Saturday, September 10, 2011

This Book Room: a slew of books in a series

Life is reasonably rosy for plus-size ex-pop star turned Assistant Dormitory Director and sometime sleuth Heather Wells. Her freeloading ex-con dad is finally moving out. She still yearns for her hot landlord, Cooper Cartwright, but her relationship with "rebound beau," vigorous vegan math professor Tad Tocco, is more than satisfactory. Best of all, nobody has died lately in "Death Dorm," the aptly nicknamed student residence that Heather assistant-directs. Of course every silver lining ultimately has some black cloud attached. And when the latest murdered corpse to clutter up her jurisdiction turns out to be her exceedingly unlovable boss, Heather finds herself on the shortlist of prime suspects—along with the rabble-rousing boyfriend of her high-strung student assistant and an indecently handsome young campus minister who's been accused of taking liberties with certain girls' choir members. With fame beckoning her back into show business (as the star of a new kids' show!) it's a really bad time to get wrapped up in another homicide. Plus Tad's been working himself up to ask her a Big Question, which Heather's not sure she has an answer for...

Additional notes: This is the third and final book in the Heather Wells series. You can read my review of the second book in this series here.

My thoughts: All's well that ends well. This book is a fitting ending to this trio of mystery books. I'll miss Miss Heather, but this series is by far not Meg's best work. Her best work would have to be the Princess Diaries series (so far that I've read). If you prefer mysteries, though, you'll enjoy this series.

Carley Marek experiences culture shock when she visits her friend Lillian's family on their farm deep in Amish country. She'll get an article out of the visit--and maybe some of Lillian's newfound peace will somehow rub off on her. Just when Carley is getting used to the quiet nature of the Plain community, Lillian and Samuel's son falls ill. But the local doctor who can offer the most help has been shunned by the community and forbidden to intervene. As David's condition deteriorates, Dr. Noah determines to do whatever it takes to save the boy's life. Carley is caught in the middle--drawn to Noah, wanting to be helpful in the crisis--and confused by all their talk about a God she neither knows nor trusts. Carley must decide what in life is worth pursuing . . . and what to do when she's pursued by a love she never expected.

Additional notes: This is the second book in the Daughters of Promise (or Plain) series. You can read my review of the first book here. So far as I know, this series is ongoing, and the fifth book was released this year.

My thoughts: I really like Beth Wiseman's work in Amish anthologies, but I don't know what I think of this series yet. I just started the third book, and they're good enough to continue reading. I've heard really good things from her second series so I'm hoping that is more to my liking. These storylines are a bit too predictable for me.

The economic downturn has hit New Bern, Connecticut, and Tessa Woodruff's herbal apothecary shop, For the Love of Lavender, is suffering. So is her once-happy thirty-four-year marriage to Lee. They'd given up everything to come back to New Bern from Boston and start their business, but now they're wondering if they made the right decision. To relieve the strain, Tessa signs up for a quilting class at the Cobbled Court Quilt Shop, and to her surprise, rediscovers the power of sisterhood—along with the childhood friend she thought she'd lost forever. . . Madelyn Beecher left New Bern twenty years ago and never looked back. But when her husband is convicted of running a Ponzi scheme and she's left with nothing but her late grandmother's cottage, she is forced to return to the town she fled. Unfortunately, the cottage is in terrible shape. Madelyn's only hope is to transform it into an inn. But to succeed, she'll need the help of her fellow quilters, including the one friend she never thought she'd see again—or forgive. Now Madelyn and Tessa will have to relive old memories, forge new ones, and realize it's possible to start over, one stitch at a time—as long as you're surrounded by friends. . .

Additional notes: This is the fourth, and latest, book in the Cobbled Quilts Court series. You can read my review of the the second book here and the third book here. So far as I know, this series is ongoing.

My thoughts: Marie just outdoes herself. This book was astoundingly rich and lovely. I really didn't want this book to end. The stories are so unique but still relatable. The characters feel like friends. Everything you could want in a story can be found here (and I promise, there is no incentive for me to go on and on about this book... I just liked it that much).

Rebecca Kauffmans tranquil Old Order Amish life is transformed when she suddenly has custody of her two teenage nieces after her "English" sister and brother-in-law are killed in an automobile accident. Instant motherhood, after years of unsuccessful attempts to conceive a child of her own, is both a joy and a heartache. Rebecca struggles to give the teenage girls the guidance they need as well as fulfill her duties to Daniel as an Amish wife. Rebellious Jessica is resistant to Amish ways and constantly in trouble with the community. Younger sister Lindsay is caught in the middle, and the strain between Rebecca and Daniel mounts as Jessicas rebellion escalates. Instead of the beautiful family life she dreamed of creating for her nieces, Rebecca feels as if her world is being torn apart by two different cultures, leaving her to question her place in the Amish community, her marriage, and her faith in God.

Additional notes: This is the first book in the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. There is a total of four books currently in the series with one Christmas novella. The second Christmas novella will be released later this year. This series is ongoing.

My thoughts: I. am. entranced. I was first introduced to Amy's writing and this series in her first Christmas novella. I didn't think I was going to read anything else of this series and I am certainly glad I changed my mind! I really, really like that this series isn't just focused on an Amish young woman finding love. This book was about family - not just about love - and that made all the difference. I can't wait to read the other books in this series.

At long last, the Reverend Curtis Black appears to be on the straight and narrow. The all-too-human preacher is a bestselling author now, and he and his wife, Charlotte, are raising two adorable children. But the ever-suspicious Charlotte doesn't trust that Curtis has put his womanizing past behind him. While he's on the road promoting his latest book, she knows that there needs to be just one extra-devoted fan in his flock for him to stray. Charlotte is no angel herself, and she's been keeping plenty of secrets from Curtis while he's been away. Still, Charlotte believes with all her heart that things will be better once Curtis is home again, although she should be careful what she wishes for since love may not be enough to untangle the web of lies she and Curtis have woven for themselves. And in the end, she'll have some tough decisions to make if she wants to salvage her marriage.

Additional notes: This is the fourth book in the Reverend Curtis Black series. You can read my review of the second book here and the third book here. This series is, so far as I know, ongoing.

My thoughts: For once, Curtis Black seemed to be on the up and up, but trust me, his secrets come all falling down when he learns of his wife's craziness. I love these books if only for the fact that my craziness and whatever craziness I have witnessed recently suddenly doesn't seem as crazy. Kimberla's writing also really shone in this book.

All summaries courtesy of goodreads.com.

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