert). You can find all her books at heatherdaygilbert.com.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Super Long Titles

13 Oct

So how long is long for a book title? 5 words? 7? More? I headed to my TBR shelves to find those books that grabbed me with their intriguingly or amusingly long titles for this week’s Top 10 Tuesday. Have you read any of these? I’d love to know your thoughts.

For more super long book titles, go to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Super Long Book Titles

Five

The Sound of Falling Leaves by Lisa Carter

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

Six

Dearest Dorothy, If Not Now, When? by Charlene Baumbich

To Say Nothing of The Dog by Connie Willis

Seven

Miss Hazel And The Rosa Parks League by Jonathan Odell

Jane And The Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron

Eight

Belinda Blake And The Birds of A Feather by Heather Day Gilbert

The Sweetness At The Bottom of The Pie by Alan Bradley

Book Review: Death in Dahlonega

12 Oct

A cozy mystery set in one of my favorite places? Yes, please! Death in Dahlonega by Deborah Malone is quick read with fun characters. Check out the details below.

A friendly adventure turns to murder and mayhem in the north Georgia mountains. Historical writer Trixie Montgomery is asked to cover Gold Rush Days in the picturesque Georgia mountain town, Dahlonega. Trixie seizes the chance to mix business with pleasure and asks her best friend, Dee Dee to tag along. Their well laid plans go awry when Dee Dee is discovered standing over the lifeless body of prominent citizen, John Tatum – the very man she’d had a run in with earlier that day – holding a bloody pickax in her hands. Can Trixie find a way to finish her assignment and keep Dee Dee out of the slammer? Winner in American Christian Fiction Writers’ Category Five writing contest!

Deborah Malone has a degree in Human Services and worked in the field several years before starting her writing career. Deborah’s first novel Death in Dahlonega, finaled in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Category Five writing contest! Deborah was also nominated for 2012 and 2013 Georgia Author of the Year in Novel category and was award the Georgia Author of the Year Award in 2018 for Blooming in Broken Places. She has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, for the historic magazine Georgia Backroads since 2001. She has had many article and photographs published, and her writing is featured in Tales of the Rails, edited by Olin Jackson, as well as the Christian Communicator and Southern Writer’s Magazine. She is a member of the Georgia Writer’s Association, Advanced Writer’s and Speaker’s Association and the American Christian Fiction Writers. Deborah lives with her husband Travis in the North Georgia mountains.

My Impressions:

The novella length cozy mystery, Death in Dahlonega, is full of hometown charm that captures the essence of the quaint north Georgia mountain town of Dahlonega. Newly divorced Trixie Montgomery is looking to make her position with a regional magazine permanent as she plans a weekend getaway with good friend Dee Dee to cover the town’s Gold Rush Days. But they are soon right in the middle of a murder investigation with Dee Dee a person of interest. The book follows Trixie’s efforts to assist the local sheriff find out just whodunit. The book is filled with quirky characters who all seem to have a motive for murder. The book is pure cozy with its setting and humor. It is the first in the Trixie Montgomery Cozy Mystery series, and I am going to tag along with her again as she explores Georgia towns and investigates crime.

A good choice for those who like cozies with real settings.

Audience: Adults.

( I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Author Interviews

25 Aug

I have been blessed over the years in opportunities to meet fantastic authors. It’s always a thrill to interact with writers either face to face or via email and social media. In the ten plus years I have been blogging, I have interviewed a number of my favorites, and since I am not as creative as them I have a stock list of questions. For this week’s Top 10 Tuesday I decided to highlight the answers authors gave to my number one question — When did you know you were a writer? I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into their writing journeys. And to see the rest of the interviews, just click on the author’s name.

For more author info/interviews, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.  

 

When did you first become a writer?

 

Pepper Basham author of The Red Ribbon (October 2020)

I feel like I’ve always been a storyteller, but I didn’t start ‘writing’ down those stories until I was about 7 or 8. I actually still have a story I wrote and illustrated from when I was 9. Poorly illustrated . . . it was pretty clear writing was more my forte than drawing (especially from the sizes of the noses on my poor people I drew 😉 .

 

 

Lori Benton author of Mountain Laurel (September 2020)

I’ve always been a writer, making up stories as a child. Really! I was in the third grade and already a voracious reader when my best friend said out of the blue, “I wrote a story.” She showed it to me, and I was instantly intrigued. Could I write a story? It was an epiphany. I wrote a story. And never really stopped. But one day I decided to get more serious about it (I was about 21 by this time) and see if I could write a novel and maybe (if I could figure out how one did so) get it published. That novel, which I did finish, wasn’t published. Nor the one I wrote after that. It was quite a few years later (22 years in fact) before my debut novel Burning Sky reached store shelves. 

 

 

Kimberly Duffy author of A Mosaic of Wings

I wrote my first story at the age of eleven. It was about an inchworm. When I was twelve I wrote my first romance — about a girl who gets stuck in an elevator with her celebrity crush. And I really haven’t stopped writing since. Before I began writing, though, I loved stories and words and daydreams. 

 

 

Rachel Dylan of Backlash (October 2020)

I think I have always been a writer. As a child, I was a voracious reader. I gobbled up books left and right. I started writing stories and poems in elementary school. Everyone in high school assumed I was going to become an English professor. It didn’t turn out quite like that, but writing has always been a part of who I am.

 

 

Camille Eide author of Wings Like A Dove

Age 7. I wrote and illustrated my first novel. It was about Snoopy. I don’t remember it, but am fairly certain it wasn’t a bestseller.

 

 

Heather Day Gilbert of No Filter, Barks And Beans Cafe mystery series

From the time I was about four, I loved words and reading. I won a writing contest in fifth grade . . . but I didn’t realize I was a writer until I was about twelve. We came back from an ocean trip and I sat on the porch and wrote a poem . . . and Boom! It hit me — I was a writer. I promptly shared this epiphany with my mom and my grandma, and they were duly impressed. LOL. That’s not to say I launched into an immediate writing career trajectory. Goodness knows I entertained plenty of other majors in college, though I wound up with a degree in Humanities that focused on literature and writing.

 

 

Jocelyn Green author of Veiled in Smoke

My first book was writing captions in my Bugs Bunny coloring book to make it an actual story. I don’t remember a time that I wasn’t writing. My first published books were nonfiction, though, mostly devotionals, before I started writing historical fiction.

 

Tracy Groot of The Maggie Bright

I think it was when I sought to right what I considered was a wrong: In the early years of my marriage, my father-in-law told me that his family had rescued a Jewish boy during WWII. They risked their lives to shelter him for one year, and then they got him to England through the Dutch underground. I asked him, “Did he ever come back to thank you for what he did?” “No.” “Well — did anyone thank you?” “No.”

 

 

Richard Mabry, MD author of Critical Decision

I never considered becoming an author outside of medicine until the death of my first wife, Cynthia. Almost a year after her passing, I began to consider turning the journaling I’d done into a book, but had no idea how. Finally, at a writer’s conference, I got an inkling of 1) how to write a book, and 2) how hard it is to get one published. But I did and it was. The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse has been out for a decade and ministered to many thousands who have suffered a similar loss.

 

 

Rachel McMillan author of The London Restoration

I always loved reading and making up stories in my head. One year, my brother Jared gave me a diary for Christmas and I wrote all the time. That’s when I knew. Even if I never publish another book, I will always write stories. I enjoy it so much.

 

 

 

 

If You Liked Living Lies . . .

30 Jul

Everyone in my book club liked Living Lies by Natalie Walters. A romantic suspense set in a small southern town, it focuses on the tough issues of depression, suicide, and PTSD. It also connected cartel activity to the art world. I have a few book recommendations if you also liked Living Lies. Hope you find another book to love.

 

 

Suspense Set in A Small Town 

Trial by Fire (book 1 in the Baxter series) by Kathy Herman

When a bizarre houseboat explosion rocks the close-knit community of Baxter, firefighters, friends, and neighbors stand powerless as the McConnells’ blazing hull sinks to the bottom of Heron Lake. Grief turns to outrage as new evidence proves there was one survivor — and points to murder, something this sheltered community has never faced in its hundred-year history. In a race with the FBI, Jed sets out to track down the sole survivor, coping meanwhile with his own painful marital struggle. Baxter’s mystery and Jed’s dilemma are ones only God can solve in this suspenseful, surprising story of redemption amidst despair in small-town America.


 

A Heroine with Struggles

Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Park

Evelyn Yvonne McTavish — Tavish to her friends — had her almost perfect world in Albuquerque, New Mexico, come to a crashing end with the suicide of her fiancé. As she struggles to put her life back together and make a living from her art, she’s given the news that her dog is about to be destroyed at the dog pound. Except she doesn’t own a dog. The shelter is adamant that the microchip embedded in the canine-with her name and address-makes it hers.

Tavish recognizes the dog as one owned by an archaeologist named Pat Caron because she did a commissioned drawing of the two of them months earlier. The simple solution is to return the dog to his owner, but she arrives only to discover Caron’s murdered body.

After meeting undercover FBI agent Sawyer Price the mystery deepens as more people start disappearing and Tavish becomes a target as well. Her only solution is to find the links between microchip technology, an Anasazi site in the desert, her fiancé’s death, a late-night radio show, and the dog. And the clock is ticking.

 

PTSD

Without Warning by Lynette Eason

Katie Singleton, a partner with the Elite Guardians Protection Agency, stumbles upon her next assignment quite by accident. Spotting blue lights at a familiar restaurant, she stops to investigate, only to discover that owner Daniel Matthews has become the target of someone who will go to any lengths to put him out of business.

Daniel might be concerned, but he’s not convinced that a bodyguard — and a female one at that — is necessary. A new attack and his niece’s urgings are enough to make him reconsider. He and Katie must figure out who’s behind the intimidation and threats — before a would-be killer strikes again.

 

Crime in The Art World

A Fool And His Monet by Sandra Orchard

Serena Jones has a passion for recovering lost and stolen art — one that’s surpassed only by her zeal to uncover the truth about the art thief who murdered her grandfather. She’s joined the FBI Art Crime Team with the secret hope that one of her cases will lead to his killer. Now, despite her mother’s pleas to do something safer –like get married — Serena’s learning how to go undercover to catch thieves and black market traders.

When a local museum discovers an irreplaceable Monet missing, Jones leaps into action. The clues point in different directions, and her boss orders her to cease investigating her most promising suspect. But determined to solve the case and perhaps discover another clue in her grandfather’s murder, she pushes ahead, regardless of the danger.

 

Top Ten Tuesday — Women of A Certain Age

28 Jul

I had a tough time coming up with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday Freebie topic. There were so many things to choose from — exotic locales, TBR pile, fun titles, etc. Truly unlimited list options. So, I began thinking about the main characters of the books I have recently read, and discovered that almost all were in their 20s or 30s. It has been a while since I saw those numbers, having entered my golden years. Ouch! Where are the characters that are closer to my age that aren’t the cookie-baking, supportive, and supporting grandma characters? If you are like me and need a few more relatable mature characters, my list includes books that feature one main character that is a woman of a certain age. Hope you find one to love!

 

For more great bookish lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

 

Top 10 Books Featuring Women of A Certain Age

 

Dearest Dorothy, Are We There Yet by Charlene Baumbich

On the outskirts of the pastoral Illinois town of Partonville, Illinois, eighty-seven-year-old Dorothy Wetstra lives on her farm, venturing out to drive around in her 1976 Lincoln Continental — affectionately dubbed “The Tank”—play bunco with her pals, or grab a stool at Harry’s counter, where she can stay on top of the town’s latest shenanigans (most of which she is responsible for).
 
But when a visitor comes to town with a proposition, Dorothy finds herself faced with a decision that could change her beloved town, and her life. Before long, her gift for shaking things up may come in handy . . .

Harriet Beamer Takes The Bus by Joyce Magnin

Aging and recent widow Harriet Beamer insists she’s getting along fine with her dog Humphrey in Philadelphia … until she falls for the fourth time, injuring her ankle, and causing her son and daughter-in-law to cry foul. Insisting Harriet move in with them in California, they make a bet that her ankle is broken, and she foolishly promises to move if they’re right. Four x-rays later, Harriet’s ankle ― and her heart ― are broken. She packs up, ships her huge salt and pepper collection to California, and prepares to move away from the only life she knows. The only catch? She’s doing it her way. Just wait till her daughter-in-law hears Harriet will travel cross country only by public transportation and alternate means. What follows is a hilarious, heartwarming journey by train, metro bus, ferry, and motorcycle. Along the way, Harriet discovers that although her family thinks it’s time for her to be put out to pasture ― God has a different plan.

Home to Chicory Lane by Deborah Raney

Audrey Whitman’s dreams are coming true. Now that their five kids are grown, she and her husband Grant are turning their beloved family home into a cozy bed and breakfast, just a mile outside of Langhorne, Missouri. Opening weekend makes Audrey anxious, with family and friends coming from all over to help celebrate the occasion. But when Audrey’s daughter, Landyn, arrives, the U-Haul she’s pulling makes it clear she’s not just here for a few days. Audrey immediately has questions. What happened in New York that sent Landyn running home? Where was Landyn’s husband, Chase? And what else was her daughter not telling her? One thing was for sure, the Chicory Inn was off to a rocky start. Can Audrey still realize her dream and at the same time provide the comfort of home her daughter so desperately needs?

Invisible by Lorena McCourtney

She’s not your average crime fighter! Ivy Malone has a curiosity that sometimes gets her into trouble, and it’s only aggravated by her discovery that she can easily escape the public eye. So when vandals romp through the local cemetery, she takes advantage of her newfound anonymity and its unforeseen advantages as she launches her own unofficial investigation. Despite her oddball humor and unconventional snooping, Ivy soon becomes discouraged by her failure to turn up any solid clues. And after Ivy witnesses something ominous and unexplained, she can’t resist putting her investigative powers to work again. Even the authorities’ attempts to keep Ivy out of danger and her nosy neighbor’s match-making schemes can’t slow her down. But will the determination that fuels this persistent, quirky sleuth threaten her very safety?

Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh

For the first time since their children were born, empty nesters Judith and Stan Winters spent Thanksgiving without the kids and grandkids. It’s looking like Christmas will be the same. Judith can’t bring herself to even start decorating for the holiday; her children always hung the first ornaments on the tree, ornaments they’d made each year when they were kids. Stan had nicknamed them the “ugly ornaments” but Judith adored them. Now she can barely look at them. Can this box of ugly ornaments be the key to saving their family Christmas this year?

Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross

Miss Julia, a recently bereaved and newly wealthy widow, is only slightly bemused when one Hazel Marie Puckett appears at her door with a youngster in tow and unceremoniously announces that the child is the bastard son of Miss Julia’s late husband. Suddenly, this longtime church member and pillar of her small Southern community finds herself in the center of an unseemly scandal — and the guardian of a wan nine-year-old whose mere presence turns her life upside down.

With razor-sharp wit and perfect “Steel Magnolia” poise, Miss Julia speaks her mind indeed — about a robbery, a kidnapping, and the other disgraceful events precipitated by her husband’s death. Fast-paced and charming, with a sure sense of comic drama, a cast of crazy characters, and a strong Southern cadence, Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind will delight readers from first page to last.

Seeing Things by Patti Hill

Birdie Wainwright, 72, isn’t concerned about seeing things that others can’t. For a woman who still climbs mountains with her dog (Miss Bee Haven) and likes to tango, the impractical visions brought on by macular degeneration are just another gift from God, adding more adventure to life. But when a tumble down the stairs breaks her ankle and leads back to her son’s home in Denver where she must convalesce, Birdie’s imagination really takes flight. Following a conversation with her grandson about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, she begins to see and speak with the unkempt literary character himself on a regular basis. As the line between reality and whimsy turns brittle, faith is tested among friends and loved ones, and hope is reborn.

Seeing Things is a story about family, reconciliation, and hearing from God in unexpected ways.

Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti

Charlie and Lucy Tuttle are committed to each other for life, but that life isn’t turning out quite like they expected. Charlie retired early, but Lucy planned to continue in her position as a music educator in a small Midwestern K-8 school indefinitely. And then the day came when she was forced to retire. Lucy was devoted to the program her father started years ago and now she can only watch as it disintegrates before her eyes. The longer she is separated from the passion of her heart, the more the music fades from her life and she wonders if her faith’s song is fading too. When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees — and hears — everything.

The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton

Lily Bishop wakes up one morning to find a good-bye note and divorce papers from her husband on the kitchen counter. Having moved to Alabama for his job only weeks before, Lily is devastated, but a flyer at the grocery store for a hair stylist position in a local retirement community provides a refuge while she contemplates her next steps.

Rose Carrigan built the small retirement village of Safe Harbor years ago — just before her husband ran off with his assistant. Now she runs a tight ship, making sure the residents follow her strict rules. Rose keeps everyone at arm’s length, including her own family. But when Lily shows up asking for a job and a place to live, Rose’s cold exterior begins to thaw.

Lily and Rose form an unlikely friendship, and Lily’s salon soon becomes the place where residents share town gossip, as well as a few secrets. Lily soon finds herself drawn to Rose’s nephew, Rawlins — a single dad and shrimper who’s had some practice at starting over — and one of the residents may be carrying a torch for Rose as well.

Neither Lily nor Rose is where she expected to be, but the summer makes them both wonder if there’s more to life and love than what they’ve experienced so far.

Your Chariot Awaits by Lorena McCourtney

Downsized from her job.
Dumped by her boyfriend.
Depressed about that upcoming 6-0 birthday.
Not a good week for Andi McConnell.

But now there’s good news: She’s just inherited a limousine, a long, sleek, black limousine, from an eccentric uncle.

There’s also bad news: The dead body that soon turns up in the trunk. And Andi is the top suspect in the murder.

Enter Keegan “Fitz” Fitzpatrick, former TV detective, very interested in the case — and in Andi. As they work together to solve the crime, a big question looms: when the bullets start flying, are the windows in Andi’s limo really bullet proof?